Governor Moore Announces Appointments to the Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs

Published: 12/27/2023

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Governor Wes Moore today announced appointments to the Governor's Commission on Hispanic Affairs, filling critical vacancies on the commission and bringing together a range of professional and cultural expertise to advise the administration on behalf of Maryland’s Hispanic and Latino communities, which collectively represent the state’s fast-growing demographic. Dr. Ernesto Chanona will serve as chair.

Appointees include:

Dr. Ernesto Chanona, from Mexico, leads the business development and government affairs division of CSSi LifeSciences. He currently sits on the board of directors for the American Red Cross and serves as an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School. 

Diana Acosta, from El Salvador, is the director of programs at VineCorps and has worked for more than a decade doing community work, youth development and program management in the nonprofit sector. She is a recipient of the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Public Service Fellowship from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Alicia Altamirano, from Costa Rica, is an attorney currently working as a member of La Alianza Latina Work Group. She was previously legal director for Luminus and chaired the Maryland Democratic Latino Diversity Leadership Council and co-chaired the Howard County Democratic Central Committee.

Dr. Felipe Amin Filomeno, from Brazil, is an associate professor of political science and global studies at University of Maryland Baltimore County and is president of the Latino Racial Justice Circle, which promotes immigrant integration and intergroup relations. He is a past co-chair of the Baltimore County Affordable Housing Working Group subcommittee on public education and outreach.

Jorge Flores, from Puerto Rico, is a program support specialist with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. He was previously director of home study and post release services for the Cayuga Centers, where he led a team to assist unaccompanied child immigrants from Latin America. 

Dr. Aitza Haddad Nunez, from Puerto Rico, is a Spanish teacher at Williamsport High School, an adjunct faculty instructor at Hagerstown Community College and adjunct professor at Southern New Hampshire University. She is also the founder, director and chief executive officer of Friendly Law, a nonprofit organization that provides low-income law students with opportunities for success.

Lena Hernandez, from Mexico, is senior director of external affairs and administration at D&P Creative Strategies, LLC. With more than 15 years of experience in relationship expansion, event innovation and program management, she has served on the board of directors of the Latin American Youth Center and as conference committee chair and board member of Latinas Leading Tomorrow.

Stephanie Landaverde, raised in the U.S. by her Peruvian mother and Salvadoran father, recently graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park as an undergraduate criminal justice major interested in advocacy, policy and research development. She previously worked as a court reporting intern for Baltimore Witness, a juvenile registry project intern for the administrative office of the courts and as a clerk for the Howard County Circuit Court.

Gabriel Moreno, Esq., from Mexico, is chief executive officer of Luminus, which offers legal, social, language and employment services to New Americans, and also serves as the second vice chair for the Howard County Democratic Central Committee. He was previously a senior attorney with Kids in Need of Defense, which provides resources and legal services to immigrant and refugee children.

Dinorah Olmos, from Mexico, is the founding president and chief executive officer of Latino Education Advancement Fund, a non-profit that provides resources to Spanish-speaking parents to help families navigate the education system. Previously, she also served as vice president of the Johns Hopkins Latino Alliance and as a member of the parent and community advisory board for Baltimore City Public Schools.

Dr. Maria Ramos Olazagasti, from Puerto Rico, serves as a senior research scientist at Child Trends, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and publishing organization that provides analytics on how to improve the lives of children and youth. She also works as an assistant professor for the department of child and adolescent psychiatry at Columbia University.

Nitzalis Rivera, from Puerto Rico, has been a Maryland-certified educator for 20 years and is currently an associate member of American Translators Association and owner of Spanish 4 ALL, which provides translation and interpretation services. She is also a board member for Washington County Chamber of Commerce, the Boys and Girls Club of Washington County and Leadership Washington County.

Ana Salmeron, from El Salvador, is the chief financial officer for Latino Economic Development Center, combining her skills in finance with her interest in serving her community. She also serves as president for the Morazan Sister City Committee in Montgomery County.

Katie Simbala, from Honduras, is the founder and director of photography of Kap2ure Creative Co., a queer Latina-owned film production company in Baltimore City, and has more than 14 years of experience in film, media and photography. 

Yuliana Macey
, from Peru, is a community health organizer for Maryland Latinos Unidos, as well as the vice president of Foundation Puro Peru, which educates Peruvian American people and the Latino community about Peruvian culture. During the pandemic, she also conducted outreach with the Anne Arundel Department of Health, providing COVID resources, information and vaccines to Latino families.

Gaby Argoti-Fernandez, from Ecuador, works as a commercial loan servicer at DC Green Bank, where she creates innovative financing for clean energy in underserved markets. She is also the proud owner of Flancakes by Gaby, where she enjoys sharing the custard-like dessert and her culture with others and offers English as a Second Language programs.

Veronica Estrada, from El Salvador, serves as a financial center lending officer for Bank of America and owns her own party decorating business. She has a long history of service to the Hispanic community, offering free lessons on basic computer skills and volunteering at local schools and food pantries.

Lorena Pombo, from Colombia, is co-founder and a board member of Zehirut Group, a business that provides training, security consulting and intelligence services. She is also a leader of the DMV Latin Faith Entrepreneurship Connect group at Alpha & Omega Church and a cake artist who enjoys teaching children how to bake.

Javier Toro, from Puerto Rico, is the housing stability coordinator for the Carroll County Department of Citizen Services and an appointed member of the Carroll County Local Management Board. He provides onsite and offsite extended support and case management to those assigned under his existing caseload as well as walk-ins to the Carroll County office.

Victoria Gomez Lozano, from Mexico, is the Hispanic outreach coordinator for the Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center in Easton, where she connects Spanish-speaking members of the community to vital resources and offers referral assistance for immigrants. She is also a board member with the Talbot County Public Schools Education Foundation and Talbot Mentors.