maria clara

Fabulous People: Maria Clara Ruiz Zapata

Maria Clara Ruiz Zapata is the founder of Madison-based specialty coffeeshop, Estación Colombia. The mission of Estación Colombia is to not only expose Wisconites to incredible Colombia coffee but to increase the income of small-scale growers and promote sustainable travel and cultural exchange. Learn about Maria Clara Ruiz Zapata…

First job: Head veterinarian at a large beef ranch in the tropical lands of Colombia. I was on a horse eight hours a day under the sun, having adventures and medically treating animals. I loved it! I was enjoying it so much that within my first months I could not believe that they paid me to do it.

Favorite ways to spend your free time in WI: Seeing the outdoors, enjoying nature and exploring new places here. There are so many wonderful natural places in Wisconsin! Also, I am grateful for the kind and fun people I have met in Wisconsin. I enjoy spending my time with friends, mentors and loved ones. 

Your biggest accomplishment and why: To me, my biggest accomplishment has changed over time. This year, my biggest accomplishment is just to trust that everything will be fine.

The biggest obstacle you overcame: One of my biggest obstacles has been to want things to go my way and only that way. It is hard to stop being stubborn and allow self criticism to construct you better.  

Maria Clara Ruiz Zapata and family on a coffee farm

Someone who inspires you and why: Fráncia Márquez and many like her from Colombia, my home country. She was the 2018 Goldman prize winner. Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world and the most dangerous one to be an environmentalist. Her activism against illegal gold mining and continued efforts to protect the environment are brave and inspiring.

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: My advice is trust that you can make the most out of what is happening. Being an entrepreneur means that things will go wrong and won’t go as planned. What matters is how to handle it and keep pushing through it.

Favorite quote: “You can always start over one and a thousand times.” –Pepe Mujica

Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: Because I love the outdoors, I believe someone that knows me will be surprised to learn that I hated to camp until few years ago.

What makes someone fabulous: To be themselves unapologetically and know the difference between that and being narrow-minded.

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