Meet Our Staff

(415) 282-3334

(See below for staff extension; if no extension is listed, hit extension 101 to be directed or send an email, as listed below.) Hover over each image for bio.

ADMINISTRATION & HR

Chief Executive Officer

Luis Granados

Chief Executive Officer

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Luis Granados

Chief Executive Officer

lgranados@medasf.org
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Three qualities you bring to work:
Dedicated
Resilient
Empathetic

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Luis.

 

Chief Operating Officer

Jillian Spindle

Chief Operating Officer

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Jillian Spindle

Chief Operating Officer

jspindle@medasf.org
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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.

 

Support Team

Berlina Ceguerra

Director of Human Resources & Operations

Berlina Ceguerra

Director of Human Resources & Operations

bceguerra@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Enthusiasm
Balance
Empathy

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Berlina.

Amina Abid

HR Manager

Amina Abid

HR Manager

aabid@medasf.org
ext. 101

Three qualities you bring to work:
Compassion
Audacity
Respect

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

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Amina.

Laura Ornelas

Senior Executive Assistant and Special Projects Manager

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Laura Ornelas

Senior Executive Assistant and Special Projects Manager

lornelas@medasf.org
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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.

Juan Ruiz

Operations Coordinator

Juan Ruiz

Operations Coordinator

jruiz@medasf.org
ext. 101

Three qualities you bring to work:
Diligent
Honest
Friendly

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love La Mission: It’s a true melting pot of cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds. It’s vibrant, alive and gives us a little taste of the countries we left for opportunities to better our lives."

Juan Ruiz brings over 15 years of experience in facilities management, building operations and insurance. Juan was born in Managua, Nicaragua, moving to the U.S. when he was 8. He lived in San Diego for two years and then moved to the Bay Area town of Hayward. At 18, Juan moved out of his family’s home and started living in San Francisco. Juan came to MEDA because of the wonderful positive changes that the organization brings to our communities.

Juan lives in Bernal Heights/La Mission with his cat named Sushi and dog named Pepper.

Read Blogs featuring Juan.

Vinny Oliveira

Senior IT Consultant

Vinny Oliveira

Senior IT Consultant

voliveira@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Dedicated
Collaborative
Strategic

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Vinny.

Rosa Jaquez

Office Manager

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Rosa Jaquez

Office Manager

rjaquez@medasf.org
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Three qualities you bring to work:
Persistent
Resourceful
Diligent

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Rosa.


Risk Management and Compliance

Dolores Terrazas

Director, Risk Management & Compliance

Dolores Terrazas

Director, Risk Management & Compliance

dterrazas@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Passion
Strategy
Innovated Solutions

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

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Dolores.


EQUITABLE RECOVERY INSTITUTE

Richard Raya

Chief Strategy Officer

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Richard Raya

Chief Strategy Officer

rraya@medasf.org

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

Director of Promise City Programs and Partnerships

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Liz Cortez

Director of Promise City Programs and Partnerships

ecortez@medasf.org
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Three qualities you bring to work:
Dedicated
Collaborative
Mentor

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Liz.

Ana Avilez

Program Associate, Promise City

(415) 425-7764

Ana Avilez

Program Associate, Promise City

aavilez@medasf.org
(415) 425-7764

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.

Mayra Alfaro Martinez

Program Associate, Share the Model

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Mayra Alfaro Martinez

Program Associate, Share the Model

malfaro@medasf.org
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Three qualities you bring to work:
Ambition
Passion
Innovation

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Mayra.


Policy & Advocacy

Norma Paz García

Policy Counsel, Director of Advocacy

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Norma Paz García

Policy Counsel, Director of Advocacy

ngarcia@medasf.org
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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.

Peter Papadopoulos

Senior Land Use Policy Analyst

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Peter Papadopoulos

Senior Land Use Policy Analyst

ppapadopoulos@medasf.org
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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.


FINANCE

Priscilla Chen-Ok

Chief Financial Officer

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Priscilla Chen-Ok

Chief Financial Officer

pchenok@medasf.org
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Three qualities you bring to work:
Strategy
Intentionality
Humanity

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I am excited to be a part of MEDA’s holistic approach to generational family wealth-building, community ownership and power. I love that MEDA is not only working for its community, but is an active and vital member of the Mission neighborhood. MEDA continues to build upon the strength and tenacity of all immigrant families, as nothing is impossible. Together, we move forward."

Priscilla Chen-Ok spearheads MEDA’s financial operations. She showcases over 20 years of nonprofit experience working at Wu Yee Children’s Services as their CFO & Deputy Director for a decade in Head Start & Early Head Start programs serving young children and families, plus as Interim CEO and CFO at Youth Leadership Institute developing youth in four Bay Area regional offices from San Francisco to the Central Valley. Priscilla has a deep passion for serving immigrant families and supporting the education and development of children and youth.

As an immigrant, Priscilla empathizes with the challenges and values that all newcomer families have brought with them. That is why she is excited to support the social justice work of MEDA of building generational wealth and developing the vibrant culture and community of the Mission. Priscilla holds a bachelor's degree from San Francisco State University, and lives in Oakland with her husband and three children. She enjoys traveling and eating her way through diverse cultures and cuisines.

Read Blogs featuring Priscilla.

Tyler Adams

Finance Director

Tyler Adams

Finance Director

tadams@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Collaboration
Analysis
Leadership

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"When I think about what makes the Bay Area a beautiful and diverse place to live, I think of the Mission District. I love the people, the culture, art, music, and food that make the Mission District an integral part of the fabric of our community.

At the same time, I’ve witnessed the Mission’s evolution and the impacts of gentrification and displacement, so I believe MEDA’s work to help community members achieve their economic goals is a great way to help them fight against systems that marginalizes them. MEDA influences systemic changes that bolsters what makes the Mission a special place."

Tyler Adams brings over 20 years of financial and operational service experience to the MEDA Finance Team, leveraging insight to support MEDA in building and enhancing strong and complaint systems for accounting and organizational effectiveness. Tyler has dedicated much of his career to nonprofit development, driven by his belief that economic parity is a powerful tool to alleviate or end social and economic injustice and that by supporting community members in developing agency in their own lives provides powerful means to dismantle the social and economic inequalities brought on by systemic racism.

Tyler is a Bay Area native and a University of Oregon alumnus. He enjoys exploring the Bay Area’s natural resources and can be found on urban hikes with his dog, Oso, across various San Francisco neighborhoods.

Read Blogs featuring Tyler.

Ferdie Ostrow

Controller

Ferdie Ostrow

Controller

lostrow@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Curiosity
Collaboration
Optimism

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Ferdie.

Wilson Song

Community Real Estate Controller

Wilson Song

Community Real Estate Controller

wsong@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Creativity
Positivity
Expertise

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the Mission because it was my first home. I attended Hillcrest Elementary School and lived in the Outer Mission when I first came to the United States. The Mission has always been a part of my identity as a San Franciscan, watching the neighborhood evolution from the 14 Muni bus window, and enjoying its vibrant nighttime activities."

Wilson Song is a first-generation immigrant who came to San Francisco in 1994. He grew up in San Francisco and received his bachelor's in corporate finance from San Francisco State University. Wilson has been serving in the affordable housing community through progressive finance roles for over a decade with many organizations that partner with MEDA.

Outside of work, Wilson enjoys taking his toddler out on adventures and watching Sci-fi.

Read Blogs featuring Wilson.

Efren Llarinas

Senior Real Estate Accountant

Efren Llarinas

Senior Real Estate Accountant

ellarinas@medasf.org
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Three qualities you bring to work:
Dependable
Resourceful
Compassionate

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission District keeps San Francisco alive, plus is welcoming to outsiders because the neighborhood showcases many smiling faces and colorful artwork. I love that MEDA supports and helps the Latino community in the Mission District to thrive."

Efren Llarinas immigrated to the U.S. in 2005 and has since worked for nonprofits as an accountant. He has a bachelor’s in Accounting and is an inactive CPA in the Philippines. Before MEDA, Efren worked for Pacifica Foundation, East Bay School for Boys, and Community Housing Partnership dba HomeRise.

Efren lives in Berkeley with his wife Angie, and he loves music.

Read Blogs featuring Efren.

Sandra Herrera

Contracts and Compliance Manager

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Sandra Herrera

Contracts and Compliance Manager

sherrera@medasf.org
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Three qualities you bring to work:
Creative
Analytical
Learner

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Sandra.

Mei Yi Wu

Grants and Compliance Manager

Mei Yi Wu

Grants and Compliance Manager

mwu@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Passion
Collaboration
Integrity

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission was where my first home and first job was in the United States. As a first-generation immigrant, I love the Mission, as it's a welcoming and nourishing place that helps immigrant families thrive. MEDA preserves and strengthens the community, and I am proud to be a member."

Mei Yi Wu brings more than 17 years of nonprofit accounting experience, having worked for organizations in the Bay Area providing social service and legal assistance mainly to immigrants and minorities in this country. By working with nonprofit organizations, Mei has found fulfillment in her life and her roots in the community. She volunteered at many community church events to help youth, seniors and immigrants.

Mei was born in China and immigrated to the United States in 1997. She holds a bachelor's in Accounting from Golden Gate University. Mei lives in the East Bay with her husband and two young children. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her family.

Read Blogs featuring Mei.

Jessica Guerrero

Staff Accountant

Jessica Guerrero

Staff Accountant

jguerrero@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Compassion
Dedication
Perserverance

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Jessica.

Jacqueline (Lydia) Gomez

Operations Manager

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Jacqueline (Lydia) Gomez

Operations Manager

lgomez@medasf.org
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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.


Development/Marketing & Communications

Lucy Porras

Director of Development & Communications

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Lucy Porras

Director of Development & Communications

lporras@medasf.org
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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 works to drive donations to MEDA. 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.

Christopher Gil

Associate Director of Marketing & Communications

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Christopher Gil

Associate Director of Marketing & Communications

cgil@medasf.org
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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.

Sandra Collins

Development Manager

Sandra Collins

Development Manager

scollins@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Relational
Curiosity
Strategic Thinking

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Sandra.

Terri Le

Institutional Giving Manager

Terri Le

Institutional Giving Manager

tle@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Diligent
Earnest
Thoughtful

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love Calle 24 – the Latino Cultural District and the San Francisco mural movement that started in the Mission. From the vibrant colors, delicious foods and welcoming smiles of the business owners and residents – the Mission offers a unique SF experience that’s rich in arts and history. I admire MEDA’s amazing work that spans the spectrum of offering direct service resource support to providing in-direct services to enable more equitable access for businesses, nonprofits and underserved communities to thrive."

Terri Le has since 2010 developed her career in the public and nonprofit sectors to promote arts, culture and humanities as a museum educator, public program manager, communications and social media coordinator and development/fundraising director. Born and raised in Montgomery County, Md., Terri graduated from University of Maryland, College Park with a bachelor's in Art History and History. She then moved to the Bay Area in 2013 to pursue her MBA and MA in Museum Studies from John F. Kennedy University. After graduating from the dual masters program in 2016, Terri worked for notable Bay Area museums and institutions including the Charles M. Schulz Museum, Habitot Children’s Museum, San Francisco Heritage and Oakland Asian Cultural Center.

Outside of work, Terri is closely involved in the Asian American Pacific Islander arts community in the Bay Area through the Diasporic Vietnamese Artist Network, Cultural Connections and Cut Fruit Collective. She also completed the development and curation of Textures of Remembrance: Vietnamese Artists and Writers Reflect on the Vietnamese Diaspora, a traveling exhibition exploring a date that impacts many Vietnamese Americans: April 30, 1975, the Fall/Liberation of Saigon.

Read Blogs featuring Terri.

Taryn Kearns

Development Operations Manager

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Taryn Kearns

Development Operations Manager

tkearns@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Positivity
Integrity
Drive

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission is one of the most exciting, vibrant places in San Francisco. I love that MEDA takes a holistic approach to supporting the community and keeping the spirit and identity of our neighborhood alive."

Taryn Kearns is a life-long Bay Area resident with over six years of experience working for mission-focused nonprofits. She brings skills in fundraising and relationship-building to her role at MEDA, as well as a passion for community-driven development.

Taryn holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology from Lewis & Clark College as well as a Master of Public Administration with a Concentration in Migration, Trafficking, and Human Security from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. In her spare time, Taryn enjoys reading, spending time outdoors, making music and learning languages.

Read Blogs featuring Taryn.

Juan Mesa

Community Communications Manager

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Juan Mesa

Community Communications Manager

jmesa@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Creative
Amicable
Compassionate

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"Both the Mission District and MEDA have a vibrancy that inspires and must endure."

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Juan.

Sofia Flores

Development Officer

(415) 294-0823

Sofia Flores

Development Officer

sflores@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Passion
Intentionality
Collaboration

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Sofia.


Evaluation

Rajni Banthia

Director of Evaluation

ext. 137

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

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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.

Madeleine Smith

Evaluation Analyst

(510) 224-3837

Madeleine Smith

Evaluation Analyst

msmitha@medasf.org
(510) 224-3837

Three qualities you bring to work:
Joy
Kindness
Curiosity

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Madeleine.

Lupita Sevilla

Data Analyst

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Lupita Sevilla

Data Analyst

msevilla@medasf.org
ext. 107

Three qualities you bring to work:
Dedication
Thoughtfulness
Organized

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Lupita.


Community Real Estate

Karoleen Feng

Director of Community Real Estate

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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.

Elaine Yee

Deputy Director

ext. 138

Elaine Yee

Deputy Director

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.

Leslie Molina

Associate Director Asset Management

Leslie Molina

Associate Director Asset Management

lmolina@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Integrity
Honesty
Diligence

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Leslie.

Johnny Jaramillo

Associate Director, Production

Johnny Jaramillo

Associate Director, Production

jjaramillo@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Grit
Insight
Honesty

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the people, the culture and the food of the Mission. I also love MEDA’s comprehensive approach to community-building and placekeeping."

Johnny Jaramillo is a community development leader with over 20 years of experience in economic and housing development, financing and implementation, strategic planning, and real estate development and management. He has served as an Executive Director for nonprofits, Principal Planner for regional governments and Senior long-range community planner for the City of San Francisco. He has a master's from UC, Berkeley and a bachelor's from UCLA. Johnny is responsible for creating community serving affordable housing and space for businesses at risk of displacement. As MEDA’s portfolio of properties increases, Johnny also supports organizational development and staff management.

Before joining MEDA’s Community Real Estate Team, Johnny managed significant regional projects, including the Bay Area Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, Regional Fair Housing Equity Assessment, local Housing Elements, as well as numerous community plans for the City of San Francisco, including the Mission District. Johnny brings an extensive knowledge of government regulatory requirements and financing programs and has a proven track record of engagement with a broad base of stakeholders to build consensus, including elected officials, Indigenous communities, community organizations, developers and residents, as well as direct experience as an affordable housing project manager, overseeing the development of complex infill development projects in the Bay Area.

Read Blogs featuring Johnny.

Jose Garcia

Program Manager, Preservation

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Jose Garcia

Program Manager, Preservation

jgarcia@medasf.org
ext. 176

Three qualities you bring to work:
Empathetic
Determined
Learner

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Jose.

Emmanual Zuniga

Senior Asset Manager

Emmanual Zuniga

Senior Asset Manager

ezuniga@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Passionate
Dedicated
Resilient

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Emmanuel.

Joe Yu

Financial Asset Manager

Joe Yu

Financial Asset Manager

jyu@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Diligent
Collaborative
Macro-Perspective

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the Mission, and I wholeheartedly respect and love the mission and vision of MEDA, representing and helping Latino and other underserved communities in San Francisco."

Joe Yu moved to San Francisco as a 9-years-old with his parents and grew up in the heart of Excelsior District. He is an alumnus of University of California, Davis, with a bachelor’s in Economics. He has over seven years of real estate experience, both property management and asset management. Joe managed the operations and financials of multifamily in the private sector for his real estate career, such as budgeting, project management and financial analyzing. Joe is currently responsible for financial reporting, budgeting and monitoring the financial health of MEDA’s assets.

As an immigrant himself, Joe is excited to be a part of MEDA’s mission to serve the Latino and other underserved communities in San Francisco by preserving and developing affordable housing.

Read Blogs featuring Joe.

Karina Parraga

Asset Manager

(415) 226-6506

Karina Parraga

Asset Manager

kparraga@medasf.org
(415) 226-6506

Three qualities you bring to work:
Honesty
Responsibility
Empathy

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Karina.

Laura Daza-García

Project Manager, Production

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Laura Daza-García

Project Manager, Production

ldaza@medasf.org

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

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Laura.

Luis Daniel Cruz

Assistant Project Manager, Preservation

(415) 237-3380

Luis Daniel Cruz

Assistant Project Manager, Preservation

ldcruz@medasf.org
(415) 237-3380

Three qualities you bring to work:
Enthusiasm
Optimism
Dedication

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love that a community and space like the Mission District continues to exist and resist in the face of adversity to provide a place for Latinx and migrant families to prosper and thrive. MEDA helps leverage that enthusiasm and drive through its commitment and dedication to uplift and support the community."

Luis Daniel Cruz (Daniel) is part of MEDA's Community Real Estate Preservation Team, serving as an Assistant Project Manager. Daniel holds a bachelor's in Sociology and a master's in Urban and Regional Planning, both from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Before joining MEDA, Daniel worked as an elementary school educator for the Los Angeles Unified School District. Through his experience in the classroom-- his duty to students, their families and the community at large -- he was compelled to pivot into the field of Urban Planning to understand structural and systemic issues of inequity with hopes of encountering a solution.

Daniel is passionate about helping people thrive and being of service to his family, friends and community at large.

Read Blogs featuring Daniel.

Michelle Rolon

Assistant Project Manager, Preservation

(415) 326-4380

Michelle Rolon

Assistant Project Manager, Preservation

mrolon@medasf.org
(415) 326-4380

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

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Michelle.

Guadalupe Mercado

Assistant Project Manager, Preservation

(415) 663-6054

Guadalupe Mercado

Assistant Project Manager, Preservation

gmercado@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Leadership
Determination
Passion

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Guadelupe.

Luis Cruz

Affordable Housing Leasing Admin

Luis Cruz

Affordable Housing Leasing Admin

lcruz@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Initiative
Flexibility
Teamwork

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Luis.


Asset Building Programs

Ernesto Martinez

Director of Asset Building Programs

(415) 409-9172

Ernesto Martinez

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 years. 

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

Read Blogs featuring Ernesto.

Jaqueline Marcelos

Associate Director of Asset Building Programs

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Jaqueline Marcelos

Associate Director of Asset Building Programs

jmarcelos@medasf.org
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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.

Dairo Romero

Community Initiatives Manager

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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.

Aristos Kemiji

Housing Rights Counsel

Aristos Kemiji

Housing Rights Counsel

akemiji@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Conscientiousness
Dependability
Magnanimity

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Aristos.

Elideth Coleman

Community Compliance and Operations Specialist

Elideth Coleman

Community Compliance and Operations Specialist

ecoleman@medasf.org

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

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Elideth.

Housing Opportunities Program

Rosario Chacon

Senior Housing Opportunities Coach - Homeownership Services Manager

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Rosario Chacon

Senior Housing Opportunities Coach - Homeownership Services Manager

rchacon@medasf.org
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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.

Pedro Tuyub

Senior Housing Opportunities Coach

(415) 605-6071

Pedro Tuyub

Senior Housing Opportunities 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.

Maribel Escalante

Housing Opportunities Coach

(612) 915-0762

Maribel Escalante

Housing Opportunities Coach

mescalante@medasf.org
(612) 915-0762

Three qualities you bring to work:
Collaborative
Empathy
Integrity

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Maribel.

Pedro Jose Tuyub

Housing Opportunites Coach

(415) 562-7296

Pedro Jose Tuyub

Housing Opportunites Coach

pjtuyub@medasf.org
(415) 562-7296

Three qualities you bring to work:
Analytical
Perseverance
Empathetic

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Pedro.

Andres Bermudez Serrada

Housing Opportunities Coach

Andres Bermudez Serrada

Housing Opportunities Coach

abermudezserrada@medasf.org

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

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Andres.

Financial Capability & Free Tax Preparation

Claudia Soto

Senior Financial Assets Coach

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Claudia Soto

Senior 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.

Jessy Delgado

Financial Assets Coach

(415) 663-6178

Jessy Delgado

Financial Assets 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.

Tatania Garcia-Llanes

Family Economic Success Coach

Tatania Garcia-Llanes

Family Economic Success Coach

tgarcia-llanes@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Patience
Time management
Kindness

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Tatania.

Workforce Development / Digital Opportunity Center

Jose Mariscal

Workforce Development Program Manager

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Jose Mariscal

Workforce Development Program Manager

jmariscal@medasf.org
ext. 184

Three qualities you bring to work:
Focused
Organized
Attentive

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Jose.

Marcela Trujano

Senior Workforce Coach/ Technology Training Coordinator

Marcela Trujano

Senior Workforce Coach/ Technology Training Coordinator

mtrujano@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Collaboration
Focus
Innovation

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Marcela.

Esteban Bamaca

Workforce Development Coach

(415) 547-0687

Esteban Bamaca

Workforce Development Coach

ebamaca@medasf.org

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

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Esteban.

Salma Flores

Workforce Development Coach

(510) 679-3189‬

Salma Flores

Workforce Development Coach

sflores@medasf.org
(510) 679-3189‬

Three qualities you bring to work:
Collaboration
Commitment
Empathy

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Salma.

Juan Avila

Workforce Development Coach

(415) 295-6111

Juan Avila

Workforce Development Coach

javila@medasf.org
(415) 295-6111‬

Three qualities you bring to work:
Calm
Friendly
Reflective

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Juan.


Fondo Adelante CDFI (Community Loan Fund)

Pablo Solares

Director of Fondo Adelante

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Pablo Solares

Director of Fondo Adelante

psolares@medasf.org
ext. 117

Three qualities you bring to work:
Community
Goal-oriented
Dedication

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I love the Mission District for its cultural richness and authenticity ... and MEDA for addressing all the needs of our community to make our neighborhood a place for grow and opportunity."

Pablo Solares supports entrepreneurs who are looking for capital to start or grow their businesses. Pablo was born in Mexico City and moved to the United States in his mid-teens. He has been involved in the nonprofit sector since 2012, when he and his wife co-founded Imagining More Foundation to promote arts and athletics among young student-athletes. Prior to MEDA, Pablo was a Partner Success Manager at Mission Asset Fund and a Nike-sponsored professional runner.

Pablo holds a master's in Finance from EGADE Business School and bachelor's in Economics, Business Administration, and Visual Arts from Rice University.

Read Blogs featuring Pablo.

Carlos Ramirez

CDFI Controller

Carlos Ramirez

CDFI Controller

cramirez@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Dedicated
Reliable
Integrity

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Carlos.

Small Business Lending

Jhonattan Herrada

Loan Servicing Manager

Jhonattan Herrada

Loan Servicing Manager

jherrada@medasf.org

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

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Jhonattan.

Santiago Martinez

Small Business Loan Officer

Santiago Martinez

Small Business Loan Officer

smartinez@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Dedicated
Respectful
Empathetic

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Santiago.

Business Development Program

Edwin Rodriguez

Associate Director, Business Development Program

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Edwin Rodriguez

Associate Director, Business Development Program

erodriguez@medasf.org
ext. 102

Three qualities you bring to work:
Achiever
Connectedness
Leadership

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Edwin.

Tanya Reyes

Business Coach and Corridor Coordinator

Tanya Reyes

Business Coach and Corridor Coordinator

treyes@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Passion
Creativity
Empowerment

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"I was born and raised here. I love the art, the murals, the food, the people and the many cultures that make up the Mission. MEDA is an amazing organization -- I am thankful for organizations such as MEDA that provide a multitude of services to our Latino community."

Tanya Reyes was born and raised In San Francisco to parents who emigrated from Nicaragua and Mexico and who met, lived and worked in San Francisco's Mission District in the 1970s. Tanya brings over 10 years of passionate community advocacy working with various nonprofit organizations in San Francisco. She believes that the key to empower communities starts on the ground and through relationship building.

Tanya enjoys exploring San Francisco and traveling. Some favorite events of Tanya's are the Stern Grove Festival and the Yerba Buena Gardens festival, which are both free annual outdoor events.

Read Blogs featuring Tanya.

Dulce Lomeli Lopez

Business Coach and Project Manager

Dulce Lomeli Lopez

Business Coach and Project Manager

dlomeli@medasf.org

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

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Dulce.


Mission Promise Neighborhood

Efrain Barrera

Director

ext. 125

Efrain Barrera

Director

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.

Ada Alvarado Freund

Early Learning Program Manager

(415) 316-7249

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Celina.

Luis R. Ostolaza

Senior Family Success Coach

(415) 316-7407

Luis R. Ostolaza

Senior 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 1990s. 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.

Mariana Tejada

Senior Family Success Coach

(415) 425-7786

Mariana Tejada

Senior 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.

Roberto Aparicio

Family Success Coach

(415) 767-8059

Roberto Aparicio

Family Success Coach

raparicio@medasf.org
(415) 767-8059

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

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Roberto.

Dannhae (Maya) Herrera-Wilson

Family Child Care Specialist Coach

(415) 425-7887

Dannhae (Maya) Herrera-Wilson

Family Child Care Specialist 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.

Magali Valdez-Robles

Family Success Coach

(415) 988-3792

Magali Valdez-Robles

Family Success Coach

mvaldez-robles@medasf.org
(415) 988-3792

Three qualities you bring to work:
Adaptability
Integrity
Reliability

What do you love about the Mission District and MEDA?
"The Mission District feels like home: It is a joyful and vibrant place which welcomes everyone. MEDA is connected with families and the community on many levels."

Magali Valdez-Robles was born in Mexico. She was raised in a small town surrounded by several farm animals and the lights of the city of Culiacan, Sinaloa. At the age of 15, she emigrated to the U.S. looking for a better education, living in Watsonville and Pasadena. In 2008, Magali moved to San Francisco, where she attended San Francisco State University, graduating with two bachelor's degrees: Broadcast Electronic Arts & Communications; and Spanish Literature. Prior to attending SFSU, she earned an associate's degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences at Cabrillo Community College. After graduating from SFSU, she continued with her studies in the child-development field at San Francisco Community College. She has been a professional educator for the past 16 years, working primarily with children from 18 months to 18 years. Magali is passionate about working with parents, elderly, teachers and experts of all cultures in the community.

For Magali, being an advocate for families, students and the community is a way to honor each culture while connecting with each other, highlighting each individual’s values. To reach one's full potential, Magali believes that one must connect with the appropriate resources and support needed to ensure they obtain a strong educational foundation. Magali has been self-taught in her own personal endeavors and is currently self-coaching as a ceramicist. One of her goals is to open a pottery studio in the community, where everyone can be creative, because she strongly believes that everyone has the right to art.

Read Blogs featuring Magali.

Alejandro Bautista

Programs Coordinator/Family Success Coach

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Alejandro Bautista

Programs Coordinator/Family Success Coach

abautista@medasf.org
ext. 126

Three qualities you bring to work:
Committed
Community
Driven

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Alejandro.

Susana Gil Duran

Early Learning Family Success Coach

(415) 513-9755

Susana Gil Duran

Early Learning Family Success Coach

sgilduran@medasf.org

Three qualities you bring to work:
Dependability
Passion
Empathy

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

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Susana.

Blanca Castillo

Family Success Coach

(415) 425-7783

Blanca Castillo

Family Success Coach

bcastillo@medasf.org
(415) 425-7783

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

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Blanca.

Karla Herrera

Family Success Coach

(415) 316-7407

Karla Herrera

Family Success Coach

kherrera@medasf.org
(415) 316-7407

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

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Karla.

Aarón Ayala

Family Success Coach

(415) 425-7792

Aarón Ayala

Family Success Coach

aayala@medasf.org
(415) 425-7792

Three qualities you bring to work:
Passion
Caring
Patience

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

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

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

Read Blogs featuring Aarón.


 

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: fintax@medasf.org

Free Tax Preparation: fintax@medasf.org

Business Development: business@medasf.org

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

Workforce Development: workforce@medasf.org

Press Inquiries

English-language press contact: Christopher Gil Associate Director of Marketing & Communications Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) (415) 282-3334 ext. 152 cgil@medasf.org

Spanish-language press contact: Juan Mesa Community Communications Manager Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) (415) 282-3334 ext. 120 jmesa@medasf.org

Other Departments

Donations to MEDA: development@medasf.org

Marketing & Communications: marketing@medasf.org

Volunteers: volunteer@medasf.org

Policy: action@medasf.org