Board of Directors

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Joseph Castro

Joseph Castro Jr. is an Executive, Leadership, and Team/Group Coach with over 15 years of coaching, facilitation, training, team building, and leadership and organizational development experience. He has delivered this array of services in a bicultural and bilingual way to clients and organizations in the education, non-profit, and for-profit sectors. Joseph is a Certified Coach…

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Patty Cardenas

Patty Cárdenas is a first generation Chicana, born in Los Angeles and raised in Santa Ana.  She attended the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she earned a degree in Chicana/o Studies. For over 25 years, Patty has worked with at risk youth, victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. In 1992, Patty…

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Dr. Susy Zepeda

Dr. Susy Zepeda (she/they/ella) was born in Monterey Park, California to two Mexican migrants from El LimĂłn, Jalisco and ChĂ­nipas, Chihuahua. Raised primarily by her working-class Mexicana mother, tĂ­as and tĂ­os, and prima/os along with her two sisters in the Los Angeles area, she learned since childhood the importance of supporting community and holding matriarchal…

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Saul Serrano

Saul Serrano currently serves as the Coordinator for the South Coast Task Force on Youth Safety, a regional collaboration administered by Community Action Commission (CAC) of Santa Barbara County. Previously, Mr. Serrano was a case manager and health educator for over ten years for the Los Compadres Program at CAC, which serves youth throughout Santa Barbara County.  Mr. Serrano grew up…

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Alejandro Vasquez, MSW

Alejandro Vasquez currently works with Hospice of Santa Barbara. He is a registered Associate MFT and provided services as a Bilingual/Bicultural Bereavement Counselor. He has long provided services to youth throughout Santa Barbara County in non-profit agencies, Juvenile Probation and the educational school system. For the past 20 years, Alejandro worked with Latino students in…

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Senior Advisor

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Isaac Cardenas

Isaac Alvarez Cardenas is a member of the Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan (Qua-wheel-tek-can) Nation. A Native American Indian, son of an Apache mother and a Coahuiltecan father, and was raised in the inner-city West Side of San Antonio, Texas. Isaac is a father of two young adult sons, and married to his wife Sylvia for 32…

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Executive Team

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Héctor Sánchez-Flores

HĂ©ctor Sánchez-Flores is the executive director of the National Compadres Network (NCN), where he leads the organization’s work to promote methods that build upon the cultural and personal assets of people and communities, especially for young men of color, to intervene and prevent violence, truancy, teen pregnancy and other life-limiting outcomes for children, teens, and…

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Jerry Tello

Jerry Tello is a father, grandfather, son and relative to many. For over the last 40 years, Mr. Tello has dedicated himself to the prevention and healing of individuals, families, communities and systems by sharing culturally based teachings to over half a million people and training thousands of facilitators across the nation. Born from a…

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Nelda Olvera

Nelda Olvera is NCN’s Director of Operations and Planning. As part of NCN’s Senior leadership team, Nelda provides direction for all internal functions within the organization impacting organizational policies, fiscal management, and grant and resource development. She has over 24 years of experience in the administration of programs that work with underserved communities.   Nelda has supported the goals of…

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Heriberto “Beto” Escamilla, Ph.D.

Dr. Heriberto (Beto) Escamilla Morales oversees NCN’s Evaluation and Data Systems Division and has designed NCN’s research and evaluation process and instruments integrating culture based effective methodologies, processes, and tools. Prior to NCN and as a mental health consultant, he delivered direct clinical services through several community-based organizations and health centers in the San Diego area. From there he worked for Philliber…

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Martha Jimenez-Ellis

Martha Jimenez-Ellis joins NCN as the Director of Finance. She has 35 years of experience and knowledge of accounting for non-profits, and extensive training in procedures that are in compliance with GAAP. She provides agency and grant financial reporting, audit oversight, invoicing and accounts receivable and foundation contracts, budget development, and special projects. She is committed…

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Leo Lopez

Leo Lopez is NCN’s Director of Special Projects and Programs and provides leadership in the development of special projects in the area of racial equity and racial healing acting as liaison with government agencies, the community, and the public. He has over 27 years of leadership experience in child welfare, early childhood education (Head Start…

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Susanna “Susie” Armijo

Susanna Armijo comes from a family of Mexican roots and raised incorporating traditional healing in her life. As the caretaker for her mother she learned as a young girl to use touch and massage as a way to communicate and soothe her mother’s ills. After graduating from high school, she was blessed to be invited…

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Debra Camarillo

Executive Director, The Latino Commission Debra Camarillo, the daughter of Esteban Leos Camarillo and Anita Figueroa, has worked in the field of substance abuse and transformational healing for over 30 years, motivated by her personal experience of addiction and incarceration. She is a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor and has a MA in Theology with emphasis on…

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Osvaldo “Ozzie” Cruz, Sr.

For more than 15 years, Osvaldo Cruz, Sr. has worked with Latino male youth and young adults in the greater Los Angeles area to address issues of male responsibility, Latino male rites of passage, teen-pregnancy prevention, teen fatherhood, reproductive health, community violence, and youth leadership development. He has done so in many settings including public…

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Mei Jun Deng 

Mei Deng is NCN’s Senior Accountant and is responsible for general accounting duties related to budgets, reporting, payroll, and special projects. She comes to us with many years of experience in accounting and non-profit finance. She is trilingual in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin. Mei is a graduate of San Francisco State University with a Bachelor of Science,…

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Francisco “Cisco” Gallardo

Francisco “Cisco” Gallardo is a Senior Grant Project Coordinator for NCN’s Healing Generations Institute (HGI). HGI promotes familial community healing and addresses persistent community strife through retreats, gatherings, and the incorporation of indigenous culturally-based practices. Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Cisco devoted his life to working with Denver’s inner-city, at-risk, and/or gang-involved youth in…

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Valerie Garcia

Valerie Garcia is the proud daughter of Robert Garcia and Rosie Martinez. She has served the community for the past 20 years in different capacities and has worked in various fields, including mental health, substance abuse, and education. Ms. Garcia serves as the Comadres Administrative Assistant for NCN. In addition to working on her Bachelor…

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Michelle Scarleth Gonzalez

Michelle Gonzalez is an Assistant Program Coordinator, supporting NCN’s Healing Generations Initiatives. As a passionate advocate, she brings a wealth of experience in community engagement, including reducing academic and resource inequities and works tirelessly to support and empower community members by connecting them to essential social services. Michelle works to foster an inclusive, supportive, and…

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Anthony “Tony” Guillean, MSW

For over 25 years, Mr. Guillean has been a trainer, facilitator and administrator of nonprofit programs and services throughout California. Tony has managed a training and technical assistance program for family-strengthening organizations and networks throughout California, trained volunteers and staff of nonprofit organizations in sound management and leadership practices, directed a nationally recognized prejudice-reduction project…

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Christian Jaimes

Christian Jaimes is the Project Coordinator for the Comadres National Colectiva for NCN’s Women and Girls Programs. Christian is trained and certified in Xinachtli and Advanced Xinachtli: Rites of Passage Curriculum for Chicana & Latina Youth. Christian received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology and Chicana(o) Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara….

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Ariel Jimenez

Born in Ocotlan, Jalisco, Mexico but raised in East San Jose, California, Ariel Jimenez grew up with hard working parents who wanted the best for their children. Ariel accomplished his goals of graduating high school and attending college despite being faced with many barriers in his community. He graduated from San Jose State University in…

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Xitlali Jimenez

Xitlali Jimenez is NCN’s Senior Fellow for the Young Women’s Warrior Project. As part of the team, Xitlali is responsible for co-facilitating a community group for young women in Santa Clara County. Xitlali obtained her Bachelor’s in Psychology with a minor in Human Sexuality Studies from San Francisco State University in 2017 and she is…

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Daniela “Dani” Lopez-Raines

Daniela Lopez-Raines joined NCN in 2013 as the Executive Assistant to Hector Sanchez-Flores. She graduated from San Jose State University with a BA in US History and minors in Political Science and Economics. Daniela previously taught middle school English and History before starting a family. She also worked in a prominent law firm in Palo…

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Mayra Muñiz

Ms. Muñiz joined NCN in 2016 as Operations Assistant Manager where she supports NCN’s operations department to strengthen our internal process for contracts, accounts payable/receivable and human resources. Mayra joined the team with a wealth of experience from both the corporate and education sectors. She has held several managerial positions from training new hires, managing a team of…

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Mario Ozuna-Sanchez

Mario Ozuna-Sánchez has over 25 years of experience developing and implementing cultural rites of passage, restorative practices, teen-pregnancy prevention, gang intervention, and community-violence prevention services in Santa Clara County, specializing in East San Jose. He is nationally recognized for his skills at developing and delivering culturally relevant services to reach and welcome the most marginalized youth…

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Tanya Riddle

Tanya Riddle joined NCN in 2018 as an Evaluation Specialist. She brings with her a strong knowledge of data entry and assessment, community data collection and feedback, and instrument delivery. She has over fifteen years of professional experience providing program evaluation services to non-profit agencies in education and social services. Her professional career has brought…

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Caitlan Soriano

Caitlin Soriano is the Assistant Program Coordinator for NCN’s Healing Generations Institute where she assists with the development of a national framework catered to supporting traumatized and vulnerable children with a focus on families, elementary education, and community-based organizations. Ms. Soriano graduated from the University of California, Irvine as a double major studying Education Sciences…

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R. Bong Vergara

R. Bong Vergara serves as NCN’s Research and Evaluation Associate with duties in evaluation and publication. He has a long track record in social science research, having conducted social epidemiology for a county public health agency; data visualization and metrics development for the Naval Surface Warfare Center -Port Hueneme Division (NSWC-PHD); and program evaluation for…

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