Bloomberg Línea — Bloomberg Línea on Monday published its 2022 edition of the 500 most influential in Latin America in 2022, a list of personalities who are energizing the region in a number of industries and whose influence has had a key impact during the past year.
The selection includes CEOs, founders, entrepreneurs, artists and social leaders from across the region who have become prominent players in their own fields and drivers of new initiatives in industries as varied as energy, retail, cosmetics, health, art and transportation, among others.
In total there are more than 170 women on the list. From CEOs and directors of large Latin American companies, such as Tania Cosentino, CEO of Microsoft Brazil; Claudia Woods, CEO of WeWork Latin America; Ana Sofía Sánchez, CEO of Waze Latin America; Silvia Penna, CEO of Uber Brazil; Paula Santilli, CEO of PepsiCo Latin America; and Laura Barnator, CEO of Unilever in Argentina and Uruguay.
There are also artists such as Brazilian singer and entrepreneur Anitta; Argentine singer and actress Tini Stoessel; Brazil’s youngest athlete and Olympic medalist, Rayssa Leal; Peruvian chef Pia Leon and Colombian chef Leonor Espinosa, considered the best female chefs in the world; as well as crypto-artist Fira.
Here is a brief overview of some of the women on the list, who are making an impact in the region:
Cristina Junqueira is the co-founder of Nubank, the largest fintech in Latin America. She began her career at Unibanco and has also worked at Itaú and LuizaCred. In 2013, together with partners David Vélez and Edward Wible, she launched the digital bank that reached a value of $30 billion following a capital injection from Berkshire Hathaway in June 2021. In 2020, Junqueira was the only Brazilian in Fortune magazine’s 40 Under 40 ranking of outstanding personalities under the age of 40.
Claudia Woods is the CEO of WeWork for Latin America, a position she has held since 2021, after being invited by Softbank, the controller of the office-sharing company. Before that she worked for two and a half years as CEO of Uber in Brazil. With a degree in economics from Bowdoin College in Maine, Woods has also worked for Original bank and car sales website Webmotors.
Ana Sofía Sánchez
Ana Sofía Sánchez has been with Waze for just over four years. As CEO of Latin America, she has promoted initiatives that seek to enable more women to develop their careers. Before joining the company, Sánchez was the second person Facebook hired in Mexico and for five years she served as director of business in Mexico and Central America for the social media company.
Nur Cristiani is the head of investment strategy in Latin America for JP Morgan. Cristiani is responsible for leading the strategy narrative and communication to clients and investors in the region. Prior to that, she served as head of equity strategy in Mexico for the company, and has also worked as emerging markets strategist for Credit Suisse and as portfolio manager for BBVA Latam.
Sylvia Dávila has chaired Latin American operations for Danone, one of the world’s largest food companies, for the past five years. Inflation is no stranger to her, as the company she is in charge of has seen price increases in its line of bottled water, carbonated beverages and dairy products. The company, along with other competitors, has been under fire for using thousands of cubic meters of water daily in the manufacture of its products at a time when some parts of Mexico are facing water shortages and drought.
Paula Santilli is CEO of PepsiCo Latin America and is recognized for being the first Argentine executive to reach such a position within an international company. She studied communications and developed her career in marketing, and has worked for companies such as Campbell Soup Company, Quaker Oats and Kellogg Company before joining PepsiCo 13 years ago and moving to Mexico 12 years ago.
Barbara Gonzalez assumed the role of CEO of Bitso in Mexico in June 2022, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchange platforms in Latin America. Since 2018, she has been in charge of the company’s finances as global CFO. Gonzalez managed the fundraising that enabled the Mexican fintech to reach unicorn status in 2021, with a valuation of $2.2 billion. Prior to joining Bitso, she worked at investment bank Lazard, leading M&A and capital markets.
A year after her official appointment as president of Cencosud, Heike Paulmann Koepfer has succeeded in taking the retail giant into the US market. Cencosud finalized the acquisition of The Fresh Market chain in July 2022, launching its entry into the United States. This was not its only million-dollar acquisition, as in parallel it closed the purchase of Giga Atacado in Brazil. In total, the company paid almost $800 million for the two companies.
Leonor has been named the best chef in the world due to her “unique cooking style”. In addition to her cooking skills, she is dedicated to social work with rural and indigenous communities. Although she shines in the kitchen, her training began in the plastic arts and economics.
Juana Barceló is the president of Barrick Pueblo Viejo and the first woman to head a mining company in the Dominican Republic. She joined the company in 2009 as legal director after having worked as a legal consultant for the mining project since its inception in 2003. She has extensive experience in the legal management of the mining, electricity, corporate tax and procurement sectors. Barrick Gold Corporation’s Pueblo Viejo mine continues to advance a plant expansion project and tailings storage facility designed to extend its life to 2040 and beyond.
Bloomberg Línea’s 500 Most Influential of Latin America shows that women are making their mark on the region and its future, from leadership positions and with innovative initiatives. View the complete list here.