Casa Circulo Cultural functions through a vibrant, grass-roots approach and has built its leadership team from a diverse group of community members which include family caregivers, accredited instructors, first responders, and professionals of various fields. Our Leadership team is made up of ten board members and sixteen volunteer instructors in different activities.
Veronica Escamez, Founder / Director.
Our founder and director, Veronica Escamez, immigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area more than thirty years ago from Mexico, where she was an educator, youth theater director, and social worker. Veronica is devoted to community service and models intense, passionate volunteer work in Redwood City and neighboring cities for over fifteen years. Veronica along with her family are the recipients of the 2017 La Familia Award given by The Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley to families performing extraordinary community activities through volunteerism in community engagement. As founder of CCC,“Veronica Escamez is a shining example of when community passion, a calling for service and family roots come together,” said Ron Gonzales, President and CEO of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley. CCC’s story is shared by many in the Hispanic community; we are proud to have them as the recipients of the 2017 La Familia Award. Veronica has proven to herself and the community what a great leader she truly is.
Maritza Gasca and Connie Guerrero, the Chairwoman and Vice-Chairwoman, respectively, tag team to execute and uphold Veronica’s original vision for Casa Circulo Cultural.
Maritza Gasca, Chair.
Maritza is our newly elected Chairman of the Board, she has a degree in Business, and works in the Planned Giving department at Stanford University. She has been directing and coordinating CCC programs and events since she began as a volunteer in 2015. Her sincere passion to help and support our community, students, and families, is what drives her to make herself available each day with a smile on her face.
During her time with CCC, Martiza has been the lead coordinator for its biggest event, the Day of the Dead Celebration, which attracts over 10,000 spectators since 2015, she has helped launch programs like the Children’s Business Fair, she was a tutor to four students, and handles all daily admin tasks of CCC. Her ability to take initiative and her trait to be proactive about identifying what needs to be done and executing it shapes her work at CCC.
Connie Guerrero, Vice Chair.
Meanwhile, Connie brings to this role extensive community engagement experience, from her Public Relations work on the SFPUC Hetch Hetchy Water System Improvement Program (WSIP), the 2010 Census, PG&E Remediation projects and her work with the City of East Palo Alto General Plan update as well as other community projects throughout San Mateo County. .
With this community experience, she is able to lead the Community Engagement volunteer efforts at Casa Circulo Cultural and continue to advocate for CCC throughout the region. Due to Mrs. Guerrero work experience and community engagement, she has an extensive network in the Latino community in San Mateo County and has built relationships and partnerships throughout the County. Through her networks, she has introduced potential partners, funders , media contacts and has created long lasting partnerships with organizations such as RWC Parks and Recreation, San Mateo County History Museum, Redwood City Arts Foundation, , Telemundo48, Redwood City Library, and others that benefit CCC . It is through these introductions and connections that CCC has been able to expand its reach.
Manuel Ortiz, Director and Treasurer.
Mr. Manuel Ortiz, a national award-winning digital journalist, social researcher and professor with more than 16 years’ experience in issues concerning social justice, technology and society as well as labor and environmental migration in different countries like Mexico, the United States, Colombia, Bolivia, Cuba, El Salvador, Japan and France. He had taught Multimedia and Communication at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), where he was the director and founder of the Multimedia Laboratory for Social Research. He has also taught documentary multimedia workshops and talks at Santa Clara State University; Loyola University, News Orleans; Stanford University. Ortiz uses his long-taught multimedia experience as well as his sensibility to social issues to enrich the education programs at Casa Círculo Cultural.
Iris Lezama, Director and Secretary.
Ms. Iris Lezama, has a background in healthcare more specifically nursing for about 12 years working in many specialties, including pediatrics. Mrs. Lezama also teaches voice regularly and serves as a Camp coordinator during the summer for our leadership program, which is part of our Cultural Social and Cultural initiative.
Ms. Lydia Hernandez, Director, was born and raised in Mexico City; she moved to California when she was 24 years old. She worked for the Redwood City School District for 7 years and she has been working with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office for over ten years. During this time she has become familiar with the community of North Fair Oaks and the needs of the underprivileged families in the Latino community of Redwood City. Her knowledge of the Mexican traditions and her close contact with low income communities in the area made her a great asset to promote the programs and events from Casa Circulo Cultural and she serves as a liaison with other community organizations in the area.
Liliana Acosta, Director.
Ms. Liliana Acosta, Director, is a business woman that co-founded a startup which provides fresh produce to local companies and organizations. Her experience in project management and human resources, helps Casa Circulo Cultural stay up to date and in compliance with laws and ordinances. Liliana’s entrepreneurial mindset stimulates CCC to find ways to create income, which allows the different programs to be more sustainable.
Florence Ortiz, Director.
Ms. Florence Ortiz, Director, - Florence is born and raised in Redwood City and has been active in community service activities in North Fair Oaks, Redwood City, and East Palo Alto since the age of twelve. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Comparative Politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Florence regularly works with local government organizations to develop and customize programming for multicultural communities that brings resources specific to the needs to further quality of life and empower its citizens. She aids Casa Circulo Cultural in creating strategic planning measures to bring program growth and increase visibility to community members, stakeholders, and partners.
Ms. Wendy Segovia is a professional bookkeeper, she was president of (English Language Advisory Committee (ELAC) for many years. Besides serving on the board, Wendy supports our efforts as a volunteer in the school pods and COVID testing sites.
Roxana Escamilla, Directors.
Ms. Roxana Escamilla, Director, is a member of the Redwood City Community that bring to CCC both their life experiences and knowledge of the community needs.
Although our leadership team and volunteer instructors have different specialties and life experiences, their dedication to the arts and elevating the quality of life for the community is one in the same.
2019 marked the 10th anniversary of Casa Circulo Cultural. As we celebrated our 10th year at a fund-raising gala at the Redwood City Women’s Club, we spoke about our plans for our next 10 years: to grow our programs, teach more families and youth, and reach beyond Redwood City and North Fair Oaks.
To help us achieve this, we are expanding our Board of Directors. Our first meeting with the newly expanded Governing Board will be in September. The Governing Board will include five members from outside of CCC, but who believe in our mission and will provide governance, strategy and fundraising support.
The next keys to furthering our mission are funding and space. With the new Board, we will expand our fundraising efforts, seek grant opportunities such as CZI, and look to other philanthropic organizations.
As for space, one of the unfortunate consequences of the public health emergency is that businesses are looking to consolidate and reduce space. This creates opportunities for us to lease new space and offer our programs, while observing social distancing. We have already taken advantage of one opportunity at our location in Redwood City.