Alejandra Abella is a Specialist/Instructor currently residing and teaching in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. An entrepreneur at heart, Alejandra has had many passions and diverse career paths that led her to discover a love of teaching. Her current self-designed courses and curricula arose from the theme that has kept constant throughout all her life experiences: how can we communicate better and avoid aggression by learning from our non-human cousins?
Prior to coming to the Washington, DC area, she taught for schools across Ventura County, California, including River Oaks Academy, Bridges Charter School and One Spark Academy, among others. Alejandra is also an author and illustrator and in 2013, she created Stormy Tales, a project that marries her love for art and animals and that currently includes a series of children's books on animal behavior and communication. They can be found at www.stormytales.com
Alejandra's first university studies were in the fine arts, through which she experienced painting, drawing, sculpture, graphic art, drafting and fashion design and merchandising. The first hint that teaching might be in her future came in 1990, while still in college, when she joined her university's Peer Tutoring Program. She graduated Cum Laude with a BA in Studio Arts and years later, while working full time, she began teaching horseback riding as a hobby but she soon became a certified instructor and won the American Riding Instructors Association Instructor of the Year Award in 2004.
While pursuing her hobby on evenings and weekends, her business life started with a decade in international development at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC, where she was hired to perform an inventory of the Bank's art collection. She also assisted in the purchasing of Latin American and Caribbean art for the collection, in addition to assisting in exhibit and event production for the Bank's Cultural Center. From there she expanded into international event and conference organization, and video production and script-writing for social documentaries. The creative and flexible environment of the office taught Alejandra to multi-task and wear many hats, essential skills for an entrepreneur. Alejandra coupled her stint in international development with teaching and studying equine science part-time at night, and she earned a CC in Equine Science, Suma Cum Laude. In 2002, she left the Bank to pursue her dreams of working with animals and went back to school for graduate studies in animal science with a focus on ethology, communication and animal welfare. A second career in the equestrian industry followed.
She started a company consulting for equestrian clients and ended up joining one of those clients to help grow their enterprise from two to over twenty employees in just a few years. As a small business in a niche market, the experience allowed Alejandra to utilize and expand her varied skills into equestrian facility development, marketing, brand building, research, feasibility studies, program design, operations, business and staff management, and client services. Staff and client trainings reminded her of the love for teaching that is now her main focus. In addition to her artistic and entrepreneurial endeavors, Alejandra still works with horses and other animals and she has published numerous articles on horses, their management and care. She is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Portuguese, and she has done freelance work in language instruction, translation, simultaneous and consecutive interpretation, and voice-over. Alejandra has traveled widely and/or lived in Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and the Caribbean.