Meet Esther Zeledon
An ongoing series from The Alumni Society spotlighting its impressive members
Where are you from?
I was born in Nicaragua, and we immigrated to the United States when I was a small child to escape the war. We moved around until we settled in Walnut Creek, California for a few years and then later in Miami. My high school years were the most formulative, thus I consider Miami – “The 305” as Pitbull calls it — home.
Where are you based today?
The most honest answer is that I am based globally. I have spent a significant part of the last 20 years of my life overseas either working as visiting professor in Ecuador or as a diplomat/international development professional. We decided as a family to set up our home base overseas near the communities and organizations we spent years serving.
What are you up to today?
I help businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals scale and reach their highest aspirations. This translates to: working with corporate and institutional teams seeking strategic growth and deeper impact to define and integrate their shared vision into strategic and tactical plans, effective ESG programs, integrated communication strategies, and complete project management systems; advising governments to help them change systems and policies so that funding opportunities match the needs on the ground; coaching individuals to help them transform their personal and professional lives by aligning to their purpose and developing personalized tactical plans that overcome short-term barriers and build long-term results.
What is a career accomplishment you’re proud of?
As a development professional, I grew frustrated seeing donor projects and philanthropic activities immediately fail as soon as funding would run out. I proved instead that by shifting the locus of power for decision making to local actors (communities, government, private sector, civil society, etc.), philanthropic and development efforts could achieve the genuine buy-in and sustainability that achieves lasting transformation. Working directly with local actors in the Dominican Republic, I helped leverage $80 million to turn a shared community vision into a reality, reducing long-standing conflict, protecting natural resources, and sparking positive transformation in an area that the donor community had largely abandoned.
In the spirit of giving and receiving, what do you seek from this network and what do you want to contribute?
I think The Alumni Society offers a unique opportunity for Latinos to join together to make an impact that reflects the magnitude of our talents and passions. I look forward to being part of this effort. My ideal clients are all of YOU – powerful, extraordinary Latinos that are looking to make an impact in this world. If you or your business are looking to be more effective, shift directions, deepen impact, find satisfaction and balance, I am the coach to give you the jumpstart you need and the tools to create visible and lasting results.
What is a fun fact about you that you’d like to share with the network?
I love to dance so much that as part of the strategic visioning exercises I do with teams, I incorporate zumba-inspired routines. I believe dancing is a great way to bring people together with laughter, energy and movement. I also wear 30 bracelets (and adding on) that represent unique communities or places that have inspired me.