The U.S. Embassy is proud to announce Trinidad and Tobago’s 2024 cohort of the U.S. Department of State’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Fellowship Program.
The six participants are April Castellano, Dixie-Ann Daniel, Abigail Lett, Makesi Peters, Valmiki Poulido and Maya-Marie Taitt. They join 280 young leaders from 37 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada for the hybrid fellowship, which launched on October 24. Fellows will participate in a virtual leadership course before traveling to the United States for a four-week professional placement with U.S. businesses. They will collaborate with their peers to address shared business challenges and engage in virtual and in-person events and cross-cultural activities. The program concludes with a closing forum in Washington, D.C. in April 2024.
Launched in 2015, YLAI is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. More than 1,500 YLAI fellows have built connections with over 1,100 U.S. host businesses and organizations. Trinidad and Tobago has participated in the program since its inception. Within one year completing the program, 84 percent of fellows said they used strategies learned during the exchange to attract new resources to their business. YLAI connects diverse business owners from throughout the Western Hemisphere to the United States and provides training, tools, networks, and resources to strengthen economic and social development across the region. In addition, the fellowship program is a key people-to-people diplomacy exchange that supports broader U.S. foreign goals to promote peace and democracy by expanding access to education, economic equity, and societal opportunity and inclusion.
Bios of the 2024 cohort:
April Castellano, Business: Ms. Castellano works in the artisan products sector as the Co-Founder and Owner of Inspiration’s Beauty Treats (IBT Hair & Skin Care Ltd). The company provides a healthy alternative of hair and skin care products for the environmentally conscious consumers who value eco-friendly products.
Dixie-Ann Daniel, Business: Ms. Daniel works in the food and beverage sector as the Owner and Manager of Slice Twice. For customers of all ages looking to indulge in sweet treats, Slice Twice is a dessert store that provides indulgent and satisfying homemade, gourmet desserts.
Abigail Lett, Business: Ms. Lett works in the arts and culture sector as the Manager of Letts Shine. Letts Shine is a premier cosmetology school and beauty supply store that empowers students and clients by teaching comprehensive makeup skills to help them achieve a range of looks.
Makesi Peters, Business: Mr. Peters works in the electronics and technology sector as the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Travee Technologies Limited. Travee is a technology company providing customers with access to transport and delivery services using an app that enables ride-sharing transportation.
Valmiki Poulido, Health: Mr. Poulido works in the health sector as the Marketing Director of Eye Assist Optical. For people with vision problems, the company offers a comprehensive eye exam to help customers determine the cause of their poor vision.
Maya-Marie Taitt, Business: Ms. Taitt works in the lifestyle sector as the Founder and Professional Organizer of Better Spaces by Maya-Marie Ltd. For busy professionals, new homeowners, families, entrepreneurs, businesses, or anybody without the time to organize their spaces. She creates order, convenience, peace of mind, and hassle-free environments that boost productivity for her customers.