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Susan Segal, President & CEO, Council of the Americas
Monday, April 1, 2013

Latin America’s Female Business Leaders

The women who are helping spur business in Latin America.


Apart from holding key positions within local and foreign companies in Latin America, women are also playing an important role promoting business.

Colombia is a particularly interesting case. According to business newspaper Portafolio, there are currently 15 business associations that are headed up by female leaders. Colombia is also the country that has the second-most entries on the ranking of Latin America's Top 100 Businesswomen.

Latinvex takes a closer look at some of the leading female business leaders in the region.

Susan Segal

President & CEO, Council of the Americas


Whether it’s at the frequent events organized by her own organization or the yearly World Economic Forum on Latin America, Susan Segal is known for working tirelessly as a moderator or speaker, organizing panels and networking. She is easily the most powerful business leader in Latin America representing the interests of foreign investors in the region. The Council of the Americas represents many of the leading US companies doing business in Latin America, but Segal also has an extensive network of contacts among non-US companies in Latin America and Latin American companies. She is credited with making the council a key forum for networking in Latin America, whether it’s through the events held in New York or Miami or through cities in Latin America. She joined the council in 2003 after serving as a founding partner of her own investment and advisory group focused primarily on Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic sector. Previously, Segal was a partner and Latin American Group head at JPMorgan Partners/Chase Capital Partners, where she was involved in several prominent Latin American deals. Before joining CCP, Segal was a senior managing director focused on Emerging Markets Investment Banking and Capital Markets at MHT/Chemical/Chase Banks. She was actively involved in the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s and early 1990s, sitting on many Advisory Committees as well as serving as chairperson for the Chilean and Philippine Advisory Committees. In 1999, she was awarded the Order of Bernardo O’Higgins, Grado de Gran Oficial in Chile. Ten years later, Colombian President Álvaro Uribe honored her with the Cruz de San Carlos.

Marina Jimenez
President, Canadian Council for the Americas

Marina Jimenez was a journalist for 23 years before taking up her new role as CCA president in April 2013. The CCA promotes Canadian business with Latin America through symposium and meetings. She has worked for the National Post, the Vancouver Sun, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and for the Globe and Mail, serving most recently as a member of the editorial board. She has specialized in immigration issues, and in Latin America, and has covered stories in Haiti, Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Panama, Cuba, Colombia, and Venezuela and other countries.

Here are other key leaders, grouped by their country.


Maria Mercedes Cuellar

President of Colombian Banking Association


Maria Mercedes Cuellar is the president of Colombia’s powerful banking association, a position she has held since 2006. Her influence is partly due to the extensive network of contacts she built over a long career in the public sector after serving as development minister, deputy finance minister, head of the national planning department and as co-director of the central bank (the first woman to serve in the latter two posts). She also held the position of president of the Colombian Institute for Savings and Housing.


Monica de Greiff

President, Bogota Chamber of Commerce

Monica De Greiff has been president of the Bogota Chamber of Commerce since February 2013. She has ample experience in both the private and public sector. Her private sector career includes serving as vice president for Royal Dutch Shell in Colombia and most recently as CEO of Grupo Energía de Bogotá. Her public sector experience includes serving as Colombia’s justice minister and as head of economic development for the City of Bogota. She is expected to use her impressive network of contacts to promote the interests of the Bogota Chamber.



Sandra Forero
President, Colombia’s Construction Chamber


Heading up the chamber that represents Colombia’s key construction sector is Sandra Forero. She has held the position since June 2011 when she succeeded another woman, Martha Pinto de de Hart. She joined Camacol in 2006 after working as director of territorial development at the Ministry of Environment, Housing and Development. She also served as deputy director of urban planning at the Department of Urban Planning (Departamento Administrativo de Planeación Distrital).



Maria Claudia Lacouture
President, Proexport, Colombia


As president of government investment agency Proexport, Maria Claudia Lacouture is playing a key role in promoting business in Colombia, especially by foreign companies. Before being named to her current position in August 2010, she served in various capacities at Proexport, including as head of the successful country image campaign Colombia es Pasión. She also headed up the tourism office of Proexport in the United States.  


Lina Maria Velez de Nicholls
Executive President,
Medellin Chamber of Commerce

Lina Maria Velez is the president of the Medellin Chamber of Commerce (Cámara de Comercio de Medellín para Antioquia), the chamber that plays a key role in business in Colombia’s business hub Medellin. She is the first woman to hold that position as well as the first board member of the chamber and the first women to head the Institute of Development of the State of Antioquia (which Medellin is the capital for), according to El Colombiano newspaper. She also held key positions at Compañía de Empaques and Medellin utility EPM.


Catherine Reuben
Executive Director
Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce


Catherine Reuben has been the Executive Director of the Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce since November 2011. Previously she worked as investment promotion manager at Costa Rica’s trade promotion agency CINDE for seven years.


Ligia Bonetti
President of AIRD, Dominican Republic

Ligia Bonetti is the president of the Dominican Industrialist Association (AIRD), where she has played a key role in defending the interests of her members through frequent meetings with government officials and interviews with local media. She also serves as vice president of Dominican business group CONEP.

Maribel Gasso
President Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce, Dominican Republic

Maribel Gasso is the president of the powerful Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce.

She also serves on the board of the Dominican business association CONEP and has served as president of the Dominican Employers Association (Copardom) and the National Association of Young Executives (ANJE).




Maria Antonieta Reyes De Luca
Chief Executive Officer
Ecuadorian-American Chamber of Commerce – Guayaquil


Maria Antonieta Reyes De Luca is the Chief Executive Officer of the Ecuadorian-American Chamber of Commerce in Ecuador’s business hub Guayaquil. She plays a key role in promoting US trade with Ecuador, especially Guayaquil.



Carmen Aida Muñoz
Chief Executive Officer
American Chamber of Commerce of El Salvador


Carmen Aida Muñoz is the Chief Executive Officer of the American Chamber of Commerce of El Salvador. She has been an active proponent of El Salvador while also urging the government to make the necessary reforms to improve the country’s business climate.




Carolina Castellanos
Chief Executive Officer
American Chamber of Commerce in Guatemala

Attend any conference organized by the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America (AACCLA) and Carolina Castellanos will be among those who ask most questions or share perspectives. She is a tireless advocate for business in Guatemala and promoting the country’s image in the United States. In June, the charismatic and energetic AmCham CEO will also be the key host for the mid-year meeting of AACCLA, which this year will take place in Guatemala City.


Aracely Batres
Chief Executive Officer
Honduran-American Chamber of Commerce

Aracely Batres is the CEO of the Honduran-American Chamber of Commerce. She previously worked as director of retail banking at Citi in Honduras.


Karen Coronel
Chief Executive Officer
Paraguayan-American Chamber of Commerce


As CEO of the Paraguayan-American Chamber of Commerce, Karen Coronel is playing a key role in promoting US business in the South American country. She has been the chamber’s CEO since October 2011. Previously she held various posts at the Paraguay chapter of children development organization Plan International and as executive director of Operation Smile Paraguay.


Magdalena Aonzo
Chief Executive Officer
Chamber of Commerce Uruguay-USA

As CEO of Chamber of Commerce Uruguay-USA, Magdalena Aonzo has played a key role in promoting US business in the South American country.

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