In honor of International Day of the Girl, Cornell senior and softball player Lilly Travieso ’24 attended First Lady Jill Biden’s first ever “Girls Leading Change” event at the White House on Wednesday, Oct. 11.
Travieso was invited to the event for her leadership with ELLA Sports Foundation, which she founded with her mother, Patty Godoy-Travieso, in 2018. ELLA, an acronym standing for Empowering Leadership in Latina Athletes, is also the Spanish word for “she.”
The foundation hosts leadership development, professional networking and empowerment workshops all over the United States to assist young Latina athletes during the college recruitment process. It also provides coaching seminars, opportunities for athletes to showcase their talent and a platform of advocacy for women in sports.
From a young age, Travieso said she dreamt of playing softball at a top university. However, she encountered obstacles experienced by many other Latina athletes during her journey, such as cultural misconceptions and financial inequalities. In founding ELLA, she said she aims to help other young Latinas achieve their dreams and overcome these adversities.
Gabriel Reyes, public relations specialist for ELLA, said the organization aims to support young women as they build their futures.
“ELLA wants to provide women and their families opportunities and resources to support them so they can succeed in life, and they can make their own legacy, like Lilly is doing,” Reyes said.
Being surrounded by like-minded women, Travieso plans to continue building on ELLA’s mission to assist Latina athletes in their academic and athletic endeavors, while aiding in their development as individuals.
“I was honored to be invited to [Girls Leading Change, an] important gathering celebrating young women who are agents of change in their community,” Travieso said. “We have been inspired [by] meeting so many role models and are energized to continue our work at ELLA, supporting girl athletes everywhere.”
At last week’s event, Biden recognized 15 young women leaders — including Gabriella Nakai, who worked to shift perceptions of Native people in America, Julia Garnett, who spoke out against book bans in her local school board meeting and Mona Cho, who raised awareness on online safety — selected by the White House Gender Policy Council for making a positive impact on their communities.
“We have been inspired meeting so many role models and are energized to continue our work at ELLA Sports Foundation, supporting girl athletes everywhere,” Travieso said.
Nia Perry ’25 is a Sun contributor and can be reached at [email protected].