Board of Directors

Adelante Mujeres has a talented and dedicated Board of Directors.

Veronica Grave, President
Veronica was born in Mexico and migrated to the US in 1998; she has been living in Cornelius since 2004 and always wanted to be involved in the community. She had the opportunity to volunteer with Adelante Mujeres and loved the enthusiasm and passion of the members to help women and their families through education. Veronica currently works at Intel as a software engineer.

 Brenda Ivelisse, Vice President

Brenda is a transformative educator in Portland, Oregon where she is active within the immigrant and human rights community.   As a fourth generation educator in her family, she continues the tradition of challenging students to develop themselves as individuals, realize their voice, and use that voice to speak out about things they care about.  She currently serves as the Associate Dean of Students at the Rock Creek campus of Portland Community College, where she supports and mentors students. 


    Elizabeth Lopez is a first generation Mexican-American raised in Los Angeles. Joining the Board was a natural choice for Elizabeth since she too grew up in a low-income household like those of the Latina students that participate in Adelante Mujeres. Her service to the Board is driven by the personal stories of empowerment and growth shared by the students and their families. Elizabeth joined the Board in 2011 and currently works as a Reference Librarian for the Hillsboro Public Libraries.

Emilie Witkowski has worked with Adelante Mujeres since 2008. She believes all women should be empowered members of society. She enjoys the passion that the exectuive director, staff, and fellow board members have for the mission of the organization. Emilie has witnessed how this passion fuels the change you see in the lives of the women that Adelante Mujeres serves. Originally from Banks, Oregon, Emilie now works with Portland General Electric. 



 Miguel Cholula is a member of the Hillsboro School District’s Bilingual Student Services team. As a community member of Washington County, he has a passion for cultivating our county’s potential by creating the next generation of leaders. Miguel is a wonderful soccer coach and is passionate about getting girls into sports. 



 Marco Espinoza is originally from Peru and has lived in Oregon since 1990. He has an MBA and has worked as a Financial Analyst for over 15 years. He currently works at Portland General Electric. He volunteers as a board member at Adelante Mujeres because he shares the same mission and vision regarding women in our communities. As the son of retired school teachers, Marco knows the positive influence education can have on women, their families, and our whole society. 



 Corrine Gilbertson is the Executive Assistant and Board Manager at All Hands Raised, an education organization that has a mission to help the nearly 100,000 public school children in Portland and Multnomah County achieve their full potential. She studied International Studies and Political Science at Portland State University. During college, she was a member of the Women’s Golf and Debate Teams and Las Mujeres, a student group focused on the educational and leadership advancement of Latinas. She also interned at the offices of a California State representative, the Peruvian Mission to the United Nations in Switzerland and our local Congressman, Earl Blumenauer. She is a member of the Young Professionals of the World Affairs Council of Oregon and volunteers for the Latino Caucus. As a Peruvian Norwegian born in Ecuador and raised in southern California, she possesses a deep appreciation and awareness for the strengths and challenges that racial, socioeconomic, and cultural diversity bring to our community.

Jon-Michael Kowertz has a strong desire to support small business success and his role as an SBDC business advisor is a perfect fit.  His position allows him to contribute to the Washington County business community by increasing the visibility, awareness, and accessibility of SBDC advising, programs, and educational pathways. Jon-Michael spent nearly five years working for the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce helping small businesses start and grow, most recently as Vice President of Business Development. Jon-Michael is active with MercyCorp NW as an instructor among other groups.  And beware Ducks and Beavers, Jon-Michael is a Tiger having studied at the University of Missouri - Columbia.


  Rhoda Markus is a native of Illinois has lived in Washington County since 1967.  Rhoda is a retired elementary  teacher and a retired deacon of the United Methodist Church.  She believes in the mission of Adelante Mujeres and finds congruency with her personal mission in life.  Rhoda loves volunteering at Forest Grove Farmers’ Market.  She has served since 2008. 


Jilma Meneses currently serves as Portland State University’s (PSU) Chief Diversity Officer. She has over twenty years of administrative and business experience, including ten years at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). She works in partnership with the dozens of other departments and student groups and provides executive level leadership on diversity and equity related efforts. Off-campus, she engages the regional community to increase awareness within underrepresented populations that higher education is a tool that breaks cycles of both poverty and discrimination. She drives change and raises awareness. She is also founder, chief counsel, and president of Our Family in Africa, fighting poverty and advocating for orphans.


Interested in joining the leadership of the Board of Directors of Adelante Mujeres? Contact Virginia "Gini" Petersen, Director of Development and Outreach, to learn more about our values and expectations.