Staff Members

From left to right: Florence M. Simán, Mónica L. Drasal Hinton, Cecilia SaloniIliana Santillán-CarrilloMary José EspinozaMichelle Bermeo Betancourt, Angeline EcheverríaWilliam SaenzMiguel "Mike" Figueras, and Jorge Luis Ramos

Angeline Echeverría, Executive Director

Angeline Echeverría grew up between upstate New York and South Carolina. She first lived in North Carolina in 1999, when she served as an intern for the Farm Labor Organizing Committee through Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF) in Durham, NC. After graduating from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Latin American Studies, she worked full-time for SAF through North Carolina Public Allies, then moved on to bring her commitment to social justice to non-profit organizations in Arkansas, Costa Rica, Alabama, and New York. Through her work at the Immigrant Justice Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Montgomery, Alabama, Angeline traveled extensively throughout the southeast, helping immigrant workers to understand and defend their rights. Prior to joining El Pueblo, she spent four years at La Fuente, an organization dedicated to empowering immigrants and workers in New York City and Long Island. Contact:

Cecilia Saloni, Operations Manager

Cecilia Saloni is an architect born in Caracas, Venezuela. Since she earned her Master's studies in Technological Development and Construction at Universidad Central de Venezuela, she has been working with communities and non-profit organizations, in programs to improve the life quality of low-income families through construction and enhancement of low-cost housing. She has been a member of several research teams for projects with universities, non-profit organizations and government offices. She was a founding member of the Habitat for Humanity in Venezuela and a volunteer since its creation in 2000. Since January 2003, Cecilia has resided in Raleigh, NC, where she has participated as a volunteer in various projects and events organized by El Pueblo. On November 1st, 2005 she joined to the Public Safety team as Research Assistant, in charge of the DWI prevention project. On October 2007, she was promoted to Public Safety Specialist, and on December 2007 she accepted the challenge to lead the program as Public Safety Director. In 2014, she transitioned to the position of Operations Manager, where she oversees general operations and logistics for all major events, including La Fiesta del Pueblo. Contact:

Florence M. Simán, Health Program Director

Originally from El Salvador, Florence moved to North Carolina with her family in 1980 because of the political situation in her home country. In 1988, Florence received her BA in International Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill and in 1991, her Masters of Public Health, specializing in Health Behavior, Health Education. Since then, Florence has worked on several health-related projects throughout North Carolina. From 1994-to 2004, Florence worked at Child Care Networks, a child care resource and referral agency in Pittsboro, NC, where she developed and implemented a Latino Program to serve the needs of Latino families in the area. In 2004, Florence left Child Care Networks to direct a lay health advisor program at El Pueblo, Inc., where she is now the Director of Health Programs. Florence is a founding Board Member of El Pueblo, Inc. Contact:

Iliana Santillán-Carrillo, Community Organizer

Iliana spent most of her childhood in Mexico City. She moved to Washington State with her mother and brother at the age of twelve. As immigrants, Iliana and her family overcame a myriad of obstacles. Hard work, dedication, and perseverance helped Iliana become the first member of her family to attend and graduate from college. She attended Western Washington University and Meredith College, where she graduated in 2008 as a Magna Cum Laude. Immediately after graduation she transitioned from being an ESL (English as a Second Language) Instructional Assistant to an ESL Teacher. Her personal experience and her fervent desire to serve the immigrant community enabled her to touch the lives of many families. The students and families she worked with shaped her as a teacher and fueled her passion and her desire to do more. After 10 years as an educator, Iliana decided to attend North Carolina State University, where she will receive her M.S. in Family Life and Youth Development in May 2015. Through her work at El Pueblo, Iliana works with youth and adult community members to develop campaigns for social justice.  Contact:

Jorge Luis Ramos – Program Coordinator

Jorge "Tito" Ramos is originally from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. He and his family immigrated to the U.S. in 2003 to escape the political and economic instability in their home country. He has lived in Raleigh, North Carolina ever since and considers it home.  Jorge first became involved with El Pueblo in the summer of 2009 through his older sister, Carolina, when he decided to volunteer at La Fiesta del Pueblo with her. Since then, he has been involved in almost all aspects of the organization, participating in projects such as No Fumo, DSF, Teen PEP, El Pueblo’s Strategic Planning committee, Youth Council, El Pueblo’s board of directors, and now as a working staff member. He considers himself a product of El Pueblo’s work and hopes to further empower its mission and role within The Triangle’s Latinx and Immigrant communities. Contact:


Mary Jose Espinoza, Civic Engagement Organizer

Mary Jose joins the El Pueblo team after over 7 years of working as an organizer in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 2010, she co-founded United 4 the DREAM, an immigrants’ rights advocacy group that organized by youth, for the youth. United 4 the DREAM became an outlet for young immigrant youth to advocate for themselves and their families on a wide range of topics, including: in-state tuition, licenses for undocumented immigrants, and stopping targeted checkpoints in Latinx and immigrant communities. Most recently, Mary Jose worked with Comunidad Colectiva, a grassroots group based in Charlotte that focuses on combating anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric at the local level. She also volunteered as a street medic during the Charlotte Uprising.

Mary Jose was born in Long Beach, California to Mexican parents. She and her family moved to Charlotte, NC in 2005. Mary Jose has grown to love and call the South home, and is a proud Southern Xicana.  Contact:

Michelle Bermeo Betancourt, Development Coordinator

Born in New York to a Colombian mother and Ecuadorian father, Michelle moved to North Carolina when she was 12. She has been here for the past decade and is comfortable calling Raleigh home. A graduate of North Carolina State University, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. Her passion for community began when, while in high school, she began volunteering her time with iNSIDEoUT, a non-profit organization based in Durham that strives to give a safe space to LGBTQ+ youth. This led to her seeking employment at a non-profit organization, where she could use her motivation, experience, and skills to support positive change in the community after graduating from college. She hopes to continue supporting El Pueblo’s mission as a staff and community member. She also hopes to cultivate relationships with community members and work with them to continue to build on the communities work. Contact:


Miguel Figueras, Youth Program Coordinator

Originally from Santiago, Cuba, Miguel "Mike" Figueras left their home country in 1970 because of the political situation there. They came to America and lived in Chicago for 12 years before moving to Miami Florida where he lived for 22 years. In Miami, Mike spent 11 years working with at risk students as an academic adviser for Miami Dade County Public School's Outreach program. Mike has resided in Raleigh for the past 6 years where he has worked with El Pueblo's a gang prevention program titled "AGAPE" (Adolescent Gang Awareness& Prevention thru Education) and start service clubs at 12 high schools in Wake County. Last year he was Project Coordinator for Youth and Families with Promise Program (YFP) at NC State University before re-joining the El Pueblo, Inc. team. He is currently Youth Program Coordinator for El Pueblo, Inc. Helping students succeed is the one goal Mike strives for. To Mike they are not the leaders of tomorrow but the leaders of today.

Mónica L. Drasal Hinton, P.A.R.E Project Coordinator

Graduated from Buenos Aires University, Argentina as Nutritionist-Dietitian, Mónica Drasal Hinton has been working for over 16 years in Public Hospitals, clinics and in the private sector in her country. As soon she moved to NC, in 2003 she became associated to El Pueblo, Inc. through the Líderes de Salud program funded by John Rex Endowment with the mission of improving the health of Latino children and families in Wake County. She has worked as a Health Educator to prevent Diabetes and Obesity in latinos in Durham County and DUI and DWI Prevention. As a Public Safety Specialist in El Pueblo, Inc. and through the statewide campaign titled "Nuestra Seguridad" provided consistent statewide messages about child safety seats, seat belt use, drinking & driving prevention, and the dangers of texting while driving.
In 2009, with the support from NC Governor Crime Commission, she coordinates the PARE project to develop and distribute culturally appropriate Spanish-language educational materials and provide a statewide database of Spanish resources for Latino victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. She also has been associated as a bilingual family counselor at Interact of Wake County.
Her strong beliefs that empowering families through effective and persistent information builds healthier and safe communities keeps her working in the Public Health field.Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Mónica arrived in NY, USA with her two children in 2001. Contact:

William Saenz, Communications Coordinator

Will grew up in Greensboro, NC, and is a recent graduate of Miami University in Oxford, OH, where he earned a triple B.A. in Diplomacy and Global Politics, Spanish, and Latin American Studies.  Throughout undergrad, Will spent internships in the front office of U.S. Representative Larry Kissell (D-NC) in Washington, D.C, as well as the Columbus, Ohio-based direct mail firm JVA Campaigns.  During his final semester in college, he served as a Legal Translator for an Ohio defense attorney and his Spanish-speaking client.  After graduating, Will returned to Greensboro to work as a Field Organizer for the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO called Working America.  There, he specialized in Latino outreach, registering local residents as members of the non-profit organization, as well as signing up migrant workers to health plans via the Affordable Care Act.  In March of 2015, he was selected to canvass on behalf of Philadelphia City Councilman Jim Kenney’s successful Mayoral Primary campaign.  Will serves as the Communications Coordinator for El Pueblo, where he uses various media channels to share our story with the community at-large.  Contact:  

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