Alejandra Colom is Senior Program Director of the Population Council’s activities in Guatemala. She focuses on improving the lives of rural, indigenous adolescent girls through Abriendo Oportunidades, a program that provides the most vulnerable indigenous Mayan girls and young women with personal and professional development skills, mentorship, and leadership opportunities. She is also collecting data on lifestyle changes that indigenous populations in Guatemala are making in response to climate change. Before joining the Council in 2010, Alejandra was associate director of the Rainforest Alliance’s forestry program in Guatemala. She also worked as a consultant in Central Africa for the World Wildlife Fund, Agreco, and other national and international organizations dedicated to conservation, livelihoods, forestry, and sustainable development. Alejandra has conducted research in Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, East Timor, the United States, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She was a Fulbright Scholar and holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, a Master’s degree in Applied Anthropology from the University of Maryland, and is currently preparing to defend her PhD dissertation in Anthropology at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. Alejandra is a Fellow of the 12th class of the Central American Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Alfonso is a member of the fourth generation of his family legacy. He currently works at the livestock industry business unit of Corporación Multi Inversiones, a family corporation of Central American origin that through its business units, creates sustainable impact in the communities where it operates. He serves in the board of directors of Alianza por la Nutrición, an alliance between different organizations committed to eliminate chronic mal nutrition in Guatemala. Before working on the family business Alfonso was a consultant at Accenture Interactive in charge of kick starting new projects with multi-shore teams. He started his career in Credit Suisse as a financial analyst, and then went on to co-found TransPagos, an electronic payment system for topping up “pay as you go” mobile phones through retailers’ cash registers in Guatemala. With a focus on starting to get involved in the family legacy, Alfonso was part of the team that started the executive committee of Corporación Multi Inversiones’ New Generation Club, which its main objective is to foster union and relationships between the new generation members, promote social responsibility and facilitate getting to know CMI’s businesses. He did both his undergrad and graduate studies at the University of Notre Dame majoring in Science Business (Undergrad) and mastering in Engineering, Science and Technology Entrepreneurship. In his spare time he enjoys music, looking for good quotes, barbecuing, and doing sports, especially board sports like wakeboarding and snowboarding. He has a passion for technology and for developing people. He is a proud father of two boys, Santiago and Nicolas and currently lives with them and his wife Paulina in Guatemala City. He believes that impacting the lives of others through sharing, building relationships and one’s example is the best way to leave a legacy and become immortal. He is a 2016 Central American Leadership Initiative fellow of the Aspen Institute and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Estudio en la facultad de arquitectura del Savannah College of Art and Design en Georgia, Estados Unidos, donde obtuvo un B.A. (magna cum laude) y un M.A. en restauración de arquitectura. Es además electricista, tiene un diplomado en eficiencia energética y un diplomado en Gerencia de la Sostenibilidad del INCAE. Es autodidacta en temas ambientales y cuenta con más de 10 años de experiencia aplicada en varios países. Ha trabajado y vivido en Guatemala, Estados Unidos, España, Francia y Ucrania, llevando a cabo diferentes proyectos de investigación en movilidad urbana y arquitectura del pasado, presente y futuro.
Ha asesorado numerosos proyectos y empresas en Eco-eficiencia y Motivación Ambiental como Director de Sostenibilidad de Maulprojects, es co-fundador del Movimiento Biciudad de Guatemala y es Director Creativo de la Asociación Ambiental G-22. Es autor y conferencista internacional y ha dictado numerosas conferencias en 17 países, incluyendo una conferencia TEDx en el 2015.
is the founder and CEO of Maria’s Bag Inc, a high-end luxury accessories brand, which preserves the traditional Guatemalan textiles. Alida created a business model in 2011 with Marias, which empowers Guatemalan women from every social Class 2017. By creating Maria’s Bag Inc, Alida created over 500 jobs for women across different regions. Because of that unique business model, Alida was nominated General Manager of the Year for the Managers Association of Guatemala in 2014. And in the same year, Alida became the ambassador of FUNSEPA. This organization provides education through technology to undeveloped regions in Guatemala. Prior year, She was named Women of the Year by Look Magazine. In 2007, Alida won Miss Guatemala and competed in Miss Universe and Miss World. She traveled globally representing her country and developed her entrepreneurial, philanthropic, and creative instincts during this time. Alida began helping people in her homeland by being one of the board members to create the Foundation Cambiando Vidas – a Montessori school that provides education and proper nutrition to 240 kids. Alida is a board member of City Harvest in New York. Alida is a Fellow of the 13th class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Ana Victoria López
Ana Victoria López is the Language Program Coordinator at Kab’lajuj Ey, a program of Wuqu Kawoq a nongovernmental organization committed to facilitating excellence and linguistic competence in medical care delivery for indigenous communities of Guatemala. Soon after graduating from high school, Ana developed different projects that have improved the quality of life in Guatemala; her projects aimed at reducing malnutrition, supporting mothers, improving family nutrition, promoting self-sustainability and reducing dependence on domestic and foreign aid. Ana lived in the United States for 11 years and returned to Guatemala in August of 2012. While living in the United States, she worked as a teachers assistant in Spanish at Harvard University and a Kaqchikel Consultant for Field Methods at Harvard, Kansas University and MIT. She also worked as a para-educator, interpreter, and as a bilingual costumer service representative. Ana was a Cross-Cultural Trainer for Peace Corps – Guatemala. Ana graduated with a Bachelors degree in Food Science from South Dakota State University and obtained an associate degree in Food Science and Technology from Mount Hood Community College in Oregon. She is the recipient of several scholarships including the CASS, Albert & Edna Thompson Scholarship, the Lloyd Everson Scholarship. Ana is fluent in English, Spanish and Kaqchikel. Ana is married and has two children.
is founder and CEO of The Altitude Company, which focuses on corporate health, wellness and technology. She is the author of ‘Sin Límites, Everest’ (Limitless, Everest) and is an international speaker. Born in Guatemala, as a little girl, she often travelled through the Guatemalan countryside with her family. She also lived for three years in Lake Atitlan as a teenager. These experiences aroused her interest to explore the world. After obtaining a scholarship, Andrea was able to study economy for tourism in the Università degli Studi di Genova, in Italy. Upon graduation she started her professional life by working for a major hotel chain. However, she still dreamed about traveling the world, after saving money, she was able to backpack through Asia for 8 months. This journey took Andrea to Everest Base Camp for the first time and gave her the opportunity to start working as a tour operator for an adventure agency. She continued to travel around 60 different countries in 5 years. In November of 2007, Andrea climbed her first snowy mountain: Island Peak (20,460 feet). This experience inspired her to attempt reaching the highest peak in the world. This was not an easy task as only one in every three people that attempt the climb, are able to summit. She designed an intensive training schedule, taking her to climb 13 different snowy peak mountains and trekking for months, as preparation for the biggest challenge. On May 23, 2010, Andrea became the first woman in Central America and the Caribbean to have reached the highest peak in the world, Mount Everest (8,805 meters). This makes her part of an exclusive group of climbers, as only around 275 women have been able to summit Mount Everest. On September 22, 2012, Andrea became one of only 42 people in history to have completed the Adventurer’s Grand Slam, which challenges climbers to summit the tallest peak in every continent and to ski to the geographical North and South Poles. Upon doing this, she became the first Latin American to have achieved this milestone. She collaborates with Funsepa as an “Education Hero” and volunteers with La Alianza, a home for sexually abused teenagers. Andrea is a Fellow of the fourteenth class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Benjamín Sywulka is head of innovation and new business for CMI, one of the largest corporations in Central America, where he is leading the development of the company’s innovation system and helping take to market breakthrough solutions across many industries. Prior to CMI, Ben headed up the country of Guatemala’s innovation strategy as Director of the Private Competitiveness Council, working closely with the organized private sector, the public sector and academia to strengthen the country’s economy through innovation. Prior to that, Ben was a consultant in Boston and IXL Center, one of the world’s leading boutique business innovation firms. There he worked with Fortune 500 companies, taught innovation at MBA-level programs, and developed innovation software to run innovation processes at scale globally. Prior to working in innovation, Ben specialized in Technology and International Development, running a non-profit for 6 years focused on rural technology development in Guatemala, and doing ICT for development consulting in several Latin American countries, focused on rural connectivity, rural technology businesses to create employment, and open-source software solutions for SMEs and government modernization. Ben has a B.S. In Symbolic Systems from Stanford University, an MBA From Hult International Business School, and a Masters in Finance from Hult as well. Ben is a Fellow of the 12th class of the Central American Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Cecilia Dougherty is the current President of the Carlos F. Novella Foundation, related to Cementos Progreso in Guatemala, that supports education and community development projects and she is also part of the board in PAVA, a non-profit currently working with rural community libraries, where she has been involved for the last 18 years. She is also a well renowned dancer and performing arts manager, having worked in the country and abroad with dance, theatre and opera performing and staging. In 2007 she was awarded Best Actress in the Central American Icaro Film Festival and an Emerging Arstists medal in 1990 in Guatemala. She has a B.A in Management from Universidad Francisco Marroquín and a Dance B.A. from Universidad de San Carlos.
AKA Fish was born and raised in Guatemala, received his bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a Finance specialty at Universidad Francisco Marroquín, graduating in 2005. His five roles in life are: 1) Happy Husband, 2) Proud Father, 3) Passionate Entrepreneur, 4) Proud Guatemalan and 5) Hungry learner. His last entrepreneurship is Corporación Arium which is a group of companies specialized in full service distribution of mass consumptions products, it has become one of the largest distribution companies in the country in just 2 years, responsible for +900 employees, with the goal to become the best full-service distribution company in Latin America. Previous to his recent venture, Christian’s experience for 12 years included positions such as regional executive in P&G specializing in marketing and sales in developing countries, expert in distribution management and product development specialist for products that improve the lives of low income consumers; resulting in a vast knowledge of Latin and Central American markets.
He has also been an active member of the board of directors of United Way Guatemala and was elected in 2018 as the vice president of the board, this entity focuses in uniting resources from various companies and voluntary individuals to maximize social impact in Guatemala, the core of such programs is ensuring correct development in early infancy. His values and main descriptors are: Entrepreneur soul – Never stop learning and learn from everyone – Passion – Excellence – Integrity. Christian is a Fellow of the fourteenth class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
is co-founder and CEO of Greenergyze and GreenFinance, a solar energy company and finance firm specializing in design, sales, installation, maintenance and financing of solar projects in Central America. Christian also serves on several boards of directors and is a member of the EO (Entrepreneurs Organization) Guatemalan Chapter. Christian graduated from ESADE Business School in Barcelona in 2009 where he obtained his MBA degree. Prior to moving to Barcelona, Christian worked for 7 years in Guatemala and Brazil at CBC (Pepsi’s Bottler for Central America and The Caribbean) and AmBev (currently ABInbev). During this time, he served in several roles for the company and successfully lunched Brava Beer in the Central American market. In 2001 he earned his industrial engineering degree, graduating magna cum laude, from North Carolina State University. Christian considers himself a family man, a sports enthusiast and passionate for new adventures; he is the oldest of three siblings. He has been married to Adriana for 11 years and together they have three beautiful children. Christian is a Fellow of the 13th class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Corrina Grace is the founder and executive director of SERES, a Guatemalan non-profit organization whose mission is to empower young leaders to build sustainable, healthy and thriving communities through education and transformative leadership. In this role, Corrina has facilitated transformative programs for more than 1,500 young people – engaging and empowering them to take action and accelerate the transition towards sustainability in this region. Her goal is to turn SERES into a name synonymous with sustainable, thriving, resilient communities around the world. A mechanical engineer, Corrina’s skills and experience range from consulting engineering to expertise in the financial and private sector, offshore work with Engineers Without Borders, project and construction management and transformative leadership and facilitation. Corrina holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of New South Wales, Sydney. She is a Fellow of the 10th class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
A serial entrepreneur, during the last 20 years he has founded or run all sorts of businesses in Guatemala, El Salvador, and online: from 1hr photo stores, to computer superstores, to wine distribution and retail. Today he has shifted his entrepreneurial interests towards online training through OSTraining.com, the #1 online training company for open source content management systems (CMS’s) like WordPress.
Eddie’s greatest passion is social housing. He is proud of his work with Habitat for Humanity where he started in Guatemala in 2000. Today. the Guatemalan program is serving the 100,000th family with a decent home. In 2008, because of the success of Habitat Guatemala, Eddie was invited to serve on the international board of directors for Habitat for Humanity International which oversees the program in the whole world. He served as board treasurer, chair of the Audit Committee, and chair of the Latin American Committee.
In 2016 he was named president of the Guatemalan equivalent of the Federal Housing Administration – – a platform he uses to advocate for housing for the poor. In 2017, as part of his CALI-AGLN project, Eddie started his most ambitious project to date: to design and develop, write the bill and pass the law to create a housing provident fund that will help millions of Guatemalans save and obtain guaranteed access to financing for housing.
He serves as treasurer of the Union Church of Guatemala. He studied entrepreneurship and marketing at Babson College. He lives in Guatemala City with his wife Amanda and their children, Nina and Jacob.
Edwin Escobar is founder of Nabla, a construction management group of companies that currently serves multinational companies in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. He served as dean of the engineering school at Rafael Landívar University, his alma mater, where he helped to establish a world-class technological center for academics, research, and development. He was founder and president of the Youth Entrepreneur Organization-Guatemala chapter and was key in jumpstarting Students in Free Enterprise-Guatemala. Edwin has served on the board of ANACOVI, the national homebuilders association, and is a member of FUNDESA, an economic nonprofit. He holds an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, where received the Dean’s Service Award. He also holds an industrial engineering degree from Rafael Landívar University in Guatemala, where he was also president of the Students Association. He completed a program called the Birthing of Giants 2004, by MIT and YEO at Endicott House executive campus. He is a Fellow of the inaugural class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Como parte de su formación universitaria es graduado con alta distinción de Máster en Administración Pública en la Kennedy School de la Universidad de Harvard (2001). Obtuvo también el Máster en Administración de Empresas en INCAE Costa Rica (1995) con Alta Distinción y se graduó Summa Cum Laude como Economista de la Universidad Francisco Marroquín.
Cuenta con amplia experiencia pública y privada en el área de la competitividad y el desarrollo sostenible. En 1997 fundó y fue el primer Director Ejecutivo del Programa Nacional de Competitividad PRONACOM. Del 2004 al 2007 fue Comisionado Presidencial Adjunto para la Promoción de Inversión, la Agenda de Competitividad y el Plan Puebla Panamá –PPP-. Fundó y creó la Agencia de Promoción de Inversiones “Invest in Guatemala” en el 2004. Fue Diputado (2012-2016) periodo en el que fungió como Presidente de la Comisión de Economía y Vice-Presidente de la Comisión de Relaciones Exteriores del Congreso de la República de Guatemala.
Desde el 2014 funda y dirige el Instituto de Progreso Social de Guatemala – IPS – socio aliado del SOCIAL PROGRESS IMPERATIVE con sede en Washington D.C. y del Centro de Intercambio de Conocimientos de VIVA Trust y la Fundación AVINA con sede en Costa Rica.
Desde febrero de 2016 es nombrado Director por Guatemala en el Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica –BCIE-
En el mundo empresarial ha sido Gerente General y Director de varias empresas familiares así como también es miembro activo y ha sido Coordinador del Capítulo de Guatemala del Consejo Empresario de América Latina –CEAL-. Desde el año 2001 funge como Vicepresidente del Comité Nacional de INCAE en Guatemala, es Presidente Fundador de la Asociación de Egresados de la Universidad de Harvard en Guatemala así como también es miembro activo de la Fundación para el Desarrollo –FUNDESA-, la Asociación de Gerentes de Guatemala –AGG- y de la Asociación Gremial de Exportadores de Guatemala –AGEXPORT-. Desde 2012 es socio del Club Rotario Guatemala del Este, fue por 10 años Consul Honorario de Nueva Zelandia en Guatemala y desde abril del 2016 es Consul Honorario de Jamaica en Guatemala.
En el ámbito académico, desde el año 1996 ha sido Catedrático de la Facultad de Economía y Administración de Empresas de la Universidad Francisco Marroquín. También fue investigador asociado del tanque de pensamiento CIEN – Centro de Investigaciones Económicas Nacionales- y fundador del Programa de Apoyo al Organismo Legislativo –PAL- en el período 1990-1993 y ha publicado en diversos medios de comunicación escrita artículos de opinión en materia de desarrollo sostenible y competitividad. Es fellow de la primera promoción de la iniciativa regional de liderazgo “CALI” promovida por el Aspen Institute y el INCAE. También ha cursado diversos diplomados en la ENA -Ecole Nationale d’Administration Publique- con sede en Paris en el 2012 y el 2014, en la Universidad de Boston en 2002, en la Fundación Friedrich Ebert en 1999, la Fundación Niemann en 1998 y el United States Information Agency en 1997 entre otros.
Francisco Contreras, entrepreneur and CEO of Oh My Card, the first payment platform company to sell Supermarket and Drugstore Gift Cards from the United States to Central America innovating the way in which immigrants send financial support to their families. Youngest Congressman in Guatemala (2008-2012), he introduced Act 4323 for electronic vote in Congress, eliminating the anonymous voting. He promoted technology, competitiveness, transparency, and security, including initiatives to reduce extortion and lock stolen cellphones. Lecturer in Haiti by the National Democratic Institute (NDI); supported the release of political prisoners in Venezuela; participant of the Inter-American Dialogue on Security; alumni of the Foundation for Analysis and Social Studies (FAES in Spanish) in Spain, “Strategy and Defense Politics” (SDP) at the National Defense University (NDU) in Washington, DC. In 2003, he founded the first work-ready office center in Guatemala; Co-Founder of the Association of Young Entrepreneurs (AJE in Spanish) and the Association of Guatemalan Franchises (AGF in Spanish). BS in Economics with Financial Application at Southern Methodist University (SMU), 2002, Dallas, Texas.
Gabriel is V.P. Sales and Marketing at Acuamaya, Guatemala’s leading producer and exporter of farm raised shrimp (sustainable aquaculture) to key global markets. He also contributes his time as a Board member of AGEXPORT (the Guatemalan Exporters Association) and as President of the Board of Empresarios por la Educacion.
Previously he was Founder & CEO of AmigoLatino, a leading technology company, establishing a network of high-end video conferencing centers between the U.S. and Latin America, helping to reunite thousands of distant migrant families, community groups and organizations, in real-time and at a low cost.
Gabriel has over 25 years of professional experience dealing with the Latin American, Asian, European and U.S. markets, managing key categories in industries including consumer packaged goods, hardware and software, online payments, banking and e-commerce services. Gabriel has held a number of senior management positions with top Fortune 500 companies including Procter & Gamble and Hewlett Packard, where he led and is credited for the successful and profitable introduction of the Pavilion line of Home PC’s into the highly competitive Latin American market. In the U.S. he has also contributed to the development of leading start-up technology companies like E2open (B2B Marketplace), Achex (Online Payments), and Ramp Networks (Networking Solutions).
Gabriel holds an MBA degree from the Kellogg Graduate School of Business at Northwestern University (1996) and a B.S. in Business and Economics from Lehigh University (1991). He is married and has three lovely kids. On his spare time, he is an avid triathlete and ultra-marathoner, having now completed 4 full Ironman triathlons, 5 marathons and just a few weeks ago, the famous Marathon Des Sables (a 257km Ultra-marathon in the Sahara desert), considered by many as one of the toughest races on the planet.
He is Executive Director at Widefense Latin America, a managed security services firm doing business in Central America and Chile. He is also CEO of InteractuaMovil, a start up that develops applications in the mobile space for latinamerican markets. He also serves as a board member of Wau, the largest mobile aggregator in Latinamerica and Reflexión a hosted IT security services firm doing business around the world. Previously, Gabriel was CEO of Bysupport Central America, an IT security firm representing McAfee in the region, which was acquired by McAfee in 2002. Gabriel also participated in the ProReforma movement of Guatemala, which aimed to change the constitution of the country to strengthen the rule of law, the judicial system and the checks and balances needed for a successful government and society. Gabriel is an adventurer in spirit and enjoys the great outdoors. He is happily married and has three daughters.
Jerónimo Lancerio has been minister of culture and sports of Guatemala since 2008. He was vice president of the Latin American Indigenous Fund until 2010. Before government, he was general manager for CORSA Group/PBL Tropical Plant SA in Guatemala, an agricultural export group. He is the national secretary of the political party UnidadNacional de la Esperanza for Mayan, Garifuna, and Xinka populations. He advises indigenous populations as part of a movement that helps families recuperate form the internal conflict in Guatemala. In 2005, Jerónimo was mentioned in the business magazine “Estrategia y Negocios” as one of the 120 most innovative businessmen in the region because of the development and commercialization of “air plants.” He majored in business administration at the Atlantic International University in Miami, Florida. He speaks the Mayan language K’iche, English, Italian, and German. He is a Fellow of the third class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
is the executive director of FUNSEPA, an organization that improves the quality of education in Guatemala through technology. FUNSEPA has benefited over 400,000 children, trained 80,000 teachers, and equipped more than 1,300 schools with computers and educational software. Jessica is co-creator of Programa Valentina, a program that accelerates through a disruptive model, the insertion of at risk youth in technology jobs. Before joining FUNSEPA in 2008, Jessica was director of Guatemala SANA Foundation, which focuses on education, health, nutrition and environment in Sacatepéquez. As director of Guatemala SANA, Jessica created an alliance with TOMS Shoes, bringing more than 300,000 pairs of shoes to the country. Jessica has more than 15 years of experience working with social causes, from children with disabilities in Tibet, to children with HIV in Gambia, sexual workers in Curacao, at risk adolescents in Venezuela, and orchestral music in Guatemala. Jessica holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and health: science, society and policy from Brandeis University, where she received the Outstanding Senior Award, and a master’s degree in international health from the University of Copenhagen. Jessica was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, and currently lives in Guatemala with her husband and two children. Jessica is a Fellow of the 13th class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
José Alberto Rivera
José Alberto Rivera is General Manager at Aceros Arquitectónicos, a construction company started by his grandfather. Before starting to work in the family business he worked at Kessler, a solid waste and recycling consulting company in Tampa, Florida where he worked for a year. José Alberto studied Industrial Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, USA. He did an internship at Heine Recycling GmbH where he worked as the manager’s assistant in Weissenberg, Germany. In 2014 he got a degree in Effective Negotiation on Electrical Energy from the Chamber of Industry of Guatemala and he was an active member of Empresarios por la Educación from 2011 to 2015. José speaks Spanish, English and German. José lives in Guatemala recently married to Ana Cecilia Asenso. José is a Fellow of the 12th class of the Central American Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
José Andrés Botrán-Briz
He is the chairman of the board of Compañía Agrícola Industrial Santa Ana. He was born in Guatemala City on July 7, 1962. He earned a degree in Industrial Engineering from Boston University. He participated in the Center for National Strategic Studies (ESTNA), where he took courses with members of the various sectors of Guatemalan society to generate a shared vision of the country. Andrés worked in Paris and New York as a sugar merchandising specialist worldwide for French and American companies and later founded his own marketing/merchandising company as the agent of Amerop Sugar Corporation and later Czarnikow Rionda. He has developed real estate projects for different segments, ranging from popular low-income housing, to subdivision of land, to industrial, commercial and residential condominiums. Andrés introduced the subject of hunger at the private sector level in 2001 as a member of the Chamber of Industry, and he represented such entity in the Guatemalan Forum from 2001 to 2004. He worked for the public sector starting in 2004 as Commissioner of the National Front Against Hunger. In this role, with the aim of institutionalizing food and nutrition security and encouraging sustainability, he began the process of creation, consultation and approval of the National Policy and the Law on Food Security and Nutrition which was unanimously approved by the Congress in May 2005, being the first law that addresses the issue systemically in Latin America. He then was appointed Secretary of Food Security and Nutrition. Andrés is a Fellow from the third class of the Central America Leadership Initiative (CALI) and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
José Augusto Toledo
José Augusto Toledo is managing partner at Arias & Muñoz law firm in Guatemala since 2007. José is currently the president of Fundación Educativa Guatemala of which he has been a member of since 2010. He is also vice-president of Fundación Fondo Unido de Guatemala and vice president of Fundación Emprende. Since José entered law school at Universidad Rafael Landivar in 1990 he started being more active in social and community matters, serving as volunteer in Guatemalan general elections and being part of the faculty’s Student Council. Once he was more settled into his career he started participating more in institutions investing back into the Guatemalan community, especially in education and the needs of children. José has a Master’s in Mercantile Law and Business Administration from the Escuela Superior de Economía y Adminstración de Empresas (ESEADE), Universidad Francisco Marroquín, Guatemala and a Juris Doctor Law Degree from Universidad Rafael Landívar. José lives in Guatemala with his wife and three children and enjoys marathon running and triathlons. José is a Fellow of the 12th class of the Central American Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
José Miguel Torrebiarte
Jose Miguel Torrebiarte is vice president of Grupo Progreso, a company primarily dedicated to the cement industry and the commercialization of building materials in Central America. Throughout his 20-year career within the family business, he has occupied different important executive positions, and in 2004 he was the first of his generation to be the president of the board of directors of the company. During this period, the company’s corporate government was restructured and a ten-year strategic growth plan was implemented. Jose Miguel serves as a director of Fundación para el Desarrollo (FUNDESA), is a member of Young Presidents Organization, member of Consejo Empresarial de América Latina (CEAL), president of the Inter-American Cement Federation (FICEM-APCAC) and president of the Foundation of the Cultural and Natural Mayan Heritage (PACUNAM). José Miguel has a BS in industrial engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) and a MBA from INCAE in Costa Rica. He lives in Guatemala with his wife and four children. He is a Fellow of the fourth class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Juan Carlos Molina
Juan Carlos Molina is the founder of Guatemaltecos Extraordinarios, a program that develops and implements a methodology to identify and heal the root problems of at risk youth. The program started with 15 beneficiaries three years ago, and now has more than 250. Juan Carlos previously worked with ex-gang members in a reintegration-to-society program at USAID and in a Rotary Association. He has also worked in youth prisons, first as a volunteer and then as the Director of Rehabilitation of the prison system. His interest in helping youth started at age 21 when he began visiting kids who lived in the streets of Guatemala City. He is passionate about interacting and understanding human behavior, and he believes in God and in having an integrated and loving family. He is a psychologist and has a master in family education.
Juan Carlos Paíz
Juan Carlos Paiz is co-founder and CEO of Panifresh, a baking company with 450 employees which exports bakery products to Latin America from Guatemala and Costa Rica. Panifresh has earned the Best Exporter of Guatemala award, and the Best Manufacturing Company prize in October 2011 and has achieved recently the ISO 14000 certification. Juan Carlos has been Ad Honorem Presidential Commissioner for the Competitiveness, Investment, Millennium Objective Corporation (MCC) and the North Triangle Prosperity Plan in Guatemala for eight years. Has supported the national strategy for attraction of investors, the Competitiveness Agenda for the last 12 years and has promoted a concrete development proposal to increase the economic-inclusive growth to reduce the poverty levels. Among the achievements of this programs in the last three years are, the increase of the IED in $800M, the formulation of the public and private investments portfolio of $10M, the increase of 120,000 formal jobs, the improvement of Guatemala climbing 24 positions in the Business Climate and being acknowledged as one of the ten most reformers in the world and the top reformer in Latin America on 2014. Has developed a Presidential agenda for competitiveness that includes investment on infrastructure, energy, education and health, besides improving the efficiency of the financial, commerce, labor systems and institutions in general. Facilitate access to technology, the widening of the internal market and the creation of new engines of development applying innovation. Right now he is taking to practice a model of economic development with territorial vision which involves geographic position, productive sectors, large scale investments and the incorporation of SMEs in the process. Nowadays he is worldwide director of Global Alliance for Clean Stoves (GACC). Juan Carlos has been college professor at the Universidad Francisco Marroquin (UFM), Ex-Director of the Dutch Cooperation (ICCO) and Fundesa; Also he has been CEO of several Private Sector Institutions including CACIF, AGEXPORT and FECAEXCA. He is co-founder of GuateAmala. Juan Carlos is married with three sons, was born in Guatemala, he is 50 years old and has a degree in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M university, as well as a Master in Business Administration from INCAE and a Masters in Productiveness from UFM.
Juan Mauricio Bonifasi
Juanma Bonifasi co-founded several entrepreneurial ventures, which are now growing together interdependently as Grupo Entero. The companies serve in diverse industries: Real Estate, Financial Services, Wellness, and Dental Services; and are located in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Perú. Mr. Bonifasi loves to learn and create value. He is married and a blessed father of three. With his wife Ana, he recently founded The Acton Academy Guatemala. Juanma is striving to live a life of meaning, integrated to principles and enabling growth while staying true to his essence.
Juan Pablo Mata
is an experienced director with a demonstrated history of working in the food & beverages industry. Skilled in market planning, business planning, entrepreneurship, market analysis, and team leadership. Strong professional with an MBA focused in strategic management from University of Pennsylvania – The Wharton School. Juan Pablo studied finance & conomics at Babson College where he graduated in 2008. After college, he joined Anheuser Busch InBev as a global management trainee in Brazil. There, he started his career as sales rep, sales supervisor, and sales manager in Sao Paulo. In 2012, Juan Pablo had the opportunity to manage the premium imported brands. In 2013, left ABI to do an MBA at the Wharton School of business in the University of Pennsylvania graduating in 2015. He worked at The Boston Consulting Group in Mexico as an associate during the summer in 2014. After graduating from Wharton, he joined CBC as the chief human resources officer heading the HR division with a headcount of more than 8,000 employees, 15 manufacturing plants, and 10 countries. As the CHRO he would design and execute the HR strategy. In September 2016, Juan Pablo became the chief strategy officer, supporting the executive president and ensuring a cohesive corporate strategy with both short term and long-term vision. At the same time heading the M&A activity for the group. In February of 2018 he assumed the role of CEO for CBC for Guatemala and Jamaica. He is currently launching a nutrition and health program to be certified by FOSHU; A project to put out a nourishing water called GROW, with the intent to address malnutrition – with different formulas for breast feeding mothers, newborn, first age. Juan Pablo is Guatemalan, married and a father of 3: Mikaela, Catalina, and Ivannia, he loves running marathons and playing golf. Juan Pablo is a Fellow of the fourteenth class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Julio Héctor Estrada
Julio holds a BA in Economics from UFM in Guatemala and an MBA from INSEAD in France. Before joining the GLF programme, his background included founding and leading a 200+ employee firm in Guatemala, a small projects office NGO in Tecpan, strategy consulting for A.T. Kearney in Switzerland and Germany, and risk management with Citibank Switzerland. He joined the GLF programme in 2005, where he worked as Associate Director for Latin America until 2008. He was also very active in research and publishing efforts, having led scenario planning projects on China and banking, as well as a number of competitiveness studies on Latin America in cooperation with multilateral companies and the OECD development centre, among others. After the programme, Julio led the National Competitiveness Agency in Guatemala (PRONACOM), a public-private partnership in charge of the country’s most ambitious economic and administrative reforms aimed at modernizing and boosting productive capacity. In this role, he reported directly to the President of Guatemala. Julio left PRONACOM to work on a family real estate development venture, which is one of the top five housing developers in Guatemala. In late 2012, Julio returned to the public sector as Head of the Agency for Private-Public Partnerships in Infrastructure, a new government institution in charge of leading, structuring and seeing through private investments in transport, energy and other public service-related infrastructure. He is a Fellow of the fourth class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Julio Zelaya is the Founder and President of the Learning Group, a leading Latin American corporation focused on development and implementation of corporate universities, executive education and specialized Entrepreneurship programs. He holds a Post Doctoral Degree in Management and Marketing from Tulane University, a PhD in Psychology from Universidad Mariano Gálvez, an MBA from INCAE Business School and has various certificates in entrepreneurship and management from institutions such as MIT, Harvard, Babson, Cornell University and ASTD. He has been professor of several MBA and PhD courses in Latin America. Julio is a bilingual, international speaker whose charismatic and inspiring style has led him to share the stage as a keynote speaker with some of the best in the world, the likes of Dave Ulrich and Sir Ken Robinson. He s been involved in the training and formation of over 250,000 people in the continental US as well as other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, sharing on how to live with purpose and entrepreneurship as a lifestyle. He was a conference speaker at TEDx Guatemala City sharing on The Gift of Dreaming. He is author of twelve books and his articles are commonly published in prestigious magazines of Central America. He co-authored the book Transform in English with Brian Tracy. He s currently working on his next book on how to live a life full of purpose. He has taught at conferences in Penn State University, Tulane University as well as in a number of entrepreneurial summits. He was selected as one of America s Premier Experts and has been featured on NBC
Karla Menocal de Matta
Es empresaria en el negocio de la logística y transporte, desde 1992. CPS Transportation & Logistics tiene 26 años en el mercado de Guatemala, y operaciones en el resto de Centro América, Miami, FL y Panamá, generando mas de 200 empleos directos. Karla ha trabajado muy de cerca en cooperación con la Superintendencia de Administración Tributaria SAT en Guatemala en la modernización de los procedimientos aduaneros. Fue nombrada en el 2004 por la Conferencia Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Compañías Express CLADEC, por 4 años, como la Presidenta del Consejo de Presidentes, representando a las 22 Asociaciones Nacionales de Latinoamérica. Participo activamente en las negociaciones del DR-CAFTA en las alianzas publico-privado. En el 2010 Karla recibió un Certificado Al Merito por parte de la Organización Mundial de Aduanas, basada en Bruselas, en ocasión del Día Internacional de las Aduanas, por la prestación de un servicio excepcional a la comunidad aduanera internacional. Actualmente es miembro de la Junta Directiva de la Asociación La Alianza, hogar para niñas victimas de abuso sexual y trata, es miembro de la Junta Directiva del Capitulo Guatemala de Vital Voices, en donde trabaja para ayudar a mujeres y niñas en temas de acceso a mercados, salud, nutrición y educación. Es miembro de la clase siete de CALI (Central America Leadership Initiative) y miembro del Aspen Global Leadership Network. Participo como Vocal en la Junta Electoral del Distrito Central para el proceso electoral 2015, participa actualmente como Directora en el consejo de FUNDESA, y desde el 2014 es miembro fundador de la Fundación Guatemala Sin Corrupción, que busca un cambio cultural y participación ciudadana comprometida en la construcción de un nuevo sistema de país.
Digital Strategist & Social Media Specialist, Tech Entrepreneur, Speaker, Social Activist & Woman Advocate. Dedicated to help people connect with the world and use their influence to improve it!
- Founder of the Program DIGITAL AWARENESS
- Co-Founder & Technology Evangelist of the Digital Agency MILKnCOOKIES
- Social Media Consultant for the GLOBAL AMBASSADORS PROGRAM of Vital Voices & Bank of America
- Founding Curator at GLOBAL SHAPERS GUATEMALA an initiative of the WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM
- Regional Leader for WED Women’s Entrepreneurship Day
- Fellow of the Central America Leadership Initiative of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Honors and Awards:
Karla has been invited on behalf of the President Barack Obama and the White House to be Speaker at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2016 at Stanford University; Invited by the Aspen Institute to be part of the CENTRAL AMERICA LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE – CALI FELLOWSHIP 2016; she was chosen as 1 of the 5 women around the world to receive the Vital Voices GLOBAL LEADERSHIP AWARD 2015; Recognized as 1 OF THE 10 INNOVATORS IN LATIN AMERICA 2014 by the Inter-American Development Bank; Chosen as 1 of the 22 women around the world to participate in the GLOBAL WOMEN’S MENTORING PROGRAM 2014 organized by Fortune Most Powerful Women, U.S. State Department and Vital Voices. Chosen as 1 of the 60 specialist of the WORLD SUMMIT AWARD Jury in 2014, 2015 and 2016, Recognized as VISIONARY OF THE YEAR 2014 by the leading Guatemalan brand Saúl E. Mendez; Awarded as OUTSTANDING PROFESSOR OF THE YEAR IN 2014 by Universidad del Itsmo in Guatemala; Declared WOMEN OF THE YEAR 2013 by Look Magazine; Chosen as FOUNDING CURATOR of Global Shapers Guatemala by the World Economic Forum. Karla has been invited as SPEAKER for TEDx Guatemala and Costa Rica. Her company MILKnCOOKIES was declared 1 of the 8 WSIS + 10 GLOBAL CHAMPIONS by the World Summit Award in UNESCO and awarded as one of the Top 5 leaders in E-Entertainment by the World Summit Award, both are awards for “building knowledge societies for peace and sustainable development”.
Karla Ruiz Cofiño connects people through technology. The Guatemalan entrepreneur helps individuals and companies navigate, contribute and participate in an increasingly borderless world. Karla believes that having a digital presence is about more than just business. “Technology is reshaping the world,” says Karla. “I am convinced that rather than asking ‘What is technology doing to us?’, the right question is ‘What can we do with it?’”
As the pace of change accelerates, Karla believes that our ability to connect becomes all the more significant. By sharing information, experiences and wisdom, people around the world are building what Karla calls ‘collective intelligence.’ She is on a mission to harness this global pool of knowledge to positively impact our world in big and small ways. Karla equips people with the digital skills and knowledge they need to become active contributors to online communities.
Karla sees a future of interconnected global citizens who are keenly aware of the power they have and how to use it. She envisions a community of changemakers who connect through technology to improve the world.
For more information visit www.KarlaRuiz.com.
Promover y facilitar oportunidades para los Pueblos Indígenas de Guatemala. Como parte esencial de este objetivo se encuentro directamente involucrada en programas que promueven la participación efectiva y el desarrollo de los pueblos indígenas de conformidad con nuestra cultura, estilos de vida y visión del mundo.
Actualmente es la Ministra de Trabajo y Previsión Social, nombrada por Acuerdo Gubernativo Número 09-2016, firmado por el Presidente Constitucional de Guatemala, Jimmy Morales el 14 de enero de 2016. Sus prioridades se centran en los siguientes temas:
- a) Erradicar el trabajo infantil
- b) Fortalecer la Inspección General de Trabajo
- c) Salud y seguridad ocupacional desde una perspectiva preventiva
- d) Elaborar la Política de Empleo Digno
- e) Cumplir con el marco legal e institucional de la cartera
- f) Adicional a ello, tiene mandato presidencial para liderar el proceso de viabilización de consulta a Pueblos Indígenas, de acuerdo a lo establecido en el Convenio 169 de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo e implementar el funcionamiento del Gabinete de Pueblos Indígenas.
Participa activamente como:
- Miembro de América Joven Programa Business Trust (YABT), Organización de los Estados Americanos y Vital Voices Guatemala / Centroamérica.
- Miembro del Foro Permanente para las Cuestiones Indígenas
- Miembro de la iniciativa Lead-On Juventud (ProLideres y organizaciones Poderosas)
- Cofundador de la Comisión Intercultural de FUNDESA
- Miembro de la Comisión Nacional de la Juventud para la Construcción de una Agenda de la Política Pública para la juventud maya, garífuna y xinca
- Punto de contacto para los programas de la juventud en el Banco Interamericano deDesarrollo (BID) y el Banco Mundial
Su liderazgo es reconocido a nivel nacional como internacional:
- EEUU Premio Embajada de Eagle. Abril 2015.
- Reconocimiento al trabajo en equipo ejemplar, durante la visita del vicepresidente Joseph Biden a Guatemala.
- USAID Servicio Exterior Nacional – FSN del año para la América Latina y el Caribe. Enero de 2008
- Reconocimiento a la contribución excepcional en la labor de desarrollo de Guatemala,
- Primera Dama, Wendy de Berger, excelentes relaciones entre los EE.UU. y Guatemala y el
- Compromiso de las mujeres con el desarrollo
- FSN del Año, Guatemala, mayo de 2007
- Múltiples reconocimientos USAID y la Embajada de Estados Unidos Premios 1994-2015
- Maestría en Administración Pública y Liderazgo Escuela de Gobierno 2013 – A la fecha
- Maestría en Administración de Empresas. Universidad de Preston. 2009
- Licenciatura en Administración de Empresas Universidad de Preston. 2008
- Innovación y Liderazgo en el Programa de Gobierno La Universidad de Georgetown, Washington DC. 2014
- Programa de Liderazgo de Centroamérica Iniciativa de Liderazgo de Centro América -CALI-, el Instituto Aspen. 2012
- Género, Multiculturalidad y el Programa de la Juventud. 2008 Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala
- Programa de Prácticas Mujeres Jóvenes, Washington, DC. 2008 Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA)
- Programa de Derechos de las mujeres y de género. 2006 Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala
Linda Swana is the Commercial Manager of Condado Naranjo, a real estate development company. Founding member of La Pietra Coallition, a global initiative focused on promoting women’s economic advancement to world decision makers to contribute to world growth. She is part of the Board of Directors and co-founder of Vital Voices Guatemala. Also, she is part of the Board of Directors of Fundación Proyecto de Vida, a non-profit organization promoting the Citizens Movement GuateAmala, in which she worked as the Executive Director from 2007 until 2010. During this time she created several movements, such as Youth Against Violence and the National Dialogues with Action. She is a MBA graduate from Universidad Adolfo Ibañez, Chile and has an Industrial Engineering degree from Universidad Rafael Landívar, Guatemala.
Lorena Mancía has 20 years of managerial experience in the construction industry. In her last position she served as Business Strategy Manager in Grupo Progreso, Cement Division. On that same group she held positions such as Lime Business Unit Manager, Construction and Infrastructure Business Unit Manager, and Mixto Listo Sales Manager. She previously worked 5 years at Grupo Amanco, another renowned regional company in the construction industry, as manager of one of their Divisions. She served as Board Member in Agromasa, Grupo Progreso, from 2010 to 2013. She is Board Member at FUNDES Guatemala, and she has been advisor to the Board of FUNDES International and to AVINA Mesoamérica in subject associated to regional development. Lorena earned a Post-graduate degree in Architecture, and a Masters degree in Business Engineering at Universidad Francisco Marroquín, Guatemala.
is the Minister of Health of Guatemala. Before being appointed in July of 2016, Lucrecia coordinated the Alliance for Public and Universal Access to Health (ACCESA), and was a professor for the undergraduate school of Medicine and of the graduate program in Public Health, at Rafael Landivar University in Guatemala City. Her work has focused primarily on research and analysis of health policies, and health systems and services, and has been a consultant for Medicus Mundi Navarra and the Pan-American Health Organization; she has also collaborated in health projects for USAID and the United Nations Development Program. She received her M.D. degree from the University of San Carlos, and earned her public health master’s degree at the Rafael Landivar University; she also completed her master’s in Social Medicine and a doctorate in Collective Health at the Autonomous Metropolitan University, in Mexico City. She is a founding member of SOMOS GT, the Inclusive Health Institute (ISIS), and the Myrna Mack Foundation. Lucrecia is a Fellow of the 13th class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Luis Fernando Prado
Luis Fernando Prado is manager of the international division of Banco Industrial SA and its subsidiaries. He is responsible for all operations in foreign currency, associated international banks, remittances, and international expansion. The bank is strongly focused on retail and corporate banking. Luis is a member of the board of directors of the Guatemala Development Foundation, Instituto Neurológico de Guatemala, the Guatemala Country Rating Risk Bureau, Universidad de San Pablo de Guatemala, and the Pacunam Foundation. He has a degree in industrial engineering from Universidad Rafael Landívar and an MBA from INCAE. He is a Fellow of the fourth class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Luis Miguel Castillo
Luis Miguel Castillo is vice president of the Central America Beverage Corporation (CABCORP), the anchor bottler for Pepsi Cola in Central America. Under his leadership CABCORP became the first Central American corporation to issue bonds in the Luxemburg Stock Market and to obtain a rating from Moody’s Investor Service. He is also president of AmBevCentroamérica, S.A., a joint venture between CABCORP and AmBev (the largest beer company in the world) to develop of the beer market in Central America and the Caribbean. Luis Miguel serves as director of the Guatemalan Chamber of Industry. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization and ConsejoEmpresario de América Latina (CEAL) and is director of Invest in Guatemala, an entity that promotes the foreign investment for the country. He actively collaborates with charitable institutions such as Fundación Ayúdame a Vivir (AYUVI), a foundation established to cure pediatric cancer; the Valle de Los Angeles Orphanage; the María Luisa Monge de Castillo Foundation; and the Guatemalan Chapter of United Way. He graduated from Boston University with a degree in business administration and lives in Guatemala City with his wife and his 3 children. He is a Fellow of the second class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Luis Pedro Alvarez
Congressman for the period 2012-2016, under the political party Encuentro por Guatemala. Former owner of “Alvarez Law”, Guatemala, Guatemala. He used to practice law as a sole practitioner focusing on commercial law, contract law and litigation. Has become a prominent journalist defending and promoting individual freedom and personal responsibility. He was part of a radio and Internet streamed talk show on the ideas of liberty. Co-founder of National Civic Monument (MCN). Served as Vice-President and President of the “Institute for Justice” in Guatemala and Director of the Guatemalan Chamber of Journalism. Pofessor of Criminal Law at Universidad Francisco Marroquín. Earned his law degree from Universidad Francisco Marroquin, and attained a graduate degree as “Expert in Penal Law” from the University of Salamanca in Spain. He has a Ph.D. program in Political Science and Sociology through the University of Salamanca. Luis Pedro is a Fellow of the Central America Leadership Initiative and the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Marcos A. Antil
Marcos Andrés Antil is founder, and chief operating officer of XumaK, LLC; a leading digital marketing company. Since XumaK s inception in late 2003, it has provided services to companies across more than 25 countries worldwide. In 2008, Marcos led XumaK to expand its operations through Latin America and opened its first office in Guatemala, followed by Colombia. Marcos holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Computer Science with a minor in Communications from the State University of Bakersfield in California. Marcos is heavily involved in his community; especially in his native Guatemala where plays an important role in promoting free education for children. In 2012, the government of Guatemala declared him an Ambassador for Peace, due to his contributions to education, and his inspirational story. In 2014, Marcos was keynote speaker for the MBA graduation ceremony at INCAE, Costa Rica, Latin America s highest ranked business university. That same year, Prensa Libre, the highest distributed newspaper in Guatemala; recognized him as Person of the Year for his achievements as an entrepreneur, migrant, and for his selfless work in education for Guatemala. Marcos is a columnist at Prensa Libre since early 2015, writing two articles a month in the section called Florescencia.
María Isabel Luján-Zilbermann
As partner of the Guatemalan law firm QIL+4 Abogados, María Isabel focuses in corporate law, international business transactions, mergers & acquisitions, and international financings. She serves as member of several boards of directors of Guatemalan companies and has taught Commercial Law at Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala. María Isabel is also a board member of Fundación para el Desarrollo de Guatemala (FUNDESA); board member and pro bono legal advisor of Fundación Vital Voices (Guatemala); co-founder, board member and pro bono legal advisor of Fundación Proyecto de Vida, a non-profit organization that promotes the GuateAmala Movement; and, was a co-founder, board member and pro bono legal advisor of Asociación Civil Cuatro Grados Norte (4°norte). She earned a Master in International and Comparative Law (LLM) from Vrije Universiteit Brusel (Belgium) in 1997, a Master in Comparative Jurisprudence (MCJ) from New York University (NYU) School of Law as a Fulbright Scholar in 1995, and graduated as attorney-at-law, notary public and licentiate in juridical sciences from the Law School of Universidad Francisco Marroquín (Guatemala) in 1993.
María Isabel Mayorga
María Isabel Mayorga is Executive Director at Fundación Gedeón, a nonprofit with the purpose to transform Guatemalan institutions and culture (attitudes, mindsets, beliefs, habits) by promoting a culture that leads towards progress. She was Executive Director of Vital Voices Guatemala and Central American Network, and the citizen movement GuateAmala. For more than 15 years, she has worked in various roles and projects with the purpose of releasing individuals’ potential and building networks that contribute to economic and social development. Since 2011, she is a volunteer and advisor at Vida Plenas, a Christian organization serving the inhabitants of La Limonada, Central America s largest urban slum, located in Guatemala City. María Isabel graduated from Universidad Rafael Landívar with a degree in Industrial Engineering and received an MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management – Erasmus University in the Netherlands, through a scholarship from the Dutch government. She is fluent in Spanish, English and German. She is married and the proud mother of two.
co-founded Zen Interactive Media almost six years ago with the vision of creating a new, dynamic and boutique digital agency in Guatemala. At Zen, María is leading the team to differentiate the agency by giving clients a more personalized service tailored to digital industry trends. María has several years of experience in the advertising and digital industry in Guatemala and has worked with lists of clients, including several multinational companies and local business conglomerates. She also has different endeavors in the digital communication sector. After graduating in 2006 with a B.A. in advertising from Southern Methodist University, she also went for a specialization program in marketing and sales management from San Francisco University, concluding with honors. In 2015 she finished her master’s degree in corporate communication at IE Business School in Spain. In 2015 she imported “Creative Mornings” to Guatemala and since then she co-organizes these inspiring monthly lectures. Maria is the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards including, but not limited to, the Global Competitiveness Leadership Program from Georgetown University, selected as a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum and was named one of Guatemala’s top 10 Women Entrepreneurs in 2015 by Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organization. She currently is a Faculty Professor at Universidad Francisco Marroquín and was elected as the youngest women board member of FUNDESA where she participates in some of its commissions and projects for the social and economic development of Guatemala, and recently she was certified as a Climate Change Leader. María is a Fellow of the fourteenth class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
María Pacheco, President and Founder, WAKAMI
María Pacheco is the founder of Wakami, a fashion-accessory social business connecting rural communities with global markets. This connection is achieved through a system that allows female entrepreneurs to generate income and sustained prosperity in rural communities of Guatemala and of other countries facing similar challenges. Wakami has recently placed third among the 27 best social businesses of the world in the Chivas The Venture competition.
The Wakami fashion accessories are entirely handmade, following ancestral Mayan weaving techniques, and are exported to 20 countries. Currently, these products are being produced by almost 500 women belonging to 20 communities of Guatemala. The income generated by the producers and business owners translates into formal education for their children (especially for girls) and a better nutritional status, both of which being the key issues of the country.
María served as a consultant to both private businesses and governmental institutions on the implementation of her Inclusive Business methodology to connect rural communities to global markets. Her objective has always been to provide market access to vulnerable communities of Guatemala as a way to transform cycles of poverty into cycles of prosperity.
María was a member of the team leading the design of the “Economic Development from the rural areas” 60-million-dollar loan, granted to Guatemala by the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank and implemented by the Ministry of Economy. This loan allowed more than 300 rural businesses to access global markets. María also partnered with the United Nations Foundation, Chemonics/USAID and other institutions to implement the Inclusive-Business Methodology.
In addition, she was the Executive Director of the Chorti Project for the fiber industry and, the Sacalá Project for the wood industry and owner of the CAUQUE organic farms.
A Universidad del Valle Biology graduate, María was awarded a Fullbright Scholarship to attend the Agriculture Masters Degree at Cornell University.
She has co-created the Guatemalan chapter of the Vital Voices Central American Network and she is also part of the Leadership Initiative of the Aspen Insititue.
Beginning in 2003, María has actively participated in Guatemalan organizations such as AGEXPORT, AGER, CENTRARSE and served as a FUNDESA Director.
In 2007 María received the “Vital Voices Washington Global Economic Development” award and, many more, such as: the DVF Award from the Diller – von Fustenberg Foundation, as one of the 5 women of the world who impulse positive change especially for women; the Stephan Schmidheiny award for Innovation in Latin America; the INCAE Challenge Award, as one of the new voices of innovation in business education in the region. She was nominated by Revista Estrategia y Negocios, a Central American and Caribbean business magazine, as one the top-3 influential women on Central America.
In 2017 Maria got the Most Powerful Women award by Goldman Sachs and Fortune Magazine.
He is the Executive Director of Real Estate Development in Grupo IDC, Guatemala. In this role, he leads the developing group for Condado Naranjo, an innovative project that will create a community based on a comprehensive master plan. At IDC, Miguel has also worked in the areas of corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions on a regional level. Prior to IDC, Miguel worked as manager at Protego Asesores (presently Evercore), an investment banking advice firm in Monterrey, Mexico. Miguel is a board member of the American School of Guatemala, a trustee of the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala and an active member and former president of the Young Presidents Organization, YPO-Chapter Guatemala. Miguel obtained his degree in industrial engineering from Rafael Landivar University and received an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management – Northwestern University. He is a Fulbright scholar. Miguel has run several marathons and he lives in Guatemala City with is wife and three children.
Ramiro Alfaro is General Manager of Spectrum. Spectrum is a real estate company with operations in Central America and Colombia. Ramiro loves adventure and is an active runner, triathlete and adventure racer. He has a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and an MBA, both from Lehigh University in Bethlehem Pennsylvania. He is married and has three children.
He is the Executive Director of CACIF, the representative body of the Guatemalan private sector, since 1994. He’s an attorney at law from Universidad Rafael Landívar. He’s currently serving as one the permanent members of the Security Affairs Council (CAS) in Guatemala and during his law practice he has served as Director of the Gaceta in Corte de Constitucionalidad, and as an associate to Cervantes, Medrano & Villacorta Law Firm. He is member of several of the working committees of the business organization (security, strategic and political affairs), and is co founder and director of the “business training in political leadership Seminar”. Roberto has been a permanent keynote speaker in art, culture, law and politics in the Guatemalan academic community and has studies in crisis management, intelligence and political analysis. He lives in Guatemala City with his wife and three children.
Roberto González Diaz-Duran is an independent consultant and professor at Francisco Marroquín University in the faculty of economic and business administration. He ran for mayor of Guatemala City in 2007 and placed second. Prior to that, he was manager of the presidency of the republic from 2005 until 2007. He was previously minister of energy and mines and president of the National Institute of Electrification. He has been a city councilman in Guatemala City, manager and founder of the Regulating Organization of the Metropolitan Transport and Transit Authority, and assistant director of the Municipal Company of Water of Guatemala City. In the private sector, he has worked in the agro-industrial and power fields, as well as directed consulting. Roberto has a masters degree in economics with a specialization in social evaluation of projects from Pontíficia Universidad Católica of Chile and degrees in economics and sociology from Francisco Marroquín University, as well as various postgraduate executive courses from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University, the University of California at Berkeley, the London School of Economics, INCAE, and others. He is married and has three children. He is a Fellow of the second class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Roberto Paiz is the managing director of TV Azteca Guatemala since 2011. Between 2003 and 2010 he was managing director for INMACO, also in Guatemala. Beforehand, Roberto worked in the Netherlands as a management trainee and, later, as a black belt in change management within the different businesses in Royal Philips Electronics. He returned to Guatemala motivated by the need to improve his country. Today he is president of Azteca Foundation, in Guatemala, where he started successful projects in drug prevention, environmental awareness, and cultural development for youngsters. He serves as a board member in FUNDESA (Fundación para el Desarrollo), where he is leading the Guatemala s alliance for nutrition. Within GuateAmala, he founded a youth volunteer project called Weavers aimed at accelerating cultural change. For two years he volunteered, as the attitude coach for the multiple national football teams, helping them qualify Guatemala for its first world cup in Colombia 2011. Roberto holds an MBA from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Idaho, both cum laude. He is a fellow of the 11th class of the Central American Leadership Initiative of the Aspen Institute.
Roberto Rosenberg: Founder and Managing Director of Aprisa, Acabados y Procesos Industriales, S.A., a manufacturing company of steel wire products that serves the commercial and industrial refrigeration industry and other lines of wire products such as POP displays, shelving, fences, etc. Has participated in different community projects, including his involvement with Sumpango, an indigenous community in Guatemala, helping them improve their famous Giant Kite Festival celebrated every year. Has been part of Entrepreneur’s Organization, a global organization with more than 7400 members around the world, since 2000. Served in different leadership positions, becoming the Guatemala Chapter President in 2005 and currently he is part of the EO LAC Regional Board. Roberto is a Fellow of the Central America Leadership Initiative and the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Salvador Biguria is currently the Head of Sales & Trading for Grupo Pantaleon, where he has previously been the Brazil Country Manager and the Business Development Manager. He has been appointed as president of the Electoral Board for the District of Guatemala by the Supreme Electoral Court (Tribunal Supremo Electoral) during the country’s 2015 general elections, and has been appointed to this and other positions in Electoral Boards during six previous electoral processes. He was a pro bono advisor to the Guatemalan minister of education during the 2003-2007 government period, working to promote projects and policies for the use of technology in public education. He sits on the Board of Trustees of Grupo Educativo del Valle, one of the leading private educational groups in the country, and has also been a board member of Empresarios por la Educación, which is a private sector entity promoting educational development and policymaking. He sits on the board of trustees of FUNDESA, the main Guatemalan private sector Development Association, and worked in the development of Fundesa s country development agenda named “Mejoremos Guate”. He received a BS in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. He is a Fellow of the third class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. He has also been named part of the Young Global Leader program by the World Economic Forum, and has been a member of one of its Global Agenda Councils.
Sonia Domínguez is the Food Security Advisor for the US Agency for International Development in Guatemala. She has been working for USAID since she finished her high-school in 1998. Her undergraduate degree is in Organizational Psychology from the Universidad Rafael Landivar, and her master’s degree in Development and Local Power from Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. She is responsible of ensuring the effective contribution of resources to attain the improvement of nutritional status of thousands of vulnerable families living in rural communities of Guatemala. Sonia is also the founder of Orejitas de Amor/Ears of Love, a foundation to support children born with congenital malformations. She is married and has two daughters. Sonia is a fellow of the Martin J. Foreman fellowship program at the Global Health Bureau/USAID Washington Nutrition Division, and fellow of the eight class of the Central American Leadership Initiative.
Sylvia Gereda began the first investigative television program in Guatemala, called Informe Especial (Special Report) in 2011. In 1996 she the Guatemalan newspaper el Periódico, created the first journalistic research team in the country and wrote one of the most read opinion columns in recent times. For 15 years she worked as director of el Periódico. She teaches journalism at Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala. She is the president of Vital Voices’ Guatemala chapter and VP of the Guatemalan Chamber of Journalism. In 2004, she was recognized by Guatemalan President Oscar Berger and was appointed to the National Council against Corruption to implement laws in favor of transparency. In 2006, she was appointed as regional VP of the Free Press Commission under the Inter-American Press Society. She holds a Ph.D in Sociology from the University of Salamanca in Spain, a degree in literature from Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, and a degree in technical journalism from Universidad Rafael Landivar, Guatemala. Sylvia is a Fellow of the inaugural class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Yara Argueta is president of Lapco -Grupo Solid, S.A., a paint company leading the market with operations from Guatemala to Panama. She was previously regional director of the Paleta stores (2001-2005). She was director of industrial engineering at Universidad Rafael Landivar (URL), her alma mater, where she was previously a professor of business administration and marketing. Before that, she was the student representative at the University Board Committee of URL. She has been an electoral coordinator appointed by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal for the 2007 presidential elections, and she was a delegate for the 1999 and 2004 presidential elections. She received her MBA from INCAE (2005) with honors and her undergraduate degree in industrial engineering from Universidad Rafael Landivar (URL) summa cum laude (1999). She is a Fellow of the third class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.