The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) successfully launched in 2016 after a small pilot program. Global Ties ABQ is one of the implementing partners for the YLAI program and has hosted cohorts in 2016 and 2017. We are pleased to have another 12 young leaders with us this year (2018). These young leaders come from Latin America, the Caribbean, and South America to gain exposure with networks and resources that they can utilize to transform their societies and contribute more fully to economic development, prosperity, human rights, security, and good governance in and around their countries. During their time in Albuquerque the 12 young leaders will have specific training and develop tools with local companies that are similar to their home organization.


The following are the 12 young leaders that Global Ties ABQ is proud to host:

Laurah John (Saint Lucia)  is the Founder and CEO of Jua Kali Ltd., a social enterprise that seeks to provide innovative and sustainable waste management solutions to small islands through strategic partnerships. Previously, Laurah has worked with the Ministry of Social Transformation, Local Government, and Community Empowerment and with the World Bank and Caribbean Local Economic Development Project. Laurah has a Master’s degree in Urban Studies from the Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. Laurah will be hosted by Knowaste and the UNM Physical Plant Office, working on both small scale and large scale recycling operations and events. 



Betty Alvarez Colombo de Gomez (Dominican Republic) is the Co-Founder of C & A. Legal Advisors, a company based in the Dominican Republic that provides high quality and personalized legal services. C&A. Legal Advisors provides low cost legal services to marginalized populations. She currently works as a Lawyer for Oficina de Abogados Lic. Tania Colombo and for Centro de Promocion y Solidaridad Humana. She has previously worked as a consultant for FHI 360. She has a Master’s degree in Contemporary Civil Law and Civil Procedure from the Universidad Abierta para Adultos. Betty will be hosted by Southwest Women’s Law Center, a law center working to empower women here in New Mexico.



André Infante (Costa Rica) is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Studio Ático, a Costa Rican digital media studio. Studio Ático creates personalized audiovisuals for its clients in order to communicate brands’ messages clearly and creatively to their target audience. André has previously worked at Marte Studio in animation, and has taught at Universidad Ulacit. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Animation from the Universidad Véritas. André will be hosted by Marble Street Studios, one of Albuquerque’s longest standing digital marketing firms. 



Santiago Paez (Colombia)  is the Founder of Casa Santamaría, a former private home in Bogotá, Colombia that has been repurposed as a series of showrooms for emerging brands. Casa Santamaría showcases furniture, fashion, and accessory designers, and includes a specialty coffee shop. Santiago has previously worked as a Consultant and Project Promoter for ANDI, a nonprofit association that works with the public sector on societal development projects. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Public Management. Santiago will be hosted by Spurline Supply Company, a lifestyle shop that features local brands from all over New Mexico. 



Jose Angel Lopez Colin (Mexico) is Co-Founder of Kimerkia. This Mexican-based company provides technological products and services to companies and individuals. Kimerkia offers low-cost, easy-to-develop software and applications so clients can customize it easily and cost-effectively. He worked as a manager for Robert Bosch North America and as a professional for Robert Bosch China. He obtained his Bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering from the Instituto Tecnologico de Toluca. Angel will be working with CNM STEMUulus Center, a part of CNM Ingenuity.  




Malú Benavides Robles (Peru) is the Co-Founder of InspirArte – Sumaq Tika, a designer brand that works to develop Andean embroidery, empower artisans, and revalue the art of the maquinaska technique. She also works in corporate affairs at Backus-Sabmiller in Perú, where she leads the company’s sustainable development program in Cusco and works on the implementation of social marketing projects. Malú holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from the Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad del Cusco. Malú will be hosted by Tumble, a jewelry company based out of Albuquerque that sells minimalistic jewelry and home decor as well as training teenage mothers professional and crafting skills. 


Aldo Saavedra Romero (Peru) is the Co-Founder of Desert Expeditions, a costumer-centered travel company that provides lifetime experiences to tourists in Perú. Its mission is to add value to the desert through tourism. Aldo has worked with a non-profit tourism organization in Lima and works with his company to support social and environmental projects. He has a degree in Tourism Management from Federico Villareal University and earned his snowboard instruction certification from PSIA-AASI in the United States. Aldo is placed with the Hispano Chamber of Commerce Convension & Tourism Department.



Valesca Saint Cyr (Haiti) is the COO of Saint Apollonia Mobile Dental Clinic, a social enterprise that seeks to provide better quality and more affordable dental care delivery in Haiti. Valesca’s organization sends specialists to communities throughout the country, where they set up mobile clinics that treat locals who are unable to afford traditional dental care. She is currently a Dentist at the Foyer Maurice Sixto medical center. She received her Diploma in Dental Surgery from the Department of Dentistry at the State University of Haiti. Valesca will be hosted by the UNM Project ECHO 


Paloma Lecheta (Brazil) is the Co-Founder of PeaceLabs, a Brazilian social enterprise that helps large corporations monitor and invest in social projects. PeaceLabs organizes digital portfolios with data on the impact of NGOs. The portfolios are easily accessible to large corporations that can use this data to determine which projects they want to invest in.  Paloma has also worked with the organizations OpenBrazil and CodeForCuritiba and is a lead organizer of the Social Entrepreneurship Meetup in her hometown. Paloma will be hosted by RS21, a data analysis company based in Albuquerque. 




Niraj Bajnath (Suriname) is the Founder and CEO of Pharmtech N.V., a Suriname-based distributor of agricultural products. Pharmtech N.V. provides affordably-priced agricultural products throughout the Caribbean, including in small markets where imported foods are scarce. Niraj previously worked at S.A.N International Group of Companies N.V. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the Anton de Kom University of Suriname. Niraj is placed with Villa Myriam Coffee Company, a distributer of coffee and tea products based out of Albuquerque. 



Fabiola Leaños Anglarill is the Co-Founder of Pañales Mamita, a Bolivian producer of environmentally friendly cloth diapers. Her company’s goals are to provide an affordable alternative to disposable diapers that reduces pollution and prevents rashes. She previously worked as an MFS Commercial Analyst at Tigo Money and in the Clerical and Administrative Support Department of Empetrol SRL. Fabiola graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Universidad Autónoma Gabriel René Moreno. Fabiola will be hosted by Velocitoddler, a sustainable children’s clothing company based in Albuquerque. 


Fabricio Ortiz Morales is the Founder and CEO of Ortiz & Morales Ingeniería de Estructuras, a consulting company that designs and assesses structural systems for buildings. His works have included the construction of earthquake-resilient structures and the expansion of the solar power industry in Honduras. Fabricio previously taught at the Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana (UNITEC) and in the Civil Engineering Department at the Federal University of Ouro Preto. He received his Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Federal University of Ouro Preto and his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Catholic University of Honduras. Fabricio will be hosted by the Burgos Group, a contractor specializing in general & electrical construction and facilities operations headquartered in Albuquerque.


Our 2018 Hosts