The Staff

Headshot of Daphnee

Daphnee Arana

Senior Development Manager


In the Office
  • Fundraises for Engage Miami.
  • Cultivates relationships with supporters, partners, and stakeholders.
  • Uplifts Engage’s mission and values by highlighting all the wonderful people who make this work possible.
Out of the Office
  • Volunteers for candidates and causes.
  • Spends time with friends and family.
  • Cooks for the people she loves.
Monica A. Bustinza headshot

Monica A. Bustinza

Senior Program Manager of Voter Engagement


In the Office
  • Manages campus and community partnerships.
  • Plans and coordinates events to increase reach and engagement.
  • Provides program management and implementation support to the voter engagement team.
Out of the Office
  • Working on completing her Ph.D. in Public Affairs.
  • Researching election administration practices.
  • Spending time with her loved ones and planning their next getaway.
Headshot of Nadjeda Cherilien

Nadjeda Cherilien

Senior Operations Manager


In the Office
  • Assists with financial Mo-End process.
  • Handles office health and safety logistics.
  • Collaborates with the Director of Operations and Culture on administrative tasks.
Out of the Office
  • Curating various DJ playlists.
  • Daydreaming about Paris or Milan fashion week or a crypto boom.
  • Making Michelin rated meals for my dog.
Headshot of Alexandra Contreras

Alexandra Contreras

Senior Communications Manager


In the Office
  • Creates Engage Miami’s overall communications strategy in line with our mission, vision, values, and culture.
  • Lifts up the powerful work of young people in South Florida through beautiful visuals and compelling stories.
  • Works with external artists, photographers, and partners to build communications capacity and strategy.
Out of the Office
  • Started roller skating during the pandemic and hasn’t stopped.
  • Loves sewing, crocheting, and thrifting new clothes.
  • Spending way too much time online.
Headshot of Taniyah Dennis

Taniyah Dennis

Democracy Done Right Organizer


In the Office
  • Conducts outreach and research candidates for local, state, and national office.
  • Coordinates production of forums and endorsement processes.
  • Conducts campus engagement including presentations, faculty outreach, and student volunteers
Out of the Office
  • Plays multiple instruments.
  • Travels.
  • Spends time with family.

Christopher Gonzalez

Finance Manager


In the Office
  • P​reparing monthly fiscal sponsor partner reimbursement invoices.
  • Execute accurate bookkeeping, grant tracking, and financial reporting.
  • Managing payroll preparation and processing on a bi-monthly basis
Out of the Office
  • Pumping some iron at the Gym.
  • Long nature walks.
  • Playing Call of Duty.

Lawrence Gonzalez

Data Associate


In the Office
  • Maintains the data infrastructure that turns out voters, grows the organization, and informs the next campaign.
  • Demystifies data processes so that they can best reflect the work that Engage does.
  • Coordinates with data personnel who are also looking to build a better world from the bottom up.
Out of the Office
  • Playing soccer, usually trying the recreate the goals James Rodriguez scored in the 2014 World Cup.
  • Playing online blitz chess while listening to a podcast or a video on a skill he’s trying to learn or a Welsh rock band – oops he just lost a piece!
  • Running around the flawed but beautiful Miami metro area under the influence of caffeine and the comfort of his loved ones.
Headshot of Caro Gutierrez

Caro Gutierrez

Digital Organizer


In the Office
  • Comes up with creative ways of doing outreach for our members and base.
  • Increases our base’s understanding of local government, YPPP issues, and civic engagement by breaking down concepts and legislation through easy-to-understand visuals.
  • Works on mobilization for in-person actions, prioritizing YPPP issues and partner campaigns, and voter engagement
Out of the Office
  • Playing instruments.
  • Illustrating.
  • Riding my bike.
Augusta Jerez Headshot

Augusta Jerez

Engage the Vote Campus Coordinator


In the Office
  • Conducts student voter outreach and supports Program Manager in faculty outreach, scheduling, site coordination and weekly fellowship meetings.
  • Co-manages and provides on-site training and support to a team of fellows.
  • Hosts, manages and attends campus voter engagement events and gives class presentations.
Out of the Office
  • Cooks up a storm of vegetarian dishes from all over the world.
  • Takes her hot pink kayak out to the beach.
  • Travels, picks up new languages, and devours information online about the latest skill, hobby, or topic that has piqued her interest.
Headshot of Bri Joseph

Briyana Joseph

Student Engagement Program Manager


In the Office
  • Collaborates with campus faculty and partners to educate, activate and elevate their students to use their voices collective power to make South Florida more just, democratic and sustainable.
  • Uplifts our Engage the Vote Campus Fellows as they table and host events on campus to register their peers to vote and help them gain knowledge and skills around local civics and government.
  • Curates volunteer programs that is fun and impactful to engage young voters in South Florida around the issues they care about most
Out of the Office
  • Exploring Miami’s parks with her Chizer pup Ozzie.
  • Boxing classes for creative cardio.
  • Visiting local museums with her mom and sisters.

Headshot of Rebecca Pelham

Rebecca Pelham

Executive Director


In the Office
  • Crafts the overall program and organizational strategy in collaboration with the team.
  • Makes sure everyone is set up for success to center equity and effectiveness across our work.
  • Advocates for our work to bring in the resources we need to be powerful, sustainable, and advancing our strategic priorities and vision
Out of the Office
  • Dancing in the living room and occasionally getting over to class to try new styles and keep training.
  • Cooking up elaborate recipes on Sundays.
  • Taking long walks and exploring parks and ecosystems around South Florida
Headshot of Jessica Saint-Fleur

Jessica Saint-fleur

Lead Organizer


In the Office
  • Manages and guides members.
  • Creates leadership opportunities in issue advocacy and organizing.
  • Builds relationships and collaborates with partner organizations.
Out of the Office
  • Traveling to whichever next state or country I can afford (or not).
  • Escaping reality through music festivals.
  • Singing and dancing in my room.
Headshot of Zach Spicer

Zach Spicer

Climate & Community Justice Organizer

Any Pronouns

In the Office
  • Tracks climate and environmental justice campaigns across Miami-Dade County, especially ones related to the YPPP
  • Connects with interested and existing members to learn how Engage and our partners can uplift their visions for community justice
  • Assists with planning the Advocacy + Organizing strategy for youth engagement and development.
Out of the Office
  • Goes to nearby beaches, parks, or gardens to reconnect with the land and leave behind the stress of urban life.
  • Skateboards and tries to land their first kickflip.
  • Works on their ever-expanding list of books to read, and tv shows/movies to watch.
Headshot of Yanelis Valdes

Yanelis Valdes

Director of Advocacy & Organizing


In the Office
  • Builds power with young people across Miami-Dade to create the future we deserve.
  • Collaborates with and organizes alongside incredible community partners.
  • Manages an awesome team of organizers.
Out of the Office
  • Constantly tends to her plant babies.
  • Spends hours reading a new book or binge watching a new series.
  • Attempts to watercolor while her cat, Mango, steals her paintbrush.
Headshot of isa zuluaga

isa zuluaga

Director of Operations & Culture

Any Pronouns

In the Office
  • Holds down the internal operations and collaborates with the Ops team to build out and improve upon our organization’s financial and administrative systems.
  • Provides restorative Human Resources that center our values, team, and community.
  • Co-creates strategies and implements practices that develop a work culture rooted in anti-racism and feminist principles.
Out of the Office
  • Can be found at a beach or in a pool, connecting to her mermaid past-life.
  • Creates art both digital and traditional and visits art museums for inspiration.
  • Enjoys the company of her two cats, Mochi and Michina.

The Board

Aimee Ferrer

Board Chair

Assistant Federal Public Defender

Rodney Jacobs

Vice Chair

Assistant Director for the City of Miami Civilian Investigative Panel (CIP)

Gus Perez


Member of the Miami Forever Bond Program Citizens’ Oversight Board

James Lopez

Board Secretary

Executive Director of Power U Center for Social Change

Akivia Bassaragh


Jude Bruno

Chair of Florida PTA’s Student Engagement Committee

Cherie Cancio

Director of Service and Learning at City Year Miami

Juan Cuba

Deputy Director of The Impact Project

Pauline Green

Executive Director of The Alliance for LGBTQ Youth

Matt Haber

Assistant County Attorney at Broward County Government

Justin Pinn

Director of Strategic Initiatives at Teach for America Miami-Dade

Monica Skoko Rodriguez

Executive Director of the Commission for Women at Miami-Dade County