Luisa Florián Ordóñez (’07, Nicaragua)“Studying at EARTH was for me and my family a great blessing; it was the best of the best gifts,” says Luisa. Since returning to Nicaragua after graduation, she has committed herself to facing challenges with a good attitude and the determination not just to succeed, but also to develop personally and positively impact the lives of others.

Luisa is a consultant and has led a variety of development projects in Nicaragua from training small-scale entrepreneurs in the development of rural-tourism projects to working with cooperatives on the implementation of agricultural best practices and other quality and security measures. She currently supports a food security project for the Food and Agriculture Organization in Nicaragua helping farming cooperatives strengthen their organizational structures. For this project Luisa directly supervises three employees, and indirectly supervises the actions of the nine directors of the 14 beneficiary cooperatives. Currently she is also training a group of 30 young entrepreneurs on developing and launching small businesses.

“While I have developed in different fields, I have always seen myself as a facilitator of change, working directly with people who in their communities are those positive forces needed to improve the quality of life.”

Luisa has been particularly motivated by her work with the cooperatives, which she believes are the motors that drive development in their communities. For her, knowing the initial state of these organizations and seeing the great advances that they have made in their level of organization, management, capitalization and the capacity of their members is the best reward of her work.

Luisa Florián Ordóñez (’07, Nicaragua)Through her trainings, she tries to give participants something that can never be taken away: an awareness that they are capable of attaining their goals and that everything they achieve during the training process is due to their own effort.

Luisa has internalized ethical behavior—inculcated in her while at EARTH—as a way of life, and credits that with having allowed her to develop a spotless career and a reputation as a dependable and trustworthy professional. This has allowed her to be involved in projects with a high level of social, environmental, and ethical responsibility. She also credits her adaptability, developed while at EARTH, as being another key factor in her success.

“Resilience has defined my professional growth; I have had to continually adjust, self-train, and reinvent myself in order to be considered for more and better work opportunities.”

Luisa says that when she arrived at EARTH, she was a teen with a lot of fear and doubt. EARTH helped her define her character, and become a critical thinker, curious, stronger, and more aware of the needs of others and of her responsibility to leave the world better than she found it.

“I became one of those crazy people who want to change the world and that is what I am working on, one grain of sand at a time, step by step. As a professional, I don’t just do what I’m asked, I do more, because giving 100% is not enough.”

Ever-committed to generating positive change in Nicaragua, Luisa has begun exploring different ideas for starting her own business, with the intention of creating needed jobs in her community and supporting social and environmental endeavors she hopes to lead.

“As an EARTH graduate, wherever I go and in whatever I do, I have to make a mark, fulfill the vision of our alma mater, and contribute to the development of my country.”