Cousiño Macul - Powerful Isidora Powerful Isidora – Cousiño Macul
Cousiño Macul



The strong woman of the Cousiño family

Isidora Goyenechea de Cousiño (1835-1898), was a woman who left an indelible mark on the history of Chile. Today we see her name stamped in an important street in the city and in the Cousiño Palace, the one that was the residence, the family monogram that she designed herself is still appreciated. The seal also remains in the isotype of the Cousiño-Macul Vineyard, which she directed in the second half of the 19th century.

She lived her childhood in Copiapó with her brother Eleuterio and her parents María de la Luz Gallo and Ramón Goyenechea, who was co-owner of “La Descubridora”, a silver mine located in Chañarcillo.

In 1841 her father dies, reason why the family moves to Santiago, city in which Isidora is educated at home. Years later, in 1855, she married Luis Cousiño, son of Matías Cousiño, who had worked with Ramón Goyenechea in the Chañarcillo mine. Together they take care of the family business, however, at the age of 37, Isidora is a widow and is in charge of managing the family fortune, becoming the first woman to run the Cousiño companies.

The legacy

Once widowed, Isidora carried a strict mourning, which she maintained throughout her life. She did not remarry and devoted herself exclusively to the care of her children and the management of family businesses.

She was a woman who always stayed attentive to the latest trends of the time, traveled long season to Paris, city where she educated her children. Although she was characterized by having refined tastes, she also had a great social conscience, being considered even as one of the pioneers in Corporate Social Responsibility. She raised works that endure to this day. In Lota she built two schools, in addition to an asylum for miners, two churches and “La Gota de Leche”, which was responsible for caring and deliver food to the children of the miners. She also founded a foster home for orphaned children, whose work continues today with the current Cottolengo Small Home.

Skilled for business, was visionary to implement advances that were revolutionary for the time. She contacted the American firm of Thomas Alva Edison for the creation of the first hydroelectric plant in Latin America, with the aim of lighting up the coal plant in Lota and its surroundings.

In the area of ​​aquaculture, she was the first Chilean businesswoman to introduce salmon eggs, and in the wine industry, in the Cousiño Macul vineyard, she made her own bottles for the sale of wine, becoming a precursor in the export of bottled wine in the country.

Attentive to all the affairs that occurred in the country, at the outbreak of the Pacific War, she made available her fleet of steamers for combat, making sure that the production of coal did not decrease to supply the ships with fuel. Due to this contribution, the National Congress awarded her a medal of honor.

Isidora was a woman with a broad business vision, anticipating her time on different fronts, including social, when considering a welfare state for her workers. Examples that undoubtedly serve today many modern entrepreneurs.