Hello iLEAP fans, associates, and alumni! I recently joined iLEAP as The Communication and Curriculum Program Associate – a fantastic position that I have enjoyed very much so far. I am also excited to participate in Taking the LEAP this year.
I first learned about iLEAP from Jim Gore, homestay host for 2009 International Fellow, Paul Samba. At the time I was working in a molecular biology lab at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and I could no longer push aside my desire to broaden my experiences of the world we live in – through travel and getting involved in a line of work that focuses on the “macro” rather than the “micro”.
When I first heard about iLEAP, I almost couldn’t believe it. Sure, there are other opportunities to live/travel/work abroad, but none of seemed to have all the elements I was looking for – mutual cultural understanding gained through the reciprocal cultural exchange- first of the Fellows experience of living in Seattle, followed by my experience of living in their home town; the academic element focused on innovative strategies and organizations that are revolutionizing the field of philanthropy and social services to inspire and challenge you; the guidance and structure to help you design and implement a project that is both personally and professionally meaningful; the opportunity to work with an incredibly talented group of hand picked individuals each having made notable accomplishments in their lives; support during reintegration to better understand, digest, and extract from the transformative experience of living and working in a new place among new people and culture; the integration and connectivity to a wonderfully powerful network of skilled, forward thinking, talented individuals and organizations. Working with iLEAP is an opportunity that breeds opportunity (hence my title LEAP to LEAP) and I am beyond excited to see where this will take me.
The SIIS program is just around the corner and I am so excited to work and learn among our students! I am especially excited to take our SIIS participants on a city tour- Pike Place Market, Columbia Tower, Sculpture Park, Pioneer Square, the wonderful Seattle Waterfront…I hope we have enough time! I hope they are ready to experience our wonderful city and to hear some of my rusty Japanese language skills- I’m sure both will a source of laughter and enjoyment.
As for the few weeks I have worked for iLEAP- I love our staff meetings and I feel a great bond with the group. I am excited for all the developments to come for iLEAP – our programs and partnerships are growing rapidly. I am inspired by my peers’ dedication and accomplishments- it is truly a pleasure to work with you!