International Travel

Travel has always been important to our firm –  not just as a frequent experience, but as a principle of life. We believe that travel, especially international travel, builds character, grants perspective, and facilitates understanding.

That is why in 2017 – long before the pandemic induced WFH boom – we started offering our employees the ability to work remotely, from another country, for a month at a time. To date, our employees have worked from Brazil, Croatia, Dominican Republic, England, Peru, Russia, and Spain.

VW Abroad
What We Learned From A Month Working Abroad
VW Abroad

In 2022, we expanded our commitment to international travel by relocating our entire firm overseas to work remotely from Lisbon, Portugal for a month. Not only was it the most productive, best billing month in the firm’s history, it produced more motivated, satisfied employees and unmatched firm camaraderie. Needless to say, this was the first of many VW Abroad trips to come. This year, we are going to Barcelona, Spain!


Read More About Our Experiences
1 of 8 VW Abroad
Why We’re Sending a First-Year Attorney to Portugal
2 of 8 VW Abroad
Como Pode Ajudá-Lo Hoje? How May I Help You Today?
3 of 8 VW Abroad
Nic’s First Week Working in Lisbon, Portugal
4 of 8 VW Abroad
The Road Forward – Week 2 Working in Portugal
5 of 8 VW Abroad
Week 3 in Portugal: Exploring the “City that Works”
6 of 8 VW Abroad
Saying Goodbye to Portugal
7 of 8 VW Abroad
What a month in Croatia taught me about entrepreneurship in the U.S.
8 of 8 VW Abroad
What We Learned From A Month Working Abroad
Professional Exchange Programs

Vela Wood has been fortunate enough to participate in the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellow Program twice in recent years. 

YLAI seeks to empower entrepreneurs from Latin America and the Caribbean to launch and advance their entrepreneurial ideas in order to contribute to the social and economic development of their communities. YLAI selects 250 entrepreneurs (out of 2500 applicants) from Latin America and the Caribbean to participate in a four-week fellowship with a US company in their field of expertise. 

Vela Wood has hosted three fellows each for a month at a time – Arístides Rubio from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 2017, Fabio Cendão from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2018, and Carlos Aguirre from Ecuador in 2022. 

After the completion of each YLAI program, we have participated in a reverse exchange program where we travel to the home city of our fellow to meet startups, discuss entrepreneurship, and host a pitch competition.



Read More About the YLAI Program
1 of 3 YLAI Program
Meet Our Entrepreneur In Residence From The Dominican Republic
2 of 3 YLAI Program
From The DR To Dallas: What Arístides Learned At Vela Wood
3 of 3 YLAI Program
Bringing Startup Culture To Law In Brazil

Twice since the fall of 2016, Vela Wood has had the pleasure of working with American Councils on their Russian Business Leaders fellowship program (RBL), which is sponsored by the U.S. State Department.

RBL is a program for young Russians engaged in business leadership positions to gain exposure to work in the US private sector with the goal of creating partnerships between companies and young entrepreneurs in the United States and Russia.

Our Austin office was selected to host two startup attorneys from Russia through this program; Dmitry Makarov in 2016 and Rustam Rafikov in 2019. In each instance, Vela Wood hosted Dmitry and Rustam for a month, providing them with legal experience and education within the U.S. After each time hosting an RBL fellow, our partner Radney Wood was selected for the RBL outbound program where he was able to travel to Russia for two weeks (once in 2017 and once in 2019) to speak at different accelerators, incubators, universities, law schools, and the US Embassy about startups and small businesses.

Radney regularly keeps in touch with both Dmitry and Rustam and the American Council’s team. In 2021, he assisted American Councils with their virtual RBL program by putting on a virtual presentation for Russian-based attorneys and founders to discuss social benefit companies and raising capital.



Read More About the Russian Exchange
1 of 1 Russian Exchange
Dmitry Makarov, Russian Professional Exchange In Vela Wood Austin

In 2019, Vela Wood partnered with another American Councils program, Ukrainian Business Leaders: Promoting Innovation and Entrepreneurship (UBL PIE) which is sponsored by the U.S. State Department.

VW was matched with Dima Foremnyi, a Ukrainian attorney who runs an outstanding accelerator program in Ukraine for a virtual fellowship, which aims to empower entrepreneurs, innovators, and businesspersons from across Ukraine with the skills to develop innovative economic, policy, and business solutions. 


Pitch Americas is a Latin America focused pitch competition born out of the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) that Vela Wood co-founded with Arístides Rubio, the first attorney we hosted through YLAI in 2017. After the completion of each YLAI program, we have participated in a reverse exchange program where we travel to the home city of our fellow to meet startups, discuss entrepreneurship, and host a pitch competition.


Read More About Our Experience with Pitch Americas
1 of 1 Pitch Americas
Startup Ecosystems Are Bridging the World
See Some of Our Adventures