Events

Future Leaders Of America Board Of Directors

Maricela Morales, Board Chair
Deputy Executive Director, Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy

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.

Vianey Lopez, Secretary
Program Coordinator, Oxnard Downtown Management District

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.

Nicolas Cardenas
Green MBA Candidate, Dominican University of California

His continued involvement with FLA since attending the summer leadership camp in 2003 has embedded in him a passion for economic, environmental, and social progress in California. His current interests are centered in furthering knowledge in financial services and sustainability to enter the emerging realm of Socially Responsible Finance. Lastly, he is keenly aware of the paramount importance of partnerships between businesses, non-governmental organizations, and government in creating a greater future for generations of Californians to come. From 2008-2010 he represented approximately 25,000 students as a student trustee at College of the Canyons’ Associated Student Government. As part of his senior internship at University of Santa Cruz in 2011, he had the opportunity through IDEASS (Impact Design Engineering and Sustainable through Student Service learning initiative to service as the STARS (Sustainability Tracking Assessment & Rating System) Assessment Manager. He’s since continued to focus at the long term vision of the world as his current focal point is on sustainable enterprise at Dominican University of California.

Lisa D. Lopez
Administrator, Coastal Eye Specialists Medical Group

Lisa Lopez was born and raised in Ventura County. Her educational background includes an AA from Ventura College and a BS in Business Management from California Lutheran University. In 1993, she began her career in Healthcare at Coastal Eye Specialists Medical Group. She’s held different positions within her 20 years at the organization, but has held the role as Administrator for the past 10 years. Lisa has received national honors in her field which include: Certified Medical Manager (CMM) and Ophthalmic Coding Specialist (OCS). In 2012, she earned her Certified Ophthalmic Executive (COE) certification. She is 1 of only 281 COEs nationwide. In 2006 and 2007, Lisa served as Treasurer for the Ventura County Chapter of PAHCOM – Professional Association of Health Care Office Managers. In 2012, she also co-chaired as PAHCOM’s Membership Director. From 2011-2012, she participated in the Ventura County Leadership Academy. VCLA, which is sponsored by United Way of Ventura County, focused on developing leaders who are willing to work to enhance the quality of life throughout the county. This life-altering experience influenced her desire to reach out to her community to provide leadership through service. In her spare time, she continues to seek opportunities to volunteer and support her fellow VCLA Alumni. As of September 2012, Lisa joined the Board of Directors for the Future Leaders of America. Lisa’s most important passion is the time she’s able to spend with family; including her two sons, Thomas and Jayden. Without their support, she wouldn’t be able to contribute to the community as she currently does.

Karen Hickman

Karen became a Future Leaders Board member in 2008. She has worked in financial services for the past 25 years in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.  Prior to that work she taught high school social studies and worked for a non-profit for troubled teens and their families. Karen is a member and past president of the Montecito Rotary Club. She has served on the Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood and the Montecito YMCA. Currently she serves on the board of the Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital. Karen is a new grandmother this year which she describes as a job for which she has waited all her life.

Rene S. Garcia, Youth Liaison
Program Intern, Future Leaders of America Inc.

His involvement started in 2007 attending our annual summer leadership camp. Soon after joined CAUSE (Central Coast United for a Sustainable Economy), where he learned about community organizing through mentorship from one of our FLA alumna Beatriz Garcia; later on participating in their first Summer Youth Fellowship in 2010. That same summer he attended Gamaliel Foundation’s National Leadership Training which gave him clarity on the power people have even at a young age if they just begin organizing themselves. Senior year, he co-lead the Green Audit “Ghetto to Green” collaboration between CAUSE and Hueneme High School to find the waste levels the school was producing to find solutions that students could take action on, which since then, has developed into an active recycling program and student club focused on issues they care about from environmental to education. Networking with various community members lead him to intern as youth commentator with David Cruz on “La Voz Poderosa” morning community radio program in Oxnard. Learning early on about the various points of education’s value in today’s world from FLA & Upward Bound program, has pushed him to continue his education on Coursera.org in pursuit of starting his own media company.


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