Maricela Morales, Board Chair
Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE)
Maricela began with CAUSE as a volunteer with the Ventura County Living Wage Coalition. She came on as staff in 2001, the same year CAUSE began and obtained the organization’s 501c3 status. Since 2001, Morales has worked on a variety of issues ranging from living wage, health coverage for the uninsured, women’s economic justice, green economy and local hire projects. Currently, Maricela is Deputy Executive Director of CAUSE.Grateful to her Mexican immigrant parents, Maricela was raised in Ventura County, attended Fillmore public schools and went on to earn a BA in Human Biology at Stanford University and an MA in Counseling (Depth) Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Responding to the need for public officials that prioritize social, economic and environmental justice, Maricela worked with the community to be the first Latina elected to the Port Hueneme City Council in 2002. By 2007 she became the city’s first Latina Mayor. Her commitment to work collaboratively on issues of local, regional and state concern has been recognized by the California Association of Leadership Programs, National Women’s Political Caucus of Ventura County, Pacific Coast Business Times 40 Under 40, Soroptomist Club of Oxnard, and the Ventura County Leadership Academy.
Carlos Lopez, Secretary
Contractor, Manager and Real Estate Professional
Carlos Lopez is a proud Future Leaders of America alum; He attended FLA summer camp while a student at Adolfo Camarillo High School. Carlos attended California Lutheran University for undergraduate studies and Pepperdine University for graduate school. He credits much of his success to his involvement with programs like Future Leaders of America and Upward Bound. As someone who benefited from such wonderful support programs, Carlos is committed to ensuring that today’s youth have the same opportunities to succeed.
Vianey Lopez, Treasuer
Assemblywoman Monique Limon’s Office
Vianey Lopez began her involvement with FLA in 2003 when she attended her first camp as a delegate. Her involvement continued both at the high school level serving as club secretary and the regional level serving as club president during the 2004-2005 school year. Upon graduating from Hueneme High School in 2005, Vianey went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a double emphasis in International Business and Travel and Tourism from Loyola Marymount University in 2009. After graduating from LMU, Vianey returned to Ventura County and in April 2012 she earned a Masters in Public Policy from Pepperdine University. Her latest accomplishment was reached in November 2012 when she was elected to the Hueneme Elementary School District Board. Vianey currently works for the Oxnard Downtown Management District and has served on the board of FLA since 2010.
Ismael Ulloa, Board Member
Santa Barbara City College
Ismael Paredes Ulloa is a Santa Barbara native born to immigrant parents from Jalisco, Mexico. The 2nd of 3 children, he is a proud alum of UCSB (BA in History) and Antioch University (MA in Education), Santa Barbara. Growing up as a low-income and first-generation youth has fueled a passion for working with local youth of similar backgrounds. Ismael has been involved in mentoring and teaching for most of his life. His career path includes job training and placement for youth with barriers to employment throughout the county of Santa Barbara as an employee for the Department of Social Services and as the Project Director of the Santa Barbara California Student Opportunity & Access Program (Cal-SOAP), helping 1st-generation and low-income students realize their dream of a post-secondary education. Ismael is currently employed as an advisor in Santa Barbara City College’s (SBCC) Express to Success Program (ESP). He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD).
Gloria Soto, Board Member
Gloria Soto is the Regional Development Manager for Planned Parenthood California Central Coast. She has 7 years of experience with Planned Parenthood and has held several roles within Education, Community Engagement, and Development. Gloria is bilingual, bi-cultural and is deeply connected to her community. She is a Santa Maria native, born to immigrant farm worker parents who instilled the value of hard work and determination. She graduated from Brandman University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies. Gloria is passionate about reproductive justice, youth, immigrants and being of service to others. She currently serves as the Grant Making Committee Liaison on the Board of Directors for The Fund for Santa Barbara and is a proud FLA Alumni.
Alejandra Enciso, Board Member
Community Action Commission, Santa Barbara County
Alejandra Enciso Medina, was born in Santa Maria, and raised in Guadalupe. She lived 4 years in Mexico, where both of her parents immigrated from. She is the oldest of 3 children. Alejandra, has a Bachelor’s Degree, in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Photography. As a first-generation, she graduated from California State University Northridge. Both her parents worked in the files for many years. Her dad even followed the sessional crops for a large part of her childhood.Alejandra’s hard work ethic comes from not only her parent’s example, but from the need to start working at the age of 13. A few years after graduation she returned home to find herself working for Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County (CAC) Head Start, the program where she first started her education. She worked as a Family Service Advocate for 8 years. Currently she is a Reproductive Health and Life Skills Educator for CAC’s Vida y Salud Program. Her work has always been a representation of 1 of her major loves in her life. She knew how difficult it could be growing up in a low-income family, so she strives to support others like her and her family to reach their full potential.
Tremblay Financial Services
Olivia Carranza came to the United States at the age of seventeen, where she began her journey to access higher education and social mobility. It was challenging for her to complete her high school education but she was able to graduate from Santa Marcos High School and enroll at Santa Barbara City College where she earned a certificate in Hotel, Restaurant and Culinary Management. While she encountered many challenges in the process she always remembered an important lesson her mother taught her, “Si estoy aqui es porque puedo y no aver si puedo,” which translated into “I am here because I can, and not only to see if I can.” Soon after completing her education at SBCC she married and had three daughters Alexandra, Monica and Olivia. After being employed throughout SB County in restaurants and hotels, Olivia made her last career change in 2007 to the Financial Industry working as a Life Insurance Agent for Tremblay Financial Services. Olivia began to learn about the challenges in our public education system when she got involved in her children’s education. After volunteering in their classrooms, helping with fundraising and as a chaperone during school trips she learned that her daughters might still not have a clear path to higher education. She participated in parent workshops and attended school meetings that were very difficult to understand and often times unwelcoming to Latino parents. It was then when she came across Future leaders of America and she realized that there was more that she could be doing to pave the way for her daughter’s education. Above all, she was inspired to share her passion for helping others with parents and children in the community as well. Olivia trusts the path she is on and feels that she has so much to gain from giving back to her community.
Kristy Renteria, Board Member
Santa Barbara City College
Committed to making education equitable and accessible to all students, Kristy is honored to serve on the FLA board. The hope of creating opportunity for his family brought her grandfather to the United States from Guadalajara, Mexico. Although he was only afforded an elementary education he saw the importance of education and the doors it could open. Inspired by her family, Kristy possesses a passion for education and is a leader, change agent and visionary in her community.Kristy currently works as an Advisor at Santa Barbara City College and holds a Bachelor’s Degree from UCSB in Sociology with a minor in Education, and a Master’s Degree from Pepperdine University’s Educational Leadership Academy in Administration.
Oscar Verdin, Board Member
Oxnard High School, Vice Principal
Born in Agua Caliente, Jalisco, Mexico, Oscar Verdín arrived to California when he was 14 in 1998. His first three years in high school were difficult because he was trying to adjust to a new country, a new culture. At 14, he was very shy and had low-self-esteem. Thanks to his family, and Future Leaders of America, Oscar was able to graduate from Oxnard High School and pursue higher education. With the support of his family and scholarships, Oscar was able to attend UC Santa Barbara. Oscar received his Master’s in Counseling at CLU. Oscar is currently the Associate Principal at Oxnard High School.
Ricardo Araiza, Board Member
Isbell Middle School, Principal
Ricardo Araiza was born in San Bernardino, CA. He lived for several years in Tijuana, Mexico during his elementary school years and then moved to Santa Ana. He attended the University of San Diego (B.A. – Diversified Liberal Arts), San Diego State University (M.A. – Educational Leadership) and University of La Verne (Ed.D. – Organizational Leadership). Ricardo went through the FLA summer camp when he was a sophomore in high school and it made a huge impact in his life. The FLA experience encouraged Ricardo to pursue higher education and to work towards making an impact in his community. One of Ricardo’s goal is to promote the importance of education as it has made a big difference in his life. Dr. Araiza has been an education for 20 years. He has served as an elementary school teacher, assistant principal of two middle schools and an elementary school principal for 7 years. He is currently the principal of Isbell Middle School which is located in Santa Paula, CA.