After a rigorous recruitment process spearheaded by AIDA’s Board of Directors, Gladys Martínez de Lemos has accepted the position of AIDA Executive Director, effective immediately.
Gladys Martínez has a long trajectory with AIDA, having helped to build and strengthen the organization for the past 15 years. She is recognized as a positive, empathetic, and dynamic leader who believes deeply in AIDA, and encourages the team’s professional and personal growth. Throughout the recruitment process, entrusted to an independent search firm and involving a committee of representatives from the Board and AIDA team, Gladys proved herself to be the most qualified candidate for the position.
For the past eight years, Gladys has led AIDA’s Marine Biodiversity and Coastal Protection Program, overseeing its growth into a multidisciplinary team of attorneys and scientists advocating for species and ecosystem preservation, responsible management practices, and the protection of coastal communities. She has represented AIDA before international negotiating bodies, championed relationships with governments, and grown alliances with organizations and advocates across the Americas.
Gladys has a law degree from the University of Costa Rica and a master's degree in Environmental Security and Peace from the United Nations University for Peace. Most recently, she became a Kellog Executive Scholar in Nonprofit Management through Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.
"My journey with AIDA has been a great adventure for the defense of the people and natural places of Latin America," she said. "Important parts of my heart and mind were formed here at this organization and, now, I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead it into its next stage. Supported by my experience and the tools I’ve acquired in recent years, I’m looking forward to maximizing the talents of AIDA’s team and, together, advancing our efforts for environmental and climate justice on the continent.”
This executive leadership transition represents an important organizational evolution as AIDA shifts to a single executive director model following the departure of former co-director Astrid Puentes Riaño. In the new structure, the Board has named former co-director Anna Cederstav Chief Financial Officer. Anna will also serve as Deputy Executive Director to help continue growing and strengthening the institution. AIDA owes both Astrid and Anna a debt of gratitude for their 18 years of co-direction, and for having built AIDA into the dynamic regional organization it is today.
With the team’s knowledge, skills, and experience, and the strong foundation on which the organization is built, AIDA will continue to advance environmental and climate justice in Latin America and champion the systemic changes that the region, and the world, so desperately needs.