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Governing Board of Directors

Miguel Juarez, President

Bio: Mr. Juarez is the current president and executive director of Golden State Certified Development Corp., a nonprofit that administers the Small Business Administration’s 504 loan program and Intermediary Loan Program. Prior to joining Golden State, Juarez had been director of small business lending for Valley Economic Development Center, a nonprofit small business lender located in the same Sherman Oaks building as Golden State.

 

Eric Sarabia, Treasurer 

Bio: Mr. Sarabia is a corporate lawyer with over 13 years of experience in Private Equity & Mergers and Acquisitions. Eric holds a Juris Doctorate degree and a master’s degree in Economics from Syracuse University; a master’s degree in Tax Law from Georgetown University; and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from California State University at Northridge. Eric is a U.S. Small Business Administration certified loan closing attorney and oversees Acelera’s loan closing department.

 

Margaret Godinez, Secretary

Bio: Ms. Godinez served as chief executive officer of Soladed Enrichment Action District, with oversight of 19 school sites, enforcing all provisions of law and regulations relating to management of schools and other educational, social and recreational activities under direction of the Board. Ms. Godinez has directed, managed and supervised over 300 certificated, classified staff, serving 4,000 students annually overseeing a $18 million dollar budget ensuring student achievement and achieving district academic goals.

 

Maria E. Booth, Board Member

Bio: Ms. Booth is a former CEO with background as COO and VP of Programs with intention to join a growing Social and Policy Impact organization on the Executive team. Twenty years of experience in
philanthropy, fundraising, management, business development, planning, developing and implementing impactful programs, and building a high access/high influence network.

 

Rosalina Meza, Board Member

Bio: Ms. Meza has connected and outreached to local community colleges and LAUSD Adult and Career Education to recruit construction employees. Assisted with applying for local and statewide incentives for local hire. Led the permit application process for one of the company’s worksites in the city of Huntington Park; applying for permits with the Building and Safety Division and Planning and Zoning Division. Improved the marketing department’s management of projects; establishing a project timeline resulting in better organization and an increase in project completion.

 

Drew Smyth, Board Member

Bio: Mr. Smyth was born in Issaquah Washington where he grew up racing motocross, playing rugby and drag racing his 64 Chevelle. Putting in the work and working hard has been a huge part of his upbringing which makes him a great person to have in your corner. After being very successful in selling cars Drew moved to California in 2010 where he got his first taste of real estate. In that market he worked with investors and real estate agents to get short sales done. Drew has over 10 years of sales experience and has dealt with financing just as long. 

 

Rachel Villalobos Kowalski, Board Member

Bio: Ms. Villalobos Kowalski has 22 years of experience serving in education and lives in the City of Downey, Los Angeles County. She has served as a member and President in the Downey Unified School District within the School Site Council for 9 consecutive years and in a variety of Downey City committees such as the Hospital, Safety and Parking Committees for 10 years. She has also served in the Women's Los Angeles County Jail, Residential Facilities, and Elderly Homes serving as an educator and life skills mentor. As an educator, she has served and advocated for students with disabilities, homeless youth, foster children and youth, gifted and talented, English Learners, and students who are in the low-socioeconomically disadvantaged group.

 

Susana E. Juarez, Board Member

Bio: Ms. Juarez is the daughter of immigrant parents from Mexico. She is the first in her family to attend college. She attended California State University, Los Angeles where she graduated cum laude with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Economics; all while working a full-time job to finance her undergraduate education.  She was an active participant in the Women’s Law Society. It was at this time that Ms. Juarez became committed to protecting the rights of the accused who were prosecuted in criminal court. Upon graduating from law school, Ms. Juarez became an attorney with the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office. In 2013 she joined the Los Angeles County Alternate Public Defender’s Office where she continues to advocate on behalf of indigent clients as a felony trial attorney. Ms. Juarez has served on the board of the Mexican-American Bar Association (MABA) for the past six years, and has volunteered with various community organizations throughout her career. Currently she sits on the board of MABA, the Women's Lawyer Association of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County Bar Association, Criminal Justice, Executive Committee. 

 
To contact the Avance Executive Board, you may do so by: 
 
Phone: (323) 230-7270
Email: board@academiaavance.com
Mail: P.O. BOX 42095, Los Angeles, CA 90042