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Beyond the borders: insights from the M4U Community in Colombia w/ Michelle Lucia Visbal Otero

di Team Editoriale | M4U

Michelle Lucia Visbal Otero is the co-founder of Mentors4u Colombia. She also leads the tax practice at Serrano Martinez, a Colombian full-service law firm. She has experience structuring and implementing transactions locally and in multiple jurisdictions from a tax perspective. Her practice has focused on international tax, foreign investments, and reorganizations. Michelle has also experience in wealth & asset management of individuals. Prior joining Serrano Martinez, Michelle worked as a senior associate in the Transaction Tax (M&A) practice of Ernst and Young in New York (2019 – 2022) and as an associate of the tax and foreign trade practice of Posse Herrera Ruiz (2015-2018). Michelle graduated with honors from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in law and obtained a postgraduate degree in tax law. LLM in International Tax from New York University – NYU School of Law (Arthur Vanderbilt Scholar). Michelle has published articles in different specialized tax law reviews and has also been a speaker in tax and foreign trade forums.

Then vs. now: what are three elements that you find different in the workplace, now with respect to 5 years ago? Please also specify your field of work.

Teamwork, flexibility, and equality. I am a tax lawyer and co-founder of M4U Colombia. On the tax field I work structuring global tax projects and on M4U Colombia I work with the team to develop the local projects and also oversee the legal matters. 

How has the social component been taken into account in your company? What has been done and what is still a process in the making? 

We are a diverse team from different regions of Colombia, and we enjoy learning from each other’s culture and backgrounds. It would be great to get to know more people from more faraway regions and make them join our team.

What advice would you give to young professionals, in order to reach a healthy work-life balance? Has your job supported you in this respect?

I believe communication is a key for a healthy work-life balance. If you communicate you and your team can plan ahead. Also, setting boundaries between work time and time to disconnect and recharge is very important. 

From your experience, what would be an ideal relationship with a line manager? What rights and obligations are to be expected? 

I think a mentor-mentee relationship is the perfect mix. Working with someone that is willing to teach you, guide and that also supports you in your career growth definitely makes the difference. I believe there are rights and obligations from both sides. For example, the mentee should be open to receive feedback and have a positive attitude towards learning. At the same time, the mentor should be supportive and available to provide guidance to the mentee. However, both should be always respectful of the relationship and appreciate the efforts both parties are doing. 

How is local culture impacting multinational companies based in Colombia? What practices, if present, are commonly spread in a Colombian workspace? 

I believe there is more focus on collaboration and teamwork. People are looking for more meaningful experiences when they are present at the workplace. 

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