Spotlight on Board Chair Kevin Lanier
We are excited to share the perspectives of the AMIGOS Board of Directors, including how they came to be involved, what they do, and why they volunteer their time to further the mission of AMIGOS. Board Chair Kevin Lanier shared insight into his involvement with AMIGOS over the last several years.
About Kevin Lanier:
Kevin has worked for Royal Dutch Shell in various businesses over his career which has included commercial roles based in Los Angeles, Mexico City, London, and Houston. Today, Kevin leads multi-functional mergers and acquisitions teams negotiating and closing deals throughout the Americas. He received his bachelors degree from the University of Notre Dame, a JD from the University of Texas, and an International MBA from Cambridge University. The international frame of Kevin’s training and work-life help him to deeply appreciate the mission of AMIGOS.
AMIGOS: Tell us about yourself.
Kevin Lanier: I have been an AMIGOS parent (3 times) and I have served on the AMIGOS Board of Directors for 6+ years now, including currently serving as Board Chair since 2020. I was not an Amigo in my youth, and thus I am very jealous of my kids and all current Amigos!
What inspired you to join the AMIGOS Board of Directors?
My son and two daughters each volunteered with AMIGOS and I witnessed how impactful the experience was in forming them. They each left home wanting to change the world for the better, and each returned having led part of a project in their communities that did just that. They were thereafter more confident as leaders and they brought more persistence and creativity to overcome any barriers they encountered. I wanted to get more involved with an organization that could inspire this kind of change in young people.
How has your experience with AMIGOS impacted you and your professional or personal life?
I have been the most personally impacted when I get the chance to meet AMIGOS youth whose experiences have been as transformative as those of my own children. Leading and delivering initiatives in their second language – as they live within a community that is a bit foreign to them – helps young people grow humble leadership which is always in demand in today’s world.
How does board service support the AMIGOS organization?
Our board brings diverse experiences across industries, government service (including as Ambassadors, like my fellow board member Arnold Chacón), and across the Americas and other regions. We are there for the leadership team as a sounding board, and we also do our best to help prepare the organization for another 50+ years of AMIGOS impact!
Why is the mission of AMIGOS important today?
A common refrain today is that the world is more polarized and divided than ever before but I reject this. We tribal humans share our “likes” and then are manipulated by seeing only more of our own preferences. This results in “more polarized and divided” perceptions. AMIGOS introduces our youth to more that is not like them – Amigos learn from those experiences – solve problems with help from others who are also learning from new experiences – they see the benefits of stepping outside of their “likes” and ultimately understand that there are also similarities across cultures. AMIGOS builds leaders who are self-aware and ready for ever-larger challenges. The world needs more young people like this.
These have been very challenging times for AMIGOS and the world. What are some of your reflections as a board member of AMIGOS during the pandemic?
AMIGOS’ DNA is one of resilience and creativity. This DNA helped the current leadership team flex and manage through the pandemic. Our healthcare roots were ever-present as the organization prioritized the health of both our communities and our youth Amigos. My core reflection is awe of this team and the entire organization.
A lot has changed since the COVID pandemic began in 2020 and AMIGOS closed programs for the first time in its more than 50-year history. I am excited about the organization’s future, building upon the creativity and resilience of the last few years. Our leadership has begun evaluating a “Campaign for the Future” to not only build us up stronger than before the pandemic, but also to scale the number of students and communities we reach each year.