Maria Fernanda Gandara Gil is a 26 years old Mexican passionate about technology and social impact.
It was in 2010 when Hurricane Alex hit Monterrey that she saw the impact she could print on a needy society. She decided to make a career in social development and became the most accomplished student of a program called Leadership for Social and Sustainable Development where she learned methodologies to design and evaluate social impact projects.
She worked in CSR at Sigma Alimentos and as an answer of Mexico's statistics of childhood obesity she designed and implemented a project that promoted healthy lifestyles in children of low-income communities, the employees of the company are now replicating the final model of the project in different sites.
On September 2011 Maria was sponsored by American Express to be Mexico’s Delegate in One Young World Zurich 2011, since then she is one of the most active ambassadors of this world known summit for young global leaders.
In September 2011 she also was honored to become a member of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Community.
Later in 2011 she started to coordinate Dignity Days in private and public schools where she has been empowering kids with Dignity while collaborating with different organizations, in March 2012 she was honored by H.R.H. Crown Prince Haakon of Norway as Monterrey's City Chair for Global Dignity.
On the 21st of February 2012 she coordinated in Mexico Wake Up Call a global call for leaders to take action for positive change where she joined 84 countries by addressing Mexico's presidential candidates through social media. She created a channel for them to listen to youth and achieved thousands of followers across the country.
It was in April 2012 when Maria was selected to participate in the World Economic Forum on Latin America 2012 where she was the youngest participant attending the event that had place in Puerto Vallarta Mexico.
From December 2011 to January 2013 Maria worked at IGNIA an impact investing venture capital firm that supports the founding and expansion of high growth social enterprises that provide quality goods and services to the base of the socio-economic pyramid in Mexico.
In October 2012 she attended the third edition of One Young World in Pittsburgh where she coordinated different Breakout and Night Owl Sessions.
In March 2013 she was featured in the UK edition of Vanity Fair with Professor Muhammad Yunus and David Jones and led the 1st and only Mexican team of social entrepreneurs that participated in the 2013 edition of the Hult Prize a prize that has been named by TIME one of the Top 5 initiatives to change the world and by BusinessWeek the Nobel Prize for Business Schools.
In the summer of 2013 Maria spent 6 weeks in Silicon Valley studying at Draper University an unconventional world-class boarding school created by venture capitalist Tim Draper for the brightest young entrepreneurs from around the world.
Back in Mexico Maria founded Agencia de Cambio an impact consulting company for SMEs. Later in 2013 she was sponsored to attend the One Young World Summit in Johannesburg and joined Lean In to empower young women leaders.
On December 2013 she graduated from Architecture School at Tecnologico de Monterrey and joined Naranya Ventures a seed stage venture capital fund for tech startups as Knowledge Manager and Startup Analyst with the objective of growing the mobile startup ecosystem in Latin America.
In 2014 she was selected by the World Economic Forum as a member of the Global Shapers Advisory Council on Interactions to make sure that young people “seat at the table” in a global scale, and to be part of UN Women's Civil Society Advisory Group for Latin America and the Caribbean.
In September 2014 Maria moved to Mexico City to support Mexico's Open Data and Open Government initiatives. Since then she has been working to foster the use of Open Data and new technologies for natural disasasters response.
Later in 2014 she joined the Global Shapers Community Mexico City Hub where she has been elected to lead the Hub as Curator.
In April 2015 Maria started to work actively with UN Women as an advisor of the regional Director.
In May 2015 she attended the World Economic Forum on Latin America that had place in Riviera Maya, Mexico. And in August 2015 she participated in the Global Shapers Community Annual Curators Meeting that had place at the World Economic Forum Headquarters in Geneva.
Maria has been invited to speak to different national and international events. She loves to share her story and the experiences she has had in her journey to inspire people to take action for positive change.
She loves the colors of street markets, the diversity of festivities, the history behind architecture and the possiblities that technology brings. Having friends in more than 140 countries makes her a truly global citizen.
María has been invited to speak to different elementary schools, high schools, universities and organizations.
She loves to share her story and the experiences she has had in her journey to inspire other people to take action for positve change.
Her talks about leadership, entrepreneurship, dignity, women empowerment, activism, social impact, networking, social media and wisdom have taken place in many clubs, classes, events and summits.