Gisella Aitken-Shadle in detail

Age: 40.

Job title/occupation/place of employment: Adult education and literacy development director (district wide), Northeast Iowa Community College.

Volunteer activities: I am the founder and director of Latino Empowerment and Development (LEAD), a nonprofit focused on providing educational and volunteer opportunities for Latinos in the northeast Iowa region. Also, I volunteer in various organizations through the local and state level.

Education: Bachelor of Arts in international studies with human rights concentration and minor in political science, Master’s in public administration and Doctor of Education in leadership for organizations (summer 2022).

Family: Husband, Matthew Shadle.

Person most inspirational to me and why: The person who is the most inspirational to me is my mother. She made a lot of sacrifices to raise me and my siblings, and she taught us to have strong values and to use the gifts we’ve been given to make a difference for others.

Favorite thing to do outside of work: Spend time with my family and travel.

One word to describe me: Fighter. I never give up, I persevere.

What’s one thing that most people would be surprised to know about you: One thing people would be surprised to know about me is that in addition to speaking English and Spanish, I also can speak French and Italian, and I have even learned a little bit of Chinese.

Greatest fear: My greatest fear is that I let the gifts and opportunities that I have been given go to waste. Every day I wake up and try to be grateful for what I have and to find ways to use those gifts to help others and make the world a better place.

What’s the one thing you are most passionate about in your life: The one thing I am most passionate about is making a difference in people’s lives and helping them succeed. I want to give back and help others overcome the barriers they face so that they can achieve their goals.