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Young Leader Award

The ICF Young Leader Award celebrates coach practitioners age 40 and under who are poised to lead ICF and the coaching profession into the future. Honorees embody the core values of ICF and represent a diverse community of emerging thought leaders.

The nomination period for the 2022 Young Leader Award closed on June 10, 2022. Award winners and more information will be posted here when available.

Newest Young Leader Award Honorees

The full press release for these award winners is available here. The new ICF Young Leader Award Winners are:

  • Johana Alvarado, PCC, Costa Rica: Johana has led coaching efforts throughout all of Central America and has participated in press interviews to share updated information about the scope of the discipline of coaching, to enhance the industry’s credibility. She has conducted over 5,000 hours of direct coaching over the past 12 years, impacting individuals, groups and teams alike.
  • Ester Landa, MCC, Russia/USA: Ester has worked in several countries and has proven to be a role model for young coaches across the world. Her time has been dedicated to several pro bono coaching activities, aimed to enhance public good. Additionally, Ester has presented coaching, mentoring and supervision demo-sessions at many conferences in an effort to promote high professional standards and introduce colleagues to new methodologies, coaching trends and niches.
  • Tomas Pesek, ACC, Slovakia: Tomas runs a dedicated long-term training program to upskill youth workers in the coaching discipline to better support young people. Additionally, he has partnered with innovative teachers and mentors across Slovakia to help equip them with coaching skills and methods, while concurrently exploring the potential of integrating these principles in formal education. He also contributes to several other efforts for organizations including the European Union, Erasmus+, and more.
  • Lenka Zelingrova, PCC, Czech Republic: Lenka is a founding member of the ICF Czech Chapter and has been representing the ICF core values for 15 years. She has developed a specialized coaching program for the blind and is the founder and CEO of Koucink Centrum in Prague, where she provides coaching for corporate clients, and founded the Approved Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH) Coaching Training School.

2019 Honorees

  • Gaurav Arora, MCC (India)

    Gaurav Arora, MCC, has a decade of experience in the professional services industry as a coach, Mentor Coach, facilitator and speaker.

    In 2009, he launched Inspire Coaching Systems, a boutique leadership development firm. He has coached individual and organizational clients across India and delivered workshops around the world. He is especially passionate about coaching change-makers across India. In 2016 he launched the iOwn initiative, which is a platform to connect coaches with leaders of NGOs in the social development sector.

    “Gaurav’s passion for learning and development is supplemented by a great sense of happiness in creating transformative experiences,” Preeti Verma, ACC, wrote in Gaurav’s Young Leader Award nomination. “Humor is never far away in his work and that light touch in coaching sessions often enables coachees to share their challenges more truly and freely. It enables them to enter fully into a dialogue where profound transformation can occur.”

    From 2012–2014, Gaurav was part of the ICF Global Nominating Committee. He was president of ICF Hyderabad from 2013–2016, having previously served as the chapter’s director of events. He also served on the chapter’s editorial board. Gaurav was instrumental in organizing two international coaching conferences in India, 30 in-person and virtual events and several road shows. He also created communities of practice for ICF Hyderabad coaches and wrote articles and white papers on behalf of the chapter.

  • Jaya Bhateja, MCC (India)

    Jaya Bhateja, MCC, is an Executive and Life Coach with more than 14 years of experience in human resources management, leadership development, Executive Coaching and Mentor Coaching. She has accrued more than 3,000 hours of coaching and mentoring experience in diverse industries across India, Singapore, the Philippines, the United States and the United Kingdom.

    From 2006–2010, Jaya held progressively responsible roles in HR and capability and leadership development for Accenture. During her tenure with Accenture, she was instrumental in forming the organization’s global coaching center of excellence.

    Jaya “is a keen observer, an active listener, and her powerful inquiry process has helped individuals build great insights into multiple areas of their lives in a safe and supportive environment,” K R Chandran, PCC, wrote in Jaya’s Young Leader Award recommendation. “Her coaching programs are especially recognized for the self-awareness they create and the effective shifts they bring about in coachees to lead their best lives.”

    Jaya has written several articles and blog posts on topics including disruptive leadership, the ICF Core Competencies and the importance of ICF Credentials. She is also the author white papers on creating awareness and facilitating learning and results. As a volunteer Global Presence Ambassador for Parenting 2.0, Jaya champions building life skills as part of the parenting process to promote emotional literacy worldwide.

    Jaya recently completed her second year as a judge for the ICF International Prism Award program. She has also worked to increase awareness and understanding of the Prism Award in India as an invited speaker at an ICF Delhi NCR event.

    Last year, she provided pro bono coaching through the ICF Foundation’s Ignite Initiative.

    Jaya is a past board member of ICF Hyderabad. During her time on the board, she helped launch India’s first-ever coaching magazine and organize a coaching conference in Hyderabad.

  • Rey Castellanos, PCC (USA)

    Rey Castellanos, PCC, is the CEO of Feed Your Wolf, which launched in 2012. An Executive, Leadership and Team Coach, Rey is passionate about engaging and developing responsible leaders through a combination of professional coaching and experiential training.

    Rey coaches leaders around the world, designs and facilitates nature-based coaching experiences, and designs and facilitates a variety of leadership development programs, learning experiences and retreats. Rey was one of four coaches chosen to participate in a pilot program to reduce recidivism among adults exiting the San Francisco County Jail system. He also spearheaded the design and facilitation for a 225-plus-attendee conference based on coaching principles that took changemakers on a hero’s journey.

    In 2014, Rey was nominated and chosen by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to serve as the founding curator of the Global Shapers Sacramento Hub, a group of talented, driven leaders. In this capacity, he participated in WEF’s Annual Curators Meeting in Geneva, which convened 350 young leaders from more than 169 countries to represent the voice of the Millennial generation.

    Rey is a founding member of the Forbes Coaches Council and was recognized by Real Leaders magazine on its 2016 list of Visionary Leaders Leading us to a Better Future.

    During his time as a board member for ICF Sacramento, Rey spearheaded the chapter’s first volunteer coaching initiative and led the planning and execution of its International Coaching Week celebration. Rey also served on the ICF Western Region Advisory Council (WRAC), where he eventually became co-chair.

    “When we volunteered together on the ICF WRAC, Rey took pride in providing the structure and supporting the growth of our members in the 17 ICF Chapters that we served,” Annette Siewertsen wrote in Rey’s Young Leader Award recommendation. “During this time, Rey contributed to creating a collaborative regional structure that focused on reducing burnout and resource sharing.”

  • Samer Hassan, MCC (Egypt)

    Samer Hassan, MCC, is the founder of KUN a coaching and coach-training enterprise that serves both the European and the Arab world. He developed “Somatic Thinking,” a coaching methodology to transform physical and emotional awareness into an asset for coaching and leadership excellence.

    A self-described “nomad,” Samer has lived and worked on four continents and in three languages.

    Samer’s clients include senior managers, directors, VPs and CEOs. He’s coached in organizations including Bank of Intesa Sanpaolo, AlexBank, Emaar King Abdullah Economic City, Motorola Saudi Arabia and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

    Samer has published blog posts on topics including coaching presence and building a healthy identity. He also recently participated in a longitudinal study of coaching presence, both as a coach and collaborator with the head researcher.

    “I can see that Samer spares no time or effort in raising awareness about the coaching profession by raising awareness about the ICF,” Abdallah Ramzy, ACC, wrote in a Young Leader Award recommendation for Samer.

    In his travels, Samer has fostered relationships with ICF Chapters in Ottawa, Belgium, Italy, Poland and Egypt. Most recently, he has presented virtual and in-person education for ICF Egypt and provided pro bono coaching sessions during ICF Egypt’s International Coaching Week celebration. At the ICF Global level, he is a Coaching World contributor and participated in a recent PCC Markers Training cohort.

  • Dr. Zach Prosser, PCC (USA)

    Dr. Zach Prosser, PCC, launched his coaching business in November 2017. As a Life and Leadership Coach, Zach serves diverse clients with a variety of goals. His expertise is in helping people achieve greater results and create maximum impact in their personal lives, their careers, their families and their spiritual lives.

    In addition to his coaching practice, Zach serves as lead pastor of Celebration Church in Akron, Ohio, USA. Zach has infused a coaching approach into his ministry, applying coaching skills as he serves his congregation and community. He also provides coaching for paid staff and lay leadership through the Assemblies of God’s coaching initiative, and he is working with local church leaders to add coach training and skills to their toolbox of resources.

    “When you meet Zach, you sense that he is humble, fun, self-assured and generous,” Anne Papinchak, PCC, wrote in Zach’s Young Leader Award nomination. “He has life and leadership experience where he values, engages and supports diverse team members and customers with ease. He is curious and seeks to understand and then be understood.”

    Zach has led multiple workshops in the United States and China on topics including Relationship Coaching, motivation, the power of personality and the power of perspective. He has also written numerous blog posts on coaching and related topics. Earlier this year, Zach released Unprecedented Days, a book of devotions.

    Under Zach’s leadership, ICF Cleveland came back from the brink of dissolution and implemented new succession planning and strategic planning processes, undertook successful membership recruitment and retention campaigns, launched new awards and recognition programs, and increased its profile in the local business community. As a result, ICF Cleveland earned 2018 Chapter Recognition honors for demonstrating excellence as a high-performing organization.

    Zach also participated in the Midwest Regional Advisory Council and led the marketing and on-site production management for the 2018 Midwest Region Coaches Conference.

  • Ozlem Sarioglu, PCC (Turkey)

    Ozlem Sarioglu, PCC, began her career at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as an international consultant, contributing her special expertise on international structuring of foreign investments to her work with more than 35 countries. While at PwC, she completed her initial coach training and gained experience as an internal coach practitioner.

    In 2011, she partnered with two coaching colleagues and a designer to build Sparkus, a digital coaching platform focused on increasing young adults’ access to coaching. Initially designed as a B2C product, in 2013 Sparkus began working with corporations to bring coaching to younger employees and enhance managers’ and leaders’ coaching skills.

    “I met Ozlem at a one-day workshop … in 2007. Since then, we have attended many trainings together and had the chance to work together on different corporate and volunteer projects,” Pinar Dolarslan, MCC, wrote in Ozlem’s Young Leader Award nomination. “I can easily say that is was and still is a privilege to work with her. Ozlem always keeps her positive attitude, her promises and her cooperative way of working. … She does what she says, and she says what she does.”

    Ozlem is the author of World Voices in a Polarized World, which was released earlier this year. Her article on polarized teams, “Why You Fight is the Exact Reason That Makes You a Dream Team,” was published in a leading Turkish HR publication.

    She has served on ICF Turkey’s disciplinary committee since 2010. She has participated in several social responsibility projects with ICF Turkey and provided pro bono coaching through an ICF Foundation initiative. She was a presenter for ICF on Tour in 2015 and is a past ICF Turkey conference speaker.

Past Honorees

  • 2018

    • Rodrigo Acevedo, ACC (Uruguay)
    • Elena Chelokidi, PCC (Russia)
    • Shweta Handa-Gupta, MCC (India)
    • Dr. Paras, MCC (India)
    • Flame Schoeder, PCC (USA)
    • Mariya Staykova, PCC (Bulgaria)

Young Leader Award Program Contact

  • Stephanie Norris

    Awards Director

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