Atlas Corps volunteers are essential to the organization for making sure things run smoothly. Today, we would like to talk more about Atlas Corps Group Captains. Our Group Captains facilitate monthly peer coaching groups as part of our new Virtual Leadership Institute, an online learning community for global social change leaders from around the world.

Since launching the Virtual Leadership Institute, 16 Atlas Corps Alumni became our Group Captains helping Scholars create a productive environment for co-learning, develop leadership projects, and guide discussions about leadership and social impact. Today we talk with Vanessa, Atlas Corps Alumna from Nicaragua and an excellent Group Captain for the Atlas Corps Virtual Leadership Institute. Vanessa is passionate about climate change awareness and education. During her Fellowship, Vanessa served at the Nature Conservancy, a global environment organization. Now Vanessa teaches Earth & Life Science at Lincoln International Academy in Nicaragua.

Name: Vanessa Alexandra Prado Baltodano

Home Country: Nicaragua

Current Organization:  Lincoln International Academy

Social Issue/Interest Area: Climate Change Awareness & Education

Fun fact: In my free time, I like to paint the walls of my house with nature murals


Why did you decide to volunteer for Atlas Corps as a Group Captain?

I decided to volunteer as Atlas Corps Group Captain because I wanted to share a diverse and inspiring learning space with people who are committed and passionate about social service. It is a way of strengthening each other and continuing serving humanity with our hearts ignited.

How has volunteering with Atlas Corps impacted you?

Volunteering as Group Captain has been a transformational path. I met amazing people and learned so much from them, relating our stories, overcoming obstacles, and creating solutions along with our communities. I feel really honored and thankful for the opportunity to share with such great minds.

Vanessa with Atlas Corps Fellow at the Global Leadership Lab in Washington, DC

What message would you like to send to individuals who are thinking of volunteering with Atlas Corps as a Group Captain?

I encourage you, who are thinking of volunteering as Group Captain, to go for it!… Your time will be well invested! It is an enriching professional and personal experience.

Atlas Corps Scholar Narovana (Cohort 3, Madagascar) shares, “What an amazing training is the Atlas Corps Virtual Leadership. I learned a lot during these few months. There were a lot of subjects covered during the program that I thought I had mastered. I was wrong, our classes opened my eyes to the details of project development, leadership and social changes. Our assignments made me have reflections about myself and others that I never thought about.In addition, I was fortunate to have Vanessa as a mentor. If you are looking for a leader who has an incredible sense of listening, Vanessa is the perfect person for you. She leaves no one behind, she is very diligent, always smiling, and she played the role of the group captain wonderfully. I cannot thank her enough for that.”

Atlas Corps Scholar Sana (Cohort 3, India) shares, “Virtual Leadership Institute has been extensively equipping me with appropriate skills and competencies that is aiding me to determine set directions to move my associated/parent organization to a high performance model and also build a lifetime network of peers and leaders to sustain professional growth. With the broad spectrum of fellows and exchange of ideas, my approaches/strategies towards any situations/projects/problems have become more glocal (reflecting and characterized by both local and global considerations) than local. Vanessa time and again has emerged as an amazing Group Captain in our peer coaching group calls. She has always taken the extra mile to break down the activities and discussions in the calls to a level that all the Scholars can understand the activity, build upon them, and consequently the entire group sails easily through the earmarked activities. She is very respectful towards all the inputs and opinions of the members of the group. As a respectful group leader she actually has helped empower me and some of the other team members by encouraging us to offer ideas about our individual leadership projects. Vanessa’s skillsets, dedication, and tenacity brought a whole new perspective to the peer coaching calls and I feel that as a team we are developing in the right direction in becoming great future leaders.”

Thank you, Vanessa and our hundreds of volunteers who help achieve the Atlas Corps mission every day. Learn more about becoming a volunteer at

On November 20, Atlas Corps celebrates 15 years of engaging social change leaders. Join us to honor our legacy of service with more than 1,100 leaders from 110 countries at the Atlas Corps 15-Year Anniversary Gala. We will convene friends of Atlas Corps from all sectors and regions of the world to reflect on 15 years of engaging social changemakers and inspire towards our future. Join to connect with our community, meet Fellows, and celebrate Atlas Corps!

Photos from Vanessa’s personal archive