Leadership in my opinion, is an attitude of being 100% selfless. Leaders help care for people’s needs and put the wellbeing of others before their own. Also, a true leader doesn’t ever judge. They understand everyone’s unique journeys in order to help guide them.
I had the pleasure of interviewing model Marianne Fonseca. Brazilian born model, Marianne Fonseca, has a resume most models could only dream of. From being featured in editorials for top publications including Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Maxim, and Cosmopolitan to walking the runway for designers including Dior and Timberland. In addition to modeling, Marianne is extremely passionate about helping children in need and went on her 4th mission trip to Uganda in October 2019. Marianne is currently signed with Ford Models in New York, Next Models in LA and Miami, Fashion Model Management in Milan, MGM Models in Germany and Way Model Management in Brazil.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to help people in need through missionary work. My mom raised me to be very generous. When I was a kid, she used to volunteer at an organization that provides support for people with AIDS. She then became the director of a local orphanage in our city, so she had taught me the importance of helping others from a young age. In general, I have always admired people like Angelina Jolie, who would choose to help the world without any obligations.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
I don’t lead the organization I work with, but I really value being a part of it. The church is called Churchome and it was founded by the lead pastor Judah Smith`s parents in Seattle. The church offers many programs, one of which is the mission trips lead by pastor Joanne Ramos. Since I started doing mission trips, the most interesting thing I’ve experienced is how people can work together to do beautiful things without having known each other prior (we mostly get to meet the other volunteers only a couple months before the trips). I am also amazed at how easy it is to adapt to circumstances, like housing and roommates, lack of sleep, not eating what you are normally used to etc; you just come together as a group for a bigger cause and forget all the little things that normally annoy you back at home. It’s a supernatural thing and something I have experienced each trip I have participated in. It’s real proof that we can be so civil and loving when we come together for something greater than ourselves.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I am new to mission trips; this is only my 4th time going on one. I think the biggest mistakes I have made so far had to do with language barriers. Since English is not my mother tongue, I have made some funny mistakes when talking in public or even praying for others and not seeming to find the right words. Most of the times its funny and I learn for the future, but most importantly I have learned to not fear speaking in public and to not be ashamed of my accent.
Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?
Our church gets involved in a many different areas in numerous countries. From what I have experienced and seen, I know that they are making a big difference by providing the inhabitants of Kampala, Uganda with a better quality of life.
In Sri Lanka, where I have volunteered twice, we worked to provide protection to single mothers and their children, since domestic violence is very common and it happens to almost every Srilankan woman. Some of them have nowhere to go and by running away from their husbands, they are no longer accepted at home by their own families. We help by providing them with temporary housing and food We also work on their reintegration in society, we have classes to teach them basic jobs like baking, sewing etc.
Our church is also very close to the organization A21 against human trafficking and slavery, which has done a lot of work in helping to recover victims and arrest criminals convicted for human trafficking.
Can you tell me a story about a particular individual who was impacted by your cause?
My pastor, Joanne Ramos, has always been an inspiration to me. As a young adult, she was lost and involved with drugs etc, but she turned her life around and became a believer of Jesus through a very beautiful story. For 20 years now she has led one trip per month in 12 different countries, doing a beautiful job in helping humanity. It impacts me to think that someone who is broken can be “born again“ and then do so much good in the world. It made me realize that no matter how broken we are inside, it is still possible to get out of that situation and change ourselves and even change the world around us. It gives me a lot of hope.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
As a church community, we are trying to bring the Jesus’s message across the world and help in any way we can. Every country has their own different needs. Often times, the root of the problems we are trying to solve (such as human trafficking, basic sanitation, right to education etc.) are linked to a deep political situation, a lack of financial resources, or corruption, bribes and criminals. Which makes it almost impossible to fight against a whole system. As I’m writing this, I get really concerned as to where our world is going and how we need to rethink about our real priorities. Why do we tend to be so selfish and not care to look at our neighbors? Shouldn’t they also be given the chance to live happily in this world? I say we can all do better. We can all push ourselves and go out of our comfort zones for others like we would want done for ourselves. You don’t need to look far to find someone in need, there’s always a chance someone in your community is in a worse position than you.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
Leadership in my opinion, is an attitude of being 100% selfless. Leaders help care for people’s needs and put the wellbeing of others before their own.
Also, a true leader doesn’t ever judge. They understand everyone’s unique journeys in order to help guide them.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
There isn’t really anything I wish I knew before, as these trips are so special and beautiful and have taught me so much. You end up getting so much more out of helping others than the people you are actually helping sometimes. It surprises me how close you get to everyone involved and I really wish I started doing these trips earlier, that’s the only thing I wish someone told me.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I think we already have an answer to that — love others and treat others like you would like to be treated. I know this is very cliché, but it is the underlying truth to bringing change to the world. As humans, we tend to have a selfish nature, but I believe that if we truly invested time in loving others like we love ourselves, the world would become a much more perfect place.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Live in the moment. I often spend so much time worrying about the future and used to have anxiety about things that haven’t even happened yet. I have learned to control myself and to focus on the `now` and just take it one day at a time. It’s surprising how much happier you can be when you live each day to the fullest.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
yes, Melinda Gates
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This was very meaningful, thank you so much!