Aspen Executive Seminar on Leadership

For my leadership work with Techqueria, I was awarded the Ricardo Salinas scholarship to attend the Aspen Executive Seminar.

Aspen Executive Seminar on Leadership

Table of contents


Aspen Executive Seminar on Leadership, Values, and the Good Society

September 18-24, 2021 (7 days)

Aspen, Colorado

For my leadership work with Techqueria, I was awarded the Ricardo Salinas scholarship to attend the Aspen Executive Seminar.

It was by far one of the best programs I've ever attended.

I enjoyed connecting with my fellow Latinx participants and hearing the different perspectives of everyone in attendance.

Our lead facilitator described our performance of Antigone as one of the best he's ever seen, which was incredible because I was the director.


For 70 years, the Aspen Executive Seminar on Leadership, Values, and the Good Society has challenged participants in every field to achieve meaningful leadership growth by critically examining their core values. The Aspen Executive Seminar is an invitation for every leader to answer the question ‘How do I lead well and live justly in a good society?’ We offer the invitation; you discover your answer.

Acceptance Letter


Scholarship Announcement

Aspen Institute Latinos and Society (AILAS) Program Announces Summer Cohort of Ricardo Salinas Scholars

Sessions Overview

  1. Human Nature
  2. Liberty & Rights
  3. Efficiency & Prosperity
  4. Equality & Social Welfare
  5. Community & Identity
  6. Leadership
  7. Values in Balance


Day 1

The first day of the The Aspen Institute leadership seminar has wrapped up. I definitely plan to blog about my experience, it's been memorable already. 💯

The text we discussed tonight was "An Agreement of the People" (1647) which aimed to expand voting rights since at the time only landowners had the right to vote. We reenacted the discussion that was had between the Levellers (pushing for change) and the Grandees (status quo). 🗳️

Ultimately the text was just an initial proposal to have a more socially democratic society. These efforts were ultimately squashed but they resurfaced about a hundred years later with these ideals serving as inspiration for important documents we operate with today such as the Declaration of Independence. 📜

It made me wonder what ideas are being sowed in today's generation that may be squashed and pushed against but will inevitably push through and become the norm. 💡

I had the opportunity to get to know a fellow participant Alyssa Cervantes more today as well which was super nice. Shout out to Pamela Cervera for all her support. 💛

Day 2

Day 2 of The Aspen Institute leadership seminar was lovely! ⛰️

We went over the following in a roundtable discussion:
- Aristotle's views on ethics and what the function of a human is (excellence vs virtue vs honor vs purpose) 🏆
- Hobbs view of the laws of the nature (if there is no commonwealth and sovereign power, nothing is unjust) 👑
- Mencius debating with Kao Tzu about his arguments on how humans are inherently good and are instilled with basic values such as righteousness, courtesy, decorum and wisdom upon birth 💛
- Noddings and her views on what caring for others means (empathy vs sympathy) and how that experience being raised at home can impact larger society 🏡

There were a lot of great points raised and rich differences in opinion which I really enjoyed. 💭

I disagree with Noddings that the way we care for those in our families can translate to wider society but I did resonate a lot with the way she broke down how sympathy can be superior to empathy. Funnily enough, it reminded me of the horror movie, "Midsommar". There's this notable scene where the main character realizes her boyfriend cheated on her and she starts crying, heaving and yelling in agony. The other women in the community join her and start mimicking her crying and yelling and that to me is a clear example of sympathy or "feeling with". That pattern plays out multiple times during the movie where there is a sense of sharing in suffering or a communal scream like with the women's case. Whereas empathy would be to put myself in her shoes and imagine being cheated on and trying to support her from that lense. Sometimes, sympathy is how one would prefer to be cared for — just hearing someone out and sharing in their frustrations. 🫂

Now we have a few hours for rest before a very packed week. Later, we will start planning out how a reenactment of "Antigone" will look like over dinner. 🎭

Day 3

Day 3 of The Aspen Institute leadership seminar was jam packed and I am just wiped out in the best possible way. ⛰️😴💯

Today we dug into:
- Politics by Aristotle 🏛️
- The Social Contract by Rousseau 📜
- The Declaration of Independence 🗳️
- What is capitalism? by Ayn Rand 💰

Then we had the opportunity to explore the town with the help of an excellent tour guide who shared stories of the income disparity, Ted Bundy, the green initiatives and more from Aspen's history. 💭

And then finally we discussed Melville's Billy Budd together out by an environmental science center. ⚓

There was very involved debate this session on Ayn Rand's arguments and how they inform a lot of how the tech billionaires of this day and age see their role in larger society, which I could definitely relate to as it's something I've seen and heard first hand. 🤑😅

A big takeaway for me was in what ways America's own Declaration of Independence was hypocritical given their own relations with Native Americans at the time. And how the arguments could have been used by those who attacked the capitol earlier this year in the sense that one has the right for removing government when they are not serving them. It's fascinating how documents can be interpreted for what some believe to be the "greater good" which Rand would argue is just gobbledygook. 💡

Day 4

Day 4 of The Aspen Institute leadership seminar was jam-packed just like yesterday! ⛰️🧐📚

The readings today were focused on efficiency and prosperity and were as follows:
- Plato, "The Republic, Book II" 👥
- Ibn Khaldûn, "The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History" 🕑
- Simón Bolívar, "The Angostura Address" 👑
- Amartya Sen, "Development as Freedom" 🪙
- Wislawa Szymborska, "Nothing’s a Gift" 🎁

I particularly enjoyed the discussion around
- tradition vs economic freedom, e.g. pursuit of a college education (tradition) in spite of student loan debt (losing economic freedom) 🎓
- how nothing in life is truly free and the merits and drawbacks of universal income 💸

After the readings, we took a hike around the White River National Forest. We managed to spot a deer which was nice. Then we came back and had the opportunity to finalize a lot of the screenplay for Antigone. Antigone is a play by Sophocles and we will be reenacting it on Thursday. I'm the director so stay tuned for my creative direction and twist on it. 🎭'

Day 5 to 7

I was initially posting a daily recap but the last two days ended up being a blur since they were so busy! The whole week provided a much needed time to reflect and reset. 📚

Antigone Screenplay

performed on Thursday September 23 (day 5)


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