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Emerging Markets, Inc.

Our Network

Daniel Tellalian, Key Advisor

Daniel TellalianDaniel Tellalian is a Managing Partner of Avivar Capital, an SEC-registered investment advisor focused on the arena of impact investing.  He continues his longstanding work in food enterprise investing, real estate development and asset management, economic development, and neighborhood engagement.  Daniel was formerly a Director and principal of Emerging Markets, Inc., collaborating with Elwood Hopkins for 14 years.  He was also a founding board member of the Emerging Markets Development Corporation, and continues to collaborate with the economic development hybrid.

Veronica Saldaña, Business Development Manager, CA FreshWorks Fund

Veronica SaldañaVeronica Saldaña is the California FreshWorks Fund Business Development Manager for Emerging Markets, Inc. Veronica is responsible for managing the Fund’s statewide outreach initiatives, marketing, deal sourcing, evaluating loan requests, and assisting applicants through the application process. In her role, Veronica interfaces with public agencies, grocery store operators, commercial developers, small business owners, and community lending institutions. Prior to joining the Emerging Markets, Inc. team, Veronica was Vice President of Real Estate for Genesis L.A., a Los Angeles based Community Development Financial Institution, where she managed the organization’s loan funds, client relations, and New Markets Tax Credit program. She was also responsible for managing the organization’s daily operations. Veronica also has prior experience working in the affordable housing development field. Veronica holds a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles and Bachelor degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is passionate about improving the quality of life for underserved communities by working on high impact projects in urban and rural disadvantaged communities.

Ines Hernandez-Siqueira

Ines Hernandez-Siqueira is the founder and CEO of Civica Consulting Group, Inc., a Miami based consultant that specializes in urban market research and analysis. Civica provides community economic development consulting services to local governments, non-profits, and the South Florida business community.

As CEO, Ines believes that community economic development decision making must be information driven. The firm has earned an excellent reputation for its unique ability to acquire and interpret demographic and other data about underserved inner city markets that resulted in strategic economic investment and community revitalization initiatives by the public and private sectors. Furthermore, Civica strives to foster and develop strategic relationships among key stakeholders (i.e. regulatory agencies, community/business groups, and policymakers) and connects them to take advantage of opportunities for revitalization with a fact-based approach.

In addition, Ines is an affiliated researcher for the Metropolitan Center at Florida International University (FIU) and is the Miami Initiatives lead consultant for Emerging Markets, Inc.

Rudy Espinoza

Rudy Espinoza is an urban planner with a passion for neighborhoods, entrepreneurism, and financial empowerment. He specializes in identifying profitable investment opportunities in lowincome communities, researching the informal economy and its innovative entrepreneurs, building private/nonprofit partnerships, and training the working poor to participate in the socio-economic revitalization of their neighborhoods.

Rudy has worked at Emerging Markets Inc. and the AARP Foundation where he used his skills to design and manage place-based initiatives with financial institutions, foundations and regional non-profits. He is currently a Senior Program Officer at Community Financial Resource Center (CFRC), a Community Development Financial Institution in South Los Angeles. There, Rudy is managing an initiative that provides business assistance and micro-loans to street vendors, and is leading the organization’s finance work with corner-stores who are committed to selling healthy food in low-income, “food deserts.”

He currently serves as the President of the Los Angeles Urban Renewal Network, as a Commissioner on the Human Relations Commission of the City of Los Angeles, and as an Advisory Board Member for the Los Angeles Development Fund. Rudy holds degrees in Business Administration and Urban Planning.

Juan Aquino

Juan Aquino is currently Los Angeles Program Director for LIFT, a national nonprofit hub that addressed poverty by bringing a portfolio of services to a single site. Prior to LIFT-LA, Juan served as a Program Officer for First 5 LA, managing an $8 million portfolio of community investments. Previously, Juan contributed to the work of Emerging Markets, Inc. as an Associate for five years. At EMI, Juan’s work involved providing strategic recommendations for economic development in two of the firm’s key neighborhood initiatives. His responsibilities included conducting primary, secondary, and nontraditional market research, analyzing that research and bringing investment recommendations to clients, creating partnerships between financial institutions and community organizations as part of a neighborhood delivery system, delivering financial literacy programs through nontraditional channels, and facilitating socially responsible land development.

Juan has also worked in the field of environmental justice – both for the California Climate Action Registry drafting industry-specific protocols relating to greenhouse gas emissions, and for the California Protection Agency (CAL/EPA) in the Environmental Justice Unit. Juan has also worked in the financial sector as a loan administrator for a Los Angeles finance company. Currently a Commissioner on the South Los Angeles Planning Commission, Juan holds a dual Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Master’s degree from the Urban Planning program at UCLA.

Verónica Ramírez

Verónica Ramírez is an educator and expert communicator, with extensive experience working in both English and Spanish, and a focus on community outreach and youth development. A child of Santa Ana, Verónica started her career while in college as a Program Coordinator for both the Santa Ana Parks & Rec. Department and UC Irvine where she oversaw numerous mentorship and educational programs. After moving to Seattle in 2004, she worked as a Marketing Director, then as an educator, as a Program Coordinator for both the Seattle Public Schools and the Governor’s Office of the Education Ombudsman, and finally as an Assistant Network Coordinator for the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative. After returning home to Orange County, Verónica has continued her work as an educator and has served as a translator and multi-talented consultant to Orange County and as a consultant and Program Manager for Emerging Markets, executing community marketing strategies and facilitating partnerships with local educational institutions.

Kamron Brown

Kamron Brown earned his BA in Design Studies and Urban Design at Arizona State University, where he also played Sun Devil football. He is has worked at energy consultant Worley Parsons assisting the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s weatherization program for low income individuals and home owners. Kamron’s areas of interest include traditional real estate project management functions such as forward planning, entitlement permit processing, political management and community outreach on high profile, complex projects. He has experience managing project development teams, developing and maintaining project budgets and schedules, setting and managing project goals and objectives, reporting to executive management and capital partners, interfacing with elected and appointed officials, regulatory agencies, community groups and business owners. Kamron and his family are longtime residents of South Los Angeles.

Amir Hemmat

Amir Hemmat has always had a focus on being a social entrepreneur and community advocate —especially in the areas of education, healthcare, the environment, and challenges facing underserved minority communities.

Amir is Co-Founder of SABEResPODER® (SEP) and serves as its President and CEO. SEP is a venture funded Spanish-language media company that provides educational content to the U.S. Hispanic community and produces comprehensive and practical educational solutions. SEP’s media platform is a national multimedia network with presence in 50 U.S. markets reaching 8+ million unique consumers annually and generating over a billion media impressions per year.

He is also the founder of Catalyst Consulting, a venture management firm focused on social entrepreneurial opportunities that achieve the double bottom line: doing good and doing well. Through Catalyst, he has raised over $30 million for non-profit organizations and select initiatives. Prior to Catalyst, Hemmat was Vice President of Development at PROFMEX, a worldwide research consortium where he led the management of national policy initiatives. Mr. Hemmat has completed four years of clinical and laboratory research, which culminated in a published research article in the Journal of Cardiology (November 2001) and is co-author of three educational guides on the U.S. health care system with over a million copies distributed nationwide. He has a B.A. in Economics from UCLA and received his Master’s in Public Health from USC.

Angelica Frias

Angelica Frias is a planner, thinker, and communicator with expertise in multi-ethnic communities. She is passionate about creating new and innovative ways to reach hard-to-reach audiences in order to increase access and raise awareness about under-utilized resources in urban communities. For Emerging Markets, Angelica developed the outreach strategy for HelloWallet, a financial asset and education tool for LA County students and residents. Currently, Angelica manages Richard Heath and Associates’ Social Marketing and Customer Engagement strategies, where she is in charge of forging community partnerships and developing consumer outreach and awareness campaigns. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from CSU L.A. and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from Cal Poly Pomona.

Omar Brownson

Omar Brownson is the first executive director of the LA River Revitalization Corporation. He drives forward innovative projects that enhance the LA River as a unique civic space and the longest urban greenway in the country. He has dedicated his career to improving urban communities, spanning private equity, real estate development, and public policy. He is committed to the betterment of Los Angeles for all. He has served on numerous boards, currently including the social enterprise Isidore Electronics Recycling and venture philanthropy group REDF. He is also former chairman of the Liberty Hill Foundation. He holds a graduate degree in public policy and urban planning from Harvard University, where he also won the Urban Land Institute’s Gerald D. Hines Urban Design Competition. At the University of California, Davis, he earned a dual degree in international relations, and nature and culture. Mr. Brownson also was a Coro Fellow and served in Public Allies, an Americorps program.

Tina Castro

Tina Castro is the founder and Principal of Avivar Capital, an impact fund syndicator, asset manager, and advisory services firm focused on developing coordinated Community Development Families of Funds, managing those assets on behalf of clients and providing impact investment advisory services. Previously, she served as Director of Impact Investing for The California Endowment where she was responsible for making investments that aligned strong financial return with meaningful innovation and social impact.

Alongside Emerging Markets, Tina led The Endowment’s work in developing the California FreshWorks Fund, a public-private partnership loan fund to finance supermarkets and other forms of healthy food retail in underserved communities throughout California. Prior to joining The Endowment, Tina worked in the Investment Management Division of Goldman Sachs. She currently serves on the board of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps and is a partner in Los Angeles Social Venture Partners.

Tina graduated cum laude from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and later attended the University of Miami, earning her first Master’s Degree in International Relations with a focus in International Business. She subsequently attended UCLA Anderson School of Management, earning her second Master’s Degree, an MBA with a focus in Finance. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). Prior to pursuing her graduate studies and joining Goldman Sachs, Tina worked as a freelance photographer. She and her husband, Amir, live in Studio City, CA with their son Omid.

Jerry J. Ruiz

Jerry J. Ruiz is a practicing attorney in Los Angeles and represents institutional, corporate and individual clients in real estate and business transactions. A graduate of U.C. Santa Cruz and U.C. Berkeley’s law school, Jerry has developed particular expertise in representing financial institutions making equity investments under the federal Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) benefiting low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities and individuals, including the purchase of Low Income Housing Tax Credits and New Markets Tax Credits, investments in multi-investor private equity funds and loan participations from community development financial institutions. He also has broad experience in direct equity-equivalent or equity-like investments on behalf of financial institution clients in nonprofit economic and business development organizations and lenders in addition to program-related investments for a private health foundation.

Prior to returning to private law practice three years ago, Jerry practiced law for more than 11 years as senior in-house counsel for Wells Fargo Bank and served for more than three years as the bank’s senior community development manager responsible for developing sustainable “double bottom line” relationships with affordable housing developers, small business economic development organizations, charter schools, faith-based institutions and community and advocacy groups in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Gloria Lazalde

Gloria Lazalde is a distinguished community organizer, work force development manager, and life-long resident of the Northeast San Fernando Valley. After beginning her career in 1988 as an occupancy specialist for Nobles Property Management, she independently organized groups for abused women, as well as founding family support groups and gang prevention groups for youth, and worked closely with a major bank to create the Pacoima Workforce Alliance as part of the Pacoima Workforce Development Initiative. A current member of the Youth Policy Institute, Mrs. Lazalde oversees start-up and implementation of programs in education, work force, and technology. In 2005, she founded the “Celebrando Nuestras Madres” event to honor the lives of her late mother and sister. Mrs. Lazalde sits on the Community Advisory Council of Mission Community Hospital, as well as the Board of Directors of the Pacoima Credit Union. Her efforts have been recognized on the state and local level.

Anderson Hitchcock

Anderson Hitchcock, Founder of Trinity Cross Foundation, has a major focus on famine relief throughout the African Diaspora. The Foundation has branches in Los Angeles; New York; Philadelphia; Atlanta, and is operating in Luanda, Angola; Windhoek, Namibia and Johannesburg, South Africa. Anderson is skilled in board trainings, strategic planning, business outreach and surveying, community organizing, and the coordination of special events. Anderson makes a point to be well-networked in South Los Angeles communities, particularly along the Crenshaw Corridor, from West Adams to the South Bay. Anderson also has published and worked within the Institute for ESL (Economics for a Second Language), a group seeking to channel African American spending in the travel and leisure industry via family reunions.

Anderson is a classically trained flute player, holds a Masters Degree in Management from Case Western Reserve University, and has black belt degrees in Haidong Gumdo and Soo Bahk Do-Moo Duk Kwan, traditional Korean martial arts disciplines. Anderson started studying this traditional martial art in 1973 and continues to study and teach youth in South Central Los Angeles today free of charge.

Ranko Fukuda

Ranko Fukuda was born in Tokyo, Japan and came to the US as a child. She’s a proud Michigan Wolverine, finishing college in Ann Arbor even after her family returned back to Tokyo. Ranko worked as a Project and Program manager for Capital One Financial, holding a variety of positions at the company during her dozen years of tenure including: Chief of Staff to the CEO, President and Bank President, Direct Bank Operations project manager, lead on integration of two acquired banks, internal consultant and Market President Network manager.

In 2011, Ranko left Capital One to return to Japan and aid in the recovery of the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster. She worked with an international volunteer team—All Hands Volunteers—as a volunteer staff member providing interpretation assistance and managing the daily operations. Upon returning to the US, Ranko and her two dogs drove across country to move to Los Angeles, where she currently enjoys working on her two main passions—education reform and food justice. Ranko is an avid salsa dancer and also enjoys working in urban gardens and farms.

Mary M. Lee

Mary M. Lee is a Deputy Director at PolicyLink, where she provides research, technical assistance and training to public and private agencies collaborating to build healthy communities. She has co-authored reports and journal articles on access to healthy food, the built environment, and the impact of place and race on health. Mary is a practicing attorney with more than 25 years of experience working on civil rights, land use and economic development strategies to revitalize neighborhoods and enhance public participation in the policy arena. She has been an adjunct professor of law and teaches public policy and civil rights courses at the college level. She has also served on boards of several community organizations, as a Transportation Commissioner for the City of Los Angeles, and as a campaign manager for a successful candidate for the Los Angeles City Council. Mary now serves as a member of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council. She is a graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law, UC Berkeley.