Dr. Wilma Franco – Collaborative Director
Dr. Wilma Franco serves as Director of the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative and holds a doctorate degree in Education – Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne. Dr. Franco successfully defended dissertation was entitled, “Employer’s Perception of Their Role in Student Learning and Skill Development: A Qualitative Case Study.” Dr. Franco completed her undergraduate work at the University of California- Los Angeles (UCLA) where she earned her B.A in Political Science and Chicana/o Studies with a minor in Public Policy. During her time at UCLA she worked closely with the NAID Center researching the Economic Impact of immigration post 1986 immigration reform.
Dr. Franco went on to complete her Master’s Degree in Public Policy at the University of Southern California (USC), where she also completed a certificate in Public Management. Dr. Franco has over ten years of experience in overseeing nonprofits and community based programs and has a solid background in program development, evaluations, partnership development, finance, fundraising and development. Previously, Dr. Franco spent seven years developing, evaluating, and managing programs at “I Have a Dream” Foundation – Los Angeles; a program that sponsored students in elementary school years and work with the cohort until they graduate high school, and transition to post-secondary education, by providing whole child services. In collaboration with USC, Dr. Franco launched a mental health programming component at I Have a Dream that continues to service students. Additionally, Dr. Franco’s collaboration with CSULB as an internship placement partner resulted in her being recognized as the organization of the year two consecutive years. Dr. Franco is also a part-time lecturer in the Human Development Department at California State University – Long Beach (CSULB) and serves as a Board Member for the D.A.D Project. Dr. Franco is a proud alumnus of Education Pioneers and the Magnolia Community Initiative Fellowship. Dr. Franco was inspired to work at SELA Collaborative given its core values and commitment to the Southeast LA region by way of creating a collective approach to serving the region through nonprofit capacity building, civic engagement, and data and research.
Luis Velasquez – Communications Coordinator
Luis Velasquez is a communications coordinator in the Los Angeles area who uses his skills to help organizations create effective long-term communications strategies and execute those strategies with compelling content and design. A graduate of Cal State University Long Beach, Luis earned his Bachelor of Arts in English Rhetoric and Composition degree in 2015 and a Technical and Professional Communication Certificate in 2016. After graduating from CSULB, he transitioned to work in a local non-profit organization as part of the team that created and executed the organization’s internal and external communications strategies. Luis also has experience in donor relations, gift processing, and web development. Along the way, Luis developed a passion for using technology to streamline and improve workflows and processes. In addition to communications, his professional interests include web development, programming and helping organizations that strive to positively impact underserved communities. Luis was born and raised in the Southeast LA area and still resides there. He is proud to be joining an organization dedicated to uplifting communities like his own. He looks forward to helping SELA grow and continue to empower the Southeast LA community.
Arabel Hernandez – Administrative Assistant
Arabel Hernandez brings over 15 years of Administrative support to the SELA Collaborative. Arabel previously worked in the non-profit sector for 12 years with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund as a Program Coordinator. During her time as NALEO, Arabel provided administrative support and providing logistical assistance for NALEO’s Policy Institutes and Summits on Education or Health. Additionally, Arabel provided support for the NALEO Annual Conference. Arabel is passionate and committed to the non-profit sector and serving the community.