Mercado Global Team

Board of Directors

Jennifer Ali, Investor Relations, Financial Services Industry
Ruth Álvarez-DeGolia, Executive Director at Mercado Global
Marta Bezoari, Board Vice Chair, Senior Vice President, PIMCO
Maria Geenen, Strategic Business Consultant, Trendfocus Inc.
Melody Hart, Board Treasurer, Senior Manager at OM Group, Inc
Karae Lisle, Board Chair, Nonprofit CEO
Mark Swedlund, Marketing Consultant

Board Committee Members

Jennifer Ali, Investor Relations / Capital Formation at Hunter Point Capital LP
Nikki Breeland, Associate Attorney at Shelowitz Law Group
Chloe Ko, PR & Marketing Professional in Luxury Retail
Jacqueline Varela, Managing Director at KPMG US
Denise Baca, Vice President Americas at G-Star RAW
Mark Donatiello, Director of Lead Generation, CRM/Data Management/Client Experience at Chu
Baldwin Homes-Keller Williams, NJ Metro Group
Elisa Hay, EVP Sales and Operations at Patio 3 Group/ Allancia
Mark Swedlund, former Senior VP and partner at Haggin Marketing
Cori Cunningham, Organizational Strategist & Facilitator at C. Cunningham Advising
Alison Long Poetsch, Individual Giving and Planned Giving Manager at Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County
Natalia Karpov Palmer
Gustavo Marroquin, Audit Director at KPMG Guatemala

Strategic Advisory Board

José Antonio Ortega Carrero, CEO & COO at Prisa Brand Solutions
Michael Arkes, Founder of HHPLIFT
Sindy Benavides, Chief Executive Officer at League of United Latin American Citizens
Rebecca Bill Chavez, Senior Fellow, Inter-American Dialogue and CNA
Claudia Blanch, International Operations Manager at Fortescue Future Industries
Romit Dey, Partner at PwC Consulting
Kate Hogan, Senior Managing Director and Chief Internal Auditor at Blackstone
Luciana Jabur, Founder of (Hand)Made to Market
Luis Morales Valle, Business Development Manager at KPMG
Kyle Muñoz, Philanthropist & Activist
Amanda North, Founder, CEO at Plan C Advisors
Helen Onbright, CEO at MAP Marketing Research
Carmen Sanchez, Country Manager at Visa
Isabel Serra Paiz, CEO at Cygnus Funds (USA)
Jagtej Singh, Vice President Of Product Management at Walmart Global Tech
Awinash Sinha, Vice President, IT (Business Applications) at VMware
Thy Tran, Vice President of DRAM Process Integration, Micron Technology
Miguel Zepeda, Managing Director at Brink's

Fashion Advisory Board

Denise Baca, Vice President Americas at G-Star RAW
Ayesha Barenblat, Founder and CEO at Remake
Trish Barillas, Life Coach at Barillas Coaching
Alyssa Burgos, Accessories Buyer at Quince
Mark Donatiello, Director of Lead Generation, CRM/Data Management/Client Experience at Chu
Muni Fry, Entrepreneur
Merrill Greene, Color & Trend Director, Creative Director at Nordstrom
Jordana Guimarães, Co-founder at FASHINNOVATION
Marilyn Harrison, Retail Marketing Director at Helpers Community Inc
Elisa Hay, EVP Sales and Operations at Patio 3 Group/ Allancia
Luisa Herrera-Garcia, Senior Vice President at OTD
Megan Koch, Owner, Manzanita Home
Julie Koch-Beinke, Partner and Co-Founder, Alternatives
Bonnie Mackay, Owner / Creative Advisor for BMackayConsultig
Marie Mamone, Director of Business Development for Ars Sutoria
Emily Mann, Vice President at P/Kaufmann Contract
Kelly McCormick, Director Global Sourcing at Aritzia
Lisa Staprans, Owner of Staprans Design
Mark Swedlund, former Senior VP and partner at Haggin Marketing
Kelly Talamas, Co-Founder at LATINNESS
TJ Toce, Vice President Go-To-Market/Business Transformation
Carla Vazquez Jones, Director of Communications of North America at Etro
Julie Verdugo, Director of Sustainability + Social Impact at Free People
Ann Watson, Co-Founder & CMO at Vaquera Group

Community Photographers

Anna Watts, Spring 2018
Kim Paul Nguyen,No Frontiers Media, Fall 2017
Ali Campbell, Fall 2016


Ruth Álvarez-DeGolia - Executive Director
Ruth Álvarez-DeGolia

Executive Director

As Mercado Global's Co-Founder and Executive Director, Ruth Álvarez-DeGolia has overseen Mercado Global's growth from a small non-profit working with a dozen artisans in Guatemala's highlands to its recognition as an innovator in social enterprise, partnering with hundreds of artisans and a number of major international specialty retail chains and catalogs.

Ruth has been recognized for her role in founding and supporting a variety of programs and organizations related to international development and poverty alleviation. She has also received honors for her academic work on the impact of globalization on political and economic development in Latin America, including the William H. Orrick prize at Yale University. In May 2004, she was named among the “World’s Best Emerging Social Entrepreneurs” by the Echoing Green Foundation. In July 2006, she was selected as one of the “15 People Who Make America Great” by Newsweek magazine and was featured on the magazine’s cover along with Brad Pitt and Soledad O’Brien of CNN.

Access a full bio and a list of speaking engagementshere.

Lidia Garcia - Guatemala Operations Director
Lidia Garcia

Guatemala Director

Lidia started working with Mercado Global on May 2007 as a member of one of the organization’s partner jewelry cooperatives. Now as Guatemala Director, Lidia oversees the organization’s work with dozens of cooperatives in Guatemala, including providing technical and business trainings in communities across the highlands. Through her work, Lidia is supporting women in similar communities as hers and has achieved what is denied to most women in Guatemala. Last year Lidia completed her undergraduate studies and earned a degree in Business Administration.

Maria Murphy - Sales Director
Maria Murphy

Sales Director

Maria has been a fashion industry executive throughout her professional life. Her positions included Senior Director of Sales at The Kasper Group and Vice President of Sales & Merchandising at The Jones Group and Tahari ASL. Ten years ago, while working full time, she founded her fairtrade business Lei-Lei which empowers female artisans from impoverished countries around the globe. Maria is excited to blend her extensive sales knowledge with her passion for ethical and sustainable fashion in her new Sales Director role at Mercado Global starting March 2022. She is acum laudegraduate of FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) with her Bachelor's degree in Marketing. She lives in NJ with her husband, four children and her rescue dog Kahlua.

Becky Chrisman - Operations Director
Becky Chrisman

Operations Director

Becky joined Mercaddo Global on April 2013. As Mercado Global's Operations Director, Becky leads the organization's operations and logistics across both the NYC and Guatemala offices. With a specialty in project management, she supports the sales, production and fundraising teams, while simultaneously running the HR department. Originally from Connecticut, Becky graduated from The College of Wooster and brings with her management experience in both retail and wholesale sales. She is passionate about ethical fashion, artisan craft and women's empowerment.

Fernanda Jung Thomé - Design Director
Fernanda Jung Thomé

Design Director

Fernanda leads Mercado Global’s design team based in our offices in rural Guatemala. Originally from Brazil, Fernanda is passionate about sustainable development in the fashion industry as well as innovation within social development. Approaching design as a co-creation tool to support and encourage the awareness of each communities socio-biodiversity, she has led and assisted programs in the Amazon Forest, Mexico, Argentina and Berlin, with H&M Foundation. At Mercado Global, Fernanda leads the design of our seasonal accessory collections and brand collaborations, working across teams to support the brands mission and values.

Ryan Lavigne - Development Manager
Ryan Lavigne

Development Director

Based out of Mexico City, Ryan has a legal background and has spent his career doing rights focused work. As a lawyer, he worked with freedom of expression non-profits, a law firm that represents unions, and the City of New York combating source of income discrimination in housing. Before joining Mercado Global in February 2022, Ryan was a Development Officer with PSYDEH, a non-profit that works with Indigenous women in Hidalgo, Mexico. He is motivated by work that provides people the opportunities necessary to drive their own development.

Rina Padron - Designer
Rina Padron


Rina is a designer from Ecuador who is passionate about fashion, textiles and working together with artisans to create products that reflect the beauty and meaning of their culture. Rina studied design at Parsons in NYC which allowed her to have direct contact with the fashion industry and worked for brands like DKNY. She also has worked with non profit organizations in her country and has always been an advocate for women empowerment and sustainable fashion.

Floridalma Perez Sicay - Production Manager
Floridalma Perez Sicay

Production Manager

Floridalma, a Public Accountant graduate, has extensive experience in the production of textiles with artisan women. As Production Manager since March 2021, she is committed to implementing efficient processes with the Production, Design and Community Development Teams. Her main goal is to support Mercado Global's partner artisans and their families to achieve a better quality of life.

Cristina Sic - Accountant
Cristina Sic


As an accountant for Mercado Global, Cristina is responsible for managing finances for donations, training modules for the artisan groups, and inventories. She is studying to achieve a Bachelor's degree in auditing and public accounting from the University of Mariano Gálvez in Guatemala and has worked on finance projects with the Spanish Cooperation AECID and the Guatemalan Foundation Fundasistemas. She joined the team in September 2013.

Andrea López Ixtacuy - Head of Production
Andrea López Ixtacuy

Head of Production

Andrea has been working with Mercado Global since February 2015. Having started working in the production room where she would attach detailing and hangtags to MG products, she gradually gained knowledge about the production processes and the relationships with weaving groups. Andrea is now the Head of Production in the Panajachel office, taking charge of fabric cutting and all quality control processes.

Juana Elizabeth Perez Cholotío - Community Development Manager
Juana Elizabeth Perez Cholotío

Community Development Manager

Elizabeth Pérez is Mayan Tzutujil. She has a degree in Tourism Business Administration and a Master's degree in Community Counseling from the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Altiplano Campus. She has experience executing, managing and leading programs in the areas of education, economic development, health and nutrition for different non-profits. She is excited to have the opportunity to continue contributing to the economic empowerment of women to generate a more equitable society and managing development together with the communities. She joined Mercado Global in March 2022.

Irma Ben Julajuj - Inventory Manager
Irma Ben Julajuj

Inventory Manager

With a background in office administration, Irma is always eager to learn new things and has a strong will to succeed. As Inventory Manager, she is the head of managing Mercado Global's inventory in Guatemala. She joined the team in June 2017

Marcos Peñéñory - Graphic Designer & Site Manager
Marcos Peñéñory

Graphic Designer & Site Manager

Marcos is from Córdoba, Argentina. He has worked for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, for several non-profts and cultural organizations. He has also taken some courses in sociology and is currently doing a Masters on Communications and Contemporary Culture. Travelling, he says, has made him appreciate the diversity of life: there are several ways to understand the world and each of us know just one. He believes design should not work just as a way to impose aesthetics, but to change the world and promote the well-being by all respecting the differences of others.

Alia Suleman - Marketing Manager
Alia Suleman

Marketing Manager

Based out of Antigua, Guatemala, Alia leads all marketing initiatives across our fundraising and product teams, developing and executing collection campaigns and connecting our donorbase with our artisans. Previously, Alia worked in marketing and strategy for London-based fashion brands but her passion for women's empowerment, social innovation, and ethical fashion led her to seek out a role dedicated to redefining fashion industry standards.

Aurora Matzar - Community-Based Education Training Facilitator
Aurora Matzar

Community-Based Education Training Facilitator

As a member of the Community-Based Education team, Aurora coordinates educational programs and technical trainings for artisans in their communities for subjects such as health, nutrition, leadership, finance and self-esteem. She also provides services to help artisans get set up with micro loans. Before joining the Mercado Global team in March 2015, Aurora worked for an organization that trains teachers on the Guatemalan Civil War, Pacific Coexistence and Mixing Cultures.

Grildy Sucely Sac Simaj - Community-Based Education Training Facilitator
Grildy Sucely Sac Simaj

Community-Based Education Training Facilitator

Sucely Sac is Mayan K'iche, from Nahualá in Sololá, Guatemala. She graduated as a home economics teacher, loves music and is passionate about the community training work she does to support artisans in rural Guatemalan communities. She has been working with Mercado Global since March 2017.

Hilda Elizabeth - Community-Based Education Training Facilitator
Hilda Elizabeth

Community-Based Education Training Facilitator

Hilda Elizabeth is from San Pedro La Laguna in Sololá, Guatemala. She is a Training Facilitator at Mercado Global since June 2018. She graduated as a Bilingual Education Teacher. She enjoys reading, and is passionate about her work supporting artisans through technical and educational activities.

Nataly Byrne - Development Associate
Nataly Byrne

Development Associate

Prior to joining Mercado Global in October 2021, Nataly worked for two years at a nonprofit based in Antigua, ONG Niños de Guatemala. There, she focused on fundraising communications and visual content creation, which drove her passion for working in the nonprofit sector. With a background in hospitality and photography, she is working towards receiving her Bachelor's in Hotel Management, Tourism, and Gastronomy from the Mariano Gálvez University of Guatemala. Born and raised in Guatemala, Nataly is fluent in Spanish, English, and basic French, and is motivated by knowing that her work can create an impact on someone's life.

Rachael Glenn - Development Associate
Rachael Glenn

Development Associate

Rachael is from Atlanta, Georgia. She is a recent graduate of the University of Georgia where she studied International Affairs and Human Geography. During her time in school, she interned with Mercado Global and other nonprofits focusing on global issues. Rachael is passionate about strengthening opportunities for women that support their goals and development.

Marta Julia - Coordinator of Leather Processes and Pattern Making
Marta Julia

Coordinator of Leather Processes and Pattern Making

Marta Julia has been with us since February 2010 out as a jewelry artisan, later moving into handbags, and eventually working her way to being an artisan instructor. Several years ago she resumed her studies and graduated as an Accountant. Since 2020 she has been the Coordinator of Leather Processes and Pattern Making taking a more active and creative role in the design of all of the intricate details needed to create our bags and products!

Claudia Mucun - Community Production Coordinator
Claudia Mucun

Community Production Coordinator

Claudia Mucun has been working for us since January 2017 and is native to Panajachel, where our Guatemala-based office is located. As a multitalented lady, she has a degree in nursing from the Panamericana University of Guatemala and also works as an accountant, heading up our financial reviews whilst supporting both production and quality control. She loves to spend her free time learning new things, sharing experiences with her family, and drawing. As an empathetic person, she strongly believes in the boundless potential of our artisans and admires the effect they have on their families and communities as well as their value to us at Mercado Global!

Brenda Elizabeth Vasquez Saloj - Brenda Elizabeth Vasquez Saloj
Brenda Elizabeth Vasquez Saloj


Brenda Vasquez lives with her family in San José Chacayá, Sololá. With an Associates degree in Accounting, she is also currently finalizing a Bachelor's Degree in Public Accounting and Auditing. Having worked in both public and nonprofit organizations, she joined Mercado Global in July 2022 and is excited about the opportunity for growth and professional development within a team that firmly supports and believes in the development and empowerment of local rural women.