Directors





Ana_Aguirre_.JPGAna Aguirre

Director of YouthSource & Education Department

Ana Aguirre is Director of the YouthSource & Education Department (YSED). YSED operates youth workforce development initiatives in three areas: Pacoima/San Fernando, East Hollywood, and Pico-Union, and serves over 600 youth annually, providing case management, college and career support, academic services, and personal development opportunities. The frameworks used to support youth utilize trauma-informed practices and a youth-centered approach, both incorporating a strength-based perspective. The values of the department are knowledge, empathy, and youth-centered, and the overall goals are academic success and placement into employment, college, and careers, with the long-term goal of self-sufficiency.

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karina.jpgKarina Favela-Barreras

Director of Operations, Los Angeles Promise Neighborhood

As the Youth Policy Institute’s (YPI) Director of Operations for the Los Angeles Promise Neighborhood (LAPN), Karina is responsible for the short- and long-term coordination and implementation of cradle-to-college-and-career services for the communities of Hollywood and Pacoima.


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Vanessa_Esparza_.JPGVanessa Esparza

Director of Community & Family Support

Vanessa Esparza is the Director of Community & Family Support. In this role, Vanessa plays an integral part of the Community Development Division overseeing three YPI community centers including: the Hollywood FamilySource Center, Pacoima Community Center and the San Fernando Gardens Community Center.

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heather.pngHeather Fukunaga

Director of Grants Development

Heather Fukunaga is the Director of Grants Development for the Youth Policy Institute and has a leading role in fundraising for the organization from a range of local, state, and federal agencies, including the US Departments of Education, HUD, Labor, Justice, HHS, Agriculture, and Corporation for National and Community Service.

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leah.jpgLeah Lau

Director of Communications

Leah Lau is the Director of Communications for the Youth Policy Institute, leading the marketing, editorial, publishing, media, PR and photography for the agency. She is a creative visionary with far-reaching professional experience as an Editor and Marketing Communications expert in fields as diverse as Fortune 500 companies, corporate philanthropy, nonprofits, and government. Her life’s work is dedicated to making the world more positive and equitable: For more than 20 years, she has been spearheading community advocacy at the local, national and international levels, with a focus on education, the arts, and health care.

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martin.jpgAngelica Martin

Director of Workforce Development Department

Angelica began her community-based service career over 20 years ago, supporting and managing workforce development programs. As early as high school and partially through college, she served as a Youth Employment Specialist for the Employment Development Department (EDD), State of California under the Youth Employment Opportunity Program (YEOP).

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diane.pngDiana Rodriguez

Director of Expanded Learning

As Director of Expanded Learning, Diana is dedicated to carrying out the agency’s commitment to provide technology, training, and resources to youth and adults across Los Angeles. In her four-year tenure, Diana has managed a portfolio of technology related projects totaling more than $9.8 million dollars, the most notable being a BTOP Public Computer Center (PCC) Grant that enabled YPI to deploy over 1,700 workstations across 83 PCCs throughout Los Angeles County.

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Enrique_Villagrana.jpgEnrique Villagrana 

Director of Learning & Development 

Enrique Villagrana is the Director of Learning & Development for Youth Policy Institute. The Learning & Development Department provides training to 1,500 employees. Previous to obtaining his current position, Enrique was the Director of the Supplemental Educational Services (SES) program, where he was instrumental in growing the program from serving 300 students during the first year to close to 3,000 students annually. In the past 11 years, he has supported with the implementation of AmeriCorps, VISTA, and other tutoring intervention grants at YPI.  

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Marguerite_Womack.jpgMarguerite Ave-Womack 

Senior Director of Community Development

Marguerite Ave-Womack is Senior Director of Community Development. She oversees the new TechHire program, a signature initiative of the White House to launch innovative training and placement models for developing tech talent. Previously, Marguerite was the Director of Workforce Development at Jewish Vocational Service (JVS). At the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, Marguerite served in roles as the Director of Economic and Workforce Development, and the Director of Operations.

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