STAFF
Andrea Plaza

Andrea Plaza

Executive Director

Andrea is Encuentro’s founding director. She is a 25 year resident of New Mexico with roots in Colombia by way of North Carolina. Andrea moved to New Mexico to pursue graduate work in Latin American Studies and Community and Regional Planning. Her professional background includes working with immigrant women in the field of microenterprise development and educational and asset building programs for immigrant families. Most importantly Andrea has a life-long commitment to advancing the rights of immigrants as a tool for building social and economic justice.

Norma Casas

Norma Casas

Pathways Navigator

I’m originally from Mexico and like to work with the community. My work at Encuentro began as a computer student, then as a childcare provider and supervisor, and now I’m Encuentro’s Pathways navigator, welcoming everyone with a warm smile and spirit!

Iliana Lopez

Iliana Lopez

Interim Director of Educational Programs

Hello, my name is Iliana Lopez. I am very happy to work within this large organization because I like helping and above all learn to inform our community of resources that exist and how to access them. I am grateful to be part of this wonderful team. Together we can achieve great projects for the good of our community.

Elizabeth Guevara

Elizabeth Guevara

Administrative Assistant

Hello, my name is Elizabeth Guevara. I’m originally from El Salvador where I received a Bachelor’s in “Bachiller en Comercio y Administracion.” I lived in Los Angeles, CA for more than 30 years. I graduated as a Health Promoter in 2000. In 2011, I received a training for Community Health Outreach Worker. For more than 12 years, I worked for the Los Angeles County Immunization Program. Recently I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico looking for better job opportunities. I arrived at Encuentro as a volunteer. I am currently receiving classes in Business, Finances, and Citizenship. Due to the support of Encuentro’s Staff, I was hired as an employee and currently the Administrative Assistant.

Fermina Lopez

Fermina Lopez

Childcare Teacher

I have worked at Encuentro since it started. Currently, I work in its Childcare Services. I finished its Childcare Education and I’m taking classes for my Bachelor’s Degree.            I was inclined towards an educational branch since I was in 5th grade when I was placed to help the teacher with 1st grade children. I told myself I wanted to become a teacher when adult. Taking these classes has helped me understand children’s attitudes better. I am grateful to Encuentro and children’s parents for giving me the opportunity to accomplish my dreams.

 

Argelia Dominguez

Argelia Dominguez

Childcare Teacher

I’m originally from Mexico. My parents came to the U. S. in my teenage years. I work as a teacher in the Encuentro Childcare and have an associates degree in Early Childhood and Multicultural Education. I chose the field of education because I try to encourage children to have better futures and aspirations. What I love the most at Encuentro is the opportunity to interact with people (especially children) from different cultures.

Berta Gutierrez

Berta Gutierrez

Home Healthcare Program Coordinator

I am very happy to coordinate the Home Health Assistant Program in Encuentro, and this way support the immigrant community. This is a training program for a growing workforce in New Mexico. I was born in Costa Rica and have lived in the United States for about 28 years. I love traveling around the world and practice rock-climbing. Mountains are obstacles that I’ve been able to overcome.

Guille Quiroz

Guille Quiroz

Communications Manager

I come from a Guadalajara, the second largest city in Mexico. I’ve lived in Albuquerque for 25 years and worked in the public health field as a health outreach worker. I obtained most of my communication knowledge as a KUNM radio producer and “Tu Voz Digital” volunteer. I feel immigrants need to keep promoting our positive image and that is what I try to help within the Encuentro team. You’re welcome to participate.

Viridiana Palacios

Viridiana Palacios

Childcare Teacher
I am from Chihuahua, Mexico. I moved to Albuquerque when I was 12. I became part of Encuentro’s family as Childcare Teacher. I did my child day care certificate at CNM and want to complete my degree. I love to work with children, it’s the most important stage in our lives because a positive impact can happen. Encuentro gave me the opportunity to help my community and achieve my dream of becoming a teacher.
Mayte Lopez

Mayte Lopez

Public Ally

I am a first-generation American, born and raised in Albuquerque. I work at Encuentro in capacity building and system implementation. I also help in building protocol vigilance, which means significant progress for Encuentro. I am finishing my Bachelor in Sciences and Early Childhood Education. I am glad to work for Encuentro after many years as a volunteer.

Susana Aranda

Susana Aranda

Childcare Services Coordinator

I was born in Juarez, Chihuahua and have been living in Albuquerque for the past 14 years. I have my CDC certificate and associates classes. I have at the daycare at Encuentro since it began. Here I’ve had the opportunity to get to know my know my community, the resources it has to offer, and it has given me the chance to better myself at working with kids. I like working with kids, teaching them and learning from them.

Gerardo De Luna

Gerardo De Luna

Small Business Advisor
Board
Maria Teresa Martinez

Maria Teresa Martinez

President

Maria Teresa Martinez is a staff attorney at the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty where she focuses on farm worker rights. She is involved with Encuentro because she believes in the mission and values of the organization and wishes to be part of the movement to secure social and economic justice for immigrants in New Mexico.

Trish Abbin

Trish Abbin

Business Specialist

Trish works for the South Valley Small Business Development Center as a Business Specialist to assist those who would like to be in business achieve this as well as those who have existing businesses and need assistance. Trish is multi-lingual and has been working in the immigrant community for several years in a variety of capacities; all of which have been aimed at helping the immigrants acclimate and achieve success in the US, regardless of background or status. She hopes that by participating on the board of Encuentro, she can continue working with the immigrant community helping in any necessary role.

Justin Thamert-Rhemer

Justin Thamert-Rhemer

Secretary

Justin Remer-Thamert is an Albuquerque native with a special love for Latin America. He is the Executive Director of the New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice, connecting migrants in crisis to community services and support, as well as joining faith communities, educational opportunities, and sacred texts. As a former Fulbright-García Robles Student Fellow to Mexico, Justin spearheaded the logistics to bring a Mexican theater company to the United States. The company presented in Albuquerque at UNM and Encuentro, which sparked his initial interest in Encuentro. Justin seeks to merge art, culture and community vitality. Encuentro does all these things through its educational work, making Justin ever so happy to serve on the Board.

Claudia Medina

Claudia Medina

Board Member

Claudia is the Director of the University of New Mexico, Community Health Worker Initiatives (CHWI). In that capacity, she has developed, piloted and evaluated projects and tools aimed at integrating Community Health Workers (CHW’s) into the workforce. Before working for UNM, Claudia was the co-founder and executive director for 14 years of Enlace Comunitario (EC), an Albuquerque non-profit serving Latino immigrant victims of domestic violence and engaging in community development efforts. Ms. Medina has a Law Degree, an M.A. in Family Studies and an M.A. in Latin American Studies with a concentration in Community Planning.

Sandra Ortsman

Sandra Ortsman

Board Member

Sandra Ortsman has over a decade of experience working in nonprofit organizations. Until January of 2015, Ortsman was the Associate Director and Director of Planning, Development and Evaluation for Enlace Comunitario, a social justice domestic violence agency working to end domestic violence and promote healthy families in the Latino immigrant community in New Mexico. Her work has focused on developing, securing funding for and evaluating programs. Ms. Ortsman has created and implemented development plans for a variety of nonprofits. She is a Community Planner who is actively engaged in her community. Ms. Ortsman serves on the board of Encuentro, an immigrant rights community organization. She recently began her own consulting company to help social justice and social service nonprofits in New Mexico and nationally. Ms. Ortsman is also mom to an amazing toddler boy and baby girl.

Instructors
Pat Bonilla

Pat Bonilla

ESL Instructor
Larry Moore

Larry Moore

ESL Instructor
Queta Lindenberg

Queta Lindenberg

ESL Instructor
Patricia Beres

Patricia Beres

Citizenship Class Instructor
Barbara Lopez

Barbara Lopez

Financial Education Instructor
Vero Salazar

Vero Salazar

Computer Instructor
Joaquin Lopez

Joaquin Lopez

Mathematics Instructor