Mariano Reyna De León (Promoción 1996, Guatemala)
After graduating from EARTH in 1996 and then earning his MBA, Mariano returned to Guatemala to work with the ornamental plant, flower and foliage conglomerate, Grupo Matas. He has been there ever since, rapidly rising from positions in the production process to his current role as Corporate General Manager. As the GM, Mariano oversees the group’s businesses operating in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, and The Netherlands and is responsible for some 1,200 employees. Over his nine-year tenure leading the conglomerate, his focus on continually improving processes and yields—always accompanied by efforts to reduce the environmental impact and ensure the wellbeing of workers—has helped him grow the business and create new jobs.
“I’m always looking for opportunities to improve quality, control, and costs. By doing so, the business improves, our people improve, and shareholders are willing to invest in new projects that create jobs, which is what our countries need.”
Beyond his role with Grupo Matas, Mariano recently teamed up with another EARTH graduate to create ACAM (www.acam.com.gt), a culinary school in partnership with the Paul Bocuse Institute in France. Now in its fourth year of operation, it has 110 students from Central and South America and two classes of graduates. He is also in the process of setting up a foundation that will provide need-based scholarships for students to complete the program. Mariano has applied certain aspects of EARTH’s educational model to the culinary program, including opportunities for hands-on learning, the development of entrepreneurial skills and attitudes, and an emphasis on positive values.
“The best part about my alma mater is not only that it provides an excellent education, but that it inculcates values. In life, the most important thing for any professional, and what businesses value most, isn’t so much what you know but your attitude and values; to be someone who creates a positive environment so that everyone can contribute and develop their knowledge.”
Mariano is well aware that without the scholarship from the Kellogg Foundation to attend EARTH, he wouldn’t have been able to continue his studies and his life would be very different today. The opportunity to study at EARTH and his success since graduation have also set an example for the young people in his community as well, showing that there are ways and possibilities—thanks to institutions like the Kellogg Foundation—for them to achieve their dreams.
Now 20 years since graduating from EARTH, Mariano clearly sees the significance of his EARTH education.
“The impact that each EARTH graduate has in their place of work, in their city or country is very different from a person who graduates from any other institution. I recognize now that the values transmitted and learned make a big difference in the professional and personal life of everyone who graduates from EARTH.”