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THE
MERCADO
GLOBAL
TEAM

Board of Directors

Jennifer Ali, Investor Relations, Financial Services Industry
Ruth Alvarez-DeGolia, Executive Director at Mercado Global
Marta Bezoari, Co-Head of Global Human Resources at PIMCO
Maria Geenen, Development Committee Chair
Melody Hart, Board Treasurer
Karae Lisle, Board Chair, Nonprofit CEO
Mark Swedlund, Marketing Consultant
Jacqueline Varela, Managing Director - Private Equity at KPMG US

Fashion Advisory Board

Carmen Artigas, Circular Fashion Designer and Consultant
Denise Baca, Luxury Executive, Santoni - Americas
Lisa Bannister, Omni Channel Strategist
Trish Barillas, Life Coach, Founder of 3GS Charity in Guatemala
Fabiola Beracasa Beckman, Film and TV Producer
Joni Breschel, Sourcing & Materials Manager Teton Outfitters
Alyssa Burgos, Accessories Buyer at Quince
Mark Donatiello, Director of Lead Generation, Keller Williams
Jennifer Gootman, Global Head of Sustainability & ESG Strategy at Tory Burch
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, SVP of Production for Alexander Wang
Xitlalt Herrera-Saltazar, CEO & Founder X Level Inc
Karl Holzwarth, Director Affiliate Marketing
Otaner King, Vice President of Marketing, Liverpool Los Angeles
Julia Kisla, CEO at The Lions Management
Julie Koch-Beinke, Partner and Co-Founder of Alternatives
Bonnie Mackay, Creative Advisor to Startups and Corporate Businesses
Marie Mamone, Director of Business Development for Ars Sutoria
Diane O'Brien-Kumi, Vice President Planning/Beauty at Belk
Gayle Alden Robbins, Design & Product Development Leader, Brand Strategist
Linda Schlesinger-Wagner, Founder/CEO of Skinnytees
Alan Spalter, President at Retail Assistance Corporation
Lisa Staprans, Owner of Staprans Design
Mark Swedlund, Marketing Consultant
Kelly Talamas, Co-Founder at LATINNESS
Megan Taylor Collins, Principal Designer at Manzanita Home
Carla Vazquez Jones, Director Of Communications for the Americas at Turkish Airlines
Julie Verdugo, Director of Sustainability + Social Impact at URBN

Community Photographers

Nehemias Sancoy, Fall 2023
Diana Alvarado, Fall 2022
Rodrigo Saravia Lino, Fall 2022
Anna Watts, Spring 2018
Kim Paul Nguyen, No Frontiers Media, Fall 2017
Ali Campbell, Fall 2016

Board Committee Members

Jennifer Ali, Investor Relations, Financial Services Industry
Aimee Armsby, Attorney
Denise Baca, Luxury Executive, Santoni - Americas
Stephanie Bakkum, Global Sustainability Consulting Director at Ogilvy
Marta Bezoari, Executive Vice President, Head of Administration and Office Services, Americas at PIMCO
Mark Donatiello, Director of Lead Generation, CRM/Data Management/Client Experience at Chu Baldwin
Maria Geenen, Director Of Annual Giving at The Fit Kids Foundation (FIT KIDS)
Melody Hart, Treasury Executive Elisa Hay, EVP Sales and Operations at Patio 3 Group/ Allancia
Lucy Jackson, Head of Branding at The Lions NY
Natalie Karpov Palmer, Senior Vice President - Client Relationship Manager at PIMCO
Julia Kisla, CEO at The Lions Management
Alison Long Poetsch, Fundraising Professional
Gustavo Marroquin, Audit Director at KPMG Guatemala
Claudia Montufar, Director of Omni Channel Experience at John Hardy
Mark Swedlund, Marketing Consultant
TJ Toce, Senior Vice President of Operations, Liverpool Los Angeles
Jacqueline Varela, Managing Director - Private Equity at KPMG US
Carla Vazquez Jones, Director Of Communications for the Americas at Turkish Airlines

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
Claudia Blanch, International Operations Manager at Fortescue Future Industries
Romit Dey, Partner at PwC Consulting
Carrie DiLauro, Director, Operations Hamilton Robinson Capital Partners
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
Kaia Ferari-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

STAFF

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.

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Lidia García

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.

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Becky Chrisman

Operations Director

Becky joined Mercado Global in 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.

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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.

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Maria Murphy

Sales Director

Maria has been a fashion industry executive throughout her professional life. Her positions included Vice President of Sales & Merchandising at The Jones Group and Tahari ASL and Senior Director of Sales at The Kasper Group. Twelve 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 a cum laude graduate of FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) with her Bachelor's degree in Marketing. She lives in NJ with her husband and has four children and a rescue dog named Kahlua.

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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.

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Rina Padron

Designer

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.

Ingrid Rendón - Marketing Manager

Ingrid Rendón

Marketing Manager

Ingrid is a designer from Mexico City committed to promoting artisanal work through narratives and designs that make a social impact. She earned her Master's in Visual Communication Design, writing a dissertation on collaborative work between designers and artisans, contextualizing it within broader societal, environmental, and respectful frameworks. Subsequently, she collaborated with a non-profit organization in Mexico dedicated to empowering artisans and ensuring fair employment in the supply chain. With her design and marketing expertise, coupled with her passion for artisan craft and social impact, Ingrid has found the perfect fit at Mercado Global.

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Alia Suleman

Marketing Consultant

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.

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Marcos Peñéñory

Graphic Designer & Website 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.

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Yessica Vega

Financial Manager

Yessica Siomara Vega Hernández is a Certified Public Accountant and Auditor with over 14 years of experience in accounting, finance, treasury, internal and external auditing. Throughout her career, she has successfully planned and organized teams, implemented process improvements in various sectors, including commercial, construction, agriculture, banking, government, and education. As the Financial Manager at Mercado Global, she is responsible for implementing accounting and financial policies and procedures to ensure timely financial, accounting, and tax information. She assesses internal controls and proposes continuous improvements. She also supports the community development team in providing training to artisans on tax-related topics and other areas that benefit the communities.

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Grace Cantu

Development Manager

Grace is from Eagle Pass, Texas, a small border town to Mexico. After receiving her Master's in Public Service and Administration from Texas A&M University, she pursued the Peace Corps. This position led to her work in Guatemala. Her focus was predominantly on youth education and community development. She now resides in Panajachel, Solola, and is motivated to be part of a team that values sustainable community development and sees the pivotal role of women in society.

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Karla Tobias

Community-Based Education Manager

Karla has a Bachelor's degree in Sustainable Tourism Management and a Master's in Community Counseling from the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. With extensive experience in the development and implementation of community tourism projects, she is truly passionate about education and believes it can make a significant positive change. Karla promotes learning approaches that address the specific needs of each community and emphasizes that working together is essential to achieving a lasting impact in the country through community projects.

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Kimberly Celada

Production Coordinator

Kimberly has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and is currently studying a Master's degree in Business Administration, at Galileo University. She has experience in non-profit organizations, leading multidisciplinary projects and teams that support the communities of Guatemala in economic issues, entrepreneurship, agriculture and community health. She is passionate about the topic of business and women's empowerment, and hopes to merge her knowledge, passion and experience to support the development and growth of the country's families and communities, creating more and better opportunities for women.

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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!

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Brenda Elizabeth Vasquez Saloj

Accountant

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.

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Cristina Sic

Accountant

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.

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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.

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Sophie Amar

Product Development Manager

Originally from France, Sophie holds a Master's Degree in Marketing & Strategy from Paris Dauphine University. She's deeply connected to Guatemalan culture and is dedicated to using her expertise in project management and business development to support local community growth. Sophie is passionate about women's empowerment, and strongly believes in Mercado Global’s mission to create a more equal society through economic independence.

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Alba Rochac

Design Manager

Raised in Panajachel, Guatemala, she immersed herself in the textile world, surrounded by weaving groups and a family in the artisanal textile export business. Exploring innovative products from age 15, she built her clientele. While studying business administration in Guatemala City, she entered telecom project management, leading teams across Central America. Despite success, her heart remained with textiles. Joining Mercado Global as a Design Manager fulfilled her dream. Thrilled to merge project management expertise with her passion, she collaborates with the design team, creating empowering designs honoring tradition.

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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.

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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.

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Nataly Byrne

Development Associate

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. 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 has a Bachelor's degree in Hotel Management, Tourism, and Gastronomy from the Mariano Gálvez University of Guatemala.

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Eunice Lara-Castañeda

Development Associate, External Partners

With a background in public relations and community engagement, Eunice excels in fostering collaborations and promoting cultural diversity. Her past role as Public Relations Coordinator for MONDIACULT 2022 showcased her ability to cultivate international relationships and advocate for cultural heritage. Armed with a bachelor's degree in Hispanic Literature and postgraduate studies in various cultural fields, she is dedicated to advancing Mercado Global's mission of empowering artisans through sustainable development and strategic partnerships.

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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

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Virginia Milanese

Assistant Designer

Originally from Italy, Virginia's background in International Cooperation and Local Development combined with a strong passion for craftsmanship led her to complete an internship at Mercado Global in our Guatemala office. Inspired by our goals to further sustainability and innovation in the fashion industry, she stayed on as our Assistant Designer where she now supports our design and production team across projects including trend forecasting, product development, and sustainability initiatives.

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Telma Manuela González y González

Community-Based Education Training Facilitator

Originally from San Pedro la Laguna, Sololá, Maya Tz’utujil. She holds a degree in Educational Administration with a specialization in Quality Management from Mariano Gálvez University in Guatemala. She has experience in executing, managing, and leading programs in the areas of education, entrepreneurship, and community health with children, youth, and women. At Mercado Global, she has implemented a module on strengthening the numerical skills of artisans to improve the production process. Currently, she is a Weaving Training Facilitator, and she loves to accompany and be part of the process of economic empowerment of indigenous women. She plans to start a master's degree in project management to enhance her skills in every intervention space and continue contributing to society.

3X more likely to have their children enrolled in school

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2X more likely to have the food their families need

Family

3X more likely to have their own bank account

Artisan Weaving