Maria Claudia Lacouture

For rebranding a country.

Maria Claudia Lacouture
Destination: Colombia Maria Claudia Lacouture has helped turn the country into a vibrant hub of technology and tourism. [Map: Carla Eráusquin Bayona]

“One of the challenges we have, and one of our greatest accomplishments, is to put Colombia in the eyes of everyone,” says Maria Claudia Lacouture, president of ProColombia. Under her watch, the country is shedding its reputation for drug-fueled violence to become a safe and popular travel destination. International tourism in Colombia has increased by 56% during Lacouture’s four-year tenure as president. Her next goal: make Colombia a world player in technology. In 2014, she launched the “Bring IT On” campaign to nurture homegrown techies. “It’s very interesting to see all the apps and things they can develop,” she says. IBM has opened a data center in Bogota; HP has a global services center in Medellin. The country’s information technology sector is now the third largest in Latin America, and is expected to double in the next three years.


Bonus Round

Where or how do you seek out creative inspiration?

Inspiration comes from all circumstances, which is why we should always be observant. It arises in the battlefield, from a situation needing an option, an issue needing a solution, an instruction demanding a response, or a necessity looking for new options. Sometimes stress also comes loaded with inspiration.

What’s your favorite Twitter or Instagram account and why? 

I follow President Juan Manuel Santos’ account because it is the first source of direction and inspiration.

What are some things you do to refresh your mind when you’re in a rut?

Our children are always the best excuse to “switch the chip.” I try not to allow stress to prevail, and do my best to surround myself with nice people, with a good sense of humor. It’s important to work hard, but always with optimism, as cheerfully as possible, and to not take anything personally. I am fortunate that my job evades a routine and I always have different subjects, with many issues and develop different activities.

About the author

Jessica Hullinger is a London-based journalist who covers science, health, and innovation. She currently serves as a Senior Editor at