Miami 2017 fellows

Meet the 2017 Miami Fellows
(back to NLC 2017 Fellows)


Ilyana Albarran, CEO, Alba Research & Consulting llc

Ilyana_Albarran.jpgDr. Albarrán is the founder of Alba Research and Consulting, ACR, an LLC that seeks to connect the demands of the global market with companies and investors who embody strong environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) values. The overarching theme of her personal trajectory, with respect to both her professional career, and diverse forms of civic and community engagement and activism, is her commitment to environmental sustainability and otherwise “green” initiatives. She obtained her Ph.D. in Public Affairs from Florida International University, and her BA in Economics from Cornell University. She has published on the topics of citizen participation, fair wages, and decentralization. Alongside her graduate career at FIU, she maintained an active and long-standing affiliation with the Institute for Public Management and Community Service (IPMCS) through which she was involved in numerous endeavors related to good governance, including organizing and participating in several forums on the topic of sustainability. Her experience has additionally included relevant work both abroad, and locally within the South Florida community. Prior to pursuing a graduate career, Ilyana worked in Mexico as an Urban Development Community Liaison identifying urban improvements, and potential investors for those projects, as well as spearheading several community-based programs including community efforts focused on the installation of a potable water system, and environmental education campaigns. She has also worked on several projects, likewise, focused on sustainability and conservation in other Latin American countries (e.g., Guatemala, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic). Within her community in the City of North Miami, she most recently formed the South NoMi Central Neighborhood Association, and participated in the creation of the broader based NoMi Neighbors Green and Garden Committee, through which her activism has focused on securing overall resiliency of the City of North Miami.



Daniel Bravo, Consultant

DANIEL_BRAVO.pngDaniel's progressive roots were sewn through a humble upbringing as an undocumented Dreamer in San Francisco. Brought to California by his parents fleeing terrorism in Peru, he grew up watching them work tirelessly just to maintain, while receiving vital support from public programs, despite their immigration status, in the form of affordable housing, food assistance, public healthcare, and education. Daniel's family prospered as his mother founded a successful housekeeping business, his father earned a scholarship in his thirties to UC Berkeley Engineering, and he was accepted into MIT a couple of years after receiving his U.S. residency. Daniel attended MIT and studied finance and economics thanks to several government grants and loans. His sophomore year, the 9/11 attacks sparked a need to serve his country and he joined Air Force ROTC the following day. Daniel did not go on to serve in the Air Force, but found an outlet for service through the Air Force's service society, and later founded the MIT Chapter of the Silver Wings. Daniel's career as a trader with Goldman Sachs in New York and management & tech consulting in Miami drew him away from service for a decade but that fire was reignited witnessing the abomination that was the Trump presidential campaign. Daniel took months off to help the Clinton campaign in Miami, has become actively involved in his local Democratic Party, and is eager for NLC's training, guidance, and support his quest to fight for progress and equality for all.



Mileyka Burgos, Senior Program Director, YMCA of South Floridaa

Mileyka_Burgos.jpgMileyka Burgos, MA Professional Biography Mileyka Burgos is a Dominican-American young activist living in Miami, Florida. She holds a bachelor degree from the University of Miami in Communication and International Studies and a master degree in Performing Arts Management from Florida International University. Her professional experience ranges from working in programs and productions at NBC/Telemundo to leading non-profit organizations and community based projects. Ms. Burgos moved from Massachusetts to Florida after receiving a scholarship to study at University of Miami. During her time at UM, she became involved in student organizations and volunteering projects that lead her to connect more closely with community activism. Shortly after graduation, she began working at Telemundo as an Editing coordinator and briefly after was promoted to Program Editor, bearing the responsibility of the technical content of all acquired programming on the air. During her time at Telemundo, Mileyka traveled to New York City to manage emergencies during the Hurricane season and also worked on Telemundo Specials, such as: Billboard, Miss Universe, People en Español, Calle 8 and Unidos con el Mundo: Por las victimas del Tsunami. After completing her Master’s degree, Mileyka established her own company, Picture Perfect Planning, LLC where she worked on many marketing, advertising and public relations campaigns for non-profit organizations as well as corporate clients. She was also an instructor at University of Phoenix and City College, imparting communication courses. In 2013, Mileyka was appointed as the Executive Director of the Dominican American National Foundation, a long standing non-profit organization in need of revamping. During her tenure, Ms. Burgos worked to improve various areas of need such as relationship with funding sources, fiscal management, human resources, service components, and rapport with local officials, institutions and community partners. In 2015, Ms. Burgos joined YMCA of South Florida to manage the YMCA’s Children’s Trust contract and improve the YMCA’s operational compliance. Undoubtedly, Mileyka’s strategic concepts and 15 years of experience in communications, management and dealing with logistical challenges have equipped her with the skills to execute the timely, impactful, detail-oriented responsibilities needed in today’s marketplace. On a personal level Mileyka Burgos is a team player and problem solver in search of her personal growth and the growth of those who come in contact with her. Mileyka is a reliable, organized, hardworking individual who enjoys taking initiative to embark on new projects and faces challenges as an opportunity to grow. She has great interpersonal skills and an excellent sense of initiative and enthusiasm. She is a responsible person that has proved her high productivity when it comes to achieving project goals on time and on budget. She is extremely committed to excellence, personal development, social responsibility and helping the less fortunate. Ms. Burgos has been an active member of various non-profit organizations including: LULAC, Dominican American National Foundation, Educate Tomorrow, Casimiro Foundation, as well as the Miami Dade and Broward Public School Systems and the United Dominicans Association at the University of Miami, which she founded in 1999. Through these organizations she has mentored students, organized toy & food drives, provided scholarships and inspired others to reach their optimum potential. Currently, Mileyka is the Founder and Chairman of the Agency for Community Empowerment, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to empower people, celebrate culture and develop communities that foster sustainability, identity and economic development. She is also the International Program Coordinator for Tour of Hope, a Miami-based initiative that provides book bags and supplies to children in remote areas of Dominican Republic and trailer parks in Miami Dade County.



Dan de Leon, Financial Analyst, Goldman Sachs

Daniel_Andres_de_Leon.pngDan de Leon was born in Buffalo, New York. After graduating from Johns Hopkins University with a dual major in Economics and International Studies, Dan worked at Vanguard. He then returned to Johns Hopkins to get his Masters of Science in Applied Economics. After completing his Masters degree, Dan began working at Goldman Sachs as a Financial Analyst in Private Wealth Management in Miami. Dan is a dedicated board member in many local organizations, including Camillus House Young Leaders and Downtown Democrats. After becoming a CFA charterholder, Dan became a volunteer for the CFA Society of Miami and hopes to become a Big Brother. In his spare time, Dan enjoys traveling, trying new restaurants in Miami and playing ice hockey. 

 

 



Sarah Emmons, Director, Radical Partners

Sarah_Emmons.jpgSarah Emmons is the Director at Radical Partners, an accelerator that helps social impact ventures grow and scale. Sarah also serves as the policy advisor to the CEO of Radical Partners, Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, in her role as a member of the Florida State Board of Education. Sarah is passionate about improving educational equity, promoting safe neighborhoods and improving quality of life for all Miami residents. Sarah began her career as a secondary mathematics teacher in Tulsa, OK with Teach for America, an experience which strengthened her desire to support underserved communities. She then worked as a Research Manager for the University of Chicago Crime Lab and Education Lab, where she executed social impact evaluations from concept to completion. Sarah has a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and a B.A. in Economics from Middlebury College. In her free time, you can find her playing with her French Bulldog, Lucy, or doing yoga in Peacock Park.



Gia Gamboa, Co-Founder & Director Areafy, NWBS (Northwest Business Solutions) and Kurfew Media Group

Gia_Gamboa.jpgGia Gamboa, alternatively spelled “Gea”, is a social entrepreneur, recording artist, and business consultant. In the Business realm, she’s involved in the areas of Business Development, Project Management, Management, and Marketing. In the Entertainment world, her endeavors include Songwriting, Production, Art Direction, Merchandising, and Live Performance. With 8 years of experience in the small business sector and 15 years of experience in the music industry, some of her accomplishments include: Winning The 8th Annual Independent Music Awards for “Best Hard Rock/Metal Album”, signing a management contract with The Working Group (All American Rejects), playing the “Kevin Says” stage in the 2013 Warped Tour, and receiving sponsorship opportunities with Adidas and MAC Cosmetics. As the co-founder of a new local marketing and producer co-operative called Areafy, she seeks to provide local businesses, local musicians, and the community as a whole, effective solutions to grow and profit together through co-operative strategies. Currently, she is co-managing an IT and Business Consulting Service Company called NWBS (NorthWest Business Solutions) and a new Label Service Company for Independent Artists called Kurfew Media Group. She is also the Marketing Coordinator for Democracy at Work (founded by American Economist Dr. Richard Wolff), which works to educate the public on the benefits of worker-cooperatives and promote alternative business structures. Nonprofits for which she has volunteered her time include Habitat for Humanity, World Changers, Miami Children’s Hospital, and KAPOW (KIDS AND THE POWER OF WORK).



Adam Ganuza, Program Officer, Arts John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Adam_Ganuza.jpgAdam Ganuza joined Knight Foundation in 2016 as an Arts Program Officer. In this role, he is primarily tasked with the administration of the Knight Arts Challenge, a national challenge to find the best ideas in the arts. This year the challenge awarded over $6.7M to 135 winners across four cities. He has held various positions in health care administration and policy analysis, engineering research, and in film, television, live music and festival production. Prior to Knight, Ganuza was production director of the Rhythm Foundation, a Miami Beach-based arts and culture nonprofit that fosters international cultural exchange through music. He is a graduate of the National Urban Fellows program, an academic and leadership development program that focuses on increasing diversity in the public and nonprofit sectors. Ganuza is a Miami native. He earned a Bachelor of Science from Brown University, a Master of Science from the University of Michigan, and a Master of Public Administration from Baruch College.



Olga Granda-Scott, Executive Director, Coconut Grove Theater Foundation

Olga_Granda-Scott.jpgOlga Granda-Scott is a Cuban-American entrepreneur, raised in Miami. She is a graduate of the Harid Conservatory, Miami-Dade College's Honors Program, and Davidson College. After working for 12 years in the family business, a renown antiques and art gallery, Olga co-founded TheHighBoy.com, an online marketplace for antiques and art designed to help the antiquated industry compete in the digital world. In its first year, the company was featured in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, among other national publications. In 2015, soon after its first anniversary online, The HighBoy won the Miami Herald’s Business Plan Challenge and was a Start-up Showcase Finalist at eMerge Americas. After having secured a substantial investment round, Olga chose to step down as Chief Operations Officer and pursue a new challenge aimed at combining her experience in the arts, business, and historic preservation with her passion for social impact. Specializing in public-private partnerships, she is now the founding Executive Director of the Coconut Grove Playhouse Foundation, whose mission is to rebuild the iconic site as a civic and cultural anchor for its community. Trained in classical ballet and majoring in religion in college, Olga is also fluent in Spanish, French, and Italian, and is the proud mother of three children.



Kiel Green, Director of Governmental Affairs, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce

Kiel_Green.jpgKiel J. Green serves as the Director of Governmental Affairs for the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce where he leads advocacy efforts on behalf of the Chamber. A third generation Floridian, Kiel was born and raised in Fort Pierce, Florida. He attended the University of Florida and graduated with a B.S. in Sport Management with a focus on business administration. During his undergraduate years, Kiel was heavily involved in student government where he served as a student senator and held leadership roles in multiple student organizations. It was there that he developed his passion for political advocacy and refined the leadership skills that have defined his professional life. He went on to attend law school at the Florida State University College of Law. While in law school, he had the opportunity to work across the full spectrum of government in the state of Florida, including the Executive Office of the Governor, the Florida House of Representatives, and a private government relations firm. Prior to joining the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Kiel Green served as Legislative Director to Miami-Dade County Commissioner Juan C. Zapata where his policy work centered around gender equality, economic development, and governmental reform. In his current role he is responsible developing public policy and directing political advocacy efforts to improve the lives of residents and strengthen the community of greater Miami. In his free time Kiel enjoys golf, cooking, reading, and watching college football.



Lisi Lau, Co-Founder and Board of Director, PUSH Miami, Inc.

Lisi_Lau.png Born to a Cuban mother and an Afro-Cuban Chinese father; Lisi’s mixed and multiple social identities has contributed to her palpable enthusiasm for social change and cultural competence; revolving around creating progressive and conscious spaces where regardless of one’s gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, race, ability or age, one can feel they belong without judgement or fear. Equity, inclusivity, creating access and having an intersectional approach to social justice are the areas that motivate Lisi to create impactful and influential pathways in her local and far-reaching communities and corporate conglomerates. Lisi is the Co-Founder and Board of Director Member of PUSH Miami, Inc. which launched in the fall of 2014. One of PUSH Miami’s most successful collective movements over the past three years, LadyFest Miami; has garnered an average of 2,000 attendees, 60 educational workshops on various local social and civic issues, community empowerment topics and has featured an estimated 50 local artists. Earning her Masters in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management through the School of International Training Graduate Institute, (SIT) and Bachelors in Communication through Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU); Lisi has combined her educational background with her progressive values to forward initiatives and actions locally; which include women’s reproductive justice and healthcare access thru her work with Mi Lola (local reproductive justice organization), and creating access to quality education thru her role at The SEED School of Miami (South Florida College Preparatory Boarding Academy) where she was part of the initial launch team in recruitment and outreach strategies that resulted in the inaugural class of 100 participants. Lisi worked with her alma mater (FGCU) in college admissions and recruitment, where she found fulfillment in exposing first generation college students to the university experience and opportunities. Through Global Community Engagement (GCE), Lisi served as a Founder and Board Member; along with her cohort aimed to create educational and inspiring civic engagement experiences for high school and college students thru service-learning projects as a global youth leadership program. For the past two years, as a Program Manager for INROADS, Lisi has been creating career launching opportunities for high-performing undergraduate college students. INROADS is the largest non-profit leadership development organization stemming 47 years in 35 U.S. markets working with over 1,000 corporations in providing career-related full-time summer internships and Co-Ops in industries spanning across backgrounds in STEM, Accounting, Finance, Business, Marketing, Economics, and other various highly-targeted fields in the marketplace. An extension to her community and professional background, Lisi’s drive to create equity led her to serve on various committees and produce multiple community productions including being on the board of Women’s Movement Now – Younger Women’s Task Force (WMN), Pridelines CampOUT Committee, producing the first American Sign Language (ASL) Bilingual “8” Production; a play promoting marriage equality; and currently on the INROADS Hispanic Initiatives and the City of Miami Partners in Service (Educational Success Initiatives). "”



Richard Lamondin, President & Co-Founder, EcoSystems

Richard_Lamondin.jpgBorn and raised in Miami-Dade, Richard Lamondin has watched the city grow from a tourist town to a global metropolis. He is proud of how far Miami has come, but is concerned that the lack of green spaces, public transportation, and affordable housing limit the city’s potential. After high school, Richard headed west to attend the University of Southern California where he majored in Business and International Relations. He then moved to Shanghai, China where he worked for translation and consulting firms, learned the great sport of rugby, and witnessed both the positive change and the cultural destruction caused by uninhibited growth. In 2012, Richard returned to Miami to co-found EcoSystems, a water and energy conservation company, with his brother Lawrence. EcoSystems works within the real estate industry to attack waste and promote conservation at the source. This marriage of public interest and private benefit has led to the company’s expansion into Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Texas. To date, EcoSystems has saved more than 1 billion gallons of freshwater across the US. In an era of continued climate denial and inaction, these savings remain in the aquifers to guard against encroaching seawater and pollution. Civically, Richard is the Vice President of the Downtown Democrats where he helps to direct the club and drive engagement. During his term, the Downtown Dems have grown into one of the most dynamic clubs in South Florida. He is also a mentor and teaches entrepreneurship at Empowered Youth, a local non-profit benefitting at-risk youth in Miami-Dade. In his spare time, Richard is a lover of history, travel, rugby, science fiction, and the bewildered looks he receives after correctly answering an obscure trivia question. He continues to fight for equality, the environment, and civic engagement and believes, as Martin Luther King Jr. and President Obama do, that the arc of history bends towards justice – it just needs a tug sometimes.



Diana Mendez, Senior Associate Attorney, Llorente and Heckler, P.A.

Diana_C._Mendez.jpgDiana is a government affairs attorney with Llorente and Heckler, P.A., where she counsels clients through all phases of the government procurement process including minority and disadvantaged business enterprise certification, contract negotiation, and bid protest litigation. Diana is proud of her work to ensure that small and minority-owned businesses gain access to government contracting opportunities and obtain a level playing field when competing for government contracts. Diana is a passionate advocate of gender equality and women’s rights. She currently serves as a board member of the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, where she co-chairs the Website and Corporate Counsel Liaison Committees. Committed to improving the status of women in the community at large, Diana is also a member of the Miami-Dade County Commission for Women, an advisory board to the Board of County Commissioners that addresses issues pertaining to the status of women in the County. Originally from Colombia, Diana moved to Miami in 1999. She received her B.A. in Economics and International Relations, magna cum laude, in 2006 from Florida International University. In 2010, she received her J.D., cum laude, from the American University, Washington College of Law, and a M.A. in International Affairs from American University’s School of International Service. During her years as a law student, Diana was also a dean’s fellow at the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and an editor for the Modern American, a scholarly publication dedicated to discussing the legal issues affecting minorities in America. "



Myya Passmore, Founder, M.A.R.S. Marketing Development Group

Myya_Passmore.jpgMyya is the founder of M.A.R.S. Marketing Development Group, a full-service consulting firm that seeks to connect millennials and multi-cultural markets with brands through integrated marketing campaign strategies. Myya currently manages African American and Afro-Caribbean Outreach for Rubenstein Law firm across the entire state of Florida. She is also a part time Realtor with The Real Estate Resource Group. She obtained her M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications from Florida International University and her B.S. in Telecommunications News from University of Florida. Her marketing consulting experience allowed her to lead marketing and media buying campaigns for the City of North Miami, Steve Harvey, The Florida Orange Bowl Merchandise Store and The Florida Classic to name a few. Prior to becoming a full-time consultant she worked for Radio One, BlackDoctor.org, and IHeart Media Entertainment as an Account Executive where she was responsible for brands such as Coca-Cola, Ruby Tuesday, Honda and other brands. Myya is a proud Miami native and in her spare time she enjoys travel, family and exploring hidden gems of Miami.



Melisa Pena, Founding Partner, Jarbath Pena Law Group

Melisa_Pena.jpgMelisa Pena is a Peruvian-American attorney from Lima who has made her home in Miami, Florida. She is a founding Partner of Jarbath Pena Law Group, a boutique Immigration and Family Law practice established in 2013. Her life’s work has been to help those that faced with the same daunting challenges that her family and she faced as immigrants. Melisa graduated from Braddock High School and Florida International University (FIU). She has been a member of the Florida Bar since 2012. While securing her own citizenship and studying law at FIU, she interned at Catholic Charities Legal Services, as a Florida Bar Public Service fellow, where she used her passion for outreach and education to bring new life to legal orientation programs. She continues to use her experience to provide hope and help to her clients. Whether it is volunteering at Temporary Protective Status (TPS), Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), or Citizenship clinics or holding workshops at high schools and churches, she is always advocating in the community and for the community. In her spare time, Ms. Pena is an avid traveler. Recently, she has been heavily involved in Haiti relief efforts. She plans to continue working to keep families together and helping others.



Farrah Salem, Lead Magnet Teacher, Miami-Dade County Public Schools

Farrah_Salem.jpgFarrah Salem, a Miami native, is a third year teacher and North Region Rookie Teacher of the Year Finalist at Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS). In addition to teaching, Farrah has managed to become the Department Chair of Career and Technical Education and Lead Magnet Teacher at Hialeah-Miami Lakes Sr. High School. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from the University of Florida in 2014, she graduated top of her class with a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of West Florida. Having entered the teaching profession through the prestigious Teach for America (’14) program, she quickly realized the need for education reform in Miami. Believing that a quality education is built off of strong culture and student involvement, Farrah has dedicated her time to numerous student-centered organizations including Women of Tomorrow, Future Business Leaders of America, the 2016 Summer Youth Internship Program, and the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship. In addition to her involvement in education, Farrah is actively involved in her community. Currently, Farrah is involved in the Town of Miami Lakes Education Advisory Board and Youth Activities Task Force meetings. She is also a member of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Miami program. In the future, Farrah hopes to tackle education issues including testing reform, performance pay, and teacher retention. Through the New Leaders Council, she hopes to strengthen the leadership skills required to transform Miami’s educational landscape. 



Julia Seifer-Smith, Assistant Public Defender -Capital Litigation Unit,
Law Offices of Public Defender Carlos J. Martinez, 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida

Julia_Seifer_Smith.jpgJulia Seifer-Smith is an Assistant Public Defender in the Capital Litigation Unit at the Law Offices of Public Defender Carlos J. Martinez of the 11th Circuit of Florida (Miami Public Defenders Office). Julia believes that defending the Constitution on behalf of indigent clients may well be the most important legal job existing in the U.S. today. Her broad experiences throughout the world bespeak her commitment to the provision of excellent advocacy for poor people. Prior to joining the Miami Public Defenders Office, Julia worked with diverse populations ranging from indigenous peoples in New Zealand and Australia, asylum seekers in London, and FGM victims in New York City. Since arriving in Miami, Julia has been involved in extensive criminal defense litigation and mitigation work on behalf of clients. She has brought more than 25 felony jury trials to verdict, and has handled homicides and other serious matters for adults and juveniles. Julia has recently been promoted to the Capital Litigation Unit where she now represents clients who are at risk of the ultimate penalty. She earned her J.D. at the City University of New York School of Law, which has the motto: “Law in the Service of Human Needs.” She completed her M.A. in Understanding and Securing Human Rights at the University of London, School of Commonwealth Studies, with a thesis concerning the criminalization of incitement to religious hatred. Her B.A. in Politics is from New York University. Julia authored an article concerning human rights in the United States, and has spoken on panels contemplating fingerprint cases, confidential informants, domestic violence case pathways, and legal resources for refugees. In her spare time, Julia is a Big Sister (with BBBS-Miami) to Damesha, a facilitator with Leadership Miami, a sometimes scuba diver, a frequent yogi, and occasionally rides a skateboard for 24 hours at a time.



Talita Sueldo, Business Analyst, International Business Machines (IBM)

Talita_Sueldo.jpgTalita is passionate about social justice and community empowerment and development. She was born in Bolivia and raised in Washington, D.C., where she became involved in her community at a young age. She has worked with the non-profit and the business communities for over a decade in various capacities on issues ranging from academic to environmental justice. Talita earned her Bachelors of Arts in Global Studies and minor in Economics from The College of William and Mary. After college, Talita organized congregations and non-profits for three years around local issues in Miami-Dade County. As an organizer, she trained community leaders to speak out about the issues impacting them and to build relationships of mutual respect with public officials to drive change. Talita now works as a Business Analyst at International Business Machines (IBM) consulting state and local governments. In her role, Talita consults government clients to understand their business needs and ensure they are met with the technology that is implemented. Her non-profit background has afforded her the opportunity to establish relationships of trust with the government clients to build effective technology solutions that are used to provide Medicaid services to thousands of individuals. Through her range of work in the non-profit and business communities, Talita has learned the value that each stakeholder plays in building a strong and sustainable community. She is excited to continue to work to build and uplift Miami-Dade and to do so with a young, progressive network through NLC. In her spare time, Talita likes running, eating delicious foods, and traveling.



Dustin Thaler, Project Developer, Conergy

Dustin_Thaler.jpgDustin R. Thaler is a clean energy professional currently working as a commercial and utility-scale solar photovoltaic project developer for Conergy. Dustin received a Bachelor of Science in Economics from University of Florida in 2011 where he wrote his undergraduate thesis on the Determinants of Energy Intensity. Dustin then went on to receive a Master of Science in Energy Policy & Climate Change from Johns Hopkins University in 2015. In his role with Conergy, Dustin works on originating, negotiating, developing, and acquiring 1-to-10 megawatt solar projects all over the United States while also guiding the company on relevant solar-based policies and their impact on state markets. Before Conergy, Dustin worked in Washington, D.C. for 3 years at an energy policy think tank housed in the United Nations Foundation called the Energy Future Coalition. There, he focused on the policies of the broader energy landscape in the United States, organized meetings and conferences, worked on charitable grant proposals and reports, developed blogs, articles, and other content, and attended and participated in external events on behalf of the organization. Born, raised, and currently living in Miami, Florida, Dustin understands the potential harmful impacts of sea-level rise and other consequences of climate change to his home State, and it is a major goal of his to do whatever possible to help preserve the place he grew up and loves. Dustin is a member of the United States Association of Energy Economics, the Omicron Delta Epsilon International Honor Society of Economics, and is a brother of Sigma Phi Epsilon, Florida Alpha chapter. He attended Ransom Everglades in Miami, Florida for middle and high school, and is an avid basketball fan and amateur fiction writer.



Carlos Vazquez, Program Director, EcoTech Visions Foundation

Carlos_Vazquez_.jpgCarlos Vazquez moved to Miami after spending 4 years in San Francisco at a nonprofit aimed at closing the opportunity divide for young adults by providing tech and professional skills training. He is originally from NYC, where he grew up steps from Yankee Stadium. He is the Director of the EcoTech Visions Digital Citizen Bootcamp - an 8 week program that aims to close the Digital Divide for adults in South Florida. He studied Computer Science and holds a M.S. in Education along with a M.S. in Web Strategy & Design. He is also the CEO and Co-Founder of an EdTech startup that combines neurobehavioral and educational principles to engineer training. He is passionate about education and social justice and is grateful for the opportunity to join the New Leaders Council.