May 23, 2018 7:00 AM
Maria Pacheco. President, Wakami Global-Guatemala
Impact of Rotary on Women
Biography:  Mari was born in Guatemala and is a biologist, an entrepreneur and founder of the Wakami system. She is also a mother and a firm believer that collective dreams are unstoppable. My life’s work has been to find ways to link people who are stuck in cycles of poverty to markets that can create cycles of prosperity.
She comes from a country that suffered from a  32 year civil war in which much of the infrastructure of the country was destroyed.  The people who suffered the most during the war were always the women and children from our rural communities who faced violence, malnutrition and being displaced from their homes.  The challenges in my country seemed hopeless.
She is a graduate Cornell University as a Fulbright Scholar and with a Masters degree in biology but returned to her home country of Guatemala to help stop the cycle of poverty.
For 25 years Maria has created value chains for different communities that produced a variety of products that could connect these communities to the markets.  These included the Nativos S, A value chain which is now producing over $1 Million annually of fiber bands for Ron Zacapa rum products; the El Conejo de Sacalá wood products project employing over 500 people in helping the reforestation of Guatemala while also producing income from wood products; and Wakami, an international fashion accessories business which currently sell products produced by rural women in 13 countries around the world.
She is a founder of Vital Voices Central American network and the Guatemalan chapter, a member of the Vital Voices Global Advisory Council, the Leadership Initiative of the Aspen Institute and  partners with organizations such as the United Nations Foundation, USAID and Rotary International.
Please make sure to attend this powerful presentation and invite friends and colleagues.