Three Guyanese selected for US Young Leaders Fellowship Program


Three young Guyanese business owners have been selected to participate in the U.S. Department of State’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) 2021 Fellowship Program.

A statement from the US embassy in Georgetown on Monday disclosed that Founder and CEO of Sure Gig, Filisha Duke; Managing Director for Juneberry Gy, Joylyn John; and owner for Green Valley Organics, Maleka Russell were accepted out of over 2,300 applicants.

The 2021 cohort of the YLAI program will bring 263 young leaders together from 37 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada for a virtual fellowship

The 2021 Program, sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, includes a three-month virtual fellowship between January and April 2021.

During this time, the US Embassy said fellows will complete the YLAI Entrepreneurial Leadership Curriculum and will work with a U.S. host organization for four weeks. They will also be paired with a designated mentor and will collaborate with other fellows to address shared foreign policy challenges throughout the exchange.

Additionally, they will engage in live events and cross-cultural activities. The program is a collaborative, enriching experience that combines technical entrepreneurship training with leadership development and networking opportunities.

Learn more about the three selected persons below:

Filisha Duke: Founder and CEO of Sure Gig has experience in securing contracts and building key partnerships to facilitate the company’s objectives. During the fellowship, Filisha aims to learn effective approaches to manage and maintain financial growth, strategies on increasing market share, brand awareness and sales, and how to facilitate scaling and expansion.

Joylyn John, Managing Director for Juneberry Gy has experience in leadership, the retail market, and vast knowledge in business operations.  During the fellowship,  Joylyn John aims to learn about the legal side of running a  business both locally and internationally,  sharpen her leadership skills and her  “know-how”  on approaching investors with investment proposals,  and learn how to have the highest returns possible in her business.

Maleka Russell, Owner for Green Valley Organics has experience in insect and pest control, shade house vegetable cultivation technologies, and climate-smart agricultural practices.  During the fellowship, Maleka aims to learn about business development, develop a business model for agricultural sustainability, and engage with other entrepreneurs as they promote healthy lifestyles through better nutrition.


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