Jorge E. Figueredo, MPP
Victoria Mejía, MA
Maria del Carmen Mateus
Kaylynn Spencer, M.A.
Shamberi Smith, M.A., M.S.
Rodrigo Ferro, MBA
Alexa Mavroidis, MPHIL
Kripa Patwardhan, MPP
Jeanne Balcom, Board President (2018-2021) is an innovative leader with over 20 years of experience in international securities market regulation and financial services consulting. She is currently an Executive Principal and the Head of Regulatory Policy at the Options Clearing Corporation. Prior to this role, she served as a Senior Director for International at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, where she spearheaded the founding of the Americas Chapter of the International Forum for Investor Education to share best practices across Latin America and represented FINRA on the Council of Securities Regulators of the Americas. 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 the School of Advanced International Studies at the 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 Vice President (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, Board Secretary (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 his first term on the board.
Madeline Llopis, Board Treasurer (2021-2024) is a Financial Consultant with Baker Tilly’s Transaction and Financial Advisory Services group. Prior to this role she served as the Controller at a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C., and has several years of experience as an auditor for both government entities and publicly held companies. Her roles have included providing detailed analyses of historical and projected financial information to clients, preparing and tracking monthly and annual budgets, and overseeing audit process areas to completion. In addition to her professional career, Ms. Llopis is frequently involved with her Alma Matter, Catholic University, where she participates as a guest lecturer and mentor to current students in the Accounting program. Ms. Llopis is of Panamanian descent, growing up in both Virginia and Oklahoma. She currently resides in Alexandria, Virginia. This is her first term on the board.
Tonia Weik (2020-2023) 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.
Hugh Pace (2021-2024) is the Director of Human Resources for United Income, Capital One’s wealth management technology business. Previously he was responsible for the strategy, design, and delivery of a program that produced thousands of technology hires. Prior to joining Capital One, Hugh held roles at McKinsey & Company and Korn Ferry. Hugh holds an MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business and a bachelor’s degree from Ohio Wesleyan University in Economics. While he was born in Lima, Peru he considers home Mexico City, Mexico where he grew up. Hugh currently resides in Reston, Virginia. This is his first term on the board.
Dr. Marjorie L. Myers (2021-2024) joined our Board of Directors in February of 2021. During her 46-year career in education, she taught Kindergarten through-Higher Education and worked as a Spanish teacher, an ESOL teacher, a bilingual counselor, central office program manager for ELL students, an adjunct professor, an assistant principal, and a principal. She taught and worked as a school administrator in Florida, Georgia, Venezuela, DC, and Virginia. She holds a BA in Secondary Spanish Education from the University of Florida (1972), an MA in bilingual and multicultural education from George Mason University (1985) in Fairfax, VA; has 33 hours of post-graduate coursework in computational and applied linguistics and a Doctorate of Education in Bilingual Special Education from The George Washington University (2009) in Washington, D.C. From 1995 to 2018 Dr. Myers was the principal of Francis Scott Key Elementary in Arlington, Virginia. In September of 2012, that School was recognized by the Ministry of Education of Spain as the International Spanish Academy (ISA) “School of the Year 2011.” Dr. Myers is a contributing author in the 2014 Virginia Collier and Wayne Thomas book, Creating Dual Language Schools for a Transformed World: Administrators Speak. She is published in other articles and books. In January of 2018, Dr. Myers was awarded La Cruz de Isabel la Católica by King Felipe VI of Spain for a lifetime of promoting Spanish language and culture in the Americas. She retired from APS in July of 2018. The Key School PTA established the Dr. Marjorie L. Myers Scholarship Fund with Edu-Futuro as a legacy fund at her retirement, and to help first-generation college students with educational expenses. The Rotary Club of Arlington awarded her the Lifetime Achievement Award. In October 2018 Edu-Futuro presented a plaque to Dr. Marjorie L. Myers Principal Emerita Francis Scott Key Immersion: The Edu-Futuro Arlington County Community Partner of the Year Award, in grateful recognition of her outstanding efforts and proven success in educating students and others to understand the benefits of communication in more than one language in the context of their diverse cultures, as members of the community and citizens of the world. Dr. Marjorie L. Myers is honored to join our Board of Directors.
Dr. Padmanabhan "Padhu" Seshaiyer (2021-2024) is a tenured Full Professor at George Mason University and a bold visionary leader who combines a strong administrative experience with a successful background in academic research, education, and outreach. He has held several leadership positions including serving as the Associate Dean for the College of Science, Director of STEM Accelerator Program, Director for the Center for Outreach in Mathematics Professional Learning and Educational Technology at GMU, Program Director at the National Science Foundation and most recently being sworn in as one of the STEM advisors to the Governor of Virginia for a newly established VA STEM Advisory Board. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and a Master’s degree in Mathematics from India and a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a Post-Doctoral Research Associateship from Texas A&M University. During the last two decades, Dr. Seshaiyer has directed a variety of educational and outreach programs to prepare the next-generation workforce through facilitated pathways, graduate and undergraduate research, K-12 outreach, teacher professional development, and enrichment programs to foster the interest of students and teachers in STEM at all levels. This is his first term on the Board.
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 for 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.
Cara Santos Pianesi 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.
Zachary Paget (Chair) (2018) grew up in southwest Virginia and moved to Arlington after graduating from the University of Virginia, where he studied Information Technology and Finance with a minor in Spanish. Zachary currently works for Accenture as a Technology Specialist, 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 second year as Chair of the Associate Council.
Tran Tran (2018) 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 in 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 Tysons, VA.
Karina Sandoval (2019) 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. Since graduating, she has worked with various nonprofit associations as a communications and marketing coordinator. 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 as a Marketing Specialist for a government nonprofit and is working toward a Master’s in Public Administration from her beloved LSU. Outside of work, she enjoys freelance reporting, baking, Pilates, playing guitar, and volunteering for Edu-Futuro programs and events.
Rick Alcantara (2020) was born in Lima, Peru, and moved to Northern Virginia in 1989. He graduated from Stone Bridge High School in Loudoun County, VA. Upon graduating, he enlisted in the Marine Corps where he served for the next six years. He graduated from George Mason University with a B.S. in Business Management in 2012. Upon graduating from college, Rick went on to work for Microsoft and Amazon Web Services before moving to the construction and commercial property development industry. He is a certified PMP and currently works as a Project Manager for IDI Group in Arlington, Virginia.
Adriana Thornton (2020) 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 Senior Education Programs Coordinator, Nuestras Voces. In this role, she supports the coordination and 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 and growth of all the students she has had the privilege of working with. Outside of work, Adriana enjoys baking, reading, and taking long walks with her dog, Pebbles.
Anjna Nair (2021) is a Northern Virginia native and a proud Indian American. Growing up in the Fairfax County Public School system and with two immigrant parents, she was introduced to a wide variety of cultures, forming the basis of her passion for promoting diversity and supporting education. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in April 2020 with a B.S. in Molecular Biology Biochemistry, a minor in Chemistry, and a certificate in Digital Media. She focused her studies on the intersection between science, business, and public health and is currently working for Adaptive Phage Therapeutics, a small clinical-stage company, where she conducts phage therapy research. Before joining the Associate Council, Anjna was an ELP I mentor and SAT Tutor. In her professional and personal life, she has shown herself to be motivated, analytical, and a well-rounded team player. In her free time, Anjna enjoys digital art and photography, archery, and deciding future travel destinations.
Daniel Sosa (2021) graduated from the University of Virginia in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Affairs and a minor in Economics. Immediately after graduating, he enrolled in UVA’s Masters in Commerce program where he concentrated on marketing and management and embarked on an international business experience across Greater China. Daniel began his consulting career with Accenture Federal Services and is now a Senior Analyst aligned to the analytics practice working on Tableau dashboard development for USDA. Before serving on the Associate Council Daniel was an ELP I mentor in 2020. In his free time, Daniel enjoys watching and playing soccer, working out, and traveling.
Guadalupe Sanchez (2021) is an experienced education and marketing professional with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Guadalupe currently serves as the Assistant Director of Multicultural Recruitment at Radford University. She has over 5 years of experience working with prospective college applicants as they strive for higher education. Originally, from California, Guadalupe received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz and her Master of Arts (M.A.) focused in Integrated Marketing Communications from Saint Bonaventure University in upstate New York. As a higher education professional, her goal is to provide as much guidance, mentorship, and resources to all students that are interested in enrolling in a higher education institution. When she is not working with students and families, you can find Guadalupe running half-marathons or checking out a new hiking trail. She also loves to travel and spend time with her loved ones.
Dashana Flores (2021) is a graduate of Marymount University, where she majored in Mass Communication with a concentration in journalism, obtained a digital media certification along with a minor in public relations. Dashana currently works for Inova Health systems for an HIV grant-funded program that focuses on assisting low-income individuals with medication, housing, dental, substance abuse, and mental health services. Dashana is passionate about helping others and finds joy in what she does day to day. With her passion and educational background, she hopes to contribute her experience and communication outreach skills to promote Edu-Futuro mission. Outside of work, Dashana indulges in trying out different restaurants in the DMV area for the aesthetic and cuisine, and also enjoys photography, going hiking with her dog Max, tutoring middle school students in Spanish, and drawing.
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