Your NameGuadalupe de la Mata
Cohort AssignmentEurope Summer-Fall 2023, Cohort 1
1. What do you see as your primary work at this stage of your life?

For the past 25 years, my career has been dedicated to catalyzing positive change and addressing societal and environmental challenges through development finance. I've channelled my efforts into supporting projects, individuals, and organizations committed to tackling these issues. My work primarily unfolded within multilateral organizations, focused on reducing poverty, generating employment opportunities, particularly in developing nations, and combatting climate change. This path was driven by the intention to mitigate these challenges, but it led me to a crucial realization.
Having spent significant time within this system, I've identified a pivotal role that resonates with where I am and who I am right now. I aspire to initiate a transition from simply addressing the symptoms of the problems to envisioning and cultivating an alternative way of life, work, and existence on this planet. This entails shifting from a focus on reactive problem-solving within existing institutions to actively imagining and manifesting a reality where human well-being is elevated, suffering is minimized, and the delicate balance of our planet's survival is secured.
I am exploring new ways to do it and learning from people who are working in this transition.

2. What role do you see as yours to play?

I want to be part of the transition as a connector and supporter.

3. What goals or aims do you have in regard to the above?

I aim to be involved in projects that redefines our relationship with the planet, one another, and ourselves. This intention will involve 1) supporting existing projects aligned with this objectives through finance (as business angel) 2) support through involvement in lthe governance of projects and initiatives aligned with these objectives and 3) co/creating a center or institute that operates at the intersection of research, training, and consultancy. Through these 3 goals, I intend to influence and empower global leaders, board members, and CEOs to recalibrate their mindsets, driving systemic changes within institutions. The ultimate aspiration is to establish a culture where human flourishing and planetary well-being are intrinsic to our way of life.

4. Where do you feel your next arenas for personal growth are?

I see many areas of personal growth. The three main ones are:
• Deepening inner transformation
While I have made significant strides in aligning my personal evolution with the needs of our planet, I feel there is always room for deeper inner transformation. Working further with practices such as mindfulness, meditation, and introspection can help me further refine my understanding of myself and the world around me.

• Embrace vulnerability
To catalyze meaningful change, it's essential to connect authentically with others. Embracing vulnerability and opening myself to honest and transparent interactions will allow for more profound connections and collaborations that can amplify the impact of my efforts. I have started working on this especially in the last 2 years and would like to continue this exploration.

• Cultivate resilience and courage
The journey of driving change can be challenging and filled with uncertainties. Strengthening my resilience and adaptability will help me navigate setbacks, learn from failures, and keep moving forward with unwavering determination. Also, I need to find the courage to overcome my fears.

• Spiritual Growth
Exploring the spiritual dimensions of our existence can provide a deeper sense of purpose, meaning, and interconnectedness. Integrating spiritual practices into my journey can enrich my capacity to drive positive change from a place of profound understanding.

5. And for professional growth?

Professionally, I am at transition moment. Transitioning from a career within established multilateral organizations to becoming independent demands new skills and perspectives. The process involves unlearning certain paradigms and acquiring fresh knowledge that facilitates transformation from outside the system. This journey will empower me to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, navigate uncharted territory, and transcend the fear of uncertainty and insecurity that I am currently facing.

6. What have you invested in to get you where you are?

Over the past 25 years, my commitment to social change, impact investing, and social entrepreneurship has been my primary investment. I have dedicated my life, my career, most of my time to get to where I am today. I've worked hard and made personal decisions based on my commitment to have an impact.
In the last decade, I intensified my investment in learning, both as student and as teacher. I actively engaged with institutions such as the Presencing Institute, Impact Hub Madrid, and various universities.

7. What fields of learning and which thinkers have been important in your life?

In the initial stages of my career, which started 25 years ago, authors and activist like Yunus and Bill Drayton ignited my passion for social impact, inspiring me to get involved in the areas of microfinance, impact investing, and social innovation. Their pioneering work laid the foundation for my commitment to driving positive change through my work at International Multilateral organisations and social projects. My quest led me to pursue an MPhil in Sustainable Development and Economic Growth, which deepened my exploration of innovative solutions for intricate social and economic challenges. I also engaged in a Development Economis at the Londo School of Economics, where I met inspiring thinkers like Amartya Sen and discovered the works of Schumacher, Elinor Ostrom, and Esther Duflo, among others.
=Building upon the insights of Clayton M. Christensen and drawing from my experience in impact projects (where we had to formulate theories of change and design impact indicators). I started tracking the impact of my work in ratios and numbers (eg. I leveraged approximately EUR 6 billion in impact investments and projects in 35 countries, I supported 25 social enterprises as a business angel, I contributed to the strategy and leadership of 7 aligned non-profit organizations), As an adjunct professor, I also imparted knowledge in areas such as microfinance, impact investing, and, more recently, collaborative negotiations and leadership, reaching around 3000 students from around the world. Also, I decided to capture and learning and my interest through my blog,, fostering discussions and collaborative endeavors. The blog has received about 600 000 visits since its creation.
=Around 12 to 13 years ago, a transformative phase began, broadening my focus to encompass a holistic understanding of transformation. I realised that focusing on numbers and on trying to correct the current economic system to mitigate inequality and our impact on the planet was not enough. I started to feel that we need a different kind of shift one that leads us to rethink our own belives about what is important in life and what is good for our communities and the planet. While my involvement in impact investing and the private sector persisted, I was deeply influenced by explorations into human consciousness and change. The principles of Otto Scharmer's U Theory, Peter Senge's systems thinking, Joseph Jaworski's visionary insights, and active participation in communities like Presencing Institute or SOL equipped me with frameworks to navigate systemic shifts. Guided by models such as the Art of Hosting and Appreciative Inquiry (David Cooperrider), my ability to facilitate dialogues, collaborations grew.
Throughout this journey, a central question remained in me: Who must I become to catalyze impactful change and align my personal evolution with the needs of our planet? This question got me into a journey of self-discovery, involving meditation, well-being practices, and personal growth. I read, followed and did trainings with authors and experts to enriched my understanding. I also went through therapy and coaching to better understand my triggers and limiting believes.
-A pivotal juncture arrived as I authored "Be the Change," a book seamlessly intertwining personal happiness with social impact. This work explores the relationship between individual well-being and societal transformation. I followed the work and trainings from Viktor Frankl, Seligman, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on Positive Psychology and got certified as ontological coach, reading books from Maturana, Echevarria, Whitmore, and Margaret Wheatley, among many others. My commitment to ongoing research continues to broaden my perspective and fortify my capacity to drive meaningful change.
-Over the last three years, my exploration has shifted toward regenerative approaches. Encounters with influential figures like Satish Kumar, Rob Hopkins and John Hardman and participation in programs at Schumacher College and UPEACE have deepened my understanding of co-creating an emerging future and regenerative leadership.
Enrolling in a Global Leadership Diploma at UPEACE and an Executive Leadership Certificate at Oxford University (SAIS) expanded my toolkit to assess new approaches against conventional ones. As I stand at this juncture, I am seeking additional tools, clarity, inspiration and support to embark on a new phase of contribution.

8. Can you frame your philosophy or cosmology of life? What role(s) do humans play in it?

My philosophy of life revolves around the interconnectedness and interdependence of all living beings and the natural world. I perceive life as a web of relationships, where each entity, contributes to the balance that sustains our planet. In this view, humans are both integral participants and custodians of this web.
I believe that humans have a unique role as conscious beings capable of self-awareness, complex thought, and ethical discernment. With this uniqueness comes the responsibility to contribute positively to the well-being of the planet and all its inhabitants. Our capacity to shape the world around us, both through our actions and our intentions, grants us the power to create meaningful change.
However, this power also carries a weighty obligation to act as stewards rather than dominators. We must recognize that our actions have consequences. It is our duty to make choices that honor the value of every being and the health of our planet. Our role is not one of exploitation, but rather of harmonious coexistence and nurturing.
Central to my philosophy is the understanding that inner transformation is the catalyst for external change. By cultivating our own consciousness, empathy, and compassion, we can positively influence the world around us.
Humans also have the capacity to envision and work toward a more just, equitable, and sustainable world. We can harness our creativity, innovation, and collective intelligence to find solutions to complex challenges like poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation. Our role is to be catalysts for positive change, leveraging our potential to shape a future that values all life forms and respects the delicate balance of nature.
In essence, my philosophy sees humans as conscious co-creators, tasked with nurturing the interconnected web of life. We must embrace our role as caretakers, recognizing that our well-being is intertwined with the health of the planet. Through inner transformation, conscious actions, and collective efforts, we can embody the change we wish to see and contribute to the flourishing of all beings on Earth.

Date CreatedSeptember 11, 2023