Nicole Sanchez CEO and Founder of Vaya Consulting
Nicole has spent over two decades working on building inclusive organizational cultures. After finishing her undergraduate degree at Stanford, Nicole helped build one of the country’s first AmeriCorps programs. There, she was able to work on the practical application of diversity, leading teams of people from all over the world in service to communities.
Nicole’s first job working on diversity in tech was in 1999, where she saw first-hand the obstacles that prevent talented people from accessing opportunities in this sector. From there, Nicole moved on to work on diversity and inclusion in higher education, government, and eventually back in tech. She earned an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, where she now serves as a lecturer teaching “Diversity in the Workplace.” Nicole has also served as Managing Partner of the Kapor Center for Social Impact and VP of Social Impact at GitHub.
She has been named a “Game Changer” by Spelman College and one of “6 Game-Changing Hispanic Women” by Makers.
In addition, Nicole is a mom to two teenagers and lives with her family in the San Francisco East Bay, where she was born and raised.
Jorge Martinez Board Member
Jorge (George) Martinez is the vice president/chief technology officer at the Knight Foundation. He has 25 years of experience in the IT field. Before joining the foundation, Martinez worked in the advanced systems department of The Miami Herald Publishing Company. Prior to that, he was a systems engineer for MicroAge, whose clients included Dade-Baxter, Baptist Health Systems, Knight-Ridder and Ryder Systems. He earned his bachelor’s of science degree in information technology from Barry University and is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.
Marco A. López, Jr. Board Member
Marco A. López, Jr. is the President and CEO of Intermestic Partners, a premier government aﬀairs and corporate strategy firm that provides strategic business development, market access and policy counsel to both international and domestic organizations. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves as Senior Advisor to the Chairman of Grupo Carso and The Carlos Slim Foundation, and has served as U.S. advisor to presidential campaigns in Latin America on topics of national security, border trade and commerce, and economic development. Prior to founding Intermestic Partners, Marco was Chief of Staﬀ at the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), managing an organization with a $12 billion budget and 60,000 employees.
While at CBP, Marco was instrumental in developing key international partnerships that strengthened security while ensuring the eﬃcient movement of people and goods into the United States. He counseled the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Commissioner of CBP on the implementation of new technologies, human resources, and infrastructure to secure America’s Southwest border with Mexico. Additionally, Marco supported and facilitated negotiations with eight Latin American countries to secure regional participation in an important aviation security program credited with identifying and preventing the transit of dangerous people and cargo to the Western Hemisphere. Marco worked with cabinet oﬃcials throughout the world including in Mexico, Canada, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Chile, South Korea, Egypt, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.
Before joining DHS, Marco served as the Director of the Arizona Department of Commerce. In Arizona, he served in various capacities including Senior Advisor to the Governor, Vice-Chair of the Arizona-Mexico Commission and Policy Advisor for Mexico and Latin America. Additionally, Marco was the Executive Director of the Arizona- Mexico Commission. During his time at the Governor’s Oﬃce, Marco played a vital role in policy development regarding immigration, border security, and trade. As part of his key responsibilities, Marco established relationships between the State of Arizona and foreign governments and leaders.
Marco has an accomplished public sector career: at the age of 22, he became one of the youngest mayors in the United States, elected into oﬃce at Arizona's largest border community of Nogales, Arizona shortly after graduating from the University of Arizona. He was re-elected by an overwhelming majority of the vote in 2002, one year before being tapped by then-governor Janet Napolitano to serve at the Arizona State Capital.
Carlos Slim Helú Board Member
Born in Mexico in 1940, Mr. Slim has been an investor and entrepreneur, leading a portfolio of successful companies including; Inversora Bursátil, Casa de Bolsa Inmobiliaria Carso, Minera Frisco, Telefonos de Mexico, America Movil, and Grupo Financiero Inbursa, Inc. Mr. Slim is Co-Chairman of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Broadband Commission for Digital Development 2011. Mr. Slim holds a degree in civil engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
Zach Leverenz Board Member
Zach served as the founding CEO of EveryoneOn until January 2016. He led the growth of EveryoneOn into a national force for social impact and inclusion. After six months of prototypes, Zach launched EveryoneOn nationally in March 2013 with a new ZIP-based eligibility algorithm that expanded EveryoneOn's reach to 36 million Americans who are in-coverage and pre-qualified for home Internet. With a singular focus on providing access to opportunity for all, the organization has adopted a broad, integrative agenda that harnesses the collective expertise and scale of more than 250 cross-sector partners to accelerate meaningful technology adoption for all segments of the unconnected population, including students, families, adults, and seniors. Currently, he serves as in a Social Impact and Innovation role at AARP.
Through the work of EveryoneOn, Zach has became a recognized voice for delivering immediate and practical solutions to the digital divide with unprecedented scale. His work has been mentioned in the New York Times, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal, among other national media outlets, and he has been a featured speaker at technology leadership forums, including SXSW EDU, CES, Washington Post Live, and Discovery Education. Previously, Zach served as the CEO of Middle East Education through Technology (MEET), a MIT-based technology and social justice organization. He received a B.A. from Dickinson College and an Ed.M from Harvard University, where he was selected as a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship by Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership.
Jordan Usdan Adviser
Jordan Usdan is a Principal Strategist for the Chief Strategy Officer for Microsoft. Formerly, Jordan held several senior roles at the Federal Communications Commission, including Director of Public-Private Initiatives. In this role, Mr. Usdan helped coordinate the FCC's efforts on broadband adoption, digital textbooks, cybersecurity, online safety, and wireless health technology. In this role, he helped launch Connect2Compete and EveryoneOn as a public-private partnership. He joined the Commission in 2009 from Howrey LLP in Washington, D.C., where he practiced after receiving his law degree from Georgetown University. He also served as an a attorney on President Obama's 2008 campaign.
Marco A. López, Jr. Adviser
Marco A. López, Jr. serves as President and CEO of Intermestic Partners, a business advisory firm dedicated to serving international and domestic organizations with strategic guidance and policy direction. He guides U.S. outreach efforts The Carlos Slim Foundation, and that of its affiliate member corporate companies. Before founding Intermestic Partners, Marco served as Chief of Staff at the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Before joining DHS, Marco served for then-Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano as Director of the Arizona Department of Commerce. At the age of 22, he became one of the youngest mayors in the United States when he was elected into office at Nogales, Arizona’s largest border community, after graduating from the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Paula Ellis Adviser
Paula Ellis is the former vice president for strategic initiatives for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. She was a member of the executive committee over national programs and new initiatives, responsible for developing and gauging the impact of the foundation’s overall strategy. She previously was vice president for operations at Knight Ridder, where she oversaw 15 newspapers and was a member of the Management Committee. Ellis earned a bachelor’s degree in government and politics at the University of Maryland, where she was editor of the student daily. She graduated from Northwestern University with a master’s degree in journalism.