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Young Leader Award

The ICF Young Leader Award celebrates coach practitioners under the age of 40 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 2018 Young Leader Award honorees are:

  • 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)

The 2018 Young Leader Award winners will receive their awards and be celebrated by their coaching colleagues during the 2018 Midwest Region Coaches Conference, June 21–23, 2018, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

2019 Nominations

ICF will open nominations for the 2019 Young Leader Award on February 13, 2019.  The nomination deadline will be April 3, 2019, at 2 p.m. (New York).



  • Eligibility Criteria

    Self-nominations are accepted for the Young Leader Award. An individual may also be nominated by one of their peers.

    To be eligible for Young Leader Award consideration, an individual must meet the following criteria:

    • The nominee is an ICF Member and ICF Credential-holder in good standing
    • The nominee is 39 years of age or younger at the time of the nomination
    • The nominee was not a 2018 Young Leader Award recipient
    • The nominee is not a current member of the ICF Global Board of Directors
  • Honoree Recognition

    ICF will announce the winners of the 2019 Young Leader Award on October 3, 2019. We will formally celebrate the 2019 class of honorees at ICF Converge 2019.

  • Nomination Worksheet and Scoring Rubric

    Before you begin your online nomination on February 13, download the 2019 Young Leader Award nomination worksheet. We also recommend reviewing the 2019 Young Leader Award scoring rubric. This is the same document our panel of judges will use to guide their scoring work.

  • Webinar for Nominators

    If you plan to nominate someone for the 2019 Young Leader Award, register now for “2019 Circle of Distinction and Young Leader Awards: Understanding the Nomination Process.”

    Join us February 13, 2019, at 9 a.m. (New York) to learn more about the 2019 Circle of Distinction and Young Leader Award nomination and selection processes. You’ll also discover strategies for preparing a successful nomination.

2019 Nomination Webinar

Meet the 2018 Winners

  • Rodrigo Acevedo, ACC (Uruguay)

    Rodrigo specializes in helping clients achieve personal growth and enhance their relationships. He focuses on finding long-term solutions and holistic growth. He’s been a member of ICF since 2012 and a member of the ICF Uruguay leadership team since 2015. Currently, he serves as the Chapter’s vice president.

    Rodrigo is also active in Toastmasters International’s Montevideo, Uruguay, club, serving as secretary and board member from 2014–2015. Currently, he’s a member of the Trascender Coaching team.

  • Elena Chelokidi, PCC (Russia)

    Elena is a coach, trainer and publisher. She started her coaching journey in 2012, joined the board of ICF Russia in 2014, and served as president of the Chapter from 2016–2017. Under her leadership, several new coach-training programs launched in Russia, the number of ICF Credential-holders in the country increased dramatically and the Chapter implemented several new programs and events. As a result, ICF Russia was recognized as a 2017 ICF Chapter Recognition honoree at the 2018 ICF Global Leaders Forum.

    Elena’s life motto is a quote from John F. Kennedy: “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”

  • Shweta Handa-Gupta, MCC (India)

    Shweta works with c-suite and board leaders to enable team alignment and facilitate change leadership success. She is co-founder of QuadraBrain® Transformation Solutions, specializing in neuro- accelerated learning and transformation interventions based on over 15 years of deep research into the human mind and behavior. Shweta is an active keynote speaker and has written columns for leading Indian business publications including The Financial Express and HT Mint. Previously, she held a senior role in a Fortune 50 organization and served as CEO of a small business group. She has applied expertise in business psychology and organization transformation, and her research interests include memory, neuroscience, and the psychology of transformation and leadership.

  • Dr. Paras, MCC (India)

    Dr. Paras is a coach, Mentor Coach and coach trainer who helps his clients transform their personal and professional lives by enabling them to believe that change is possible. His approach to coaching is direct, inspirational, incisive and empathetic. He has won several awards for his work as a coach and Mentor Coach. He’s a founding member of Tava-Mitram, a nonprofit initiative that provides high-quality group coaching to those in need. Through his partnership with Coacharya, Paras trains prospective coaches in Western coaching methodologies, as well as Eastern approaches and philosophies.

  • Flame Schoeder, PCC (USA)

    Flame’s coaching empowers individuals and teams to reach their full potential not just for a day, but for a lifetime. She has accrued more than 3,000 hours of coaching experience. In 2010, Flame became one of the youngest team members of the Academy for Coaching Excellence. Her clients include PayPal, Ervin & Smith Marketing and Public Relations, Physicians Mutual Insurance, and TD Ameritrade. Her coaching has breathed new life into leadership across diverse industries, supporting them to navigate rapid changes with greater ease and creativity.

  • Mariya Staykova, PCC (Bulgaria)

    In her coaching practice, Mariya works with moms in business, helping them balance all the diverse roles in their lives in an authentic, harmonious and satisfying way to create and live the life they want now. She is a trainer and mentor for Bulgaria’s first ICF-accredited coach-training program, The PULSE of Coaching.

    An ICF Member since 2013, Mariya served as ICF Bulgaria’s director of professional development from 2016–2017. She executed numerous successful projects for the local and regional coaching community, leveraging ICF resources and relationships with her fellow volunteer leaders. Thanks in part to these efforts, ICF Bulgaria was recognized as a 2017 ICF Chapter Recognition honoree during the 2018 Global Leaders Forum. Currently, Mariya is serving as president of ICF Bulgaria.

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