We’ve always been proud that LEDA is a national organization, with members Scholars, Career Fellows, and alumni from nearly every state, but did you know LEDA is international, too? Lissy Samantha, a Cohort 17 Scholar, is spending the 2021 fall semester in South Africa at the African Leadership Academy, a long way from her home in Big Sky, MT!
“I knew that coming to South Africa would change my perspective on the world,” she said. Lissy Samantha recently attended our Aspects of Leadership Summer Institute, and that turned out to be the perfect lead-in for her study abroad. “LEDA really prepared me for the kind of community that I’m in right now. Just like LEDA, everyone here is passionate about what they want to do. I’m lucky to have had these experiences back to back.”
Joining the LEDA Community also provided Lissy Samantha with an opportunity to connect fellow young Latinx leaders. She and her family came to the U.S. from Honduras when she was 12. “I live in a predominantly white town, and sometimes I feel isolated from other Latinx students my age,” she shared. “Meeting them helped me to be proud of myself and to be proud of the diversity in the Latinx community. I love my culture: our food, our holidays, our vivid colors, our language, our work ethic.”
Lissy Samantha hopes to pursue a career in law or journalism to continue serving her community, ultimately returning to Honduras to advocate for underserved people. “Service leadership is something I learned about through LEDA,” she said. “I want to put others before myself and put my community first. At the same time, I want to hold our society accountable and progress justice. LEDA gave me more specific goals and tools to work toward becoming the type of leader I want to grow into.“
Lissy Samantha’s passion for empowering her community has already led her to start a Latinx student union in her high school and establish a local Spanish-language newspaper. Her leadership was recently featured on NBC News and in the video below.
Published October 8, 2021