By Grace Zimlich
2022 YLAI Fellow Danila Blanco Travnicek has always been passionate about education and leading the charge of reforming the entrepreneur ecosystem in her home country of Argentina. In 2020, she founded EduStorm, an organization focused on providing educational experiences emphasizing English education and interpersonal skills.
After participating in the YLAI Fellowship, Danila gained a new perspective on the U.S. entrepreneur ecosystem that she could take back to Argentina. The YLAI Network is excited to share this interview about her education journey along with advice for fellow young leaders.
YLAI is the Department of State’s flagship program to advance inclusive economic prosperity in the Western Hemisphere. The YLAI Fellowship Program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and implemented in 2023 by IREX.
Can you tell me a little about what led you to found EduStorm?
I’ve always been passionate about education, and it’s always been a part of me. I decided to go the business route during undergrad because I’ve always liked the leadership aspect. I was exposed to many different lessons, content, and methodologies. During my undergrad, I traveled to the United States to see various universities and schools and how different they are from those in Argentina. After studying business management, I traveled the world. I could work and travel in Vietnam, China, and parts of Europe, looking into their educational systems.
During the pandemic, I was a high school teacher and a professor at the University of Buenos Aires. This is where I realized how important it is to develop skills in an ever-changing world. There is a lot of uncertainty, and students often don’t have the tools to face reality among uncertainty. Through conversations about this with colleagues and students, we developed EduStorm. We have created learning experiences and courses that are up to four months long. We set a safe space for young people and for adults to connect with others. So far, we’ve impacted around 250-300 students from Argentina and surrounding countries, with more than 100 learning experiences (events, programs, and courses). We also are working closely with other nonprofits to continue to offer 100+ scholarships and offer accessible programming to all students.
What are you seeking to accomplish through EduStorm?
As a leader, I want to guarantee open and safe spaces for people to develop their abilities, become global citizens, and realize that they have the power to change their communities.
Through EduStorm, we deliver different learning experiences where people can develop interpersonal skills needed for the 21st century, such as leadership, teamwork, creativity, English, and intercultural communication. We work side by side with local organizations and create valuable partnerships to best learn how our modern education can impact our community. You cannot be a global leader if you cannot communicate with others worldwide.
Why do you believe that English education is so important?
Both soft skills and English education are important because we live in such an interconnected world, and there are many global problems that we need to address together. We are all in the same world, and if we want to change and solve some of these global problems, we must work together. Learning English is key, and learning these communications skills can open doors to many different opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Where do you see EduStorm going in the future?
The YLAI experience was very eye-opening and made me stop and ask myself why I’m doing what I’m doing. After the YLAI experience and these years running EduStorm, I would love to see EduStorm become a safe space for people to grow. In this place, people can become empowered to change their communities. I want EduStorm to be seen as an organization that builds a safe zone for these skills to develop and shape communities.
Education is such an essential part of the world and our society, and I want to do it with EduStorm, to create quality education accessible to everyone.
How did the YLAI network help your business?
YLAI was an excellent experience for me to really see how the entrepreneur ecosystem is in the United States. I was based in New York City, and seeing the energy there was amazing. It was very eye-opening to come back to Argentina and work with people from different institutions both in the private and public sector to implement these findings.
The fellowship was great for learning how to impact communities and see people coming together who have similar problems and challenges.
Is there any advice you can give to young leaders?
Go for it. Apply! The program will help you to understand who you are as an entrepreneur and how your project, regardless of industry, will help you to recognize the power of your actions. Taking the chance and applying is a great thing to do for yourself and your community because of all the experiences and knowledge you will gain.
Thank you to Danila for allowing us to highlight your remarkable work. If Danila’s story inspires you, we encourage you to apply to our YLAI Fellowship program and join our network of entrepreneurs. Read more success stories with key advice from our fellows.