Board of Directors
Adelante Mujeres has a talented and dedicated Board of Directors.
Veronica Grave is President of the Board of Directors. She 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 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.
Born in Puerto Rico, Brenda’s family migrated between the island and the East Coast of the United States throughout her youth. She is a doctoral student at Oregon State University in the College of Education. She has earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Washington State University, both in Education. She has is also a fellow with the National Hispana Leadership Institute, where she was selected as one of 21 Latina leaders in the country. Finally, she is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Executive Education Program.
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.
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) and over five years as Tri-Met’s Civil Rights Director. Ms Meneses has participated in humanitarian work in many developing countries. She also has experience working across a diversity of programs, cultures, and geographies. Ms. Meneses received her undergraduate degree from University of California at Berkeley and her Juris Doctor from Lewis & Clark Law School. She feels honored to have joined the Board of Directors at Adelante Mujeres.
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.
.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.
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.