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Yolanda R. Cruz  - President and Executive Director  

Yolanda Cruz is not just a dynamic local Zumba instructor; she embodies passion and determination. While known for event organization, her standout achievement is the "Cancer for A Cure" fundraiser, generating over $20,000 for the Brace Cancer Society. 

Born in Sansabatin, Puerto Rico, to Santos Roman and Gladys Santiago, Yolanda's upbringing was marked by parental sacrifices and early departures from school to support their siblings. At age 3, her father relocated the family to Brooklyn, New York, in pursuit of a brighter future. Despite health challenges limiting his work, Yolanda witnessed his unwavering dedication, from assisting families at a local grocery store to becoming a community taxi driver.

Guided by her father's emphasis on education and hard work, Yolanda, unable to afford college, pursued Business Administration at TCI, earning her degree with honors in just 18 months. This marked the inception of a remarkable 37-year career with Fortune 500 companies such as EF Hutton, Kidder Peabody, Paramount Pictures, and Smith Barney. Notably, she supported Financial Legend and CEO Jamie Dimon at Smith Barney.

Post-9/11, Yolanda relocated to New Jersey, serving as the personal assistant to Aventis Pharmaceutical CEO Jerry Bell. Her role encompassed extensive travel and event management, including perks like flying to events in a company jet. Following Jerry Bell's retirement, she joined Deloitte, initially as the personal assistant to Chief Strategist Ted Dzabella, later rising to support CEO of Advisory Owen Ryan.

Presently, Yolanda contributes as a Program Specialist for the Hybrid Operate team at Deloitte, collaborating with global partners to drive new business and growth. As the founder, president, and executive director of the Latin Scholarship Fund, Yolanda Roman Cruz brings a unique blend of professional experience and passion cultivated outside of the corporate realm. Her diverse background and leadership qualities position her as the ideal person to guide and support aspiring individuals in their educational pursuits. Let's extend a warm welcome to the driving force behind the Latin Scholarship Fund.

Giselli Perez - Treasurer 

Giselli Perez, a product of the vibrant and challenging South Bronx, proudly embraces her Puerto Rican heritage amid the struggles of poverty, drugs, and crime that characterize the area. Her parents' resilience, with her father's journey from Puerto Rico to the Bronx and her mother's upbringing in Spanish Harlem, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, laid the foundation for Giselli's determination to overcome obstacles and secure a better life for her family. Faced with limited educational opportunities, language barriers, and financial constraints, Giselli's father navigated the bustling streets, taking on various odd jobs to provide for the family.

Defying expectations, Giselli became a trailblazing first-generation college graduate, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree from Binghamton University. As she embarked on her professional journey, she channeled her talents into the nonprofit se to an organization offering alternatives to incarceration, specifically for minorities dealing with the complexities of drug use and sales. Expanding her dedication to the nonprofit sector, Giselli applied her expertise in Finance and Grant management to reproductive health and lung cancer organizations. Both ventures aimed to provide essential support, services, advocacy, and education to individuals and families grappling with these critical issues.

With over 25 years of steadfast commitment to nonprofits and their missions, Giselli's professional journey not only mirrors her personal triumphs but also underscores the lasting positive impact she continues to make. Her wealth of experience in navigating the challenges of the South Bronx uniquely positions her to contribute valuable insights and expertise to the Latin Scholarship Fund, enriching its mission and fostering opportunities for aspiring individuals in pursuit of education and success.

Michelle Fernandez has built a foundation in the financial services industry for more than 35 years. She joined Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC in 2001, where she spent the last two decades conducting front line supervision in the Mid-Atlantic Region, overseeing the personal practices of independent advisors and complex team practices.  

While attending Iona College, she worked full-time at Citigroup. At Citigroup, she was offered the opportunity to become an investment licensed registered representative. Michelle is registered with FINRA and holds an active Series 7, 63, 24, 9, 10, and a PA Life, Accident and Health insurance licenses. She enjoys working with independent financial advisors because of their empathy, knowledge and passion for their work and has personally seen how their trusted advice and guidance impact lives.

Michelle has resided in the Poconos over twenty years, originally from New York. Throughout the years, she volunteered in the Stroudsburg Area School District, Stroudsburg Little League, and at her church. Almost an empty nester, her philanthropic work continues by serving on the board of the Latin Scholarship Fund, Inc. She believes that if each member feels a sense of belonging this can help strengthen the community.  As a Latina, she’s passionate about helping other Hispanics secure a better life by creating opportunities for our youth and ensuring Hispanics can influence and positively impact all areas in our community.

Tabitha Rodriguez comes from a family of strong, Latina women, including her mother and her grandmother, who raised her to be strong, hard-working, independent and resilient. Originally from the Bronx, Tabitha currently resides in the Poconos. This could not have been possible without her mother, who worked very hard and persevered to ensure a better life with greater opportunities, both professionally and personally. Tabitha has earned both her Bachelor of Science, and Masters in Educational Leadership from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, and is currently on the path to earning her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from ESU. Tabitha has served in the field of education for twenty years, both as a teacher and currently as an educational administrator. 

Throughout her career in education, Tabitha has worked with many students, including students of Latin and Hispanic descent, who have expressed their commitment to accomplish their academic and professional goals, regardless of the challenges and obstacles they have encountered. To see the youth in our community have hope with the knowledge that they also have the ability to persevere, and accomplish their goals is truly amazing. Serving on the board of the Latin Scholarship Fund, Inc. is an absolute honor and privilege, as we are able to collaborate, and engage with members of our community in order to create opportunities that grant our youth the ability to forge a path towards success and a brighter future.   

 

Mario Arostegui, born in Managua, Nicaragua. At age 7 he came to the United States of America with his parents and siblings, raised in Queens, NY.

 

Mario Arostegui has over 27 years in the industry of commercial interior architecture and has spent the last 20 years focusing on “Digital Component Construction” working towards making an impact in the construction world through pre-fabricated construction. 

He has deeply been involved with our partner office in Calgary, AB – Falkbuilt HQ the leader in sustainability, where his years of experience in corporate interior and vast knowledge of graphic design has let him be part in changing the future for interior construction that’s not only better for the industry but for the planet. Mario Arostegui works on projects around the world with fortune 500 companies. His currently holds a position as VP of Falkbuilt NY and leads a team of architects, designers, and administrative staff.  

 

He received a B.S. in Architecture from the City College of NY and worked as a CAD Designer and IT Manager at a New York city top ten architectural firm before joining Lane Office/ Falkbuilt NY.

Mario Arostegui has resided in East Stroudsburg, PA for over seventeen years, originally from New York. He and his wife raised two amazing kids. As a proud Latino, I strive to see our culture evolve and help our future kids to conquer their dreams. 

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