Marla Bilonick - Executive Director
Marla Bilonick was named LEDC's Executive Director in October, 2014. Prior, she served for 5 months as the organization's Interim Executive Director. She rejoined LEDC in 2012 as Director of Small Business Development after first working at the organization in 1999 as a microloan officer. As Director, she worked with her team to provide high-quality bilingual training and technical assistance to entrepreneurs and small business owners in the DC metropolitan area. In her current role as Executive Director, she is leading LEDC's regional efforts to drive the economic and social advancement of low- to moderate-income Latinos and other D.C. and Baltimore area residents by equipping them with the skills and tools to achieve financial independence.
Previously, she worked for Seedco with entrepreneurs in Lower Manhattan New York that were impacted by the 2001 attacks of September 11th, helping to re-focus their businesses so that they could be retained and could grow despite the effects of the tragedy. As previous director of the Upper Manhattan Business Solutions Center, Marla’s team was able to work closely with community entrepreneurs in Harlem to launch and expand their businesses, bridging gaps to critical resources including information and financing. Her work in microenterprise development and microfinance in the international arena for DAI in settings such as Bolivia, El Salvador, Mexico, and her native Panama provides her with cultural sensitivity and awareness that is useful for working with LEDC's core constituents. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison and received her Master of Arts degree in International Economics and Latin American Studies from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies-SAIS.
Marla is a member of the Board of Directors of the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development-CNHED and a member of the Montgomery County Comprehensive Economic Strategy Advisory Group. She is a former Aspen Institute Emerging Leaders in Microbusiness-ELM2 Fellow and is a graduate of the Citi/Opportunity Finance Network (OFN)'s Leadership Program for Opportunity Finance at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Marla currently serves on Capital One Bank's Community Advisory Council and is a member of the Equity Committee of the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN)'s Board of Directors, and of the Policy Committee of the National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB)'s Board of Directors. She was named a Community Champion for the Washington, DC metropolitan area by Capital One Bank in 2015.
She resides in the Maryland suburbs with her husband and three children, Matteo, Luca and Romy as well as their dog, Buddy.
Leda Hernández - Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Leda Hernandez joined LEDC in 1998 and has worked in LEDC's Finance & Administration Department for the past 18 years. More recently, as Controller, she spent a decade leading all bookkeeping and procurement activities at LEDC as well as managing and reconciling bank accounts for the organization. On August 1st, 2016, Leda was appointed Chief Operating Office-COO, overseeing strategic and long-term initiatives for LEDC. Prior to joining LEDC in June 1998 she worked for the City Tavern Association where she served as an accountant. She received a B.S. in Accounting with a minor in Business Management from Strayer University in 1997. Leda says “my observation and experience of the under-representation in the government and the poor quality of life that is prevalent in so many communities has inspired me to consider the role I can play in making changes in these situations.” Leda serves the community with passion.
Rosana Sandoval - Bookkeeper/HR/Office Manager
Rosana has more than ten years of experience in Business, Human Resources, and working as a Special Projects Coordinator at a Senior Management level. Rosana has excellent written and oral communication skills, problem resolution abilities, and maintains a high level of confidentiality regarding work-related issues. Rosana started with LEDC in 2009 as a Bilingual Default Foreclosure Counselor and was promoted after 5 months to become Financial and Human Resources Specialist. Rosana has over 4 years of experience working in the Administration department at LEDC and over 20 years of background experience. She has recently returned to LEDC’s Finance Department where she continues to exercise her well-developed skills in Human Resources administration, office management, bookkeeping, and finance.
Marjorie Nemes-Galarza - Director of Development
Ms. Nemes comes to LEDC with 14 years of experience in the community development field. As LEDC's Development Director, in partnership with the Executive Director, Ms. Nemes spearheads development efforts, including communications and evaluation. Prior to joining LEDC, Ms. Neme's work focused on assessing the needs of vulnerable and marginalized communities and the impact of programs designed to minimize social inequities. She has directed, consulted, and supported research and evaluation projects related to immigrant and refugee integration, public health, community change processes, and economic development. Ms. Nemes is bilingual and has extensive experience conducting field work with ethnic communities. Having served as a research and evaluation consultant to foundations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations, Ms. Nemes is well versed in program development and organizational capacity building. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maryland, College Park, in Psychology and a Master's of Science in Cross-Cultural Psychology from Brunel University in London, England.
Jorge Rodriguez-Larrain - Communications and Development Associate
Jorge Rodriguez-Larrain joined the LEDC team in January 2016 as the Communications and Development Associate. Jorge has moved around a lot. Both of his parents are Peruvians. He has lived in Peru, Brazil and Mexico. He is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and English. Jorge went to the University of Michigan, were he obtained his BA in Political Science and Philosophy. Jorge has worked in several political campaigns, including the campaign to reelect Judge Clay Jenkins from the Dallas County, and more recently Adrian's Garcia's campaign for Mayor of Houston, working as the Media Relations Director. Jorge has also served as a White House appointee for the HHS as the West Texas Regional Outreach Specialist and Media Advisor. Jorge is very passionate about social change and improving the conditions for underprivileged people, with a focus on Hispanic communities.
Oswaldo Acosta - Director of Small Business Services
As an entrepreneur, Oswaldo understands the value of having access to financial services first hand and is aware of the important role that the Latino Economic Development Center plays in the success of the region’s small business owners. In his own entrepreneurial ventures, he launched and expanded a food manufacturing company with market reach in Virginia, Maryland, DC, Pennsylvania and New York City. After his company’s acquisition, Oswaldo joined Self-Help Ventures Fund’s team, a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) where he was part of a commercial lending group prior to joining LEDC as director of Small Business Services. Oswaldo’s academic training as an economist, his experience as a consultant for The World Bank and certainly his experience as an entrepreneur suits him with a broad and technical understanding of the challenges facing LEDC clients. He holds a bachelor degree in economics from Monterrey Tec, an MA in Political Economy and an MSc in Economic Regulation from Essex University and the London School of Economics and Political Science, respectively.
Zara Cabrera - Portfolio and Data Administrator, DC
Zara was born and raised in the Petworth neighborhood in Washington, DC and her parents are Panamanian. Zara's previous work experience includes working as an administrative assistant at H&R Block and Rosemount Center. She graduated from Bell Multicultural High School in the Columbia Heights neighborhood and attended Montgomery College Silver Spring/Takoma Park campus. Zara enjoys being a part of an organization that helps small business owners that have difficulty obtaining credit from mainstream financial institutions achieve their dream of starting-up, improving, or expanding their businesses.
Richard Cisneros - Small Business Coach and Liaison, MD
Richard Cisneros was born in San Miguel, El Salvador. Richard holds a BS in Business Management from George Mason University and a Associate of Science degree in Business Administration from the Northern Virginia Community College. Richard worked for two years as the Marketing Manager at the Mariposa Cultural Foundation. Before this, Richard used to work as the Assistant Producer for Accent Media, Inc, and as the General Manager for Three Pigs Barbecue. Richard feels blessed to work with business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. He feels inspired to work with motivated-hardworking individuals. He gets to help foster and develop ideas into functional businesses. Richard provides one-on-one coaching for small business owners, builds client base and fills courses through outreach, and organizes trainings on business topics. Richard is proud to hear the success stories of his clients.
Maria Jimenez - Small Business Coach and Trainer, MD
Maria brings to LEDC fifteen years of experience in finance and accounting, working on multiple assignments at the Senior Management level. Her experience includes private sector and, more recently, the international nonprofit sector where she had the opportunity to work in Peru, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua and USA. She is bilingual and originally from Peru. Her passion is social entrepreneurship and social finance. In that sense, she volunteered as a mentor helping a Peruvian entrepreneur and as a volunteer evaluating social enterprise in Africa and Haiti. She holds a Bachelor in Accounting from Catholic University, Peru, and an MBA from Monterrey Institute of Technology, Mexico. She received a certificate in Microfinance at the Boulder Institute of Microfinance and Social Enterprise and a Social Impact Investment certificate at Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS), in California, USA. She is very excited to be part of LEDC and to provide technical assistance to small business and entrepreneurs to help them to flourish.
Eric Lin - Small Business Coach and Trainer, Baltimore
Eric Lin is multilingual, he speaks English, Spanish and Mandarin. Eric obtained his BA degree from the University of Massachusetts in Economics with a Minor in Psychology, and a MA degree in International Development Studies from the George Washington University. Before joining LEDC, Eric was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala, he later became a Research Intern at the Brookings Institution, he then worked as the Product Development/Sustainable Tourism Consultant at Solimar International in the Dominican Republic and Panama. Eric was also the General Manager at JBH Enterprises in Bocas del Toro, Panama, and more recently the Program Manager for the YouthActionNet at the International Youth Foundation. "Helping others in focusing their energies and guiding their path on their way to business success. I really enjoy and see my success through the success of others." His responsibilities at LEDC include providing one-on-one coaching for small business owners, organizing and facilitating trainings on business topics, and developing and maintaining programmatic partnerships throughout Baltimore City and Baltimore County.
Robert Sachs - Small Business Coach and Trainer, DC
Robert Sachs joined the LEDC's Small Business Division in July 2015. As an integral member of the Small Business Development Department in DC, Robert helps small businesses start and grow by assisting them in planning and executing their goals, providing them with the necessary support and resources to help them become successful businesses. Robert graduated from the University of Southern California where he received his B.S. in Business Administration with focuses in Entrepreneurship and International Business. During his time at USC, Robert participated in various student organizations where he was involved in developing products aimed at addressing social issues in the surrounding area of Los Angeles and also served as an advocate to address the needs of various student populations through the Undergraduate Student Government.
Andrea Guerrero - Small Business Coach and Trainer, DC
Andrea Guerrero was born in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico. She has a BS degree in International Economics with a sub-field concentration in Economic Growth, Transition, and Development from Georgetown University. Before coming to LEDC, Andrea was a Research Fellow for In The Public Interest (ITPI), a research and policy center concentrating on privatization and responsible contracting where she assisted on a project surrounding private prison contracting in the U.S. Before that Andrea worked as a summer organizer for ONEDC, a local nonprofit that advocates for more low-income housing in the Washington, DC area. Andrea feels that "Working at LEDC is an emotionally rewarding experience as I see people become self-sufficient with my assistance, and in the cases of long-time entrepreneur hopefuls, help people make their dreams come true." Andrea's responsibilities at LEDC include providing technical assistance to entrepreneurs as well as being a resource of information and programs for local businesses. Andrea is knowledgeable on a variety of topics from formalizing a business to marketing, keeping tack of finances and even website design.
Rossana Espinoza - Program Manager, Small Business Development Department
Rossana Espinoza is the Program Manager for Small Business Development at LEDC. She is responsible for ensuring quality small business support through technical assistance and business trainings in the greater DMV region. Her team of small business coaches work to help entrepreneurs start and expand their businesses by providing bilingual technical assistance in the areas of business planning, incorporation and licensing as well as holding trainings on topics pertinent to small business owners. Rossana has been at LEDC for five years since first joining in 2011. A graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park with a Bachelor’s degree in Government and Politics, Rossana has previously worked for student-led organizations on campus advocating for the inclusion and retention of Latino students. Rossana has worked on community development in a professional setting and volunteer basis and currently utilizes the skills gained to help minority and low-income small business owners thrive.
Diana Avellaneda - Program Manager, Lending Department, DC
Diana Avellaneda brings 22 years of experience to LEDC working in the field of finance in areas such as cash management, accounting, and investing with institutions including Citibank and Santander Bank. As Program Manager of the Lending Department, Diana is responsible for the management, administration and accounting of LEDC’s portfolio which has reached $2.7 million and more than 260 clients. She supports and develops all back office operations for LEDC's Community Asset Fund for Entrepreneurs to ensure LEDC business loans are repaid and adequately processed. Diana is a member of the Board of Directors of Credit Builders Alliance. She loves working at LEDC because of its work to help people not just tackle the challenging world of business but achieve success.
Rodrigo Cordon - Small Business Lending Officer, Baltimore
Rodrigo Cordon is from Guatemala and graduated from Loyola University Maryland with a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business. Before joining LEDC, Rodrigo worked for Under Armour, at the E-commerce department as a CSR in the returns team. Rodrigo has a passion for international development and has field experience in Peru and Zambia, where he performed his internships with Chemonics International. Rodrigo is very excited to be part of LEDC and help small businesses grow in Baltimore and its surrounding area.
Isis Salmeron - Small Business Lending Officer, MD
Originally from El Salvador, Isis Salmeron brings four years of experience working with small businesses and low income population in the DC Metropolitan area, especially in Montgomery County. She received her bachelor degree in Finance and Business Administration from the University of New Orleans, and her Master of Science in Finance from Johns Hopkins University. Isis is very excited to be part of LEDC and provide financial opportunities to small business’ owners and entrepreneurs.
Morgan Shaw - Small Business Lending Officer, DC
Morgan Shaw joined LEDC's lending team as a junior loan officer in June 2015. Morgan graduated from the University of Arkansas in May of 2015 with a BA in Spanish & Latin American Studies and a BA in International Relations. During his college years, Morgan spent two summers in Antigua, Guatemala doing Spanish immersion and a summer of school in Madrid, Spain. Last summer Morgan interned with LEDC conducting the Aspen Institute's FIELD Microtest survey to all small business clients. He is excited and happy to be back at LEDC as a full-time employee with the Micro-Lending team. Morgan is an very outgoing person who is looking forward to starting and expanding more small businesses in the DC metro area.
Pamela Cañas - Small Business Lending Officer, DC
Pamela Cañas’ responsibilities as a Small Business Loan Officer at LEDC include seeking and providing financing to new and current entrepreneurs in startup companies, or small business owners who need to maintain and/or expand their small businesses. She also provides to existing and potential small business owners credit counseling and education so that they eventually become financially independent and successful in their new or existing ventures, making thus a significant impact in their communities and families. Prior to joining LEDC, Pamela was a senior project analyst for ENDESA which was at the time the largest public electric utility company in her native country. In that position, she evaluated the main electrical projects in the country, making sure that the social impact of these projects was also considered. In USA, as a loan officer in the private sector, she worked primarily with minority communities. This job provided her with the opportunity to acquire an in depth knowledge of the challenges and aspirations of this population. She has worked in LEDC for four years, with an extensive experience in Microfinance and small business training. She is a Commercial Engineer with a major in Economics. She also has a Master of Arts in Economics and a Master in Business Administration, M.B.A.
Carlos Garcia Rada - Small Business Lending Officer, MD
Carlos Garcia is a Small Business Lending Officer with LEDC. He has developed a solid reputation for excellent client service and customized financing solutions. He works out of LEDC’s Montgomery County hub in Wheaton, Maryland. Prior to working at LEDC, Carlos cultivated a career in financial service provision in the private sector, working for entities including SunTrust Bank where he served as a Business Relationship Manager. He also worked for banks in his native Peru, including Banco Santander and Banco Solventa in the areas of marketing and sales. There he developed, launched, and grew critical brands and products for those respective banks. Carlos holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Lima in Lima, Peru.
Walda Yon brings six years of experience working with the Latino community in Washington, DC. Prior to working with LEDC, Walda worked in administrative and outreach capacities with Health Services for Children with Special Needs, Carlos Rosario International Career Center & Public Charter School, International Migrants Development Fund, and Alfa Omega Tax Service. Originally from Guatemala, Walda came to the US in 2000 with solid work experience in customer service and procurement at one of the leading sugar refineries in the country. Walda attended the Business Administration School at the Mariano Galvez University in Guatemala. In her position as Senior Housing Counselor Walda educates clients on the credit system, financial literacy and the home buying process. Also, Walda works with homeowners at risk of losing their homes to avoid foreclosure. She can also be seen in the community leading workshops at off-site venues. Walda is motivated by the fact that she is helping to improve the financial health of the community. She knows that by providing the tools for wealth-building to each client, she is helping their families and the community as a whole.
Walda Yon - Director of Housing, DC
Patricia Belbusti - Senior Bilingual Foreclosure Housing Counselor, MD
Maria Godoy - Bilingual Housing Counselor, DC
Yesenia Rivera - Bilingual Housing Counseling Coordinator, MD
Katherine Canales - Housing Counselor, MD
Julia Sarmiento - Housing Counselor, DC
Judith Ventura - Housing Intake & Support Staff, DC
Philip Kennedy - Tenant Organizing Manager, DC
Talia Brock - Tenant Organizer, DC
Rob Wohl - Tenant Organizer, DC
Sayra Molina - Tenant Organizer, DC