My YLAI Story by Alejandro Sherriff, YLAI Alum from Argentina

President Obama speaking to YLAI Fellows

Alejandro Sherriff- YLAI Alum

Alejandro Sherriff is the Founder and CEO of VALORes Enfoques Creativos Empresariales, a consultancy firm that provides coaching, training, and advice to both private and public organizations and to individual entrepreneurs in Argentine South Patagonia, giving them tools to turn into great organizations.

He is one of 248 fellows participating in the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program, a presidential initiative that empowers entrepreneurs and innovative civil society leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean. YLAI focuses on strengthening their capacity to launch and advance their entrepreneurial ideas and effectively contribute to social and economic development in their communities.

Then, Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) started. Nearly 248 leaders and entrepreneurs from Latin America and the Caribbean flew to Dallas on October 3rd. On October 4th, we all came into a crowded meeting room to start our once-in-a-lifetime experience. The first days were amazing. We heard inspiring talks from local and national leaders, members of the US Department of State and experts in leadership, entrepreneurship, and communication. The organizers exceeded our expectations, and we were more than thankful.

Personally, this first week made me think about and experience a lot. It has taken me inside the lives of unknown and amazing people I would not otherwise had the chance to meet. People who are improving themselves and their communities everyday, who are going beyond borders, growing their businesses and creating wealth and meaning all over our continent. Some of them in social ventures, some in profitable companies, but always creating and spreading value.

Ambassador Holiday speaking to Fellows at the YLAI Opening in Dallas

This week spending time with these 248 YLAI Fellows from all over Latin America and the Caribbean has also made me think about our similarities and differences, and reminded me of our human interconnectedness. Borders have moved away for all of us who take part in this great experience, and our horizons and possibilities are now expanded. I feel hopeful and honored to be part of it, and I cannot wait to continue expanding this incredible network, exploring possible alliances throughout the world and dreaming about new ventures capable of developing more and more potential.

On October 8th we all departed to our city hub destinations. In my case, I headed to Chicago with other 14 extraordinary entrepreneurs from Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Argentina. I worked for a month in Jasculca Terman Strategic Communications (JT). Chicago is an astonishing city and JT is widening my vision of communication and teaching me how to tell unique stories in more effective ways.

248 YLAI Professional Fellows from more than 30 countries pose for a group photo at the U.S. Department of State in Washington

Thank you again Meridian, US Department of State, City Hosts, World Chicago and everyone involved in YLAI. It is just the beginning and I will keep you posted.

I leave you with some inspirational quotes for our future entrepreneurial journey:

“Surround yourself with people that really want you to be successful”. “It is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice” (Nina Vaca, Founder of Pineapple).