• Founder & CEO

    Letitia Zwickert

    letitia@menteechicago.org

    Founder & CEO

     

     

    During Letitia Zwickert’s junior year of high school, the valedictorian invited her to become a student ambassador to the USSR. That summer, Letitia visited the USSR as a representative of US youth. The experience revealed a beautiful, bright, and full-of-life country with kind, creative people. This experience forever altered her mindset and set her on a path of reassessing and expanding her worldview. Throughout her life, Letitia has continued to educate herself while offering opportunities for encouragement, connection, and growth to others.

     

    Today, Letitia is an experienced educator, an expert on the needs of disadvantaged youth and culturally responsive practices, a nationally and internationally recognized education policy advocate, and the Founder and CEO of a nonprofit organization working to alter the power structures of the world.

     

    Attending college was never discussed in Letitia’s youth. Good luck led her to college and beyond. She now holds a BA in Political Science, an MA in International Relations and a MAED in Secondary Education.

     

    Letitia’s early work began as a researcher at the European Parliament in their Security and Defense Division and coordinator on an EU Grant at Harvard.

     

    Letitia was honored as the first K-12 educator to receive a Fulbright-Schuman Scholar Grant, jointly established by the US State Department and the European Commission, which gave her the opportunity to develop and carry out research and policy work on best practices in education for migrant, refugee, and underserved youth in Europe in 2016.

     

    She is a current Fulbright Specialist in Education. In 2016 she was asked to join the Transatlantic Core Group and became a BMW Responsible Leader. In that role, she contributed to the development of a Connected Cities program between the US and Germany to foster civil society networks and focus on those who are unconnected and underrepresented and subsequently became a Bosch Fellow.

     

    In 2017, Letitia presented her philosophy of “Engaged Teaching” to the OECD’s Education Team at their headquarters in Paris, and in May of 2018 she solely represented the US K-12 education system and presented at the global OECD’s 4th Policy Forum, Strength Through Diversity: SEL for Immigrant and Refugee Students.

     

    In 2018, Letitia was invited by the United Nations to the UNAOC's Global Forum as a juror and presenter for the Plural+ International Film Festival, a festival devoted to fighting xenophobia and promoting diversity and inclusion among youth.

     

    In 2019, Letitia was co-recipient of the Fulbright Alumni TIES Grant Recipient for a “New Neighbors Arts Entrepreneurship Program”, along with partner grantee Shawn Lent, to train a core group of refugee and immigrant artists in Chicago on entrepreneurship and mobility within the art space and support their own training workshops to multiply the impact. As a Bosch Fellow, Fulbrighter, and BMW RL, Letitia was invited to join the Building Bridges task force to develop stronger ties between those three networks and their programs.

     

    As Founder and CEO of MENTEE, Letitia offers a mutual developer space to support mentees with skills training and guidance through open access to a global network of mentor specialists, embedded in a supportive program that is meant to help all involved grow and lead better, healthier lives.

     

    Letitia has devoted her life’s work to supporting and fostering local and global connections, mutual understanding and learning, and action to create lasting, positive change. Letitia is also currently a full-time high school social studies teacher and mom of three children, ages 19, 17, and 7.

     

    Letitia credits her successes to those who helped her realize she could and told her to try.