AURA TEAM BOARD OF DIRECTORS ADVISORY BOARD

Aura stays accountable to its customers through a community advisory board. The members of the Advisory Board represent Insikt's Hispanic and low-Income customers through their involvement with community-based organizations.

Tom Soto

Vice Chairman of the Board, New America Alliance

Tom currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the New America Alliance Institute and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the New America Alliance Inc., respectively a 501(c)(3) national non-profit organization and a 501(c)(6) national non-profit organization. Both organizations are based in Texas and are dedicated to advancing the economic development of the American Latino community across the United States. The 95 members of the New America Alliance have a collective $68 billion in assets under management. Tom is also the Founder and Managing Partner of Frontier Impact Capital, a Latino-owned private equity innovation fund focused on investing in the sustainability sector throughout low-income, diverse and underserved America. Previously, between November 2008 and January 2009, he was President-elect Obama's Co-Lead of the Executive Office of the President-elect's Transition Team for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. In addition, he was an appointee of President Clinton to the U.S. State Department's Border Environment Cooperation Commission which oversaw the $2.5 billion North American Development Bank's activities. He was recognized by Poder 360 Magazine as one of the Nation's Top 100 Latino Green Leaders and was one of Hispanic Business Magazine's 100 Most Influential Latinos of 2010.

Tom holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Carmen Palafox

Board Member, Century Center for Economic Opportunity

Carmen currently serves as board member of Century Center for Economic Opportunity, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in California with the mission to empower underserved young adults to rebuild their lives and communities through leadership, education and technical training. She is also a partner at Make in LA, an early stage venture capital firm and accelerator that specializes in technology-enabled hardware (e.g., internet of things, robotics, wearables, VR/AR/MR, frontier tech, etc.). In addition, she serves on the advisory board at Santa Monica College Business Department, is Chair of Next Gen Latino (a LA Latino Chamber of Commerce initiative) and is also a contributing writer for Latinas in Business.

Previously, she was VP of Investment Operations, at Dimensional Fund Advisors LP, where she scaled operations into new markets, including Latin America, Canada, and Europe. She also served as a consultant to small businesses and startups in areas such as operations, fundraising, growth strategy, and product pricing.

Carmen holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Southern California, a M.A. in Sports Management from the University of San Francisco, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of California at Berkeley with a focus on entrepreneurship and new venture finance.

Cleofas Rodriguez

President and CEO of the United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce

Cleofas currently serves as the Executive Director of the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association, a 501(c)(3) national non-profit organization that helps improve the lives of migrant and seasonal farmworker children and their families. These families generally earn less than $10,000/year and have no health benefits. The organization serves over 30,000 migrant children and 2,500 seasonal children annually across the United States, with recent initiatives including “Migrant Voices”, a partnership with the U.S. Department of Education’s White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, to elevate the voices of migrant families. Previously, he was the Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of Raising Austin and the Executive Director of the Texas Head Start Association, Inc., two non-profit organizations based in Texas. He was also recognized by the Latino American Who’s Who in 2012.

Cleofas holds a B.S. in Family and Child Studies and received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Texas State University.

Frank Salazar

California Latino Legislative Caucus' Latino PAC

Frank currently serves as Director of Communications & Public Affairs at Pioneers Memorial Hospital, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in California that provides healthcare and compassionate service to families in need in California. His prior work was in politics with Senator Ben Hueso, Congressman Bob Filner, James Carville’s South American associate, and as a President Clinton appointee to USDA. He also served on the Calexico City Council and on several boards and commissions. He was recently asked by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher and Senator Hueso to serve as Co-Lead of the California Latino Legislative Caucus’ Latino PAC.

Frank holds a B.A. in Political Science and Government from San Diego State University.

Gerardo Interiano

Head of External Affairs for the Southwest U.S., Google

Gerardo is the Head of Local Market Staffing at Google. He previously served as Head of External Affairs for the Southwest U.S. at Google. Prior to joining Google, he spent several years working in federal and state politics, including most recently as Campaign Manager and Counsel to Speaker Joe Straus and previously as Deputy Chief of Staff and Campaign Manager for U.S. Congressman Lamar Smith and as Appointments Manager for Governor Rick Perry. Gerardo is actively engaged in the non-profit community.

He currently serves on the boards of the Austin Community Foundation, the Austin Ed Fund, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, and the Texas Exes 1883 Council. Previously, he was also engaged in the work of the Dell Children’s Medical Center Foundation, Mission Capital, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He is a 2017 Presidential Leadership Scholar, received the 2015 Austin Under 40 Government and Public Affairs Award, was a member of Leadership Austin’s Essential Class of 2015 and a 2016 Austin Area Research Organization McBee Fellow.

Gerardo holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin and a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law.

Manolo Diaz

Former California Assembly Member

Manolo has over 25 years of experience in public policy advocacy as a former engineering manager for Pacific Gas & Electric Company, San Jose City Councilmember, California State Assemblyman and current government relations consultant. In January 2005, he formed Diaz & Associates, a government relations firm focused on California legislative/public policy issues impacting public and private companies.

Previously, he served as California State Assemblyman for Silicon Valley (2001-2004), City Council member for the City of San Jose (1995-2000), and San Jose Planning Commissioner (1986-1994). Manolo has also served on several state/local boards and committees, including as Vice-Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, Chair of the California State Assembly Select Committee on Affordable Housing, and Member of the California State Assembly Select Committee on IT & New Economy Workforce. Prior to serving in an elective public office capacity, he worked for Pacific Gas & Electric Company as an engineering professional. He has also co-founded the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (CLES) and MANOS- Latino Tech Start-Up Accelerator. Manolo holds a B.S. in Engineering (emphasis electrical) from California State University of San Francisco.

Nelly Rojas-Moreno

Chief Credit Officer, LiftFund, a CDFI

Nelly currently serves as Chief Credit Officer for LiftFund, one of the nation’s largest Small Business Lenders. LiftFund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Texas that, for more than 21 years has helped individuals achieve the American Dream by providing small business loans to those who do not have access to capital from typical lending sources, such as traditional banks. Along with vital small business loans, LiftFund provides educational services at no cost to borrowers, which are essential to foster self-sufficiency. As Chief Credit Officer, she is responsible for the development and management of the organization’s credit strategy and credit risk management. She oversees underwriting, closing, collections and account resolution operations. Her small business lending expertise includes designing and implementing risk models as well as developing loan products and programs. During her 17 years at LiftFund, she has developed most of the organization’s underwriting policies and procedures and helped in the development and implementation of the Microloan Management Services (MMS) Division, the SBA 504 and SBA 7a Community advantage program. She is also a 2013 participant in the Annie Casey Leadership Learning Network.

Nelly holds a B.S. in Economics from Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi and her Master of Business Administration in Finance and International Business from Our Lady of the Lake.

Jon Samuels

Former Deputy Assistant for Legislative Affairs, Obama Administration

Jon has over 20 years of experience in all aspects of non-profit community development, including board relations, management, and public relations in the Latino and multi-cultural markets. He is currently Partner at The Vistria Group, a middle market private equity firm focused on education, healthcare and financial services. Prior to Vistria, he was Deputy Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, serving as President Obama’s liaison to the U.S. House of Representatives. He led White House efforts to advance the President's Financial Services policy priorities in the House of Representatives, with a strong focus on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.

He also played a key role in the passing of the Affordable Care Act. Jon holds a B.A. in Law and Society from Michigan State University.

Tammye Trevino

Former USDA leader, Obama Administration

Tammye currently serves as the Executive Director for the Housing Authority of Bexar County, a 501(c)(3) public housing agency based in Texas with the mission to create, promote, and sustain diversified and affordable housing opportunities for low to moderate-income families. The Housing Authority administers public housing, housing choice vouchers and related self-sufficiency programs. Previously, she served as a political appointee for the Obama Administration from 2009 to 2017. She was first appointed as the National Administrator for USDA’s Rural Development, Rural Housing Program, where she administered a $25 billion budget, $100 billion loan portfolio and 16 programs targeting low and moderate-income families in Single Family Housing and Mortgage Lending, Multi-Family Housing and Community Facilities. Later, she joined the USHUD under the Obama Administration’s second term, where she became the Regional Administrator for Region 6, overseeing all USHUD activities in Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana.

From 1999 to 2009, she served as CEO for FUTURO, a Texas-based non-profit organization providing housing, business and community development including a micro-lending program for small businesses. Previously, she also served as the economic development director for LaSalle County, Texas, where she led the conversion of a 47-county, South Texas think tank into a non-profit organization to work on regional economic development responding to the changing needs of its growing, and largely Hispanic population.

She is a certified Economic Development Finance Professional as well as a certified Housing Development Finance Professional. Tammye holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a Master of Business Administration from Sul Ross State University's Rio Grande College in Uvalde, Texas.

Omar Khan

Director, New York Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit and Senior Advisor

Omar Khan is an experienced government and civic leader, having previously served in several senior positions in the Obama Administration, including as the Director of Public Engagement at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Khan most recently worked at Mercury Public Affairs as a Senior Vice President in the New York City Office, where he provided counsel for clients in public affairs, advocacy, policy and political campaigns.

Prior to joining Mercury, he held several senior roles in the Obama Administration. As the Assistant Trade Representative for Intergovernmental Affairs he led stakeholder and public engagement, and managed outreach to non-governmental organizations and state and local governments to address inequality in employment opportunities and promote job creation. He also served as the Director of Public Engagement at the Environmental Protection Agency and as the Director of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations for President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Task Force. In this role, Khan built strategic partnerships with state and local governments affected by Hurricane Sandy to develop policy recommendations that were implemented and continue to guide the rebuilding efforts.  

In addition to his work in government, Khan has significant experience working on political campaigns, where he championed expanding voting rights and more inclusive and representative elections. He has worked in various local, state, and national elections, including as the National Associate Political Director in President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and as campaign manager for Charlie Crist’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign.

Qiana Patterson

Director of Public Partnerships for HopSkipDrive

Ms. Patterson is a former teacher, middle school administrator and education technology executive, with over 10 years of experience in the education sector and a wealth of leadership and project / product management expertise in the technology industry. She currently serves as Director of Public Partnerships for HopSkipDrive, a ride share service for children that requires its drivers to have childcare experience and pass rigorous safety standards.  Qiana has worked with students, teachers and private industry innovators to nurture global citizens both inside and outside of the classroom. She previously led her own technology consulting firm, QP Advisors. Qiana was the founding COO for Edlio, a California-based K12 education technology company, and the Interim CEO of Educational Networks, a leading content management software platform company. Before Educational Networks, she worked as a teacher and Dean of Students in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Ms. Patterson holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Washington, a multiple-subject teaching credential from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Master of Business Administration from USC's Marshall School of Business.

Dorima Hamilton

Executive Director, Instituto de Avance Integral Latino 

Dorima is Executive Director of Instituto de Avance Integral Latino (IDEAL CDC), a 501(c)(3) organization that serves a community mostly made up of first-generation Latino families.  IDEAL exists to advocate and create programs that empower Latino families to become self-sufficient and thriving members of society by providing families and individuals with training, assistance, and services in areas such as affordable housing, financial capability, economic development, immigration, family counseling and youth development. IDEAL served over 350 families in 2017 in financial literacy, home buyer workshops, small business, and immigration advocacy. In 2018, IDEAL served over 900+ indiviuals in financial capability workshops, leadership development, and small business coaching. In 2019, Dorima coordinated an outreach event in East L.A. with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), local banks, small dollar lenders, and community leaders who are concerned about predatory lending.   IDEAL is also a strategic partner to various community development corporations such as the Southern Pacific District vos Community Developmemt & Small Business Department, Centro de Vida Victoriosa, COPALA and many more. IDEAL works hand-in-hand with Los Angeles city officials, Washington D.C. leaders, financial institutions, nonprofit CEO's and bank board directors on community developments. Dorima oversees development of all fundraising efforts for IDEAL.

Ms. Hamilton graduated from Vanguard University with a BA in Psychology. Has worked in management at a top Fortune 500 company. She has also worked with special needs children and their families as a behavior and speech therapist.

Adam Rodriguez

Actor and Social Entrepreneur

Adam serves as a board member of The Hispanic Scholarship Fund, a 501(c)(3) national charitable organization that provides college scholarships and college-preparation and retention outreach programs to Latino students and families nationwide. Adam also serves as a board member for LIFT, a national nonprofit dedicated to empowering families to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. He currently stars as an actor portraying “Luke Alvez” on the hit CBS television show Criminal Minds. He received an ALMA Award in 2011 for his notable role as “Eric Delko” on the internationally acclaimed crime drama CSI: Miami, for which he also wrote and directed multiple episodes. Adam is an NAACP Image Award recipient for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for his work in Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself. Other memorable roles include “Tito” in Magic Mike and its sequel Magic Mike XXL, as well as bad-boy “Bobby Talercio” on the final season of ABC’s Ugly Betty, and “Jesse Ramirez” in the cult hit Roswell. 

Manolo Sanchez

Financial Services Leader and Community Leader

Manolo Sánchez is a Director at Fannie Mae and OnDeck. He currently serves on the board of the Center for Houston’s Future, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that inspires leaders to identify matters of the highest importance to the long-term future of the greater Houston Region and to collaborate in addressing those issues, including critical issues related to immigration. He serves as Chair of the Post Oak Montessori School board, as well as trustee of Good Reason Houston, an organization with a mission to increase the number of students succeeding in high-quality schools today and thriving in the workforce tomorrow. He is trustee of KIPP Houston charter schools, a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to help students develop the knowledge, skills, and character strengths they need to seize opportunities. Manolo served as chairman and CEO of BBVA Compass for 10 years.  At Rice University’s Jones School of Business, he teaches disruption in financial services with a focus on crypto currencies and blockchain. Manolo is a Founding Advisor to SpringLabs, a fintech company developing a blockchain-based, peer-to-peer network to allow financial institutions to share credit and identity data.  He is also the Founder of Adelante Ventures LLC.

During his 27 year banking career, Manolo worked in the US, Mexico, France and Spain, having served in executive roles in risk management, real estate, correspondent, community, corporate and investment banking.  Under Manolo’s leadership, BBVA Compass became one of the more ambitious digital challengers in banking while also landing at #1 on American Banker's reputation ranking.  Manolo grew BBVA’s US subsidiary from 2,000 to 10,000 employees, and from $3 billion to $100 billion in assets through the integration of six acquisitions and $40 billion of organic growth.  In addition to his volunteer work on education, he supports local arts organizations as a trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Houston Grand Opera and as executive committee member of the Houston Symphony.  He has also served on the boards of Simple Finance, AT&T México, Hoteles Presidente and Cintra (holding company for Aeroméxico and Mexicana). 

A graduate of Yale University, Sánchez earned master’s degrees in international relations from the London School of Economics and in advanced European economics from the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. Manolo lives in Houston with his wife and three children.