Announcing the 2018 Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative

Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI)

The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) empowers innovative business and social entrepreneurs from Latin America and the Caribbean to strengthen their capacity to advance their entrepreneurial ideas and effectively contribute to social and economic development in their communities through four-week U.S. fellowships and entrepreneurship training. YLAI is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. WorldOregon is coordinating fellowships for 12 YLAI Fellows from September 22 – October 20, 2018 in Portland, Oregon. Learn more about this innovative program

Meet this year's Fellows:

2018 YLAI Fellow Biographies – Portland, Oregon

Diana Schvarztein is the Co-Founder and Director of Financial Inclusion Partners (FIP), the first network of professionals dedicated to promoting financial inclusion to alleviate poverty in Argentina. FIP aims to improve the state of financial inclusion in Argentina by undertaking research projects and training programs in the country. Diana is currently a professor in the Financial Inclusion, Microfinance, and Development postgraduate program at the Universidad Católica Argentina. She has a Master’s degree in Microfinance from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

Ester Athanásio is the Founder and Manager of Depropósito Comunicação Integrada, a Brazilian communications firm. Focused on serving organizations that run social impact initiatives, Depropósito Comunicação offers communication support by providing the media tools, training, content production assistance, and consulting necessary to ensure its clients’ causes are visible and well-received. Ester has worked as a Press Officer for Página 1 Comunicação and is currently a professor at the Federal University of Technology-Paraná. She has a Master’s degree in Communications and a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the Federal University of Paraná.

Valentina Suarez is the Co-Founder of Women in Management, a Chilean organization dedicated to advancing women in corporate leadership. Women in Management provides consulting services, seminars, workshops, and networking events that equip its clients with important skills and knowledge to obtain management positions. Valentina is currently a Project Manager for Pragmaxion Consulting and previously worked in Administration for Codelco. She received her MBA from the University of Chile and a Graduate degree in Industrial Engineering from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.

Diana Ayala Gómez ( Fellowship Placement Confirmed ) is the Founder and CEO of Aygo Organic Natural Colombian S.A.S., an organization that seeks to unite the organic farmers of Colombia. Aygo Organic Natural Colombian encourages coca farmers to transition their crops to products like organic coffee. They also support organic farmers by helping commercialize their products. Diana previously worked as the Director of the Commercial Department at Mercadeo San Diego. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and International Business from the Instituto Latinoamericano de Calidad (INLAC)).

David Millán P. ( Fellowship Placement Confirmed ) is the Founder and Manager of Vivir Viajar Amar. By sharing content on the benefits of international experience on his platform, Vivir Viajar Amar seeks to motivate young Colombians to apply for exchanges and other international opportunities. Previously, David worked for Novo Nordisk, the Fábrica de Licores de Antioquia, Philip Morris International, and the Interlatina Colombia Student Exchange. He has a Master’s degree in Economics and Business Administration from Roskilde University in Denmark and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.

Costa Rica
Alex Solano is the Founder of El Árbol English School, an institution where students of all ages can learn English and develop critical thinking skills. To improve the wellbeing of the people from the community, this school offers full scholarships for up to 30% of its students. Previously, Alex has taught English at several other institutions in Costa Rica. He has a Master’s degree in teaching English as a Second Language from Marlboro College in Vermont.

Dominican Republic
Porfirio Baez is the Founder of Green Depot, a company based in the Dominican Republic that aims to make the planet more eco-friendly and eco-conscious. Green Depot strives to be a leading manufacturer of biodegradable and disposable dinnerware, while also creating jobs in rural communities. Previously, Porfirio worked as a project analyst for the local city waste management organization.

Nigel Anthony Peters is the Founder of Arcadia Agri, a cultivator of organic fruits and vegetables in Guyana. By providing locally-grown produce and hiring a young workforce, Arcadia Agri aims to reduce both food imports and youth unemployment in the country. Nigel currently works for the National Public Health Reference Laboratory at the Ministry of Public Health. He has a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business at the University of the West Indies and a Bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Guyana.

Cinthya Andino is the Co-Founder of Beleaf, a sustainable fashion design company based in Honduras. Beleaf aims to create a “second life” for textile waste by recycling it into new clothing. Cinthya also works as a Creative Director for Radio Panamericana, a local radio station, and previously worked in construction for CONCO and Arquitecnic. She has a Master’s degree in Project Management from the Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana (UNITEC) and a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the Universidad del Diseño en Honduras (CEDAC).

Gustavo Rodríguez is the CEO and Founder of OTRA Vintage Style Goods, a company dedicated to the design and manufacture of high-end leather and canvas products for men. He previously worked in international commodity trading as an operations and logistics analyst and as an advisor in International Business for CCI and ANCAP. Gustavo has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the Universidad de la República.

Ignacio Rodriguez is the Founder of Epix, an organization that creates empathy through storytelling. Epix combines photography and writing to tell stories. Ignacio has served as a consultant for education and ICT projects around the world, and he is the Co-Founder and Executive Producer of Mingo Studio, which creates an international network of musicians, composers, and engineers. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Production Engineering from the Universidad Simón Bolívar.

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