Staff Leadership

 

Katya Nuques
Executive Director
knuques@enlacechicago.org

 

Katya Nuques is the Executive Director at Enlace Chicago. She was born and raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador. She received an MSA in International and Community Development from Andrews University after completing an internship with the United Nations Sustainable Development Division in New York. After graduation, she moved to Lima, Peru to serve as the project coordinator for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency in Peru. Her enthusiasm for community involvement drove her to promote participatory approaches in processes such as strategic planning, grant writing and evaluation. She was able to diversify and substantially increase partnerships with multilateral and bilateral cooperation agencies, resulting in a much more diverse project portfolio.

 

Katya began her career at Enlace in 2005 as the Director of Community Schools. She played a substantial role in the expansion of Enlace’s Community Schools network, significantly increasing staff and funding levels and diversifying revenue sources. As Director of Education, a role she assumed in 2007, she expanded the organization’s involvement in teacher preparation programs, internships and post-secondary access, and led Enlace’s participation in coalitions such as the Illinois Federation for Community Schools. In 2011, Katya became Associate Director, overseeing programs in the areas of immigration, education, economic development, health and community engagement, and providing direct support to department directors. In 2014, Katya led the process to develop a partnership with CALA, the Community Activism Law Alliance. Through this partnership, community residents from Pilsen, Little Village and Back of the Yards receive free legal services. This clinic has been a huge success, as there is a very high need in these communities.

 

In 2015, Katya became Executive Director of Enlace; in this role, she has focused on reinforcing organizational structure, high quality programming and financial sustainability. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the Chicago Thrive Leadership Council, the Latino Policy Forum and its Illinois Latino Agenda, the Second Federal Bank Advisory Council, and the Board of Directors of Sinai Health System. She is also a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow, and she dedicates her personal time and resources to support undocumented students’ education.

Docia Buffington
Development Director
dbuffington@enlacechicago.org

 

Docia has worked with Enlace since 2009. Her first role with the organization was to coordinate the placement of over 300 community members and youth in jobs and internships. During the 2010/2011 school year, she became Resource Coordinator at the Little Village Lawndale High School Campus. At the end of 2012, she left this position to serve as organizer and principal writer of the 2013 Little Village Quality of Life Plan. As Development Director, Docia now coordinates fundraising and marketing for the organization. Before coming to Enlace, she worked for nearly seven years as a labor, youth and community organizer, traveling across the country to support campaigns focused on economic and social justice. She completed her degree with honors at Roosevelt University after moving to Chicago in 2006. She currently lives in Little Village with her husband and two children.

Angie Lobo
Director of Finance and Operations
alobo@enlacechicago.org

Angie has been working with Enlace since October 2015. She oversees Enlace’s day-to-day financial activities, with the ultimate goal of sustaining a strong, financially resilient organization that will be able to serve Little Village for years to come. Prior to coming to Enlace, she worked as a Tenant Organizer for Lakefront Supportive Housing and as Chief of Staff for State Representative Julie Hamos. She began at Organization of the Northeast (ONE) as Development Associate, then became Interim Executive Director in order to lead the organization through a merger with Lakeview Action Coalition and create ONE Northside. Angie has a long history of social justice work in Chicago focused on a variety of issues, including criminal justice reform, affordable housing, veterans rights and civic engagement. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and lives on the northwest side of Chicago with her husband and two daughters.

Alisha Garcia Flores

Director of Evaluation

aflores@enlacechicago.org

Alisha is a youth development veteran with over 15 years of experience developing youth and family support programs as well as leading staff in building quality assurance systems. She is passionate about participatory and asset-based approaches to community development, as well as supporting staff in continuous improvement practices to ensure that high quality services are offered in the community. She is a community advocate who is dedicated to social justice, restorative practices and systemic changes that promote opportunities and advancement of marginalized groups of people.

 

Her experience began in small nonprofits and church outreach ministries in Detroit and Lansing, Michigan, where she provided tailored academic, social-emotional and extra-curricular afterschool programs. Since 2003, she has directed and managed educational programs serving families in Chicago communities such as Little Village, Lawndale, Austin and Englewood. Working in partnership with public and charter schools as well as diverse community stakeholders and funders, she has lead teams in developing holistic community development approaches and high quality evaluation efforts. As an evaluator and researcher, she has also contributed to projects connected to the New Communities Program (LISC), 21st Century Community Learning Programs, and Illinois State Afterschool standards/assessments. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Management from Central Michigan University and a Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy from University of Illinois at Chicago. She also has certifications in teaching English (TEFL) and in Youth Development (YPQI) as a methods trainer and external assessor.

Astrid Suarez

Director of Education

asuarez@enlacechicago.org

Astrid came to Enlace in 2015 as the Little Village Education Collaborative (LVEC) Coordinator. In this role, she convened a network of over 45 partners and community leaders focused on improving educational attainment in Little Village from birth to old age. As the Education Director, she oversees diverse initiatives, including Community Schools, Parent Mentor Program, AVANZA and LVEC. She has years of experience in curriculum and program development and facilitation, as well as in organizing, policy advocacy, community-driven planning and research. Her work has been focused in low-income communities of color both in Chicago and in Columbia, her birthplace. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Master’s in Instructional Leadership and from the University Pontificia Bolivariana in Medellín, Columbia with a BA in Social Work and a specialization in Social Research.

Amanda Benitez

Director of Community Health

ajbenitez@enlacechicago.org

 

Amanda has been supervising health programming at Enlace since 2015. She has over ten years of experience in the field of public health and has managed programs in Little Village since 2012. Her prior experience includes extensive work with immigrant and low-income populations touching on a variety of equity-related issues including chronic disease prevention, women’s health and youth development. She holds a Master of Public Health degree in Community Health Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a Little Village resident.

Cesar Nunez

Director of Organizing

cnunez@enlacechicago.org

Cesar first began working at Enlace in 2005. As the New Communities Program Organizer, he supported the implementation of the 2005 Little Village Quality of Life Plan and developed initiatives such as B-Ball on the Block. He then took on the role of Economic Development Director, overseeing the Housing Resource Center and the Local Industrial Retention Initiative. He left Enlace in 2010 and became the 22nd Ward Superintendent for the Department of Streets and Sanitation before he was promoted to District Superintendent. Before becoming an employee at Enlace, he was a member of the organization's Board of Directors, a role to which he returned after leaving his position in 2010. In 2018, he became the Director of Organizing. He has extensive experience managing affordable housing development projects, and he has a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies from University at Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. He was born and raised in Little Village.

Jacqueline Muñoz

Director of Violence Prevention

jmunoz@enlacechicago.org

Jacqueline began working at Enlace in 2017 when she was hired as a School-Based Counselor at Community Links High School and Farragut Career Academy. In early 2018, she transitioned into the role of Mental Health Program Coordinator, in which she supervised the work of School-Based Counselors, managed school partnerships, and ensured alignment with Enlace’s violence prevention and school-based initiatives. When the Violence Prevention Manager took a leave from the organization, she stepped in as Interim Manager and took leadership during a very difficult time. She was finally hired as Violence Prevention Director at the end of 2018. She has experience as an Early Head Start Home Visitor at El Hogar Del Nino, where she also completed her graduate internship as a Family Support Specialist. She also has volunteer experience with the Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Connections for Abused Women and their Children. Jacqueline holds a Master of Social Work degree from Dominican University and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Northeastern Illinois University. She has also played a leadership role with the Alliance for Student Social Workers.