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*

Sara Keller
Nusenda Credit Union

Vice President
Stefanie Vigil, MPH, LMSW
True Health New Mexico

Sandy Garcia
Community Volunteer / retired from Bank of the West

Lalita Moskowitz, JD
American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico


Antoinette Pacheco
Community Volunteer / retired from City of Albuquerque

Karen D.W. Patterson, PhD
University of New Mexico, Anderson School of Management

John J. Schoeppner, JD
Community Volunteer / retired from the Second Judicial District Court


Arika E. Sánchez, Director of Policy and Advocacy

Arika develops and implements the organization’s policy and advocacy agenda, working closely with young people to shift systems to reflect their needs, values, and priorities. 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 volunteer attorney for a homeless legal clinic in Albuquerque. She is a current member of the State Bar of New Mexico, Junior Achievement volunteer, and Co-Chair of the New Mexico Children’s Court Improvement Commission. 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.

Ashley Varela, Data and Development Manager

Ashley contributes to various aspects of the organizational advancement strategy with a particular focus on grant writing, reporting, and data management. She is a first-generation graduate of the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Studies and a minor in Philosophy. Previously, she was a research assistant at the UNM Political Science department, El Puente research fellow, and an intern at the US House of Representatives for New Mexico’s 3rd District. Ashley is committed to uplifting the experiences of those impacted by systems and finding race-critical ways to use data in driving decision-making and storytelling.

Dante Bautista, Operations Coordinator

Dante works on organizational operations by providing administrative support and assistance to all staff. She is originally from New Mexico with roots in Laguna Pueblo and Albuquerque. Dante received her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts at the University of New Mexico with concentrations in History and Psychology.

Ezra Spitzer, Co-Executive Director

Ezra co-leads the organization to fulfill its mission and oversees the implementation of its strategic goals, objectives, and policies. He joined NMCAN in 2007 and had the privilege of being Executive Director from 2012 to 2022 when NMCAN revised its organizational structure to a co-director model. 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 previously served on the NM Children’s Court Improvement Commission and the NM State Workforce Board.

Jeannette Stahn, Director of Operations

Jeannette supports the NMCAN team to do their best work. She oversees human resources, vendor relationships, and office and fiscal management, and ensures that our values of authentic youth engagement and race, equity, diversity, and inclusion are woven throughout the organization. Jeannette is an urban Diné and has lived in New Mexico her entire life. Her former work at the University of New Mexico involved supporting programming for young people interested in pursuing a health career and navigating higher education. She holds a Master of Arts in Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of New Mexico.

Katherine Montoya, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator

Katherine supports the implementation of NMCAN’s systems change agenda and works to collectively support young people, volunteers, and community partners. She has previously worked for Student Support Services-TRIO at the University of New Mexico to support students who are first-generation, low-income, or have a disability. Katherine has a Master’s Certification in Social Justice and Diversity Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Human Services from Fort Lewis College. She is passionate about building strong relationships with young people and helping them discover their unlimited potential.

Lorilynn Violanta, Co-Executive Director


Lorilynn co-leads the organization to fulfill its mission and oversees the implementation of its strategic goals, objectives, and policies. From 2015-2022, Lorilynn served as Director of Advancement, guiding fundraising, 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.

Stacy Muñoz, Enrichment Coordinator

Stacy supports the Leadership Enrichment team at NMCAN. She has built a 20-year career around supporting and advocating for young people. During her time as a Case Manager at an NM youth homeless shelter, she coordinated meetings and helped young people move on to their next steps. Guiding youth through different levels of system involvement became a polished skill that helped her build a network in the community. The passion for connecting people with community resources started in the classroom during the 13 years spent in both the Albuquerque and Rio Rancho School districts. In that time she practiced collaboration with system partners while focusing on young people finding their voices and helping them advocate for themselves. Stacy prides herself on her ability to develop authentic connections, being empathetic, and helping young people build inner wealth. Her passion is to empower our young people by partnering with them through consistent and intentional outreach and engagement.

Yvonne Gallegos-Schobel, Director of Leadership Enrichment

Yvonne provides direction for the Leadership Enrichment team at NMCAN. She began her journey of community activism and systems change while working for Albuquerque Public Schools. She helped unhoused families navigate the educational system while working at the Title I Homeless Program. She continued her work in the school system by helping to develop processes and resources for students with disabilities to gain skills and maintain meaningful employment. She later went on to coordinate and manage strategic partnerships, such as food insecurity and basic needs. During her time at APS she was honored by the Board of Education for her work supporting students in the foster care system, as well as being named as Equity Champion.


*The Board of Directors meets the second Friday of every other month; please call us at 505-217-0220 for more information.