Executive Board of Directors
Nadine Villafaña Psy.D.Vice President
Dr. Nadine Villafaña is a Forensic Psychologist currently working for a non-profit that supports people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disabilities. A native of San Jose, Dr. Villafaña obtained her Bachelor of Science from San Jose State in justice studies with a minor in biology. She obtained her Master’s and Doctorate from Alliant International University in Fresno.
Dr. Villafaña is also a small business owner as the co-owner of Pistos y Gritos. An e-commerce clothing line that celebrates her Chicano/Chicana heritage. She loves spending time with her family and volunteering in her community.
My name is Daisy Aleman, the Branch Manager at Farmers Insurance Federal Credit Union. I started with FIGFCU in 2004 as a Loan Technician and was able to grow within the Credit Union from a Loan Tech to a Lead Branch Counselor in 5 years. In 2010 I was offered the Branch Manager Position and oversee the OKC Branch, the Bellevue WA Branch, and the Merced Branch.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. I moved to Merced in 1995 shortly after the Northridge earthquake. I worked at Bank of America for 5 years as a Teller then after, I was recruited to work at the Merced Manor (Psychiatric Facility) as a Trust Accountant for 96 patients for 3 years. I am a proud mother of 3 girls and a grandmother of a beautiful girl and soon to be a grandmother to a handsome boy. My Parents are from Zacatecas, MX. I am the middle child of 3. A fun fact about myself, I lived in Tijuana for 1 year. In that 1 year I learned to speak, write, and read Spanish fluently. I learned more than I knew about my culture and embraced it with my children.
I am excited to be part of the MCHCC’s Board of Directors and looking forward to helping businesses succeed in Merced
Maida is the owner of Minuteman Press, Merced – a full service printing, marketing, and design center. MMP Merced is an independently owned and operated family business; she works alongside her son Josh who is the Graphic Designer/Production Specialist. Minuteman Press, Merced was chosen by the Merced County Hispanic Chamber as their Business/Member of the Year in 2018.
Maida is excited to be a part of MCHCC’s Board of Directors and is looking forward to helping other businesses thrive in Merced.
Board of Directors
Maria SotoLivingston City Council Member
Delia S. Saenz, PH.DUC Merced Vice Chancellor & CDO
Rev. Ella Luna-Garza
Eduardo Soto RiveraMerco Credit Union
Mario PenaWorknet Merced County
Julian VillafañaPistos Y Gritos
I am Maria Soto. I am a long time resident of Livingston of which I devote much of my time and planning for development and recreation. Throughout my nearly 50 years of the Livingston lifestyle, I can truly say that my roots continue to provide wings of 5 generations of family; great grandparents, grandparents, parents, myself and my children. From my paternal side my father, Librado Soto, was first generation from Guanajuato, Mexico. He spent his youth in the fields farming beets on the family ranch and attending school in Wyoming. He left school to join the US Army serving 7 years in Germany, then reenlisted in the US Navy of which he retired after 21 years bringing his military communications skill set to the Livingston Telephone Company to continue to raise his children with his wife, my mother Charla Soto. On my maternal side my mother was a second generation of immigrants from Germany and Italy. My great grandparents came and settled in Livingston as farmers and mechanics while raising their children who were all graduates of Livingston High School; my grandmother was Class of 1937, my mother Class of 1955, myself Class of 1988, and my children Class of 2011, 2018, 2019, 2022, 2024 and 2028. My passion is in Livingston, and what I can accomplish on the broader scale of Merced County will bring resources, innovative ideas, and a connectedness throughout our region so that we level the playing field of our hardest and predominant working class in agriculture.
I am currently in education on a temporary position to provide junior high students with a support system to assist them with their needs throughout the “shut down” due to Covid-19. I have been in an educational role for nearly 30 years in various capacities-classroom teacher, supervisor or director as well as grade levels-preschool to include infants and toddlers through to adult school. I was also reelected for a 4 year Council seat for the City of Livingston. I consider this honor as an opportunity to help grow Livingston’s economy as well as develop her infrastructure utilizing our farming industry and creating the potential of opportunity and pride for small businesses.
Among my personal interests, values and passions encompasses my whole life where my parents raised me through their roles in Livingston to serve others and love the community. I am a Lifetime Member of the Veterans of Foriegn War Auxiliary #8327, member of Livingston Lions Club, Livingston Youth Football and Cheer Organization Board Secretary, coordinator of the Miss Independence Scholarship Program, chaired various events such as the Livingston 4th of July Festival and provided numerous volunteer hours to provide my hometown with different venues to promote businesses thus, maximizing profits for owners or stakeholders while maintaining social responsibility for local economy.
Dr. Delia Saenz is the inaugural Vice Chancellor for Equity, Justice & Inclusive Excellence at UC Merced. She is a social psychologist by training and her research focuses on organizational effectiveness, culture, and group processes. A native of Texas, Dr. Saenz has previously held academic and administrative appointments at Arizona State University, Bennington College, and the University of Notre Dame. She is the recipient of numerous grants from entities like the National Science Foundation, the US Agency for International Development, the National Institutes of Health, and the Ford Foundation. She is especially interested in promoting the educational, economic, and cultural well-being of the Merced County region, and in building strong and sustainable bridges between community and campus.
Deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life.
No one benefits from ignorance.
Honorable SC Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson
Rev. Ella Luna-Garza
The Rev. Ella Luna-Garza is a native of Austin, Texas, and a new resident of Merced, California. She has been a servant leading the United Methodist Church of Merced, (UMC Merced), since July of 2018.
Rev. Luna-Garza holds a Bachelors in Business Management Organizational Behavior (BSBM), a Master of Divinity (M.Div), and is a Fellow of Pastoral Leadership and Public Life at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Rev. Luna-Garza has extensive experience in advocacy and social change for grassroots organizing, community development, and access to underserved populations.
She is collaborating in leadership with Journey for Justice, Faith in the Valley, the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministries of the United Methodist Church, the Center of Vision Enhancement (COVE), and the Literacy Coalition of Merced County.
Pastor Ella has most recently advocated and worked to support compassionate immigration reform, access to Mental Healthcare, healthcare for all, the Merced Union High School Black Parallel School Board, Pride Merced, the LGBTQ Alliance, and various other initiatives. She is actively engaged with the faith, educational and civic communities of Merced. One of her passions is working against food insecurity. She has led UMC Merced’s Food Pantry to serve Merced, Mariposa, and Madera counties. In feeding over 200,000 families in the past 18 months in and through the pandemic.
Rev. Luna-Garza has worked with at-risk children and youth, the homeless and traditional housing populations, and other-abled communities. She has helped to develop and provide community linkages for the holistic address of social issues, access, and services. She has worked in advocacy and service of the blind, deaf, and other-abled communities, as well as for persons with Autism. She has extensive experience working with multicultural, multiethnic, multilingual constituencies, persons of color, and diverse populations.
She has held and holds various offices at district, conference, and national levels of the United Methodist Church. She currently serves on the Executive Board of the National Plan for Hispanic Latino Ministries of the United Methodist Church.
Pastor Ella enjoys spending time with her sons, Aj and Diego, and her husband, Rene. She thrives being in the company of friends, sharing faith, and being engaged in the community, especially in sharing faith, culture, history, hope, and facilitating positive change.
Eduardo Soto Rivera
Julian Villafaña is co-owner of the Chicano clothing line, Pistos Y Gritos. Born in the Bay Area and raised in Union City CA, he eventually settled in the city of Merced. He is married and has three daughters, a son and one granddaughter who he adores. Julian takes pride in doing what he can to help businesses in Merced County. He developed the Government Relations Committee for the MCHCC which bridges the gap between elected officials and the chamber’s members. He currently works with individuals with special needs. In the past, he has sat as an elected delegate for UAW Local 76, along as chairman for several committees. In his spare time, Julian is a musician who has traveled and played alongside several bands throughout California and Nevada.
Elena GomezMerced County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services
Rhonda BatsonCommunity Advocate
Dyimah AnsahDansah Notary Public
Norma HernandezLife Insurance Specialist | AAA
Cindy Cisneros CortesHoffman Security
Eric AlcarazMCHCC Foundation Vice President
Born and raised in Merced, the second to the oldest out of six siblings, and a proud mother to an amazing daughter. She takes great pride being part of her community and loves giving back. Helping the youth and future leaders of the community to achieve their goals and assist them in any way she can.
Currently the Work Based Learning Coordinator and College & Career Services Technician for Le Grand High School and MCOE (ROP). She helps students to prepare for entry-level employment within a career path. ROP/CTE students learn to work through practical experience. After basic classroom instruction, many students are placed at work sites throughout the community and are taught by skilled employers. With a background in Finance for the past 15 years. She has worked as a Financial Advisor for Wells Fargo, BBVA Compass Bank and HSBC International Bank. Prior to working in Finance, she worked for a year as a Certified Paralegal in Family Law. She previously also served as a Court Appointed Advocate for CASA of Merced County.
Geneva has been an Ambassador for the MCHCC since 2019 and President of the MCHCC Scholarship Foundation since March 2021
“Making a difference is always possible, especially with persistence and dedication.”
Gladys De La Mora.
My name is Elena Elouise, I proudly work for Merced County’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. In 2014 I moved to Merced to pursue my career in a local Assisted Living Facility, where I soon found myself working as the Community Relations Coordinator. During my tenure as a CRC I found myself drawn to the non-profit sector, specifically with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. I attended a few events held by MCHCC and enjoyed them greatly; in 2018, when the opportunity came forward to work for MCHCC, I jumped.
Life moved forward and I welcomed my first child, Willow, in February 2020, right before the start of the global pandemic. I had to make a tough decision, as many stay-at-home parents do, to pause my career to care for my child in uncertain times. A few short months after making that decision, I reached back out to MCHCC for an ambassadorship as my best work is working for my community. I was greatly missing it and I’ve happily been in an ambassador role since. I’m an avid angler and sharing my passion for fishing with my daughter is my greatest joy. As with many single parents, finding a work/life balance can prove to be difficult, and adding volunteerism can add to the day-to-day chaos but that fulfillment I receive from my continued community work makes the occasional chaotic day worth it.
Before opening Dansah Notary Public, Dyimah Ansah served Merced County as a legal assistant to a local attorney with over ten years of practicing law. Throughout the course of her employment, Dyimah was required to become a Commissioned Notary Public which allowed her to notarize client documents for the Law Office. Although not required, Dyimah took a step further, becoming a certified Loan Signing Agent.
Dyimah’s experience in the legal field puts her at an advantage. She is familiar with various legal documents often requiring notarization, such as affidavits, settlement releases, power of attorney, will’s, trusts, and more. Legal work has honored her attention to detail, and professional courtesy, and taught her the importance of confidentiality.
Dansah Notary Public Services:
- Title Companies
- Mortgage Lenders
- Home Building Companies
- Real Estate Agents
- Tow Truck Companies
- Car Dealerships
- Medical Facilities
- Doctor’s Offices
- Jail and Correctional Facilities
- Banks(deposit box drillings)
- Assisted and Senior Living Facilities
- Transitional Housing
- Doctor’s Office
- Houses of Worship
- Document Retrieval
- Field Inspection
- Loan Signing
- and any individual in need of Notarization
Norma Hernandez was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico, and raised in Merced County, (Hopeton and Merced to be exact). Currently, she works as an Insurance Agent for AAA Insurance, specializing in all your insurance needs, and as a notary public AND a jeweler consultant at Devon’s Jewelers. She can boast almost 30 years of customer service experience, which has prepared her for her tenure with MCHCC and her continued community involvement. Being a part of the community and its growth is a passion of hers, as Merced County is her home and it holds a special place in her heart. Norma loves to expand her horizons by traveling and going to new places, when time allows, even if it’s in the form of a quick road trip.
Cindy Cisneros Cortes
Eric Alcaras is the founder and owner of Rancho Alcaras. Rancho Alcaras was officially established in May 2022, but the vision was crafted 10 years prior. After serving as a First Responder for many years, he decided to pursue his dream of owning and operating his own ranch. Eric believes in creating and providing his community with the best quality farm to table products. Rancho Alcaras strives to supply high quality pasture raised eggs and beef. The ranch is also a local venue for special events and a platform to support local business within the farm and agricultural industry. You can also find Rancho Alcaras at various community vendor events with their delicious farm to table menus. Rancho Alcaras is home to Mossberg, Maggie, 50+ free-range laying hens and beef cattle. Eric is also a certified firearms and safety trainer. Currently, Eric is an ambassador with the Chamber and an Executive Board of Director for the MCHCC Scholarship Foundation. He previously served as Board of Director from October 2022 – May of 2023. Currently he serves as the MCHCC Scholarship Foundation, Vice President.
Juan joined the Hispanic Chamber back in 2016 as Board of Directors, Past President 2019 – 2020 and now serves as Ex-Officio of the Merced County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
He is very passionate about business development, community engagement, youth development, career development, event planning and most importantly seeing people smile. He brings enthusiasm, laughter, and an optimistic approach to the Hispanic Chamber and all its membership. He most definitely enjoys connecting with new and existing businesses and seeing them prosper.
Juan moved to the City of Merced in 2008 and obtained his B.A.( Economics) from the University of California, Merced. He currently manages the day-to-day operations of the Welcome Center as the Welcome Center Coordinator at the University of California, Merced for the Office of Admissions. Visit the tours page to schedule a visit.
Juan Román, Ex-Officio