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About Latina Civic Foundation
Latina Civic Foundation is a 501c3 non-partisan educational committee whose mission is to build a network of civic engagement that expands Latina women’s capacity to develop their leadership potential and impact policy change via civic engagement in their local communities. By training women with the skills needed to run for office, manage and run electoral and issue-based campaigns, and build a base of strong community leadership, we hope to lay the foundation for future changemakers. The Foundation will also support initiatives that inform the public on critical issues that matter to Latinas in New Jersey.
Latina Civic Foundation’s organizational growth is happening at a time of flux and change in our country. More than ever, education and civic engagement for young women is critical in building strong leaders that can advance quality of life issues for New Jersey diverse communities.
With more than a decade of experience, Latina Civic Foundation is ready to move to the next chapter of it’s work and reach more Latinas to help them realize their potential as local and state leaders.
Executive Board Members
With a background in public health, advocacy and outreach, and program management, Andrea Martínez-Mejía is passionate about improving access and equity to healthcare services for all members of the community. Well-versed in the legislative process, Martinez-Mejia can assess changing policy requirements, consult with legislators and advocates to ensure the needs of the community are heard, and adapt to new operational standards and resource allocations.
Leveraging a diverse skill set that includes work in the public and private sectors, Martinez-Mejia has served as Chief of Staff for the NJ Department of Health since 2018. During this time, she has led operations for eight offices within the Department (HR, Ethics, Communications, Equal Opportunity, Legislative Affairs, Management & Administration, Minority & Multicultural Health & Research Initiatives). In addition to playing a vital role in public awareness initiatives related to maternal and children’s health, COVID-19, and vaping, Martinez-Mejia has advocated for Spanish-speaking populations by shaping partnerships with Latino media outlets to expand the reach of the department.
Previously, Martinez-Mejia served as Coordinator of Community Health Services for the City of Trenton’s Department of Health & Human Services; Community Recovery Director with the American Red Cross following Superstorm Sandy; and as a Family Worker for the Black United Fund (BUF) Health & Human Services. Starting out in public service, Martinez-Mejia also served in several positions within the State of New Jersey, including with the Department of Health & Senior Services, Office of the Governor, and Department of State.
Martinez-Mejia has a Master of Public Administration in Healthcare Management and Policy, along with a Master of Arts in Diplomacy and International Relations, from Seton Hall University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Outside of the workplace, Martinez-Mejia is an active member of the community, serving on the Board of Latina Civic and as Chair of the Latina Civic Foundation, Inc. and formerly serving as Volunteer Mentor Coach with America Needs You. Martinez-Mejia is bilingual in English and Spanish and is driven to bring inclusive healthcare opportunities to all parts of the community.
Maria Del Cid-Kosso
Maria Del Cid-Kosso is a longtime New Jersey resident, born in Guatemala and raised in Plainfield.
Prior to being appointed by Governor Phil Murphy to the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, Maria was the director of Policy and Legislative Services at the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH). She worked tirelessly responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and leading strategic communications on statewide vaccination efforts. Maria was instrumental in crafting and assessing hundreds of legislative bills that promoted equitable policies in healthcare.
Maria is a devoted public servant. At 23 years old, she became the chief of staff to the late New Jersey Assemblyman and Speaker Pro Tempore, Jerry Green. There she played a key role in managing legislation in the Assembly’s Health and Housing-Community Development Committees.
Maria earned her associates degree in psychology at Union County College and continued her education at Seton Hall University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and political science. She also holds a master’s in public affairs and politics from the Edward Bloustein School, Rutgers University.
Del Cid-Kosso is passionate about expanding the educational opportunities available to undocumented youth and amplifying marginalized voices in politics. At the age of 25, she established her very own “Del Cid Dreamers” Scholarship with the Union County College (UCC) Foundation.
Maria is an alumna of the New Jersey New Leaders Council, Emerge NJ, and Rutgers NEW Leadership Program. She is a Barack Obama Fellow (OFA), and was the first Latina elected president of the Union County Young Democrats. Del Cid also served as the co-chair of the Latino Caucus, NJ Democratic State Committee. She currently serves as board member of the Latina Civic Foundation.
Del Cid-Kosso was awarded the Union County Women of Excellence Award in Government, the Hazel Frank Gluck Award from the Eagleton Institute of Politics, and the Urban League of Union County Young Professionals Award in Government. She has also been recognized as Insider NJ’s 2021 Top 6 Millennial; Insider’s 100 Cannabis Leaders; Insider’s 50 under 30; and Insider’s Top 100 Millennials (2018-2022).
Nohemi G. Soria-Pérez
Nohemi G. Soria-Pérez is a first-generation Mexican American and first-generation college graduate. SoriaPérez’s parents immigrated to the United States from Mexico as migrant farm workers. As a result, Soria-Pérez was born in Tampa, Florida. Looking for stability and in the spirit of the American Dream, her parents settled in Camden, NJ, when she was three months old. Soria-Pérez is a proud product of the public school system.
Soria-Pérez is also an alumnus of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and attended the University of Seville, Spain. Upon graduation, Soria-Pérez returned to Camden, New Jersey, where she devoted herself to local nonprofits. She has worked in various community, environmental justice, youth, and civic engagement programs throughout the City of Camden. She also brings powerful experience from her years working in the State Capitol and currently serves as Chief of Staff of the Fifth Legislative District, office of Senator Cruz Pérez and Assembly members Spearman and Moen.
On February 2, 2016, Soria-Pérez was sworn-in as a Commissioner for the Housing Authority of the City of Camden and currently serves as Vice-Chair. In 2021, the Housing Authority of the City of Camden secured a $35 Million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant to redevelop Ablett Village, located in the Cramer Hill section of the City of Camden, built in 1943. Soria-Pérez is a former Regional Coordinator of the NJ Hispanic Leadership Association/Summit, former Board Member of Latinas United for Political Empowerment PAC (LUPE PAC), former South Jersey Vice-President of LUPE Action, a former Environmental Leadership Fellow and serves on various boards including Board President of (PRUP), Puerto Rican Unity for Progress and Board Member of Latina Civic Foundation, a non-partisan educational committee whose mission is to build a network of civic engagement that expands Latina women’s capacity to develop their leadership potential and impact policy change via civic engagement in their local communities.
In 2017, Soria-Pérez and her husband purchased their first home in her hometown neighborhood of North Camden, where they currently reside. Councilwoman Nohemi G. Soria-Pérez was sworn-in on January 1st, 2022 and made history as the first Mexican-American to serve on Camden’s city council.
General Board Members
Connie Pires Sanchez
Connie Sanchez stands as a testament to her potent blend of academic prowess and dedication to social justice and education. Serving as the Executive Director at Unity Charter School, Connie champions a distinct vision that combines rigorous academic standards with a steadfast commitment to ecological sustainability. Under her able leadership, the school not only achieves exemplary academic excellence but also fervently pursues its mission of molding eco-literate citizens. These learners, shaped by Connie’s passion and vision, are given agency to understand their role in an interdependent world while appreciating the intricate bond between humanity and our planet.
Having honed her skills through diverse roles, Connie's impressive academic and professional accomplishments showcase her dedication to both pedagogical and professional development. As a Peer Instructor with the Merck Institute for Science Education and a pivotal member of the science leadership team, she was instrumental in elevating STEM curriculum across multiple school districts, including Newark, Elizabeth, Rahway, Linden, and Northern Pennsylvania. Prior to her inspiring journey at Unity Charter School, she displayed her unmatched capabilities as a National Training Officer and National Development Officer with Smith Barney. Here, she was recognized for her acumen in curriculum development, specifically tailored for financial advisors. She was a top producing financial advisor and part of the Chairman’s Circle Advisory Committee. Her achievements have not gone unnoticed. Among her accolades, Connie was lauded with the 2011 Keys to Excellence Award in Teaching and has been recognized for her groundbreaking contributions to Technology Innovation in Elizabeth, She has been an ROI-NJ Influencer in 2022 and 2023, recognized as an Environmental Educator in 2022 by the Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education.
Connie's academic credentials further underscore her commitment to excellence and continuous learning. She is an Ed.D. candidate in K-12 Administration from Seton Hall University, with an anticipated completion date of 2024. Furthermore, she has earned an Ed.M. in Educational Leadership, Management, and Policy from Columbia University; an MBA in Business Administration from Texas A&M; an M.S. in Organizational Change Management; and a B.A. in Justice Studies, both from Saint Elizabeth University. With such a robust academic and professional foundation, Connie Sanchez embodies the ideals of the Latina Civic Foundation, merging education and social justice into a transformative force. Prior to being a part of the Latina Civic Foundation's founding board, she has also served as the President of Lupe Fund, an officer of the Morris County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic Business Foundation, a corporate advisor for the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and on the Board of the Elizabeth Public Library.
Dr. Lauren M. Zyriek Enriquez
Dr. Lauren M. Zyriek Enriquez serves as New Jersey’s Assistant Secretary of State. Since 2022, she has also served as Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Elections. Before joining the Secretary of State’s office in 2018, Dr. Zyriek Enriquez was the Deputy Clerk for the Office of the Bergen County Clerk where she had the distinction of being the first Latina in her position. She has also held policy roles at the Guatemalan Mission to the United Nations and the United States Census Bureau.
Dr. Zyriek Enriquez is passionate about supporting free and fair elections and ensuring our government is responsive to all of the people we serve. She believes public service is for everyone and has pursued education and professional work that explores how government and politics impact communities and society. She always strives to be part of the decision-making process to advance ideas and guarantee that forthcoming policies are mindful of the demographics they serve.
Dr. Zyriek Enriquez earned her Doctorate in Public Administration from the University of Baltimore. She has a Masters degree in Administrative Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from Montclair State University, and an Associate’s Degree from Bergen Community College. Additionally, she has Executive Education Certificates in Cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
She is also a New Jersey Registered Municipal Clerk, a Board Member of the New Jersey American Society for Public Administration, a Board Member of the Latina Civic Foundation, and a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center Elections Task Force. She also has the distinction of being awarded the Hazel Frank Gluck Award from the Center for American Women in Politics Rutgers Eagleton Institute, the Outstanding Hispanic American Community Service Award from the County of Bergen, and the Latino Heritage Foundation Alumna Award from Bergen Community College.