It’s impossible to separate the background of Leandro Machado from his passion for democracy. Since his childhood, when he had the opportunity to meet presidential contender Tancredo Neves – the first civilian candidate for the Brazilian presidency after 20 years of military dictatorship – until today, at the helm of CAUSE, Leandro has been driven by his belief in democracy as the best way to build a freer world that is more just and inclusive.
After his teenage years, he identified in the Political Science course at the University of Brasília a natural means of transforming his love for democracy into a career. When he graduated in 2000, he discovered the first way he would contribute to strengthening democracy – and still be fulfilled professionally: working in the private sector to help improve the dialogue and the relationship between the private sector and the government, which was still relatively unstructured in Brazil at the time. He worked for multinationals such as Shell and IBM before taking a job at Natura Cosméticos, where he helped set up the company’s Government Relations department.
In 2010, he had the opportunity to make a more direct contribution to Brazilian democracy: he played an active role in the presidential campaign of Marina Silva and her running mate Guilherme Leal (one of the founders of Natura) on the Green Party ticket. He worked with Marina Silva again in the 2014 presidential campaign and these two experiences convinced him that a serious political process that gives a voice to all actors in society with clean elections is the right way to change a country. However, he also noticed an absence of political leaders committed to democratic progress.
This discovery led him to pursue another approach to revitalize democracy: in 2012, he was one of the founders of RAPS – Rede de Ação Política pela Sustentabilidade (Network of Political Action for Sustainability), a non-partisan civil society organization that aims to identify, attract, train and monitor the exponents of Brazilian politics. In 2015, just three years after its foundation, RAPS already has more than a hundred political leaders either in training or working across the country.
At Cause, the first Brazilian cause advocacy agency that works in the fields of sustainable development, human rights and democracy, Leandro continues to combine his great passion with the certainty that only through the active participation of all citizens and societal groups will it be possible to build a freer country.
In 2015, Leandro was named Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in recognition of his contributions to society and to Brazilian democracy.