Emma Núñez (Emma), Founder and President of Caobas Foundation, was born in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to the United States at the age of 7 years old. As a child of immigrant parents, she was challenged with many of the obstacles that place a child in an “at-risk” category in society – language barriers, single parenting, scarcity of mentors, and limited financial means. Exposure to education, particularly tapping into the power of reading and writing; in addition to what she considered her refuge -dance and music – became her saving grace. After graduating from high school, she pursued her love for human services/mental health education at Montgomery College while working as an insurance agent. She later enrolled at the George Washington University’ Pension & Benefits program, which prepared her for a Benefits & Pension Administrator position at one of Washington DC’s top law firms – Sutherland, Asbill & Brenan. Her entrepreneurial spirit eventually led her to open her own real estate firm and training academy in Maryland; where she served as a trainer and mentor to other real estate agents and developed one the of first bi-lingual real estate/mortgage training classes in the area. Her dedication and passion to teach others to tap into the power of education and economic independence resulted in hundreds of students changing their economic legacy. Emma continues to dedicate half of her time to real estate consulting and genuinely shares, “after 25+ years of empowering others with the art of real estate investing, I must confess that my humanitarian work, and my love for mental health awareness, is my greatest passion. I can’t remember a time when I am not trying to counsel, empower, or give back that which has been passed on to me. I love to empower others and as a humanitarian I am passionate about sowing an educational legacy that strengthens the power of knowledge into the next generation, and this is my mission not only in the lives of my children but in the children within my community.” Emma has been raising money for scholarship funding since she started her business in 1998; at which time she founded the Montero Education Fund & the Silver Spring Hispanic Heritage Gala to raise money for youth education in Montgomery County. In 2014, she founded Caobas Foundation to extend educational resources and opportunities to “at-risk” youth in the Washington Metropolitan area as well as the Dominican Republic and serves as Founder & President on the Board of Directors. Since her leadership in 2014, Emma pioneered the development of the Caobas FUTURO Scholarship Fund at Montgomery College, Maryland: the Caobas SiembraHumanity international mission program to the Dominican Republic; and the FUTUROLector Little Libraries & Book Clubs, which aims to empower young students in underserved communities through the dissemination of books and reading clubs. Many of the programs have grown by 400% since their inception in 2015 – currently extending educational resources to more than 1500 “at-risk” youth between the Washington Metropolitan Area and the Dominican Republic.
Emma and her husband Ricky are semi-retired in Potomac, Maryland, and are the proud parents of Steven, Tiffany & Cadia. But as Emma shares, “until God permits, I will never retire from reading, writing, nor learning – knowledge, particularly mental health awareness, fuels my passion. Her three kids have all graduated from college and she is currently back in school pursuing a master’s degree in clinical social work at UMBC.
Ana Luisa Mendoza born and raised in the Dominican Republic, is one of the founders and Vice-President of the Board for Caobas Foundation. She brings over 15 years of experience working with community and educational programs, other foundations, as well as extensive experience in the technical industry. Ana Luisa is a Program Manager at Northrop Grumman Corporation where she manages the production and delivery of propulsion products within cost, schedule, and technical performance. During her tenure at Northrop Grumman (NG), she has received multiple patent disclosure awards for innovative contributions that further advanced the technology of the systems developed there.
Mendoza’s leadership and support has been crucial in providing professional and career development opportunities to employees at Northrop Grumman through her involvement on the NG One Adelante Enterprise Hispanic Employee Resource Group (ERG).
As an avid supporter of the community, Ms. Mendoza has spent hundreds of hours supporting programs that benefit education, specifically targeting individuals in grades K-college helping to identify their career’s next steps with a focus in providing awareness of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers. This has been evident with her involvement with the Society of Woman Engineer and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). In addition to Caobas Foundation, Mrs Mendoza sits on the Board of Directors for the University of Maryland College Park Women in engineering organization.
As a result of her extraordinary technical contributions and community outreach work, Mrs. Mendoza has been recognized by many local and national organizations, most recently she was selected as the HACR 2017 Young Hispanic Corporate Achiever (YHCA), and the Maryland Daily Record’s 2016 Leading Woman award, among others.
“When I was first asked to join Caobas, my heart warmed up and filled with joy as I would be able to directly touch and impact the lives of the youth in my hometown/country. It has always been a passion of mine to go back and sow in the lives of that generation and provide resources to at risk youth there.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Maryland College Park in Electrical Engineering and a master’s degree in Systems Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. Ana Luisa is happily married to Jose Mendoza and they have three kids (Sarianna, Alexa, and Daniel).
Arismendys Burgos, nací en la Comunidad de Castillo, Provincia Duarte, República Dominicana, donde se produce el mejor cacao del mundo. Emigré a los Estados Unidos en el 2001. A partir de entonces inició en mi un proceso de transformación total, ya que todo cambió, profesión, amigos, estilo de vida y hasta la comida. Asistí a Montgomery College como una forma de adquirir conocimiento sobre un nuevo idioma. Además, tomé clases de Impuestos en H&R Block como una vía de insertarme en el mercado laboral. Soy Notario Público. He trabajado para distintas empresas y firmas de contabilidad, como: Vista Home Mortage, Aldana & Associates, Ayala & Associates, Beles Accounting Tax Services, Montgomery County Public School y actualmente “self-employed” extendiendo servicios de contabilidad a pequeñas empresas.
Desde muy niño aprendí la importancia que encierra el servicio a los demás, ya que viví en carne propia muchas de las necesidades que hoy a través de Caobas Foundation he podido subsanar a algunos. Mis primeros servicios sociales los realicé a través de una institución Cooperativa, llamada Federación Dominicana de Cooperativas (FEDOCOOP), allí además de mi posición de Contador Auxiliar que desempeñaba, dirigía el Comité Nacional de Jóvenes Cooperativistas, siendo yo en ese momento el Secretario General de este comité, esto me forjó y marcó, para que yo entendiera que no existe en el mundo, otra cosa más satisfactoria para el ser humano, que el de ayudar y darte a los demás. Creo que la grandeza del ser humano radica, en cuan dispuesto estás, a poner en práctica tus conocimientos, talentos y recursos, al servicio de los más necesitados.
Graduado de Licenciatura en Contabilidad en la Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD), Técnico en Periodismo graduado del Instituto Dominicano de Periodismo (IDP) entre otros. Y actualmente, tengo el privilegio de extender mis servicios como Tesorero en la Directiva Ejecutiva de Caobas Foundation.
Gladys Lopez is a member of the Caobas Foundation Advisory Committee and selected to serve as the 2018 FUTUROAwards Committee Chair. An award winning small business development leader, featured in several magazines and recipient of numerous awards for outstanding contributions and sponsoring initiatives in the areas of supplier diversity and business development.
Gladys brings over 28 years of leadership experience leading national programs and providing world-class operational expertise in the areas of commodity sourcing, contracts and procurement and overall development, improvement and execution of Program activities.
Gladys Lopez founded ABIG Consulting Services, a company specializing in business development and strategic marketing consulting services, in late 2016. Since then, the firm has provided services to a select group of small businesses and start-ups.
Prior to founding her own firm, Gladys was Senior Manager, Supplier Diversity at American Express, a position she held for fourteen years. At American Express, she managed the corporate-wide business plan and process for supplier diversity utilization. As the subject matter expert for supplier diversity, managed over 1,000 diverse suppliers and drove initiative growth in spend goals and supplier development processes. She served as the spokesperson at various national and international outreach activities and established effective opportunities for collaboration and partnership across the enterprise.
Before joining American Express, she held various positions in the public and private sector to include subcontract administration, procurement and supplier diversity.
Gladys holds a B.A. degree from Georgetown University, an M.A. degree in legal administration from Marymount University, an Advanced Professional Certificate in Corporate Management from Western International University and received other professional degrees and certificates.
She is past Vice Chair & Executive Board Member of the Financial Services Roundtable for Supplier Diversity and past member of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Procurement Council, Advisory Board and the Senior Executive Corporate Advisory Board, and past Board member of the Grand Canyon Minority Supplier Development Council, the AZ Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development.
Lorilet Monegro serves as an advisor of education for Caobas Foundation. She is an ASHA certified, bilingual speech and language pathologist and provides therapeutic services to a pediatric population from Pre-kindergarten through the 12 grade. She is currently a clinical educator at Lehman College, and is a supervisor to graduate student clinicians who seek to become future speech language pathologists. She supports students in their acquisition of knowledge and skills within the bilingual literacy clinic at the college. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology from New York University. She graduated from Long Island University-Brooklyn Campus with a Master of Science degree in Speech and Language Pathology. She obtained a Bilingual (Spanish) Extension from Columbia University’s Bilingual Extension Institute. She completed a Certificate program in Entrepreneurship from Lehman College. She is also Certified Autism Specialist (CAS). At the present time, she is working on a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Administration from the College of Saint Rose.
Lorilet’s professional interests include literacy, bilingualism, early childhood, special education, language development and disorders, art and language as forms of expression, educational excellence, educational achievement gap, educational equity and equality, leadership, and personal development. She is a member of the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA). She received an Award for Continuing Education credits highlighting her commitment to continuous learning. Lorilet is an amazon bestselling author of Overcome and Become: Reconnecting with Yourself and Your Child with Special Needs. She believes all children deserve an opportunity to reach their potential.
I chose to advance Caobas Foundation’s mission because I believe that the provision of educational resources and opportunities for disadvantaged individuals stands in alignment with my core beliefs as an educator and as an immigrant. Furthermore, the Foundation is a conduit to support individuals in overcoming challenges that hinder their personal growth and development. It is my belief that our global community is guided by the actions and missions we upkeep. Caobas Foundation serves as the perfect organization to connect with my own Dominican Heritage while enabling me to become an agent of change through collective efforts of like-minded individuals.