Maria Fernanda Gandara is a 25 years old Mexican passionate about entrepreneurship 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 and became a Social Development Consultant. 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. In 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 was honored to become a member of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Community. In October 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 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 the presidential candidates and achieving 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 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. This summer 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. Additionally in 2013 she attended the One Young World Summit in South Africa and graduated from Architecture School at Tecnologico de Monterrey. Recently Maria joined Naranya Ventures a seed capital fund for mobile tech startups as manager of Naranya Knowledge. Maria loves the colors of Mexican markets, the flavors of French food, the history behind architecture and the diversity of culture. Having friends in 120 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 clubs, classes, events and summits.