Margarita Varela Rosa
Margarita is a professional staff member in the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources. She has worked for the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. In the private sector, Margarita worked for Booz Allen Hamilton, a consulting firm, and for Honeywell Aerospace. As an engineer, she has been honored by the Maryland Society of Professional Engineers and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers for her contributions to the engineering field and her community leadership. She was also selected as one of the 40 Under 40 individuals by Prospanica DC.
Margarita served as a Commissioner for the DC Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs, where she advised the Mayor on issues of interest to the Puerto Rican community that resides in the nation’s capital. Margarita is also a columnist for the Puerto Rican newspaper, El Nuevo Día, where she focuses on issues of public policy, economic development and efforts to empower Puerto Rican civil society.
Cofounder and Member of the Board
Rosanna is Director of the Center for a New Economy (CNE) office at Washington, DC. Here, she implements strategies to promote public policy for Puerto Rico. Prior to this role, Rosanna served as Legislative Director for Representative Nydia M. Velázquez, managing issues related to Puerto Rico, women’s issues, unions, and budgetary matters of New York’s 7th Congressional District. Preceding her work in Congress, she was a public policy advisor at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where she focused on the federal government’s response to Puerto Rico’s economic and fiscal crisis. Previously, Rosanna worked at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, where she gained insight into the federal appropriation budget process. She began her federal career at the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Ema is a feminist, lawyer and conflict mediator of the Judiciary of Puerto Rico. For the past 10 years, she has collaborated with governmental entities and local public agencies, as project manager and developing public policy, as well as overseeing federal regulatory compliance. In the private sector, she has been project manager and Director of Business Development.
While working at the Puerto Rico Department of Education Office of Federal Affairs, she managed a social and academic transformation project for 11 public schools and co-founded the With Love Puerto Rico Foundation. For Ema, this experience was an awakening moment to understand the changes needed in Puerto Rico’s public policies.
Ema specialized in government affairs and electoral campaigns at the University Camilo José Cela of Madrid. Since 2011, she has served as political analyst in radio and press. She has also worked in electoral campaigns design and strategy, leading volunteer teams, media and developing government platforms. More recently, she was adviser to the Governor’s former Chief of Staff, Zoé Laboy, working on structure of government and federal funds management. She now leads the Union of a public agency, designing and implementing action plans required by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in order to protect essential services to people with functional diversity.
Her favorite role: volunteering for the most vulnerable communities and being an activist for equality, civil rights and public education. She wants to see an inclusive government for the sake of Puerto Rico’s development.
Cofounder and Member of the Board
Natalie is Chief Operating Officer of Proyecto 85. Before coming back home to Puerto Rico, she was based in Washington, DC working for Running Start, a non-profit organization training young women to run for office on a non-partisan basis. In 2016, she was field organizer for the Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in Virginia. During this time, she had the opportunity to connect with hundreds of voters on a daily basis. Natalie started her professional career as an intern, working for the communications office of former Senator and Democratic Leader Harry Reid, as part of the Córdova and Fernós Congressional Program. Born and raised in Cidra, Natalie has a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Political Science from the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras.
Michelle Pérez Kenderish
Cofounder and Member of the Board
Michelle Pérez Kenderish is a communications strategist, a designer and a branding consultant. She is the founder of Kenderish Communications, a consulting firm that uses creativity to drive innovation and social impact in the private sector.
Michelle’s career is distinguished by her unique combination of expertise, as well as her multi-sectoral experience, ranging from international economic development to communications and marketing; working in such notable places as the Inter-Development Bank in Washington, DC and media giants HBO and Discovery Networks.
President of the Board
Over thirteen years of experience in auditing and consulting services. Loreana’s consulting practice, Citizens of Mastery, focuses on building client relationships, problem solving, atypical thinking, and developing findings and recommendations that help the public and private sector thrive, implementing best business practices, and training highly motivated and results oriented staff.
Since Hurricane María devastated Puerto Rico in September of 2017, Loreana has worked in Disaster Recovery, providing project execution and compliance consulting services. She has been extremely involved in social impact work; planning, organizing, and executing pro-bono projects with Goodwill International Industries (GII), Becky’s Fund, Boys and Girls Club, and others.
María Dolores Fernós Cepero
Vice President of the Board
Fernós graduated from the University of Puerto Rico School of Law and completed a Master of Laws (LLM) from Columbia University in New York.
After working for over 20 years at the Legal Services Corporation, she led the Program of Legal Clinic Education at the Interamerican University School of Law. She taught Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Seminars on Separation of Church and State, Equal Protection of Law, Law and Poverty, Women and Law, among others.
Feminist activist since the 70s, Fernós founded several community and feminist organizations, and has been part of various Board of Directors such as ProFamilias and Casa Protegida Julia de Burgos. Presently, she is also a Board Member of the Community Foundation of Puerto Rico and the Women Foundation of Puerto Rico.
Fernós is the author of books, papers and published articles in academic and professional magazines, writing about gender, economic development and poverty. She received the Medal Nilita Vientós Gastón from the Bar Association of Puerto Rico and was a member of the Special Committee of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico created to implement gender equity at the Judiciary.
She was also the first to lead the Procuradora de las Mujeres Office, from 2001-2007.
Fernós has been adviser to the United Nations’ Economic Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, an entity that has published her investigations on gender issues. Retired from teaching, she is an honorary professor at the Interamerican University School of Law and member of Inter Mujeres, an entity that does research on gender issues and Law.
Secretary of the Board
Tatiana is a campaign consultant known for women empowerment and military community outreach. She was born and raised in Puerto Rico and moved with her family to California after her husband joined the US Air Force. In 2018, she ran for Congress in Central Valley, California against the Republican House Majority Leader with a grassroots campaign that almost tripled the district’s Democratic vote. In 2017 she was appointed a Trustee for Muroc Joint Unified School District and served for five years as Board Member/Vice President of the Military Spouse Advocacy Network building partnerships with local, state, and national organizations. Tatiana was honored with the Volunteer Excellence Award by the Chief of Staff of the US Air Force for her long-term contributions to our military families.
During the 2016 presidential election, Tatiana worked for Democratic candidate Governor Martin O’Malley as the Co-Chair for his Veterans and Military Families Task Force. She provided subject-matter advice, conducted comprehensive research, and made national policy recommendations. She is currently a National Certified Trainer for the largest leadership program in the country, Vote Run Lead. Tatiana was selected to Vice President Joe Biden’s Latino Council and serves as his Senior Advisor for Puerto Rico. She holds a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and a Masters in Strategic Public Relations.
Treasurer of the Board
Gerald currently serves as Chief of Staff at FiscalNote. The company owns CQ Roll Call Group, which it acquired from The Economist Group in 2018, and creates a technology platform that combines award-winning journalism along with software products and services that provide access to large quantities of data, news, and analysis for all levels of government around the world. In his role, Gerald works with the CEO and senior executives to lead the day-to-day operations of the business and strategic priorities such as financing, M&A, executive hiring, and Board management, among others.
Prior to FiscalNote, Gerald worked in the Professional Services arm of the Corporate Executive Board (now owned by Gartner, NYSE: IT), and has experience in international development through functions at Meridian International Center and Generation Enterprise. Gerald is originally from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, and lives in Washington DC.