Carolyn Bain was born and raised in Seattle but considers Latin America her second home, having spent stints living and working throughout that region from the time she was a 17-year-old exchange student in Chile. In a tale worthy of an after-school special, Carolyn returned to Chile in her early 30s to attend her host sister’s wedding, where she met her future husband, Victor. Chile is where they later married and where both their children were born.
Carolyn’s dual “cultural citizenship” enhances her naturally empathetic nature, as she knows what it feels like to be a first-time visitor to a new country. This sense of understanding comes across when she is hosting iLEAP fellows and other foreign dignitaries, especially those who have never before been to the U.S. One October, Carolyn enthusiastically demonstrated the Halloween pumpkin carving tradition to demystify the process for a dozen baffled Central American guests gathered in her home. By the end of the evening, the group had created a beautiful and diverse collection of innovative jack-o-lantern designs.
In addition to her service with iLEAP, Carolyn works bilingually at PATH and with Guatemala Village Health, a Seattle-based NGO that take groups to Guatemala to do primary health care and train village health providers. She holds dual degrees from the University of Washington in International Studies with a focus on Latin American Studies and Development and Spanish, and also a Master’s in Public Health focused on Population and Family Health from Columbia University.
Carolyn supports iLEAP because it affords a sense of hope and inspiration that benefits all involved, wherever they’re from and however they’re involved in the programs. iLEAP initiatives, she believes, have the power to spread empathy throughout the global community by bringing people and their talents closer together. Carolyn served as the President of the Board from 2015-2017.