Guillermo Velazquez, Executive Director

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,

Business Analyst Consultant

Community Manager (vacant)

Howard Alvarez, Housing Navigator

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, Housing Navigator

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

Denysse Rivas, Housing Navigator

Denysse Rivas, is currently working as a Community Engagement Housing Navigator in the Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation for the (CARES) Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security - Rent Relief Program (RRP). She provides assistance and support to families and individuals that have been affected due to the Covid - 19 Pandemic and are seeking help through the CARES Rent Relief Program. She is detail oriented, finding solutions and assistance for each family according to their needs.

Denysse is from Caracas, Venezuela and has a bachelor's degree in Preschool Education from Jose Maria Vargas University with ten years of experience working in the Education field. She enjoys working with families due to her background as a teacher. Her outstanding patience, planning and organizing skills make Denysse a valuable asset to PHDC.

This experience is giving her a deep appreciation for how nonprofits seek to improve the quality of life of our community. She is delighted to continue assisting and supporting the members of our community. She has been in the United States for over a year, and is very excited about starting a new life here and the opportunity to give back to the community.

Denysse really enjoys being outdoors and traveling, in her spare time she loves going camping and hiking.

Anderson Morais, Housing Navigator

Anderson Morais Silva is a Housing Navigator at Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation (PHDC). PHDC is participating in the program called CARES (Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security) - Rent Relief and as a Community Engagement Housing Navigator he works as an intermediary between landlords and tenants in order to assist them both through the Rent Relief Program. He provides services in Portugues and English.

Anderson is originally from Brazil and moved to the United States in August 2016 through the Cultural Exchange Program called Au Pair, where he lived with an American Host Family for two years. The Au Pair Exchange allowed him to submerge myself into American culture and improve his English skills. In Brazil Anderson graduated in Business and did a Post Graduation in International

Logistics which is the field he had worked until moving to the United States at 26 years old. He believes in the unique work PHDC has provided to the Hispanic community and knows how important it is to our community to know that we are here for them. PHDC has changed people's lives and he could not have been more proud to be a staff member.

In his free time, Anderson likes to listen to music, watch movies and TV shows, hangout with his friends and travel.


Isabel Vaccarello


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