AARP hosted the fourth annual Destino Leadership Academy.



From Left to Right: Juan Eliel Garcia, Wilfredo Fernandez, Ivonne Fernandez, Linda Schotthoefer, Terry Edwards, and Daniel Vara.


For the purpose of developing strong community leaders who can have a positive impact and make life better for all Floridians, this past Saturday, November 2nd, AARP hosted the fourth annual Destino Leadership Academy.

The Academy, a product of Ivonne Fernandez, Associate State Director for Multi-cultural outreach in Florida, vision, brought together more than 250 people at Miami-Dade College in Miami to learn about important social issues like education, health and financial security, among others.

Ivonne Fernandez
Ivonne Fernandez

In its fourth year, DESTINO teaches its students the necessary skills to be effective communicators, successful entrepreneurs and all around leaders who can bring about positive social change in their communities. The event was highly integrated and included staff from the national and state offices, as well as, experts from both the public and private sectors.

This year, panelists included Terry Edwards, Innovations Advisor at AARP; Wilfredo Fernandez, CEO and Co-Founder of Lab Miami and Linda Schotthoefer, Director of Community Initiatives at United Way. The opening session was kicked off by the Keynote Speaker, Daniel Vara, Former Chief Councel U.S. Department of Justice/INS & Chief Councel US Department of Homeland Security/ICE, who gave an inspiring and motivating speech about the importance of having exemplary morals and values and not allowing others to dictate one’s successes or failures in life or in business endeavors.

The Academy hosted three different workshops, both in English and Spanish, which were developed to teach a variety of important skills, including a Toastmaster’s International workshop on Powerful Communication, an Entrepreneur workshop to help those interested in starting their own business and a Social Media workshop on the necessary tools to survive in today’s rapidly changing world of social media.

The day-long Academy wrapped up with a fun and interactive Direct Action Organizing activity where participants got the opportunity to express their thoughts about how they envisioned the ideal community to be. Participants will be awarded certificates and 25 people will receive scholarships for leadership courses.

Destino 2013 was a huge success thanks to the coordinated efforts of SNG Florida state office staff and volunteers, as well as, staff from the Oregon state office and New York, Michigan and national office volunteers. Even Campaigns and Federal Strategy staff paid a visit to the event.


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