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Community Member Highlight: Meet Wal

Wal is another of our ESL Cohort participants and emerging leaders in Recife Brazil.

Wal's story is pretty inspiring. Having grown up in an impoverished community in Paulista, Brazil, she is all too familiar with dangerous streets and an inadequate school system. One of the first things you will notice about Wal is that she is studious and intelligent.

Upon graduating high school, Wal was able to pass the college entrance exam with a score that offered her a full ride at the top university in the state, the Federal University of Pernambuco. There she earned her bachelor's degree in Museology and an Executive MBA in Information Technology. This is an incredible accomplishment by any means. So many students from communities like hers do not make it into college due to being inadequately prepared through the public school system and being unable to afford tuition. Wal's overcoming the odds and graduating from a coveted university is a testament of her vision, self-discipline and perseverance and also all those leaders who came along side of her to help her cultivate her calling and potential. Wal is a source of inspiration for all those in the communities the ambition of education and to rise higher than one's circumstances. Today Wal works as an art teacher to children in an impoverished district in Paulista, Brazil. Coming from this community herself, her ambition is to continue to invest her heart and talents to contribute to the development and progress of her community.

When asked what leadership means to her, she answers:

"For me, leadership is not tied to the act of commanding; anyone can do that. Leadership is: the ability to inspire people to believe in the same purpose; to conduct an activity with love and to see that everyone is involved in this task and that they are doing it with the same love that you emanate.
Leadership is not power, it is authority. That's when you don't have to raise your voice to give an order. To lead is to have the responsibility to do what is necessary, at the right time, to be fair, to have an admirable character, to have emotional intelligence and to know how to use it, to motivate the people with whom you live and who mirror you.
Ah! To lead is to know that everyone is subject to error, but if one falls, the leader will be there to help you get up."

Wal holds two degrees from the Federal University of Pernambuco; a bachelor's in Museology and an MBA. In addition to studying English with DreamRoot, she practices Jiu Jitsu at the Arte Suave training center. Today she resides with her mother, sister and nephew in the community where she grew up and models leadership through strong character, being a life-long learner and serving those around her.

Wal, you are a role model to so many!

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