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Listen before you speak.


For Rachel Monteagudo, the world is her oyster. There is nothing impossible for this girl. A globetrotter with a matching heart of gold, Rachel is changing the world one day at a time. Currently working as a volunteer in the Peace Corps in Ecuador, Rachel's philanthropic and generous spirt is allowing her to impact the lives of students in Guayaquil. Rachel is our #WCW because of her courage, curiosity, and caring personality that will infectiously continue leaving a positive influence on the lives of many around the world.

“Finding your voice sometimes takes decades. So I guess I consider myself lucky to have experienced so much, so quickly that has allowed me to grow into my own. But wow, do I have a lot left to learn.”

1. What's your story? What makes you unique?

What makes me unique are my reactions to some of my lowest points –the accidents, the mess-ups, the getting lost, the uncomfortable times of transition. These are the times where I grow the most (and laugh the hardest once I have lived to tell the tale).

I started working when I was 15, so I learned a lot from being a cashier at Target and serving late-night buffalo wings to drunk men. I have also traveled a good bit, and had the opportunity to meet lots of interesting people. Many times, these are the same people who invite me to share with them. I have been very blessed in that respect. So really it may be the people who surround me that are the most interesting?

When I was younger, I remember my high school volleyball coach picking two setters for our JV team. He picked a girl named Jill because she “has the best setting hands on the team” and me “because everyone likes you”. While that wasn’t the beginning of my Olympic career, I did go on to be an All-Region setter. This is a funny metaphor for the person I am today, because nothing has ever come easy to me, but I am a very hard worker and generally a good team player.

2. What motivates you?

I feel very motivated by success, or fruition of a vision. I can see exactly how I want things and I work hard to bring them to light. This also relates creatively, as I often dabble in different crafts. Often, I feel the same frustration mentioned by Ira Glass in this video.

I am also extremely inspired by intergenerational relationships. I LOVED listening to my first-wave feminist teachers, and thinking about the connections to my generation today.

Another personal example – when I was in grad school, I was one of the youngest in my cohort. One man who started the Arabic language training school in the State Department in the 1960’s took interest in me. He was retired and sitting in on classes for free. He really liked what I had to say and began to sponsor my reading list. Whatever I wanted to read. Book after book. And finally a $150 Amazon gift card when I graduated. We had no relationship outside of school but as long I kept reading, and reported summaries back, that was all that mattered. Even today, we share articles and debate over email. This relationship is so special to me, because it is one of mutual respect (although I feel I have not earned it).

This experience relates to what I’m doing now as a teacher in the Peace Corps. In a world where so many people are saying these kids won’t make it, I want to be the one that says they will. Sometimes i