Guillermo Velazquez is the Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation (PHDC). As Executive Director, Mr. Velazquez is responsible for the operations of PHDC and for implementing its mission in economic and community development. A Business Incubator, Housing, Employment, Investment, Training, and Career Development are activities of the Hispanic Corporation.
Mr. Velazquez began his career at Desarrollo Empresarial Mexicano (DESEM), an entrepreneurship program in Mexico City (also known as Junior Achievement Mexico) where he was a member for ten years. The program teaches entrepreneurs how to start, manage, and operate a new business. Mr. Velazquez has a wealth of experience assisting U.S. based companies in expanding internationally and foreign companies seeking to develop their local and international markets. His specialty is market entry strategies and market penetration. Mr. Velazquez's involvement in the Latino community of Pittsburgh is since 1998. He has served as a board member on various organizations such as the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, LACU - Latin American Union Culture, the oldest Latino membership organization in Pittsburgh with 30 years of existence, and COESA, the Brazilian Association of Pittsburgh.
Mr. Velazquez’s has worked at Nissan Motor’s Headquarters Office in Mexico City, the World Trade Center Pittsburgh, and Conco Services Corp as Manager for Latin America. Guillermo Velázquez has an MBA in Global Management and Business Administration from Point Park University, a bachelor's degree in Business Relations, Marketing, and International Business. Furthermore, he also holds a diploma in computer systems and a diploma in English as a second language. He is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and English.
Maribel Garcia is the Business Analyst of the Business Incubator Program at the Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation. She aids startups businesses with SWOT analysis, business acceleration, economic development, community reinvestment, employment, and entrepreneurship education.
She attended California University of Pennsylvania, graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting and two minors, Finance and Tourism. She did an internship for administrative support at Washington D.C with a non-profit organization, Friends of Puerto Rico. Her wandered nature led her to pursue another career after college. She became a massage therapist and holds a license for the state of Pennsylvania.
Maribel was born in Mexico and migrated to the United States at the age of 17. She loves traveling, volunteering and learning about other cultures. She has traveled to other countries to learn about social work and humanitarian volunteering. In her free time, she loves to dance, hike, swim, meditate, do yoga, and read.
Howard Alvarez, is currently working as Community Engagement Housing Navigator for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) - Rent Relief Program (RRP) at Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation. He likes to be related to community issues, helping and empowering people. He has a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Affairs from the Central University of Venezuela. During his studies, he was captain of the AUDAS - International Team of Spanish Debate, and faculty advisor of delegations for models of the United Nations at Venezuela, and other countries.
He has been working with public and private foreign affairs at Venezuela with intergovernmental organizations as United Nations, international development banks and funds as CAF - Latin American Development Bank, IDB - International Development Bank, OFID - OPEC Fund for International Development or The World Bank, integration mechanism as MERCOSUR, bilateral and multilateral agreements, and Venezuelan and Colombian companies. Diplomacy, industry, commerce, finance, and public international law are his sectors of interest.
He is originally from Venezuela, likes to play tennis, and his passion is travel, debates, communication skills, and human rights.
Lorena (Lola) Jimenez-Ficarra,
Lorena Jimenez Ficarra, is a Community Engagement Housing Navigator for the CARES RRP (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Rent Relief Program) at the Pittsburgh Development Hispanic Corporation. Lorena has worked as a Regional Manager for a multinational company, she supervised several offices in different counties such as Peru, Brazil and Bolivia. She was responsible for the operations at those locations.
She has experience as real estate manager, providing services to Latino families for over 6 years, which leads her to understand the needs of the Latino community. Lorena’s leadership and discipline skills are projected in his work on a daily basis.
Lorena has a bachelor degree in Interior Design and Landscape from the UPSA - Santa Cruz Private University. Her background in arts is also reflected in her passion for teaching Tango, Bachata and Salsa. She developed the love for dancing at the age of 22 years, acting in different scenarios and stages internationally.
Lorena is originally from Argentina, she likes Yoga and Piyo. She is fond of outdoor activities and contact with nature, cooking is her greatest passion and she loves being related with different cultures
Dubraska Figueroa Soto is currently working as Community Engagement Housing Navigator for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) - Rent Relief Program (RRP) at Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation. She studied Law at the Central University of Venezuela. During her university studies, she was an intern at the School of Law, collaborating in social assistance programs that offered free legal advice to low-income communities. She was also a member of the Competitive Debate Team (AUDAS-UCV).
She is a lawyer with experience in the public sector. She has a background in legal research, analysis and development of legal documents and sentences. She likes to take on challenges that lead to innovative solutions and the success of all those involved.
From Venezuela, Dubraska enjoys running, she has participated in two marathons and several races. She also likes astrology, reading and enjoying outdoor activities.
Business Analyst Intern
Franco Chiappori is currently volunteering part-time with the Business Incubator at the Pittsburgh Hispanic Corporation. He helps to conduct business and financial evaluations for rising and existing businesses in Pittsburgh's Hispanic and Latino communities.
Franco is originally from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida but attends the University of Pittsburgh, where he majors in Economics and minors in Hispanic Language and Culture. Franco learned Spanish through his immediate family, which is originally from Lima, Peru. Outside of volunteering, Franco is also involved in the University of Pittsburgh's Air Force ROTC program, where he hopes to serve his country proudly as a contracting officer.
Franco looks forward to getting more involved in the Pittsburgh Hispanic community and expanding upon his professional and business skills while volunteering at PHDC.
Business Analyst Intern
Community Engagement Intern
Hannah Schoenig, the Community Engagement Intern at Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation, is currently a junior at the University of Pittsburgh. She is majoring in anthropology, minoring in Spanish and getting a certificate in Latin American Studies. After college, she wants to teach in Latin America and go to school to be an immigration lawyer.
Outside of school, Hannah works in the food industry and is involved with the improv team at her university. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, exercising and spending time with friends and family.
From this internship, she hopes to gain a better understanding of the experiences of the Hispanic population in Pittsburgh.
Isabel Vaccarello, is volunteering part time at the Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation. She helps translate documents and works as an interpreter for clients who do not speak English. She also assist in keeping our website updated and organized.
Isabel is from Venezuela, but has spent most of her life in the city of Pittsburgh. She is currently finishing up her bachelors degree in marketing at Robert Morris University. She helped found the Organization for Latin American Students at her university and worked as the club secretary for three semesters. She has experience creating cultural awareness within her community and working as a translator.
She hopes to gain more experience working in a professional environment and to expand her business knowledge while volunteering with PHDC.