Executive Board of Directors
Board Director & Founder
Irma is a third generation Ventura County resident, raised in Camarillo and attended local schools; Oxnard College, Ventura College and University California Santa Barbara. Her father Pete Luna was born in Moorpark and her mother Sally Cervantez was born in Piru. She is married to Dr. Manuel M. Lopez, former longtime Mayor of the City of Oxnard and presently President of the Oxnard Harbor Commission. She has four daughters, Yvonne, Lisa, Marisa and Tiffany, nine grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.
She was a 24 year California State employee, working for the Employment Development Department and Senator Gary K. Hart. She has been a member of many organizations and on the Board of many Ventura County non-profits; The Salvation Army, Ventura County Women’s Political Caucus, Tres Condados Girl Scout Council, El Concilio, Oxnard-Ocotlan Sister City Committee, United Way, Oxnard Performing Arts Center Foundation, Oxnard College Foundation Board, LULAC and the Oxnard Elementary School Personnel Commission. She is a founding member of; VCCF Women’s Legacy Fund, Destino Legacy Fund and CSUCI Presidents Circle. She has been recognized by the Girl Scouts as a Woman of Distinction, Oxnard Woman of the Year, Cause action Fund Lifetime Achievement Award and the Mexican-American Bar Association Justice Award. She was recognized as the 2015 Woman of the Year by Senator Hanna Beth-Jackson.
“My proudest achievement has been as founding Madrina of the REBOZO FESTIVAL. The first Festival was held in 2005. The 12th Annual Rebozo Festival will be celebrated in 2016. When the Rebozo Festival Committee was established in 2004 it was with the thought of establishing an organization that would support Ventura County private non-profits that further the cultural, economic and social well being of our community. I chose the name “Las Madrinas” because we, the volunteer Madrinas represent the life force of this collaborative effort. I am truly grateful to these volunteers who work tirelessly for our community”.
Board Director & Treasurer
Yolanda was born in Pueblo Nuevo, Guanajuato, Mexico, was raised and lived in Oxnard from 1970 to 1999, and is currently living in Camarillo. Together with her husband of 34 years, Alfredo Plascencia, President and CEO of Lazer Broadcasting Corporation, Yolanda is helping the Hispanic community in several counties of California by promoting through the various Spanish radio stations, education, local and international news, community services, music and talent. She is a devoted mother of three children–Elizabeth, Julissa and Alfredo Jr.–who has helped them complete their educational goals to succeed in their careers. Yolanda has been able to achieve her goal of helping others, as well, by being a part of and contributing to great organizations throughout Ventura County, such as founding Madrina of the Rebozo Festival, 2004-present; founding member of Destino 2000, 2000-Present; member of Clubes Zacatecanos, 1999-Present; past board member of Camarillo-Autlan Sister City, 1998-2006; past board member of Grants Committee for VCCF and past board member of Vision Committee for VCCF.
Board Director & Secretary
Barbara Barraza-Ordonez was born and raised in Oxnard. She graduated from Oxnard High School and has attended both Oxnard and Ventura Colleges. She worked for the State of California Employment Development Department (EDD) for over 40 years, in both supervisory and management positions. She also served as Secretary for the Western Ventura County Employer Advisory Council for over 10 years during her EDD career.
Barbara currently does volunteer work for the Lighthouse Women and Children’s Shelter, located in Oxnard. She is also an active member of the Museum of Ventura County and serves on the Las Contemporaneas committee. She has been involved with the Rebozo Festival for the past 4 years. She currently resides in Oxnard with her son, Marco.
Yolanda a friend to many, always willing to give the best of herself and lend a helping hand. Yolanda has worked at Livingston Hospice for 22 years. She is a member of the Zacatecanos Club and the director of their beauty pageant. She is a member of a group who assists the Augustinian Recollects at the Augustinian Recollects Priory in Oxnard. For 12 years she was a member of the local Fiestas Patrias committee and the director of the Señoritas Fiestas Patrias Beauty Pageant. In her spare time, Yolanda is an event planner, making use of her talent working with flowers creating beautiful decorations for events.
Born in El Palmar, Jalisco, to Don Salvador Pelayo y Doña Aleja Aguilar, the seventh of ten children, Yolanda has formed a beautiful family with her husband of 26 years Ricardo Lopez and their two children—Barbara and Edgar.
Yolanda is a Rebozo Festival founding “Madrina.”She is convinced that this organization has helped the community in various ways—enhancing pride in wearing our traditional Rebozo, providing an event to promote our culture with traditional music, food, and entertainment, and giving funds to local organizations that greatly benefit from the financial support.
Nuris E. Dante was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, South America. She left Venezuela once graduated from high school and studied English and Secretarial School in Trinidad and Tobago for a couple of years. She married a Californian she met in Trinidad and came to the US when she was 19 years old. Working and studying at the same time, she obtained a BA in Economics from UCLA. When she entered the professional workforce, she worked for large organizations such as Bank of America, Countrywide and Fannie Mae.
In 1999 she graduated with a Masters in Business Administration from USC and opened up her own business as a mortgage loan broker in 2000. During the financial crisis, she closed her mortgage business and took over a South American Cuisine restaurant in Ventura called Cafe Bariloche and later one in Camarillo called Chevere Restaurant. After closing the restaurants, she decided to go back to mortgage lending and is currently working as a Branch Manager for Annie Mac Home Loans.
In 2014, she was asked to join Rebozo Festival, Inc., as a Madrina and has been a part of this organization since.
Marisa Michell Montgomery
Marisa was born and raised in Mexico. She attended private Catholic elementary schools in Mexico before coming to California and attending Ventura High School and Ventura College. She returned to Guadalajara where she continued her education enrolling in the four-year nursing program. She graduated with a B.A. in nursing with a specialty in obstetrics. She returned to Ventura County and became a basic life-support instructor at Ventura County Medical Center (VCMC), teaching CPR before becoming a certified lactation counselor and supporting VCMC’s effort to be a “Baby Friendly Hospital.”
Born in Valparaiso Zacatecas, Mexico. Was raised and attended the public school system in Redlands, California. Graduated from California State University San Bernardino with her BA in Liberal Studies and later an MA in Educational Administration. She worked for Coachella Unified School District for 24 years, from 1980-2004. In her Educational Career she has been an elementary bilingual educator, a project teacher, student facilitator and an elementary school principal. Most recently she retired from Riverside County Office of Education as Director of the Migrant Education Program for the last seven years. Currently Maria is working with the Santa Barbara County Education Office as a Migrant Education Consultant.
Joe Ann Olivarez
Jo Ann was born and raised in Oxnard, CA and attended local schools. With a strong sense of family and a father who instilled in her a sense of giving back to the community. She has been involved and held office in many local nonprofit organizations, most recently, she has been the District Director of LULAC for 2 years and previous President of Oxnard Sister Cities. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Business and a Master’s degree in Organizational Management. Her professional background is in Human Resources for the past 30 years.
Yolanda M. Benitez
Yolanda was born in Santa Paula and grew up in Los Angeles. It was in Los Angeles that her mother, a migrant worker and single mother, supported her goal to pursue a college degree. Yolanda attended CSU-LA, where she earned her B.A. and Master’s degrees. Yolanda has devoted her life to the education of children through her work as Principal, Director of State and Federal Projects, Assistant Superintendent and Superintendent. In 2015, she retired as the Chief Academic Officer for the L.A. County of Education. She was responsible for the Largest Head Start Program in the United States, Migrant Programs, Charter Schools, STEAM programs, Common CORE, State and Federal Testing programs and Teacher/Administrator training. Currently she serves on the board of the Los Angeles County Friends of LACOE Foundation and is a Founding Madrina of Rebozo Festival, Inc.
Teresa Elenes Waisman
Teresa is a graduate of Laverne University with a degree in Business Administration and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from California Lutheran University. She retired as head of the Adult Services Department within the Human Services Agency. In the past 15 years she has been serving on the Board of Directors for the Oxnard College Foundation. The Oxnard College Foundation raises funds for college scholarships and program. Teresa is a long time county resident and currently makes her home in Oxnard with her husband Bruce. She has two daughters Mandi and Marnie and one stepson Jerremy and four grandchildren.
Eva was born in Texas and moved to California in 1972. She received bachelor degrees from Texas A&I and UCSB and graduated with a masters from UCLA. Eva worked for the Oxnard School District and California Department of Education’s Beginning Teacher program. Eva is retired and her favorite fundraising charities are Oxnard Educational Foundation, No Room at the Inn, And the Rebozo Festival.