her background is in innovative approaches to economic and international development, behavioral economics, international trade, war crimes, political reconciliation, humanitarian law, social impact, and improving access to justice through innovation. she believes in innovative, creative, and interdisciplinary approaches to education, and she loves teaching on these topics.
“I am the founder of malena and I also speak, teach, write, and lead innovative workshops on topics from storytelling and changing the world to redefining success, creativity and mindfulness, and how to travel while making a positive social impact along the way. I also recently gave a tedx talk on humanity, innovation, and what it truly means to be human.”
her female inspiration? “ambassador samantha power, jacqueline novogratz of acumen, maria popova of brain pickings, elizabeth gilbert and her creative magic, and my dear friend virginia lucas hart's beautiful calligraphy, illustration, and design. I admire so many women, and anyone willing to be vulnerable and to put themselves and their work out there so that someone else might benefit from their wisdom, experience, and bravery. so brené brown and her work on vulnerability and courage is a huge influence on my life and work."
her advice to aspiring leaders? “remember that you have a unique voice that matters. find out what your values are, what you believe in, find your community and your tribe, and the causes that make you feel alive, and make your decisions around these core values. surround yourself with people you admire and believe in, and who believe in you. and just be willing to try, to put yourself out there, to be vulnerable and to create the art, projects, and ideas that matter to you. when you fail, find the courage to get up and try again. as elizabeth gilbert talks about in her book big magic, it's really less about success or failure at all, and more about being willing to be devoted to your own true path.”
photos by shanti wilson and jorge estuardo de león