The Board shall consist of 21 non-legislative members, at least 15 of whom shall be of Latino descent. They shall be appointed by the Governor and serve at his/her pleasure. In addition, the Secretaries of the Commonwealth, Commerce and Trade, Education, Health and Human Resources, Public Safety & Homeland Security, and Transportation, or their designees, shall serve as ex-officio members without voting privileges. All members shall be residents of the Commonwealth.
Cecilia Barbosa, Chair
Cecilia E. Barbosa of Richmond
Cecilia E. Barbosa, PhD, MPH, MCP is principal and owner, cBe consulting. She received a PhD in social and behavioral health from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in December 2014. She has worked for over 20 years in maternal and child health in Virginia, including several years as an independent consultant, as Director, Division of Child and Adolescent Health,Virginia Department of Health, and as Executive Director, Virginia Public Health Association. She received Master of Public Health and Master of City Planning degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and a BA degree in Biology from Smith College. In addition to chairing the Virginia Latino Advisory Board, she serves on the Boards of the Jenkins Foundation and Dancing Classrooms of Greater Richmond, the Virginia Department of Health Institutional Review Board, and the Mayor of Richmond’s Breastfeeding Taskforce. She helped organize a VCU – University of Sao Paulo scientific collaboration and an event to promote Brazilian culture and trade in Virginia, and served on the Board of the Virginia Center for Latin American Art and the planning committee of the Latino Health Summit (2006). A citizen of Brazil and USA, she is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, and French.
Karina Kline-Gabel, Vice Chair
Karina Kline-Gabel of Harrisonburg
Karina Kline-Gabel has served as a Lecturer of Spanish for the Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures, & Cultures since 2003 at James Madison University. She received her M.A. in Spanish Literature from the University of Virginia and her B.A. in International Affairs and Latin American Studies from JMU. Karina is an active member of the JMU Latin American & Caribbean Studies Committee as the coordinator of the Cultura y Comunidad series for local K12 educators and is the founder and president of the Madison Hispanic Faculty Caucus. A native of Harrisonburg with Colombian heritage, she has served as an advocate for the local Latinx population in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County for the last 20 years. Locally she serves on the board for the Scholars Latino Initiative, The Massanutten Regional Library, and is the founder/director for the Hispanic Film Festival. Karina is also a board member for the state organization, VALHEN (Virginia Latino Higher Education Network) and coordinates the organization's academic lecture series. In 2009 she received the All Together One award for her efforts in student and community engagement.
Paul Berry, Secretary
Paul Berry of Arlington
Paul has lived in Virginia since 2015 and has over a decade of public and private sector experience working in economic development and public policy.
He is now the Director of Data Intelligence at Aegis Mobile, a firm that provides predictive modeling and machine learning based solutions to public and private clients on two continents. With offices in McLean, VA and Columbia, MD, his department has clients in the IT/Tech, Telecom, Public Safety, Cybersecurity, and consumer products industries.
He spent several years working on economic inequality and poverty reduction measures at the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and in foreign countries between 2007 and 2013. His work portfolio included Latin America, East Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
Prior to joining Aegis, Paul worked at AFSCME, a public sector employee union dedicated to improving the lives of working families in the United States and Puerto Rico. While on leave from AFSCME to fulfill an assignment with the AFL-CIO, Paul worked closely with Latinx communities to increase involvement in civic activities like voting, voter registration drives, workforce training and safety awareness.
Paul graduated from Brown University (BS, Mathematics), the University of Geneva (MA, Political Science), and the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy (MPP, Public Policy and Economics). His scholarship focused on how states create legal environments facilitating business growth in open, fair playing fields for entrepreneurs, workers, and investors.
Aida Pacheco of Mechnicsville
Aida Pacheco graduated from Princeton University in 1977 with a degree in Sociology, a teacher certification for secondary education, and received a program certificate in Latin American Studies.
Currently, as a Program Administration Specialist for the Virginia Community College System, Workforce Development Services, Ms. Pacheco manages various grant initiatives and provides strategic leadership and policy direction to program sites. She also works with various groups and organizations toward the development of policies that address the needs of sub-populations who face multiple challenges to employment.
In addition to serving as a member and former chair of the Governor’s Virginia Latino Advisory Board, she is Vice-President of the Association of Latino Princeton Alumni (ALPA); serves on the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation Board; and the American Civil Liberties Union of VA. She is also a member of the Princeton Alumni Association and the Virginia Latino Higher Education Network; and volunteers in various initiatives with a focus on civic engagement and voter registration.
Alex Guzmán of Richmond
Alex Guzmán is the Director of Fair Housing. He oversees the organization’s investigations into allegations of housing discrimination, as well as managing HOME’s Legal Advisory Committee. He serves on several regional and statewide housing coalitions, including the Campaign for Housing Advocacy and Civic Engagement (CHACE). Alex regularly travels across the commonwealth to teach attorneys, elected officials, government agencies, housing counselors and the public about fair housing. He’s also a frequent presenter at the Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference.
Alex holds a bachelor of arts in government and Hispanic studies from the College of William & Mary. He completed graduate coursework at both the University of Buenos Aires and Virginia Tech, where he received the Dean’s Diversity Award. He also serves on the board of directors for two non-profits—the Governor’s School Foundation and RVA Rapid Transit. Prior to his time at HOME, Alex worked in the insurance industry and was a human rights advocate in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Carmen Romero of Arlington County
Carmen Romero is the Vice President of Real Estate Development for Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing. She leads the development efforts of APAH’s portfolio and oversees the Real Estate Development team. Under Ms. Romero’s leadership, APAH’s Real Estate Development team delivered The Springs, a 104- unit, award-winning community in Ballston in 2016. The property is mixed use, combining committed affordable and market rate units with APAH’s headquarters in a ground floor condo. She also oversaw the predevelopment and construction of Columbia Hills, a 229-unit, hybrid 4%/9% tax credit transaction. The project is scheduled to deliver in 2018. For the past three years, Ms. Romero has led a public-private partnership with a faith-based organization to redevelop a church into 173 units of affordable housing and ground-floor retail. This project, named Gilliam Place, is under construction and scheduled to open in 2019. Additionally, Ms. Romero is leading the redevelopment of APAH’s Queens Court property in Rosslyn into a new 249- unit high rise. The project is scheduled to close and begin construction in Q1 2019. Carmen also leads APAH’s efforts to purchase existing multi-family properties, entitlements, and transaction structuring. Prior to joining APAH in 2011, Ms. Romero was a Director of Real Estate Development and public private partnerships at Clark Construction. She began her career at Marriott International.
Cecilia Williams of Fairfax
Cecilia is originally from Cuzco, Peru. She has lived in the United States for 29 years. She earned a BA in Journalism and Social Communication with a minor in Political Sciences at the University of San Marcos in Lima, Peru as well as a BS in Biology and Sciences, and M.Ed. at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. She is fluent in Spanish, English, and Quechua, and knows basic Portuguese and Italian. She is a certified language interpreter.
She taught Spanish at Saint Elizabeth Ann Setton in Anchorage, Alaska, worked as a language interpreter in the Alaska Court System and taught at Fairfax County Public Schools as a Spanish, Science, and Special Education Instructor. She is currently working as a Spanish Professor at Northern Virginia Community College.
She volunteers helping students teaching English as a Second Language at Saint John Newman Catholic Church and Fairfax County Public Libraries.
She also volunteers as an interpreter with non-profit immigration organizations to support DACA, DAPA, and US citizenship test preparation.
She volunteered for Boy Scouts of America, the Parent Resource Center for children with disabilities, as PTA Vice President, assistant coach at Chantilly Youth Association, and at Reston Little League. Franklin Farm Home owners association, and US Special Olympics.
She also volunteered for the 2000 and 2010 US Census, American Organization to Prevent Suicide, Northern Virginia Dental Society, Peruvian Chamber of Commerce and Peruvian Embassy and the Affordable Care Act. She drives senior citizens to their polling place in every election.
She loves to travel and had visited over 41 countries.
Cecilia always says that it is an honor to be a part of a selected group of professionals from across the state of Virginia who share a passion and commitment to help our community by advising the Governor on matters that impact the Hispanic Community!
Damien Cabezas of Lynchburg
Damien Cabezas is currently the Chief Executive Officer at Horizon Behavioral Health, the 4 th largest community service board in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Prior to coming to Horizon, Damien served as the Chief Operating Officer at Catholic Charities, the 9th largest US charity. Damien has twenty plus years of executive management experience in healthcare and behavioral health. He has spearheaded large-scale medical, mental health, substance use, reentry, and housing programs, as well as social enterprises within the non-profit sector. He has held oversight responsibilities for alternative to incarceration programs that collaborated with drug treatment and mental health courts in New York. Damien’s expertise and involvement with social impact bonds led Santa Clara County in California to issue a request for proposals that used social impact bonds as a method for financing mental health and housing services. Damien has served as Chair and member of several talent management, health, criminal justice, housing, workforce development and social enterprise boards, committees, and task forces. Damien holds a Master of Public Health degree from New York Medical College in Valhalla, NY and a Master of Social Work degree from Fordham University in Manhattan, NY.
Edgar Aranda of Arlington
Edgar is the Executive Director of the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO) and the Senior Lead Organizer with the Legal Aid Justice Center’s Immigrant Advocacy Program. He is the founding member of the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights (VACIR) and Drive Virginia Forward Coalition. In 2016, he was the recipient of Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ proclamation acknowledging Hispanic Heritage Month for his contribution to the Hispanic community in Fairfax County.
In 2014 he received a national award from the Tides Foundation in recognition for his extraordinary service and dedication to driving thoughtful reform in education. In 2010, Edgar received the Linowes Leadership Award of the Community Foundation of the Greater Capital Region for his outstanding organizing work in the region.
Edgar received a Practitioner Fellowship from the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor of Georgetown University in 2011. He received an LL.M. from Temple University’s James E. Beasley School of Law in 2006 where he was honored with the Professor Samuel Gyandoh Award for outstanding service to the law school community.
Prior to his work in the United States, Edgar was a practicing lawyer in his native country Peru.
Eugene Chigna of Richmond
Eugene Chigna was born in Los Angeles, California, to Guatemalan immigrants. At age five his family moved to the Falls Church area in Northern Virginia, where he later completed his middle school and high school education in Arlington, Virginia. Eugene began his college career at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, and eventually transferred to Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, where he graduated with Political Science honors.
In 2016 Eugene interned with state Senator Creigh Deeds during the general assembly, became a Governor’s Fellow in the summer working with the Secretary of Finance, and interned with the Democratic Richmond Regional Political Director for the 2016 presidential campaign. Eugene currently resides in Richmond, Virginia, where he is active in state and local politics, and volunteers his time as an assistant national volleyball coach in the Northern Virginia area.
Gloria Peña Rockhold
Gloria Peña Rockhold of Charlottesville
Gloria Peña Rockhold is the Community Programs Manager for Albemarle County Public Schools, which serves 13,100 students in 26 schools covering 726 square miles. Her responsibilities include promoting the active engagement of the county’s diverse communities in K-12 education as well as ensuring the delivery of high quality educational services to all residents.
Her particular focus is on the Latino community, which is a rapidly growing part of the county’s student population. In addition to coordinating Community Programs around the division, she is focused on the high educational attainment of our marginalized students. Including and engaging families in the educational conversation is a consistent component of all programs Gloria is involved in. She is involved in crafting cultural competency professional development workshops for the school division as well as community organizations. In addition, Gloria works closely with diversity resource teachers in each school to develop programs and special events that bring parents into the schools as active participants in their child’s education.
In addition to her position with Albemarle County Public Schools, Rockhold is the executive board chair of Creciendo Juntos, a service organization for the Latino community; a board member of the Charlottesville Free Clinic, Habitat for Humanity and the Citizens Action Committee for the Office of the Public Defender.
Prior to her current position, Rockhold served as a multi-cultural mental health counselor at Albemarle High School. She holds a Master’s degree in Leadership and Foundations in Education from the University of Virginia and a Master’s degree in Multi-Cultural Mental Health Counseling from the American University of Prof. Psychology. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Louisiana State University. She also is a graduate of Leadership Charlottesville and Sorensen Political Leadership. Rockhold was born in Asuncion, Paraguay and formerly lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
J. Michael Martinez de Andino
J. Michael Martinez de Andino of Henrico
J. Michael Martinez de Andino is Senior Counsel at the law firm of Hunton & Williams LLP. He was born in Puerto Rico in 1955. Mike later was awarded a four year R.O.T.C. scholarship and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1978 with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering. After serving seven years as a pilot for the U.S. Navy, he earned an M.B.A. from the College of William and Mary in 1986. He later attended Law School at the University of Kansas and is a registered patent attorney. Mike married his wife, Vivian Fernandez, M.D., and they have four children.
Jorge Yinat, Ph.D.
Jorge Yinat, Ph.D. of Suffolk
Jorge Yinat, Ph.D., is a Business & Management Consultant as founder of James | Williams | York & Co. He is a Virginia Licensed Property & Casualty Insurance Producer, and a Management Scholar at local Colleges and Universities
Jorge Yinat obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Management from the University of Puerto Rico. He graduated from the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), Military Sciences program, before receiving his Army Officer’s commission as Second Lieutenant. He completed a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Management from Central Michigan University while serving the U.S. Army at Fort McPherson, Georgia. Jorge achieved a Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Organization and Management from Capella University while working as Training Developer at the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Eustis, Virginia. Jorge Yinat, Ph.D. is now business and management consultant, commercial insurance advisor, and management scholar with extensive and diversified managerial and leadership knowledge, business research expertise as a result of his senior-level military, government, and c-level business exposure worldwide.
Dr. Yinat is engaged in the development of techniques to provide businesses and organizations with analytics and decision making processes to produce efficiencies and sustainable profitability. His passion for business research and analytics, led him to develop a proprietary Work@Vantage® System designed to streamline business operations and to increase organizational performance. His interests include business academia for business owners and entrepreneurs, business risk mitigation programs for small and medium size businesses through commercial-business insurance advisory, and local economic development activities in association with local economic development authorities, business organizations, and chambers of commerce.
Juan Espinoza of Blacksburg
Juan serves as associate director in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and director of diversity and access initiatives for Enrollment and Degree Management. He also currently serves as President of the Virginia Latino Higher Education Network (VALHEN). Juan develops new programs and initiatives that better serve underrepresented students as they navigate the offices within Enrollment and Degree Management and also oversees international admissions and recruitment. In addition, he collaborates with other campus offices to ensure the university is recruiting, retaining, and graduating underrepresented students.
In 2014, President Timothy Sands appointed Juan to serve in Virginia Tech’s new diversity framework, InclusiveVT, as an inclusion coordinator. The inclusion coordinators serve as university resources by becoming collaborators, liaisons, proactive information seekers, and conduits for the Virginia Tech community.
Espinoza received two bachelor’s degrees in political science and public and urban affairs from Virginia Tech. He received a master’s degree in corporate and professional communication from Radford University.
Manuel E. Leiva
Manuel E. Leiva of Washington D.C.
Manuel E. Leiva was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Northern Virginia. He graduated with a dual degree in International Relations and Political Science from American University. After working for the DC Department of Health & Human Services, Mr. Leiva attended and graduated from the Washington College of Law, American University. He then worked as an Assistant Public Defender for Fairfax County, VA representing indigent individuals charged with criminal offenses. Mr. Leiva then worked for a law firm representing corporations and individuals in all types of litigation matters. He is active in the legal community, having served as President of the Hispanic Bar Association of VA, Board Member of the Virginia State Bar's Diversity Conference, Board Member of the Virginia State Bar's Criminal Law Section, and served on various judicial screening committees.
Melody Gonzales is a creative, community and impact-oriented, bilingual professional with 17 years experience advancing innovative policy, programmatic and process improvements in the union, nonprofit, campaign and Federal sectors. As senior advisor for Latino community advocacy and partnership engagement at the National Education Association, she manages grants and partnerships to support the nation’s largest union (representing 3 million current, aspiring and retired educators) in advancing racial and social justice in public schools.
Melody previously served as a presidential appointee in President Barack Obama’s Administration -- as the U.S. Labor Department Mine Safety and Health Administration’s Chief of Staff and U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Deputy Chief of Staff. As founding director of the Latino Appointment Program with the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a coalition of 40+ national Latino nonprofits, Melody instituted national initiatives encouraging Latinos to pursue political appointments; sparking Latinas to run for elected office; and advocating for policy priorities centered on education, economic empowerment, immigration, government accountability, health care, voting rights, and civil rights. In the U.S. House of Representatives she worked for former Congressman Xavier Becerra as Director of Member Outreach in the House Democratic Caucus and as a legislative assistant. Melody has been active in volunteering and working to boost Latino civic engagement in Virginia. She has also worked in several campaign roles including: Regional Political Director for Governor Ralph Northam’s 2017 gubernatorial election; Virginia State Latino Vote director for President Obama’s 2012 re-election, Get Out the Vote Director for Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva’s 2010 re-election, and canvass team lead for Obama’s 2008 campaign in Greeley, Colorado. In 2008 she founded the New Latino Movement, an online civic engagement network now involving over 8,000 Latinos and allies.
Born and raised in San Diego, California, Melody began her career with her local NBC News Affiliate and the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California San Diego and a master’s of public policy degree from Georgetown University. Having been trained through Georgetown University’s Executive Leadership Coaching certificate program, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the Center for Creative Leadership, Melody is especially rooted in bolstering the leadership capacity and resiliency of leaders and advocates fighting for a brighter future.
Sergio Rimola of Herndon
Originally from Guatemala, Sergio migrated to United States in 1985 during the civil war unrest in the Central American Country. He graduated from Medical School at the University of San Carlos in Guatemala and completed a residency program in Obstetrics and Gynecology before migrating to the United States.
Once in the US he learned English and passed the requirements for foreign medical graduates, enrolled and finished a residency program in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Sisters and Charity Hospital affiliated with SUNY at Buffalo. He is a Board certified member of the American Congress of Ob/Gyn. He practiced medicine in Oswego NY before moving to Northern Virginia in 1997 where he has been in private practice in Vienna Virginia through the present time.
He has been an attending Physician at Inova Fairfax Hospital since 1997. He received faculty appointments at GWU and VCU as Associated Clinical Professor of Ob/Gyn, serving as a preceptor and mentor for medical students, residents and nurse practitioners.
He serves in the National Hispanic Medical Association as DC-Metro Region Co-Chairperson; the NHMA mission is to empower Hispanic physicians to lead efforts to improve the health of Hispanics in collaboration with Hispanic state medical societies, residents, and medical students, and other public and private sector partners.
He was appointed by supervisor John Foust to serve in Fairfax County Human Services Council representing the Dranesville District. He is a volunteer physician for the Health Department and non profit Nueva Vida serving uninsured patients. He is Vice President of Task Tarea, a nonprofit dedicated to break the circle of poverty through the power of literacy and education providing scholarship to indigenous girls in the highlands of Guatemala. He is actively involved in the Latino community in health, immigration and environmental issues. He is actively involved in Politics as a volunteer and fundraiser, and was recently elected on the board of the Democratic Latino Organization of Virginia (DLOV) as finance director.
Vivian Sanchez-Jones of Roanoke
Vivian Sanchez-Jones was born in San Jose de Ocoa in the Dominican Republic. Vivian attended the Bernard Baruch College of the City University of New York where she received her Bachelor's degree in International Marketing with a major in Spanish Literature. In 1998, Vivian and her family moved to the Dominican Republic to work with Food for the Hungry International doing relief and development work.
After spending four years in the Dominican Republic, the family returned to the United States and settled in Roanoke. Vivian began working with Refugee and Immigration Services, a Program of Commonwealth Catholic Charities, as the school liaison for immigrant children in 2004. As a School and Community liaison she has worked with several hundred Latino families in the Roanoke Valley, helping them navigate the school system and community services.
Since living in Roanoke, Vivian has served on the Roanoke City Multi-Cultural Committee appointed by Mayor Harris, the Virginia Board of Counseling appointed by Governor Kaine, The Latino Task Force Committee, which organized the first Latino Festival in Roanoke, Festival in the Park, Blue Ridge Council of the Boy Scouts of America, The Complete Count Committee for the State of Virginia as well as for the City of Roanoke and The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine diversity board. Vivian also serves as President of Avencemos Roanoke, a community organization assisting Latinos in the Roanoke Valley. She was appointed in 2014 by Governor McAuliffe to serve on the Board of Counseling. In honor of her humanitarian efforts and commitment to the Latino community, Vivian was awarded the Martin Luther King Local Hero Award in 2007 and the Women of Achievement, Equality Award in 2012.
Walewska M. Watkins
Walewska M. Watkins of Northern Virginia
Walewska Marie Watkins, JD, LLM, is an Eviction Prevention/Housing Attorney at the Legal Services of Northern Virginia. She received her Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center in 2003 and her LLM in Environmental Law from Tulane University Law School in 2010. She is licensed to practice law in New York, California, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and our Commonwealth of Virginia. Ms. Watkins served as Legal Intern for the Honorable (ret.) Chief Magistrate Judge Justo Arenas in the US District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. Prior to joining Legal Services of Northern Virginia, the native Puerto Rican islander’s litigation and administrative experiences focused on civil rights, environmental regulation, gender discrimination, and First Amendment rights. Ms. Watkins is also a Partner in Policymaking at the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities and an Ambassador for the Little Lobbyists, a not for-profit organization that advocates for the rights of children with complex medical needs and disabilities.