musings about entrepreneurship & life…
Post originally published in Women2.0.
It is always a pleasure to profile success stories from the country where I was born: Colombia.
Did you know that Google Latin America (LATAM), Adobe Systems LATAM, Colombia’s Ministry of Information Technology, Colombian Government’s Agency for High-Impact Entrepreneurship and Innovation among many other high-growth ventures are led by Colombian women? This is not to mention the plethora of other Petroleum, Financial, Automotive and Insurance companies led by this awesome breed.
Why would companies such as PepsiCO, Ford and General Electric LATAM chose Colombian women for their leadership positions? Simply put, because we are awesome to have as part of a team ! We are fun, intelligent, highly educated, very driven and very people oriented. These are all key aspects if you want to take a venture into a high-growth phase.
Having traveled extensively around the world, I have found Colombia to be one of the countries with the highest degree of innate entrepreneurship. This entrepreneurial spirit has been successfully implemented throughout the Colombian government, where women occupy almost 50% of positions.
40 years ago, my own mother was an innovator in the field of Public Health, having pioneered the first LATAM community-based health care system in the favelas that surround Bogotá. Today, the system counts with hundreds of clinics managed by different medical schools around the country.
When it comes to technology, Colombian women are pioneering IT innovation in the government space. As of 2013, the Colombian Ministry of IT is lead by a powerful women duo.
María Carolina Hoyos Turbay, a Social Communicator and Journalist from Javeriana University leads the Vice-Ministry of Colombia’s IT. She holds a MBA in Global Strategic Marketing from the University of San Francisco in California, a specialization in Global Strategic Marketing from Harvard University as well as a specialization in Dissemination of Information Technology and Digital Content Convergence from the Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea. She also completed a specialization in Business Models of Electronic Commerce and Market Value Creation from the University of Chile.
Hoyos Turbay, is both a consultant and an international speaker in digital content. She has served as advisor to the office of the former Colombian Minister of IT, María del Rosario Guerra. She has been a member of the National Television Commission Board of Directors, as well as the CEO of the Corporation Gustavo Matamoros D’Costa, a Ministry of National Defense entity. She was also director of the Colombian National News for three years and founded the magazine NEWS.
Strengthening Hoyos Turbay’s strategy is María Isabel Mejía, current Colombian Vice-Minister of Information Technologies & Communications. As a software engineer with a master’s degree in Strategic Management of Information Technologies and 30 years of experience, she has held leadership positions both in public and private companies as well as academia.
María Isabel was the coordinator of the Colombian Project Year 2000 (Y2K), an initiative designed to bring about a millennium change in Colombian’s IT Space. She was also the CEO of the Colombian “Computers for Schools” Program. Additionally, she undertook the design of the Colombian Government Online project. The newly created Vice-Ministry of Information Technologies & Communications that María Isabel is leading is composed of several branches including: Development of IT Policy, Innovation, Deputy of IT Economic Development, Management of Colombia’s IT space including Standards and Architecture, Security and E-Government Online among others. This new portfolio has a budget in 2013 of 72 Billion USD. The new Vice-Ministry is expected to boost industry applications, software development and services within the Colombian government.
Leading the Innovation in Entrepreneurship branch of the Colombian Ministry of Commerce is Catalina Ortiz. She is the CEO of iNNpulsa Colombia, the Colombian government’s agency for high-impact entrepreneurship and innovation. iNNpulsa aims to promote competitiveness within Colombia, with the belief that innovation in business will lead to a more prosperous society. Together with MassChallenge, iNNpulsa is developing tools and programs to better enable Colombian entrepreneurs to tackle global challenges. Adriana is a lawyer from Universidad de los Andes. She also has a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School.
Adriana Noreña is yet another Colombian story of success. She has been the CEO of Google for Latin America since June 2011. Prior to her current role, she was the CEO of Google Argentina for three years. She has held progressive leadership positions in the company, as the Director of Online Sales and Operations for Google Brazil and then for Latin America. Outside of Google, Adriana served as Director of Marketing and Business Development for Avaya and Manager of New Business and Planning in Elma Chips (PepsiCo).
Adriana holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University ICESI (Colombia), a Masters in Business Administration from Babson College (USA) and a Master in Management of Technology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA).
Last but not least there are women such as María Paula Duque, Colombia’s Public Sector Lead at Microsoft, Vicky Ricaurte, co-founder of UrGift one of the hottest Colombian startups today and Rosa Cristina Parra, the Colombian journalist from Universidad de la Sabana who led the Global Mobilization Against the FARC’s movement in 2008. Rosa Cristina alone deserves her own article!
To find other amazing Colombian women in technology, please visit Universidad de Los Andes Website, my once Alma Matter ! If looking for a valuable women Co-Founder, this site is a great place to explore !