Meet This Year’s YLAI Fellows!

We are excited to announce the arrival of this year’s cohort of Fellows for the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI). On behalf of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, YLAI empowers entrepreneurs and civil society leaders to effectively contribute to social and economic development in their communities. This year we are thrilled to host 12 such dynamic individuals as they undergo their four week fellowships at local businesses, as well as assisting them in experiencing the rich cultural opportunities available to them in Seattle. adidas neo Please take a moment to read their bios, and be on the lookout for the opportunity to meet them at our upcoming Fast Pitch event!

ylai 1Bolivia / Henrry Chuquimia is the Co-Founder and CEO of Lightpath, an established and growing software development company that supports new entrepreneurs and startups by designing and developing web and mobile solutions. Henrry has also worked as a developer for Mojix – Coderoad and the Higher University of San Andrés, where he managed a team of developers and maintained web and mobile apps. He received his BA in Software Engineering from the Higher University of San Andrés.

Fellowship Host: Migo


vKFLIA6g_400x400Rafael Sena is the Co-Founder and Chairman of the Association of Young Entrepreneurs of Recife (AJE Recife), an established nonprofit organization looking to expand into new cities that helps young entrepreneurs develop leadership skills, access a professional network, and participate in forums and events. Rafael is a Sales and Technical Manager with GNG Fundações Especiais and Sales Representative for T&A Pré Fabricados. Previously, he was the Owner of DS Locação de Equipamentos and President of ConcretID. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the Catholic University of Pernambuco.

Fellowship Host: CoMotion at University of Washington



Brazil / Stephanie Koller is the Co-Founder and General Manager of Tropicado, a startup company that produces ready-to-eat packaged fresh foods and delivers them to small shops to sell. Stephanie also works full time as a Continuous Improvement Process Associate at Bosch Brazil. Previously, Stephanie worked as a Purchasing Intern at Votorantim, and as a European Foundation for Quality Management Intern at Bosch in Germany. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering.

Fellowship Host: Molly’s



Chile / Christian Morrison is the Co-Founder and CEO of Ecochile Travel, an established and growing sustainable tourism and adventure travel company that offers an alternative to traditional tourism by organizing trips throughout South America with the aim of supporting local businesses and communities. Christian holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Ecotourism from the Instituto del Medio Ambiente.

Fellowship Host: Zegrahm Expeditions & UnCruise


Colombia / Esperanza Buitrago is the Co-Founder of Magoma, an established and growing company that creates vitamin gummies as well as other nutritional products under other labels and customized gummy candies for various clients. Esperanza previously worked for SAT MAT, a company that assists athletes in applying to study at U.S. universities. She holds a Master’s Degree in Pure and Applied Logic from the University of Barcelona.

Fellowship Host: Seattle Gummy Company


Colombia / Margarita Varon is the Founder and CEO of Colombia Rural SAS, which is a new venture that provides professional consulting and legal services for activities associated with land tenure, including the design of public policy. She previously served as an External Advisor on Land Tenure for the Departamento Nacional de Estadística and for the Oficina del Alto Comisionado para la Paz. She has a Graduate Degree in Law from the Universidad de los Andes.

Fellowship Host: Landesa


Costa Rica / Adrian Valdelomar is the Co-Founder of Santa Rasta Brewing Company, an small brewery that brews unique beers using Costa Rican ingredients. Santa Rasta Brewing Company hopes to move from small batch to an industrial brewery by learning from experienced brewing companies. Adrian also a Principal R&D Engineer with Boston Scientific. He holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering and Business Administration from the University of Costa Rica.

Fellowship Host: Obec Brewing



Honduras / Homero Rojas is the Co-Founder and CEO of MediaCity Labs, the first videogame development academy in the country. MediaCity Labs seeks to provide world-class educational services in the areas of traditional and emerging technologies. Homero also founded MediaCity Games, one of the first videogame development studios in Honduras. Homero has served as a mentor and speaker in many technology and entrepreneurship initiatives like Startup Weekends, Angelhack, Barcamps, TEDx Tegucigalpa, TEDx SPS, and multiple hackathons.

Fellowship Host: Strange Loop Games


Jamaica / Carey-Lee Dixon is the Founder of For Women to Women, an organization that offers resources to empower career-oriented and entrepreneurial young women. For Women to Women bridges the gap between access, resources, and opportunities by offering curated events and a platform that connects like-minded women to build their networks. Carey-Lee holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Surveying and Geographic Information Sciences from the University of Technology, Jamaica.

Fellowship Host: The Riveter


Trinidad and Tobago / Mel Gabriel is the Founder and CEO of Caribbean Lookbook, an established multimedia fashion and lifestyle platform. Adidas Italia Online Caribbean Lookbook has expanded the way consumers interact with Caribbean fashion. She also founded Middle Face Media, a digital media network which produces and distributes film and internet-TV content. Mel holds an LCCI diploma in Public Relations and marketing from the Institute of Training and Development.

Fellowship Host: South Seattle Emerald



Uruguay / Katia Sei Fong is the Founder of Nuestro Bambú, a bamboo design studio with social and environmental impact. Nuestro Bambú creates bamboo product designs with a local identity, teaching low income communities the skills to work with bamboo. She is a World Bamboo Ambassador for the World Bamboo Organization. Katia is currently pursuing degrees in Industrial Design and Architecture from the Universidad de la Republica.

Fellowship Host: International Living Future Institute



Venezuela / Fernando Salerno is the Founder and CEO of Níspero, a pre-startup venture dedicated to strengthening and empowering farmers by creating access to technical expertise and more efficient equipment, financing, and market information in order to enhance food security and advance sustainable agriculture.