The Light - An Alumni Publication Summer 2015 - Page 13

Photos by Betty Krenek FLYNN COLEMAN PROGRAM: Italy, 1996 OCCUPATION: International human rights lawyer; Founder & CEO of Malena HOME: San Francisco, CA   the founder, in her own words As an international lawyer, my focus is on innovative approaches to economic empowerment. My background is in economic development, international trade law, international criminal law, reconciliation, and improving access to justice through innovative approaches to education and empowerment. These experiences, and my conversations with people around the world, have formed my belief that we can have a huge impact on people’s well-being by investing in them so that they can invest in themselves. Investing in people became the foundation for my new social enterprise: Malena. We are addressing economic development in innovative ways, beginning with an e-commerce platform where you can shop gorgeous, ethically sourced goods that tell a story and support economic empowerment for people around the world. We plan to continue to invest in creative ways to support dignity and economic agency in communities worldwide, building tools, avenues, and infrastructure to support people’s own self-directed economic independence. Ultimately, the most effective way to support everyone’s right to dignity and agency is to provide opportunity. And my opportunity to play soccer abroad with YFU became an integral part of who I Coleman in Rwanda (photo taken by ​B am. We are all a part of the same global community,etty Krenek)  the same team. Sharing our stories and connecting with people around the world is the principle behind my company and my life’s work; it is who I strive to be as a person, doing what I can to help people when I can. Just like my Italian family took me in, gave me a place to call home, and inspired me with their kindness, resilience, humanity, and love. ■ Read Coleman’s complete story of self-discovery, the generosity of strangers, and her work empowering women and advancing human rights at blog.yfu.com. >> YFU • The Light | 13