Guayana Páez-Acosta has 18+ years of professional practice and a unique set of experiences and skills related to social change, collaborative research, planning and management and institutional partnership building.
She holds a Master of Science in Environment and Sustainable Development from University College London, UK, and graduated in Sociology -first in class- from Andres Bello Catholic University, Venezuela.
Guayana’s primary focus has been facilitating institutional collaborations and designing and implementing interventions in support of organizations and field programs that seek to contribute to sustainable development in Latin America.
She is both an experienced leader and a team player, who has held positions with international non-governmental organizations, philanthropic foundations, and scientific institutions, including, Avina Americas, Fundación Avina, Conservation International, the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Global Ecology Department-DGE at Stanford University, Fundación Tierra Viva and the Center for Development Studies-CENDES at Venezuela’s Central University. She has also consulted for Ecology & Environment S.A., the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Porticus Latin America, Fundación Avina and UNESCO’s South-South Cooperation and Sustainable Development Program.
She is the Founder and CEO of Athena – Lab for Social Change, a force-for-good social business that promotes the wellbeing & sustainable development connection in the Americas by developing initiatives under innovative approaches, and supports an increased awareness of the positive catalytic role we have as inhabitants of our shared world, providing qualified advice and service to philanthropy, for-profit and non-profit organizations.
During her adult life, she has developed a consistent yoga and meditation practice, which have been catalytical for her experiencing a sense of well-being detached from worldly affairs. She strongly believes that “as a species, living more sustainably will only be possible if we develop more intimate, meaningful, authentically personal ways of connecting to ourselves, our fellow human beings, our surroundings, and the Earth. A sense of wholeness and purpose then unfolds that makes us receive with gratitude the opportunity of being alive and that impels us to give back”.