Maria joins World Savvy as Chief Operating Officer, where she oversees and helps scale our operations and human resources functions, and collaborates with the rest of World Savvy’s leadership team to drive organizational strategy, reach collective goals and build a values-based culture.
Maria grew up in a low-income family and was a racial minority in the neighborhoods where she lived in central St. Louis and the south side of Chicago. It wasn’t until she arrived on the University of Minnesota campus as a college freshman that she began to fully recognize her privilege as a white person, and the multigenerational systemic racism and injustice that her childhood peers faced. It is this experience that fuels Maria’s passion to ensure all children have access to a quality education that prepares them to meet their life goals.
Maria has more than 20 years of experience in the Twin Cities nonprofit sector, where she has served on the leadership teams of several innovative, high-performing and scaling organizations, including College Possible, Teach For America-Twin Cities, and Summit Academy OIC. Throughout her career, she has worked alongside nonprofit board members, leaders, and staff to develop visions for the future and build the effective operations necessary to make those visions come alive in values-based, engaging work cultures. Most recently, Maria led nationwide initiatives to support food bank executives and board members as they navigated the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic at Feeding America.
Maria holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature and a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, a Mini-MBA in Nonprofit Management from the University of St. Thomas, and a Senior Professional Human Resources Professional (SPHR) Certification from HRCI.
In her spare time, Maria enjoys traveling, being outside in all kinds of weather, reading, writing, music, and spending time with her family.