Executive Board of Directors
Born in Merced raised in Atwater Uriah is no stranger to doing big things in his community. In 2006 he created a mobile Dj business his junior year of high school. Graduating in 2007 from Buhach Colony his talents were soon recognized landing him on tour for some of the top artist that were out during that time. From 2006-2013 aside from throwing events in clubs/concerts he worked with the P.A.L program in Atwater. A program that catered to working with the youth on enrichment and recreational activities.
In 2013 when Uriah met his wife and future son, he decided to leave the music scene behind and solely focus on his family. During this time, he worked at Centurion Supreme boats and after six months with the company, he was promoted to Department Supervisor. In 2016 he decided to step back on to the music scene and began holding club residencies in Merced County and its surrounding area. Then in 2017 he got the exciting news that his wife was expecting and decided to focus on his family. He then became a life coach working with The Haven, an adult day program in Atwater for clients with down-syndrome, autism, and other disabilities. He loved and enjoyed what he did, he always loved being the voice for others who needed someone in their corner to believe in them.
In 2020 after losing his job and all his events/gigs due to covid Uriah began a new journey of self-employment. From creating furniture out of old pallets, selling USB flash drives of his mixes to launching his own morning mix/talk show on a streaming service called Twitch. Uriah found remarkable success sharing his story of fighting depression and suicide with others during his mix/talk shows. It was with that success Uriah launched his company BlessUP Clothing LLC. The meaning behind his brand motivated him to keep telling his story with those going through similar events in their life. From then on, his morning mix/talk show landed him doing guest DJ spots on major radio stations in his area and beyond.
In 2021 Uriah began to DJ mix shows on Fresno’s Mega 97.9, Reno’s Wild 102.9, Fresno’s Q97.1 and as the resident DJ of Splash and Dash Aqua Park in lake McSwain. Uriah continues to tell his story and use his light to encourage others. His BlessUP clothing line has seen great success both online and within Merced County. In August of 2021 he was voted into the Merced County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as a Board of Director. Having strong ties to his community through many years of being a DJ, Uriah looks forward to continuing making a strong positive impact on the Merced County community and its surrounding areas.
Going forward in 2022 Uriah’s goals remain the same: to make a difference, no matter how big or small. He continues to do mix shows for radio stations and will be back for his second year of residency at Splash and Dash Aqua Park. He continues to push his BlessUP clothing brand and will begin his new DJ residency at Ravello’s Event Center and The Dive Bar. Furthermore, Uriah also has plans for his very own clothing store on Main Street in Downtown Merced. Doors are expected to be open mid-April.
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
Nadine Villafaña Psy.D.Owner, Pistos y Gritos
Delia S. Saenz, PH.DUC Merced Vice Chancellor & CDO
Rev. Ella Luna-Garza
Eduardo Soto RiveraMerco Credit Union
Mario PenaWorknet Merced County
Julian VillafanaPistos 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. 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.
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
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 AlcarazBoard of Directors MCHCC Scholarship Foundation
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 currently works as a life insurance specialist for AAA Insurance providing families lifelong security. She has worked at Devon’s Jewelers since 1995 and has years of customer service, sales, and leadership experience.
She is excited to contribute to the Hispanic Chamber’s mission of empowering local business with the tools and knowledge to succeed in the community.
Cindy Cisneros Cortes
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