We pursue our work with humility, rigor, and understanding of marginalized families with a team that is both exceptionally talented and deeply experienced.

team members

Lisa Treviño Cummins

President

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Lisa Treviño Cummins

President

Lisa founded Urban Strategies out of her desire to make a difference within communities in need. Her professional career began in the banking sector, where she was a pioneer in community development efforts, providing national leadership that began in San Antonio. In 1998, she created Bank of America’s national initiative to work with faith-based organizations in the provision of financial services and products as well as in community development partnerships.

In 2001, Lisa was recruited to help launch the White House Faith and Community-Based Initiative. During her two-year tenure, Lisa was instrumental in creating initiatives that welcomed small community and faith-based organizations, advocated for increased accountability of federal resources, and encouraged the removal of barriers that prevent new entrants into the federal funding stream. Since leaving the White House, Lisa has been a catalyst for several initiatives that have resulted in more than $40 million in new programming primarily focused on the Latino community, including the formation of the multi-million dollar Chicago’s Family Bridges, FuturoNow Family Strengthening Initiative, and the Reclamando Nuestro Futuro adjudicated youth initiative. Lisa has also been a keynote speaker and subject matter expert, and has provided leadership in the Brookings Institute Hispanic Family In Flux Forum and a number of White House Regional Conferences.

Lisa earned her BS in Accounting from Trinity University San Antonio and her MBA from University of Texas in San Antonio. She currently serves on the boards of the Christian Community Development Association, the Seed Company, World Vision, and the Latino Advisory Group for the Campaign to Prevent Unwanted and Teen Pregnancies. Lisa, her husband, and their three children reside in the Washington, DC area.

Lorena Garza Gonzalez

Vice President

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Lorena Garza Gonzalez

Vice President

Lorena providing strategic direction in all of Urban Strategies efforts.  As a Master Trainer and curriculum developer, Lorena has led several leadership development and capacity building initiatives including a 24-Cohort, five-year program for Head Start organizations throughout the country; a 12-Cohort capacity building initiative with San Antonio community-based organizations; and the Latino Best Start initiative working with a co-hort of 9 organizations throughout the country.  Dr. Gonzalez is currently leading Urban Strategies parent engagement work with Harvard’s Center for Parent Engagement as well as the transnational Cardone Leadership Institute with 300 individuals participating.  Prior to joining US, Dr. Gonzales designed and implemented key programs in a nationally acclaimed parenting education program.  Lorena serves on the boards of Network and Our Lady of the Lake University and has served as an adjunct professor in areas of leadership, multicultural dynamics, and community engagement. She earned a doctorate in Leadership Studies and a B.A. in Sociology/Psychology at Our Lady of the Lake.  She completed a Master’s degree in Bicultural Bilingual Studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is also a graduate of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Executive Education Program.

Matt Rueckert

Chief Financial Officer

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Matt Rueckert

Chief Financial Officer

Matt Rueckert is Chief Financial and Operating Officer for Urban Strategies. He is responsible for the leadership and management of finance, accounting, human resources, contracts/grants, and proposal and strategic support services. Matt joined Urban Strategies in 2010 and has over 25 years of financial management and programmatic experience, including his prior tenure as senior program control manager for DC-based Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), a leader in the information technology industry.  Matt also held a senior financial position at Macro International Inc. (acquired by ICF International Inc.).  Matt has also held programmatic positions at the Research Triangle Institute and Westat Inc.   Matt holds a B.A. in sociology from Mount Saint Mary’s College, an M.A. in applied social research from West Virginia University, and an Executive MBA from West Virginia University. 

Dr. Blanca Enríquez

Vice President of Early Education

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Dr. Blanca Enríquez

Vice President of Early Education

Blanca leads Urban Strategies efforts to expand and enhance early child education for children and families in need through faith and community-based organizations.  Most recently, Blanca served in a Presidentially appointed post as the National Director of the Office of Head Start (OHS), a federal program that provides early child education programs for more than 1 million children annually.   Prior to her national role, Blanca completed a 28-year career with the El Paso Head Start program as Executive Director, leading operations that served more than 4,500 children throughout 27 centers.   Blanca holds a Masters of Education degree from the University of Texas at El Paso and a doctorate of philosophy in education Administration from New Mexico State University.  Blanca resides in El Paso, Texas.

Wayne Cummins

Controller & It Director

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Wayne Cummins

Controller & It Director

Since the inception of operations, Wayne has played a critical role in establishing the administrative infrastructure at Urban Strategies. As Controller and IT Director, Wayne is responsible for (1) complying with federal, state, and local corporate, payroll and other applicable tax regulations; (2) monitoring cash disbursements and receipts to allow for maximum utilization of company resources; (3) developing and maintaining banking and investment relationships; (4) quality assurance on the execution of A/P, A/R, and year end close – W2s, 1099s, SEP, tax filings; (4) assessing and responding to IT hardware and software needs; and (5) leading the ordering of hardware and software.

Prior to launching Urban Strategies with his wife, Wayne served as the group manager for Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, a $500M firm that specializes in the creation and transfer of technology in engineering and the physical sciences. At SwRI, Wayne was responsible for efforts to redesign processes and update systems in the Expense Accounting unit. His work included the identification of process deficiencies, redundancies, control weaknesses and application effectiveness. Wayne also developed PC based solutions to extract errors in large data tables and provided executive management with ad hoc reporting on work progress.

Additionally, Wayne has assisted in the transition, redesign, and implementation of accounting systems for small businesses and non-profit organizations. Wayne’s professional experience spans more than 21 years in accounting and finance. His background includes a strong knowledge of general accounting theories, principles, and practices. He has a strong business knowledge, analytical and problem-solving abilities, and extensive knowledge of PC applications.

Wayne earned his BS from the University of Houston in Clear Lake, Texas and graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors. He has also completed other courses including MCSE courses, COBOL, Visual Basic, and Web Page Design. Wayne, his wife, and their three children reside in the Washington, DC area.

Diana Derige, DrPH

National Director of Health Initiatives

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Diana Derige, DrPH

National Director of Health Initiatives

Diana leads Urban Strategies’ national health strategy development, program implementation and evaluation of the organization’s broad health equity agenda.  She is also co-director of  the Center for Latina Maternal and Family Health Research at the University of Houston. Diana is responsible for leadership and vision in program conceptualization, design, planning,  Diana is responsible for leadership and vision in program conceptualization, design, planning, management, coordination, communication, evaluation, policy and learning of a national health portfolio.  Prior to joining Urban Strategies, Diana was a program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. She supported local investment by serving as a convener, collaborator and catalyst, responsible for nurturing opportunities for affecting positive systemic change in communities. Over the past fifteen years, Diana has designed and managed several private philanthropic, government, and non-profit programs.  Throughout her career, she has concentrated on promoting public health and social equity for marginalized communities. She has held positions as a program officer for The Chicago Community Trust, state coordinator for the Ounce of Prevention Fund and program manager for the Illinois Public Health Institute. Diana also has been a fellow for the National Hispana Leadership Institute, Mid-America Regional Public Health Leadership Institute and the University of Michigan’s HIV/AIDS Intervention, South Africa. Diana holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and women’s studies and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Michigan and a doctorate of public health from the University of North Carolina. She also holds a certificate in executive education from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and completed a leadership development program through the Center for Creative Leadership in Europe.

Cristina Diaz-Hernandez

Program Manager

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Cristina Diaz-Hernandez

Program Manager

Cristina joined Urban Strategies in 2014 bringing over 10 years of management experience. She earned her Bachelors degree in Business Administration and went on to work as a banker at Bank of America for over 8 years.  Now, Cristina currently serves as a Program Manager for the Bienestar initiative. She is passionate about the work that she does across the nation with Urban Strategies. Through her work she is able to work with churches and faith based organizations to fully develop and equip them to serve the community. Cristina was born in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico and moved to the United States at the age of 9. After arriving in Michigan first, she trickled down to Georgia and finally moved to Central Florida where she currently resides with her husband.

Nara Hojvat-Gallin

Project Analyst

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Nara Hojvat-Gallin

Project Analyst

Nara Hojvat-Gallin, MPH is a graduate of Carleton College and the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. She previously worked for Health and Medicine, a policy think tank in Chicago where her work focused on advocating for policies and impacting health systems to improve the health status of all people, and running the Chicago Schweitzer Urban Fellows program, a yearlong internship program for health professional graduate students designed to address health disparities and the social determinants of health throughout the greater Chicago area. At Urban Strategies, Nara has provided program support to many initiatives including Latino Best Start, Bienestar, Cardone Leadership Training Institute, and the National Alliance for Hispanic Families. Nara lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband and two children.

Carla Lafayette

Director of Residential Services

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Carla Lafayette

Director of Residential Services

Carla LaFayette comes to Urban Strategies with 30 years’ experience in nonprofit organization work and leadership. Before coming on staff, she was a Training and Development Specialist for World Vision’s U.S. Capacity Development group where she focused on training environments and national partnerships. Carla served as Vice President of Strategic Programs at the Urban Youth Works Institute, leading teams with a focus on training and leadership development. For 16 years, she was an Executive Officer at The Salvation Army where she provided leadership, monitoring and technical assistance to over 100 centers in five states with an emphasis on training staff who served in high-risk communities.

Carla came to Urban Strategies to direct the unaccompanied children’s program under a grant from the Office of Refugee Resettlement, overseeing multiple community and faith based organizations who provide services to immigrant children and youth. In this role, she managed a national team providing technical assistance and supervised center directors with more than 250 employees and created systems and protocols to comply with state and federal requirements and standards. Currently, she is leading the effort to expand US’s emergency residential services to foster children. She is also developing local partnerships to provide services to newly immigrated refugee minors. Because of her extensive experience with nonprofit management, Carla also provides organizational assessment and development services to nonprofits who are looking to strengthen their operational efficiencies and strategic outcomes.

John Lewis

Southern California Director

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John Lewis

Southern California Director

John is responsible for leading Urban Strategies’ collaborative efforts focused on serving communities in need in the Southern California region. He has expertise in conducting outreach to diverse organizations and community members working across multiple fields to accomplish shared goals. He has managed partnerships with 19 community and faith-based organizations in Southern California and managed extensive TA to sub-award recipients.

Prior to joining Urban Strategies, John gained over 14 years of experience in urban youth outreach and development. As one of the original designers of the Urban Youth Workers Institute, John was critical in implementing training and support activities for urban youth workers throughout the country. Along with his workon an annual national conference that attracted more than 1,800 attendees, John organized and helped develop regional conferences that trained over 3,000 youth workers in 23 urban cities annually.

John earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Biola University and a master’s degree in Christian education from Talbot Theological Seminary. John sits on the National Advisory Board for the Center for Spiritual Development of Children and Adolescence of the Search Institute and is an Advisory Board Memberfor Fuller Youth Institute. John and his two sons reside in Alhambra, CA.

Rudy López

Director of Community and Organizational Development

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Rudy López

Director of Community and Organizational Development

I have been a professional facilitator and trainer for 21 years. My expertise in leadership training and group facilitation has been used in great number of settings with a vast array of audiences and objectives. I have served as a National Field Director for three separate national non-profit organizations where I have managed staff, budgets and timelines. As an Executive Director, I have also demonstrated expertise and tenacity in managing multiple grants in adhering to federal guidelines. My ability to use the best data and practices in service of the mission has put me on the national stage at various conferences, seminars and symposiums presenting on topics ranging from redistricting, immigration, leadership, labor practices, census projections and civic engagement.

I have excellent communication skills that allow me to build, support and manage strong teams and I have consistently demonstrated my ability to produce results throughout my career. One of my greatest strengths is in helping to not only achieve these results but in doing so, developing others and paying attention to the effects of my work on communities as a whole. I seek balance between the long view and the need for results in the short term. The vast majority of my work has been in low- income communities of color where the need to navigate relationship while building trust is of paramount importance. A prime driver is engaging these communities not as subjects to be studied in a body of work but more importantly, as participants in the discovery of new methods, tools and resources that they can employ in the betterment of their community and their own personal advancement. These values undergird the reasons why I continue to live and work with these populations. It is also why I remain committed to discovering the best practices and resources available to use in service of these communities.

David “Quique” Martinez

Central American Regional Director

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David “Quique” Martinez

Central American Regional Director

Quique will lead Urban Strategies work in Central America. A native of El Salvador and currently a resident of Guatemala, Quique comes to our team after leading Joven Con Valor and Joven360, workforce development initiatives that have successfully prepared 1,000 youth for private sector employment in Central America. His winsome personality and creative thinking that have resulted in many partnerships in both the private and public sectors will be amazing assets from which we will be able to mobilize and support faith communities to transformationally engage in their communities. Undergirding his professional experience has been his life-long engagement in the church as youth leader, worship leader, and all around go-to guy for his family and community. Quique is a graduate of the University of el Salvador where he earned a degrees in Communication Sciences and Public Relations.

Quique enjoys photography, music, is a social media guru, and more recently has become a half-marathon runner.

Melody Milstead

Regional Director of Rio Grande Valley of Texas

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Melody Milstead

Regional Director of Rio Grande Valley of Texas

Melody Cisneros Milstead is a self-described motivated extrovert who brings an innovative and unique perspective to every project she manages. She has over 30 years’ experience in strategic planning and project management and is a creative problem solver with proven leadership abilities in event planning and execution for both large and small organizations. Her relationship building expertise and ‘can do’ attitude has made her a sought after consultant. In fact, through her work with the Faith in Action initiative started by President George W. Bush to connect church populations together in the early 2000s, she began consulting with Urban Strategies. Since then, she has joined Urban Strategies full time and has worked on multiple projects to support the organization. She is a certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor from the National Council for Behavioral Health, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health.  Her academic background includes course work in marketing and business administration at Pan American University and biblical studies at Southern Arizona Bible College. She has extensive training and experience in the creative arts and is a Pro technician. She and her husband of 31 years live in Indianapolis, IN and have two sons and a granddaughter.

Alexandra Murphy

Project Analyst

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Alexandra Murphy

Project Analyst

Alexandra brings considerable experience to this remarkable project at Urban Strategies. Alexandra is an accomplished project manager, with extensive experience in telecommunications, business research and business solutions.  Her professional experience also includes a diverse background in government contracts.  In addition to her professional responsibilities, Alexandra has served since her teens the local church. She has worked with many diverse faith communities providing professional services and counseling, and fulfilling her passion to help others.

Alexandra was born in Lima, Peru, but lives with her husband David live in Arlington, Virginia.  They have two children and three grandchildren.

Edgar Rivera

Regional Directory of South Florida

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Edgar Rivera

Regional Directory of South Florida

Pastor Edgar was born in Puerto Rico and moved to the States when he was a child. He began to preach the word of God since he was 6 years old. Pastor Edgar is an ordained minister of the Assemblies of God and was the senior pastor of the Christian Center for God is Love between 1996 and 2014. He is currently Director of Youth for the Florida Multicultural District of the Assemblies of God.

Pastor Edgar has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and a Master's in Business Leadership. He is in the process of finishing his second masters degree in theology at the Eastern South University. He has been married to Minister Claudia Rivera since February 1997 and both have 3 beautiful sons Alexandra, Edmarie and Edgardo III.

Olga Rodriguez

Regional Director of Texas

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Olga Rodriguez

Regional Director of Texas

Olga Rodriguez is a senior pastor’s wife who brings a faith-based compassion to all projects she collaborates on, implements and manages. With over 25 years’ experience in event planning, community engagement activities, and established skills to lead her church, professional and personal projects allow her to execute her expertise to help those in need.

Her educational background includes coursework at the Baptist University of the Americas, Palo Alto College and a Family Service Credential obtained from the Education Service Center. She has participated in many additional trainings, workshops, webinars and seminar sessions that help her plan, conduct and manage many projects she takes on. Her positive attitude and willingness to help, volunteer, meet with families and clients has prepared her for the work of Bienestar Texas. She and her family, husband of 28 years and four sons, have served Life Church of San Antonio, TX for 28 years.

Yesenia Rodriguez

Director of Finance & Accounting

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Yesenia Rodriguez

Director of Finance & Accounting

Yesenia brings 15 years of finance and accounting experience with Office of Head Start programs. She also previously served as a professor of accounting for East University, Ana G. Méndez System and for Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. As Director of Finance & Accounting at Urban Strategies, she oversees financial policies, procedures, controls and reporting systems.  She also oversees cost and general accounting, accounts receivable/payable, and payroll.  Yesenia graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting and from the University of Phoenix with a Master's Degree in Accounting.

Juan Salgado

Regional Director of Central Florida

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Juan Salgado

Regional Director of Central Florida

Juan Salgado was born in Puerto Rico and from his youth, has served in church as an usher, teacher and manager. He now lives in Orlando, Florida and has worked with non-profit organizations such as National Latino Evangelical Coalition and Bread for the World.

Juan Salgado has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. Afterwards, he became a business owner in Puerto Rico where he successfully created a program that employed missionaries and people in need referred by faith-based organizations. After eight years of running his business, he decided to get his Juris Doctorate degree in Law from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico. During his life as an entrepreneur and law student, Juan became involved with organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce of Puerto Rico where he served as Public Relations Representative for the Southern Chapter.

Ana Van Balen

Director Of Community Development & Innovation

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Ana Van Balen

Director Of Community Development & Innovation

Ana Lopez van Balen is the Director of Community Development & Innovation and also serves as the Executive Director of Bienestar, an Urban Strategies’ initiative. She comes with over fifteen years of experience working with Latino immigrant families and youth in New York, Washington, DC, and most recently in Montgomery County, MD. Ms. Van Balen has served in different roles carrying out economic development and revitalization, community development, but also social work, youth empowerment, and organizational development.

She most recently came from working in local government as the Mid-County Regional Services Center for Montgomery County. Prior to her position with the county, Ms. Van Balen was the Executive Director of Community Bridges—an empowerment organization for immigrant and low-income girls.

Ms. Van Balen holds a master’s degree from the Columbia University School of Social Work, with a concentration in program development. She also holds a bachelor from Vanderbilt University in Human & Organizational Development with a concentration in Community Development and Social Policy. In addition to her work, Ms. Van Balen is a member of the 2016 Presidential Leadership Scholars, a 2014 Maryland’s Top 100 Woman, is the recipient of the 2009 Meyer Exponent Award, a 2009 Washingtonian of the Year and is a graduate of Leadership Montgomery 2007.

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