Lorena Vásquez: A life less ordinary

From there, Vásquez worked her way up the hierarchy and she has worked hard to improve opportunities for women in Guatemala.


“We value the role of women at Zacapa,” says Vásquez. “For example, in quality control I prefer to have women because I feel they have more attention to detail. I think men generally want to be more active whereas women can have more patience.”

She believes growing up on a farm gave her the opportunity to develop her nose and pallet for rum blending, and now she wants to help local women in less fortunate positions.

Ron Zacapa now employs 700 Guatemalan women who use a traditional technique of weaving palm leaves together, originally to create baskets or hats, to form a patterned band which goes around every bottle of Zacapa 23. The women are given the freedom to do this work at home so they do not have to leave their families, a condition put forward by Vásquez.

For a women who has experienced so much, travelling has naturally become a big part of her life. Vásquez’s daughter works in finance and her son is an interior and furniture designer in Florida, so between visiting her grandchildren in the US and her mother in Nicaragua every two months, her other travel has become her hobby.

“I like to travel to different places and enjoy totally different cuisines. Anything from Italian to Chinese, even fish and chips. But not cold sandwiches.”

“You only live once, so you must eat well.”

Through all of her experiences in younger life, Vásquez’s mental strength is admirable, and there are no signs of weakness.

“If you like what you do, show passion and work hard then anything is possible,” she says. “I don’t know when I will retire. Probably when I don’t have the strength to continue.”