• Juan Carlos Hasbun

    is Senior Pastor at Kemuel Christian Church in El Salvador. Through this dynamic organization, up to date, he has led the celebration of 80 editions of Christian Concerts called “Noches de Alabanza”, creating a space to promote good fun and spiritual values among youth. Juan Carlos has helped establish the John Maxwell Leadership Center in El Salvador, LIDERE that annually holds conferences and distributes material to potentiate the leadership skills of pastors, entrepreneurs or anyone interested in the program. He is currently the President of the Alianza Evangélica de El Salvador (Evangelical Alliance of El Salvador), an organization that gathers an important number of churches, and religious and civic groups. Additionally, Juan Carlos participates in the Board of Directors of COICOM, a group that annually holds a Latin American conference for Christian Media and communicators. He has also served in the coordination of different projects of evangelistic nature such as crusades with Cash Luna, Oral Roberts, Franklin Graham, Benny Hinn among others. Juan Carlos holds a double major in Communications and Marketing from the Universidad Dr. José Matías Delgado. He has a Masters in Asian History and Culture. He also attained a Masters and PhD in Theology. Juan Carlos has 3 children, Camila, Juan Carlos and Leah

  • 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 Carlos Rojas


    President of Deportivo Saprissa, the largest football club in Costa Rica. For 14 years, he worked at Mesoamerica Investments, a Central American M&A and private equity firm. During this time, Rojas worked on acquisitions and strategy projects throughout the region, the previous four as partner in the firm. A native of Costa Rica, Rojas attended Georgetown University where he completed a joint degree with a Masters in International Finance and undergrad Business Administration.

  • Juan Carlos Sabillón


    Juan Carlos Sabillón: President, SECCAZSA and INVALLE, first Company to provide a complete agricultural and harvest service to Sugar Mills and BioMass industries in Honduras. INVALLE started as a small housing development company that now has Real State projects all over the country. Member of the Board of Directors of Saint Vincent de Paul Foundation, Escuela Internacional Sampedrana. He is focused on improving education as the most basic need of Third World Countries. Earned an M.B.A. from INCAE in Costa Rica and a B.S. from Auburn University, in Auburn, Alabama. Juan Carlos is a Fellow of the Central America Leadership Initiative and the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

  • Juan Diego Zelaya


    Juan Diego Zelaya Aguilar is the vice mayor of the capital of Honduras, Tegucigalpa. He was elected to office in November 2009 and was sworn in on January 25th 2010 for a four-year term. Before being elected, he served as General Manager of the municipality for 3 years. Zelaya was directly involved in recovering a vital public area that had been crowded by informal vendors for more than 30 years. He led the city’s effort to design a 20-year city plan launching it in September 2008. He also managed the implementation of simplification policies and practices; ultimately being recognized by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as one of Latin America leading cities in eliminating bureaucracy and enabling business environment. Recently, he successfully coordinated actions to obtain a structured infrastructure loan for 40 Million Dollars, which has been guaranteed by the IFC. Before working for the city Zelaya was the National Coordinator of a Joint Project with UNDP and the national Telco where he managed a 225 Million Dollar portfolio of projects intended to bridge the digital divide and modernize the country’s network. Zelaya also serves on the board of Directors of the San Juancito Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of the people of San Juancito, a small town close to the capital. Born in Honduras in 1975, Juan Diego has also lived in Canada, Boston and attended Loyola University in New Orleans where he majored in Marketing.

  • Juan Fermín Rodríguez

    Founder and CEO; Juan Fermin launched Kingo Energy in 2013. Kingo provides a distributed renewable electricity service that has become a scalable solution to one of the grandest challenges facing humanity: ENERGY. The company is creating the largest CLEAN ENERGY USER BASE IN HISTORY, and has a vision to reach 10 million users by 2035.

    Kingo has experienced a dramatic growth over the last 4 years in the off-grid sector, going from a 500-home pilot in January 2015, to 60,000 homes as of December 2018. Still, 17% of the world’s population lacks access to power. These 1.2 billion people pay for the most expensive energy substitutes (candles/kerosene/diesel), making solar energy more affordable versus any other market in the economy. The Company is on a successful path to positively impact 100,000 households by 2019, and has already raised capital to execute a strategic plan to reach 1 million homes by 2020.

    Kingo has raised $30 Million in several equity and debt rounds lead by prominent investors and institutions including the global pioneer in value added investments (People Fund), the largest utility in Europe (ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies), and the innovation fund of one of the largest utilities in Latin America (FCP, from EPM). Kingo has also raised funds from the Dutch Development Bank (FMO), the French Development Bank (Proparco) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); all of whom are looking to provide significant funding over the next years for Kingo’s global expansion and technology developments. Other key partners include Leonardo DiCaprio, who has joined the Company as an investor and advisor.

    Kingo’s mission is to turn lives ON. By pulling the curve of innovation, Kingo has set itself as a trailblazer in the evolution of the world’s energy consumption.

  • Juan Francisco de Sola

    is the chief executive officer of Unión de Exportadoras S.A. de C.V. (UNEX El Salvador), the largest green coffee exporter in El Salvador. As CEO, Juan Francisco is in charge of all commercial, industrial, financial and agricultural activities regarding the sourcing of cherry and parchment from 4,200 coffee farmers in all of El Salvador’s four major coffee producing areas, its transformation into green bean at the two major mills, and eventual sale and exportation to over 50 traders and roasters around the globe. He received an MBA INCAE Business School in Nicaragua on November 2014, graduating with honors. He completed university studies at the University of Virginia in the United States. He graduated with two bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Foreign Affairs, specializing in Latin America. In 2006, he began his professional career at Echostar Corporation (Dish Network) in Englewood, CO as a Programming Specialist for all “Dish Latino” programming packages, focusing on programming cost budgeting and contract negotiations for channel retransmission. Having moved back to his native El Salvador in late 2008, he begins working at CTE Telecom (Claro El Salvador/Claro Centro America) to oversee all “Claro TV” contract negotiations and product development decisions for all four Central American countries. In 2011, he gets promoted to Regional Manager, where he now oversees all product development for Claro’s fixed products. Amongst his major accomplishments during this period is taking part in the team that launched “Claro TV” in Costa Rica, and in helping Claro evolve its television platforms into high definition. In mid-2013, he decides to undertake new challenges by joining UNEX El Salvador as an operations manager, overseeing the technical department and the industrial department, until his eventual promotion to CEO in late 2015. He is a founding member of Fundación Salvadoreña para el Desarrollo Económico y Social (FUSADES), a prominent think tank in El Salvador, and a member of the board of directors of the Asociación de Beneficiadores y Exportadores de Café (ABECAFE), El Salvador’s Coffee Exporter union. Juan Francisco is a Fellow of the fourteenth class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

  • Juan Marco Álvarez Gallardo


    Juan Marco has 25+ years experience in conservation management, corporate sustainability and green growth issues. He has an MBA focused on sustainable development from INCAE Business School in Costa Rica. His core competencies are Corporate Affairs, Communications, Public Relations, Sustainability Strategy, Project Management and Fund Raising.

    From 2009-2011 he worked for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Geneva, Switzerland, as Global Thematic Program Director and was also in charge of its Business and Biodiversity unit. There he focused on partnerships with multinationals such as Shell, Holcim, Rio Tinto and Nestlé Nespresso, as well as with the International Council for Mining and Metals (ICMM) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

    Prior to IUCN he served for 18 years as Executive Director of SalvaNATURA, El Salvador´s leading conservation NGO, known for its work on national park (protected areas) management, environmental education, watershed management, as well as the implementation of best practices and sustainable certification for the coffee, sugar and tourism industries.

    Juan Marco has served as Board Member in various international organizations such as IUCN (2004-2008), the Union for Ethical Bio Trade based in Amsterdam (2009-2011), the Green Economy Coalition based in London (2009-2011) and the joint IUCN-WWF Program known as TRAFFIC based in Cambridge (2009-2011). From 2010-2014 he served as member of the International Standards Committee of the Rainforest Alliance-Sustainable Agriculture Network.

    Most recently, Juan Marco worked as Executive Director of the Salvadoran Business Council for Sustainable Development, and since early 2016 moved to Guatemala to work for Grupo HAME-OLMECA as its first Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Director. Juan Marco also represents the Republic of Ivory Coast in El Salvador as its Honorary Consul.

  • 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

    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. Juan Pablo studied finance & economics 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 focused in strategic management graduating in 2015. He worked at The Boston Consulting Group in Mexico as an associate during the summer in 2014. After Boston Consulting Group, 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. In September 2016, Juan Pablo became the chief strategy officer, where he developed a cohesive corporate strategy with both short term and long-term vision for the group heading the M&A activity for the group. In 2018 he assumed the role of General Manager for Guatemala and Jamaica operations. In 2020 He was appointed CEO of Apex where he leads the corporate units including the total societal impact agenda where he is leading the circular economy and social fabric strategy for the group. Juan Pablo is Guatemalan, married and a father of 4: Mikaela, Catalina, Ivannia, and Leo. 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 Rank-Wright

    Julio Rank Wright is Deputy Regional Director for Latin America at the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Julio provides leadership in a range of strategic, programmatic and operational management support to country programs and regional colleagues, with a particular focus on programming related to humanitarian action in Latin America, especially for migrants, refugees and displaced people. Julio has been a Senior Business Strategy Specialist at RTI International, one of the world’s largest independent institutes that provide scientific research and technical solutions to governments and businesses worldwide. Julio led Data Revolution for Development activities to support how RTI can become a thought leader and innovator in this space.  Before joining RTI, Julio was the Senior Program Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean at the National Endowment for Democracy. He has served as head of the research and policy division of the Social Investment Fund for Local Development.  Julio was chosen as a “Voice of the New Generation” by the Council of the Americas/Americas Society.  He has a BS in Economics and Religious Studies from Santa Clara University, an MSc in Community and Rural Development from Cornell University, and an MSc in Business and Enterprise from Oxford Brookes University.

  • Julio Zelaya

    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

  • Karim Faraj


    Karim Faraj is a member of the board of directors of the Tegucigalpa’s Chamber of Commerce and Industries (Cámara de Comercio e Industrias de Tegucigalpa), where he heads efforts to promote entrepreneurship and innovation through the flagship project Honduras Emprende, which he directs. As acting General Manager of Farmacéutica Internacional S.A. (Farinter), Medilab S.A., Cosmética Internacional S.A. (COINSA), and member of the board of directors Grupo Farinter, he is an active business leader with a long term vision, focused on continuous growth through strengthening of the group’s core businesses. Strong believers in corporate social responsibility, Grupo Farinter personnel created Fundación Kielsa, an initiative that Karim currently helps lead to promote the healthy development of more than 1,500 children in their first 1,000 days of life. Karim attended the University of Texas at Austin where he majored in chemical engineering and later obtained his M.B.A. He is a Fellow of the eighth class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

  • Karla Blanco


    Corporate Affairs Director for Central America and the Caribbean & Latin American Gender Initiatives Coordinator at Intel. She has worked at Intel for more than 15 years, first starting as the Customs & Free Trade Zone Specialist in the Finance Department and then moving to Corporate Affairs as the Government Affairs Manager.  Prior to Intel, Karla worked at PROCOMER- La Promotora de Comercio Exterior de Costa Rica, the foreign trade corporation of Costa Rica.  As Intel representative, she is a board member for the Industries Chamber and also in the Association of Businesses for Development (CSR). She is also a mentor for Unidas para Crecer , an organization that promotes women’s leadership based on values and the discovery of one’s potential. Karla studied customs administration and holds a MBA with international business emphasis.

  • Karla González

    Specialist in the subject of negotiation and alternative dispute resolution. She holds an MBA with an emphasis on Marketing and a degree in law. She had combined her career between the private and the public sector, with more than 15 years in the private practice of law and 10 in the public service. Her passion as a public servant allows her to become a champion on Road Safety agenda in her Country Costa Rica and in the International community. She served as undersecretary for transport for two years and secretary for Public Works and Transportation in Costa Rica for almost four years. Under her leadership the country fourfold increase in the investment of public works, finished the construction of important infrastructure projects, a highway and 2 international airports, all under the Public Private Partnership modality. Mrs. González is currently Manager in the World Bank for the transport practice in seven countries in the South Asia region. She is a member of the Road Safety international Committee, which is led by the Fundación Internacional de Automovilismo (International Automobile Foundation), a Fellow of the first class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

  • Karla Menocal

    Karla Menocal is an Entrepreneur in the logistics and transportation business. CPS has been in the market for 29 years. It currently operates in Central America, Miami and Panama, creating more than 200 direct jobs and connecting thousands of local companies and individuals in the world through logistics, transportation, Ecommerce cross border, first and last mile deliveries. Karla understands the importance of an agile, transparent and ethical business environment, so she worked in close cooperation with the Guatemala Tax Administration Superintendence (SAT) in the modernization of customs’ processes. In 2010 and 2017 she received a Merit Certificate from the World Customs Organization based in Brussels, for offering exceptional service to the international customs community through this work. Karla believes that a large part of our current problems are rooted in the way girls are growing up, so by offering them a healthy, safe and fair life we can create a better country. This conviction led her to participate in the Board of Directors of Asociación La Alianza, a shelter home for girls who are victims of sexual violence and human trafficking; and the Board of Directors of Vital Voices, global organization dedicated to empowering women and girls. Aspen Institute Global Leadership Network member, Central American Leadership Initiative fellow and 2018 Alumna of The Fortune-U.S. Department of State Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership.

  • Karla Ruiz

    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.

  • Kathia Yacamán

    Is Executive Vice President at Grupo Karim’s a multinational corporation with core business in textiles and real estate with operations in Central America, Dominican Republic, Mexico, United Sated and Pakistan.

    Before joining Grupo Karim’s, Kathia worked for 10 years in the textile industry holding key positions in company’s like Jockey International Inc. were she headed there western hemisphere sourcing department, and managed all the companies operations from their start up. Since 2010, Kathia heads the Marketing and Commercial division for all of Grupo Karim’s companies both in the textile and real estate division including projects like Altia Smart City and Altara Shopping and Life Style Center, projects she helped develop from their start up. She is part of the executive committee and corporate governance for the group.

    Kathia has been responsible for the attraction of world-renowned BPO and call center companies that have started operations for the first time in San Pedro Sula, Honduras and which are expanding into Tegucigalpa and the rest of the region. She has promoted and placed Honduras as a world wide outsourcing destination, which has generated more than 12,000 direct jobs in the country. Kathia was chosen as a delegate from the private sector in a government project in association with the international consulting firm Mckinsey to create a country road map to attract foreign investment to Honduras, Honduras 2020. Kathia has been ranked in the top 15 marketing leaders for Honduras and she was also ranked in the top 100 Marketing leaders for Central American and the Caribbean by the magazine Estrategia y Negocios, she has also been ranked in the Who is Who in the region edition of Summa magazine.

    Kathia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Loyola University New Orleans with a double major in International Business and Marketing, and also graduated first from her marketing class receiving the Outstanding Marketing Graduate Award. She then completed her studies in arts and languages in Paris, France. She is an active member of Grupo Karim’s social responsibility programs, and member of the executive committee of Fundacion Grupo Karim’s, which works in three main focus areas, education, health, and environment. One of there main projects in the education area is converting public schools to a bilingual school system. Kathia is working to help expand and incorporate more schools under this project. She also serves in the board of directors of Voces Vitales, organization that mentors women. She was born In San Pedro Sula, Honduras she is married, with 2 children, and has been able to balance work and family life. She enjoys running marathons, and she tries to complete one marathon a year.

    Kathia is a Fellow of the 12thclass of the Central American Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, she is also part of the Central America Prosperity project, lead by the George W. Bush Institute.

  • Keyes Hardin


    Keyes Christopher “KC” Hardin is co-founder and president of Conservatorio SA, a company dedicated to the revitalization of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Panama City. Conservatorio was winner of Travel & Leisure Magazine’s Global Vision Award for its responsible approach to its work developing historic hotels, condominiums, affordable housing and social projects. Prior to moving to Panama, KC was a corporate lawyer in New York and Tokyo with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison where he focused primarily on mergers and acquisitions and private equity. He graduated from Fordham University School of Law in 1998 and from the University of Miami in 1994 with majors in Motion Pictures and Political Science.

  • Kristin Van Busum

    Kristin is founder of Project Alianza, a woman-led social enterprise that provides education for children living in remote coffee-farming communities in Central America. Project Alianza was selected as a gold winner in the Boston Mass Challenge accelerator for high-impact startups where she currently serves as the Social Entrepreneur in Residence. She is a TEDx and Keynote speaker and cofounder of WomenSpeaks at BostonSpeaks, an initiative to help women leaders and entrepreneurs become stronger storytellers and communicators. She previously worked at RAND Corporation, a global policy think-tank where she coauthored dozens of policy briefs and peer-reviewed articles. A self-proclaimed globetrotter, she has traveled to over 40 countries and lived in Mexico (to assist families at the border), Spain (as an English teacher), and Nicaragua (as Fulbright Scholar). Kristin graduated as a dean’s scholar from New York University where she studied public policy and magna cum laude from Butler University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish.

  • Laetitia Deweer


    Laetitia Deweer is the founder and development director of CEPIA (Culture, Education and Psychology for Infants and Adolescents), an award-winning non profit nationally accredited organization that serves over 1000 at-risk children, teenagers and families in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. CEPIA provides a wide array of education programs, psychological, legal and medical care as well as recreational activities, sports and arts. Born in Belgium, she participated as a university student in social projects in Guatemala and Mexico. At 23, she moved to Costa Rica, working in a family business on the pacific coast before getting deeply immersed as a volunteer with PANI (government child protection agency). Ever since, she became deeply concerned with the economic development shadowing extreme poverty and human distress. With a Masters in Educational Sciences (University of Ghent) and a Masters in Clinical Psychology (ULatina), she also works as a private EMDR and transpersonal psychotherapist and a transformational breathwork facilitator. Laetitia speaks Spanish, English, French and Dutch. To balance her life, she loves surfing, meditation and yoga. She is the mother of one daughter. Laetitia is a fellow of the ninth class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

  • Larisa Paez Soto

    Larisa Paez holds a Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Food from the University of Barcelona, the highest rank in Human Nutrition from the University of San José (Doctora en Nutrición Humana) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Purdue University and another as a Dietitian from Louisiana State University.
    Her experience of more than 20 years as a professional in Human Nutrition has led her to create three nutritional centers that are highly renown in Costa Rica (Sabana, Santa Ana and Curridabat) reaching nutritional attention to more than 27,000 people. In the “Centro de Nutrición Larisa Páez” she leads a team of clinical nutritionists who together develop projects and care for patients.
    Her comprehensive approach distinguishes itself in all her nutritional consultations and interpersonal relationships, where she has parallel training in her curriculum. Larisa is the creator of a daily food control system, a food guide and an app that accompanies all of her patients with tangible results that change lives. She has worked with more than 50 food companies in Costa Rica and the region in the innovation of healthy products, nutritional marketing, development of local campaigns and multiple corporate projects. Her professional curriculum highlights her exposure in social media and conferences at national and international level on topics focused on the promotion of health and the prevention of disease.

  • Leonardo Rivera

    is currently head of national entrepreneurship of UNITEC Honduras. He earned his certificate of entrepreneurship facilitator from the International Entrepreneurship Institute in South Carolina in 2015. Leonardo won first place at the 2012 ÒYo Emprendo AwardÓ for creating his project Una Razón Para Despertar (A Reason to Wake Up), benefiting around 126 of the poorest families in Honduras, who once lived with less than $3.00 a day. His project allowed them to open up businesses, offering low interest loans sponsored by the CSR of private businesses, which also provided training, thus creating a new financial model for progress. Leonardo«s goal is to promote economic development and innovation, he believes in entrepreneurship and education focused on generating professionals who can have a positive impact in society. He was named fellow member of the International Youth Foundation. He earned his bachelor«s degree in business management from UNITEC Honduras and afterwards a master’s degree in business administration, graduating magna cum laude. He is married and has a daughter. Leonardo is a Fellow of the 13th class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

  • Leonor Gutiérrez Fernández


    Advancement Director at United World College. Previously she was Executive Director at TeenSmart. She is a self-motivated Costa Rican woman both in and outside work. Having found herself in an environment whereby she has to utilize her knowledge and skills in project design, management and research evaluation. Her extensive exposure and experience was greatly enhanced whilst working in the field of primary adolescent promotion at individual and community level. TeenSmart’s current achievements can speak for themselves, such as the realization of the TeenSmart web-based e-learning curriculum in 20 diverse organizations in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras (i.e., 5 public schools of over 6000 students, 5 church groups, 4 public libraries, 1 university, 5 technological community centers), she believes that further development can only enhance and add value to an individual’s quality of life, and that TeenSmart tools can coach teens to be more proactive a self confident. In coordinating the JovenSalud initiative, she hopes to envision the expansion of virtual risk prevention and health promotion services to all teenage Costa Rican population and incrementally to all Central America to be valued as a gradual and steady organic progress. She was awarded the Erasmus Mundus postgraduate scholarship that allowed her to further her studies in Public Health at the University of Sheffield (United Kingdom) as well as in the field of Social and Health Protection at the Jagellonian University (Poland). Living, learning and teaching abroad was a valuable and rewarding experience in many ways. The daily interaction with students and locals required a level of empathy and sensitivity and made it necessary to recognize different beliefs, attitudes, values, expectations and behavior to preserve equilibrium of mutual respect.

  • Leticia Teleguario


    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

    Preparación Académica:

    • 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
  • Lilian Zelaya

    is a Partner and director at FA Arias & Munoz, where she specializes in corporate, commercial, and banking law in Central America, as well as mergers and acquisitions and international transactions. Lilian has assisted many of the largest local and international companies in transactions dealing with mergers and acquisitions, privatizations, project finance and tax planning. These transactions totaled excess of US $2 billion. She is also active in her community. Lilian was listed in the “Forty under Forty” at the Latin Lawyer.com Magazine (forty outstanding female lawyers under forty years of age). She is a founding member and executive president of the LIDERA Foundation, the first pro-ethics foundation of the private sector, with members including universities, companies, and top law firms. She is also director of the board of the Young Presidents Organization (El Salvador Chapter). She is a Fellow of the third class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

  • Linda Swana

    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.

  • Liza Dreszer

    Liza Dreszer is the founder and C.E.O of Jaspe Rock, a company established in 2001 which distributes goods to supermarket chains, pharmacies and department stores throughout Panama.  Its core business is the Personal Care & Cosmetic segment of the market.  Liza is a founding member and director of Fundación JUPA, a non-profit organization whose mission is to develop and provide educational programs to underprivileged and at-risk youth in Panama.  She is a director of Superate Institutional based out of El Salvador and was key in establishing the Superate JUPA Center in Panama, which teaches students from 10thto 12thgrades; English, computer science, and values during a 3-year program.   She is part of the fundraising committee and coordinator of grants from the U.S Government to run the programs.  She is currently working on the expansion of Aprende Divirtiendote, a program designed to teach values through award winning children’s books.  This program aims to increase literacy, teach values and life skills to students from the 2ndto 4thgrades from public schools in Panama.   She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Babson University in Boston, with a Bachelor of Science in Business.  She lives in Panama, is married, and has two children.   Liza is a Fellow of the thirteenth class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

  • Lizzeth Villatoro

    is general manager of Banco Lafise Honduras since June 2017, the seventh largest bank in Honduras. Lawyer of profession from 2002 to 2010 Lizzeth became general council of HSBC Honduras Bank. Lizzeth was the legal director of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) from 2010 to 2011, she became partner of the legal firm Casco-Fortin, Cruz & Associates in 2012 to strengthen its regulatory, commercial, banking, project finance, litigation practice. Her experience in regulatory and commercial matters has led her to be the advisor for various local and multinational companies and institutions. She holds an LLM in Intellectual Property from Turín, Italy University and WIPO, a master’s degree in commercial law from Honduras School of Law, graduating summa cum laude, has completed postgraduate studies in international business law at Georgetown University Law Centre, Washington D.C., and an advanced management (AMP) from INCAE Business School. She is married and a proud mother of twins. Lizzeth is a Fellow of the fourteenth class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

  • Lorena Arce

    is director of commercial and corporate banking and the leasing business unit at BAC Credomatic. Since she was only 21 years old until today, BAC has given her the opportunity to grow as a professional. She started as a personal account executive and became the first female telemarketing chief at BAC, in charge of leading the mass opening of checking accounts in the national market for the first time. Afterwards, she led the Commercial Banking and Corporate Banking Unit for 12 years, and became the first generation of the Central American BAC Leaders Program. Lorena was born in San Carlos and attended María Inmaculada School in Ciudad Quesada. When she was 17 years old, she moved to San José to start her University degree. Since she was 13 years old, she was very clear about her future and decided to major in economics. Lorena is an economist from Universidad Latina, and also holds an MBA from National University, Banca INCAE, PAP INCAE Business School. Lorena is a mother, wife, an analytical woman, a goal-setter who loves teamwork, who is sensitive, and a BAC leader who wants to continue growing and making her mark in her country and the rest of Central America. Lorena is a Fellow of the fourteenth class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

  • Lorena Maduro


    Lorena Maduro is the Special Programs Manager at Inversiones La Paz, a family owned holding company in Honduras with diversified investments. She is an active member of non-profit organizations in the areas of education, culture, arts, and urban parks. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Museum for National Identity (Museo Para la Identidad Nacional – MIN) and the Tegucigalpa’s Ecologic Foundation (Fundación Ecológica de Tegucigalpa – FET). Prior to joining the family business, Lorena worked as Community Program Manager and as Marketing Director at a mobile healthcare company in the United States. During the 2002-2006 presidential administration in Honduras, Lorena served on the President’s communications strategy advisory committee. She also directed community service initiatives focusing on children, education, and public parks causes. During the 2001 presidential campaign, Lorena travelled extensively throughout Honduras and actively participated in the party’s youth organization. Lorena holds an M.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and a B.A. from Pepperdine University. She is a Fellow of the eighth class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

  • Lorena Mancia

    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.

  • Lourdes Guerra

    is founder and director of La Granjerita, an agricultural entrepreneurship launched with the mission to grow food locally while also educating consumers about the importance of agro business, consuming home-grown products, and promoting respect for the local farmers. Lourdes worked as a Financial Analyst in 2010 for a local bank in Panama City. Prior to that she worked at HSBC Bank in New Castle, Delaware in the U.S. Eager to start her career path she moved back to her hometown in David – Chiriquí, where she found her inner passion for harvesting the land. In 2013, Lourdes decided to follow her dreams and became a farmer without having any prior experience in agriculture. She started harvesting her first vegetables in a ten square feet raised garden bed in her parent«s backyard, now farming in five acres of land. Lourdes earned her bachelor«s degree in finance and a marketing MBA from Goldey-Beacom College in Wilmington, Delaware. Lourdes is a Fellow of the 13th class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

  • Lourdes Maria Mena de Guerra

    Lula Mena is the founder of the social enterprise, “Lula Mena”.

    Since 2011, the company has generated hope and transformed lives by connecting art, design and culture with the reality of vulnerable women at high risk areas of El Salvador.

    Her mission is also focused on creating job opportunities, through the design and production of unique, eco- friendly, handmade, innovative products under the rules of fair trade.

    Lula started to work with 6 women in 2011. Since then, she has impacted the life of more than 100 women and their families – enabling them to send their kids to school, build their own homes and give up on the idea that immigration to another country is their only option.

    Lula has developed several SRC projects with different companies and international organizations, always striving to preserve traditional artisanal techniques, contribute to the preservation of the environment and train women in new jobs so that they can access a better quality of life.

    She earned a degree in Artisanal Design and co-founded the Asociación Añilera de El Salvador -“Azules” (Indigo Association of El Salvador -“Blues”) in 2001, and the “Iniciativa Pro Arte Popular” (Initiative Pro Popular Art) in 2002.

    Through Indigo Trading, she pioneered the reactivation of the production and use of indigo in El Salvador.

    Keynote speaker at The Women Emerging Leaders in Japan, The Novus NGO Conference in Houston, Woman Leaders Conference in Atlanta and TEDx TALK, Antiguo Cuscatlán.

    Lula’s designs have been part of the Hollywood Grammy, Oscar and Emmy Awards and also at the Cannes Film Festival.

    Lula received just recently, among other recognitions, the Dahrendorf SME Award 2019 -organized by FIRST London and presented by Her Royal Highness Princess Royal Anne, for the successful integration of the needs of the communities in which the company operates, the environmental initiatives it has developed and the support for art and culture.

  • Lucía Melara


    has been the director of the Instituto Nacional de la Juventud de Honduras (INJ) since 2006. Previously, she was the executive director at Logistic Integrated Services Group, a customs agency and distribution agent of raw materials and packaging in Central America. Prior to that, from 2000-2002, she was the marketing manager for Family Care Latin America and Brazil for Kimberly Clark Corporation. From 1995-1997, she held various positions at Corporación Cressida a consumer goods and manufacturing and distribution company in Central America. She holds a BS in industrial engineering from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras and an MBA focusing on global marketing from Thunderbird, The Garvin School of International Management. She is a Fellow of the inaugural class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

  • Lucrecia Hernández

    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 Atala


    Luis Alberto Atala is Executive Vice-President of Ficohsa Financial Group (Grupo Financiero Ficohsa), which provides banking, insurance, and credit card services in Central America. Luis is currently  in the  Board of Insurance Companies (Cámara Hondureña de Aseguradores, (CAHDA), Advisor of the local Honduran Council of Private Company (COHEP). Additionally, he serves as Vice-President of the Board of Directors for Assets Business-Holding Company, a group of businesses in the commercial, real estate development, and health services industries. He participates in various foundations as a board member, Fundación Ficohsa para la Educación Infantil, dedicated to providing access to preschool education to underprivileged children, Director of HONDUFUTURO, a non profit organization that contributes to the development of the country, by expanding higher education opportunities for students of high academic potential, by providing scholarship loans and Fundación Amigos del Hospital Maria, a public Children’s Hospital. He lives in Tegucigalpa, Honduras with his wife and three daughters. Luis is a Fellow of the eighth 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 Javier Castro


    “Mr. Luis Javier Castro is a Founding Partner and current President at Mesoamerica, a firm that invests consciously for an abundant Latin America by transforming businesses in the region and creating value for investors and society alike. He is also director of several companies in Mesoamerica’s portfolio, such as Mesofoods, Globeleq Mesoamerica Energy, Zuma Energía, among others.

    Luis Javier began his career as associate in Bain and Company; working in strategic cases for several of the region’s largest companies. In 1996, 3 partners and himself founded Mesoamerica and raised the region’s largest private equity fund at the time.

    His experience in Bain and Mesoamerica include a large variety of sectors, such as financial services, retail, beverages, airlines, hotels, tourism, and agribusiness. In 2015, Mesoamerica partnered with Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, a Canadian leading pension fund, to invest in spanish-speaking Latin America.

    He devotes a significant amount of time to social impact initiatives through several foundations, education institutions and associations. He instituted the Mesoamerica Foundation, which invests in four strategic areas, all of which he is greatly involved, including quality education, advocacy of Sustainabilty in the region through United Way and Asociación Empresarial para el Desarrollo (AED), entrepreneurship, through Yo Emprendedor and regional leadership and institutionalism, through the Central America Leadership Initiative (CALI) and the Aspen Institute.

    Luis Javier is the President of AED and also sits on the board of directors of United Way Worldwide, the largest non-profit organization of the world that seeks to mobilize communities to advance the common good. He is a member of the G-50, a select group of business leaders of the Americas, and Young Presidents Organization (YPO), among others.”

  • Luis Jose Kafie

    is an active member of the board of directors of Grupo Luz y Fuerza (GLF), a Central American independent power producer with over 750 MW of installed capacity. The group has operations in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Colombia and is comprised of more than 1,000 team members operating 15 power plants. Luis José has more than 16 years of experience in the energy industry, directly involved in the development, financing, construction and operation of greenfield energy projects, ranging from hydro, solar, wind and thermal electric power plants. He has a strong commitment with corporate social responsibility, environmental conservation, sustainability, safety and operational excellence. He graduated from Babson College, with a degree in business administration and concentrations on entrepreneurship, finance and real estate. He lives in Honduras with his wife, three daughters and son. He enjoys running and outdoor activities. Luis José is a Fellow of the fourteenth 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.

  • Madelka McCalla

    is the global stakeholder relations director of AES Corporation, a Fortune 200 global power company, present in 17 countries. Prior to this position, Madelka served as AES stakeholder relations director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, where she supported businesses in the implementation of AES strategic vision. She also served as AES Africa corporate social responsibility director (2010 – 2013), where she developed a comprehensive CSR strategy for Nigeria and Cameroon for social investment projects. She was also a UN Coordination Specialist for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Panamá where she managed the UN Resident Coordinator’s communication with UN actors, to identify the countryís needs and priorities in line with the UN Millennium Development Goals. Madelka was part of the Panamanian Foreign service (2005 -2009) where she represented the government of Panamá as Political Counselor for the Embassy of Panamá in the United States and at the Permanent Mission of Panamá to the United Nations as Political Attaché. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology from McGill University, Montreal, Canada. In addition, she holds a master’s degree in global governance and public policy with a minor concentration on development and technology for developing countries from the Technical University of Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany. Madelka is an alumni of Georgetown Global Competitive Leadership for Ibero-American professionals. She is fluent in English, French, German and Spanish. Madelka is a Fellow of the 13th class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

  • Manuel Lorenzo


    Manuel Lorenzo is the director of City of Knowledge Foundation s Panama Business Accelerator, and general manager of Venture Club, the first and only business angel network in Panama. He is the national coordinator of the High-growth Entrepreneurship Support Program in Panama, of the Interamerican Development Banks Multilateral Investment Fund. He is a member of the board of Quantic Vision, an international information technology company. He has been consultant, investment banker, businessman, and university professor. Also he has been invited as a professor for Latin American Boards Global Competitiveness Leadership Program in Georgetown University. He holds an MBA from INCAE Business School (1996) and he is a Computer Systems Engineer from Monterrey Institute of Technology (1991). He was born and lives in Panama City, and he is married with two children.

  • Manuel Zúñiga


    CEO of Cuestamoras, a multi-business, family-owned Costa Rican Corporation. He is accountable for a wide range of businesses and investments including real estate, hospitality, financial assets management, and private equity. Before joining Cuestamoras in 2011, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Walmart, where he led its Central American operations. Manuel is a member of the board of directors of Asociación de Empresarios para el Desarrollo (AED), a private sector-sponsored development NPO, and a former board member of the Costa Rica Chamber of Commerce. Manuel holds a J.D. from Universidad de Costa Rica and an M.B.A. cum laude from Incae Business School. He is a Fellow of the eighth class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. He lives in San Jose with his wife, Evelyn and two children, Maria Laura and Andres.

  • Maralu Vega de Torres

    is CEO and owner of Asesores Financieros Integrales, S. A., a financial and accounting outsourcing services and assessment provider for small and medium enterprises. Previously, she was chief financial officer for Digicel El Salvador. Before joining Digicel, Maralú was special projects manager at Multisectorial Investment Bank (BMI), a second tier bank that provides funding to development projects through the private banking sector. During her tenure, Maralú succeeded in forming the first mutual guarantee system in El Salvador, which allows people and small enterprises to borrow money without or with minimal collateral in the style of the Mutual Guarantee System of Spain. The mutual guarantee system in El Salvador has given access to capital to low-income entrepreneurs who previously had no source of funds and thus it has been an important driver in lifting people out of poverty. Maralú has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Universidad Dr. José Matías Delgado in El Salvador and an MBA from INCAE Business School. She has participated in advanced training seminars for business executives at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA and the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. She is a Fellow of the fourth class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

  • Marcelo Valansi

    Marcelo Valansi is an innovative entrepreneur who is dedicated to the design, development and implementation of self-sustaining regenerative projects and communities.
    Marcelo has extensive experience in developing residential and commercial projects of different scale in several countries, such as Argentina, United States, Panama, Costa Rica.
    He also has experience in the field of economics and finance.
    His focus is how projects can be developed in a new way, where the site is regenerated, creating communities that can generate a positive impact, accessible, profitable, generating a regenerative and sustainable development model over time.
    The last project he developed in Costa Rica and where he currently lives with his family is called www.laecovilla.com. This a Permaculture ecovillage surrounded by nature, turning a cow farm in a food forest regenerative community, where 45 families from 29 different countries, different background and ages live in harmony with nature.
    A project that shows how it is possible to live in harmony with nature without leaving comfort aside.
    He also cofounded an innovative school www.casasula.com.
    Marcelo traveled around the world to learn about what makes a community successful, sustainable and long lasting.
    One of his passions is to enjoy nature, sail, dive, travel, explore, learn from different cultures and meet new people around the world.
    Currently he is working on developing a self-sustainable wellness retreat center and a new project called Life University. He si also contributing to more regenerative, self-sustainable communities, and ecovillages, using permaculture principles, organic agriculture and the latest technology available to create the towns and communities of tomorrow.

  • Marcia Facussé


    Congresswoman Marcia Facusse de Villeda is the Alternate Second Vice President of the Honduran National Congress. She also presides over the Family and Children Commission of Congress. She is a member of the Telecommunications, Finance, and Women’s Commissions. She served as director of the First Lady’s Office at the Family and Children’s Institution (INFHA). When Honduras was devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1997, she was named the official government liaison to the World Food Program. She was also a close collaborator with then President of Honduras, Carlos Roberto Flores de Facusse. She obtained a business administration degree from (UNITEL) Universidad Tecnologica at Honduras while raising her children. Her professional background is in business administration and media communications. She is the business manager for her family owned television production enterprise. Her voluntary activities include the Teleton Foundation focused on handicapped children, the Torax Hospital’s Advisory Committee. She was born and raised in Honduras and is of Arab descent. She is married and has 4 American children. She is a Fellow of the second class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

  • Marco Gómez


    Marco is a Jesuit priest and anthropologist with an interest in education, social research and youth culture. Currently spending a semester in Portland, OR, Marco is the executive secretary of the International Federation of Fe y Alegría, an international network of schools and other social services present in 23 countries of three continents. Prior to that, he was president of Instituto San José, a Jesuit school in Honduras, and served on the Board of the local Fe y Alegría schools network.In Nicaragua he coordinated a pastoral program for the Fe y Alegría schools and served on the Board of the Local Development Fund (FDL), leader entity providing credit services to disadvantaged sectors. In the U.S., Marco was a high school teacher and Admissions Director at Arrupe Jesuit High, a Cristo Rey Network school offering college-prep education and a Corporate Work-Study Program for inner-city youth in Denver, CO. In El Salvador he coordinated a School of Political Education and was an instructor at the School of Pastoral Theology of the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA), providing political education/theological reflection for rural and marginalized youth.He is a Fellow of the tenth class of the CentralAmerica Leadership Initiative and a member of 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.

  • Marcos Llach

    is the owner and CEO of OCTO, a new venture he started a few years ago specializing in corporate software sales, implementation and consulting. He is also the co-founder and President of CREO, an organization focused on teaching young Salvadorans classical liberal principals and motivating them to participate in areas of national development. Marcos is also a Board Member of the Salvadoran Chamber of Commerce and of the Salvadoran Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUSADES) where he participates in the think-tank’s Political Committee. Previously, Marcos participated on the Board of the National Representative Private Sector Commission for the political party ARENA where he was the chairman of its Research and Development Division. He was also the Academic Director of ARENA’s Political Institute and a Board Member of the Economic and Business Administration Institute (ISEADE). As a native Salvadoran, Marcos is passionate about his country and aspires to create a more free society, which facilitates its citizen’s pursuit of happiness.

  • María Antonietta Cassino


    María Antonietta Cassino, is the Executive Director of Fundación ProEd, an international award-winning organization, dedicated to the advancement of public education through the continuous professional development of educators in Panama. In 2007, Mary began her career in ProEd as a volunteer in a community service program. Mary’s commitment to public outreach earned her the position of Director of Programs in 2009 and in 2011, Mary took the helm at ProEd, as Executive Director. Mary is responsible for administration of ProEd, and the advancement of all ProEd training and development programs. In 2008, Mary participated in the 6-week Global Village for the Future of Business and Industry Leaders at the Iacocca Institute on the Lehigh University Campus. As a Global Villager, Mary participated in a variety of learning experiences that strengthened her competencies in leadership, teamwork and social entrepreneurship. Additionally, in 2008, Mary graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the InterAmerican University in Panama, which launched her professional career in the field of education and human development. In 2012, Mary participated in The International Visitor Leadership Program, which afforded her the opportunity to learn from a variety of international social service organizations.

  • Maria del Rosario Selman-Housein


    Maria del Rosario Selman-Housein has been, since 2008, CEO of Grupo Financiero del Pais, S.A. a honduran financial group formed by Banco del Pais, S.A. , the fifth largest bank in the country , and Seguros del Pais, S.A. , an insurance company. GrupoFinanciero del Pais, S.A. is, since December 2007, a member of CorporacionBanco Industrial of Guatemala. Banco del Pais, S.A., tending both the corporate, and commercial as well as the retail markets, operates nationwide with more than 140 service points. Banco del Pais, S.A. has been selected by The Bankers magazine as Bank of the Year on six occasions, and consecutively for the past four years. Prior to joining GrupoFinanciero del Pais, S.A., she worked for 15 years with GrupoFinancieroCuscatlan , her last position being General Manager of their operation in Honduras, BancoCuscatlan de Honduras, S.A.. She has a Law degree, with a major in Commercial Law, from the Universidad NacionalAutonoma de Honduras, and a MBA in Marketing, and International Commerce. She lives with her husband and three children in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

  • 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.

  • María Kaltschmitt

    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 Luisa Navarro


    María Luisa Navarro has been the General Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since July 2014. Before, she was the Executive Director of Swiss Arifa Trust Company, a joint venture between Arias, Fabrega & Fabrega (ARIFA) (a Panamanian law firm), and Swiss Independent Trustees (a Geneva based trust company), focusing her work on Trust Services, Family Consulting and Estate Planning. She is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. She has also worked in investment banking and private banking. Maria Luisa graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor of science in Foreign Service. She majored in international politics and obtained certificates in economics and Latin American studies. She is a Fellow of the eighth class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Maria Luisa lives in Panama with her husband Ricardo and their three children, Elena Isabel, Ricardo Alberto and Sofia Emilia.

  • María Luisa Romero

    María Luisa Romero is a human rights advocate who served as minister of government and vice- minister of government of the Republic of Panama (January 2017-April 2018; July 2014-January 2017). In the Ministry of Government María Luisa oversaw issues related to justice, governance, civil protection, refugees and indigenous peoples. She implemented reforms to make Panama’s prison system more humane and secure, establishing by law a civil career in the prison service and improving rehabilitation programs for persons deprived of liberty. Before entering public service, María Luisa worked as an independent human rights consultant (2013-2014); as a litigator in Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in New York City, where she advised clients with respect to regulatory, anti-corruption and human rights matters (2010-2013); and as an attorney at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica (2008-2009). María Luisa started her human rights field work as a student member and later as a pro bono contributor to the International Human Rights Clinic of Harvard Law School (2006-2008, 2010- 2012). María Luisa also worked at the Embassy of Panama in the United States, interned at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and has collaborated with civil society in Panama on various human rights matters. She has contributed to several publications regarding human rights investigations. María Luisa earned her juris doctor degree, graduating cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 2008, and her bachelor’s degree in government, graduating magna cum laude, from Harvard College in 2004. María Luisa sits on the board of directors of Cable & Wireless Panama and Fundación Libertad Ciudadana, the local chapter of Transparency International in Panama. She was elected as independent expert for the United Nations Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture for the 2019-2022 period. She is married to José Ricardo Coleman Tió, with whom she has two children, José Ricardo and Victoria Ivana. María Luisa is a Fellow of the fourteenth class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

  • María Luisa Salvador


    Marilu’s experience spans 28 years working in the areas of human and social development.   She has broad professional experience in the private, non-for-profit and public sectors.   She has been a teacher, mentor, facilitator and director of educational programs.  She served as National Director for Basic Education for the Ministry of Education in Panama and led the Program “Aprende al Máximo”, a national movement for the improvement of educational quality with equity.
    She has held the position of Regional Director for Latin America and the United States with The SFK Foundation where she designed programs and led teams developing social-emotional learning programs for vulnerable populations.  Also, collaborated to successfully transform the SFK curriculum to an online award winning program.
    In the private sector, she worked as sustainability director, developing a culture of sustainability within the company and promoting work towards the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals).
    Currently she is an independent consultant in the areas of education and sustainability.
    She is a fellow of the XI class of CALI (Central American Leadership Initiative) and a member of the Aspen Leadership Network.  She has a master’s degree in educational administration, curriculum development and policy studies from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

  • María Pacheco


    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.

  • Maria Ximena Gonzalez Oliu

    XIMENA GONZALEZ OLIU is currently Nicaragua Lafise Bank ́s Legal Counsel, an institution with whom she has grown professionally for the past years, having an enriching experience, which have meant great challenges as well as personal achievements. In 2012 Ximena founded the legal firm PROBUS, one that continues to stand out for its excellence, and which she has transformed into a training lab for young women aspiring to enter the legal profession. She is proud to have turned her dream into an entrepreneurial success story.
    Ximena was elected Secretary of the Board of Directors of COSEP (Council for Private Companies). She was also voted as president of The INSTITUTO NICARAGUENSE DE DESARROLLO (INDE), where she has spent the last 4 years fostering professional growth for women and young entrepreneurs, through trainings and empowerment programs focused on young people, women and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
    She has a Master degree in Business Law with a concentration in Financial Market Law, and a Master of Law in Law and Management. She has been married for 22 years and is mother to 4 wonderful children.

  • María. Alejandra Ramos


    Maria Alejandra works full time as a doctor (endocrinologist) in both public and private hospitals. She is the Head of services of the Hospital Escuela Universitario and a Professor ad-honorem of postgraduate in Internal Medicine. She has done research on Diabetes Mellitus, thyroid cancer and hypoglycemia. She is also a thesis advisor to graduates aspiring for Internal Medicine Degree. She considers herself an extremely determined, energetic, caring individual who enjoys reading, traveling and learning about new places, spending time with her family and doing her job with passion. She has lived in Tegucigalpa, Honduras for most of her 37 years- 11 of which she has been happily married to an amazing man with whom she has two incredible children; a boy and a girl. Maria Alejandra loves to go to museums and do outdoor hiking. Maria Alejandra is a Fellow of the 12th class of the Central American Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

  • Marietta Jaen

    Marietta is a civil engineer, partner and director of Proyectos Mar Azul, a project management engineering firm based in Panama, dedicated to consulting services, administration and technical inspection for construction projects. Marietta is a Board member of Tocumen International Airport and Cable & Wireless Panama. She previously served as Vice Minister of Public Works for the Republic of Panama (July 2014 – January 2018). As Vice Minister, Marietta oversaw the conceptualization, planning and execution of mega projects of great social and commercial impact, such as the fourth bridge over the Panama Canal and over 1,800 kilometers of new roads and highways. During her time at the Ministry she managed an annual budget of over 1,600 million dollars. Marietta earned her bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics and a minor in Environmental Engineering from McGuill University in Montreal, Canada. She started her professional career as a project engineer for McKinney and Company, where she worked for three years (2004-2007) designing infrastructure for several retail, industrial and residential developments in Virginia, United States. She continued from 2007 to 2013 as project manager for McKinney International, developing major industrial and residential developments in Panama, like the sterile fly facility for the eradication of the screwworm. After ten years of experience in civil design, she joined Proyectos Mar Azul in 2013. Marietta had spent ten years volunteering for Panama Children’s Hospital, when in 2006 she co-founded Pintando Sonrisas, a small charity organization that supports children that live in extreme poverty and require special medical attention. She is a proud wife and mother of two, Mila Lucia and Giovanni Salvatore.

  • Mario E. Castrellón

    Mario E. Castrellón is a chef and owner of various restaurants in Panama. He has been a young entrepreneur who has already opened 3 different restaurants in the past 5 years, one of them being a local direct trade coffee roaster called UNIDO which is developing a new NGO where the 10% of each coffee sold will be used for projects supporting producers and the communities in the coffee growing regions of Panama. After finishing his studies in hospitality and tourism in Sant Pol de Mar (EUHT) in Barcelona, Mario decides to return to Panama with the vision of the new trends in Spain and the goal of defining a new cuisine to his country. After being the chef at two restaurants in Panama City, he begins to know the local palate, and decides to venture in opening his own restaurant, MAITO, where he presents his own concept of Panamanian food. In MAITO, Mario identifies an evolving Panamanian cuisine that is building a body with each passing day. Currently MAITO has inspired its menu with the Panama Canal, convinced that this wonder of the world is the main reason for the mix of techniques, influences, origins and flavors that can be identified with the flavor of the country. Through the years of investigation looking for Panamanian traditional ingredient, Mario has reached to different communities of difficult access where he learned of lost produces that the regular Panamanian does not consume or know off. With a joint venture with Nutre Hogar, one of the first NGO of the country that fights malnutrition, Mario became a loyal volunteer who has helped on various projects like building and teaching the first bakery of Kankintu in Bocas del Toro, Panama. Mario is a Fellow of the 12th class of the Central American Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

  • Mario Hernández

    Mario Hernández is founder and CEO of Monibyte, an innovative web-based corporate payments platform and a principal member and issuer of Visa and Mastercard credit cards. In January 2015, less than a year after Monibyte was released, he received an international award for Best Innovation in Retail and Commercial Banking and was interviewed at the London Stock Exchange. Mario is an expert in payments solutions focusing on new technologies and innovation. He has had a successful trajectory of more than 16 years in the financial sector in several countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. In 2008, he was transferred to Toronto and appointed Credit Cards Director for Latin America and Caribbean at the corporate offices of Scotiabank in Toronto Canada.

    Mario completed his undergraduate studies at ITESM in Monterrey, Mexico, obtaining a degree in industrial and systems engineering. He earned his MBA from Bryant University in 1997, and in 2008 he completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. He has been a teacher at the level of graduate studies in several universities and has been invited to lectures, conferences and training courses in several countries including Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, the United States, Chile, Canada and Kazakhstan. He has published numerous articles in leading financial newspapers and magazines and was recognized as an outstanding 40 Under 40 Leader by El Financiero in 2008. Mario currently lives in Costa Rica with his wife and his three children and likes to practice karate. Mario is a Fellow of the 12th class of the Central American Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network

  • Marisa Arias


    Marisa Arias has been working as founding Executive Director of United Way Panamá since 2010. She was in charge of the organization´s start-up and after four years since its foundation, she has been vigorously working in a local strategy and action plan to increase community impact through collaborative leadership and aligning this vision and efforts with companies, nonprofit agencies and the government. She has been key in establishing UWP´s education programs and different programs aimed to strengthen Panama´s nonprofit sector. She is currently participating as first cohort of United Way Worldwide´s Executive Leadership Development Program and has been selected to participate in UW´s Latin American Regional Committee in the High-Performance Boards Initiative. Marisa was given the keys to the City of Panama in 2012, an honor given by the Mayor´s Office in recognition to her valuable and successful career as a professional and her ceaseless volunteer service to the wellbeing of cancer patients. Marisa worked as Executive Director of the Centro Empresarial de Inversión Social (CEDIS) an initiative funded by the Kellogg Foundation under the Leadership in Philanthropy in the Americas Program. In 2005, she was recruited by Telefónica start their Corporate Responsibility office as CSR Manager in Panamá. She led Fundación Telefónica´s regional program Proniño, dedicated to the eradication of child labor and re-launched their corporate volunteer program Voluntarios Telefónica . Marisa was chosen to represent the corporate sector towards the creation of the ISO 26000 the standard guidance on social responsible behavior and led the National Mirror Committee for this purpose, led the first cellphone recycling national program and created the annual CSR report for Panama and Central America for three consecutive years. She was recognized as one of Panama´s young emergent leaders by Capital Financiero by receiving the 40 Menores de 40 Award in 2009. She received her BA in Political Science from Vassar College in 1995 and continued master s studies in Non Profit Mangement in New York University s Wagner School of Public Administration. Because her mother fell ill to cancer, she was unable to finish her degree but returning to her native Panama, became one of the founders of FundaCáncer, a leading nonprofit dedicated to equip the only public Oncological Hospital in the country.

  • Marisol Argueta de Barillas

    is the senior director for Latin America for the World Economic Forum. She previously served as the Foreign Minister of El Salvador. Prior to that, she was senior advisor to the foreign minister, general director of foreign policy, minister counselor at the embassy of El Salvador in Washington, DC, and alternate representative of El Salvador to the United Nations. She was elected vice president of the Organization of American States’ National Authorities Meeting for the Development of Women and headed different Salvadoran official delegations in various international meetings. She represented her country in the Presidential Commission for the revision of the Central American Integration System and was the national coordinator of El Salvador’s participation in all international presidential summits. She has led an international initiative on financing for development to enhance international cooperation for middle-income country development. Marisol has also been an assistant professor of constitutional law and political law at a private university in El Salvador. She is a member of the board of directors of two private businesses and has been a member of Hogares CREA-El Salvador, The Salvadoran Foundation for the Elderly, and the International Institute for Women. Marisol has a postgraduate degree in diplomatic studies from the University of Oxford. She has also taken courses in international affairs, human rights, negotiations and conflict resolution, peacekeeping, and development at New York University, Harvard, and the International Peace Academy. She is an active member of the Oxford Union Society. She speaks Spanish, English, French, and Arabic. She is married to Carlos R. Barillas and has three daughters: Alexia, Florence and Gabriela. She is a Fellow of the third class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

  • Marjorie Chorro

    is an attorney and Senior Analyst of the Investment Climate Area at the Department of Legal Studies of FUSADES. She has participated in various national public -private dialogue spaces as a representative of the academic sector. Formerly participated in the Competitive Initiative, and at the Economic and Social Council, and is currently participating as Technical Panel of the Growth Council, under the Partnership for Growth between El Salvador and the United States of America, and also participates as technical panel in the Consultive Council under the Alliance for the Prosperity of the Northern Triangle. She was recently the first Salvadoran woman selected by the State Department of the United States and Fortune Magazine to represent El Salvador in the Fortune/US State Department Global Women´s Mentoring Partnership, a program that draws on the knowledge and expertise of America´s most accomplished leaders to empower aspiring women professionals across the globe. She is now working as an active member of Vital Voices El Salvador, which is an NGO that promotes female empowerment. Previously, she worked as Legal Advisor of PROESA, presided by El Salvador´s former Vice President, institution in charge of promoting FDI and exports. She worked in the Ministry of Economy as a member of the Salvadoran negotiating team of the Free Trade Agreement between Central America, Dominican Republic and the United States, DR-CAFTA. She is the mother of two, Diego and Ariana. With her husband, Alvaro, they have recently started a family project focused on leadership and personal growth called a.m. Consulting & Coaching. Marjorie is a Fellow of the 12th class of the Central American Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

  • Marlon Hernández Anzora

    was an advisor to the Ministry of the Economy (2010-2011) and was a professor of political science and theory of government at the University of El Salvador and the Jesuit University of El Salvador, UCA. Was also the national youth coordinator of a political party in the government (2009 to 2011). He founds a youth social democrat movement call Juventudes Socialdemócratas de El Salvador (JSD) in 2007 and was his president until 2012. Marlon was also the director of the political science e-newsletter of the Faculty of Law at University of El Salvador (2007 to 2010). He earned his master’s degree from the International and Iberoamerican Foundation of Public Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP), in Madrid, Spain. At this moment he is junior researcher for the IKG-Bielefeld University from Germany. Marlon is a Fellow of the fifth class of the Central America Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

  • Mateo Yibrin


    Mateo M. Yibrin is CEO of Grupo Cadelga. Grupo Cadelga produces sugar, renewable energy, molasses, trades and distributes agricultural supplies including seeds, crop protection products employing more than 2,000 people. Mateo is member of the board and contributor of social responsible organizations such as CEHDES, and FUNDHARSE (Fundación Hondureña de Responsabilidad Social Empresarial). Also actively participates as member of the board of APAH (Honduras Sugar Producers Association), member of AICA (Central America Sugar Producers Association), president of FUNAZUCAR (Honduras Sugar Producers’ Social Foundation), and as comitte member of Honduras soccer national team. He is a former President of Real Club Deportivo España (Honduras most important Soccer Club). Mateo has a degree in management and finance as well as a MBA from Loyola University in New Orleans. Mateo is a CALI fellow (Central America Leadership Initiative) and a member AGLN (Aspen Institute’s Global Leadership Network).