As BridgeThink’s Director of Social Accountability & Community Outreach, Leila Valoura – “Leila Kaas” continuously encourages the team to accomplish its goals by partnering with the communities that we work within. In April of ’09 during the “Building Bridges” film festival in New Bedford, MA, it was Leila who guided the team in connecting with the city’s 19 arts and cultural partners. She reminds us that for any creative industry to grow equitably (including film), it must dialogue with established disciplines such as the arts, education and business.

Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she received her BA in Communications and MBA in Project Management, Leila worked in many socially focused positions including Social Accountability Consultant at Comunicarte Agency for Social Responsibility and as an independent documentary Film Producer. After moving to Los Angeles in 2006 she also served as an instructor of Communications at Charles Drew University, Outreach Coordinator for the Echo Park Film Center and Portuguese Instructor for English speaking students. She is now pursuing graduate studies in Applied Cultural Analysis from Lund University in Sweden.

The distance between continents is no divide for Leila as she guides BridgeThink’s discussions via skype and phone to let us know about an initiative she has stumbled upon – often in our own backyards! We consider Leila our “eye on the world” exposing BridgeThink to the most forward thinking, socially creative initiatives happening around the globe.

Consistent with her role, Leila will be sharing some of her discoveries with our readers. Look for her regular column entitled “Neighborhood Earth” in BridgeThink’s Newsletter, as well as the “Neighborhood Earth” category on The Bridge Forum.