Meet Our Staff

Luis Granados

Chief Executive Officer

 

lgranados@medasf.org
ext. 111

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 Member, UnidosUS (formerly NCLR); Board Chair, California Reinvestment Coalition; Community Advisory Board Member, JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Board Member, National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders, and Board Member, Raza Development Fund.

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 Operating Officer

 

jspindle@medasf.org
ext. 116

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.

Lucy Arellano Baglieri

Chief Strategy Officer

 

larellano@medasf.org
ext. 141

Three qualities you bring to work:
Problem-solving
Ambition
Relationships

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I am so fortunate to work with such intelligent, hard-working, dedicated fellow Latinos, whom I deeply respect- both my colleagues at MEDA, and the community members we serve in the Mission. They motivate, inspire, and challenge me to grow and work harder for them everyday."

Lucy Arellano Baglieri oversees shares MEDA’s integrated Financial Capability capacity building Viva! model nationally. Lucy brings years of program development and management experience in community organizations across California. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Washington, Seattle in Law, Societies, and Justice.

Lucy immigrated from Mexico as a child, and was raised in Sacramento, Calif. by her parents and sic siblings. Lucy’s work is motivated by a firsthand understanding of the strengths and challenges within our community, and by the gratitude for the endless support she has received in order to achieve her personal and professional goals. Lucy is committed to providing the resources and opportunities for other families, just like hers, to thrive.

Read Blogs featuring Lucy.

Cindy Clements

Director of Operations/HR

 

cclements@medasf.org
ext. 124

Three qualities you bring to work:
Analytical
Calm
Experienced

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The cultural diversity and how the buildings reflect that diversity."

Cindy Clements brings a wide and diverse set of skills and experiences to her job. During her career she has served in various positions including COO, Executive Director, Director of Administration, HR Manager and Program Manager. She has an MBA from the University of Indianapolis.

She is dedicated to finding and developing talent in professionals in all types of positions. Her hobbies are stained glass, jewelry making and painting.

Read Blogs featuring Cindy.

Oscar Aguayo

Talent Manager

 

oaguayo@medasf.org
(415) 985-6143

Three qualities you bring to work:
Passion
Focus
Collaboration

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I'm honored to serve the people of my community by providing the best customer-driven results to MEDA's human capital."

Oscar Aguayo is an experienced, bilingual HR professional with over 10 years of experience working with small ventures to Fortune 500 companies. His HR experience includes, but is not limited to, talent acquisition, talent development and business partnerships. Oscar is using his education and experience to support the great present and future talent at MEDA.

Born in the Bay Area and raised up and down the West Coast, Oscar is an avid water sportsman who loves catching a wave and fishing, although, admittedly, he is not the best fisherman.

Read Blogs featuring Oscar.

Laura Ornelas

Executive Assistant

 

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.

Rosabella Safont

Operations Assistant

 

rsafont@medasf.org
ext. 106

Three qualities you bring to work:
Caring
Dedicated
Organized

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I grew up in the Mission and have always loved that it is a Latino neighborhood."

Rosabella Safont grew up in the Mission District, the child of an immigrant from Central America.

After a distinguished career in the banking industry, Rosabella joined MEDA as a Board member. She later joined the staff of the nonprofit, where she has worked for over a decade.

Read Blogs featuring Rosabella.

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.

Libardo Clavijo

Chief Financial Officer

 

lclavijo@medasf.org
ext. 183

Three qualities you bring to work:
Analytical
Optimist
Reliable

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love MEDA’s staff commitment to the Latino community, and how they assure the Mission District stays strong and full of opportunities. I am so proud to be part of this team."

Libardo "Li" Clavijo moved from New York and has several years of experience in his field. Prior to MEDA, Li directed the Finance department for several nonprofit organizations, whose missions are to help and improve the quality of life for diverse communities.

Li is originally from Colombia and holds an MBA from Eastern University in Pennsylvania.

Read Blogs featuring Libardo.

Robert Viera

Controller

 

rviera@medasf.org
ext. 128

Three qualities you bring to work:
Sense of Humor
Commitment
Discipline

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"While I was not born or raised here, this city has been my home for many years, and has always been where I have had a sense of pride and identity -- and what happens here greatly matters to me."

Robert Viera has degrees in both Science and Accounting, as well as his certification in Human Resources. He has well over 20 years experience as an accountant, particularly in the nonprofit communities in San Mateo, San Francisco and Sonoma counties. Robert volunteers as Treasurer of the Board of Directors for the Santa Rosa Children's Chorus and is a member of the Finance Committee for his congregation in Santa Rosa.

Robert's hobbies include gym time, music, theatre and films.

Read Blogs featuring Robert.

Jai Patel

Financial Analyst

 

jpatel@medasf.org
ext. 150

Three qualities you bring to work:
Positivity
Harmony
Drive

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love that MEDA is keeping the Mission District a neighborhood of opportunity for people of all backgrounds."

Jai Patel plays a direct role in supporting MEDA’s investments, acquisitions and capitalization efforts for the Fondo Adelante Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Jai began his career in the Financial Analyst Program at Wells Fargo Bank, specifically working in the Bank’s Special Assets Group. Jai worked on debt restructures and risk-mitigation strategies for the bank’s troubled-asset portfolio. While in the analyst program, Jai passed Level 1 of the CFA Exam. Jai graduated magna cum laude from Towson University’s Honors College, during which time he completed internships in Equity Research and Defense Contracting.

Outside of the office, Jai is big into the café scene of San Francisco and trying new brews. He also spent 18 months backpacking across Southeast Asia, Europe, Central America and South America.

Read Blogs featuring Jai.

Sandra Herrera

Contracts and Compliance Manager

 

sherrera@medasf.org
ext. 112

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 finance degree from UTSA and a master's in Tax from GGU.

Read Blogs featuring Sandra.

Mirian Alvarenga

Real Estate Accountant

 

malvarenga@medasf.org
ext. 151

Three qualities you bring to work:
Commitment
Responsibility
Flexibility

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love that MEDA is helping the community by providing different programs to youth and adults so they can succeed as a community."

Mirian Alvarenga has bachelor’s from San Francisco State University, with a concentration in accounting. Mirian has a background in real estate, having worked for BRIDGE Housing Corporation for three years. As Real Estate Accountant, she is responsible for all accounting activities for MEDA’s properties. This includes preparing and maintaining accurate and timely monthly, quarterly and annual financial reports for the portfolio to the management team.

Mirian move to United States as a 9-year-old. She was raised by her father, who was looking for a better future. Mirian left her family behind, being raised in the Mission district. Mirian attended elementary school all the way through Mission High School. After high school, she attended City College of San Francisco, then transferred to San Francisco State University. She is currently working on her CPA license. In her free time ,she enjoys playing soccer, dancing and working out.

Read Blogs featuring Mirian.

Jacqueline (Lydia) Gomez

Operations Manager

 

lgomez@medasf.org
ext. 121

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.

Jonathan Segarra

Director of Development & Communications

 

jsegarra@medasf.org
ext. 118

Three qualities you bring to work:
Positivi-Team!
Ideas
Empathy

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"To me, the Mission is home to the Bay Area’s Latino community, and MEDA is home to the most dedicated, capable and caring people you could ever work with. It’s a privilege to work here to preserve the Mission, and help Latino and immigrant families prosper."

Jonathan Segarra is rejoining MEDA after three years in local government, first with the City of Oakland’s Budget Bureau and then with the City of Hayward’s Housing Division. Jonathan has over 10 years of experience in fundraising. From 2009 to 2016, Jonathan was the Development and Communications Officer and Development Manager at MEDA and was instrumental in growing the organization, helping to increase MEDA’s revenue and budget from $2.4 million in 2009 to $9.6 million in 2016. Prior development experience includes working with JobTrain in Menlo Park and the Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Jonathan earned a double Bachelors of Arts in Sociology and American Studies from UC Santa Cruz. Jonathan aims to create positive social change and serve as a source of good humor and creativity, which help guide his career of service to others.

Read Blogs featuring Jonathan.

Christopher Gil

Associate Director of Marketing & Communications

 

cgil@medasf.org
ext. 152

Three qualities you bring to work:
Storyteller
Empathetic
Diligent

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the street vibe as people pass by the Mission’s colorful murals … and I love that MEDA is helping keep that scene around for generations to come."

As a young child growing up in Brooklyn, Christopher Gil played in a shoreline park that featured a backdrop of the Statue of Liberty. This global perspective led to a career in travel publishing after graduating summa cum laude from Dowling, a private college in New York, with a bachelor's in English, a teaching certificate and winning the English Academic Achievement Award. A career highlight was being the longtime managing editor of a travel trade publication for airline employees, with journeys to 30+ countries.

Christopher made San Francisco his home decades ago, attracted by the city's diversity and values of inclusion. He has now brought his corporate knowledge to the nonprofit sector, with Christopher's content marketing skills being maximized as MEDA becomes a nationally renowned organization showing best practices in serving the low-income Latino immigrant community.

Read Blogs featuring Christopher.

Aaron Chandler

Development Manager

 

achandler@medasf.org
ext. 120

Three qualities you bring to work:
Creative
Caring
Dedicated

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love that the Mission is a diverse neighborhood, and that MEDA is helping it stay that way."

Aaron Chandler has been an Oakland-based capacity-building consultant for racial & economic justice organizations for the past several years. Most recently, Aaron was the Director of Donor Relations at Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay, and prior to that the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Main Street Alliance, where he joined the staff to drive MSA's capacity-building efforts. He was previously the Executive Director at a human services agency in San Francisco, where he led the organization through a process of repairing donor and funder relationships, managing its best-ever year-end campaign, and positioning the organization's programs to be around for the long-term by initiating a merger conversation. Prior to leading that turn-around, Aaron was at Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE) in Boston, where he was responsible for all fundraising and development activities as Development Director.

After college, Aaron first worked as a fundraiser in Boston for an LGBTQ youth development agency and later project-managed the internal operations of a $20 million capital campaign for a progressive synagogue in New York City. Aaron has roots in Northwest, where he still serves on the board of a local queer youth development agency, and brings 15 years of knowledge and experience in social justice fundraising with and for people of color, the queer community, low/no-income people, women, youth, and people living with HIV/AIDS. Aaron is excited to bring his wide array of capacity-building and organizing experiences to bear in his new role generating critical support for MEDA from foundations, banks, corporations and government agencies.

Read Blogs featuring Aaron.

Lucy Porras-Azimi

Donor Engagement Officer

 

lporras@medasf.org
ext. 154

Three qualities you bring to work:
Empathy
Passion
Strategic

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"When I moved to the Bay Area, my first job was in the Mission District and I loved that the heart and soul of the neighborhood is centered around embracing cultural diversity and community empowerment. MEDA is a pillar -- ensuring that its residents and the neighborhood continues to thrive."

Lucy Porras-Azimi joins MEDA as the Donor Engagement Officer and is looking to harness the power of the people to diversify the department's fundraising efforts. Previously, Lucy worked as a representative for the Social Security Administration, offering direct services and explaining entitlement to various programs to dozens of community members on a daily basis. For nearly four years, Lucy worked for the San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American Relations, the Nation's largest Muslim civil rights group. As a Programs and Development Manager, she managed the fundraising efforts of the organization with a focus on grassroots funding. Lucy spearheaded dozens of yearly legal clinics and youth empowerment programs. She oversaw the civic engagement initiatives that included voter education, registration and coordinated annual advocacy days that gathered hundreds of Bay Area Muslims to meet with their officials at the State Capitol.

Lucy graduated cum laude from the University of Florida with a bachelor's in Religion and a minor in Arabic Studies. Upon arriving to the San Francisco Bay Area in the summer of 2013, she worked in the development department of the Arab Film Festival in the Mission District.

Read Blogs featuring Lucy.

Andrea Gomez

Development Coordinator

 

agomez@medasf.org
ext. 188

Three qualities you bring to work:
Integrity
Passion
Adaptability

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"Despite the rapid gentrification that forces itself across the City and the Bay Area, I love that the Mission District remains rooted with its strong core of Latino community leaders, working immigrants, and the "people first" philosophies that permeates into the commitment of long-time residents, and new generation of Latinos, artists, and businesses that are calling the Mission District their own. MEDA is uniquely positioned on the front lines to continue leading the Mission District into a bold era of economic innovation and social evolution."

Andrea Gomez is helping lead fundraising efforts and execute MEDA's strategic economic community vision. She enjoys being part of a team that creates inspiring work and lucrative opportunities and connections for the community. Growing up with and nurtured by her Southern California roots, Andrea experienced the strength, resilience and versatility that immigrant and Latino communities hold. With the goal to strengthen this narrative, Andrea obtained her bachelor’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona specializing in Community Development. She has worked with transportation and community-development nonprofits, and governments in California and Chicago. Her breadth of economic development and knowledge spans from securing and managing funding for transformative projects to programs that enrich the local community stakeholders, business districts and residents. Her aspiration is to uphold the integrity of low- to moderate- income families in the Mission and beyond and ensure their access to quality education, jobs, equitable opportunities and resources that help them achieve their dreams.

In her spare time, Andrea enjoys spending time camping and climbing rocks in the desert, throwing 1-2s in boxing and being in the company of loved ones.

Read Blogs featuring Andrea.

Rajni Banthia

Director 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

Associate Director of Data and Learning

 

mreisstop@medasf.org
ext. 144

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.

Ryan Fukumori

Senior Analyst

 

rfukumori@medasf.org
ext. 139

Three qualities you bring to work:
Historian
Futurist
Artist

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission District and MEDA demonstrate the power of place: how neighborhoods that emerge out of segregation and discrimination can be sources of empowerment for marginalized community members."

Ryan Fukumori brings a lifelong commitment to racial justice and social equity to his role as a Senior Analyst at MEDA. His multifaceted background in interdisciplinary research, educational program development, multimedia design and teaching informs his approach to evaluation in communities of color. Central to Ryan's work is the conviction that evaluation, data analysis and knowledge production are critical factors in advancing structural change for marginalized peoples, and that effective evaluation requires the ongoing participation of community members with lived experiences and grassroots expertise.

A fourth-generation Bay Area resident, Ryan has a diploma from Berkeley High School, a bachelor's degree in Comparative Ethnic Studies from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in American Studies and Ethnicity from the University of Southern California. Prior to joining MEDA, he served as a manager of curricular design for USC's undergraduate service learning center, an adjunct professor in Asian American Studies and Sociology at UCLA, and a public systems analyst with Resource Development Associates, an Oakland-based consulting firm. In his spare time, Ryan also produces digital graphic design, writes poetry and vacuums up all the dog fur in his apartment.

Read Blogs featuring Ryan.

Tatiana Acosta

Data Capacity Coordinator

 

tacosta@medasf.org
ext. 107

Three qualities you bring to work:
Empathetic
Fearless
Communicative

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"As a Mission native, every day I still fall in love with this neighborhood and its people, and MEDA is continuously giving the Mission the resources to thrive."

Tatiana Acosta was born and raised in San Francisco and has always felt very attached to the City by the Bay. She attended DePaul University in Chicago, where she studied Public Relations and Advertising with a minor in Intercultural Communications. During her studies, Tatiana developed a passion for social justice, socioeconomic equity and empowering communities of color. She knew she wanted to move back to San Francisco to start her career and give back to her home community. In the summer of 2017, she joined the Mission Techies cohort here at MEDA in order to become more familiar with the tech industry. Because of her background in Integrated Marketing Communications, Tatiana instantly knew she wanted to learn CRM, specifically Salesforce. She soon became an Evaluation team intern, learning how MEDA uses Salesforce for its work and helped the team upgrade its database.

Tatiana is now on a career path that will not only serve her, but will allow her to serve the community she calls home. She hopes her work in data allows her to contribute to change and impact for marginalized communities in San Francisco.

Read Blogs featuring Tatiana.

Norma Paz García

Director of Policy and Advocacy

 

ngarcia@medasf.org
ext. 196

Three qualities you bring to work:
Strategic
Multi-disciplinary
Reformer

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission is an irreplaceable Latino hub. MEDA's policy team builds community leadership, spurs greater civic engagement, and ensures that critical laws and practices are in place to keep the Mission a neighborhood of opportunity."

Norma P. García, Esq. brings over two decades of experience as an attorney and public policy expert to lead the organization’s efforts to secure laws and policies that promote economic and social justice for MEDA's clients and community. Using her skills to advance MEDA's mission is deeply personal for Norma, as she is a Mission native and the daughter of Mexican immigrant parents. At a young age, her calling as a lawyer was inspired by the Civil Rights movement as a tool to combat racial inequality and to open avenues for greater civic participation in our democracy. This passion continues to guide her work today.

Previously, Norma served as a Senior Attorney and Manager of the Financial Services Advocacy Program at Consumers Union (CU), the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine. Over a lengthy and distinguished career at CU, Ms. Garcia advocated extensively on behalf of consumer interests before state and federal legislative bodies, multiple regulatory agencies, and in the courts. Ms. García was Consumers Union’s principle lobbyist for the passage of multiple landmark anti-predatory lending bills which were signed into law. She also led Consumers Union’s advocacy efforts to end racial and economic discrimination and other anti-consumer practices in the auto and homeowners’ insurance market and is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in consumer protection. She is the author of several seminal publications on consumer justice and has been frequently interviewed and quoted by national media outlets. Prior to her career at CU, Ms. Garcia spent nearly a decade assisting in the defense of indigent criminal defendants, initially for the Alameda County Office of the Public Defender followed by several years as a licensed private investigator.

Read Blogs featuring Norma.

Lucia Obregon

Community Leadership Development Manager

 

lobregon@medasf.org
ext. 156

Three qualities you bring to work:
Innovative
Community-driven
Dedicated

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission and MEDA give me a feeling that I'm home."

Lucia Obregon was born in Guatemala and emigrated to the United States with her mother at the age of 11. Once in California, she lived in the small farming town of Turlock. Lucia remembers visitng San Francisco with her parents and being in awe of the Mission District, as it gave her a sense of belonging. She decided that one day she would be back to live here.

Lucia attended San Francisco State State, receiving a bachelor's degree in International Relations, with a focus on social justice. Through her work at MEDA, she has been able to impact outcomes by connecting community members to meaningful leadership opportunities.

Read Blogs featuring Lucia.

Peter Papadopoulos

Land Use Policy Analyst

 

ppapadopoulos@medasf.org
ext. 185

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 Papadopoulos is an active member of the Mission community, and is a founding member of Cultural Action Network, a community group that works to protect and grow artists and cultural assets in the neighborhood. In addition to his ongoing work as a community volunteer, Peter has served as a Project Manager for the Redstone Labor Temple Association and as a Land Use Project Manager for United to Save the Mission Legal Defense Fund. His recent work with MEDA is focused on stabilizing the Mission’s low- to moderate- income Latino families and the small businesses they serve, with Peter using the the Mission Action Plan 2020 policy process, cultural placekeeping strategies, neighborhood commercial project equity and protective land-use legislation.

Peter graduated from Trinity College in Hartford with a bachelor's in English and awards in Writing and Economics. A longtime playwright and performer, Peter obtained his master's in Theatre from Rhode Island College, and co-founded the Mission’s Mojo Theatre in 2010. Peter has worked and taught in numerous settings including college, high school, and youth and prison programs.

Read Blogs featuring Peter.

Karoleen Feng

Director of Community Real Estate

 

kfeng@medasf.org
ext. 148

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.

Johnny Oliver

Associate Director

 

joliver@medasf.org
ext. 123

Three qualities you bring to work:
Focused
Empathetic
Humor

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission is the best place in San Francisco. MEDA’s free services help keep it that way."

Johnny Oliver has been a licensed real estate agent for over 17 years and has worked with first-time homebuyers and homeowners at risk of foreclosure for over seven years as a Housing Counselor at MEDA. He has successfully assisted over 100 homebuyers with their first home purchase and has helped over 40 homeowners from losing their homes to foreclosure.

Johnny brings this intimate knowledge of the real estate process to the Small Sites Program, where he is responsible for the acquisition and rehabilitation of multi-family buildings in the Mission and surrounding neighborhoods.

Read Blogs featuring Johnny.

Elaine Yee

Senior Project Manager

 

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.

Feliciano Vera

Senior Project Manager

 

fvera@medasf.org
ext. 127

Three qualities you bring to work:
Urbanist
Cyclist
Citizen

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission community is a true San Francisco asset, as is MEDA."

Feliciano Vera is responsible for spearheading MEDA's large-site residential, mixed-use and community facility acquisitions team, and is responsible for shepherding the development of 1990 Folsom, a new construction affordable-housing development comprising 143 family homes, approximately 10,000 square feet of affordable Production, Design, and Repair (PDR) space, and 6,000 square feet of new early childhood development space.

Prior to joining MEDA, Feliciano was an end-to-end developer with a broad spectrum of experience in private sector real estate development and finance. As an entrepreneur in real estate and finance, he has a track record of successfully conceptualizing and executing complex projects, ranging from multi-phase, mixed-use real estate developments to tax credit equity investment funds. He earned an bachelor's degree in Government from Harvard College.

Read Blogs featuring Feliciano.

Stephaney Kipple

Senior Project Manager

 

skipple@medasf.org
ext. 140

Three qualities you bring to work:
Tenacity
Contemplative
Always seeking to be in right relationship

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the vibrancy and spirit of the Mission, and I am proud to support MEDA's mission to support working families, from the ground up."

Stephaney Kipple joined MEDA in fall 2018, as a Senior Project Manager for MEDA’s Casa Adelante (large, mixed-use and commercial sites) program. Stephaney is an expert in accessing commercial markets, tax credit financing and subsidy to bring opportunities to community-based and community-serving organizations, helping them realize ownership of real property. She supports the Mission District by structuring and deploying capital to social purpose real estate projects that are in alignment with the community's vision and MEDA's mission, within San Francisco's global urban context. Stephaney's Community Development Finance career has been dedicated to promoting equitable development and steering capital to communities that need it most.

Stephaney is a mother of two boys and loves her adopted home of the Bay Area. Originally from Flint, Mich., Stephaney has deep appreciation for her blue-collar background. Stephaney holds a Master's of Science in Urban Policy Analysis and Management, concentrating in Community Development Finance. She also attended Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, where she studied Inequality and Poverty. Her bachelor's is in Business Administration, Finance. She is a Board Member of Transform CA, a nonprofit that promotes walkable communities with excellent transportation choices to connect people of all incomes to opportunity, keep California affordable and help solve the climate crisis.

Read Blogs featuring Stephaney.

Serena Li

Project Manager

 

 sli@medasf.org 
ext. 129

Three qualities you bring to work:
Activator
Individualization
Explorer

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission is a welcoming community and MEDA is proud to be a part of it."

Serena Li is leading the rehabilitation work for the Small Sites Program - approximately 100 units of residential and commercial units. She is also assisting with the acquisition properties for many of properties that MEDA SSP team is acquiring.

Serena joined MEDA in fall 2016, as the Assistant Project Manager for MEDA’s Small Sites program. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experiences as a former Construction Project Administrator to the Small Sites Team where she project manages the construction rehabilitation, relocation and assisting with site acquisition. With experience of occupied rehabilitation, she had become familiar with working with seniors and families through the relocation process. Being a native San Francisco resident, she is proud to be part of the Community Real Estate team, and excited to continue adding value to her work in helping the community. Serena holds dual bachelor's in Statistics and Economics from University of California, Davis.

Read Blogs featuring Serena.

Veronica Lira

Project Manager

 

vlira@medasf.org
ext. 113

Three qualities you bring to work:
Passionate
Determined
Diligent

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission is a Latino immigrant hub, and MEDA is creating affordable housing for this community."

As Project Assistant to the Small Sites team, Veronica Lira assists in site acquisition and rehabilitation of properties that are at risk of displacing their tenants. She also coordinates with the Asset Management team in the oversight of Small Sites properties operations, including compliance/reporting requirements, and property management.

Previously, Veronica was a Project Administrator for Eden Housing, a nonprofit affordable-housing developer. Veronica received her bachelor's degree in Political Economy, with a concentration in Global Poverty and Development, from the University of California, Berkeley.

Read Blogs featuring Veronica.

Anissa Green

Construction Manager

 

agreen@medasf.org
  ext. 134

Three qualities you bring to work:
Passion
Dedication
Curiosity

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the Mission's diversity and food. I love MEDA because I believe in and understand the importance of the work we do."

Anissa Green's parents moved from Louisiana to Oakland in search of better work at the shipyards in San Francisco. Anissa began her life in West Oakland’s Acorn Projects. Although Anissa’s family moved away from West Oakland in 1976, her family created bonds that are still in place to this day. Her parents began their home ownership journey through HUD's Home Lottery Program: Her family paid $1.00 for their current home base.

In her early life, Anissa and her mother marched with OCO to protest and bring awareness to slumlords in Oakland. As a youth, she marched to protest budget cuts in her school district. Today, she lends her talents to an organization walking the walk and making a huge difference in the lives its clients as well as a measurable impact in not only in the Mission Community, but the City.

Anissa believes that financial literacy can propel anyone to a new level as it allows one to avoid the traps of debt, low credit scores and a general lack of resources.

Read Blogs featuring Anissa.

Sara Lope

Construction Manager

 

slope@medasf.org
ext. 133

Three qualities you bring to work:
Passion
Dedication
Conscientious

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"​I love the Mission District because it's a community full of life, history and culture. The Mission feels like home and I love MEDA because it's helping preserve this awesome community."

Sara Lope grew up in Bilbao, Spain​. When she turned 18, Sara started studying to become a construction manager at Universidad de Burgos, Spain. At the end of earning her degree, she wanted to do something meaningful for her thesis, so Sara went to Huancavelica, Peru as a volunteer to design a new children's shelter. Afterwards, to broaden her knowledge, Sara decided to study Architecture at Universidad Europea de Madrid. This university offered Sara the opportunity to finish her degree at Newschool of Architecture and Design in San Diego. Sara fell in love with California and its diverse culture, especially the Latino culture.

She spent her first summer in New York, working for Paratus Group, a private project management firm. After I finished my degree, Sara found MEDA, a place where she could use her knowledge to help the community.

Read Blogs featuring Sara.

Zachary Schroeder

Asset Manager

 

zschroeder@medasf.org
ext. 195

Three qualities you bring to work:
Urbanist
Analytical
Diligent

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"San Francisco would not be the same without a thriving Latino community in the Mission. I love that MEDA is doing what it can to address a myriad of needs in the community in an attempt to hold fast against further gentrification."

Zachary Schroeder's first interests in community development, equitable housing and gentrification started in middle school with a visit to an artist's commune in his hometown of Omaha, Neb. The sense of camaraderie and togetherness brought on by the tight living quarters and shared passions stuck with him. When the building was sold, and the artists were moved out, he began to wonder if there was something he could do to help.

Zachary received his master's in Community and Regional Planning and began his career focusing on affordable housing. His career took him away from this first love and he is thrilled to come full circle working as an Asset Manager for MEDA.

Read Blogs featuring Zachary.

Beatriz Ordonez

Asset Manager

 

bordonez@medasf.org
ext. 147

Three qualities you bring to work:
Passion
Culture
Family

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission and MEDA both feel like home."

Beatriz Ordonez is responsible for asset management of MEDA's Small Sites properties and for Plaza Adelante, the nonprofit's Mission neighborhood center. This includes resolving tenant issues and working closely with property management.

Beatriz emigrated from Mexico, living in cramped quarters, so she empathizes with Latinos looking for affordable, quality housing in the Mission. She lives in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood.

Read Blogs featuring Beatriz.

Juan Diego Castro

Assistant Project Manager

 

jdcastro@medasf.org
ext. 114

Three qualities you bring to work:
Includer
Realtor
Strategic

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the opportunity I have found in the Mission District and MEDA–an opportunity to be part of a culture of empowerment for the Latino community."

Juan Diego Castro has been in the housing-focused community economic development field for over 10 years, including his work in New York City as well as in San Francisco. Juan Diego's work at MEDA is focused on finding solutions to housing needs for clients through technical assistance and financial coaching. Juan Diego believes that the key to intergenerational wealth lies in property acquisition and responsible land ownership, and will continue to work with MEDA towards these goals. He has a lifetime commitment to promote and facilitate affordable housing for communities of color, as his family's path to financial stability mirrors symptoms of the community which which MEDA works.

Juan Diego is a NALCAB Colegio Fellowship alumni and a Notary Public in the State of California, as well as an Americorp Public Allies alumnus. Juan Diego enjoys hiking throughout the Bay Area's scenic mountains and riding his bike around San Francisco.

Read Blogs featuring Juan Diego.

Monica Almendral

Assistant Project Manager

 

malmendral@medasf.org
ext. 182

Three qualities you bring to work:
Community
Perspective
Humor

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love that there is still an organization in the Mission like MEDA that is fighting to maintain the neighborhood's rich culture, history and families. MEDA not only combats one problem in the Mission, but has multiple departments that serve the community in different capacities."

Monica Almendral is a San Francisco native who grew up in the Mission District. At an early age, she was involved with several community organizations. Having grown up in the Mission, Monica is determined to keep the neighborhood the safe and beautiful community she knows and loves. After living in San Francisco, Monica went to Spelman College in Atlanta, where she received her B.S. in Mathematics. While in college, she wanted to find a way to combine her love for STEM and her looking to give back to the community.

Since joining MEDA's CRE team, she has had the opportunity to work on both the Asset Management side, as well as the Project Management side. Monica now assists CRE as a Project Assistant for large sites.

Read Blogs featuring Monica.

Jose Garcia

Project Assistant

 

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 assists with the Small Sites Program. He 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.

Jennifer Lopez

Project Assistant

 

jlopez@medasf.org
ext. 199

Three qualities you bring to work:
Enthusiasm
Dedication
Curiosity

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love that MEDA is at the forefront of ensuring the Mission remains a vibrant Latino cultural district."

Jennifer Lopez assists with the Small Sites Program in the acquisition and rehabilitation of multi-family buildings in the Mission. Prior to joining MEDA, Jennifer completed a Fulbright grant in Colombia where she taught English at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Manizales. She loved her experience so much she renewed her grant for a second year to teach in Medellín. During her time away from the Bay Area while in college and later in Colombia, she kept up with local issues involving the housing affordability crisis, gentrification and the displacement of low-income communities of color. She firmly believes affordable housing is the biggest issue facing San Francisco and is passionate about expanding affordable-housing options in the Mission.

Jennifer holds a B.A. in International Relations with a concentration in Latin American Studies from Pomona College.

Read Blogs featuring Jennifer.

Kayla Di Marco

Project Assistant

 

kdimarco@medasf.org
ext. 200

Three qualities you bring to work:
Enthusiasm
Drive
Analysis

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love that the Mission District is rooted in its history and that MEDA fights for the Mission’s residents."

Kayla Di Marco is a Project Assistant with the Large Sites program. Prior to joining MEDA, she studied civil engineering to understand how cities are built. Down this path, she’s worked for a mechanical contractor in Atlanta and a Civil Engineering design firm in the Bay Area.

Kayla was born and raised in a small town in South Carolina. Growing up with neighborhood low-country boils and block parties to the tune of free-style jazz shaped her belief that preserving the heart of this nation lies within protecting its local communities. She is excited by the opportunity to help the Mission District residents stay in their home and continue celebrating its rich culture.

Read Blogs featuring Kayla.

Augustus Tagaro

Resident Engagement Specialist

 

atagaro@medasf.org
(415) 632-6339

Three qualities you bring to work:
Honesty
Integrity
Transparency

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission is the heart of San Francisco and MEDA puts its hearts (and minds) into its work."

Augustus Tagaro is currently Resident Engagement Specialist with senior/disabled residents of MEDA's Mission/Castro cluster of the RAD apartments. He brings over 15 years experience in working with residents' services and empowerment. Augustus worked as a Family Youth Advocate in SOMA Minna Park Apartments with Asian Neighborhood Design for three years, providing residents with social services referrals to education and employment resources. He monitored and documented resident progress and situations. Augustus also represented the building residents by going to community-based organizations and public agencies to advocate, plus managed the after-school program as Program Coordinator for South of Market Resource Center for 12 years. He coordinated MOUs with the local schools to conduct activities at the schools, information referrals, home visits, outreach and promotion for community activities and events. In addition, Augustus managed the parent advisory committee, and coordinated the Food Bank and Diaper Bank. He conducted eight to 12 workshops a year, based on community need and community surveys.

Augustus went to San Francisco State University and he got his bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies. He is bilingual; speaks English and Tagalog.

Read Blogs featuring Augustus.

Lucy Arellano Baglieri

Chief Strategy Officer

 

larellano@medasf.org
ext. 141

Three qualities you bring to work:
Problem-solving
Ambition
Relationships

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I am so fortunate to work with such intelligent, hard-working, dedicated fellow Latinos, whom I deeply respect- both my colleagues at MEDA, and the community members we serve in the Mission. They motivate, inspire, and challenge me to grow and work harder for them everyday."

Lucy Arellano Baglieri oversees shares MEDA’s integrated Financial Capability capacity building Viva! model nationally. Lucy brings years of program development and management experience in community organizations across California. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Washington, Seattle in Law, Societies, and Justice.

Lucy immigrated from Mexico as a child, and was raised in Sacramento, Calif. by her parents and sic siblings. Lucy’s work is motivated by a firsthand understanding of the strengths and challenges within our community, and by the gratitude for the endless support she has received in order to achieve her personal and professional goals. Lucy is committed to providing the resources and opportunities for other families, just like hers, to thrive.

Read Blogs featuring Lucy.

Ernesto Martinez

Associate Director 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 the past five years. He previously served our Latino community as a Job Developer in MEDA's Workforce Development Program and as a Tax Specialist in the Tax Program.

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.

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.

Jessy Delgado

Family Economic 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.

Marcail Distante

Asset Building Coach

 

mdistante@medasf.org
ext. 132

Three qualities you bring to work:
Compassion
Drive
Creativity

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"MEDA and other community-based organizations in the Mission empower families with resources and support systems to achieve their goals."

Marcail Distante was born and raised in New York, and studied International Relations and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Beloit College in Wisconsin. Throughout her time in college, she actively engaged with the community, serving as a citizenship-preparation teacher at a local nonprofit, Spanish instructor at a senior citizen home and ESL teaching assistant at an elementary school. Marcail is driven to implement systemic change through relationship building and community empowerment.

Prior to joining MEDA, Marcail served an AmeriCorps term at a nonprofit focused on the rights of members of a janitorial union. She also gained experience at an education management company to learn more about issues facing California public schools, and to gain experience scaling training and business models. At MEDA, she now works as an Asset Building Coach for both the Financial Capability and Housing Opportunities programs. In addition to her client-facing work, she also really enjoys conveying impact through storytelling, and creating an engaging workplace for employees and volunteers.

Read Blogs featuring Marcail.

Alejandro Bautista

Programs Coordinator

 

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.

Laura Ospina-Jaramillo

Housing Opportunities Program Manager

 

lospina@medasf.org,
ext. 126

Three qualities you bring to work:
Learner
Includer
Empathy

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission and MEDA both offer Latinos a great life."

Laura was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia. At MEDA, she is committed to supporting individuals in reaching their own financial goals. Laura firmly believes in the importance and impact that financial education has on people's lives. As an immigrant herself, she understands how important this education is for the success of a family in their new home country and the generations to come. For that reason, Laura will continue to support MEDA in being a space where individuals can safely learn how to plan their own future and make it real.

Laura holds a bachelor's in Economics from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She has taken multiple financial coaching and leadership trainings and is planning to continue improving her skills to better serve the community.

Read Blogs featuring Laura.

Guadalupe Mercado

Housing Opportunities Coach

 

gmercado@medasf.org
ext. 135

Three qualities you bring to work:
Learner
Precise
Achiever

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love that MEDA helps our clients grasps the concepts to securing a better future for their families in the Mission."

Guadalupe Mercado was born and raised in the Mission, her parents having emigrated from Mexico. Guadalupe has previously worked at other community-based organizations in San Francisco, plus facilitated classes for children in San Mateo for the Big Lift program, which helps kindergartners and first-graders with academic, exploratory and behavior exercises.

She is currently attending school to obtain an associate's degree in Criminal Justice.

Read Blogs featuring Guadalupe.

Jaqueline Marcelos

Financial Assets Program Manager

 

jmarcelos@medasf.org
ext. 143

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.

Claudia Soto

Financial Assets Coach

 

csoto@medasf.org
ext. 122

Three qualities you bring to work:
Analytical
Achiever
Learner

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission remains a Latino immigrant gateway and MEDA offers a financial education for these newcomers."

Claudia, originally from Central America, feels very proud of being a Latina. Claudia began working as a bank officer while putting herself through three years of university in Nicaragua, and continued in that job for another seven years. When she came to live in the United States, she was aware that it would be a challenge to learn not only a new language but a completely different culture as well. However, found the opportunity to work with the Latin community in the Mission District for twelve years.

It has been a great experience working in these different financial institutions as senior customer service, assistant general manager, banker officer, and loan officer. Belonging to the MEDA family is an honor for her, allowing her to put into practice the experience and knowledge she has acquired to achieve the objectives of the organization and continue to empower our community and be successful.

Read Blogs featuring Claudia.

Rosario Chacon

Financial Capability Coach

 

rchacon@medasf.org
ext. 136

Three qualities you bring to work:
Engagement
Education
Perseverance

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission District is the home of many of my friends and the community that has become my family. MEDA welcomes those values and the diversity while advancing the opportunities of the larger Mission family."

Rosario Chacon is a native of Yucatan, Mexico, being raised with a wealth of traditions and values that her Mayan ancestors shared over generations. Rosario is following the footsteps of her parents by being in service to her community.

Rosario's academic background is Business Economics and a master's in Business Administration. After spending years in banking and lending, Rosario discovered her love of financial advising and planning. Rosario holds a designation as a Certified Financial Planner and a certification in Financial Psychology and Behavioral Finance -- an education that helps better serve her community and understand the many beliefs and behaviors that may hinder someone's financial fulfillment.

Read Blogs featuring Rosario.

Edwin Rodriguez

Business Development Program Manager

 

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 more than 13 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.

Luis Ramos

Business Development and Lending Liaison

 

lramos@medasf.org
ext. 104

Three qualities you bring to work:
Mentor
Strategy
Profitability

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the family-serving businesses in the Mission, and that MEDA is supporting such ventures."

Luis Ramos received his master’s degree in international economic from Texas A&M University in 2011. Throughout his career, Luis has helped individuals in the United States and abroad build their businesses, utilizing small-business educational tools and the financing to grow them.

Before joining MEDA, Luis worked in rural Mexico, hosting workshops and conducting direct capacity-building seminars to help small-business owners make their dreams a reality. After traveling throughout Mexico, Ramos returned to his family, where he worked with LiftFund local small businesses in Houston by connecting entrepreneurs to education, tools and capital to continue growing and supporting the local economy.

Read Blogs featuring Luis.

Miguel Velasco

Workforce Development Program Manager

 

mvelasco@medasf.org
ext. 162

Three qualities you bring to work:
Determination
Integrity
Confidence

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love that MEDA works to assist the Mission Latino community in meeting their personal and professional goals."

Miguel Velasco was born and raised in El Salvador, coming to the United States when he was 19 years old. Miguel worked in various places such as warehouses, construction sites and restaurants in the Los Angeles area, while taking ESL classes at night. He moved to San Francisco when he met his wife, Dina, who encouraged him to go back to school. So he enrolled at Skyline College to obtain his associate's degree in Network Engineering, later heading to San Francisco State University, where he graduated with honors and garnered his bachelor's degree in Business Administration Information Systems. Miguel then obtained a position in the health care industry as a recruiter, where he learned about the comprehensive onboarding process, management, compliance and training, as well as placing people in jobs.

As an immigrant, Miguel closely relates to the Latino community in the Mission District. He has experienced the language barrier, work and house insecurity, and cultural differences that cause immigrants to struggle in the United States. Miguel brings his knowledge and personal experiences to MEDA to help people overcome all of the issues he once experienced, for he knows that with education, hard work, and willingness to improve, immigrants can make a big difference in this country.

Read Blogs featuring Miguel.

Jose Mariscal

Workforce Development Coach

 

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.

Jessie Galván

Workforce Development Coach

 

jgalvan@medasf.org
ext. 161

Three qualities you bring to work:
Analytical
Passionate
Collaborative

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I am passionate about MEDA's model because it strives to keep families like my own embedded in the Mission."

Jessie Galván was born and raised in the heart of La Mission and has seen the change that's enthralled the community over the last two decades. He's always been passionate about helping those less fortunate than himself, while often putting other's needs before his own. The son of immigrants from Toluca and Piedra Gorda, his father worked day and night to support the family. He was raised by a strong group of women that consisted mainly of his mother, grandmother and six aunts.

Jessie is a first-generation graduate from San Francisco State University, having received a B.A. in Economics while minoring in History. He has working experience in various sectors that include legal, banking, athletics and recruiting.

Read Blogs featuring Jessie.

Mayra Alfaro Martinez

Workforce Development Coach

 

malfaro@medasf.org
ext. 177

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.

Nathanial Owen

Director of Fondo Adelante

 

nowen@medasf.org
ext. 153

Three qualities you bring to work:
Achiever
Doer
Mission-driven

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love working for MEDA because I am a part of a team committed to making the Mission a strong and supportive community for Latino and immigrant families. That inspires me to give of myself every day."

Nathanial Owen, a native of Sherwood, Ark., currently serves as the Director of Fondo Adelante, the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) arm of Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA). Since joining MEDA in July 2014, his roles have included serving as Community Loan Fund Director and Associate Director of Asset Building Programs. In his time at MEDA, Nathanial has led the launch of organization’s new CDFI, which is a microlender, small-business lender and newly minted real estate lender for affordable housing.

Previously, he served as the Tennessee Market Manager for Accion Texas Inc. (now LiftFund), the nation’s largest microlender, where he led Accion’s expansion into Tennessee and Kentucky. He completed coursework for a Master of Public Service program at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, where his studies focused on economic development and poverty studies. While at the Clinton School, Owen partnered with Arkansas Baptist College to design a comprehensive model for urban revitalization efforts to be replicated in communities supported by Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He also completed an internship with the Nyaka AIDS Foundation in Uganda, where he developed the foundation’s organizational capacity in providing microfinance services in rural villages. Nathanial is a graduate of Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas, where he received a B.S. in Church Ministries.

Read Blogs featuring Nathanial.

Gladys Castro

Small Business Loan Officer

 

gcastro@medasf.org
ext. 117

Three qualities you bring to work:
Curiosity
Dedication
Resiliency

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love MEDA’s commitment to the Mission and its residents. When our community is under attack, the Mission, with the support of MEDA, continues to fight back."

Gladys Castro works to provide loans to small-business owners in the nine Bay Area counties. Prior to joining MEDA, Gladys worked one-on-one with small businesses at the startup level to help them establish a strong foundation through a business plan, understanding of financial statements and the development of a marketing strategy.

Gladys attended UC Berkeley where she studied Political Science and Education. Outside of work, Gladys likes to cook new recipes, which occasionally result in disaster.

Read Blogs featuring Gladys.

Richard Raya

Director

 

rraya@medasf.org
ext. 155

Three qualities you bring to work:
Direct
Driven
Inspired

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love that the Mission District has been the center of the Bay Area’s rich Latino heritage for generations, and that MEDA has been at the forefront of serving this vibrant community and helping to ensure its stability and success."

For nearly 20 years, Richard has worked at an executive level to bring community leaders, administrators and elected officials together to improve community outcomes and generate revenue, including as Chief of Staff for an Oakland City Councilmember, Executive Director of Youth Radio, and Director of Administrative Services for Alameda County Public Health Department. He is focused on working closely with MPN partners and using shared data to improve educational results for San Francisco’s children, celebrating and communicating the MPN collaborative’s successes, and fundraising.

Richard’s great-grandparents were Yaquis who came to the Bay Area after fighting in the Mexican Revolution. His parents worked as farmworkers in the fields of Northern California and came of age during the Chicano Movement. Richard earned a B.A. in English and a Master’s in Public Policy from UC Berkeley.

Read Blogs featuring Richard.

Liz Cortez

Associate Director

 

ecortez@medasf.org
ext. 109

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.

Ada Alvarado Freund

Early Learning Program Manager

 

afreund@medasf.org
(415) 316-7249

Three qualities you bring to work:
Curious
Collaborator
Compassionate

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love that the Mission District truly is a community and that MEDA is preserving it for everyone, regardless of their race, income or spoken language."

Ada Alvarado Freund’s parents came to the United States in the early 1980s, during the civil war in El Salvador. They sacrificed everything so that their children could get educated and have a better life. It’s called opportunity.

Making her parents proud, Ada double majored in Latino studies and liberal arts at San Francisco State University. Always passionate about early childhood development, Ada got a job at a bilingual preschool in San Francisco, where she taught and eventually supervised the program. Feeling a need for change, Ada transferred her experience into being a family success coach for the Mission Promise Neighborhood, where she now connects families — like hers — to services in the community.

Read Blogs featuring Ada.

Celina Castro-Saelao

Family Support Manager

 

csaelao@medasf.org
ext. 149    
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 Ramos-Castro’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.

Efrain Barrera

K-12 Program Manager

 

ebarrera@medasf.org
ext. 125

Three qualities you bring to work:
Collaboration
Thought-Partner
Patience

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission District is a place that I have been fortunate to call home for that last 24 years, I love its vibrancy, vitality, its hardworking people, and I am proud to work for MEDA, a community agency rooted in the Mission whose mission is to strengthen the Latino families by promoting economic equity and social justice. "

Efrain Barrera immigrated to San Francisco's Mission District from El Salvador at the age of 15. He attended Mission High School and the University of California, Berkeley, graduating with a bachelor's in Sociology and Education.

Efrain has over 15 years of experience in the field of education, nonprofits, and working with immigrant families and youth. He is most effective in a collaborative environment working toward a common goal. Efrain is the proud father of a 6-year-old and a 10-year-old, who push him to become a better human being day by day.

Read Blogs featuring Efrain.

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.

Luis R. Ostolaza

Family Success Coach

 

lostolaza@medasf.org
(415) 316-7407

Three qualities you bring to work:
Organized
Hardworking
Reliable

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission is the heart of the City, and MEDA’s staff puts hearts into their work."

Luis R. Ostolaza was born in South America and immigrated to the United States in the late 1990's. One of the first places he visited shortly after arriving in San Francisco was the Mission District. Luis fell in love with the streets, views, foods, people and weather -- he thought he was back home.

In 2008, Luis R. Ostolaza I was able to move to the Mission neighborhood, and he now says that he would not want to live in any other place.

Read Blogs featuring Luis.

Ana Avilez

Family Success Coach

 

aavilez@medasf.org
(415) 513-9755

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.

Marianna Estrada

Family Success Coach

 

mestrada@medasf.org
(415) 425-7792

Three qualities you bring to work:
Empathetic
Collaborative
Culturally Sensitive

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"What I love about the Mission District is that it feels like home and has provided me with a community of which I can be a part and give back. I love that MEDA is a welcoming and inclusive agency that strives for the advancement of the Latinx community."

Marianna Estrada was born and raised in the small town of Stratford, California, located in the Central Valley, to immigrant parent from Mexico. Marianna is the first in her family to attend a university, having graduated from San Francisco State University with a bachelor’s in Psychology with a minor in Human Sexuality Studies.

Marianna has been working with the Latinx community of San Francisco for over eight years in various capacities, most recently as a housing specialist assisting families that are experiencing homelessness. Marianna enjoys networking and getting to know agencies in San Francisco -- and the larger Bay Area -- in order to refer families to appropriate services.

Read Blogs featuring Marianna.

Mariana Tejada

Family Success Coach

 

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 Mexico, France and Turkey. She considers Mexico her second home, as she’s lived and visited Mexico 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 habañeros.

Read Blogs featuring Mariana.

Pedro Tuyub

Family Success Coach

 

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.

Erika Villegas

Early Learning Family Success Coach

 

evillegas@medasf.org
(415) 425-7764

Three qualities you bring to work:
Loving
Open-minded
Laughter

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love that I experience La Mission with my five senses: I see an array of colors, smell and taste foods from all over Latin America, hear rhythms that make me want to dance, and am touched by all the love and life here. I'm proud to be a part of the work MEDA does to continue to strengthen and empower our Latino community, and to preserve the Mission's cultural vibrancy."

Erika Villegas grew up in Salinas Valley (the "Salad Bowl of the World") surrounded mostly by hard-working Mexican immigrants like her parents. Her parents, specifically her mom, raised her and her sister to be proud of their roots. Erika attended a Spanish bilingual elementary school and continued studying Spanish in high school and university, later becoming a Spanish bilingual elementary school teacher in San Francisco.

Erika became a teacher because she has always loved kids, but mostly because as she got older she realized the potential and desire she had to give back to her community. She joined the MEDA team to continue to love and serve the Latino community because she believes in the greatness it possesses and the greater things it can accomplish while working together.

Read Blogs featuring Erika.

Liz Hernandez

Family Success Coach

 

lhernandez@medasf.org
(415) 425-7813

Three qualities you bring to work:
Nurturing
Reflective
Resilient

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The flavors, colors, music, languages and strong sense of family that make up the Mission take me back to memories of my parents' pueblo in Guanajuato, Mexico; The Mission is a place where one’s Latinx identity can be unapologetically embraced and where organizations like MEDA serve to empower, educate and employ the local community."

Liz Hernandez' parents were born in a rural pueblo called Paracuaro, where they spent their days laboring, cooking, learning and celebrating life with family. They migrated to Northern California nearly 30 years ago, where they birthed and raised three boys and a girl named Liz. That girl would eventually relocate to Santa Barbara, where she would graduate with a bachelor’s in religion, sociology, and applied psychology.

Liz has a background working at women, youth and homeless shelters. After years of visiting family in San Francisco, she eventually made the move to live and work in the Bay Area full time, where she continued her direct services as a domestic violence specialist working primarily within the Mission, Bayview and Tenderloin neighborhoods. In her free time, she writes and performs poetry, spends time with family and apprentices at a ceramics studio in the Bayview.

Read Blogs featuring Liz.

Dannhae (Maya) Herrera-Wilson

Early Learning Family Success Coach

 

dhwilson@medasf.org
(415) 425-7887

Three qualities you bring to work:
Resourceful
Determined
Resilient

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission District evokes many positive memories for me, especially from the time I first arrived in the U.S.A. more than two decades ago. I consider it my home away from home. I love the fact that MEDA is working hard to protect and nurture the character, diversity, homes and people that make the Mission District such a special and unique neighborhood in San Francisco."

Dannhae Herrera-Wilson’s professional, educational and volunteer experience has always been oriented toward serving and empowering diverse individuals and communities facing adverse circumstances. As a first-generation immigrant, Dannhae experienced firsthand the challenges many families have had to endure while establishing themselves in the United States. These experiences propelled her to become a fervent advocate for immigrants’ rights, civil rights and women’s rights, as well as maternal and child mental health and well-being.

Dannhae’s work has included seven years as a Board of Immigration Accredited Representative (BIA) at the International Institute of the Bay Area, a nonprofit that provides immigration services to people from around the world and, most recently, two years as a Child Development, Parenting & Early Literacy Specialist in the Teenage Pregnancy and Parenting Program (TAPP) at the Felton Institute/Hilltop Special Services Center.

She is a certified facilitator in various parenting programs including: Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors, Crianza con Cariño/Nurturing Parenting, and Positive Discipline, and is also a Lactation Counselor, and a Birth and Postpartum Doula.

Dannhae looks forward to contributing her expertise in working with families and partners to advance MEDA's mission and vision on behalf of Latino and other diverse low-income families in San Francisco, especially in the Mission District.

Read Blogs featuring Dannhae.

Flor Maria Armas

Family Success and Transitions Coach

 

farmas@medasf.org
(415) 425-7844

Three qualities you bring to work:
Ambitious
Spontaneous
Creative

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The short walk from the BART station to MEDA reminds me of my grandfather chaperoning me down the plaza of the small pueblo of Huejuquilla, El Alto Jalisco. We woke up early every morning to buy pan dulce from the panaderia to take with us on our journey to the potrero for which he cared. The Mission District feels like home, and for this reason I have decided to come to MEDA to dedicate my service to the community. "

Flor Maria Armas is a first-generation Mexican American, born in San Jose, Calif., to parents who emigrated from Huejuquilla, El Alto Jalisco. She attended the University of San Francisco, and during her senior year had an opportunity to volunteer for Mission Graduates (a partner of the Mission Promise Neighborhood), joining the team at Everett Middle School's Beacon Center. After graduating in 2017 with a bachelor's in Psychology and a minor in Gender Studies, Flor returned the following year as an AmeriCorps volunteer at Everett, focusing on youth development for newcomers with behavioral, restorative practice and academic issues. She was eventually offered a job with Mission Graduates as an after-school teacher.

For Flor, it is important to be part of an organization that strongly emphasizes strengthening Mission families. She will be based at John O'Connell High School, and hopes to connect many families to free services in the community.

Read Blogs featuring Flor.

(415) 282-3334 (see below for staff extension) Hover over each image for email link, phone extension and bio.

ADMINISTRATION & HR

Chief Executive Officer

Luis Granados

Chief Executive Officer

Chief Operating Officer

Jillian Spindle

Chief Operating Officer

Chief Strategy Officer

Lucy Arellano Baglieri

Chief Strategy Officer

Support Team

Cindy Clements

Director of Operations/HR

Oscar Aguayo

 

oaguayo@medasf.org
(415) 985-6143

Bio 

Oscar Aguayo

Talent Manager

Laura Ornelas

Executive Assistant

Rosabella Safont

Operations Assistant

Rosa Jaquez

Office Manager


FINANCE

Libardo Clavijo

Chief Financial Officer

Robert Viera

Controller

Jai Patel

Financial Analyst

Sandra Herrera

Contracts and Compliance Manager

Mirian Alvarenga

Real Estate Accountant

Jacqueline (Lydia) Gomez

Operations Manager


Development/Marketing & Communications

Jonathan Segarra

Director of Development & Communications

Christopher Gil

Associate Director of Marketing & Communications

Aaron Chandler

Development Manager

Lucy Porras-Azimi

Donor Engagement Officer

Andrea Gomez

Development Coordinator


Evaluation

Rajni Banthia

Director of Evaluation

Michelle Reiss-Top

Associate Director of Data and Learning

Ryan Fukumori

Senior Analyst

Tatiana Acosta

Data Capacity Coordinator


Policy & Advocacy

Norma Paz García

Director of Policy and Advocacy

Lucia Obregon

Community Leadership Development Manager

Peter Papadopoulos

Land Use Policy Analyst


Community Real Estate

Karoleen Feng

Director of Community Real Estate

Johnny Oliver

Associate Director

Elaine Yee

Senior Project Manager

Feliciano Vera

Senior Project Manager

Stephaney Kipple

Senior Project Manager

Serena Li

 

 sli@medasf.org 
ext. 129

Bio 

Serena Li

Project Manager

Veronica Lira

Project Manager

Anissa Green

Construction Manager

Sara Lope

Construction Manager

Zachary Schroeder

Asset Manager

Beatriz Ordonez

Asset Manager

Juan Diego Castro

Assistant Project Manager

Monica Almendral

Assistant Project Manager

Jose Garcia

Project Assistant

Jennifer Lopez

Project Assistant

Kayla Di Marco

Project Assistant

Augustus Tagaro

 

atagaro@medasf.org
(415) 632-6339

Bio 

Augustus Tagaro

Resident Engagement Specialist


Asset Building Programs

Lucy Arellano Baglieri

Chief Strategy Officer

Ernesto Martinez

 

emartinez@medasf.org
(415) 409-9172

Bio 

Ernesto Martinez

Associate Director of Asset Building Programs

Dairo Romero

Community Initiatives Manager

Jessy Delgado

 

jdelgado@medasf.org
(415) 663-6178

Bio 

Jessy Delgado

Family Economic Success Coach

Marcail Distante

Asset Building Coach

Alejandro Bautista

Programs Coordinator

Housing Opportunities Program

Laura Ospina-Jaramillo

Housing Opportunities Program Manager

Guadalupe Mercado

Housing Opportunities Coach

Financial Capability & Free Tax Preparation

Jaqueline Marcelos

Financial Assets Program Manager

Claudia Soto

Financial Assets Coach

Rosario Chacon

Financial Capability Coach

Business Development Program

Edwin Rodriguez

Business Development Program Manager

Luis Ramos

Business Development and Lending Liaison

Workforce Development / Digital Opportunity Center

Miguel Velasco

Workforce Development Program Manager

Jose Mariscal

Workforce Development Coach

Jessie Galván

Workforce Development Coach

Mayra Alfaro Martinez

Workforce Development Coach


Community Loan Fund (Fondo Adelante)

Nathanial Owen

Director of Fondo Adelante

Gladys Castro

Small Business Loan Officer


Mission Promise Neighborhood

Richard Raya

Director

Liz Cortez

Associate Director

Ada Alvarado Freund

 

afreund@medasf.org
(415) 316-7249

Bio 

Ada Alvarado Freund

Early Learning Program Manager

Celina Castro-Saelao

 

csaelao@medasf.org
ext. 149   

Bio 

Celina Castro-Saelao

Family Support Manager

Efrain Barrera

K-12 Program Manager

Roberto Aparicio

 

raparicio@medasf.org
(415) 767-8059

Bio 

Roberto Aparicio

Family Success Coach

Luis R. Ostolaza

 

lostolaza@medasf.org
(415) 316-7407

Bio 

Luis R. Ostolaza

Family Success Coach

Ana Avilez

 

aavilez@medasf.org
(415) 513-9755

Bio 

Ana Avilez

Family Success Coach

Marianna Estrada

 

mestrada@medasf.org
(415) 425-7792

Bio 

Marianna Estrada

Family Success Coach

Mariana Tejada

 

mtejada@medasf.org
(415) 425-7786

Bio 

Mariana Tejada

Family Success Coach

Pedro Tuyub

 

ptuyub@medasf.org
(415) 425-7783

Bio 

Pedro Tuyub

Family Success Coach

Erika Villegas

 

evillegas@medasf.org
(415) 425-7764

Bio 

Erika Villegas

Early Learning Family Success Coach

Liz Hernandez

 

lhernandez@medasf.org
(415) 425-7813

Bio 

Liz Hernandez

Family Success Coach

Dannhae (Maya) Herrera-Wilson

 

dhwilson@medasf.org
(415) 425-7887

Bio 

Dannhae (Maya) Herrera-Wilson

Early Learning Family Success Coach

Flor Maria Armas

 

farmas@medasf.org
(415) 425-7844

Bio 

Flor Maria Armas

Family Success and Transitions Coach


 

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

Rosa Jaquez: (415) 282-3334 ext. 101; rjaquez@medasf.org

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

Housing Opportunities: homeownership@medasf.org

Financial Capability: financialed@medasf.org

Free Tax Preparation: fintax@medasf.org

Business Development: business@medasf.org

Community Loan Fund: loans@medasf.org

Workforce Development: workforce@medasf.org

Digital Opportunity Center/Centro de Oportunidad Digital: tech@medasf.org

Other Departments

Donations to MEDA: development@medasf.org

Marketing Department: marketing@medasf.org

Volunteers: volunteer@medasf.org

Policy: action@medasf.org