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Staff and Board

Staff

Nelly F. Garcia Olmos

Executive Director

Nelly Garcia was born in Mexico City. Came to the United States when she was 12 years old. In High School she started to get involved in her community, specially working towards social justice issues and civic engagement. Nelly graduated from Mesa State College (Now Colorado Mesa University) with a Bachelor's degree in Arts with emphasis in Spanish Language and Literatures as well as Spanish Applied professional. After graduating,  Nelly became an interpreter/advocate, working towards just immigrant rights and minority equity. She also volunteered  as a Board member in different non profit organizations which allows her to gain experience in  areas like policymaking and community organizing. Nelly supported advocacy work that helped to pass important pro immigrant laws that have better the life and safety of the immigrant community. She has been a speaker for Grand Junction Women’s March and Latina LEAD Power Summit. Previous to La plaza,  Nelly worked  for the Migrant Education Program for 8 years as their Lead Migrant Recruiter and worked as The West Slope Regional Organizer for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition.  Nelly is a longtime leader in the Hispanic Committee in Grand Junction and is now the Executive Director for La Plaza.

Amanda Perez Herrera

Community Resource Navigator

Amanda Perez Herrera is a native and 3rd generation resident of Grand Junction on her moms side, 1st generation on her dad's side. Graduate of Colorado Mesa University with an associates degree in social sciences and soon a bachelors of social work. She loves traveling, spending time with her family, learning and trying new things and foods.She is excited to use her learned experiences and education to better serve her community. She comes from a family who values agriculture from the orange groves in San Luis Potosí to the fields of green chile peppers here in Grand Junction. She is proud to serve the hands that harvest in the Grand Valley, her lifelong home.

Geri Manzanares

Office Administrator

Geri Manzanares, having been born and raised in Grand Junction, CO, is a true native of the Western Slope. She graduated from Grand Junction High School and Mesa State College with a Bachelors’ degree in social science and a minor in business. Geri worked in the for-profit world after graduation with City Market Inc., in the buying department for 20 years. She then decided to follow her heart and use her degree and pursued work with the Department of Social Services the San Luis Valley of Colorado for a few years. Geri then spent the past 17 years working in non-profit with the Head Start Program on the Western Slope. Geri is excited with her new position as the Office Administrator for La Plaza, Inc. and working with migrant and immigrant agricultural workers, as her mother’s family migrated annually to the western slope from the San Luis Valley to work in the fields, as well as her father and brothers shearing sheep.

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Board of Directors

Meet the Directors of the Board and La Plaza Staff. All directors are volunteers and the board meets on the fourth Tuesday evening of each month, 6-8pm. The board members represent different walks of life and provide oversight and governance for the organization.  For more information on board membership, please contact Nelly Garcia Olmos at 970-902-2491 or nelly@laplazapalisade.org

 

Joan Levy

President

Joan “accidentally” fell into a career serving individuals with developmental disabilities. Retired in 2018 after working nearly 35 years at Mesa Developmental Services/Strive, 27 years of which were in senior management.  She is currently pursuing other avenues of social consciousness in retirement…including addressing food insecurity; supporting inclusion, equality and equity for people of color and other marginalized populations; and bringing truth and balance back to a skewed world.   She volunteers at Meals-on-Wheels, La Plaza, EUREKA, Restore the Balance and as a Fruita Trail Host, all while trying to save a little time for fun…hiking, cycling, gardening and travel.

Jenn Moore

Vice President

Jenn has an educational background in environmental and agricultural science and engineering. She currently works as an administrator at the EUREKA! McConnell Science Museum.  Jenn and her husband have an 8 acre peach and grape farm in Palisade. She believes in providing opportunities for education and empowerment to help improve people's lives.

 

Amanda McQuade

Secretary

Amanda works locally with Colorado State University to improve community food security and provide education regarding food production. Amanda supports the mission and work of La Plaza because she believes it is critical for all of us to understand how our food comes to the table.

 

Jeffrey Howard

Jeff began volunteering at Child and Migrant Services in May of 2015, shortly after retiring from St Mary's Hospital where he worked for over 25 years as a Registered Nurse.  He was elected to the Board of Directors in June of 2017 and served ever since, including time as the President of the Board.  He continues to enjoy volunteering and working with our members and staff.  He is gratified to see how much La Plaza aids the migrant community on a daily basis and is actively planning to further increase and improve the services it provides. 

 

Bruce Talbott

Bruce Talbott is a local fruit grower who comes from a family with a long history of interest in and commitment to the well being of agricultural workers in the Palisade area.  The Talbotts believe that a healthy happy workforce is necessary for the success of the local fruit industry and community in general.  He has served on the board for 20+ years and is pleased with what the organization is able to offer to the farm worker community.

 

Cailin Portra

Cailin lives and works in the agricultural community of Palisade, Colorado.  She is an owner of Carlson Vineyards and an occupational therapist serving preschool and grade school aged children with disabilities in the Mesa County School District. She believes doing good brings good and hopes to support the continued growth and strengthening of the community we service. 

 

Mike Perry 

Mike Perry, retired Museum Director, has been involved with nonprofit management since completing his graduate work at the University of Utah in 1973. His travels have taken him across the globe as a tour leader and currently completing a coast to coast bike ride supporting underserved youth with scholarships to attend the educational programs of the EUREKA! McConnel Science Museum. He is pleased now to be serving as a Board Member of La Plaza and the exceptional services they provide to our migrant workers.

 

Sonia Cardenas

Sonia was born in California but she grew up in Jalisco, Mexico. Sonia danced for Ballet Folklórico and won several awards. Sonia graduated from the University in Aguascalientes, with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and International Business.She worked at a Nissan company before moving back to California. Once in Grand Junction, she worked for Marillac Clinic for 8 years,where she found her passion for helping others. Sonia works at Mesa County Public Health since 2016, where she started as a Case Navigator, now she is the Hispanic Outreach Coordinator. Sonia leads the Spanish Advisory Group, is a trained interpreter/translator and is now  the Vice President of Mutual Aid Partners and board member of La Plaza.

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