Hi, I'm Sara and I make things happen.
I was born and raised in Guatemala. I graduated in Business Psychology at Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala in 2014. I've always been interested in understanding human behavior. My degree provided me with tools and insights that were helpful to be knowledgeable of how consumers decide and the effect that the design experience has on the process.
I had to work to pay my way through college and, in Guatemala, where there are few entry-level jobs for kids, this gave me the opportunity to become entrepreneurial.
I started working at my college in different areas. I began as a Reference Librarian in the library of UFM and then I was part of the content production team for their media division. Shortly after, I was offered to work at UFM's School of Business.
This opportunity, my first 'real' job, gave me the chance to apply a lot of what I learned in school. I started as a jack-of-all-trades, helping where I could. But soon I was made the main coordinator of Heuristica: a 12-week, hands-on, experiential program that takes entrepreneurs through the real process of creating a startup. We used tools like the Business Model Canvas, Design Thinking, and many others to help entrepreneurs through the validation process and to offer them the real experience of how to create and test a business model.
Heurística has offered 23 Boot Camps, and I worked on 20.
We customized our programs and designed a personalized experience for each segment. The main program was the Entrepreneurial Boot Camp, which I mentioned before. This project allowed participants to work on any idea. We also created a Boot Camp for teenagers to work on themselves as individuals and, specifically, their self-esteem. We also built partner programs focused on teaching how to develop "an entrepreneurial mindset" with other projects like the Culinary Academy of Guatemala, Acton MBA UFM, Michael Polanyi College and UFM's Entrepreneurship Degree.
I also worked organizing a Boot Camp focused on social entrepreneurship. It was 18 weeks long and focused on entrepreneurs creating a business solution to decrease the malnutrition index in Guatemala. We had special guests, including experts on the topic, and field trips for entrepreneurs to understand their customer and test their ideas. We hosted social entrepreneur Paul Polak as a guest who helped them along with their research and provided them with useful insights to create impact in this field. It was not only an amazing experience for the participants but also an eye-opening chance for me to understand the vast opportunities to solve problems in my country. I also became inspired to learn more tools like human-centered design to generate actionable ideas that have a big impact.
Each camp was a lot of work. I have learned to develop big strategies, how to handle complex logistics, planning and scheduling activities, contacting team members and arranging sessions, developing campaigns (in both Spanish and English), coordinating the application and selection process of participants, monitoring the sessions, creating a custom experience for each Boot Camp group and also planning cocktails and closure events for the programs that promote networking between entrepreneurs and the investor and mentor network.
We had a strong relationship with Entrepreneurs' Organization, a global business network leading entrepreneurs in 48 countries. This allowed me to work next to entrepreneurs from different industries and learn from their experiences and entrepreneurial tracks. We constantly planned activities to promote entrepreneurship together. One of our programs was the GSEA (Global Student Entrepreneur Award), which is the premier global competition for high school, undergraduate, and graduate students who own and operate businesses. In partnership with EO Guatemala, we supported student entrepreneurs who required mentorship, recognition, and connections to take their business to the next level.
In addition to Heuristica, I've worked for almost five years as the Marketing Coordinator of the Master’s Degree Programs for the UFM School of Business. I've created strategic planning through inbound and outbound marketing including online and printed national and international campaigns. I had to become a marketing design strategist to overcome the challenges we faced. I learned how to understand the customer experience of acquiring a Master's Degree in a time in which 1) the market is highly competitive, 2) marketing has become a more inbound process and 3) online platforms have become more efficient and predominant.
I'm used to an entrepreneurial life. My jobs had no specific schedule – they were measured by accomplished goals. I had to bootstrap in both jobs, giving me the chance to learn new skills like video editing and production that later opened doors to other opportunities.
Both of my jobs shared a common factor: to promote entrepreneurship in Guatemala as a way to propel the economy into the future. I had the opportunity to co-create with others, meet inspired people and learn constantly in an environment where trial and error was the motor to learn.
It was a challenge because it's hard to have two jobs, especially in the same organization. But it was also a good opportunity to learn from two different worlds: the traditional and the disruptive.
I love art, especially mosaics. I recycle old tiles to make them. Although I’m still learning, I've been part of an exposition and I've even sold some of my pieces. I also paint with oils and acrylics.
I’ve been part of different projects like Friends Around the World, a student exchange program for studying English abroad that consisted of a complete English language and cultural immersion in Minnesota, USA. I've also participated in CISV, a global, volunteer-led organization committed to working for a fairer and more peaceful world. As a leader at their camp in Norway, I developed greater respect and understanding for inter-cultural differences and similarities with people from the different countries involved. I also created long-lasting intercultural friendships.
I've also participated several times in TECHO, a nonprofit organization that volunteers to help communities by providing funding and construction of transitional homes in Latin America.
I believe that education is a pillar for a country's development. Like the saying goes "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”, for three years I've sponsored the education of Franklin Adan, a Guatemalan child, through Common Hope Organization. I visit him twice a year and maintain communication to know about his progress.
Through my life experiences, I’ve learned that I can’t ever stop learning. Although they may seem unrelated, my studies in psychology and work in marketing and entrepreneurship propelled my interest in the field of design.
In 2015, I participated in a design fellowship in NYC, focused on design thinking and sustainability. I’ve continued to study design with IDEO’s online courses and applied them in my professional and personal life.
I’ve continued to study design with online courses and applied them in my professional and personal life. I’ve also learned the fundamentals of coding online, worked with an American to prototype, design, and bring to market a unique line of artisan leather bags using traditional Guatemalan fabrics. And I also worked through numerous books on Design Thinking and service and experience design.
Last year I earned a MOFA Taiwan Scholarship, a competitive national scholarship awarded by the government of Taiwan, which allowed me to move to Taipei to study Chinese and later on pursue my Master’s Degree in the field of creative industries and design.
I am a very empathetic person, which helps me identify the talents and needs of others. I like to work with people and to be a resource on their journey to success. I am a doer: organized, focused, and hard-working. People can depend on me to stay late and to help them when they need it. I feel accomplished by what I’ve done so far and how I’ve helped others reach their goals. I am motivated by the impact I make in other people and inspired by the different stories I can be part of.