Women in Green: Rising Stars in Latin America

Nicolette Bohnett

This year USGBC celebrates 10 years of Women in Green, a leadership platform to celebrate and connect female leadership in green building.  And never before has this been more important.  As my colleague Taryn Holowka pointed out in her recent article on this year’s theme for Women in Green: Steadfast and Strong, the pandemic has hit women hard and we need to celebrate the resiliency and strength of women. 

We should be deeply proud of the women in green in Latin America. Not only do we have women in leadership positions, but we’ve achieved high levels of gender equity within the industry and a deep bench of female talent. 

There are female CEOs and Board Presidents running GBCs in seven major markets for LEED in Latin America.  From south to north they are as follows:  María Fernanda Aguirre in ChileFrancesca Mayer Martinelli in PeruViviana Valdivieso in ColombiaLorena Rios in PanamaDiana Guerra in El Salvador;  Pamela Castellan in Guatemala; and Alejandra Cabrera in Mexico.

We have nearly 20 companies founded by female entrepreneurs and many more companies where women are co-owners, managing directors, or the lead for sustainability within a larger corporate structure*. Perhaps you’ve recently read about some of these amazing women in our member magazine, USGBC+ like Africa RubioLourdes Salinas, and Alicia Silva or seen them speak at Greenbuild. 

We must also celebrate the breadth and depth of female leadership in Latin America. This list cannot be a top 10 female leaders in just 10 countries: Not only do we have strong female leadership at the c-level, but those leaders have in turn hired, mentored, and grown female leadership.  Women have sought out opportunities to be a part of green building and found a place for themselves in the industry, building expertise and contributing to the national, regional, and global success of LEED and green building. 

Today, I’d like to celebrate the rising stars in female leadership in Latin America. These are the women who are working in smaller markets for green building – places that are not yet in the spotlight. These are women who serve as the second in command for a green building enterprise.  These rising stars are entrepreneurs, green building champions within a larger corporation, women making the shift to green mid-career, and young women who represent the next generation of women in green.

* Companies that are owned or co-owned by women are listed in bold and under senior female leadership are in italics.




El Salvador


Costa Rica









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