Peace First reimagines leadership with new Co-CEO announcement


BOSTON, MA, June 23, 2022.


Peace First announced that its Board of Directors has hired two new co-CEOs,  Xochilt Exué Hernández Leiva and Isaac Cudjoe to lead the organization into its next phase of impact and development.

Xochilt Exué Hernández Leiva and Isaac Cudjoe will lead Peace First into its next phase of impact and development as co-CEOs, the Board of Directors of the organization announced.

One co-CEO will focus on Storytelling and Fundraising while the other leads on Programs and Technology. Both leaders will share responsibility for culture building, board engagement, and fiduciary oversight.

As the Co-CEO for Storytelling and Fundraising, Isaac will serve as the primary external face of Peace First for branding and fundraising purposes. He will also facilitate strategic partnerships that meet Peace First’s financial and impact goals.

As the Co-CEO for Programs and Technology, Xochilt will build on Peace First’s user experiences and articulate a strategy and implementation plan to ensure young people have access to exceptional products and programs. 

To this end, she will oversee Peace First’s internal operations to ensure alignment, efficiency and effectiveness across all areas of the organization. While the two will lead unique divisions of Peace First, their strength will come from their ability to collaborate with each other and the entire community.

The hiring of the two new leaders comes as CEO emeritus and co-founder, Eric Dawson, is preparing to step down from his role in August. 

“In creating a co-CEO model, Peace First is reflecting this growth and I cannot imagine two leaders better poised than Xochilt and Isaac to lead this community.  Since our first meeting, I have been inspired by their collaborative vision for youth-led change.  While my job with Peace First comes to a close, my love for the work will continue and I look forward to championing their leadership and Peace First's mission going forward,” Dawson said.

“Isaac and Xochilt surfaced from hundreds of applicants as strong individual performers, but it is their chemistry together that really excited the Peace First Search Committee and Board of Directors,” said Beeta Ansari, Peace First’s Chief of Staff. 

The excitement is shared by the co-CEOs who expressed enthusiasm for forming a partnership in the service of young changemakers around the world. 

“I am looking forward to growing, working, and learning side by side with Xochilt as we invest in young leaders around the world and build a stronger community,” said Isaac. 


Isaac Cudjoe

Isaac is a Ghanaian-American community organizer, social entrepreneur, and peace-builder who recently completed his doctorate in public policy and administration. 

“As a young change maker, I dreamed of finding a community of like-minded individuals who saw the world urgently needed collaborative problem solvers. Like many young people around the world, I've found that community at Peace First, so this opportunity is nothing short of an honor. I believe, trust, and value this team,” he said. 

Prior to joining Peace First, Isaac served as the Director of the Center of Social Change for Walden University in Maryland, USA.



Xochilt, a Nicaraguan-Colombian anthropologist and educator, has facilitated numerous leadership programs in Nicaragua, Colombia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, among other countries. Prior to joining Peace First, she was the Vice President of the Central American Women’s Fund’s Board of Directors. 

“I grew up as a young woman who wanted to see a change in the world but didn't know how to start. My journey as a young changemaker started with a community that not only believed in me but encouraged me to believe in my own power to grow, learn and amplify my contribution to social change. My call is to pay it forward to those new generations of young changemakers who are dreaming of, and leading change today, not someday. I am blessed to start this journey with such an extraordinary leader as Isaac and the amazing Peace First community.”




About Peace First

Peace First is a global incubator for youth-led social change. We support young people ages 13-25 to lead social change in their communities by providing them with start-up grants of up to $250, digital tools, customized training, peer mentoring and access to a global network of youth leaders.

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Gaelle Matar

Digital Marketing Manager

Peace First