San Jose Women of Influence
BY DAVID WALKER
Maria Lindenberg is the daughter of Italian immigrants to Canada – neither of whom had gone beyond a Grade 6 education. They proudly watched as Maria graduated from the University of Manitoba with an Honors Commerce degree – the first of their extended families to graduate with a post-secondary degree.
What happened next was a brilliant 35-year career to the top of the oil industry as the Chief Procurement Officer for Chevron. A hands-on, A-type personality, she wisely used her time in the corporate world for ongoing learning in best practices, teamwork, leadership, cultural flexibility and rigorously relating the activities to be done to the goal to be accomplished. Her philosophy both at Shell and Chevron was to learn first, then reason with good communication skills, and finally, as any good practitioner does, apply.
Maria and her husband Brian got off a plane here in Los Cabos 32 years ago and within hours had said yes to a timeshare presentation that they had sought out! That investment was quickly seized with multiple annual trips here to provide refreshment, relaxation, and renewal.
In 2010 the big R question popped up while on a beach walk in San Jose. What were they going to do in retirement? That was when they seized on another opportunity here and made the decision to build a home in Compestre. Fast forward to 2017 with satisfying careers in the rear-view mirror. Winters in San Jose del Cabo beckoned.
In the charity of Liga Mac, Maria found an environment to continue to apply her many skills to a mandate in which she had both a passion and a personal connection – Changing Lives Through Education.
In her first three years, Maria used that unstoppable energy to volunteer to teach English as a Second Language and join Liga MAC’s Board of Directors.
Three years ago, she agreed to become Board President. In this position, alongside fellow Board members, Executive Director Elva Haro, staff members Consuelo and Karen, and Liga MACs many volunteers, she now can help the hundreds of children in San Jose who are “at risk” of leaving school due to financial, social, and well-being difficulties. Liga Mac provides educational support programs, medical assistance, and social and financial support to children and their families. These folk have a passion to help take the charity to the next level. A new learning center is being built and is scheduled to open by the end of 2023 with fundraising now focused on classroom furniture, computers and educational scholarships.
Currently, one of her joys is to help grow a thriving volunteer base. Beyond the visible volunteers, one sees at the Liga MAC Donation/Thrift Centre, Organic Market outreach booths or who facilitate their well-known ESL program, it’s looking into the eyes of a potential new volunteer and asking, “What would you like to do? How can you help Liga MAC?” In the capable hands of Maria, the Liga MAC Board, staff and its many volunteers, San Jose will be a better place, benefiting all of us.
ISABELLE ANN TIBERGHIEN
Isabelle Ann Tiberghien visited Los Cabos in 1990 and fell in love with it. But how different it was back then. Peaceful, quiet, and small. The road from the airport was dirt and there were no Q tips to be found anywhere!
Now living in the beautiful neighborhood of La Jolla, it was thirty years ago Isabel Ann saw an opportunity. She founded the Body and Therapy business which also offered counselling in nutrition and personal fitness training.
What has not changed to this day? Isabelle Ann’s bottomless energy, work ethic and unsurpassed love and care for the animals of San Jose Del Cabo. In those early days, with no car, she would go to the barrios and feed the hungry, stray dogs, help to spay, and neuter those that were not, and educate the families on the proper care and handling of their pets. The other thing that has not changed is her unswerving commitment to live a life of integrity.
In 1998, she formalized her rescue mission. It is now called Baja S.A.F.E., a non-profit humane society that is run 7 days a week, seemingly 24 hours a day by Isabelle Ann and her many handpicked volunteers.
Isabelle Ann is a networker extraordinaire. Her phone is constantly vibrating with veterinary clinic arrangements, foster care needs (currently there are 36 dogs in care) and most importantly, finding and arranging adoption opportunities for stray dogs. (Best estimate to date is that over 1,200 dogs without homes have now been adopted).
Rarely a day goes by that Isabelle Ann, along with those handpicked workers, does not have a clinic running somewhere in town. Without education and daily clinics, manned by qualified veterinarians, the situation would be much worse. One non-spayed female who will deliver 11 puppies will then ruin the block neighborhood program for one year. Currently, Isabelle Ann needs to raise an average of $5,500 per month just for veterinarian bills.
It’s Isabelle’s passion that stands out when you meet her. Whether it’s purchasing food or even toys for deprived families with their dogs or working with those from Canada and the United States to transport those pets by airplane to their forever homes, this doer is constantly on the go somewhere in San Jose.
The recognition certificate reads in part: To Giovanna Julieta Romero Posadas…For being an outstanding woman in the Municipality of Los Cabos and who, thanks to her tenacity, entrepreneurship, struggle, and love for our region, has raised the value and importance of women for our development. (As presented by the Municipal Coordination of Human Rights of Los Cabos).
A business opportunity combined with a better environment to raise a family brought Giovanna and her husband, Fernando, and son to San Jose del Cabo 15 years ago from Mexico City. They founded Trans VIP Luxury Transfers for airport transfers, ground transportation and private chauffeur services.
But the above recognition from the city of San Jose del Cabo several weeks ago also included Giovanna’s love for women’s fitness. Ten years ago, along with six other women, she began to run in the early mornings. The women had careers as well as families to raise, thus the early start times. The initial goal was to run a 5k road race together, then 10k and so on. The group was named Esos Locos or the crazy ones. These women enjoyed the freedom that came from those early morning runs, the sense of time for themselves, to show together they could accomplish their running goals and to start their day with a special shared companionship. It became an opportunity to meet other people of like minds and careers. Before Covid, the group grew to over 150 people!
Giovanna continued to improve her distances and ran her first marathon in Torreon, Mexico in 2013. She has been unstoppable since. With many smaller road races and 9 marathons (including San Francisco and Chicago), Giovanni has been an amazing example to the women of San Jose. Having also helped start the now-popular Baja Karbon restaurant in San Jose just prior to the pandemic, Giovanna transferred that finish line dedication to her work.
The best lesson Giovanna has learned is that in “friendship running”, we see the need for each other. She loves to see groups of women take and own the early morning streets of San Jose and show the rest of the community what can be done.