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HOLA Ohio is an award-winning, 501c3 charitable nonprofit organization based in Painesville, Ohio, providing programs and services to Hispanic workers, families and children. HOLA was founded in 1999 to serve the growing Hispanic community in Lake and Ashtabula counties, and has since expanded its reach to most of northern Ohio and beyond.

On May 5, 2022, HOLA celebrated the grand opening of its new Hispanic Community Center, a $2.1 million development project that rehabilitated a decrepit structure contributing to blight in the largely Hispanic neighborhood. The new center contains staff offices, classrooms, a commercial kitchen and meeting spaces to better serve the community.

HOLA’s work has been spotlighted in NPR, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Telemundo, and has been recognized with numerous awards, including a Torchlight Prize, a prestigious national award honoring community-driven work that empowers the Latino community. Founding executive director Veronica Dahlberg was named a 2019 Crain’s Cleveland Business Woman of Note.

Staff


Veronica Isabel Dahlberg
Founding Executive Director

Veronica Isabel Dahlberg, Founding Executive Director, was born in Canton, Ohio, the daughter of Mexican and Hungarian immigrants. She has been an advocate in Northeast Ohio’s Latino and immigrant community for more than 20 years. Under her direction, HOLA Ohio is developing a Hispanic Community Center and Commercial Kitchen Incubator in Painesville, a $2 million project to open in spring 2022.

She is also working on a research project to document the history of Mexicans in the Western Reserve, with support from the Cleveland Foundation. She has received multiple honors, including the 2019 Women of Note award from Crain’s Cleveland Business, the Torchlight Prize – a national award recognizing work that empowers the Latino community – and the Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan Award from the Ohio Commission on Latino Affairs under Gov. John Kasich. Dahlberg also received a Community Advocate of the Year from the Cleveland Hispanic Roundtable, and a “Characters Unite” award from NBC Universal. She was recently elected to serve on the 12-member Affiliate Council for UnidosUS, the largest Hispanic civil rights organization in the country. She will represent the 13-state Midwest Region and its 56 affiliate Latino organizations for a three year term. Veronica is a frequent public speaker on topics relating to the Latino community. Contact: veronica@holaohio.org

Sidia Hernandez
Outreach Specialist

Sidia helps manage and oversee an array of support services that HOLA provides to Hispanic clients and families. She is the daughter of Mexican immigrants, and  became a US Citizen in 2009. She is a licensed STNA, the mother of a ten-year-old daughter, and a long-time volunteer for local schools and organizations. Contact: sidia@holaohio.org

Daianailys Rodriguez Ortiz
Receptionist

Daianailys grew up in Painesville, where she lives with her husband and two children. She loves talking to people, whether in English or Spanish. She is HOLA's front desk receptionist and answers the phones. "I love helping people and how HOLA works to help everyone who walks through the door or calls on the phone. Contact: daianailys@holaohio.org

Katie Kerzisnik
Bilingual Programs and Services Assistant

Katie is a longtime volunteer in the Hispanic community, having grown up in Madison, Ohio, surrounded by the nurseries. She began helping her Spanish-speaking classmates in high school, eventually joining the Hispanic youth group at St. Mary Church. She has a bachelor's degree in Spanish, and a master's degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Contact: katie@holaohio.org

Llicel Becerra
General Office Assistant

Llicel was born and raised in Painesville, Ohio, to immigrant parents who came to work in the area's nurseries. She is currently a student at Lakeland Community College (May 2023), where she studies business and marketing, and is recognized on the Dean's List. She assists in office operations, including supporting the staff, answering phones and other tasks to help the center run smoothly. Contact: llicel@holaohio.org

Board of Directors


Marty Cephas

Marty Cephas has over 30 years of sales, marketing, finance, and management experience with Household International, HSBC Bank, and Huntington Bank. Currently, Marty devotes her talents to business development and community revitalization. She sits on the boards of the Ashtabula Downtown Development Association and After School Discovery and is a past executive board member of Zonta International. A member of Jefferson United Methodist Church, she serves on the missions team, race relations committee and finance committee, and is a liturgist.

Gladys Figueroa

Gladys Figueroa has served as the Victim Advocate for the Lake County Prosecuting Attorney’s office since 1998. She is a co-founder of HOLA and a long-time ambassador for the organization. She graduated from Lake Erie College, in Painesville, with a B.A. in Psychology. She is the mother of two active young boys.

Tonya Horn

Tonya Horn is Diversity and Inclusion Recruitment Manager at Avery Dennison, headquartered in Painesville, Ohio. She is passionate about diversity initiatives, collaborating with young people and executing recruiting strategies. Tonya holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Development, Master of Science in Higher Education Administration, and a Human Resources Certificate. She is an active and proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and serves on the Advisory board for United Negro College Fund (UNCF).

Jon Marten

Jon Marten retired in 2017 from Parker Hannifin Corp, in Cleveland, where he served as Chief Financial Officer for seven years. Jon joined Parker as a financial analyst in the Aerospace Group in 1987, advancing up through several divisions before becoming CFO. He has been a supporter of HOLA for several years and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the board.

Nancy Maldonado-Dillard

Nancy Maldonado-Dillard is owner of Jan-Pro Cleaning Systems of Greater Cleveland, Akron and Toledo, which she started with her husband, Terrell, in 1997. Originally from New York City, and with deep roots in Lake County, she is a 1992 graduate of Ithaca College, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Race and Ethnic Relations. In 1997, she completed her graduate work at Cleveland State University earning a Master’s Degree in Higher Education.

John Rampe

John Rampe is CEO and owner of Torque Transmission, in Fairport Harbor, Ohio. He serves on the board of the Alliance for Working Together (AWT), and is chair of the Manufacturing Education committee. He is chair of the English Speaking Union Annual Shakespeare Competition, co-sponsor of the ECITY program in Lake County and active in many other community projects. He is a member of Fairmount Presbyterian church, is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, and lives with his wife Elinor in Willoughby Hills.

Catalina M. Wagers

Catalina M. Wagers, a native of Colombia, migrated to the US to pursue a degree in business. She’s had a 30+ year career as a retail industry executive. In 2018, she stepped away from the corporate arena to focus on projects that work for the advancement of Northeast Ohio and her adopted city, Cleveland. She is active in a number of civic and philanthropic causes. In addition to her support for HOLA, climate change is an issue of great importance to her.