Maria brings over 20 years of experience jump starting and running new organizations, leadership development, and income generating programs in the US and Latin America. She has worked with a wide range of organizations — from community-based groups and social businesses to international organizations and private foundations. Maria is passionate about improving the lives of immigrant communities in the U.S. Prior to her work with Prospera she was the Executive Director of Partnership for Immigrant Leadership and Action (PILA), where she oversaw civic engagement programs for community based organizations in the Bay Area. She is one of the founders of Mobilize the Immigrant Vote California Collaborative (MIV); and served on the first board of directors for Mujeres Unidas y Activas. Maria grew up in Mexico and the U.S. and is bicultural and multilingual. She received her M.A. in Intercultural Communication Studies from San Francisco State University. She is also an experienced coach and facilitator, a mosaic and collage artist, and a proud mother of Sofia and Paloma, two young adult women currently enrolled in college in San Francisco and New York respectively.
Community Education Director
Claudia is Prospera’s Community Education Director, responsible for all of the organization’s leadership and cooperative development programs. She brings her passion for social justice to her role. She has been an active leader in immigrant rights, gender and violence prevention, gay and queer rights, and health promotion for underserved communities for over 15 years. Using Popular Education, video editing, and culture, she has served the community by creating plays to denounce and prevent social and health problems. In 2010 she founded the Latino Coalition against domestic and gender violence, La Red Latina that brought together more than 35 organizations that serve, protect and empower Latina women in the Bay Area. Claudia is also the founder of new cooperative enterprise, Nipaki. As an immigrant woman, Claudia has faced the same kind of challenges experienced by many of the entrepreneurs in Prospera’s programs. With a BA in Communications from el Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico, one of the most prestigious universities in Latin America, she worked for almost 10 years in the food industry as a waitress. She recognizes that the immigrant community has a lot of challenges to face but at the same time, she also highlights its strength, power, wisdom, spirit and honesty! Hence, becoming a community worker has not been a choice but a need to demand equality and dignity in oppressed communities. Claudia belongs to the Theater Troupe: Social Irruption Theater… Una Piedra en el Zapato. She is active in immigrant rights, loves traveling—has backpacked around the world—and has a beautiful four year old son named Emiliano.
Client Success Manager
Ximena is a consultant, facilitator and coach who brings her passion for social justice and entrepreneurship as Prospera’s Client Success Manager. Ximena was born in Colombia and immigrated with her family to the United States at an early age. Growing up, she witnessed her parents develop a successful family business from the ground up as a means for financial self-sufficiency. Her family’s path to entrepreneurship has inspire her to work with immigrants as well as other communities that seek entrepreneurship to support themselves, their families and their community.
In 2012, after completing her master’s degree in International Business, Ximena moved to the Bay Area and began a career in the field of economic development. She has worked with several organizations that have made a tremendous impact in the Latinx immigrant community, including Women’s Initiative and Mission Asset Fund. Through these organizations, Ximena supported a diverse array of entrepreneurs at all stages of development, from pre-startup to well-established businesses. Most recently Ximena worked at the SF LGBT Center managing the small business program and then taking an Interim Director role for the Economic Development Department. Ximena also bring her own personal experience of working with her family’s business as well as launching her own consulting business. Ximena is thrilled to join the Prospera team!
Claudia is the Operations Coordinator at Prospera. Prior to joining the team at Prospera she graduated from the program “Explora tu Cooperativa” in 2018 and was a volunteer at the Prospera’s 2nd Summit for Latina Entrepreneurs. She brings to Prospera over 12 years of administrative, finance and operations experience working with International nonprofits in Colombia and the US. Her previous job was with The HALO Trust, the world’s largest humanitarian mine clearance organization. During her tenure at HALO, Claudia supported the ED, DD, finance and program teams making sure the daily operations were running in a timely and effective manner. Claudia started her career in the non-profit sector working for Mercy Corps Colombia, an organization that provides humanitarian aid mainly for IDP’s of the Colombian conflict. Her main roles were to assist the Finance and Administrative teams as well as be the logistics coordinator for travel, workshop and events. Continue reading »
Marketing and Development Manager
Maite Gascó recently joined the Prospera team in January 2018. Maite holds degrees in Advertising, Public Relations, and Marketing. Her international experience at Vicente Ferrer Foundation, and her freelance and volunteer work for organizations like KIVA, Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, Arrels Foundation, Esperanzah Foundation have provided her with a solid background in fundraising for the third sector. Continue reading »