Story of Change
The ChangeMaker Foundation was founded in 2018 as a non-profit organization aiming to develop leaders who act as agents of change by transforming their skills in planning and executing social entrepreneurship projects. The ChangeMaker Foundation is a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt entity governed by a 7 member board of trustees and based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Our vision is to create vibrant ecosystems of non-profit organizations and social enterprises through leading pivots in innovation and social change. The foundation's mission is to develop change agents with project management and technology skills for the success of their goals. We support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The entity emerges after identifying social leadership problems. In the absence of professional education for innovative leaders, the founder seeks to create a space to develop leadership skills in people who are part of the ecosystem of non-profit organizations and social enterprises. The Foundation addresses a gap in the nonprofit ecosystem. It seeks to develop the best possible leadership who in turn is in change of humanistic and educational orientation for their teams in three core focus areas: diversity, inclusion, equity ; a data culture; and digital communication.
We promote leadership and innovation through changemakers in nonprofits social enterprises and corporate social responsibility programs with humanistic and educational orientation.
Develop change agents with leadership skills in management and technology for the success of their projects.
Create vibrant ecosystems of non-profit organizations through leading change agents in innovation and social change.
Diversity and inclusion: these mean respect for and appreciation of differences in ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, education, and religion. But it is more than this. We all bring with us diverse perspectives, work experiences, lifestyles, and cultures.
Collaboration is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together in an intersection of common goals–for example, an intellectual endeavor that is creative in nature-—by sharing knowledge, learning, and building consensus.
Innovation refers to creating more effective processes, products, and ideas. For a business, it could mean implementing new ideas, improving services, or creating dynamic products. By innovation, we mean changing your business model and making changes in the existing environment to deliver better products or services.
Efficiency is the (often measurable) ability to avoid wasting materials, energy, efforts, money, and time in doing something or in producing a desired result. In a more general sense, it is the ability to do things well and successfully,
Integrity means following your moral or ethical convictions and doing the right thing in all circumstances, even if no one is watching you. Having integrity means you are true to yourself and would do nothing that demeans or dishonors you.
Board of Directors
Mariely Rivera Hernández
Executive Director & Founder
Mariely Rivera-Hernández is a prominent changemaker experienced in developing and leading local non-profits, as well as carrying out executive functions at higher-education institutions and local publishers. With 25 years of experience in federal grants management and a successful track record as a nonprofit leader, she adds value to other organizations through innovation, leadership, and research projects. She has managed programs sponsored by a diverse array of funding sources, including federal and local government agencies, foundations, corporations, and individual donors.
She is a senior researcher for the Caribbean on Women, Gender & Philanthropy for Latin America and the Caribbean by sponsored of WINGS, Comunalia, ELLAS.org and the Interamerican Bank. An active leader within the nonprofit community with a strong network and solid reputation, Rivera launch her own podcast www.pivot-es.com. Pivot-ES is an award winner podcast by the Latin Podcast Award 2020. Also, Rivera-Hernández is the book author of Pivots: Agents of Change Taking Action published in 2021 and received a Silver Award Winning Author distinction in 2022 from the International Latinos Book Awards.
Mariely is an alumni of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health Leaders national program. The program fosters collaboration between people from all fields and professions that have an influence on people’s health to build just and thriving communities. She has two master’s degrees on International Relations from Ortega y Gasset Institute at Madrid and a second at the Communication and Science Information Faculty at the University of Puerto Rico specializing in theory and research. She is an active graduate student at the University of Málaga focusing on research communication.
She has more than 20 years of experience in the development and execution of programs for rising entrepreneurs. Her experience includes identifying business opportunities and developing business and marketing plans for various industries and nonprofit organizations. She has extensive knowledge of SME development models from Canada, Colombia, Spain and the United States. She was awarded a scholarship by the Guayacán Group to attend the Babson Entrepreneurship Fellowship program where she traveled to study new business models.
Nerma is a professor at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón (USC). She is part of the advisory board of Echar Pa 'Lante and Colmena 66, which are both multisectoral economic development efforts. She designed the pre-acceleration program of Startup.pr, the Boys' and Girls Club entrepreneurship pillar and Startup Experience for young people. She is an I-Corps instructor and the only certified facilitator in Puerto Rico for Startup Weekends.
Nerma holds a bachelor's degree in marketing from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus, a master's degree in Nonprofit Organization Administration from USC and a Certificate in Communication Management from the European Forum in Spain. In 2015 she was recognized as Mentor of the Year at the H3 Conference. She is a Cordes Foundation Fellow, an Aspen Institute Fellow and was recognized as one of Puerto Rico’s pillars of Entrepreneurship in 2018. She is the founder of the Center for Entrepreneurs and 100 Ventures.
Dr. Ernesto Villarini-Baquero is Vice President of the Community Venture Capital Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to economic development through access to private capital markets. Ernesto’s previous experience includes work as an investment advisor and business consultant specializing in strategic planning, financing and development of social enterprises and entrepreneurial nonprofit organizations. He has 20 years of executive and managerial experience. Villarini-Baquero holds bachelor’s degree in science and science education from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, a master’s in business administration from Regis University in Denver, Colorado, and a doctoral degree in business administration at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, Metropolitan Campus.
Villarini-Baquero is a Trustee and Treasurer of the Puerto Rico Model Forest Trust, Vice-President of the Board of the Association for Financial Professionals – Puerto Rico Chapter, and a Member of the Financing Committee of the Puerto Rico Community Foundation’s Community Investment Fund. Villarini-Baquero is an Entrepreneurship Education Fellow of Babson College and a member of the editorial board of PRAXIS: The University of Puerto Rico’s Business Administration Journal. He has presented both professional and academic work at various international conferences in San Juan, Stockholm, Santo Domingo, New York, Miami, Boston, and Washington, D.C..
Wanda I. Casanova Nicolao
Professional with 28 years of experience in the insurance industry. She is the CEO and President of W. Casanova Insurance, LLC, the firm she founded to offer multiple insurance solutions for her clients. Wanda served in various positions for 22 years at La Cruz Azul De P.R., achieving the position of Client Manager, which allowed her to lead multiple projects that benefited clients, employees, and associates. She has collaborated in community work, chairing the Board of Directors of her Homeowner’s Association for 10 years, bringing about positive changes in her neighborhood.
Wanda Casanova has life, health, disability, property, and contingency insurance licenses. She is certified as a financial advisor by FINCERT with a Certification in Consultant in Credit Restoration from Ana G. Méndez University. She also earned a Conflict Mediator Certification to help resolve disputes between parties amicably. She is passionate about helping and guiding her clients so they can achieve their financial goals with a protective foundation.
Brenda D. González-Roldós, JD
A highly motivated executive with over 20 years of experience leading high-performing teams composed of lawyers and accountants in the evaluation, analysis, and compliance of laws regarding public administration to promote ethical conduct within government institutions by designing and implementing thorough public policy.
González-Roldós exerts legal practice as lawyer and notary in the jurisdiction of Puerto Rico as a current member of Colegio de Abogados y Abogadas de Puerto Rico (Bar Association of Puerto Rico).
Possesses excellent communications skills, management of human resources and particularly adept at working in specialized teams, where high standards of commitment and work ethic led to the achievement of institutional goals. González-Roldós received her BA in Liberal Arts, Political Science at University of Puerto Rico in its Río Piedras Campus as well as a JD degree from their School of Law. Her solid academic background led her to attain vast knowledge regarding Puerto Rico’s legal system and its application according to the social purpose that the law contains.
Dr. Wilfred Labiosa
Dr. Labiosa has more than 25 years of experience in mental health and public health. He holds master's degrees in psychology from Boston University and nonprofit management from Suffolk University. In addition, he has a Ph.D. in Social Work from Simmons University. During his professional career with the Boston Public Health Commission and at Boston Children's Hospital he led multiple initiatives with institutions and community-based organizations focused on mental health issues in the Latino community. He is the founder and CEO of Waves Ahead Corp., a Puerto Rican organization that works with marginalized populations in communities, especially LGBT + older adults. The organization has three centers throughout Puerto Rico.
Astrid Navarro Vázquez, CPA
Astrid Navarro Vázquez stands out as a business leader with experience focused on strategic planning and finance. She currently works as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at Invest Puerto Rico, a nonprofit entity whose mission is to promote Puerto Rico as a destination for investment and business development. She has extensive experience in finance and operations in various sectors, especially in the pharmaceutical industry. She is an expert in the areas of finance, accounting, strategic planning, business development, corporate governance, accountability, internal controls, treasury, and compliance. She has held key positions at Price Waterhouse Coopers, Merck & Co., GFR Media, Universidad del Sagrado Corazón, and the Puerto Rico Clinical Research Consortium. Astrid is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and has a Certification in Sustainability. Over the years, she has collaborated with various non-profit organizations such as Community Financial Advisors and the Center for Puerto Rico / Sila María Calderón Foundation. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration-Accounting from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.
Meet the Team
Mariely Rivera Hernández, MA
President and founder of ChangeMaker Consultants LLC, the ChangeMaker Foundation and fellow of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation - Culture Health Leaders Program. She is the producer and host of the Pivot-ES podcast, awarded with a 2020 Latin Podcast Award. She has an academic background in International Relations and Social Communication Research. She is the author of the book “Pivots: Agents of Change Talking Action (Spanish Edition)”, a public speaker and a producer of educational video conferences through YouTube.
Dr. Waleska Sánchez de Gutiérrez
President of the Western Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce and founder of S & G Consulting, Inc. is a businesswoman, social entrepreneur, educator and leader of several initiatives that promote socioeconomic well-being. She is an expert in the best use of assistive technologies in projects and management. A doctorate from Inter-American University in Leadership and Instruction in Distance Education.
Inés Rivera Rivera
Social work professional with over 25 years of experience in the field of non-profit organizations in the areas of health, housing and education. Her professional career has taken her from direct service, supervision, management and administration to executive management. She is a university professor and is completing her doctoral thesis in the area of social policy research and analysis at the Beatriz Lasalle Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras.
Nina Rodríguez Quirós
Holds a master's degree in Communication from the University of Puerto Rico. She has taught communication and creativity courses in the UPR university system and at Atlantic University College, and is a doctoral candidate at the University of Cadiz. She is the co-founder of Buzzzy, a platform that connects businesses with curated creative talent. Her advertising campaigns have won awards at national and international advertising festivals. Throughout her career, she has consolidated three passions: her professional background, entrepreneurship and her teaching vocation.
Zildalee Díaz Rosado, MBA
Professional in the area of business administration with more than 20 years of experience in non-profit organizations. She has vast experience in project administration and management. She focuses on accountability, business intelligence, data management, and social media.
Jessica Pou, MA
"Create, inspire others and never stop learning" is what motivates her. With experience in Digital Marketing, Advertising and Business Administration for nearly 20 years, she has worked with some important local companies in the areas of E-commerce, Social Media Content Creation for Social Media, Customer Experience and Fashion Retail. She possesses a BBA in Business and Marketing from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus and MA in Communications and Advertising from Sagrado Corazón University. Loves art, photography, and nature.
Andrea I. Laó
Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing
University of Puerto Rico - Río Piedras
Bachelor's Degree in Communication
Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences
University of Puerto Rico - Río Piedras
Graduate Program in Communication
Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences
University of Puerto Rico - Río Piedras