LEDA News – July 2022


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Cohort 17 Excels with College Admissions Success

Way to go, Scholars!

Congratulations are in order: LEDA Cohort 17 is heading to college in the fall! After completing a rigorous application process, Cohort 17 Scholars achieved extraordinary success in their admissions results. 97% were admitted to at least one of the top 75 colleges in the U.S., and 61% were admitted to at least one Ivy League institution, MIT, or Stanford. Having received advising from LEDA’s college guidance team, 88% chose to matriculate at one of these leading institutions. This year’s full results are available at

Cohort 17 Scholars were also awarded a number of distinguished scholarships, including 12 from the Gates Foundation, 10 from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, four from the Coca-Cola Scholars Program, four from the Dell Scholars Program, and one from the Ron Brown Scholar Program.

In May, Cohort 17 Scholars announced where they will be starting college in the upcoming fall semester, including: including: Aleah (University of North Carolina); Manny (Stanford University); Makayla (Princeton University); Collin (University of Virginia, Jefferson Scholars Program); Dior (Brown University); Fatuma (Washington University in St. Louis); Analicia (Oberlin College); Madisyn (University of Michigan); and Paul (Wesleyan University). You can find even more photos from College Signing Day on social media at

The college guidance process for all LEDA Scholars begins at our Aspects of Leadership Summer Institute, which Cohort 17 attended virtually in 2021. LEDA’s expertise allowed us to provide an effective and engaging online experience, with Scholars having full access to the one-on-one advising, high-quality instruction, and welcoming community that sets LEDA apart. After the summer, Scholars continued to receive LEDA college guidance services throughout the year, culminating in April and May with final college decisions.

We are incredibly proud of our Cohort 17 Scholars not only for their accomplishments, but also for their dedication, positivity, and sense of community throughout the college admissions process, especially in the midst of a challenging global landscape. We cannot wait to see how they continue to develop as our next generation of leaders in college and beyond!

LEDA’s 2022 Annual Celebration

An amazing evening with friends old and new

On May 12, nearly 300 community and business leaders, LEDA program partners, and special guests toasted LEDA’s successes, met some of our amazing students and alumni, and helped us raise nearly $1 million to ensure that LEDA can continue to empower the next generation of leaders.

LEDA 2022 Annual Celebration President, Provost, and Vice President SponsorsWe are especially grateful to our President, Provost, and Vice President Sponsors for spearheading our efforts to make the evening such a success. This year’s Celebration was particularly meaningful as our first major in-person event since 2019, and we were both deeply grateful and excited for the opportunity.

For the first time, our Annual Celebration was held at The Rooftop at Edison Ballroom, an exciting space in the heart of the Theater District in New York City, as you can see in our highlights video. The bright lights of Broadway provided an impressive backdrop for our even more impressive honorees for the evening: John W. Rogers, Jr., Pamela Codo-Lotti, Rick C. Wade, and Brittany Hardy.

Rick C. WadeRick, currently the Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Outreach at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has spent his career expanding access to economic opportunities. We were proud to honor him for his steadfast dedication to serving under-represented communities.

Pamela Codo-LottiAt Goldman Sachs, Pamela is a leader in the movement for racial equality and serves as the Global Chief Operating Officer of Activism and Shareholder Advisory. We were delighted to applaud her inspiring efforts to elevate diversity, equity, and inclusion.

John W. Rogers, Jr.John is the Founder, Chairman, Co-CEO, and Chief Investment Officer of Ariel Investments, and his deep commitment to empowering the next generation of leaders resonates strongly with our mission. John joined us via Zoom for an insightful and fun Q&A session hosted by Cohort 17 LEDA Scholar Anthony and LEDA Interim Executive Director Ilana Goldman.

LEDA 2022 Annual Celebration 1LEDA 2022 Annual Celebration 2LEDA 2022 Annual Celebration 3
During the cocktail hour, guests had the opportunity to mix and mingle with LEDA Scholars, Career Fellows, and AlumniAttendees enjoyed dinner together at our chic and exciting venue, The Rooftop at Edison BallroomQ&A session with honoree John W. Rogers, Jr., Cohort 17 LEDA Scholar Anthony, and LEDA Interim Executive Director Ilana Goldman

LEDA 2022 Annual Celebration 4Every year, LEDA recognizes an alum who has demonstrated exceptional leadership while embodying LEDA’s four Core Values – Excellence, Integrity, Compassion, and Community. Our 2022 Alumni Honoree was Brittany Hardy, a member of LEDA Cohort 5 and currently a Senior Policy Specialist at Google.

Receiving the award from LEDA Scholars Yara and Patrick, our emcees for the evening, Brittany shared how LEDA helped to shape her understanding of leadership: “I learned two valuable lessons from LEDA: first, a humble leader can learn from anyone; and second, a good leader should be of great service to those around them.”

We were proud to honor Brittany for her work in the world of diplomacy, showing the importance of empowering talented young leaders with diverse perspectives in a world that is becoming ever more interconnected. Her remarks can be found in full on our YouTube channel.

LEDA 2022 Annual Celebration 5We also heard from Cohort 9 LEDA alum Tania Flores as our featured speaker for the evening. She shared a brave, honest, and heartwarming reflection on her LEDA journey, emphasizing how the LEDA Community provided the space she needed to grow, both individually and as part of a larger community.

“It was amazing how easily my Cohort-mates and I fell into comfortable friendship with one another after years of not seeing each other,” she shared, reflecting on how her relationship with LEDA has evolved over time. “I came to understand that there was a LEDA Community waiting to warmly welcome me back into the fold when I was ready to return.” Hear more from Tania on our YouTube channel.

LEDA 2022 Annual Celebration 6
LEDA Scholars, Career Fellows, and Alumni attend our Annual Celebration

For more highlights from the evening, you can visit You can also learn more about our honorees and sponsors in our event journal at

Thank you for celebrating with us!

Welcome to the LEDA Community

Meet the latest additions to our family!

Hello, Cohort 18!

We are excited to welcome our newest LEDA Scholars, Cohort 18! These 101 high school students are currently attending our Aspects of Leadership Summer Institute, where they will spend five weeks developing their leadership skills, preparing for college, and building a strong, long-lasting community.

“This year, LEDA had one of the most talented applicant pools we have ever seen,” said Ilana Goldman, LEDA’s Interim Executive Director. “Given how the pandemic impacted the educational process, we were thrilled to see applicants of every background stepping up to reach their goals.”

Cohort 18 LEDA Scholars come from 38 U.S. states and territories, and 87% of them will be first-generation college students. As part of the LEDA Community, they join more than 1,750 additional students and alumni across the nation.

Introducing LEDA’s New Executive Director

David GarzaWe are thrilled to announce that David Garza is joining LEDA as our new Executive Director in July! David arrives at LEDA with a wealth of leadership experience and a personal passion for LEDA’s work. He has worked in the nonprofit sector for over twenty years, helping bring success to organizations in the fields of education, health services, and the arts. Most recently, David has served since 2012 as Development Director at Point Foundation, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to providing scholarships, mentorship, and leadership training to LGBTQ+ college students across the country.

David is committed to student leaders from underserved communities, as their backgrounds, dreams, and paths mirror his own. Born and raised on the U.S.-Mexico border, David graduated from Princeton University as a first-generation college student.

“Our nation’s challenges can only be fully addressed when we cultivate and amplify exceptional leaders from diverse and underserved backgrounds,” he said. “I am profoundly honored to join LEDA as Executive Director, and I will work every day to provide LEDA community members with a path toward a superb education and long-term success.”

LEDA has spent the last year working to support our students through another pandemic year and concentrating on strategy and innovation. We are so excited to welcome a leader who has a demonstrated record of thoughtfulness and excellence and will continue this trajectory, focusing relentlessly on LEDA’s impact. You can check out our full press release at

Meet Our Newest Board Members

We are excited to have these distinguished leaders in our corner

Please join us in welcoming Sender Cohen, Shuly Leviant, Cristina Pieretti, and Lex Suvanto as the newest members of our Board of Directors! We are grateful to have their wisdom, vision, and expertise as part of LEDA’s leadership, and we look forward to working together to expand LEDA’s impact and success. Learn more below about these extraordinary individuals:

Shulamit LeviantCristina PierettiLex Suvanto
New LEDA Board members Shuly Leviant, Cristina Pieretti, and Lex Suvanto

Sender is Chief Investment Officer of Schusterman Interests, LLC. Previously, he served as President of Soros Capital, and prior to that as Director of Research and Head of External Allocations at Soros Fund Management. Sender is a co-founder of the Natan Fund and is both a graduate and trustee emeritus of Yeshiva University.

Shuly is a Managing Member and General Counsel at Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP, which she joined in 2004. She has also served as Special Counsel in the investment management practice at Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP and as the General Counsel of Clinton Group, Inc. Shuly received a J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law and a B.A. from Barnard College of Columbia University.

Cristina is a Managing Director at Moody’s Analytics and head of overseas REIS. Before her current role, Cristina held leadership positions with Moody’s Analytics Accelerator and as Senior Director of Executive Programs. Before joining Moody’s Analytics, Cristina worked in banking with a focus on Latin America. She holds degrees from the Universidad Metropolitana and IESA in Venezuela and the London Business School.

Lex is Managing Partner and CEO of Financial Communications & Capital Markets at Edelman. He advises the senior management of public and private companies on strategic communications, including transaction communications, financial and corporate public relations, and investor relations. His extensive experience includes prior positions as Managing Director at Abernathy MacGregor and various strategy and client service roles within Havas in New York, Paris, and London. Lex completed his undergraduate degree at Harvard College and his M.B.A. at Harvard Business School.

Happening Now at LEDA

A brief round-up of some of the latest LEDA news

In-person Programming Returns

LEDA at Princeton in 2019We’re back: LEDA’s Aspects of Leadership Summer Institute and Career Institute are being held in person this summer! Following two years of online programming, we are incredibly excited to be back on Princeton University’s campus and at NYU School of Law with our newest group of LEDA Scholars and Career Fellows. The Summer Institute began on June 25 and will run through July 30, while the Career Institute will run from August 6 through 10. Follow us on social media for live updates, and stay tuned for a full summer recap!

LEDA Partners with Edelman

LEDA-Edelman partnershipLEDA is proud to announce an exciting partnership with Edelman, a global communications firm that partners with businesses and organizations to evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations. The support and expertise that Edelman is providing will serve as an invaluable resource for the LEDA Community in strengthening and expanding our footprint. We look forward to working together to empower the next generation of leaders!

LEDA Community in the Press

We love seeing members of the LEDA Community featured in the press! Click through below for these recent articles:

Published July 14, 2022

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