Jorge E. Figueredo, MPP
Natalia Montelongo, M.Ed., MPA
Victoria Mejía, MA
Johana Lopez, M.Ed.
Maria del Carmen Mateus
Olga Lucia Oliveros
Pablo Barrios, M.Ed.
Luz Trujillo, M.Ed./MBA
Raymond Michael Smith
Santiago Alfonzo Meza
Rodrigo Ferro, MBA
Samantha O’Leary, Board President (2017-2020) is the Director of Policy for UnitedHealthcare Community & State, the Medicaid business of UnitedHealthcare that serves more than 5 million members throughout 25 states. Previously she has worked as Director of Strategy, Chief of Staff, and Consultant across the UnitedHealth Group and as Policy Analyst for the US Government Social Services Administration. She currently serves as policy expert on Medicaid and health reform, developing enterprise positions on serving complex populations and modernized Medicaid programs. A devoted community advocate, she is a leader with the Junior League of Washington and previously served on the Arlington County Commission on the Status of Women. Ms. O’Leary holds a master’s degree in Public Policy (Health Policy Focus) from American University School of Public Affairs and a bachelor’s degree in English and Philosophy from Gettysburg College. This is her first Board term.
Jeanne Balcom, Board Vice President (2018-2021) is an innovative leader with over 20 years of experience in international securities market regulation and financial services consulting. She has designed and implemented projects in over 30 countries. Most recently as Senior International Director for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, she spearheaded the founding of the Americas Chapter of the International Forum for Investor Education to share best practices across Latin America. Ms. Balcom holds a bachelor’s degree in Russian Studies from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree in Latin American Studies and International Economics from Johns Hopkins University. She is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Portuguese. This is Ms. Balcom’s first term on the Board.
Betsy Jaffe, Board Secretary (2018-2021) is a public affairs executive with more than 25 years of experience serving corporations and trade associations. She is the founder and president of Amplitude Strategies, a strategic communications firm serving the audiovisual industry. Previously Ms. Jaffe served as senior vice president at AVIXA – the Audiovisual Integrated Experience Association where she worked in communications, government affairs, conferences, sales and social media. Her work has been featured in publications including the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the New York Times, USA Today and numerous business journals and trade publications. Ms. Jaffe holds a bachelor’s degree from American University and a master’s degree from George Washington University. This is Ms. Jaffe’s first term on the board.
Chris Falcon (2018-2021) is the Civil Division Supervisor, Legal Counsel, and Deputy Clerk of the Arlington Circuit Court. He is also the founding attorney and owner of The Falcon Firm PLLC, focusing his practice on business consulting and estate planning. Mr. Falcon serves on the Fairfax County Human Services Council. He was previously appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe to the Virginia Latino Advisory Board, which he served on from 2014-18. Mr. Falcon received his J.D. from the Widener University Law School and B.B.A. from James Madison University. This is first term on the board.
Cara Santos Pianesi (2015-2018, 2018-2021) has helped organizations communicate clearly to garner attention for issues of international development for more than 20 years. She is currently a Communications Lead at the World Bank Group. She previously worked at the United Nations Development Program, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Amnesty International. She moved to Alexandria, VA from Miami where she concentrated on private-sector communications vis-à-vis Latin America with Foote, Cone, and Belding. Cara has a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a B.A. in International Studies and Economics from the University of Miami. This is her second Board term.
Kavita Jain (2019-2021) is a strategic planning and risk management professional with over twenty years of experience in finance, FinTech and regulation. In her current role as a Director in FINRA’s Office of Financial Innovation, she identifies and analyzes significant innovation-related developments in the securities industry and coordinates with various stakeholders to develop appropriate strategic responses. She leads several FinTech initiatives at FINRA including those related to blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, RegTech and online capital-raising platforms. Prior to that, Kavita has held key positions in risk management, finance and strategy. Kavita was named as one of the leading women in FinTech by Innovate Finance and was included in the “Women In FinTech Powerlist 2018.” She has an M.B.A. from the University of Southern New Hampshire and a CRCP Certification from the FINRA Institute at Wharton.
Tonia Weik is a strategic communications professional with 20 years of experience in international affairs. As a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State, she has directed communication and public outreach in multiple countries and regions throughout Asia, Africa, and Europe. Also a former English as a Second Language teacher, Ms. Weik is a leader in developing strategies for communicating across cultures. She currently instructs at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center. This is her first board term.
Celina Penovi recently retired from the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), a member of the World Bank Group, where she served as Senior Legal Counsel. At MIGA she handled international transactions in countries around the world and interfaces with government authorities on issues relating to foreign investment. Prior to joining the World Bank, she worked in law firms in Argentina and San Francisco, California where she received a service award for her pro bono immigration work with Hispanic clients. She is a strong advocate of bilingual education and has published several bilingual children’s books. Ms. Penovi received her J.D. from the University of Buenos Aires and a Masters of Law in International Transactions (LL.M.) from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. She has served two terms on the board, most recently as Board President.
Robert Panfil has over 30 years of experience working with transportation and infrastructure projects throughout Latin America, South Asia and the South Pacific regions. During his 25-year career at the World Bank, he undertook sector and program lending and project procurement and supervision. As infrastructure manager in India, he was responsible for the development of one of the World Bank’s largest highway sector lending programs. He also served as senior advisor to the Australian Foreign Aid Agency. Mr. Panfil has a B.S. from the University of Pennsylvania in Finance and an M.S. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin. He has served 3 non-consecutive terms on the Board and has been Treasurer.
Dr. Katharine Panfil has worked in education over 30 years in the US and abroad, including Venezuela, Guatemala, El Salvador, Argentina and Tanzania. During her career with Arlington Public Schools (APS) where she began as an ESOL teacher, she was Foreign Language Supervisor, Principal of Key Elementary School where she led the development of APS Spanish language immersion program, and Principal of Randolph Elementary School at the time it became the first Primary Years Program of the International Baccalaureate in a public school in the DC metro area. Dr. Panfil holds a Ph.D. in Education from George Mason University. She has served 4 non-consecutive terms on the Board and has been the President and Vice-President.
Dr. Phillip Church, Board Vice President (2014-2017, 2017-2020), is Senior Economist at DevTech Systems, Inc. where he provides technical advisory and training assistance on the strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation of USG international development assistance projects and programs. Most recently in Central America he supervised and trained staff in the monitoring and evaluation of USG grants to organizations working to get child laborers out of work and back into school. Before joining DevTech, Dr. Church served for 25 years as a Foreign Service Economic Officer with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). His international development career has led him to work and live in several Latin American and Asian countries. Dr. Church holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Oregon, an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Stanford University, and an A.B. in Economics from the University of Chicago. Dr. Church is fluent in Spanish and proficient in French. This is his second term on the Board.
Connie Church was the Director of Finance and Administration for the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR) until her retirement in 2009. At APTR she was responsible for all accounting, financial reporting to the board and government partners, human resources and office administration. She is currently a tax accountant for private clients. Ms. Church grew up in Mexico and lived and worked abroad for several years; in Bangladesh, she served as Vice President of the American International School Board; in Guatemala she was the co-founder and treasurer of an adoption agency. Ms. Church holds a B.A. in History from Stanford University and an M.A. in Accounting from George Washington University. She has served two terms on the Board, part of that time as Board Treasurer.
Zachary Paget (Chair) (2018-2019) is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce, where he concentrated in Information Technology and Finance with a minor in Spanish. Zachary currently works for Accenture as a Technology Analyst, where he uses his educational background to solve problems at the intersection of technology and business for the federal government. During college, Zachary took part in many extracurricular activities, including being the President of the 250-person University Salsa Club while also helping to organize Madison House’s ESOL program, where UVA students provided tutoring to younger students for whom English was a second language. In between years of college, Zachary spent a summer working for a nonprofit in the Dominican Republic and another working for a litigation consulting firm in D.C. When not working, Zachary is often running, playing soccer, or traveling to a country where he can practice his Spanish. He is currently serving his first year as Chair of the Associate Council.
Tran Tran (2018-2019) arrived in the U.S. at 16 from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and was the first in her family to attend an American university. Tran graduated from Louisiana State University in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and minors in Business and International Studies. During this time, she spent one semester as an exchange student at La Universidad de Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Her experience as a first-generation college graduate in the U.S., along with an interest for exploring and bridging cultures, forms the basis of her social mission to empower immigrant communities across backgrounds through education. Tran is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and currently works as a consultant at CrossCountry Consulting, based in McLean, VA. She currently serves as the Public Relations Officer for the Associate Council.
Diego Soto (2018-2019) was born and raised in Honduras. After graduating from high school he moved to Costa Rica to study Law at Universidad de Costa Rica. During Law School, he worked at the law firm Arias & Muñoz and was in charge of managing a Pro-bono account, “Un Techo Para Mi Pais” today called “TECHO” which is a major foundation that provides habitation solutions and organization of communities, throughout Latin-American countries. In 2013, he became a Board Member of the Costa Rican Association for International Law and was appointed Deputy Director of the Foreign Affairs Committee for the Law Students Association at the Universidad de Costa Rica. In 2014, he moved to the United States. Since moving to the U.S., Diego has been invited to be a Guest Speaker at the Latino Youth Leadership Conference for his role as Chapter President and later State President of Junior Chamber International. He also volunteers as an Editor for WH Español. Since 2015, he has been working at the World Bank Group and he currently works in the Legal Affairs and Claims Group at the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.
Ricardo Espitia (2018-2019) has 8 years of public service experience in facilitation, program design, operations, training and nonprofit administration. He currently works at Peace Corps Headquarters where he supports overseas programming and training efforts. He is a Masters of Development Management candidate at American University. Ricardo served as a Youth Development Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines from 2014-2016 where he partnered with his position counterparts to service first generation college students, develop a high school leadership program and participate in multiple USAID projects. Outside of work he serves on the board of the PCAFPD which provides full scholarships to need based, high achieving Filipino students. Over the years he was involved in program administration for the National Hispanic Institute and has served as a Student Supervisor and Executive Team Leader for various student leadership academies. Ricardo is from Austin, Texas and holds a B.A. in International Relations and Urban Geography from the University of Texas at Austin. He speaks Spanish, Kinaray-a (Filipino dialect), and Tagalog (Filipino). His passion involves enhancing human capacity, student programming, training, diversity and youth development.
Adriana Thornton grew up in Arlington, VA but has roots in Cochabamba, Bolivia. In 2016 she was the first in her family to graduate from a U.S. college with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Spanish. Adriana currently works at the PEN/Faulkner Foundation as the Nuestras Voces Program Associate. In this role, she supports the coordination & development of the organization’s education programming; with an emphasis on amplifying Latinx voices in the Nuestras Voces program, a bilingual education initiative. Previously Adriana taught 5th Grade English Language Arts Teacher in Brooklyn, NY and served as an AmeriCorps ELP I Facilitator at Edu-Futuro. Adriana has supported the educational, social and emotional development & growth of all the students she’s had the privilege of working with. Outside of work, Adriana enjoys baking, reading, and taking long walks with her dog, Pebbles.
Demetrius Battle (2020) is a native of Prince George’s County and graduated from Frostburg State University. He is an aspiring leader in the Public Policy or Intelligence sector with over 8 years of work experience, providing rigorous quality assurance support and advanced analytical principles and concepts, records management skills and superior customer service in various professional settings. Demetrius demonstrates the capacity to provide comprehensive in-depth and analytical support for executive-level staff, including scheduling meetings, coordinating travel, and effectively managing all essential tasks. Throughout his college and post college career Demetrius has been heavily recruited for Executive positions for several organizations due to his excellent coaching skills, with the ability to boost employee morale. Demetrius is highly industrious, communicative, productive and versatile team player and volunteer asset with a broad range of core competencies developed from diverse experiences. In his spare time, Demetrius loves to indulge in books, craft new business ideas and attend networking events in the local DC metropolitan area.
Karina Solis (2020) is a native of Northern Virginia, and grew up in the Fairfax County Public School System. She later attended Louisiana State University, where she majored in Mass Communication with a concentration in Broadcast Journalism. While in college, Karina worked as a reporter for the campus news channel, and interned at news stations in Baton Rouge, LA and Washington, DC. After graduating, she remained in Louisiana for four years while working with various nonprofit associations doing marketing communications and member services. In February 2018, she returned to the DC area in hopes of broadening her knowledge and abilities in a larger market setting. As a member of the Associate Council, Karina hopes to use her nonprofit experience and communications background to help further Edu-Futuro’s reach in the local community. She currently works at a civil engineering firm, coordinating plan submission packages to local jurisdictions. Outside of work, she enjoys freelance reporting, traveling, and volunteering for Edu-Futuro programs and events.
Rick Alcantara (2020) was born in Lima, Peru in 1984. His dad was a Naval Intelligence Officer and his mother was an elementary school teacher. He moved to the United States in 1989, where he attended public school in Loudoun County, Virginia. He graduated from Stone Bridge High School in 2003, and shortly after joined the United States Marines, which he served for the next six years and where he received meritorious promotions and awards. He then proceeded to earn his Bachelors Degree in Business Management from George Mason University in 2012. Upon graduation, Rick went to work for Microsoft and Amazon Web Services. In 2015, he decided to join his family in the construction and real estate business, which he continues to develop today. Rick enjoys spending time with his dog Max, hiking, and attending racing events around the world.
Brittany Hsieh (2019-2020) was born and raised in Richmond, VA and is a proud Taiwanese-American. Her parents immigrated from Taiwan in the ‘80s, and their journey helped inform her social responsibility to empower others and promote diversity. Brittany has a B.A. in Computer Science and Global Public Health with a minor in Global Environments and Sustainability from the University of Virginia. She focused her studies on exploring the intersections of data and technology with her interests in public service. She fostered her love of travel and understanding cultures in undergrad through her study abroad to Costa Rica and Hong Kong, as well as her public health research in the Dominican Republic. Brittany continues to travel in her personal time and thoughtfully engage in the communities she occupies. In her current work, she applies her mission-oriented drive to critically analyze and translate the needs of the agency into meaningful, tangible outcomes. Brittany specializes in developing strong client relationships, strategic planning, and facilitation in organization development as a management consultant for Accenture Federal Services in D.C. She currently serves as Soccer Tournament Chair of the Associate Council.
Adrianna Urbano (2020) is a recent graduate of Temple University’s College of Science and Technology, where she majored in both mathematics and secondary education, and minored in computer science. Adrianna currently works for Deloitte as a Business Technology Analyst, where she uses her educational and professional background to assist in solving business and technology-related problems for government clients. During college, Adrianna worked as a lead instructor for multiple after school programs geared towards enhancing Greater Philadelphia’s underrepresented middle and high school students’ science, technology, mathematics, and engineering capabilities and interests to help propel them to the college and major of their dreams. Post-college, Adrianna became a project manager to oversee those after school programs and to facilitate any “behind the scenes” administrative responsibilities and curriculum development. When not working, Adrianna is skiing, binging Disney+ or planning her next trip abroad.
Andrea Cristancho (2019) is a multilingual International Development Practitioner with an MA in Sustainable International Development from The Heller School for Social Policy and Management. She has over five years of experience in building business pipelines, developing professional relationships with partners, and conducting research and fieldwork in developing communities domestically and abroad. Andrea’s experiences have solidified her contract and grant writing skills, her ability to build project timetables and monitoring progress, and capacity to transcend language and cultural barriers to complete projects. She is a value-driven, optimistic team leader who thrives in empowering others and excels at soliciting the ideas of others, especially in cross-cultural environments.
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