Climbing the Corporate LadderFeatured

Several P.R. nonprofits, airline, hotel appoint new execs

In this edition of “Climbing the Corporate Ladder,” the list includes new executive appointments at several Puerto Rico-based nonprofit organizations, an airline and a hotel.

Yadira Valdivia

Liberty Foundation names new executive director
The Board of Directors of Liberty Foundation announced the appointment of Yadira Valdivia as executive director, with the principal objective of expanding the foundation’s reach across the island.

“Having Valdivia as our new executive director will help Liberty Foundation to continue strengthening the alliances that our organization has cultivated while creating new partnerships. This will enable us to continue helping our most vulnerable communities,” said Liberty Foundation Chairman Naji Khoury.

Valdivia brings to Liberty Foundation her experience in the nonprofit sector, mostly in communications, institutional development, and strategic planning. Prior to joining Liberty Foundation, Valdivia was the communications director for Centros Sor Isolina Ferré.

In this position, she was instrumental in the development of internal and external communication strategies, in addition to identifying private funding opportunities for the organization’s programs, plus establishing and cultivating effective relationships with the centers’ main donors. Valdivia holds a bachelor’s degree in public communication from the University of Puerto Rico’s Río Piedras campus.

“Given the island’s current economic situation, individuals and communities with socioeconomic disadvantages need the support of institutions like Liberty Foundation more than ever,” said Valdivia about her new designation.

“Nonprofit organizations provide them with services that are their only option to have a better life, and through the Liberty Foundation, we can help these nonprofits carry on the essential work that they do. I feel honored to have the opportunity to help these organizations and communities through Liberty Foundation,” she said.

Since 1996, Liberty Puerto Rico has raised over $2.4 million through the Liberty Foundation Golf Invitational, which has benefited 19 nonprofit organizations throughout the island. The tournament will remain the foundation’s key fundraising event.

Carlos I. Ayala

De Frente Al Alzheimer names executive director
The Board of Directors of nonprofit De Frente al Alzheimer Inc. announced the appointment of Carlos I. Ayala Rivera as executive director.

The organization is dedicated to raising awareness and educating about Alzheimer’s, as well as to creating a fund to support patients with limited economic resources in Puerto Rico.

“Carlos Ayala’s appointment is an important step to continue fulfilling our mission with the Puerto Rican people as well as our presence on the island. We’re confident that his participation will help to direct the organization to the next level,” said Teresa Seda, president of the entity.

Ayala has more than 30 years of experience in the field of communications, public relations and marketing where she has held positions in companies and organizations in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in advertising and a minor in public relations, and a Master of Arts in communication with a specialty in public relations, both from Sacred Heart University.

In addition, he has a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology from the University of Puerto Rico’s Graduate School of Public Health, with emphasis on the biological, clinical, psychological, social and administrative aspects related to aging. He also has a Certificate for the Management of Care Centers for the Elderly of the Institute of Gerontology Training under the UPR’s Gerontology Program.

Todd Sims

Silver Airways names VP of information technology
Silver Airways has appointed Todd Sims as vice president of information technology for Silver Airways and Seaborne Airlines.

Sims brings more than 20 years of experience in developing and implementing information technology strategies globally to the airline and is known for combining his leadership and technical skills to transform IT functions and providing technical solutions to business needs, including cloud computing, applications development and support, network security and disaster recovery.

In his new position, Sims is responsible for leading both Silver Airways’ and Seaborne Airlines’ information technology and security systems, including the airlines’ information technology strategy, applications, cybersecurity and infrastructure, as well as managing technology interfaces with the airline’s numerous worldwide codeshare and interline partners.

“Sim’s vast knowledge of IT strategy and development combined with his leadership experience will be instrumental in fully integrating Silver Airways and Seaborne Airlines systems and as we continue to focus on and expand relationships with our many valued codeshare and interline partnerships with leading airlines from around the world to ensure a seamless customer experience,” said Silver Airways and Seaborne Airlines CEO Steve Rossum. 

Prior to joining the Silver/Seaborne team, Sims owned TS Computer Consulting where he provided IT services for small to mid-size companies.  He also previously served as Chief Information Officer for Ameriflight where he led IT strategy and execution supporting 18 sites and 600 employees throughout North America, and he served in various leadership roles at ASTAR Air Cargo, including as director of information technology.

Maria Jaunarena

Fundación Colibrí appoints new executive director
María “Baby” Jaunarena has been appointed executive director of Fundación Colibrí, a privately-funded nonprofit organization that supports projects and initiatives with potential long-term impact on Puerto Rico’s development and socioeconomic well-being.

The foundation was established in 2017 with an initial seed funding of $10 million from a mainland-based Puerto Rican native and her spouse whom were avid to contribute to the urgent needs faced by the people on the island in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane María.

Currently, the philanthropic entity supports efforts beyond the scope of relief and recovery focused on three fundamental pillars of development and socioeconomic growth for Puerto Rico: education, agriculture and sustainable energy.

“Jaunarena’s appointment is an important step toward building the foundation’s presence on the Island and achieve our goal of stimulating and supporting communities in their efforts to create the ideal conditions to foster their potential and complete development,” said Fundación Colibrí President Mónica de la Torres.

Jaunarena joins Fundación Colibrí after serving as executive vice president at Foundation for Puerto Rico where she led multi-sector engagement efforts and collective actions aimed at advancing Puerto Rico’s potential as a world-class destination, and the adoption of this strategy to create socioeconomic development opportunities throughout several communities in Puerto Rico.

Prior to managing this mobilization effort, she served as advisor on education, culture and recreation to the governor of Puerto Rico.
Her background in the public service and nonprofit sectors also includes her work as director of program and development for the pre-school and organizational development initiative of nonprofit organizations at Fundación Angel Ramos; and as director of community development and federal programs for the Municipality of Aguadilla.

Jaunarena began her career at La Fondita de Jesús where she worked for eight years, four of which she served as executive director. She holds a Master’s Degree in nonprofit organizations from the Mandel School at Case Western Reserve University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from College of the Holy Cross.

Ada Mabel Rivera

Verdanza Hotel new sales director
Ricky Newman, general manager of Verdanza Hotel, announced the appointment of Ada Mabel Rivera as sales director.

Rivera joins Verdanza Hotel from Wyndham Garden at Palmas del Mar where she was responsible for creating sales strategies, establishing strategic partnerships, training and supervising sales staff, and maintaining relationships with key accounts.

Previously, Rivera served as sales and catering manager at Hyatt Place San Juan from November 2015 to February 2017. She was also a group sales manager at Gran Meliá Puerto Rico Golf Resort in Río Grande.

“I am delighted to have joined Verdanza Hotel at such an exciting time and to be returning to the hotel industry,” said Rivera. “I am looking forward to helping drive in more business and assist the brand on to further success.”

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.

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