Four Guyanese selected for US Young Leaders Fellowship Program


Four young leaders out of over 1,800 applicants from Guyana have been accepted for the 2023 US Department of State’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Fellowship programme.

Launched in 2015, YLAI empowers emerging entrepreneurs from the Western Hemisphere to enable the full economic potential of the region’s citizens, a press release from the US Embassy on Monday noted.

The young leaders are: Akeem McDonald, a business executive of Professional Janitorial Services; Onicak Hinds, a senior tutor at the Step-by-Step Foundation; Pearlita Richardson, an experienced creative designer of La Vie Guyana and Shondell Rodrigues an agriculture and animal care professional, leading Alana’s Fresh Organic Produce.

McDonald hopes to build new relationships, network with people that share common interests, and learn about the operations of different systems and sectors, marketing, e-commerce, product development, admin, and management during the program.

Hinds, who provides intervention services for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) hopes to learn how to further establish and expand Step by Step Foundation as well as increase the business’ impact in society.

Richardson hopes to learn how to employ the right principles in her company and brand, hire the right people, and create the right products and environment to have a lasting positive impact on the lives of women, whether they are employees, customers, or beneficiaries of the community.

Rodriques, garden and small-scale vegetable farmer, hopes to learn about strengthening business and leadership from successful entrepreneurs to improve business ideas and contribute to her community’s economic development.

During the program, fellows will split into cohorts and travel to 19 cities across the US for four-week professional placements with U.S. businesses. They will collaborate with their peers to address shared business challenges, as well as engage in virtual and in-person events and cross-cultural activities.

The 2023 YLAI Fellowship Program, sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, was launched in December last with a virtual Fellowship Leadership Curriculum and orientation.

This year, 280 young leaders from 37 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada are a part of the program. Since 2015, more than 1,240 YLAI Fellows have built connections with more than 900 U.S. fellowship placement organizations; 84 percent of these Fellows attracted new resources within one year of completing the program.

1 Comment
  1. Tony beharry says

    The 4 elected doesn’t reflect the ethnic mix of the country.

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