This list is made up of women who in recent years have excelled in fields ranging from business to politics, impacting social changes in culture and sports. These are women whose work and influence are changing the reality of Central America.
Ranked 10th, businesswoman Aline Flores of Honduras appears above the Guatemalan Rigoberta Menchu, an indigenous leader and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992.
Forbes recognizes Flores as a Honduran entrepreneur, “for 25 years, Aline has held various management positions in the Flores Corporation, a leader in the automotive industry in Honduras since 1923…”
10. Aline Flores
- Position: President of the Flores Corporation.
- Sector: Business.
- Date and place of birth: Honduras, 1970.
For 25 years, Aline has held various management positions in the Flores Corporation, a leader in the automotive industry in Honduras since 1923, with company brands such as Toyota, Lexus and Daihatsu. She is currently President of the board, a position she holds until 2016. Not only has Ms. Flores excelled in the field of business, in October of 2006, she was awarded with the golden “Hoja de Liquidámbar” medal, the highest recognition the municipality of Tegucigalpa awards its citizens and institutions, that are distinguished for their contributions in various fields of development. Aline Fores’s long and consistent track record in business (representing the values of work, leadership, and a vision for the country), and having achieved the title of President of one of the most powerful business associations in Honduras, she earned Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 by The Economist magazine. Aline Flores has a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing and finance from St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas, and a Master’s Degree from the Central American Institute of Business Administration (INCAE).
Also mentioned, is the Honduran businesswoman Maribel Lieberman, who appears in the 17th position for being the Founder and President of MarieBelle Chocolates.
17. Maribel Lieberman
- Position: Founder and President of MarieBelle Chocolates.
- Sector: Business.
- Date and place of birth: Honduras, 1959
At eight years-old, Maribel Lieberman made sugar candies and sold them to neighborhood children in Honduras. In New York, Lieberman attended Parsons School of Design where her love for fashion and design would take her on a jaunt in the fashion industry, followed by five years running her own elegant catering company, Maribel’s Gourmet Cuisine. Maribel’s first New York City chocolate storefront, Lunettes et Chocolat, was a shop focused on both designer chocolates and glasses. Maribel’s entrepreneurism led her to open the now prestigious, “MarieBelle New York” in Soho in 2002, thereafter adding the “Cacao Market” in Brooklyn, and the Japanese transplants of both stores in Kyoto. In the United States, Inc. Magazine named MarieBelle New York as one of “the fastest growing private companies in America”, and Oprah Winfrey herself has given accolades to Ms. Lieberman’s products in her highly coveted “Oprah’s Favorite Things.”
22. Julieta Castellanos
Julieta Castellanos Ruiz was born in San Francisco de Becerra, Olancho on 8 January 1954. She is outspoken against violence in Honduras, focusing on both drug cartels and police corruption. She has advocated for both judicial and police reform. She has a Masters Degree in Economics from the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH) and a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Costa Rica. Ms. Castellanos has been the rector of UNAH since 2009. She founded and served as Coordinator of the Observatorio de la Violencia (Violence Observatory) at UNAH in 2004, a center that analyzes crime statistics in Honduras. Julieta Castellanos is also Director of the Instituto Universitario en Democracia Paz y Seguridad (Institute for Democracy, Peace and Security, IUDPAS), which was created with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). She is the recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award (April 2012) sponsored by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Foundation, and the Instituto Hondureño de Cultura Interamericana, and has received the International Women of Courage Award (March 2013) from the U.S. State Department.
36. Lia Bueso Castellanos
A Doctor, Lawyer, and Telecommunications Engineer, Ms. Bueso Castellanos is a mastologist surgeon dedicated to promoting the overall health of women, with an emphasis on winning the battle against breast cancer. Doctor Bueso Castellanos is the Medical Director of C-Mater Dei, and Founder and Honorary President of the Honduran Foundation for Breast Cancer, FUNHOCAM
38. Annamaría Villeda
Throughout her 20+ year career, Annamaría Villeda has excelled as one of the most innovative leaders in Central American media, and is a passionate advocate for corporate social responsibility. She is one of the most recognizable figures in the country due to her skillful use of media channels as a vehicle to instigate social, economic, and political change. Annamaría currently serves as Vice-President of Production, Programming and Acquisitions at Televicentro, and heads corporate social responsibility strategies for both Televicentro and Emisoras Unidas. She inherited her passion for media from her grandparents, who established the country´s first radio station, HRN, nearly a century ago. Following their footsteps, she pioneered the first social documentary in Honduran television, Porque Nos Importa (Because we Care), a widely acclaimed weekly exposé, produced and hosted by Annamaría herself, spotlighting the country´s most neglected social issues. Annamaría co-chairs Fundación INTUR, a private foundation providing educational opportunities to company employees, their families and society´s unsung heroes: the Honduran Police Force, Army, Air Force, and Firefighters in the country´s two largest cities. She is also part of the Honduras chapter of the prestigious INCAE Business School Committee and the Athena Leadership Council at Barnard College of Columbia University. Annamaría is an avid sponsor of Honduran entrepreneurship through her partnerships with the country´s leading business organization, the Honduran Private Business Council (COHEP, by its Spanish acronym), local chambers of commerce, and tourism boards. She holds a degree in Marketing Management from Bentley University, Massachusetts. A recipient of numerous national and international distinctions, including UNICEF, Rotary International, the Tegucigalpa municipality and the Honduran Congress, Annamaria has built her exceptional career following the well-known motto of Porque nos Importa: Honduras is in our hands, let´s make it grow.
39. Ana García
Lawyer and First Lady of Honduras.
43. Ana Joselina Fortín Pineda
Olympian swimmer and National Congress Bancada PAC (Partido Anti-Corruption) representative.
Also appearing on the list is No. 44, Gabriela Núñez, who holds a 1984 Degree in Economics from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras, and who received a Fulbright scholarship for her Masters in International Economics at the University of New York at Albany in 1989. From 1998 to 2002 she was the Honduras Minister of Finance, during which period she was particularly known for playing an important role in managing the country’s external debt by having Honduras successfully included in the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. In 1999, CNN/Time placed her among 50 Latin American Leaders for the New Millennium. The World Economic Forum awarded her the recognition of Global Leaders for Tomorrow.
Ranked number one on the list, is Alicia Bárcena, of Mexico. She is the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Secretaria Ejecutiva de la comisión económica para américa latina y el caribe – CEPAL).