Chief People and Culture Officer
Maria joined TerraCorps as Chief People and Culture Officer in October 2018. As a key member of the leadership team and the Culture Circle, Maria cultivates an intentionally inclusive organizational culture by designing and implementing innovative systems for Board, staff, and AmeriCorps member recruitment, learning experience design, and organizational behavior. Maria comes to TerraCorps after working for Project Bread- The Walk for Hunger for more than a decade, most recently as Director of Community Outreach. Prior to joining Project Bread, Maria worked as a state certified legal interpreter for Massachusetts’s District Court Department, Criminal Division.
Maria holds identities as a biracial Latina immigrant who deeply values open communication, accountability and faith. And as a cisgender straight woman she acknowledges her privilege in being accepted in spaces where others might not be welcome, and whenever possible she uses that as an opportunity to engage in conversations about inclusion and understanding. Maria emigrated to the U.S. at a young age and has always been a city girl with a serious fear of dirt. Her interest in enjoying open spaces and sharing them with others came about through her travels in Europe and the Middle East. Now some of her best friends are avid campers and she’s warming up to the idea. However, her interest in equitable access to land started much earlier, seeing in her own immigrant community the health benefits, independence and economic stability that home ownership can provide.
Through her commitment to community service Maria is a longtime volunteer facilitator with Community Inroads in Lawrence, MA, and also serves on its Board of Directors and the CIR Cultural Inclusion Steering Committee. Maria’s past Board service also includes time with the House of Hope in Lowell, MA, and STRIDE, a Boston-based training and support program for college students. Maria graduated magna cum laude from Wheaton College in Massachusetts, has a graduate certificate in nonprofit management and leadership from the Institute of Nonprofit Management and Leadership at Boston University, and has earned an M.S.A. in international development through Andrews University. In her professional and personal life Maria is guided by a strong commitment to faith, servant leadership and intellectual curiosity, values that also support her love of dictionaries, art museums, and political cartoons.