SA2020 Ambassadors

In 2020, SA2020 will lead an ambitious community engagement strategy across San Antonio in order to reaffirm and strengthen the Community Vision. In order to reach as many San Antonians as possible—and to ensure that participation is representative of the city’s demographics—we’ve partnered with more than 60 SA2020 Ambassadors. These community members represent dozens of organizations and are charged with taking SA2020’s engagement plan all across the city. Get to know them below!

Anita Uribe Martin

Anita Uribe Martin is Director of Community Relations for University Health System, a nationally ranked teaching hospital and network of healthcare centers in San Antonio, Texas. As Director of Community Relations, her responsibilities include implementing a strategic community relations program designed to enhance the reputation of the Health System and key service lines while supporting the mission, vision and values of University Health System.

Ashley Heline

Ashley Heline is a taco-loving marketing and communications professional. She currently works in the insurance industry as a program manager at Argo Group. She has experience in developing strategic communications campaigns and cultivating relationships with clients. Outside of work, she is passionate about giving back to the community. Ashley graduated from Trinity University with a bachelor of science in business administration with a concentration in marketing.

Bekah McNeel

Bekah is a journalist who cares deeply about educational equity, and is always on the hunt for stories where that is happening. She is a native San Antonian married to a native San Antonian, raising two native San Antonians in what she hopes is a better city every day. Before settling down back in her home town, Bekah studied in California and at The London School of Economics.

Brandon Logan

A millennial and native of San Antonio who found inspiration at the nexus of business, community, and mentorship, Brandon Logan has carved a niche for himself as an entrepreneur, advocate, and speaker on all topics relating to diversity, business, and service. From receiving the San Antonio Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Rising Star Award and the 2016 Community Impact Award by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. to being honored as a Community Legend by the San Antonio Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women and being named by Essence Magazine as one of the 50 “Baddest Brothers” in America, Brandon’s accomplishments have been noted on local, national, and international levels.

Charles Woodin

Charles leverages his experience as a veteran and his background in engineering and technology to help create opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship in San Antonio. He is energized to be a part of building up the place he now calls home through his passion for service, commitment to our community, and the desire to see our city’s talent and opportunities grow.

Christina Horton

Christina has worked at San Antonio College for 15 years. She has a heart for serving others and loves to be a part of helping others reach their goals. She is a first-generation college graduate and places a high value on education because she knows it has the power to transform lives.

Cyle Perez

Cyle Perez is a San Antonio native and serves as an executive board member for San Antonio Young Professionals. He is the Marketing and Public Relations Manager at Texas Public Radio and enjoys connecting the community through events and thoughtful conversation. Cyle serves on committees involving TEDxSan Antonio, The San Antonio River Authority, World Affairs Council of San Antonio and the Economic Development Foundation.

Dan Menelly

Dan Menelly, CEO of San Antonio’s DoSeum, specializes in formal and informal learning. A former science teacher, Mr. Menelly now specializes in public engagement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), literacy, numeracy and arts integration in learning and development.

David Robinson Jr.

David is a founding member of Blueprint Local, an investment firm focused on real estate and businesses to promote long-term, inclusive economic growth. Prior to Blueprint Local, David led Admiral Capital Group’s efforts to make a strong social impact in the cities where the firm invests. Admiral Capital Group takes 10% of profits and utilizes investments to create opportunities to support communities. For example, Admiral Capital Group purchased a Hilton Hotel in Houston, TX and created the Admiral Hospital scholars program in partnership with Hilton, University of Houston and local school districts. David’s focus was to expand Admiral’s platform to making direct impact investments as well as scaling the philanthropic work.

Edwin Blanton

Dr. Edwin Blanton is a former trainer for the U.S. Peace Corps as well as a former Peace Corps Volunteer. In 2006 he co-founded Ready, Willing . . . Enable!, an international non-profit focused on educational programs for children with disabilities in developing countries. In 2011 he founded Bridge Building Enterprises to connect organizations to talent and people to their passions. Dr. Blanton is a Certified Volunteer Administrator and holds a Ph.D. in International Education and Entrepreneurship from the University of the Incarnate Word. From 2008-2016 he oversaw the community service initiatives at Trinity University, leading the program to receive federal recognition for eight consecutive years. He currently serves as the inaugural Executive Director of the Mays Center for Experiential Learning and Community Engagement at Texas A&M University-San Antonio.

Erica Myrick

Being a native Chicagoan, Erica really enjoys living in San Antonio because it is constantly growing and transforming. She contributes to the Business community by facilitating business to business marketing opportunities and encouraging member engagement with councils and committees at the North Chamber. During her free time she’ll either head over to the Pearl Brewery Farmers Market with her husband and furchild, ride her bike at McAllister Park or venture out with friends to one of the many new restaurants San Antonio has to offer!

Faris Virani

Faris Virani is a Product Management Manager within USAA’s Financial Advice and Solutions Group (FASG) within their Annuity product line. In this position, he has a role in managing all aspects of the annuity business, including product strategy, sales strategy, and product development. His notable achievements include building business cases on several new product launches, which were approved and funded via existing approval frameworks. Furthermore, Faris lead the development of each of these products and more via a 50-person cross functional team. Prior to joining USAA, Faris worked as an Actuary in both consulting and industry roles; also, he briefly worked full time as a Community Builder in New Haven, CT.

Felix Salinas

Director of Information Technology at Northwest Vista College, part of the Alamo Colleges in San Antonio, Texas. With over 15 years in higher education experience, Felix has shared several experiences from redesigning technology for new academic and administrative buildings to leading NVC initiatives for delivering positive student Technology experiences in the student open lab, classrooms, online and at home.

Henri Munoz

Dr. Muñoz is the United Way of San Antonio & Bexar County‘s Senior Vice President over Research and Evaluation, providing research oversight of both public and private grants. Muñoz serves as the primary lead for Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Dual Generation initiative. Her experience has spanned 19 years in San Antonio’s family economic success and education initiatives. She received her Ph.D. in Culture, Literacy and Language from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) in 2009. She was an Adjunct Professor at the UTSA from 2006 – 2013, and a 2010 Annie E. Casey Foundation Children and Family Fellow. 

Jenna Saucedo-Herrera

Jenna Saucedo-Herrera joined the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation (SAEDF) as president and chief executive officer in 2016. In this capacity, she is responsible for advancing the diversification and growth of the San Antonio regional economy through domestic and international business development, workforce development, partnerships and market strategies. Saucedo-Herrera serves on several community boards and councils including: San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Visit San Antonio, EPIcenter, BioBridge Global, United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, San Antonio Medical Foundation, and Southwest Research Institute (SwRI).

Jennifer Cantu

Jennifer Cantu is a Senior Vice President for Bank of America. She executes Bank of America’s efforts in the community through implementing national initiatives, creating local sponsorships and connecting employees to key resources. In addition, Jennifer manages the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, which contributed over $1.2 million to the San Antonio community in 2019. She serves on multiple non-profit boards including San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, SA Works and The Children’s Shelter.

Joy Leflore

Joy Leflore is the Senior Vice President of Operations for the Mortgage Division of Jefferson Bank, a position she has held since 2011. Prior to taking on that role, she worked in various capacities within the Mortgage Division including loan processing and loan origination. As a loan originator, Joy earned a spot on San Antonio’s List of Top 25 Mortgage Lenders multiple times. She served on the committee for SA2020’s Board Game in 2019 and is also actively involved as a board member for Blue Star Contemporary. Aside from her professional and civic responsibilities, Joy is a diligent member of the Downtown Run Group.

Katrina Kehoe

Katrina Kehoe is the VP of Communications and Marketing at KLRN Public Television serving 33 counties in South Texas. Katrina has a Bachelors Degree in Communications and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Old Dominion University. In college, she got her first job in broadcasting at the ABC affiliate in Norfolk, VA doing marketing and production. After relocating to San Antonio in 2006, she quickly found her home at KLRN because of her passion for public broadcasting, documentary films, and the San Antonio community.

Ken Briggs

Ken has served as an Executive Board Member of the San Antonio Young Professionals (SAYP) since 2018. In his role with SAYP, he enjoys working with a variety of community groups and businesses to build a robust community of young professionals in San Antonio.

Larrisa Wilkinson

Larrisa Wilkinson has spent 14 years as an avid early childhood educator, advocate, and leader. In 2017, she joined the dynamic team at Pre-K 4 SA to create a national model for early childhood education. Previously, in Washington, DC she began her career as a communications fellow at Pre-K Now working on national policy initiatives. After her fellowship, she spent many years as a Head Start and Pre-K teacher in diverse urban settings. She also served as the founding director of the University of the District of Columbia Early Childhood Lab School, a Reggio-Emilia inspired arts integration program for young children.

Leni Kirkman

Leni Kirkman is the Senior Vice President of Strategic Communications & Patient Relations at University Health System in San Antonio. She is responsible for improving brand image and preference, growing volume through consumer-facing service line marketing, leading patient advocacy and survey initiatives, and assuring strategic communications efforts are aligned with the needs, expectations and experiences of patients. She is a frequent lecturer on the implications of social media for physicians and healthcare institutions, and the importance of internal communications and brand activation in healthcare.

Lisa Hernandez

Lisa Hernandez holds a Master of Business Administration from Sul Ross State University and a Bachelor of Business Administration, Marketing from UTSA. Lisa brings over 10 years of knowledge and skills in marketing and project development. Lisa’s energy and passion for living is reflected in her ability to build partnerships. Lisa joined St. Paul Square Development from the University of Houston where she served as Director/Assistant Dean of the San Antonio campus. Among her achievements with UH, is her financial management in securing federal and local funding for project development and expansion while managing staff and recruitment efforts. Lisa served as liaison to constituents and state and local government officials on visibility of education. Lisa has served as lecturer on Leadership and Event Planning classes. Lisa is married with two children and two Golden Retrievers.

Mark Vargas

Growing up on the Southeast side of San Antonio in District 3, Mark has been an active and engaged citizen for the betterment of his community and city. He has had the pleasure to serve on both the San Antonio Youth Commission, where he worked on the first Destination College Week, as well as an original SA 2020 Ambassador. He has been the College and Career Readiness Counselor at his old high school, Brooks Academy of Science and Engineering, since September 2018, where he has dedicated his time to helping students find their own passions through college, future careers, and military exploration.

Mecca Salahuddin

Dr. Mecca Salahuddin serves as the Director of Strategic Initiatives and Performance Excellence at the Alamo Colleges District. In this role she provides leadership and guidance on key aspects of enterprise-wide strategic planning and performance excellence activities. Part of her role is to work closely with senior leaders – Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, Associate Vice Chancellors, and College Presidents to support the framing, evaluation, and implementation of strategic projects, process improvements, and organizational change initiatives. She currently serves as team lead for all aspects of the Baldrige performance excellence work.

Melanie Mendez Gonzales

Call her a multi-passion chaser, a writer and a speaker. Melanie creates content and shares stories about her passions: education, entertainment, culture and family on her award-winning blog Qué Means What. Melanie is a four-time South by Southwest (SXSW) speaker on entrepreneurship, diversity in the outdoors, multicultural influencers, and parenting with STEM education. She has also been a speaker at H-E-B Diversity and Inclusion Summit, Women’s Global Connection Girls Summit, Voto Latino Power Summit, and Hispanicize Event. Melanie is a proud graduate of the 2019 Latina Leadership Institute Class and a member of the 2020 Class of Leadership SAISD.

Natalie Barajas

Natalie Barajas has worked with the Alamo Colleges District since 2012 and seen first-hand how the landscape of higher education has changed in San Antonio. In her current role as Deputy to the Chancellor for the Alamo Colleges District, Natalie has the opportunity to external partners to continue sharing the mission of the District that impacts the lives of our community. Natalie also served as Marketing and Strategic Communications Manager at the Alamo Colleges-Palo Alto College, where she was part of an award-winning team and coordinated internal and external communications efforts for the College, including media relations and advertising. 

Nicole Amri

Driven by learning and creating, Nicole’s great passions are education and the arts. As a multidisciplinary artist she explores human rights issues with a focus on interpersonal relationships and societal conditions. In addition to her position as Program Director for SAY Sí, Nicole currently serves on committees in San Antonio and nationally, including SA2020, Excel Beyond the Bell SA, San Antonio’s Trauma-Informed Care Consortium, and the ARE (Artists for Racial Equity) Network under the National Guild for Community Arts Education. When she’s not working or creating, Nicole loves to dance, cook and listen to music (often at the same time).

Noelani Cubillos-Sanchez

Noelani took her first steps into community organizing and advocacy work as an intern with MOVE Texas. Since then, she has enjoyed utilizing the knowledge and skills obtained while completing her undergraduate degree in Public Administration to increase civic engagement and help students realize their capacity to address the various social issues affecting the community.

Olivia Ortiz

Activist, educator and CEO Olivia Flores Ortiz has dedicated herself to the development and enrichment of her community. Heavily influenced by her grandmother growing up in San Antonio, Olivia began her professional career as an educator, teaching English and Special Education. During her nine years in the classroom, she began to see the needs not only of her students, but of the larger San Antonio community. Social justice, accurate representation and speaking authentically to the Latinx community became the driving forces behind her work. In 2009, she met fellow teacher Cruz Ortiz. Married in 2012, they began what has become a decade of collaboration — so far. The couple founded Snake Hawk Press in response to demand from those seeking commercial versions of his work. Today, Olivia serves as CEO of the couple’s latest collaboration, Burnt Nopal, which offers a full range of services around branding, design and experiences.

Pamela Price

Pamela Price is a writer with a lifelong interest in the Texas Hill Country region’s people, traditions, landscape, architecture and culture. Her awesome day job? Crafting copy and providing editorial support for Insperity’s award-winning corporate marketing department.

Ramiro Salazar

Ramiro S. Salazar joined the City of San Antonio, Texas, as Director of the Public Library in April 2005. In this role, he is responsible for the delivery of library services to approximately 1.9 million residents in San Antonio and Bexar County, Texas. He provides management oversight for the library system, consisting of the downtown Central Library, 29 library outlets and leads a team of over 550 employees. Ramiro is currently the President of the Public Library Association, a national organization representing nearly 10,000 professionals representing public libraries large and small.

Ravae Shaeffer

Ravae became a social studies educator in 1997 and is passionate about preparing productive citizens for life in American society. She was chosen to be Teacher of the Year in South San ISD in her 2nd year of teaching. In 2006, she continued her educational journey at the Education Service Center, Region 20 as an Educational Specialist for Social Studies and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). In her STEM work, she found passion with preparing 21st century learners and thinkers and began to study College and Career Readiness. In her service as a lecturer at UTSA, Mrs. Shaeffer enjoyed training new teachers to use proven practices to engage students in thinking and problem solving. As a Coordinator for Strategic Partnerships & Innovation at Region 20, Mrs. Shaeffer enjoys connecting across sectors to innovate solutions for education.

Rey Saldaña

Rey joined Raise Your Hand Texas in June of 2019 as the Regional Director of Outreach for South Texas. Combining policy, outreach, and community engagement, he will help create a grassroots advocacy network for public schools across the state of Texas. In May of 2019, Rey successfully completed four elected terms on the San Antonio City Council. There he championed the expansion of park space and community clinics in underserved areas, fought for increased funding for the city’s public transportation system, successfully campaigned for funding of the city’s early childhood initiative (Pre-K 4SA), and streamlined the city and county’s child truancy court. He is a member of the National Board of Communities in Schools and Chair of the San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Agency-VIA. The son of immigrants, Rey was born and raised on the South Side of San Antonio and the product of Title I Texas public schools. He is a proud first-generation American and first in his family to graduate from college. He and his wife Jessica are the happy parents of Eli and two rescue dogs.

Rocío Guenther

Rocío Guenther grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico and bridges two countries, two cultures, and two languages. After graduating from Trinity University with a B.A. in English and a minor in Political Science, Rocío joined the Rivard Report as Editorial Assistant and Reporter, where she wrote more than 300 articles on topics including the Latino population, U.S.-Mexico relations, immigration, international trade, city planning and economic development, and overall local politics. After her foray into journalism, she worked at the City of San Antonio’s International Relations Office during the City’s Tricentennial year. At present, she serves as the Constituent Services Director at the San Antonio Mayor’s Office.

Ron Nirenberg

Ron Nirenberg is the mayor of San Antonio, the fastest growing and the 7th largest city in the United States.

Rosalind Alderman

Rosalind V. Alderman is the current Vice Provost for Enrollment Management at St. Mary’s University. In this role, she oversees the areas of graduate and undergraduate admission, financial assistance, and retention/graduation initiatives. Prior to this role, Dr. Alderman served as the Assistant Vice President for Retention Management from 2008-2016. Alderman began her career at St. Mary’s University in 1993 as an Assistant Director of Residence Life and became the Associate Dean of Students in 1997. From 2014-16, Dr. Alderman also served as the Project Director for the University’s Title V Grant: Fostering Success in STEM Education.

Shokare Nakpodia

Shokare Nakpodia is a founder and Creative Director of The MightyGroup—a full service communications agency established in 2002, located just east of Downtown San Antonio. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Sho lived and worked in London and New York prior to making the move to San Antonio, almost 20 years ago. His diverse professional and academic training in civil engineering, fine arts and graphic design is a strength of The MightyGroup. Sho’s aptitude and passion for creative direction is well substantiated by his extensive background in writing, illustration, interactive design and photography. He has worked with a number of corporate, city and civic clients throughout the nation, and his personal commitment to the growth of San Antonio has led to the development of DreamWeek, a multi-day summit embracing ideas and dreams for the common good through civil and civic engagement.

Sister Martha Ann Kirk

Sister Martha Ann Kirk, a Sister of Charity of the Incarnate Word of San Antonio, serves as the Chair their International Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Committee and with the University of the Incarnate Word Ettling Center for Civic Leadership and Sustainability. With a Th.D. in Theology and the Arts from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA. she has been a professor of Religious Studies and of the Arts at UIW teaching over 7,000 students, writing six books, and visiting 32 countries often leading students. She is interested in furthering San Antonio’s flourishing as a City of Compassion within the global Charter for Compassion movement leading to respect and justice for all and for the earth itself. She has been the San Antonio Peace Laureate, the Texas Pax Christi Peacemaker of the Year, and recognized in various ways for building interfaith and intercultural bridges.

Timothy Molina

Timothy’s expertise is in Human Communication and Mass Communication. He has served at Northwest Vista College for 15 years. He has served in several roles at the institution that involve advising, mentoring, and teaching speech and mass communication courses. His passion is helping students navigate the complex college processes and find their own passions in life.

Tracie Edmond

Dr. Tracie Edmond is a full professor of accounting at the University of the Incarnate Word. She has been a Certified Public Accountant for over 25 years. Dr. Edmond serves on the board of directors for several nonprofit organizations, has published peer-reviewed journal articles and authored of a book entitled Tri-Sector Collaborations: The Benefits of Three Sector Working Together. Dr. Edmond is the founder and CEO of CAVALRY, a nonprofit organization that is the premier example of how educational institutions, non-profit, governmental and business organizations can unite for the success of all. Dr. Tracie Edmond was awarded the Excellence in Service-Learning Award and was the Texas Accounting Educator of the Year.

Vicki Yuan

Vicki Yuan is an architect with Lake Flato Architects, specializing in custom residences notable for their attention to craftsmanship and connection to place. She is also the lead organizer for San Antonio’s chapter of PechaKucha, a platform celebrating the diversity and talent of the local community. Through all of her endeavors, Vicki is passionate about collaboration, thoughtfulness, and placemaking.

Walter Rogers

Mr. Rogers retired from The United States Army in 2013, having served in every Leadership role as a Non-Commissioned Officer. As a member of the Human Resource team at St. Peter-St. Joseph Children’s Home (St. PJ’s) he volunteered for many events and earned money for countless charities as being an advocate. As a Transition Coordinator at Fort Sam Houston, Texas Mr. Rogers has the rare opportunity to give back to Wounded, Ill and Injured Soldiers. Mr. Rogers’s main focus is to act as a liaison between Civilian organizations and Soldiers transitioning out of the military.

Willie Burroughs

Willie Burroughs is the Chief Operations Officer for the San Antonio Independent School District and is accountable for the child nutrition, transportation, procurement, real property and facilities (maintenance and construction). He is a recent graduate of Leadership San Antonio Class #44. He also recently appeared as a celebrity dancer for the 2019 San Antonio Area African American Community Fund Renaissance with The Stars.