My first week at iLEAP – Ester Sulecio


Ester“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by changing his attitude.” – Oprah Winfrey.

It´s easy to describe a place or a thing because we can use adjectives and nothing else. But when I started the iLEAP program, I started thinking about different feelings I have never had to think about before and ones that can’t be easily explained.

Before coming to Seattle, I had many ideas about how to improve my leadership but, after a week here, I realized that those ideas may not be so important. My leadership was based on textbook instructions of how to be a good leader but I had not yet developed my own personal plan in how I wanted to succeed. My attitude on leadership was strong and passionate, and it still is; what I hope to gain out of this program is personal strength and compassion to set myself apart.

I finished my first days with a new philosophy about myself, and I’m not alone as I also see this in my fellow participants. iLEAP is an incubator to create real leaders and trust through great challenges. I’m surprised about this program; the structure is able to free your mind, heart, and body then build you up again as someone with knowledge of a new culture (amazing customs that we need to improve our society in Guatemala!).

“If we don’t take action to start, who will change the future?” That was one of my feelings through a reflection session at iLEAP. My host mom, Lisa, who is a wonderful woman, is also teaching me to share my time iLEAP and I love her way of listening to me every day.

Just after the first week, I have new goals and plans for myself, my family, Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, church, and community. I feel that I am a new person because I can see who I am. Maybe I am not perfect but I’m working on my weaknesses and then, I hope, they will become my strengths. If you have an open mind and passion to serve people, this is the best place to cultivate your leadership skills. Thank you to all the staff of iLEAP for believing in non-conventional methods and Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos for being a great social organization.

Ester Sulecio is the Administrative Director at Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos Guatemala. Described as innovative, passionate, and motivated, she spearheaded the Family Bakery coffee shop in the home, which is flourishing not only as a way to generate income, but also for the youth to learn skills in barista work and sales. Ester strongly values and practices upholding strong communication with team members, showing genuine interest in ideas, and remaining flexible.

Ester believes in leadership and experience, both of which she hopes to gain at iLEAP. She hopes to share the skills and lessons she learns with others upon returning home. Ester is confident that she will emerge from the iLEAP program a better person, equipped with the tools she can put into practice in NPH, her family, community, church, and country.

Caitlin Terashima

Caitlin Terashima

Caitlin is a graduate of Seattle University, where she studied Humanities for Teaching and Spanish, and has a love of international travel. Her experience conducting research on the effects of gender for a micro-finance organization in Ghana, living and studying in El Salvador for four months, and on-going volunteering with a community development organization in Mexico have instilled in her a love of learning outside of her comfort zone and a passion for international community development work. The relationships she formed while abroad have shaped her life and passions, and reinforced within her the importance of relationships and community. In her free time, Caitlin loves baking and cooking for her loved ones, exploring, taking walks, and travelling.