NMCAN’s team is a group of dedicated professionals, accountable to each other, our Youth Leaders, and the young people we serve.


Board of Directors

Sandy Garcia

Marian B. Hand, JD

Emily Acevedo, CPA

Jeff Hoehn


Sara Keller
Southwest Capital Bank

Antoinette Pacheco

Karen D.W. Patterson, PhD
University of New Mexico

Marcos Roybal, MBA
University of New Mexico

Ewa Ryba
US Bank



ArikaSanchezArika E. Sánchez, Director of Policy and Advocacy

Arika develops and implements the organization’s policy and advocacy agenda. She has previously worked for United Way of Central New Mexico, The Legal Aid Society in New York City, and Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii. Arika was a graduate fellow at the Justice Action Center and is a current member of the State Bar of New Mexico, volunteer attorney for a homeless legal clinic, and Junior Achievement volunteer. Arika holds a Juris Doctor from New York Law School, Master of Public Administration from the University of New Mexico, and Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. arika.sanchez@nmcan.org


ClaireCanfieldClaire Canfield, Director of Engagement

Claire oversees program development and implementation, which includes fiscal and administrative management. She is a native New Mexican with roots in Laguna Pueblo and in Albuquerque. Claire received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art History from the University of New Mexico. She has worked at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in several capacities, including program management, volunteer coordination, fundraising, and event planning. Claire also serves on the board of YNPN-New Mexico as well as performs with and serves on the board of Southwest Arts Group (SWAG). claire.canfield@nmcan.org


ElenaFletcherElena Fletcher, Community Engagement Coordinator

Elena builds and manages relationships with dedicated mentors and passionate community partners, connecting them to our young people. Living in New York City and in-between photo editing jobs, Elena decided to volunteer for GDS’s Camp Excel. She immediately fell in love with helping young people reach their potential. She continued her career in publications but always made time to volunteer with young people. In 2015, Elena moved to the Land of Enchantment and joined AmeriCorps VISTA as a volunteer Community/Family Engagement Coordinator through YDI’s ELEV8 in Wilson Middle School. Elena holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Pratt Institute and Master of Arts in Photography and Urban Culture through the Sociology Department, University of London, Goldsmiths. elena.fletcher@nmcan.org


Ezra Spitzer, Executive Director

Ezra joined NMCAN in 2007 and has had the privilege of being Executive Director since 2012. Previously, he served in the U.S. Peace Corps in the Central Asian Republic of Uzbekistan where he worked closely with a women’s crisis center and a youth empowerment center to build organizational capacity and cohesive strategies. Ezra also worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, helping resettle political refugees, and has mentored youth from the juvenile justice system as they transition to adulthood. Ezra holds a Master of Public Administration and is co-chair of the NM Children’s Court Improvement Commission. ezra.spitzer@nmcan.org


FarraFongFarra R. Fong, LMSW, Director of Evaluation and Training

Farra develops and leads the organization’s performance management process to ensure adherence to NMCAN’s mission and values and to evaluate our impact across programming. In this role, she is responsible for implementing systems for streamlined service delivery and data-driven decision making; and guides the organization-wide training, evaluation, and new program development activities. She has more than 17 years of experience within the field of child welfare. Before joining NMCAN, she worked for New Mexico’s Children,Youth, and Families Department in several capacities, as well as within the Tribal foster care systems. Farra’s background is in quality assurance, curriculum development and training, and program design, development, and sustainability. farra.fong@nmcan.org


GemaGonzalezGema Gonzalez, Youth Engagement Coordinator

Gema works to provide support, guidance, and coaching to young people engaged in NMCAN opportunities and programming. Gema was raised in Sunland Park, New Mexico, a small city next to border town, El Paso, Texas. While she attended the University of New Mexico, she participated with El Centro De La Raza and a mentorship program called Women’s Impact. Her time in college is what led Gema to become highly passionate about civic engagement, women’s issues, education and youth advocacy. In 2016, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Interpersonal Communication with a minor in Sociology and became the first person in her family to graduate from college. She is truly excited and humbled to be a part of the NMCAN family and hopes to become a stronger advocate for first-generation, Mexican American students, women, and young people. gema.gonzalez@nmcan.org


JosephineMendozaJosephine Mendoza, Executive Assistant

Josephine supports NMCAN’s operations by maintaining office systems and providing administrative support to executive staff. Josephine is a born-and-raised New Mexican and first-generation college graduate of the University of New Mexico. Josephine has worked with many non-profits through her volunteering endeavors and service years with AmeriCorps. She strives to be a person who continues to learn, grow, contribute to others and challenge herself. josephine.mendoza@nmcan.org


LoriOteroLori Otero, Program Assistant

Lori provides planning and logistical support to NMCAN programming and collects and analyzes organizational data. Lori is a native New Mexican who has a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Bachelor of Science in Anthropology from the University of New Mexico. In high school and college, she devoted many hours to volunteer work. Her journey has led her from the Rio Grande Zoo to NMCAN where she is very excited to be. She looks forward to being a part of the NMCAN family for years to come. She is an avid crafter, and loves Escape Rooms. lori.otero@nmcan.org


LorilynnViolantaLorilynn Violanta, Director of Advancement

Lorilynn provides leadership for fundraising, relationship management, communications, public relations, and strategic partnerships. Lorilynn is dedicated to advancing socially just and influential change in our community, and prior to joining NMCAN, she managed a $2 million portfolio at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. She also guided fundraising activities for The Posse Foundation and Free Arts of Arizona. Lorilynn has a Master of Public Administration from Baruch College in New York City and currently serves on the board of ACF’s Future Fund, MiABQ, and New Mexico Asian Family Center. lorilynn.violanta@nmcan.org



Megan Tetreault, Youth Engagement Coordinator

Megan offers support, guidance, and coaching to young people engaged in NMCAN’s programming. Having aged out of the foster care system at 18, she has been personally involved with NMCAN programming since 2011, and she received a Bachelors in Psychology from University of New Mexico in 2016. With eight years of experience working in the field of child welfare, Megan is proud to dedicate her career to assisting young people in reaching their fullest potential despite the adversity that they have faced and will continue to face moving forward in life. megan.tetreault@nmcan.org


Rolando FernandezRolando Fernandez, Youth Engagement Coordinator

Rolando supports NMCAN’s mission by offering support, coaching, and guidance to young people within NMCAN’s programming. Rolando was born in Austin, Texas but spent the majority of his youth in southern New Mexico. Shortly after high school he joined the NM National Guard as a 31/B (Military Police). Rolando graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and a double minor in Religious Studies and Military Science. Currently he is a member of Youth Running 505 and is a Second Lieutenant in the NM National Guard as an Infantry Platoon Leader. Rolando is passionate about our local community and the success of our youth. He hopes to have a positive impact and support young adults in their journey as many have done for him. rolando.fernandez@nmcan.org