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18th National Trails Symposium Quad Cities October 19-22, 2006

About Gil Penalosa

Guillermo (Gil) Penalosa, MBA, will be a featured speaker at the National Trails Symposium.


Guillermo (Gil) Penalosa is a senior executive with an M.B.A. from UCLA and 22 years of managerial experience in the public and private sectors. Global thinker and marketing strategist with various experiences in Canada and Latin America, in fields such as sports, recreation, events, parks, strategic planning, and international business. Proven effectiveness in achieving results through an enthusiastic entrepreneurial spirit, marketing savvy and customer service. Passionate about Sports, Recreation, Physical Activity, Parks and Trails, because of their contribution to improve the quality of life for everyone. Leads by example; possess superior communication, strong managerial skills and team building ability to generate great results.



Planning Advisor, Community Services (December 2002 &endash; present)

  • Currently leading Placemaking, creating Great Public Places at the City Centre.
  • Currently working on multi-departmental Strategic Initiatives: City for the 21st Century.
  • Manager of the Recreation and Parks 30 year Master Plan (2003-2004).
  • Manager of the Outdoor Recreation Facility Study (2003-2004).

WALK & BIKE FOR LIFE, Oakville, Ontario, Canada -

President (2005 - present)

Created this not-for-profit organisation to promote Walking and Cycling as activities and Parks and Trails as facilities. Its objectives evolve from the strong linkage between Walking and Cycling to Health, Recreation, Transportation, Environment, Economic Dev.

  • Has done presentations in multiple countries such as Denmark, Poland, Italy, Mexico, Colombia, and various cities in the US and Canada.
  • Elaborates and distributes e-letter every 3 weeks sent to city leaders and enthusiasts on sports, recreation, parks, trails and physical activity.

PROEXPORT, Toronto, Canada. Trade Commissioner for Canada (1999 - 2002)

Reported to the Minister of International Trade and to the President of Proexport. Responsible for promoting exports to Canada, achieving 20%+ sales increases per year.

  • Led several new business development initiatives that are now generating between one and fifteen million dollars in exports each, in various sectors.
  • Organised seminars in all major cities of Canada and Colombia, and delivered presentations at each promoting the benefits of bilateral trade.
  • Analysed economical, marketing, political, technological, cultural and financial factors of global projects in order to identify and facilitate trade opportunities.


Consultant to the President on Parks, Sports and Recreation (1997 - 1999)

Reported to the President of the Chamber. Worked closely with the Board of Directors. Represented the CCB at the newly created Parks Committee, where I was the Chair; this committee was responsible for the implementation plan of a $250 million parks project.

  • Formulated the City's Master Plan, integrating parks for all needs, from metropolitan to neighbourhood and from passive to sports oriented. Prioritised needs of residents.
  • Co-ordinated the integration of parks, sports and recreation projects at the various government levels, municipal and national, as well as with the private enterprise.
  • Organised the first international seminar on parks, with the participation of nine leading speakers from North America and Europe and an attendance of 1,100 people.
  • Developed strategies that generated new resources from sponsors and partnerships.

"PENALOSA FOR MAYOR" - (brother).

General Manager (1997) - South America

Involved in all strategic process of the successful "Penalosa for Mayor" campaign

  • Recruited and assigned tasks to hundreds of volunteers, whose unpaid and efficient work was crucial in meeting the goals on time and on budget.
  • Co-ordinated working groups on studying specific issues that produced specific recommendations in the areas of recreation, transportation and city budget.
  • Designed marketing and communications research and strategy.


Commissioner of Sports, Recreation and Parks (1995 &endash; 1997). South America

Reported to the Mayor of Bogotá (pop. 7 million). Worked closely with the Mayor and other members of Cabinet, especially with colleagues from Finance and Urban Planning.

  • Transformed corporate culture from a bureaucratic orientation to a service focus, through an internal educational process and implementing indicators for all the activities.
  • Selected as "Best City Senior Manager" in 1996 by the most prestigious newspaper.
  • Created many recreational events, from small neighbourhood activities to major events such as the Summer Festival with over 100 activities and attendance of 3 million people.
  • Consolidated the most important urban park in the country, Simon Bolivar. Re-designed the Master Plan for its 360 hectares, renovated the 30% that was operating and constructed the central park area of 113 hectares which now has over 6 million visitors per year.
  • Built 3 metropolitan parks, 15 zone parks, 180 neighbourhood parks, and designed approximately 50 zone and 600 neighbourhood parks.
  • Board member of the World Cycling and World In-line Skating Championships.
  • Constructed the best sports training facility in the country, including track and field, in-line skating and cycling stadiums, as well as many indoor facilities for specific sports.


President (1985 - 1992) South America

  • Presided over an "event enterprise" that produced and/or broadcasted concerts, theatre shows, contests, sport events such as Tour de France and World Soccer Cup.
  • Spearheaded a recovery of the oldest television production and broadcasting company.


  • M.B.A. University of California at Los Angeles, U.S.A.
  • B.A. (Administration) Colegio Estudios Superiores de Administracion, Colombia.
  • Political Science (2 years) at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, U.S.A.


  • Speaker: Has spoken at multiple events. Recent ones include: Keynote speaker at International Sport and Culture Association's World Congress, Copenhagen, Denmark; University of Toronto's Communication and Aging Symposium; International Forum on Recreation and Sport, Bogotá, Colombia; seven presentations in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Parks, Recreation and Quality of Life; Cycle Ontario Symposium; TAFISA's World Congress, Warsaw, Poland, on Parks, Public Spaces and Urban Life; various presentations on Placemaking in Mississauga and Cambridge, Ontario; various presentations in Ontario on Walking & Cycling: Beyond Fun and Games; Gathering of Greenways Leadership, Detroit, USA; Great Public Places/Great Public Health, Rotary Clubs Mississauga; Placemaking for Parks, Parks and Recreation Ontario, Niagara. World-Class Park System and also Parks that Work, both in Atlanta, USA; moderated session on Greenways at NRPA's Urban Parks Summit, Chicago, May, 2006. Invited by American Trails Association to be the closing Keynote at their 2006 International Symposium.

  • Participant: Attended multiple seminars on Sports, Parks, Culture, Recreation and Urban Development, in North and South America, Europe and Japan.


  • Awards: Ontario Trails Council, 2006 Trail Builder Award; City of Mississauga's Corporate Award for Excellence, the Kirk French Spirit Award, 2005; Colombia's Ministry of Education and Sport, medal of High Honour, for Innovation, Leadership and Development in area of Sports, Recreation and Parks. Association of National Media, medal of Excellence, for Enterprising Television Production and Broadcasting.

  • Advisory Committees/Associations: Past Chair of Oakville's Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee and past member of the Environmental Strategic Plan Task Force. Appointed by the Halton Region's Council to their new Cycling Committee. Member of Ontario and Canada's Parks and Recreation associations; member City Parks Alliance.

Where to find it:


Won by Joe Walker, from Denton, Texas:




Updated November 19, 2006

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