Meet Our Staff

 

Senior Leadership

Luis Granados

Chief Executive Officer

Luis Granados

Chief Executive Officer

lgranados@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Dedicated
Resilient
Empathetic

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the Mission because it has a strong presence of Latino families and I love MEDA staff’s commitment to our constituents, which they show through their intent, intelligence and actions. MEDA is home."

Luis Granados proudly served as the Executive Director for the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) since 1999, becoming Chief Executive Officer in 2018. During his tenure, Luis has worked to create asset-development opportunities for San Francisco Bay Area low- to moderate-income Latino families. Luis has a master’s in City and Regional Planning from University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor’s of Science from University of California, Davis. Luis also sits on the following boards: Board Chair, UnidosUS; Board Member, California Reinvestment Coalition; Community Advisory Board Member, JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Board Member, National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders; Board Member, Raza Development Fund; Member, PNC Bank Community Advisory Council.

Luis' work is driven by his experience as an immigrant from Juarez, Mexico, his family heading to Southern California when he was a teenager.

Read Blogs featuring Luis.

Jillian Spindle

Chief Strategy and Advancement Officer

Jillian Spindle

Chief Strategy and Advancement Officer

jspindle@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Innovation
Strategy
Solutions

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love that everyone working at MEDA is 100 percent committed to the community, and making sure the Mission remains a neighborhood of opportunity."

Jillian Spindle has worked at MEDA since 2009, serving as Director of Development for seven years before becoming MEDA's Chief Operating Officer in 2016. In her role as Director of Development, she led several large collaborative funding projects such as the national Latino Tech Net, and the Mission Promise Neighborhood initiative.

Prior to MEDA, she fundraised and developed programming for community technology centers throughout Chicago, created computer training programs in partnership with community organizations in Jamaica and Honduras, and taught a class on community technology at DePaul University. She has a M.A. and B.A. in Social Sciences/Sociology from the University of Chicago. Jillian serves on the Board of Directors for Refugee Transitions.

Read Blogs featuring Jillian.

Pamela Benoit

Chief Financial Officer

Pamela Benoit

Chief Financial Officer

pbenoit@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Empathy
Humility
Service

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love that MEDA works to strengthen the Mission District with programs that prevent displacement and provide
opportunities to build wealth."

Pamela’s passion for the work she has done in community development grew from her observing homelessness in Washington D.C. when she moved there during college. Her professional milestones align with some of her proudest accomplishments. While volunteering as a board member at AHC, Inc. in Arlington, VA, Pamela received NDC’s “Housing Development Finance Professional” certification. Pamela took her training to MHP, Inc in Montgomery County, Maryland where as Finance Director, she served as project manager for the organization's first LIHTC project, Great Hope Homes, in Silver Spring, MD. Moving on from MHP, Pamela became a licensed CPA while working as CFO at AHC, Inc. in Arlington, VA. Pamela moved to Portland Oregon, became a licensed property manager and the agent of record for REACH CDC in her role as COO. Prior to joining REACH, Pamela worked at Our Just Future, formerly known as Human Solutions, where she had the opportunity to strengthen the fiscal team and apply her knowledge of not-for-profit accounting to an organization with a multitude of grant funding.

Pamela is an adventurous spirit. She has many fond memories of traveling with her 2 daughters, friends and extended family. Earlier in 2023, Pamela traveled to Australia accompanying her younger daughter on a business trip. Pamela’s next great adventure is a trip to Dubai planned for February 2024. Pamela’s favorite place to relax is the beach. Pamela’s older daughter lives in Delaware where Pamela visits often to enjoy the beach with her 2 grandsons.

Karoleen Feng

Chief Community Real Estate Officer

Karoleen Feng

Chief Community Real Estate Officer

kfeng@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Leader
Achiever
Doer

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love living and working in my own neighborhood and getting to say hello to people on the street."

Karoleen Feng established MEDA's Community Real Estate program to reverse cultural displacement and gentrification in the highest-cost neighborhood in the nation. She has changed the narrative of the future of the neighborhood and achieved the rebuilding of community assets in the Mission District after a decade-long absence of affordable-housing production in the neighborhood. Against the odds of the low-income, primarily Latino family’s neighborhood being decimated, she has been instrumental in jumpstarting MEDA being joint-venture partners for the Mission-Castro cluster of the San Francisco Housing Authority Rental Assistance Demonstration program, new construction of almost 500 apartments and preservation of dozens of small apartments off the private market.

Karoleen has also led the Mission Action Plan 2020 initiative to shape policies and planning regulations for land use in the neighborhood. She has built affordable housing for over a decade – rental and for-sale, family and senior, mixed-use developments and affordable commercial real estate at East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation and Little Tokyo Service Center.

Read Blogs featuring Karoleen.

Berlina Ceguerra

Chief Operating Officer

Berlina Ceguerra

Chief Operating Officer

bceguerra@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Enthusiasm
Balance
Empathy

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission District has always had a special place in my heart, as it was the first neighborhood I lived in when my family moved to the U.S. when I was a young child and I have so many fond memories of that experience. I am so excited to help MEDA support and continue to maintain the thriving, eclectic and bustling community that is the Mission."

Berlina O. Ceguerra brings over 20 years of experience in Human Resources focusing on organizational effectiveness, engagement/retention and transformational organizational change working in a variety of industries, including technology. As an immigrant starting her U.S. life in the Mission District, Berlina understands the challenges, opportunities and dreams families bring with them to this nation, and she is excited to support MEDA’s vision and honorable mission.

Berlina earned a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley, with a double major in Psychology and Economics. Berlina also serves on the Board of Directors for Street Child – U.S. Berlina loves to travel to experience different cultures and cuisines.

Read Blogs featuring Berlina.


Administration & HR

Amina Abid

Director of Human Resources and Operations

Amina Abid

Director of Human Resources and Operations

aabid@medasf.org
ext. 101

Three qualities you bring to work:
Compassion
Audacity
Respect

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love MEDA because it caters life-altering resources to the Latino community, which has historical roots in the Mission. MEDA helps to protect the right for marginalized communities to exist and thrive, fosters power-building and provides economic strength to create generational wealth. MEDA is a vital part of maintaining the cultural vibrancy that defines the Mission."

Amina Abid's formal education focused on the construction of civil structures, but her passions have always leaned toward building communities. In both her professional and personal capacities she has worked to empower historically underserved POC communities by facilitating educational opportunities, driving policy change, mentoring youth and developing resources fostering structural change. A first-generation child of Pakistani/Kashmiri immigrants, raised in the Bay Area, Amina learned how to be resilient through adversity during a post-9/11 America in which islamophobia was endemic. From raising her voice against the occupation in Kashmir or Palestine, to countering the "Muslim Ban" at home in the U.S., Amina has been determined to fight against bias and hate faced by marginalized groups and is recognized as an activist for multiple organizations in her community.

Amina is focused on strengthening the strategic planning and infrastructure needed to support short and long-term growth for grassroots organizations. While serving Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities as the Operations Director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Francisco Bay Area (CAIR-SFBA) office, Amina amassed over a decade of nonprofit management experience by co-chairing the growth of CAIR-SFBA to become the fourth largest office of the largest civil rights organization for Muslims in America. Now, Amina brings her human resources and operations experience to assist MEDA with growing their stellar talent, managing payroll, and continuing to foster a culture of wellness and inclusion.

Amina studied Structural Engineering at UC San Diego, but enjoys being an ever-enrolled student of life. She enjoys learning from others' experiences, supporting local and global humanitarian causes, values time with her family and is rooted in her spirituality.

Read Blogs featuring Amina.

Miguel Velasco

HR/Ops Manager

Miguel Velasco

HR/Ops Manager

mvelasco@medasf.org 

Three qualities you bring to work:
Commitment
Work Ethic
Accountability

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission District not only represents the vibrancy and customs of our Latino community but also, the place where residents embrace their roots and support the sometimes hard transition our immigrant community has when moving to this country."

Miguel Velasco was born in El Salvador and emigrated to the US almost 20 years ago. As an immigrant himself, he understands the issues of the Latino community in San Francisco, workforce and housing for example, as well as how difficult is to adapt to the new life in this country.

His recent professional experience includes the City and County of San Francisco as a Senior Workforce Development Officer, Associate Director of Workforce Development at MEDA, as well as roles in the private sector, specifically in the healthcare industry.

Being a first-generation university student, he holds a Computer Engineering degree from Skyline College and a business Administration Information Systems degree from San Francisco State University.

During his personal time, he enjoys being with his wife and two daughters, gardening, and cooking.

Laura Ornelas

Senior Executive Assistant and Special Projects Manager

ext. 111

Laura Ornelas

Senior Executive Assistant and Special Projects Manager

lornelas@medasf.org
ext. 111

Three qualities you bring to work:
Diligence
Empathy
Curiosity

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I am constantly humbled by the vibrant energy of the Mission District and MEDA’s dedication to maintaining this energy in its truest form while supporting the community’s economic development."

Laura Ornelas is a first-generation immigrant and lifelong learner, with a passion for giving back and disrupting spaces not meant for her. She enjoys empowering her communities through numerous volunteering events, as well as information sharing. Laura is a philanthropist and proud Leadership Council Member of the Latino Community Foundation. She is a first-generation triple major from Santa Clara University and holds the following bachelor’s degrees: Ethnic Studies, Sociology and Spanish Language.

Prior to joining MEDA, Laura was Executive Assistant at Paradigm, a consulting firm focused on diversity and inclusion. She began her journey in the administrative world as Executive Administrative Assistant at Beneficial State Bank, a triple-bottom-line bank dedicated to building prosperity in local communities with a focus on social justice, environmental resilience and economic sustainability.

Read Blogs featuring Laura.

Vinny Oliveira

IT Manager

Vinny Oliveira

IT Manager

voliveira@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Dedicated
Collaborative
Strategic

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the Mission because it feels like home, with all the great people and food. MEDA is providing the community with resources for a better and stronger generation."

Vinicius Oliveira was born in Brazil and raised in the U.S. from age 12. His biggest passion has been in the IT field since he was a kid, leading him to obtain a degree in Information Technology. Vinicius was the first IT Manager for Riaz Capital, a property management and development company helping create quality workforce housing in the Bay Area. Over the years, Vinicius has built a strong background in managing IT and systems operations. Vinicius cut expenses by restructuring the IT department and eliminating reliance on third-party providers, saving the company $141,297.00+ annually.

Vinicius is excited to be the first in the IT department and to continue contributing to the community, but evaluating and implementing processes and tools to help each team member continue to be successful. Outside of his professional life, Vinicius loves to explore scenic sites, meet new friends and play soccer.

Read Blogs featuring Vinny.

Rosa Jaquez

Office Manager

ext. 101

Rosa Jaquez

Office Manager

rjaquez@medasf.org
ext. 101

Three qualities you bring to work:
Persistent
Resourceful
Diligent

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"Though it is constantly evolving, the Mission embodies the convivial Latino spirit and invites everyone to and be a part of the family. MEDA shares the same sentiments with this community and I am proud to work with these neighborhood heroes."

Rosa Jaquez was born in El Salvador and moved to San Francisco's Mission District in 1971. For 23 years, she worked at Thomas Edison Charter Academy, where she wore many hats, as a parent liaison, reading instructor, teacher aid, gardener and teacher advisor for the SFUSD School to Career Program.

In 1991, she founded, supervised and most recently was the Thomas Edison Charter Academy Extended Day Program Director. She has been a member of the Mission Cultural Center for the Latino Arts for 10 years.

Read Blogs featuring Rosa.


Risk Management and Compliance

Dolores Terrazas

Vice-President, Risk Management & Compliance

Dolores Terrazas

Vice-President, Risk Management & Compliance

dterrazas@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Passion
Strategy
Innovated Solutions

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"As a native San Franciscan having been raised in San Francisco’s Mission, I am in awe of the next generation of socially minded individuals who are committed to supporting the immigrant contributions to the neighborhood and City of San Francisco for everyone."

Dolores G. Terrazas has primarily worked in leadership positions directly impacting early education systems by way of supporting children, their families and staff working in these communities. She has led organizations by expanding the breadth of staff ability to deliver best practices along with systems development and accountability in delivering an intentional approach of supporting the wellness of those directly involved in delivering services to high-need communities. She has worked at the local, regional and national levels, bringing her commitment, expertise and voice in support of the bilingual community in early education.

In her experience, Dolores holds a deep commitment to volunteerism. Dolores has lent her time to work on several Boards of Directors in the Mission. She has served on the Boards of Mission Cultural Center, La Raza Information Center (Resource and Referral), Children’s Book Press and MEDA.

Dolores holds a bachelor's from San Francisco State University in Liberal Studies with a minor in History and a master's from New Mexico State University on Curriculum and Instruction.

Read Blogs featuring Dolores.

Leonor Cordon

Senior Compliance & Grant Analyst

Leonor Cordon

Senior Compliance & Grant Analyst

brad.caftel@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Collaboration
Passion
Dedication

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I was lucky to be selected for an internship as a Data Analyst, at MEDA. The amazing team here was easy to relate to and I wanted to participate and join forces to accomplish MEDASF's mission: to strengthen the Latino families by promoting economic equity and social justice."

Leonor immigrated to San Francisco from Mexico City for love, getting married, moving to the USA, and giving birth to a baby girl. She was born and raised in the south of Mexico City, “Tlalpan”. She holds a BA from ITAM and has more than 15 years of professional experience in the stock market.

Food was an important part of Leonor’s family, leading her to a catering business featuring high-quality nutritious lunches for kids in school. Leonor helped with the challenges of developing the start-up, taking care of the finances, procedures and implementations, and helping to grow the sales of the business.

Leonor loves cuisines from diverse cultures, enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends. Mexico is a multi-faceted, and multi-cultural society, with expressions of many different traditions that she likes to keep alive, bringing her closer to her roots.

Read Blogs featuring Leonor.

Juan Ávila

Compliance and Grant Analyst

(415) 295-6111

Juan Ávila

Compliance and Grant Analyst

javila@medasf.org
(415) 295-6111‬

Three qualities you bring to work:
Calm
Friendly
Reflective

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The sense of community is what I love the most about the Mission. My neighbors and the local organizations are what keeps the Mission feeling like home."

Juan Avila is a San Francisco native who grew up in the Mission. He obtained his bachelor’s from Kalamazoo College, where he studied Economics and Spanish. Juan is thrilled to join the team at MEDA and support their workforce development/financial coaching initiatives.

Outside of work hours, Juan enjoys spending time at farmers’ markets, parks and his local taquerias.

Read Blogs featuring Juan.

Brad Caftel

Compliance Attorney

Brad Caftel

Compliance Attorney

brad.caftel@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Dedication
Integrity
Experience

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"MEDA is a dynamic, growing organization that is having a meaningful impact in the Mission District and the City. Few organizations last for 50 years, as has MEDA, and MEDA seems poised to do great things in its next 50 years."

Brad J. Caftel is an attorney with nearly 50 years of experience counseling nonprofit, community-based organizations engaged in business, real estate, and other community development activities on the corporate, tax, and other legal requirements associated with their efforts. He has trained board and staff members on the duties and responsibilities of their position, taught courses in community development law at law schools and courses in nonprofit law for nonprofit executives, and has written articles on community development law for both lawyers and community practitioners.

Brad holds a B.A. in Economics from Michigan State University and a J.D. from the University of California-Berkeley. He is a member of the California State Bar.

Read Blogs featuring Brad.


EQUITABLE RECOVERY INSTITUTE

Juan Diego Castro

National Partnerships Director

Juan Diego Castro

National Partnerships Director

jdcastro@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Service
Collaboration
Audacity

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the culture at MEDA, because it embodies the culture, love and resilience that makes the Mission District such a beautiful place to be. I am continuously learning about community's culture through food, good conversation and a collaborative effort towards a more equitable society."

Juan Diego Castro has been passionately working in the affordable housing realm for almost two decades with experience in community organizing, homeownership/rental readiness coaching and project manangement for real estate development. Juan Diego grew up in New York City where he completed a Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice, with a minor in Puerto Rican & Latin American Studies from CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Juan Diego is a co-founder of Students for Social Justice, a volunteer/education cohort within John Jay that focused an equity lens on our schoold mission of "Educating for Justice."

Juan Diego was born in Ecuador and his family immigrated here in the early 90's in search of a better education and better lives for their children. His family's journey towards the American Dream of homeownership mirrors those of many of MEDA's clients. It is this personal connection that fuels Juan Diego's passion for building capacity in non-profit organizations that are serving our historically underserved communities. In his personal time, Juan Diego enjoys spending time with his family, in his garden or biking around the San Francisco Bay Area.

Mayra Alfaro Martinez

Program Associate, Share the Model

Mayra Alfaro Martinez

Program Associate, Share the Model

malfaro@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Ambition
Passion
Innovation

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"My upbringing in San Francisco and spending much time in the Mission is a big reason why I pursued MEDA. I am passionate to be a part of a team that continues to help community members and businesses remain in place and keeps the culture alive in the neighborhood. It’s truly an honor to be working for MEDA and I am excited to learn and be a resource to others."

Mayra Alfaro Martinez was born and raised in San Francisco to parents who emigrated from Mexico in the mid-1980s. She recently worked for a nonprofit divisional headquarters for two years before transitioning to MEDA. Her background prior to working with nonprofits was in sales for many years, until she decided to utilize those skills to help underresourced communities. Mayra is passionate about helping others create generational wealth to help change the legacy of families and their communities.

Mayra earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from CSU East Bay. She played basketball, softball and volleyball growing up. She is a big Golden State Warriors fan and is a volunteer Young Life leader for youth in the city.

Read Blogs featuring Mayra.


Policy & Advocacy

Jessica Rubio Rincón

Policy Director

Jessica Rubio Rincón

Policy Director

jrubio@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Strategic
Resilient
Collaborative

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?

"I love the commitment that MEDA has to serve the community and how invested each of the employees are in making sure that all of our clients thrive."

Jessica was born and raised in Querétaro, México and relocated to Phoenix, Arizona when she was 14 years old. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education and Business Administration from Grand Canyon University and her Master in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.

Jessica is a lifelong organizer and strategic thinker. She is committed to eradicating racial disparities by expanding access to higher education and critical resources, and increasing the number of people civically engaged. Prior to MEDA, Jessica founded The Academic and Leadership Accelerator for Service (ALAS), an organization that taught immigrant students life and leadership skills and prepared them for post-secondary education. Over the last 12 years, she has also worked in national and local campaigns, as well as nonprofit organizations focused on creating a more just and equitable society.

Peter Papadopoulos

Senior Land Use Policy Analyst

Peter Papadopoulos

Senior Land Use Policy Analyst

ppapadopoulos@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Creative
Collaborative
Persistent

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission is a strong community and a vibrant immigrant gateway district full of arts and cultural events, great family restaurants and friendly faces on the street. MEDA has the vision and commitment to protect and grow that community."

Peter is focused on creating structural equity outcomes that assist in stabilizing the Mission’s low- to moderate- income Latino families, small businesses, and nonprofits through a variety of cultural placekeeping and prosperity strategies. Peter’s past experience with working in community includes Project Manager for the Redstone Labor Temple Association and as a Land Use Project Manager for United to Save the Mission.

Peter is an active member of the Mission community and co-founded Mission’s Mojo Theatre in 2010 where he served as co-Artistic Director until 2020.

Read Blogs featuring Peter.

Crista Alarcón Luna

Community Organizer

(415) 579-3715

Crista Alarcón Luna

Community Organizer

crista.alarconluna@medasf.org
(415) 579-3715

Three qualities you bring to work:
Passion
Empathy
Audacity

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the Mission because it is the heart of my people and where I grew up. It is resilient and beautiful and I love that I get to be a part of MEDA working to preserve what has been built over generations."

Crista is a dedicated advocate for social justice and community empowerment, with a strong commitment to creating positive change for her people. Born and raised in San Francisco, her journey towards making a difference in her community began at an early age. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Sociology, with a concentration in Social Justice, which laid the foundation for her passion for addressing systemic inequalities. Her personal experiences growing up in the city, where her family was impacted by gentrification, ignited her drive to fight for justice.

At age of eleven, she found herself assisting her mother through the challenging eviction process, an experience that deeply impacted her. This early encounter with housing injustice pushed her to question systems of power and motivated her to become a tool for her community.

As a first-generation student, Crista engaged in various programs in the Mission district that equipped her with the tools needed to pursue higher education. She is determined to give hope to individuals facing similar circumstances, demonstrating that change is possible when a community comes together and providing them with the resources and support they need. Her commitment to making a meaningful difference in the lives of people and families is unwavering. She has been an active participant in programs that empower students and foster community growth, embodying her belief that positive change begins with connection, empowerment, and collective action.

Susana Gil Duran

Family & Youth Engagement Specialist

(415) 469-1770

Susana Gil Duran

Family & Youth Engagement Specialist

sgilduran@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Dependability
Passion
Empathy

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"As a Mission native, I take so much pride in my community’s resilient attitude and cultural preservation. MEDA has been the pillar of this community and continues to uphold the beauty of La Misión with an open heart and drive for Latin@ advancement."

Susana Gil-Duran was born in San Francisco. She is the daughter of immigrant parents from Jalisco and Mexico City, Mexico. Her roots stem here in the Mission District. In 2009, Susana attended San Jose State University, where she received a bachelor's in Sociology with a concentration in Community Change and a minor in Mexican- American Studies. Susana’s passion for Latino success and community service led her to join a Latina-based sorority known as Lambda Theta Nu Sorority, Inc. As she returned to the Mission District, she saw the drastic changes that her community had experienced and decided to support the youth and families in need. As a high school student, Susana attended an after-school program in the Mission known as Seven Tepees Youth Program, where in 2016 she became their Middle School and Family Engagement coordinator for four years. As an alumnus from the program, Susana understood the importance of family engagement and youth empowerment; therefore, in 2017 she established a parent support group called Padres Unidos. She knew that for young people to thrive, they would need parental support and guidance. Through her work as a case manager, Susana managed a cohort of 17 youth for three consecutive years, which included facilitating communication among schools, parents and teachers to ensure the youth’s academic success and holistic well-being.

Susana later gained an opportunity to intern for three months with Instituto Familiar de La Raza Inc. as a clinician for their Early Intervention & School-Based Program. As an intern, Susana was able to advocate for youth and families to receive the appropriate clinical services within the school system and through community organizations.

Susana has made it a priority to give back to the community that has given her so much. It brings her great pride and joy to continue her work within the Mission Promise Neighborhood partnerships.

Read Blogs featuring Susana.


FINANCE

Carlos Ramirez

Finance Director

Carlos Ramirez

Finance Director

cramirez@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Dedicated
Reliable
Integrity

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"As a Bay Area native, I have many special memories of spending time with family and friends in the Mission. I love that MEDA is able to provide support for future generations to enjoy the community."

Carlos Ramirez has over 20 years of accounting and finance experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining MEDA, he worked at financial technology startups focused on providing affordable credit and helping consumers improve their financial health.

Carlos holds a bachelor's in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. He lives in the East Bay with his family. He enjoys traveling and experiencing new restaurants.

Read Blogs featuring Carlos.

Ferdie Ostrow

Controller

Ferdie Ostrow

Controller

fostrow@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Curiosity
Collaboration
Optimism

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the Mission District's vibrancy, diversity and food to boot. I love that MEDA is engaged in the day-to-day mission of social justice, advocating for those who have lack access to good education, housing and jobs."

Ferdie Ostrow brings over 20 years of nonprofit experience with community-based organizations that provide social services, housing and health care, as well as with philanthropic foundations. He immigrated from the Philippines at age 11 and has learned the value of an education and hard work early on. After graduating from college in Hawaii, he moved to California and after a few stints in the corporate world, he dedicated his career to working in the nonprofit sector. Ferdie holds a bachelor's of Business Administration degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and is a Certified Public Accountant in California.

As part of his commitment to giving back to the community, he volunteered with Tax-Aid, a nonprofit organization helping prepare tax returns for low-income people. He also has visited nursing homes to sing to residents and served meals to the homeless. He is an avid runner, completing 13 marathons over five years. He is a choral singer who performed with the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and Resound Ensemble. He is currently learning to play the piano and is studying Spanish. Ferdie and his husband's other interests include cooking, traveling and enjoying the rich cultural tapestry that their beloved City by the Bay has to offer.

Read Blogs featuring Ferdie.

Mico John Reyes

CRE Accounting Manager

Mico John Reyes

CRE Accounting Manager

mreyes@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Vision
Innovation
Collaboration

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the Mission District and MEDA because of the amazingly happy and friendly people. They also remind me of home, the Philippines, possibly because of the shared cultural characteristics of the Filipinos and Latinos."

Mico John Reyes is a finance and accounting professional with five years of experience in real estate accounting. His expertise encompasses financial analysis, reporting, budget preparation and process improvements. Previously, he was a Senior Property Management Accountant at MidPen Housing Corporation where he streamlined the property management accounting processes, provided training and reviewed the financial statements prepared by the Client Accounting Services team.

He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Applied Economics Major in Financial Economics and Bachelor of Science in Management of Financial Institutions from De La Salle University. He is a theater enthusiast who enjoys Broadway and local shows.

Julio Ballon

Senior Accountant

(415) 770-0627

Julio Ballon

Senior Accountant

jballon@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Honesty
Positivity
Integrity

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The variety of food you can find at the Mission District. I feel passionate about MEDA's mission statement. "

As a Senior Accountant at MEDA, Julio contributes a wealth of financial expertise, stemming from his previous roles in the nonprofit sector. His journey in finance began at San Francisco State University, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and Accounting. This educational background has deepened his comprehension of nonprofit accounting principles.

Outside of the realm of numbers, Julio finds immense joy in the beautiful game of soccer. Whether he's playing on the field or cheering for his favorite team, soccer provides a delightful counterbalance to his professional endeavors.

Jessica Guerrero

Staff Accountant

Jessica Guerrero

Staff Accountant

jguerrero@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Compassion
Dedication
Perserverance

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the close-knit community and the rich culture of the Mission District, and there is no other place in the city that makes me feel more at home. MEDA's mission aligns with my own values as a member of the Latino community and I am happy to be a part in helping families prosper."

Jessica Guerrero is a first-generation immigrant born in Mexico City who has established her life in the Bay Area. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a bachelor's in Accounting and a minor in Dance. As an immigrant, Jessica struggled to find the resources that would help her accomplish her life goals. That is, until she came across the abundant resources found in the Mission. This discovery ignited a passion in her to give back to the community through her work. She is now proud to work side by side with MEDA staff to serve and give back to the community who once supported her when she needed it most.

Jessica's is married and has two beautiful children and a dog. Her favorite pastimes are going on roadtrips with her family and hiking around the coast. She is a foodie and loves exploring new places to eat and getting to know different cultures through food and dance.

Read Blogs featuring Jessica.

Jacqueline (Lydia) Gomez

Operations Manager

Jacqueline (Lydia) Gomez

Operations Manager

lgomez@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Learner
Strategic
Achiever

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love that the Mission District makes me feel connected to my Nicaraguan roots."

Jaqueline (Lydia) Gomez has worked at MEDA for almost two decades. She started as a receptionist and now is responsible for payroll, accounts payable/receivable and general office issues.

Lydia emigrated from Nicaragua as a teenager. She lives in San Francisco's Excelsior District.

Read Blogs featuring Lydia.


Fund Development/Marketing & Communications

Sandra Collins

Vice-President of Development & Communications

Sandra Collins

Vice-President of Development & Communications

scollins@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Relational
Curiosity
Strategic Thinking

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission was where I first fell in love with the Bay Area. The passion and commitment of MEDA staff to secure opportunities for the Mission neighborhood to retain its unique identity while building equitable communities is remarkable."

Sandra Collins has over 15 years of broad experience in several roles with non-profits, higher education and community-based advocacy. She is a first-generation university student and earned both her B.A. in East Asian Languages and Civilizations and Ph.D. in History/Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. For a decade she was an active researcher and university professor where she taught at San Francisco State University and California State University-Chico, and her research as a Fulbright-Hays Scholar at the University of Tokyo was published as The Missing 1940 Tokyo Olympic Games. She left academia when she founded an East Bay non-profit serving gender diverse youth and their families. She has served as a volunteer board member for several Bay Area nonprofits.

Born in Tokyo, Japan, to a Japanese mother and American father, her work is guided by being both a first generation immigrant and university student. These intercultural experiences fuel her drive for social justice to ensure that everyone lives to their fullest potential supported by more just and equitable systems.

Read Blogs featuring Sandra.

Tatiana Acosta

Senior Development Operations Manager

Tatiana Acosta

Senior Development Operations Manager

tacosta@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Empathy
Intentionality
Community

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"What is there not to love about the Mission? As a Latina born and raised in the Mission, I consider the Mission a part of my identity. While I no longer live in this beautiful neighborhood, I am still rooted in this community. From shopping local merchants, to eating all of the diverse cuisines the Mission has to offer, and visiting family still living here, I still call the Mission home. I'm passionate about the work MEDA does for individuals, families, and businesses in the Mission and beyond and I'm proud to be a part of this collective"

Tatiana Acosta grew up in the Mission district of San Francisco in the 90s and 00s, when Latinos made up more than 50% of the neighborhood's population. As the daughter of Salvadoran immigrants, she takes pride in her heritage and is an advocate for socio-economic equity for marginalized peoples. She graduated in 2015 from DePaul University in Chicago, IL with a bachelor's degree in Public Relations and a minor in Latino Media & Communications.

This is Tatiana's second tenure with MEDA. She previously worked with our Evaluation team for four years prior to accepting a development operations role at a national nonprofit. She has returned to MEDA as Senior Development Operations Manager helping our fundraising efforts with systems management and data analysis. She looks forward to being more involved within her community through MEDA's efforts.

Akemi Chan-Imai

Philanthropic Engagement Manager

Akemi Chan-Imai

Philanthropic Engagement Manager

akemi@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Care
Connection
Optimism

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"As an immigrant myself, I find it very fulfilling to work in service to neighborhoods like the Mission that have welcomed and provided a home for generations of immigrant families. MEDA's commitment to not only help our local communities thrive, but also share its model nationwide is deeply inspiring to me as a prime example of how we can effectively address systemic inequities on a broad scale and make impactful change."

Akemi Chan-Imai began her career in the nonprofit sector as a performing artist and administrator with Makoto Taiko in 2011. With over 10 years of experience in grassroots nonprofits, she is committed to helping creative, cultural organizations and individuals build capacity and serve their communities more effectively. Since moving to the Bay Area in 2018, Akemi has worked at community-based organizations including the Oakland Asian Cultural Center and the Just Cities Institute before joining MEDA in 2023.

Born in Japan and raised in Pasadena, CA, Akemi obtained a Bachelor's Degree in International Relations in 2010 from the University of Southern California and a Master's Degree in Nonprofit Management from Antioch University Los Angeles. She has industry credentials as a Project Management Professional (PMP®) and is also a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP). When she is not working or volunteering for a nonprofit, Akemi enjoys salsa classes and playing video games with her partner.

Sofia Flores

Development Officer

(415) 294-0823

Sofia Flores

Development Officer

sflores@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Passion
Intentionality
Collaboration

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I gravitate toward the Mission District so much because the artwork that adorns the neighborhood and its strong community ties remind me of home. I love that MEDA offers community members the resources and opportunities necessary to not only survive, but also thrive."

Sofia Flores grew up in Pacoima, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the northeast San Fernando Valley, home to a large community of Latino immigrants. They are the eldest daughter of an immigrant family from Michoacan and Mexico City. Throughout their childhood and adolescence they have acted as a resource for both their family and community. They have assumed roles such as translator/secretary for their father’s small flooring installation business and mentor for other Valley youth pursuing higher education.

Sofia is a first-generation graduate from the University of California, Berkeley with a bachelor's in Economics. During their time at Cal, Sofia served as the Marketing and Graphic Design Co-Chair of Rising Immigrant Scholars Through Education. Through a career in direct service and public policy, they hope to improve the quality and impact of policies/projects intended to address the needs of undocumented and underserved communities.

Read Blogs featuring Sofia.

Christina Tetreault

Associate Director of Marketing & Communications

Christina Tetreault

Associate Director of Marketing & Communications

ctetreault@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Hard work
Encouragement
Laughter

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The culture and the people - those are what makes the Mission District so vibrant and alive."

Christina Tetreault is an award-winning bilingual reporter and anchor, most recently with KRON4 News in San Francisco. Following her passions after graduating from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University, Christina won the title of Miss Maricopa County, a local position in the Miss America Organization. With being a survivor of suicide loss and having deep passion for humanitarianism, she spent her year of service holding the platform of Suicide Awareness and Prevention and started The Commit Campaign, a mental health and illness awareness campaign and non-profit, which works to break the stigma associated with those topics. 

Now you will find Christina hosting a weekly interview series called “Business in the Bay,” featuring Bay Area local businesses. Outside of work Christina is a chocolate addict, proud auntie, avid runner and very proud Sun Devil alumna.

Christina is ecstatic to be  joining the MEDA team and is dedicated to being a helping hand.

Juan Mesa

Community Communications Manager

(415) 463-7196

Juan Mesa

Community Communications Manager

jmesa@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Creative
Amicable
Compassionate

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission represents the quintessential Latino neighborhood, embodying the spirit of our community and cultures. It's essential that we continue to champion its preservation as a Latino hub. I admire MEDA's active role in this endeavor, working not only to safeguard the Latino presence in the Mission but also to advance equity and prosperity for everyone"

Juan Mesa is originally from Colombia. He has worked as a journalist and content creator for the last 20 years, with most of his work focusing on Latino communities in the United States. He moved to the Bay Area in 2015 after living for 13 years in New York City.

Juan has a bachelor's in communications and journalism from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. He enjoys learning and telling stories of immigrants in the United States. He welcomes conversations about soccer.

Read Blogs featuring Juan.


Evaluation

Rajni Banthia

Vice-President of Evaluation

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Rajni Banthia

Vice-President of Evaluation

rbanthia@medasf.org
ext. 137

Three qualities you bring to work:
Organizer
Developer
Thinker

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the diversity of San Francisco and the Mission, and appreciate all of MEDA’s efforts to preserve that diversity."

Rajni Banthia's role as Director of Evaluation is to tell the story about the impact MEDA’s programs are having on the local community. She is a multidisciplinary social scientist and has dedicated her career to leading evaluation, research and assessment studies on a range of issues facing lower-income communities of color, with the overarching aim of reducing disparities, using data to foster meaningful change and promoting social equity. This work is rooted in her passion for making data accessible, engaging and relevant for practitioners and policymakers, as well as lay audiences. Being the daughter of immigrants has fueled her pursuit for social justice and commitment to working with diverse and underserved groups.

Rajni earned a bachelor's in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley with a minor in South Asian Studies, and a Ph.D. in Behavioral Medicine from the University of California San Diego. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship in Public Health policy research at the University of California, San Francisco with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Scholars in Health Disparities program. Previously, Rajni worked at: Resource Development Associates, a mission-driven social services consultancy; Samuels Center for Public Health Research and Evaluation, a public health research and evaluation firm; and PolicyLink, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization promoting social justice and equity.

Read Blogs featuring Rajni.

Michelle Reiss-Top

Director, Digital Integration

Michelle Reiss-Top

Director, Digital Integration

mreisstop@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Innovation
Questioning
Humor

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"Grit. In both senses of the word."

Over the past six years, Michelle Reiss-Top has helped MEDA go from counting heads to tracking client's financial profiles over time, to migrating databases and rolling out our case management and referral system to over 15 different Mission Promise partners. Michelle sees MEDA's direct service staff are her clients.

Michelle's goal is to provide staff with user-friendly tools they deserve so they can get down to the business of working with Mission District families. It is her ongoing endeavor to build tools that reflect the quality of thestaff's work, the successes and challenges of MEDA/MPN families and a way to learn from what we collect.

Read Blogs featuring Michelle.

Madeleine Smith

Evaluation Analyst

(510) 224-3837

Madeleine Smith

Evaluation Analyst

msmitha@medasf.org
(510) 224-3837

Three qualities you bring to work:
Joy
Kindness
Curiosity

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission is full of so much culture, color and life. You can feel the passion for the community wherever you go. That liveliness and passion is something I love about both the Mission and my colleagues at MEDA."

Madeleine Smith was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and has spent her life exploring -- in all senses of the word. As someone who loves to learn about other people, places and cultures, she spent her early career moving around various industries before finding her passion in evaluation. Madeleine took the non-traditional route in education and went back to school at the age of 29 to finish both her bachelor's in International Policy and master's in Public Administration, with a specialization in Evaluation and Data Analytics.

When Madeleine is not at work or school, she is traveling, meeting people, playing with animals and absorbing as much information as possible. Her hobbies vary across many areas: She loves to garden, sing, swim, play board games, read books, go hiking and has even taken a shot or two at stand up comedy. Madeleine is deeply committed to intersectional equity and community care. She is very happy to have landed at an organization like MEDA, where she can bring all of her passion to a rich community.

Read Blogs featuring Madeleine.

Lupita Sevilla

System Administrator

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Lupita Sevilla

System Administrator

msevilla@medasf.org
ext. 107

Three qualities you bring to work:
Dedication
Thoughtfulness
Organized

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the Mission District because it has always felt like home and I love that MEDA is an organization focused on not only maintaining that home, but helping it and everyone in it thrive."

Lupita Sevilla was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and emigrated to the United States with her mother and two sisters at the age of 5. Her family settled in San Francisco, where Lupita attended Sanchez Elementary, DeMarillac Academy and St. Ignatius College Prep. Having grown up in the Bay Area, Lupita is committed to preserving and empowering her community through her personal and professional work.

Lupita attended the University of San Francisco, receiving a bachelor's in Politics and a minor in Legal Studies. She previously worked with the Housing Opportunities team, from 2018 -2019, as part of her DreamSF Fellowship with MEDA.

Read Blogs featuring Lupita.


Community Real Estate

Elaine Yee

Vice-President of Community Real Estate

ext. 138

Elaine Yee

Vice-President of Community Real Estate

eyee@medasf.org
ext. 138

Three qualities you bring to work:
Responsible
Dedicated
Personable

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"San Francisco is lucky to have a strong Latino community in the Mission District. MEDA works to keep it that way."

Elaine joined MEDA's Community Real Estate Team as Senior Project Manager since 2014. She has been working on MEDA's new construction 100% affordable housing projects: 2060 Folsom Family Housing (126 homes for families and Transition Age Youth, with over 10,000 ground floor community serving space and cafe, adjacent to the new neighborhood park) and 1296 Shotwell Senior Housing (94 homes for seniors and homeless seniors age 62 and up), which plan to breakground in 2018.

Prior to MEDA, Elaine has worked for various community development groups in California, such as EBALDC, Chinatown CDC, and Little Tokyo Service Center. Her experience in affordable housing is extensive, ranging from planning, community organizing and real estate development. She has worked on new construction and acquisition/rehabilitation projects, and is familiar with tax credit financing (low-income housing, and historic), AHP, and local and state subsidies. Elaine holds a master's in Planning from University of Southern California.

Read Blogs featuring Elaine.

Warren Ritter

Associate Director, Production

Warren Ritter

Associate Director, Production

Warren has been developing affordable housing in California’s Bay Area for a decade and is currently the Associate Director of Production at Mission Economic Development Agency. Warren holds a Juris Doctorate from the City University of New York, is a member of the Urban Land Institute’s Product Council and a member of the Pacheco Municipal Advisory Council. 

Leslie Molina

Associate Director Asset Management

Leslie Molina

Associate Director Asset Management

lmolina@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Integrity
Honesty
Diligence

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"MEDA has strengthened the presence of the Latinx community in the Mission and San Francisco."

Leslie Molina is responsible for the overall physical and financial health of MEDA’s residential and commercial property portfolio. Leslie is a passionate real estate professional with over 25 years of experience in the affordable-housing sector and the San Francisco conventional market. She brings a wealth of knowledge in the operations and portfolio management of nonprofit residential and commercial properties.

Leslie has been a licensed real estate agent for 16 years. She has successfully managed and executed real estate strategies that exceed organizational objectives.

Read Blogs featuring Leslie.

Jose Garcia

Associate Director, Preservation

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Jose Garcia

Associate Director, Preservation

jgarcia@medasf.org
ext. 176

Three qualities you bring to work:
Empathetic
Determined
Learner

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission is the heart of San Francisco, and MEDA works to keep it that way."

Jose Garcia is determined to keep a strong Latino Community in the Mission District. Prior to joining MEDA, Jose was a Relocation Consultant for Overland, Pacific, and Cutler LLC, where he even worked alongside MEDA during the rehabbing of five former public housing developments under the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program (a total of 439 units for seniors and disabled San Franciscans).

Jose attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, receiving a bachelor's in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business.

Read Blogs featuring Jose.

Emmanual Zuniga

Senior Asset Manager

Emmanual Zuniga

Senior Asset Manager

ezuniga@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Passionate
Dedicated
Resilient

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the Mission District because it is home: I grew up in the Mission District and I love being part of MEDA’s initiatives in preserving the culture, community and neighborhood through the Small Sites Program."

Emmanuel Zuniga was born in Managua, Nicaragua and Immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of 2. Upon arriving in the U.S., his family settled in San Francisco’s Mission District. Emmanuel was a youth participant at community organizations within the Mission District which helped prepare him for a community-based career. He has over 17 years of experience in Affordable Housing Property Management with different nonprofit organizations. He has managed multi-family properties that include SRO, Family, TAY units, seniors' housing and more. Emmanuel holds the following industry certifications from the National Center for Housing Managers: Tax Credit Specialist; Certified Occupancy Specialist; Certified Manager of Housing; Certified Manager of Maintenance; and Certified Financial Specialist. Emmanuel holds an industry designation as an Accredited Residential Manager from the Institute of Real Estate Management and an industry designation of a Registered Housing Manager from the National Center for Housing Managers.

Emmanuel is passionate about preserving and developing affordable housing. He has collaborated in rehabbing multi-family properties in the Tenderloin District and looks forward to continuing his work in the Mission District.

Read Blogs featuring Emmanuel.

Karina Parraga

Asset Manager

(415) 226-6506

Karina Parraga

Asset Manager

kparraga@medasf.org
(415) 226-6506

Three qualities you bring to work:
Honesty
Responsibility
Empathy

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I am familiar with Latino culture and I like being part of this group. People are sociable, friendly and very helpful -- always ready to give a hand."

Karina Parraga was born and raised in Ecuador. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design at the Vicente Rocafuerte University in Ecuador. She made the decision to immigrate to the United States in search of better opportunities. San Francisco’s Mission District is where she began to understand the United States system of operations and where she became immersed in the community. Karina worked at La Raza Information Center and was an active member of Mujeres Unidas -- their leadership training awarded her the opportunity to become involved in the Latino community. She worked for ten years as Property Manager at Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC), serving San Francisco’s most vulnerable population.

Karina is recognized by her leadership, exemplary work ethic, and a deep understanding of San Francisco's low-income housing programs, Tax Credit, RAD and HUD. She is a Tax Credit Specialist and has completed courses in computer technology at City College of San Francisco and UC, Berkeley, strengthening her knowledge in the field.

Read Blogs featuring Karina.

Brittany Burrows

Asset Manager of Leasing & Compliance

(415) 376-4824

Brittany Burrows

Asset Manager of Leasing & Compliance

bburrows@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Integrity
Collaboration
Tenacity

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the Mission district because it brings back memories to when I first moved to SF as a young girl with my mother because oftentimes we were in the mission district grocery shopping. I loved seeing all of the small shops and the community as a whole was just really amazing to me, coming from a small, less diverse town. I also went to HS in the neighborhood, so I have fun memories being in the mission district.

I love that MEDA is helping the community thrive and grow in many ways. What sticks out to me the most is the cradle-to-career approach and how this ties in with all of the services MEDA provides. Should you need help starting a business, seek career training, need resources for housing or buying your first home, MEDA has the tools to help you be successful. I am excited to be a part of an organization who's fighting the good fight."

Brittany Burrows has been living in SF for 20 years but is originally from Chico, CA. She is American Indian from the Nomlaki-Wintun tribe located in Northern California.She holds a BA degree in Criminal Justice from SFSU and her background has been with nonprofit housing organizations working mostly in the Tenderloin Neighborhood. She loves spending time with her family because they are her biggest cheerleaders. 

Seth Furman

Senior Project Manager, Production

415-376-8896

Seth Furman

Senior Project Manager, Production

sfurman@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Optimism
Personable
Goal-Oriented

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission is California and California is the Mission. MEDA has an exceptional responsibility to help the neighborhood continue to flourish and to allow those who have lived here their entire lives to be a part of the neighborhood’s future."

Seth, Senior Project Manager for the Mission Economic Development Agency’s Production team, provides over 7 years of national real estate development experience spanning product types, industries, and development stages. Previously, he served as the Real Estate Representative for Albertsons-Safeway’s Northern California and Portland divisions, managing the predevelopment, construction management, and project entitlements for new grocery-anchored developments spanning the West Coast.

Seth holds both a Masters of City and Regional Planning and a Masters of Real Estate Development from the Georgia Institute of Technology, alongside a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Miami. You’ll find Seth on the weekends exploring the Bay Area’s outdoor wonders through hiking, surfing, skiing, and the occasional run in the Oakland Hills.

Laura Daza-García

Project Manager, Production

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Laura Daza-García

Project Manager, Production

ldaza@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Community-rooted
Solidarity
Mindfulness

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"MEDA's comprehensive services and programs are a model to improve the quality of life of Latina/o/x families and immigrants. As an urban planner, I appreciate the strategies and commitment to support our community to thrive, while also further increasing opportunities to preserve and expand the cultural and economic wealth of working-class people in the Mission District and beyond."

Laura Daza-García is a first-generation immigrant from Colombia. Laura is passionate about the intersections between climate and housing justice issues, particularly as it pertains to immigrants, refugees and biodiversity. Her interest in housing started after graduating from high school, when she worked in the low-income communities of her home city, building emergency homes for families living in extreme poverty. This experience sparked her interest in urban planning, equity and civic engagement. She recently graduated from UCLA’s master's in Urban and Regional Planning program with a concentration in housing and community development. Prior to graduate school, Laura worked as a tenant counselor, organizer and advocate for the Bill Sorro Housing Program (BiSHoP) and Causa Justa :: Just Cause. As a graduate student, she held two internships as a Development Associate and Development Intern at a community land trust in South Los Angeles and at Community Corporation of Santa Monica, respectively. Laura's role at MEDA's Community Real Estate team will focus on the production of new 100% affordable housing buildings.

Laura enjoys spending time outdoors while eating paletas, swimming, and learning music and languages.

Read Blogs featuring Laura.

Myrna Ortiz

Assistant Project Manager

(415) 376-8614

Myrna Ortiz

Assistant Project Manager

mortiz@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Passion
Dependability
Curiosity

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the diverse community, culture, music, history, art, and delicious food in the Mission District! There is always something new to explore in this neighborhood. And MEDA is at the heart of it all, supporting local businesses, families, and partners to elevate everything that makes the Mission so unique and vibrant."

Myrna Ortiz Villar has over a decade of experience working with diverse immigrant communities to advance community development and civic engagement throughout California. As a community organizer, Myrna recognized that urban planning decisions and policies determine who has access to necessities like employment, transportation, and housing. Her personal immigrant experience has shaped her professional journey, always finding ways to connect people to resources and empower communities to advocate for lasting change.

Myrna is committed to MEDA's mission of advancing equity and building community ownership through affordable housing in San Francisco. She is excited to bring her expertise in city planning, youth and bilingual engagement, capacity building, and consulting to the MEDA’s Community Real Estate team.

Read Blogs featuring Myrna.

Victoria Vera

Project Assistant

(415) 376-9470

Victoria Vera

Project Assistant

vvera@medasf.org
(415) 376-9470

Three qualities you bring to work:
Integrity
Authenticity
Passion

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?"
"I love the Mission District because of its cultural richness and its long history of community advocacy. The Mission District’s landscape has been shaped by its residents through its small businesses, murals, community advocacy, and much more. I love the neighborly camaraderie!. I love MEDA’s commitment to uplifting and amplifying the community. I resonate with MEDA’s value of 'audacity' to lead with courage and challenge the status quo. I appreciate being surrounded by amazing folks who are compassionate and want to support each other’s growth."

Victoria Vera was born and raised in Sacramento, California, and is the daughter of parents from Jalisco and Zacatecas, Mexico. Inspired by her family and community's resilience, Victoria is passionate about equity, inclusion, and ensuring that individuals have access to resources that allow them to thrive and not just survive. She is early in her career in affordable housing, having completed the Bay Area Affordable Housing Intern Program (BAHIP) focusing on affordable homeownership while at Mission Economic Development Agency. Prior to MEDA, Victoria was a Fellow in the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs where she was able to work within various sectors that include labor, governmental offices, and nonprofits. Victoria graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Political Science.

Victoria loves to listen to music, sing, and read in her free time. Outside of work, Victoria spends time with her friends, family, and community.

Michelle Rolon

Assistant Project Manager, Preservation

(415) 326-4380

Michelle Rolon

Assistant Project Manager, Preservation

mrolon@medasf.org
(415) 326-4380

Three qualities you bring to work:
Audacity
Imaginative
Community-oriented

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The colorful, historic comunidad of the Mission has become my second home. I admire that MEDA uplifts working-class, immigrant communities with various services and programs, so community members can continue to thrive with dignity and respect."

Michelle Rolon is a proud first-generation, queer Xicana who was born and raised in el Este de Los Ángeles. Growing up she was conscious of the detrimental effects of displacement and misallocation of resources that challenged her community, and neighboring communities of color. These experiences rooted her pursuit of higher education, in which she upheld social justice praxis and grassroots organizing frameworks.

Michelle holds a master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA, with a concentration in Community Economic Development and Housing. Her interests involve affordable housing development, multi-ethnic coalition-building and grassroots frameworks in urban planning. As a planner of color, she is passionate to engage in work that validates and empowers historically underrepresented and underserved communities in order to truly create healthy, sustainable and just cities for all.

Read Blogs featuring Michelle.

Guadalupe Mercado

Assistant Project Manager, Preservation

(415) 663-6054

Guadalupe Mercado

Assistant Project Manager, Preservation

gmercado@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Leadership
Determination
Passion

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love how diverse the Mission is, with so many cultures rooted in one."

Guadalupe Mercado has an associate's degree in Accounting and has ventured into various positions internally with MEDA and externally. Guadalupe started by doing contracted program assistance and advanced to a Financial Capability Coach. She then continued to grow her professional career as Housing Opportunities Coach, where she became a HUD-Certified Housing Counselor and a NeighborWorks-Certified Post-Purchase Education Housing Coach.

Guadalupe has had experience with escrow and title companies, where she profoundly learned real estate is her passion. With this experience, she quickly learned she wanted to join the MEDA Community Real Estate and continue to grow toward her goal. Guadalupe is on her path to obtaining her real estate license.

Read Blogs featuring Guadelupe.

Luis Cruz

Affordable Housing Leasing Admin

Luis Cruz

Affordable Housing Leasing Admin

lcruz@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Initiative
Flexibility
Teamwork

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"What I love most about the Mission District is the diversity. The Mission has a special place in my heart because it is where I grew up. I love that MEDA supports the Latino community with great resources, services and education."

Luis Cruz is a first-generation immigrant born is Guerrero, Mexico who came to San Francisco since 2003. He attended San Francisco City College, where he studied Fashion Merchandising. Although he loves fashion, he has been working in office administration for about two years. He is currently supporting the Community Real Estate team to learn more about real estate.

Luis loves to travel and learn about different cultures. On his days off, he enjoys spending time with his dog, Marley, at Dolores Park.

Read Blogs featuring Luis.

Edgar García Solís

Capital Improvement Manager

(415) 604-2394

Edgar García Solís

Capital Improvement Manager

edgar.garcia@medasf.org
(415) 604-2394

Three qualities you bring to work:
Dedicated
Reliable
Personable

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the Mission because I was made in the Mission. I love the passion that MEDA has to provide economic opportunities and preserve the greatness of this beautiful community."

Edgar García was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States with his family when he was just two years old. Upon their arrival in the U.S., his family made their home in San Francisco's Mission District. Edgar has been a part of the San Francisco construction industry since the age of 18, spending the last eight years as an assistant project manager in the downtown area, accumulating valuable expertise in tenant improvement construction.

Having a deep-rooted connection to the Mission District, Edgar's passion lies in the preservation and development of affordable housing. He has been extensively involved in various tenant improvement projects within the Financial District and is excited about the prospect of further contributing to the field from the MEDA headquarters building (Plaza Adelante) onward.


Asset Building Programs

Ernesto Martinez

Vice-President of Asset Building Programs

(415) 409-9172

Ernesto Martinez

Vice-President of Asset Building Programs

emartinez@medasf.org
(415) 409-9172

Three qualities you bring to work:
Leadership
Impact
Community

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love that MEDA’s approach to the Mission’s development is comprehensive and helps build social, human and financial capital."

Ernesto Martinez was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and has been working in the nonprofit sector for years. 

Ernesto holds two bachelor's degrees -- one in Economics and the other in International Relations -- from San Francisco State University. He is also the District 9 representative on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Citizen's Advisory Committee and enjoys empowering younger Latino and youth of color through activities such as mentoring at John O'Connell High School and volunteering for the Latino/Chicano Leadership Project.

Read Blogs featuring Ernesto.

Aristos Kemiji

Asset Building Programs Director/Housing Rights Counsel

Aristos Kemiji

Asset Building Programs Director/Housing Rights Counsel

akemiji@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Conscientiousness
Dependability
Magnanimity

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"As a San Francisco native. I’ve always seen the Mission District as a bustling haven of intercultural exchange where I can share and celebrate my Hispanic heritage. I have profound admiration for how MEDA functions as a steadfast champion of the Mission community since 1973, especially throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic."

Aristos Kemiji is a citizen of both the United States and Spain. He was born and raised in San Francisco while keeping strong ties to his Hispanic roots. Following his graduation from UC Hastings College of the Law and admission into the State Bar of California, Aristos has relished the opportunity to serve residents of his hometown with unforeseen challenges they face as real estate interests have been severely impacted throughout the pandemic. In 2022, Aristos joined MEDA as Housing Rights Counsel.

By fostering transparent interactions between tenants and landlords, Aristos has committed himself to actively dispelling misunderstandings caused by language barriers, cultural customs and differing business practices that jeopardize housing security. Aristos believes that advocates have the capacity and responsibility to “re-wire” conflicts in the tenant-landlord dynamic to find mutually beneficial resolutions based on common interests and shared ground.

Read Blogs featuring Aristos.

Dairo Romero

Community Initiatives Manager

ext. 103

Dairo Romero

Community Initiatives Manager

dromero@medasf.org
ext. 103

Three qualities you bring to work:
Empathetic
Community-focused
Caring

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission makes me feel right at home, as does MEDA."

Dairo Romero, who emigrated from Colombia, brings 10 years of experience in community planning and organizing. His expertise and passion for his work translates to community members feeling part of the development process, leading to the support of such projects.

Dairo wears many hats in his current role at MEDA, most notably being an integral part of the facilitation team for United to Save the Mission and having been responsible for the facilitation of meetings for the November 2015 Proposition A affordable-housing measure. The latter was a $310 bond, passed by San Francisco voters, with $50 million later earmarked specifically to address the housing crisis in the Mission District of San Francisco.

Read Blogs featuring Dairo.

Elideth Coleman

Community Compliance and Operations Specialist

Elideth Coleman

Community Compliance and Operations Specialist

ecoleman@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Teamwork
Problem-solving
Positivity

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love MEDA's commitment to see our Latino community excel in all areas of life."

Elideth Coleman was born and raised in Acapulco, Mexico and was the first in her family to attend college. After graduating with a degree in Communications and Public Relations from the Universidad Americana de Acapulco, Elideth spent the next seven years living in Asia while working for Moved with Compassion, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving minority and underprivileged communities in several countries, including Malaysia, Cambodia and Singapore.

Now living in San Francisco, Elideth has spent the last four years serving the Latino community through the work she has done with other nonprofits such as The Women’s Building, as well as the work that she does now with MEDA.

Read Blogs featuring Elideth.

Housing Opportunities Program

Pedro Tuyub

Housing Opportunities Program Manager

(415) 605-6071

Pedro Tuyub

Housing Opportunities Program Manager

ptuyub@medasf.org
(415) 425-7783

Three qualities you bring to work:
Reliable
Analytical
Passionate

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"Since emigrating from my native country of Mexico, the Mission District felt and looked like home. MEDA is committed to preserving the Mission District as a Latino community and I am proud to be part of MEDA’s efforts as a Family Success Coach to help Latino families have access to social services to improve their livelihood leading to economic stability and academic success for their children."

Pedro Tuyub was born in the state of Yucatán, Mexico to a farm-working family. He emigrated to the U.S. at the age of 18 after graduating from high school, settling in the Mission District, where he has lived ever since. He attended City College of San Francisco, where he received an associate’s in arts and went on to attend San Francisco State University, where he obtained his bachelor’s in psychology.

Since 1999, Pedro has been working in the Mission District; first as an editor of El Tecolote -- a 45+ years community bilingual newspaper -- covering neighborhood issues such as housing, education, health and immigration. During his years as a reporter and editor, he began working with the growing Yucatec Mayan community, which led to the foundation in 2004 of Associación Mayab, an indigenous nonprofit. Being aware of the social and economic barriers faced by the Latino community, Pedro joined the dedicated team at MEDA to continue his community work and activism.

Read Blogs featuring Pedro.

Maribel Escalante

Housing Opportunities Coach

415-323-0617

Maribel Escalante

Housing Opportunities Coach

mescalante@medasf.org
(415) 323-0617

Three qualities you bring to work:
Collaborative
Empathy
Integrity

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the wonderful people and colorful culture that make the Mission District unique and special. MEDA offers activities and free programs to ensure prosperity to those who need to have a quality life in San Francisco."

Maribel Escalante is originally from Venezuela. She immigrated to the U.S., where she had to adapt to a new culture, learn a new language, and acquire the skills necessary to be productive and successful. While attending San Francisco Community College-Mission Center, Maribel got engaged with the Latino community, where she discovered and explored the social and economic status of the Mission District neighborhood. Her ability to learn fast and to enjoy working and collaborating with others opened the doors to work in the nonprofit sector. She started as a volunteer at City College, CCSF, as an Administration support and then as a Tax Preparer at Acorn where, a year later, she gets promoted as a Tax Site Coordinator. Maribel has also worked in other positions in the financial sector as a Resource Specialist and as a core part of MEDA's tax team for three years.

Maribel's dedication when it comes to helping individuals and families with her level of experience in financial services has made her acuity aware and empathetic of the needs and situations of the families MEDA assists. This leads to her drive of making sure every family can build toward a positive future. She is happy and proud to bring her life and professional experience to support the community in reaching their future financial goals while establishing a long-term relationship with the community.

Read Blogs featuring Maribel.

Pedro Jose Tuyub

Housing Opportunites Coach

(415) 562-7296

Pedro Jose Tuyub

Housing Opportunites Coach

pjtuyub@medasf.org
(415) 562-7296

Three qualities you bring to work:
Analytical
Perseverance
Empathetic

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the Mission District, as it is where I was born and raised and saw how amazing the community is growing up. I love that MEDA tailors its services to the Latino community, which can then maximize the help the community receives."

Pedro Jose Tuyub was born and raised in the Mission District. His parents are immigrants from Mexico and as a first-generation Chicano he has experienced the challenges immigrants face in their efforts to improve their livelihoods. This experience led him to volunteer at MEDA while focusing his education on learning how to best work with the immigrant community. He also relies on the experience of his family, which has a history of working with the community.

Pedro attended San Francisco State University and studied Psychology and Computer Science.

Read Blogs featuring Pedro.

Andres Bermudez Serrada

Housing Opportunities Coach

Andres Bermudez Serrada

Housing Opportunities Coach

abermudezserrada@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Reliablility
Dreamer/Optimistic/Happy
Work smarter, not harder

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the Mission because I feel that I am closer to my country, as the people are nice and there are many places to eat or have fun."

Andres Bermudez Serrada has been living in the United States since mid-2016, always in San Francisco. He was originally born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. Andres studied Business Administration in his country and has been working in Customer Services/Sales and Real Estate for more than 20 years. Andres has been connected to MEDA since 2017, when he came for help with his taxes. Since that time, MEDA has been a place of support for his life here in the United States. Andres has been involved with various programs and has also volunteered.

His family was blessed with a new baby (Bruno Andres) one day before Christmas 2021. Additionally, Andres is taking classes to earn an associate's in Real Estate at CCSF.

Read Blogs featuring Andres.

Jennifer Ramírez

Housing Opportunities Rental Coach

Jennifer Ramírez

Housing Opportunities Rental Coach

jramirez@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Empathy
Positivity
Professionalism 

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the Mission District because it's not only my home but it is full of vibrant people, culture, and diversity. MEDA thrives to build Latino prosperity, which I wholeheartedly stand behind."

Jennifer was raised in the Mission District where she still has deep roots and connections. Jennifer graduated from San Francisco State University with two Bachelor degrees (B.S in International Business and B.A in Latino Studies.) Prior to MEDA, she worked as a Compliance Specialist making sure the company was following city regulations and guidelines while helping families find affordable housing.

In her free time, Jennifer likes to travel the world and learn about different cultures. She is a big foodie and loves to try new restaurants. During her down time she likes to get lost in libros and is always open to new book suggestions.

Read Blogs featuring Jennifer.

Financial Capability & Free Tax Preparation

Claudia Soto

Financial Assets Program Manager

415-213-2744

Claudia Soto

Financial Assets Program Manager

csoto@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Dedicated
Analytical
Empathic

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love walking down Mission Street and seeing the energy, joy and enthusiasm of our Latin community and I and I feel proud to work for this wonderful organization where every day we put our heart into ensuring that our people have a better quality of life."

Claudia joined MEDA's Asset Building Program as Financial Assets Coach in 2017. Since then, she has been working on MEDA Financial Capability and Advanced Tax Preparation for our low- moderate income community. Previous to MEDA, Claudia worked for a decade in the Financial Banking system and Financial Institutions.

Her experience in community service, Financial Coaching, Asset Building, Public Benefits and Housing advice is extensive and ranges from planning, financial education, and empowerment to the community. She hold a Certification in Housing Counselor by the HUD and a Degree in Business Administration.

Read Blogs featuring Claudia.

Tatania Garcia-Llanes

Family Economic Success Coach

Tatania Garcia-Llanes

Family Economic Success Coach

tgarcia-llanes@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Patience
Time management
Kindness

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love that the Mission connects me to different cultures and great food. Growing up around the Mission, I enjoyed seeing people who looked like me. I enjoy MEDA's sense of family within the staff and that we can all work together to help out the community."

Tatania Garcia-Llanes was raised in San Francisco and grew up around the Mission all her life. Tatania's academic background is a bachelor’s from San Francisco State University in Child and Adolescent Development with a minor in Special Education. She has worked in various environments to help children, youth and their family members thrive. Tatania has worked as an ABA therapist and has prior experience in a local nonprofit organization as an after-school program teacher.

Tatania is passionate about helping low-income families of color to be able to succeed in their life and get a chance to do great things. She is proud to serve her community and is looking forward to learning new things.

Read Blogs featuring Tatania.

Workforce Development / Digital Opportunity Center

Jose Mariscal

Associate Director of Workforce Development

ext. 184

Jose Mariscal

Associate Director of Workforce Development

jmariscal@medasf.org
ext. 184

Three qualities you bring to work:
Focused
Organized
Attentive

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I have to acknowledge the people in my life that opened doors for me to be successful , and MEDA gives me the chance to open the same doors for other people."

Jose Mariscal lived up in Mexico for four years of his childhood, allowing him to have an understanding of the way of life in that country. Jose later moved back to the Bay Area, where he worked construction and participated in various faith-based youth groups while attending community college. He then transferred to University of California, Santa Cruz, where he obtained his bachelor's in Psychology and Sociology, while also helping create a local school club (Empowering Latino Advancement through Educational Development).

After graduation, Jose continued his engagement with the Latino community through his fraternity: Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity Incorporated. Jose started his engagement with the San Francisco community by working with the homeless population through Larkin Street Youth Services in various positions which revolved around workforce development. Jose is now excited to bring all of his life and professional experience to support the Mission neighborhood.

Read Blogs featuring Jose.

Marcela Trujano

Senior Workforce Coach/ Technology Training Coordinator

Marcela Trujano

Senior Workforce Coach/ Technology Training Coordinator

mtrujano@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Collaboration
Focus
Innovation

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love that MEDA always is developing broad programs and working on coalitions to fight poverty and inequity so our unrepresented families supported to improve their lives."

Marcela Trujano is a first-generation, bilingual Latina and immigrant with a passion for serving and believing in non-English speakers to break down barriers to visualize their own success. She is a proud member of the Tipping Point Fellowship as a mid-level leader, showcasing organizational management skills focused on alleviating poverty in the San Francisco Bay Area. Marcela showcases expertise in tech, holding multiple worldwide ComPTIA, Cisco, Cybersecurity/Social Engineering, Business, Mental Health First Aid USA and CA Equal Housing Opportunity Law certifications.

Marcela worked on multiple job positions related to the IT workforce from enrollment, improving training/curriculums and job placement assistance. She believes and fights for equity in tech as a human right.

Read Blogs featuring Marcela.

Esteban Bamaca

Workforce Development Coach

(415) 547-0687

Esteban Bamaca

Workforce Development Coach

ebamaca@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Empathy
Reliable
Self-motivated

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the Mission's multicultural diversity, plus the happy, vibrant energy.. I love MEDA's programs and efforts to change policies, so the Latino community and other underserved communities can expand their housing and employment opportunities, and reach their financial goals."

Esteban Bamaca showcases more than eight years of experience in providing exceptional customer service, language, consular and job assistance, both in the private and government sectors. Esteban specializes in workforce development and is responsible for providing training focused on helping individuals to find jobs, whether someone speaks Spanish or English.

Esteban earned a bachelor's from San Francisco State University, with a concentration in Spanish and Latin American studies. An immigrant from Guatemala, and an Indigenous Mayan, he is the first person in his family to graduate from university. Esteban is driven by the belief that where there is a will there is a way -- and with some help and hard work, any person can reach their economic and educational goals. Esteban is inspired daily by his wife and their twin boys. In his free time, Esteban loves to go to parks with his family, and watch series and sports.

Read Blogs featuring Esteban.

Salma Flores

Workforce Development Coach

(510) 679-3189‬

Salma Flores

Workforce Development Coach

sflores@medasf.org
(510) 679-3189‬

Three qualities you bring to work:
Collaboration
Commitment
Empathy

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the vibrant murals, mercaditos and the cultura in the Mission, as they serve as a reminder of home. I appreciate the many essential resources MEDA provides that help open doors to an abundance of opportunities for our Latino community to achieve their social and economic goals."

Salma Flores was born in Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. at age 5. She was raised in Oakland, and has lived in the Fruitvale District ever since. Salma is a first-generation graduate from the University of California, Merced with a bachelor's in Public Health and a minor in Spanish. One of Salma’s goals is to obtain her master’s. Throughout the years, Salma has had the opportunity to be involved in the nonprofit sector through various jobs, internships and volunteer roles. Her previous roles at the Unity Council, the Black Cultural Zone and Unidos en Salud have continued to fuel her passion for giving back and working toward improving the quality of life for marginalized communities. Salma is committed to serving and empowering the underserved communities through her day-to-day work. At MEDA, she is eager to learn from her colleagues and continue to be a resource for the Mission community.

During her free time, Salma enjoys being outdoors, whether she is running, hiking with her dog, biking or playing soccer with friends.

Read Blogs featuring Salma.

Ashley Ramos

Workforce Development Coach

Ashley Ramos

Workforce Development Coach

aramos@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Adaptability
Passion
Respect

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the home-like feeling that MEDA and the Mission District have. I love the passion that MEDA shows for the community and its consistency when it comes to helping families and teaching them new ways to improve not just individually but as a community."

Ashley was born in San Francisco and came from a low-income Latino family, she realized soon in age that the lack of resources for low-income families and in most cases the language barrier placed Latino families a step behind everyone else. This made her want to learn more about ways to improve the community and how she could contribute to helping other families. She is currently pursuing a bachelor's in Health Education to give back that knowledge to her community and help them improve their way of life.

Ashley believes there is an importance in educating the community because it allows families to share that knowledge with each other to help future generations. Ashley understands the importance of the Latino community working together and because of this, she has been involved with multiple nonprofit organizations to help and share her knowledge with her community. Her daughter is her constant motivation for the work that she does and pushes her to better herself every day and her community.


Fondo Adelante CDFI (Community Loan Fund)

Rebeca Patiño

Vice President, Fondo Adelante

Rebeca Patiño

Vice President, Fondo Adelante

rpatino@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Passionate
Caring
Committed

What do you love about MEDA?
"It's mission and long-standing positive effects in the Latinx Community for 50 years"

Rebeca Patino has dedicated her professional career to the financial services and banking industry. Over the course of her 33-year career, she has led teams in the delivery and execution of complex financing transactions while providing exemplary client service and relationship management. To date, she has been instrumental in securing over $1 billion in committed funds for clients, including nonprofit organizations, corporations, and individuals. Rebeca's awareness of service to local communities began at an early age when she spent summers teaching literacy to individuals in Bolivia, South America, where her parents served as missionaries.

Rebeca is a survivor of a pedestrian hit-and-run accident that nearly took her life in 2018. Her determination, resilience, faith, and support from her family and friends were pivotal in her recovery, which included learning to walk again and regaining full use of her right arm. Her goal is to establish an organization that can provide encouragement and mental health support to survivors of accidents and families in the Latinx community. Her mantra is to "live life with a purpose and make every day count." In her free time, she enjoys cooking, organizing gatherings, hiking in Sonoma County, and traveling.

Read Blogs featuring Rebeca.

Sandra Herrera

CDFI Controller

Sandra Herrera

CDFI Controller

sherrera@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Creative
Analytical
Learner

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the Missions street murals, which depict the vibrant roots of the Latino community even after so much change, and I love MEDA’s commitment to ensure that those roots stay strong."

Sandra Herrera has several years of finance and accounting experience. Prior to joining MEDA, she worked in banking, and most recently with international construction projects in developing countries.

Sandra was raised in a northern town in Mexico, bordering Texas. She holds a finance degree from UTSA and a master's in Tax from GGU.

Read Blogs featuring Sandra.

Small Business Lending

Jhonattan Herrada

Loan Servicing Manager

Jhonattan Herrada

Loan Servicing Manager

jherrada@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Work Ethic
Problem Solving
Team Work

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love that MEDA helps the Latino community not only by giving them the necessary tools to succeed, but to become financially Independent and have a better future."

Jhonattan Herrada came to the United States in April 2005. From Day One, he had to work really hard to get his education since he had to attend college and work full-time. He moved his way up from working in the restaurant industry toward financial institutions, where he saw a potential to help the Latino community.

Jhonattan graduated from San Francisco State University, getting a bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Studies. He saw the issues faced by underserved communities, including the Latino community. Jhonattan is excited about the opportunity to help people and small businesses.

Read Blogs featuring Jhonattan.

Gloria Murillo

Business Lending Manager

(415) 376-8603

Gloria Murillo

Business Lending Manager

gmurillo@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Integrity
Adaptability
Emotional Intelligence

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"Whenever I think about La Mission; fond memories from my childhood come back. The Mission was the original “downtown” for my family, it’s where you went to buy groceries, clothes, shoes, pan dulce and even where your dental and eye appts were. It was a one stop shop and that’s what I feel MEDA is to our clients. MEDA is not a one time transaction; we are invested in the lives of each person we help and we are more than happy to join their journey and help navigate wherever we can. We are that handy resource that you keep in your pocket. When our clients succeed, we succeed."

Gloria Murillo was born and raised in San Francisco. She is passionate about housing issues that affect the Latino community. Prior to joining MEDA, she worked in the Mortgage industry for over 20 years and is looking forward to collaborating with the Fondo Adelante Team. 

Her secondary education focused on the medical field during which she received her certifications as an EMT-B, Medical Assistant and 911 Dispatcher. Her shift to mortgages happened when her parents were faced with issues affecting their mortgage loan. She realized her parents were put into a bad loan and she wanted to help others who were in the same situation. Her free time is spent with her 3 daughters and husband as well as her big family that is spread throughout the Bay Area. 

Read Blogs featuring Gloria.

Santiago Martinez

Small Business Loan Officer

Santiago Martinez

Small Business Loan Officer

smartinez@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Dedicated
Respectful
Empathetic

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the Mission District for its humble beginnings, attitude to move forward and support from neighbors. The community has allowed me to appreciate my roots as a Mexican immigrant and the diverse culture that is alive on each street as I walk around."

Santiago Martinez Xonthe has called the Mission District home for 20+ years. His journey to be part of MEDA can date back to 2012 during his time at Mission SF Community Financial Center. Over the years, Santiago has dedicated his career to serving low-income and otherwise underserved communities to thrive with their respected financial goals. From his own experience, he understands the roadblocks and the uphill battle immigrants have to overcome to thrive in all aspects of their lives.

Santiago obtained his education at St. James, De Marillac Academy, Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, and San Francisco State University with a Marketing/Communication degree. During his time in school and after, Santiago obtained a firm background in the financial world by working/interning at Bank of the West. With his bilingual skills, he was able to help clients in Spanish at the 24th and Mission branch. Being part of MEDA is a privilege for Santiago to give back to the community he calls home.

Read Blogs featuring Santiago.

Business Development Program

Edwin Rodriguez

Associate Director, Business Development Program

ext. 102

Edwin Rodriguez

Associate Director, Business Development Program

erodriguez@medasf.org
ext. 102

Three qualities you bring to work:
Achiever
Connectedness
Leadership

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I have many reasons to love the Mission District, the place my daughter grew up. I love working at MEDA because it helps Latino families build assets."

Edwin Rodriguez joined MEDA in September 2011 and has years of experience in microenterprise development within the immigrant and low-income communities. Edwin has over 25 years of advocacy and professional outreach work in immigrant and low-income communities in the Bay Area and nationally. He served as Executive Director for the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) in San Francisco, and program director of the Northern California Coalition for Immigrant Rights.

Edwin holds a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a specialization in Micro-Entrepreneurship from California State University, East Bay.

Read Blogs featuring Edwin.

Dulce Lomeli Lopez

Business Coach and Project Manager

Dulce Lomeli Lopez

Business Coach and Project Manager

dlomeli@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Community-driven
Empathy
Caring

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission District is my neighborhood. I think it is the most vibrant district in San Francisco. I am so happy to support the many families I know and for which MEDA cares."

Dulce Lomeli Lopez comes to MEDA with several years of experience working with Latino communities across the Bay Area, especially in San Francisco’s Mission District and Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood. She has worked in several different fields and this has taught her that the best way to build trust with a client is making information as accessible as possible. This also improves communications with those one serves and optimize results. Families will then continue to recommend MEDA services and our bond with the community continues to grow. With trust, communication and humility, a program, no matter how small or big, can have an incredible impact in a community.

Dulce and her family understand firsthand the challenges that many Latino families face. A single immigrant mother with big dreams for her sons and for herself, Dulce has been working together with school programs, applying for scholarships and getting ahead. She believes if families are passionate and have access to programs and opportunities, success will be within reach. She thinks that an important part of forming a strong community is taking care of our health, eating healthy and practicing a physical activity.

Read Blogs featuring Dulce.


Mission Promise Neighborhood

Collective Impact

Liz Cortez

Vice President, Collective Impact

Liz Cortez

Vice President, Collective Impact

ecortez@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Dedicated
Collaborative
Mentor

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I really enjoy meeting children and families in the Mission and talking with them about their aspirations. I grew up in a very similar community. I also love the people that work at MEDA."

Liz Cortez's parents came from Mexico to the United States in the late 1960s. She grew up in Southern California, in a community very similar to the Mission. Liz works with a collective of community partners that are aligning their efforts around a common agenda, to address the holistic needs of children and families. Most of these efforts are on behalf of immigrant families with young children.

Prior, in various roles, she worked to increase family engagement and advocacy in early education settings such as Early Head Start and Head Start, and also to strengthen community partnerships through collaboration and service integration, to facilitate comprehensive delivery of services. Liz has an M.A. in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Read Blogs featuring Liz.

Ana Avilez

Program Associate, Promise City

(415) 425-7764

Ana Avilez

Program Associate, Promise City

Three qualities you bring to work:
Empathetic
Positive
Passionate

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I like helping families like mine in the Mission, and MEDA makes that possible."

Ana Avilez emigrated from Honduras to the U.S. at age 6. As a Mission Techies program participant at MEDA, Ana took her first step into the Mission Promise Neighborhood community, getting assistance enrolling one of her daughters in a bilingual preschool. The Mission Promise Neighborhood team immediately recognized Ana’s leadership abilities, having her join the Community Advisory Council.

When MPN was asked to partner with SFUSD to lead Making Connections — a digital literacy course for parents that teaches how to use myON, an online reading platform for students — Ana was the ideal choice. With her experience as a mother of two young learners, complemented by her technology background, Ana thrived in this role, which naturally segued into her current full-time position as a Family Success Coach for the Mission Promise Neighborhood. One quote that Ana always tells her clients is: "El que persevera alcanza.” (“If you persevere, you can reach your goal.”)

Read Blogs featuring Ana.

Celina Castro-Saelao

Director of MPN Partnerships

Celina Castro-Saelao

Director of MPN Partnerships

csaelao@medasf.org
cell: (415) 316-7400

Three qualities you bring to work:
Team- and community-oriented
Creative
Learner

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love to greet Mission community members. I love that my fellow staff members have passion for their work."

Like many in the Mission, Celina Castro-Saelao’s family came to the U.S. during the civil strife in many Central American nations in the 1980’s. Despite not being raised in El Salvador or physically having to immigrate to this country, Celina always keeps in mind the experiences of her mother and other community members. Celina is passionate about empowering and developing community members’ outlooks toward education, financial knowledge and cultivating economic growth in the Mission District.

Celina’s background has focused on community development, with an emphasis on youth development and financial education. She had the opportunity to work with MyPath, empowering youths to become financially fit and leaders in the community. Celina easily communicates and establishes relationships with children, youth and their parents, by showing them respect and treating them with dignity.

Read Blogs featuring Celina.

Ana González

MPN Community Partnerships Manager

Ana González

MPN Community Partnerships Manager

ana.gonzalez@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Respect
Teamwork
Dedication

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
“The Mission District is a special place for me. I grew up in the Mission District and love how you can find food from so many different cultures.”

Ana González was raised in the Mission District and is proud to continue working with the community that she grew up in. She is a Mom to a 14 year old and spends her free time with her family and watching cooking shows.

Ana attended CCSF and received an AA in Early childhood development and Family studies and continued to SF STATE and graduated with a BA in Youth Development. For the last 10 years she worked as a program coordinator for after-school time and summer programs in the Mission district. Her favorite part about this work is that she gets to make an impact in the lives of youth and families.

Family Support & School Based Services

Jaqueline Marcelos

Director, MPN Family Support & School Based Services

Jaqueline Marcelos

Director, MPN Family Support & School Based Services

jmarcelos@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Ideation
Activator
Input

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love that the Mission is a strong community. I love MEDA because it feels like home."

Jackie Marcelos provides education and coaching focused on the areas of DISC+: debt, income, savings, credit, and banking, as well Taxes-Plus. Jackie first came to MEDA in 2007, as a Housing Opportunities client; she then began volunteering in the same program. Jackie quickly leveraged her financial-capability expertise -- and experiences as an immigrant -- to connect with and support MEDA's clients.

Having worked in various positions throughout the organization, Jackie has developed a diverse skill set that allows her to be a strong, multifaceted resource for clients. Her philosophy is that it is critical to meet clients where they are, plus support them to reach goals on their terms.

Read Blogs featuring Jackie.

Mariana Tejada

Family Success Manager

(415) 425-7786

Mariana Tejada

Family Success Manager

mtejada@medasf.org
(415) 425-7786

Three qualities you bring to work:
Resilient
Resourceful
Risk-taker

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I embrace the opportunity to be able to empower Mission Latino families to flourish, and encourage them to make the most of the resources available to them from MEDA and community partners."

Mariana Tejada was born and raised in Bolivia. She moved to California 12 years ago, though throughout those years she lived in México, France and Turkey. She considers México her second home, as she’s lived and visited México every year since 2008 and since then she has established family-like relationships with friends.

Mariana studied at UC Berkeley, and after completing her B.A. in Spanish Linguistics she taught Spanish at various schools in California and Massachusetts. She has been a volunteer at East Bay Sanctuary since 2011 and, whenever possible, she provides interpretation for Latino clients seeking political asylum. Mariana firmly believes in the power and upward mobility education provides, hence her passion to foster our Latino children to pursue and complete higher education. Mariana loves languages, traveling ... and habaneros.

Read Blogs featuring Mariana.

Karla Herrera

Family Success Manager

(415) 316-7407

Karla Herrera

Family Success Manager

kherrera@medasf.org
(415) 316-7407

Three qualities you bring to work:
Self-motivation
Empathy
Dedication

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission District reminds me of my Mexican roots and makes me proud of the union that characterizes the Latino community, and I recognize and admire the participation of MEDA in the achievements of Latino families."

Karla Herrera was born and raised on the Texas border with Mexico where she was able to listen to stories from Latino immigrant people and understand the struggles of their journey. Seven years ago, Karla moved to San Francisco and, from the beginning, she saw her roots in the Mission and felt the need to help her community.

Karla has bachelor's in Marketing from Universidad del Noreste de Mexico and recently earned an associate's in Early Education.

Read Blogs featuring Karla.

Roberto Aparicio

Family Success Coach

(415) 767-8059

Roberto Aparicio

Family Success Coach

raparicio@medasf.org
(415) 767-8059

Three qualities you bring to work:
Mission-born
Compassionate
Understanding

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love that the Mission remains a strong Latino community and that MEDA is playing a part in that."

Born into a family that, like many others, immigrated to San Francisco’s Mission District in the mid-1970’s from El Salvador, Roberto Aparicio now serves as a role model for the community’s youth to stay on a path to academic success. Roberto’s education began in the home by parents who ingrained the importance of learning; he attended St. Peter Catholic School, Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory and the University of San Francisco, the latter on a soccer scholarship.

Roberto’s background, spanning a two-decade career, showcases his passionate commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of families, adults, children and youth from the Mission District. For the first 15 years of his career, Roberto worked hands-on with youth coming out the San Francisco juvenile justice system. The last five years, Roberto worked for the city’s Family Independence Initiative, an anti-poverty project.

Read Blogs featuring Roberto.

Alejandro Bautista

Programs Coordinator/Family Success Coach

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Alejandro Bautista

Programs Coordinator/Family Success Coach

abautista@medasf.org
ext. 126

Three qualities you bring to work:
Committed
Community
Driven

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the landscape and the community that lives in the Mission. I love the dedication and passion the MEDA staff brings to its work."

Alejandro D. Bautista Zugaide migrated from Mexico at 11 years old and has since resided in Oakland. He considers himself a fortunate person for all the opportunities and mentors that have crossed paths with him. His passion for education and his community led Alejandro to College Track Oakland, a nonprofit organization where he mentored and served as a tutor to many high school students from different backgrounds with one goal in common: higher education. During his short stay at Mission Graduates, he was able to explore and work on Salesforce, while also gaining skills in the administrative side of the organization, taking on the project of coordinating with local business for Mission Graduates’ annual Food for Thought fundraiser.

Alejandro received his bachelor's in Business Administration with a focus in Marketing and a minor in Latino Studies from California State University East Bay. One of his proudest moments -- and the highlight of his undergrad time at CSU EB -- came when he spearheaded the marketing campaign for the first "Undocumented Resource Summit" ever held on campus.

Read Blogs featuring Alejandro.

Blanca Castillo

Family Success Coach

(415) 425-7783

Blanca Castillo

Family Success Coach

bcastillo@medasf.org
(415) 425-7783

Three qualities you bring to work:
Self-Motivated
Strategic
Solution-Oriented

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the Mission District because of its folklore, and love MEDA because they have many opportunities and resources to bring the families together."

Blanca Estela Castillo Pulido was born in Mexico. She is the eighth child of 10 siblings. She is the only member of her family that still resides in San Francisco. At age of 15, Blanca Estela left her country to come to the United States. She knows the struggle of migrating to a new country and fighting to stay in the neighborhood and city that she loves.

Blanca Estela works and lives her life the way dearest dad always taught her. His philosophy was that there are five keys to have success in life: integrity; loyalty; honesty; humility; and fear of God. He always told her to remember the five keys by looking at her fingers. She believes that in life we always have different obstacles, calling them "tests." Her primary test is to fight every day to give a better life to her children. She believes that everybody has dreams, and that we can make these dreams happen if we stay positive and strong.

Read Blogs featuring Blanca.

Aarón Ayala

Family Success Coach

(415) 425-7792

Aarón Ayala

Family Success Coach

aayala@medasf.org
(415) 425-7792

Three qualities you bring to work:
Passion
Caring
Patience

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the hustle that the Mission community brings every day -- their tenacity and tireless energy is something that I always strive to uplift and honor. MEDA provides an avenue for these folks to advocate for themselves."

Aarón Ayala was born in 1997 to a single mother who emigrated to the United States from Michoacán, México. Aarón has lived in the Peninsula and South Bay for most of his life, beginning in Redwood City before displacement sent his family looking for a permanent home. After settling in Palo Alto at the age of 12, Aarón was able to connect with college counselors at his local high school's College Pathways program, which was devoted to serving low-income, Latine folks and assisting with their pursuit of a college education. Their passion and attention to the whole individual motivated him to make a commitment to serving the same communities.

Aarón attended UC, Santa Cruz, graduating in 2019 with a bachelor's in History and a minor in Education. Prior to working at MEDA, Aarón spent two years working in the east side of San Jose. His experience working with the community at Overfelt High School has taught him the importance of schools as a center for communities. With culturally relevant pedagogies and a stakeholder focus on the healing of marginalized folks, schools can empower these same communities to become agents for change. Aarón brings a collectivist, community-oriented mindset and hopes to continue planting roots here in La Misión with MEDA and MPN.

Read Blogs featuring Aarón.

Melissa Espiniza-Garnica

Family Success Coach

(415) 612-3173

Melissa Espiniza-Garnica

Family Success Coach

mespinoza@medasf.org
(415) 612-3173

Three qualities you bring to work:
Joy
Empathy
Curiosity

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love that community members are a part of MEDA and the needs of the community drive the work. Everyone at MEDA cares very deeply about the families and advocates on their behalf to deliver the best quality of service. The Mission District feels like being at home. "

Melissa is a cool kid who happens to have a passion for helping the kiddos and their families navigate the school system and access resources. Melissa is a Latinx child of immigrants and a first generation college graduate, having received their Bachelors Degree in Communications from Santa Clara University. 

Melissa is a skilled visionary educational professional with over ten years of experience advocating and empowering K-12 youth and families work toward academic success and developing a sense of belonging within the community. Literacy, social emotional learning,  and creating healing centered spaces is their area of strength. 

Melissa enjoys spending time with their amazing dog, riding their bike, hiking, camping and exploring National and State Parks. When the weather is not great, they enjoy reading and learning different arts and crafts. 

Elvira Flores-Loera

Family Success Coach

(415) 770-0535

Elvira Flores-Loera

Family Success Coach

Three qualities you bring to work:
Compassion
Understanding
Drive

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love all the food choices in the Mission District and the amazing weather we usually have. The rest of the city can be foggy or cloudy and somehow the Mission always manages to be sunny.

I love the impact MEDA has had on the community and how they have managed to continue to grow while still staying true to their mission and vision."

Elvira was born in Mexico and was brought to San Francisco by her parents in the late 80’s. She grew up in the Mission District and can remember where she was when the 1989 earthquake hit. She has a very special love and affinity for La Mission and all the Cultura it has cultivated and managed to keep for so many years.

Elvira attended public schools here in San Francisco. Her fondest memories are from her time at Potrero Hill Middle school where she started learning more about her community and learned ways to give back. It was during her middle school years that the spark to be a positive influence on others was born. Although her career and life paths took her elsewhere, she is excited to come back to her community and to have the opportunity to fulfill her dream to make a positive impact in other people's lives.

Jessy Delgado

Family Success Coach

(415) 663-6178

Jessy Delgado

Family Success Coach

jdelgado@medasf.org
(415) 663-6178

Three qualities you bring to work:
Passion
Perseverance
Collaboration

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the Mission District's food, Latino families, weather and Dolores Park, and that MEDA works for social justice, supporting our community through various free services and education."

Jessy Delgado hails from Peru. As an immigrant, she has experienced the same challenges of her community, such as learning a new language and facing discrimination. Since 2016, Jessy started to work with immigrant families via volunteer jobs with Faith and Action Network. This made her realize that she was not alone -- that if all work together for social justice and equality, the community becomes stronger. Jessy also worked with Civic Edge Consulting, educating the community for safer streets.

Jessy studied at City College of San Francisco, earning an associate's degree in Social Behavior and Business Administration; she is now transferring to San Francisco State University with the goal of obtaining a bachelor's in Finance. Additionally, she is an advanced IRS tax preparer, in the past volunteering as a site coordinator with MEDA.

Read Blogs featuring Jessy.


 

General Information or to Sign Up for MEDA’s Free Programs

Rosa Jaquez: (415) 282-3334  rjaquez@medasf.org

Questions About MEDA’s Free Programs? We’re here for you!

Housing Opportunities: homeownership@medasf.org

Financial Capability: fintax@medasf.org

Free Tax Preparation: fintax@medasf.org

Business Development: business@medasf.org

Fondo Adelante CDFI (Community Loan Fund): loans@medasf.org

Workforce Development: workforce@medasf.org

Press Inquiries

English-language press, please email: Christina Tetreault ctetreault@medasf.org

Spanish-language press contact: Juan Mesa, jmesa@medasf.org

Other Departments

Donations to MEDA: development@medasf.org

Marketing & Communications: marketing@medasf.org

Volunteers: volunteer@medasf.org

Policy: action@medasf.org