What do you do currently?
I’m currently leading Impact Hub Mexico City which is part of the Impact Hub Network, a global community that fosters social innovation and entrepreneurship through capacity building and collaborative workspaces.
How and when did you get involved with the Mexican entrepreneurial ecosystem?
Back in 2009 I was working in marketing for a food corporation, when I realized that selling fast food was not exactly my idea of contributing to make “the world a better place”. I quit and looked for something that really excited me and that was aligned with my beliefs and motivation. That’s when I learned about New Ventures, which at that time was a very young non-for-profit fostering green & social entrepreneurship in Mexico. I was part of the team who developed its for-profit ventures, Las Páginas Verdes and EcoFest, and later on focused on creating programs for early stage social entrepreneurs. Within my time in New Ventures I also led the Latin America’s Impact Investing Forum (FLII) where I got the chance to learn more about the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region. This background gave me a good sensibility to understand its gaps and generate opportunities for its development.
How would you describe the ecosystem in Mexico?
It is young, exciting and challenging, a very interesting place to be right now, specially for those who thrive in changing environments and love building things from scratch. We are living a great moment to create and experiment while at the same time the offer of services and financing is becoming more strategic and specialized. I believe we are closer to see those “success stories” that will inspire a new generation of Mexican entrepreneurs.
Are social startups different from other startups?
Both share the basic trait of having passionate teams excited to bring new solutions for an existing problem or need and use technology to tackle it. The main difference is that the social startup is created with the intention of using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems, which means that its impact is as important as its revenues. Social startups make their “Why?”, the center of their strategic planning and operations. As mission-driven organizations, they comply to a set of impact indicators called Outputs, the direct results from their activities, and Outcomes, the effects of these activities in a mid term and a bigger scale.
What do you expect in the next 12 months?
Impact Hub is part of the task force that brought Sistema B to Mexico and is looking to certify +20 enterprises this year. I expect more enterprises, from startups to corporations getting involved in the process of becoming a BCorp, a rigorous certification that looks the organization’s governance, relationships with suppliers and employees, and social and environmental impacts to determine whether the business satisfies the triple bottom line approach of caring about business, people and planet while taking decisions.
What are the main challenges?
There is still a level of skepticism when talking about impact, people have used the term indiscriminately and a lot of misunderstanding between CSR activities, non-profits and social entrepreneurship, still prevails.
What change or result would bring the greatest benefits for the ecosystem?
I see a lot of untapped talent within corporations; professionals who could be innovation agents and transform business from within. These intrapreneurs typically need to strengthen core skills such as communication, decision-making and problem-solving, in order to fully leverage the support of their corporation and develop their initiatives. Addressing this need, we created SkillUp, our education programs to prepare change agents with the tools for 21st century challenges. We have already run two successful batches of SkillUp and additionally we are bringing League of Intrapreneurs (LOI) to Mexico, a global movement of change makers looking to inspire talent from within.
Describe your typical day
Impact Hub doesn’t give me the opportunity to stick to a regular schedule which is in great part what I love about my job. If I were to identify a constant within my days, I spend most of these coaching my team, creating and strengthening partnerships, and developing new projects.
Who is your favorite entrepreneur?
I feel very inspired by the Peruvian venture expanding in Mexico, Laboratoria, which is training young women living in very challenging conditions to become web developers and then connect them with employers.
A recent book do you recommend?
I’m reading Sheryl Sanberg’s Lean-In. A must-read for any woman who is trying to “balance” personal and professional life. A read that would also resonate with men who seek to amplify their understanding of women’s challenges and reflect on the importance of teaming up. The book makes a strong case for women in leadership roles and highlights the need to give better support for that to happen.
Last weekend I watched Where to Invade Next a documentary by Michael Moore. Smart, funny and very illustrative.
Smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop?
Laptop + Kindle (recent fan, I’m absolutely loving it).
iOS or Android?
Favorite social network?
Facebook, especially when it pops up “memories” from 9 years ago.
Good food + Breath-taking views + Loved ones.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
Professionally I want to expand SkillUp to other cities and new segments, including entrepreneurs, professional women and over-50s. On the personal side, first and foremost, to learn Italian, my boyfriend’s mother tongue; I’m starting classes next week.
One word that describes you?