“What I really like about being here is that I’m like a professional catalyst or pot-stirrer. I’m able to take what I know and what I’ve experienced from all of my life and choose projects or industries or people that I want to work with. That’s what’s really, really fun.”
That’s how Kate Mulder describes her life here. She’s been coming to Peru since 2011, and has found herself helping on many different projects.
As founder and director of the North American Peruvian Alliance, Kate helps businesses and technologies from the U.S. to find the right partners needed to be successful in Peru. Kate serves as a consultant to Peru Capital Network (Peru\‘s first formal angel investor network), helping the network to create a framework for long term success. Kate is also bringing an entrepreneurial training program from Silicon Valley to be used in schools. Additionally, she is also spreading awareness of the new Fairtrade gold market, a market where buying this gold benefits workers and minimizes the environmental impact.
She welcomed us into her beautiful home office overlooking the Pacific Ocean and told us about her life here in Peru. This is an abridged version of that interview.
Can you walk us through a recent day in the life of Kate Mulder?
Well, those are different, as you can see, they’re very different, because of all the things that I do, which I love.
But actually, Monday was a really good day for me. I kind of sat here and I really just became aware of how much I love living here and the work I am doing and the life that I have.
So, I’m sitting here in this chair, with my computer, working away on two main things. But I thought about that morning, and that morning I got up, and at 7 o’clock I walked along the beach to take some private tennis lessons, which I do twice-a-week…
Then I came back, and my housekeeper was here, and she was making sure everything was tidy and clean and making a really great lunch, so that I could focus on my work. That’s one of the things that I really love, is that I am really able to take time to focus on my work and also have a lot of fun at the same time, because of the services here.
So, that was happening, and I’m sitting here literally on my computer, and the things we were doing that day were finalizing an engagement program for investors who want to participate in Peru, and also connecting with people who are building the fair-trade gold market…It was a great day, and I was really thankful.
In general, what do you think of the welcome you’ve gotten in this country?
It’s been amazing. This country has welcomed me with open arms: the people, friends, colleagues, businesses, people on the street. It’s just so warm.
I remember one time, I heard a story about the Peruvian culture. They were explaining how people are welcoming and sharing. And they gave an example like, ‘If my friend pours a beer and he’s Peruvian, he takes one beer and puts it in three glasses.’
And now that I’m here, that’s what I’ve experienced. It’s been nothing but positive.
You are involved in the tech industry. What do you think about the status of technology here in Peru?
It’s a really exciting time. There’s a lot to be done, but there’s this volcano that’s really ready to erupt, where the foundation is being built of people who see the value of it, see how it can help their businesses, want to focus on innovation…
I think this year, it’s about to hit that tipping point where it explodes. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done in training, technology, in developers and programmers, and just taking best practices and processes from the United States which we really, really need here.
But overall, it’s an industry that’s exciting to watch and exciting to be a part of.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do here in Peru?
I love to eat. I love everything about Peruvian food. I love to go to the restaurants. I’m a total foodie, and I’m also really healthy.
People think it’s kind of hard to eat healthy in Peru, but that’s actually not the case, because you have so much fresh fish and you have the ceviche, and it’s just great. I go out to eat a lot, and love to enjoy the restaurants.
What else do I do? I play a lot of tennis, I go to yoga, there are some really great yoga places around here. I pretty much do everything I used to do… just in a different way.
Have you been able to find a community of other expats here in Peru to spend time with?
Yeah, I actually have a mix of a lot of Peruvian friends and a lot of expat friends. The expat community here is not huge…but what I like about Lima is that the expat community is pretty tight. They’re welcoming and they’re supportive…
The expat community here is great, and it’s growing. More and more every day, I get contacted by people who either are curious about coming down here, what can they do, how can they work, how can they invest? Or, are on their way, “Hey, I am coming down, how can I help? What can I do? Et cetera.”
So that’s really exciting to see, that expat community growth, and I think that really shows a lot of the positive growth of Peru and what it has to offer.