Meet Listo Guatemala’s COO Ana Laura who leads with strength from empathy and solidarity

“This is my story”, Ana Laura Gisbert.

The birth of my third child, Juanes, was so complicated, I almost didn’t make it.

As you would imagine, a near-death experience changes everything, and it put me on the path of looking for purpose. In Guatemala, you don’t have to look very far. It is a beautiful country but also an unequal one, with 1 out of 2 children suffering chronic malnutrition and over 60% of the population living in poverty. I am one of the fortunate few here who had all the family support I could hope for and recovered. But recognizing how exceptional that is, deepened my solidarity with all Guatemalan women and children and formed my dream to become a changemaker.

My family attended a seminar at singularity university, with Peter Diamandis, in which I learned how to set moonshot goals in my life. While brainstorming with my husband and family, we recognized that Guatemala had the highest rates of chronic child malnutrition in Latin America and the Western hemisphere; Twice as high as much poorer countries such as Haiti, for example. And we spoke about how the lack of nutrients affects a child’s brain and physical growth and thereby limits all their future opportunities. I immediately knew I wanted to help. My heart pounded, and my brain couldn’t stop thinking about my life intentions.

The next day I got involved in a big campaign that was taking place called “Nútreme.” Its goal was to raise awareness on chronic malnutrition, to drive the demand for change among the Guatemalan civil society and private sector. I helped the marketing and communications team advocate about the topic with numerous local influencers to put the emergency of childhood malnutrition at the top of the minds and hearts of all.

The following month I met Lilli. She is the founder of Listo Guatemala, a social enterprise that democratizes access to nutrition. We sat together at a friend’s dinner party, and I was amazed at the effectiveness of solving the problem at hand. Her organization proposed introducing foods that prevent childhood malnutrition in rural stores and make them competitive and highly affordable.

Ana Laura (l.) and Lilli (r.), the COO and Founder of Listo Guatemala

Her first food Nutri Listo is not only a better product than anything in the market, but it also comes at a fraction of the cost.

The next day I called her, we met, we shook hands; I started helping Lilli. Today, we are official business partners for one of the most innovative, fast-growing, and impact-driven companies in Latin America.

I knew I could work hard, being a working mother of three. When I was younger, I supported myself and my family working as a designer in an architecture firm while studying architecture. So, I learned early on that I was able to support myself while managing other responsibilities.

Ana Laura with her three children and husband

After several years, I founded my interior architecture studio.2677 and started designing commercial spaces. I developed custom-designed furniture and trained myself on applying the now famous technique of merging unique hardwood pieces with epoxy resin. I did all this in my garage by myself and started selling them, first, door-to-door and then in retail.

So, I have my fair share of experience at risk-taking, proactivity, and building something from the ground up. At Listo Guatemala, I am in charge of managing public relations in the company, from communication channels to social media management. I also direct content creation on our various platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, and webpage. I help to manage relationships with corporate clients, non-profit organizations, and distributors in rural areas on the commercial side. I network with sponsors and potential investors to help fund the company and grow nutrition aid in the region.

I solve problems with creativity and empathy. As a mom-entrepreneur, I’m well-trained never to lose sight of important tasks and goals. I think things in life happen for a reason. I embrace Simon Sinek’s theory of infinite mindset. He started to see that many of the struggles that organizations face exist simply because their leaders were “playing” with a finite mindset in a game that has no end. In stark contrast, the leaders who embrace an infinite mindset, build stronger, more innovative, more inspiring organizations. They have the resilience to thrive in an ever-changing world. Ultimately, those who adopt an infinite mindset are the ones who lead the rest of us into the future. So, don’t expect the game to end, but I work with faith every day for the greater good.

Ana Laura teaching a group of mothers the importance of keeping a balanced diet

It gives me firm intention every day and keeps me incredibly motivated. I believe that it is essential to keep up my mission to help unlock the potential of thousands of Guatemalan children’s future and thereby for our entire country to become more just and prosperous for all.

Combatting chronic infant malnutrition