Women in Green: The rising collective in Latin America

Nicolette Bohnett
April 8, 2022

The theme for USGBC’s 2022 Women in Green series is “Rising Collective,” celebrating individual empowerment through collective opportunities and the value of partnership in arduous times. It is fitting that we honor the extraordinary women leading green building councils across Latin America.

These are women who serve as leaders for their organizations and communities; women who empower staff, volunteers and members; and women who seek out opportunities to collaborate with one another, share information and provide support. Below are the stories and voices of the seven incredible women leading green building councils from Chile to Perú.

Chile: María Fernanda Aguirre

As CEO of Chile Green Building Council, and with more than 12 years in sustainable construction, I am certain that the women who work in green building are answering a special call to action. Our greatest challenge is to empower girls and women to join the green building movement and to work together to guarantee a safe and resilient built environment—one that that provides better economic opportunities and quality of life.

María Fernanda Aguirre, CEO of Chile Green Building Council. Photo courtesy of María Fernanda Aguirre.

Colombia: Viviana Valdivieso

As director of the Colombian Green Building Council, I am responsible for creating opportunities for the evolution of the construction industry toward sustainability. We cannot reach our goals by working alone, and the challenges are so complex, that my biggest role is to promote collaboration, innovation and positivity. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to learn every day and work with others, always being hopeful that there is so much we can achieve together.

Viviana Valdivieso, director of the Colombian Green Building Council. Photo courtesy of Viviana Valdivieso.

Ecuador: Maryangel Mesa Romero

I am an architect and honored to be serving as the CEO for the Consejo Ecuatoriano de Edificación Sustentable, or Ecuador Green Building Council. We offer green building education, projects and activities to promote sustainable construction and building management. I take synergy as an approach to creating programs that engage all of our stakeholders, grow our capabilities and increase our positive impact on people and the planet.

El Salvador: Diana Guerra

I am an architect with experience in design, construction, supervision and design of HVAC systems and have been a part of El Salvador Green Building Council since the very beginning. As executive director, my focus now is on empowering our 55+ members and strategic allies to set a benchmark for sustainable building in the region and to provide thought leadership for the market.

Guatemala: Pamela Castellan

I have been fortunate to work for an exciting and life-changing movement, a community of collaboration and daily learning. After eight years of working at the Guatemala Green Building Council, I have learned from visionary, powerful women the value of our work, transforming an industry for a better future for our children. Our GBC now has more than 85 companies that are building a better nation, and I am grateful for being part of the bridge to make this possible.

Pamela Castellan, CEO of the Guatemala Green Building Counil. Photo courtesy of Pamela Castellan.

México: Verónica Ibarra

I have nearly 20 years of experience with national and international nonprofit associations, and I am delighted to join SUMe as CEO. While I am new to green building, my life’s work has been dedicated to improving people’s lives and the building community. With SUMe’s amazing members, we will seek to bring our skills and spirit of solidarity to making a better life for all. Although our community has faced great adversity, I know that together we will rise by lifting others.

Perú: Francesca Mayer Martinelli

As the CEO for GBCpe (Peru Green Building Council), I seek to lead the implementation of the sustainable construction market in my country. During the past seven years, I've engaged both the private and public sectors and supported regulations and incentive programs for sustainable practices. In 2021 alone, we were able to help transition more than 90 companies, train more than 3,000 professionals, host over 80 educational activities, and launch three new local incentive programs.

The GBCI team for Latin America is delighted to partner and collaborate with these amazing women. Join the group on LinkedIn.

Join the GBCI Latin America group