Happy New Year from all of us at CDTech!
President & CEO
Benjamin Torres is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Community Development Technologies Center (CDTech). CDTech is 501 (C3) non-profit focused on addressing issues of community and economic development in low-income areas of Los Angeles through a social justice lens that empowers residents and communities to rebuild them. Mr. Torres worked side-by-side with Dr. Denise Fairchild (previous President/CEO) over the past eight years to (1) build the Community Planning program at LA Trade-Tech College; (2) lead CDTech’s comprehensive community initiative in Vernon-Central; and (3) provide leadership to our Working Democracy Division as Vice President. He is recognized as a major social justice leader both locally and nationally through his extensive background and work in developing grassroots and youth leadership, school and community partnerships as well as shaping community benefits agreements. He was instrumental in bringing the Public Allies program to CDTech, to build out the leadership and nonprofit workforce development pipeline in our underserved communities.
He is a faculty member and Director of the Community Planning Program at Los Angeles Trade Technical College. In this capacity he has been responsible for the strategic planning and day-to-day management of the certificate and associate degree programs in community planning. He has ten years of experience teaching, curriculum design, student and faculty development and support at LATTC and is responsible for overseeing community outreach and student community service activities. He has utilized creative solutions to bring non-traditional students into the college and developed bilingual programs to provide courses for groups like the promotoras de salud and other immigrant communities of South Los Angeles.
His relevant prior experience includes two years at the Multi-Cultural Education Consortium in Santa Barbara where he developed and coordinated a project to diversify public school faculty and curriculum in the secondary school district and implemented Chicano/Latino and African American studies courses. He was the Youth Leadership Director for La Casa de la Raza in Santa Barbara. A program designed to teach youth community organizing and leadership training to address issues impacting at-risk youth. Most recently, from 1997 to 2002, he served as project director for the MultiCultural Collaborative Community School Initiative program in the Watts community of Los Angeles. He developed programs in the area of community capacity building and leadership development and served as technical assistant and trainer to their community outreach efforts with an emphasis on building grass-root African American and Latino leadership cadres. Mr. Torres holds a bachelors degree from the University of California Santa Barbara and is completing his Masters degree in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University.
He is committed to building leadership capacity in South Los Angeles and serves on the Board of Directors of key organizations; Strategic Action for a Just Economy (SAJE), Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE), Figueroa Community Land Trust and the For Chicana/o Studies Foundation. Benjamin lives in Echo Park, where he proudly grew up and lives with his long-time partner Juana Mora and his daughters Aurelia and Camila Valentina.
V.P Strategic Initiatives
Kristine Williams is the Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at the Community Development Technologies Center (CDTech). CDTech is an innovative community economic development organization working in strategic partnership with Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, the LA Community College District, grassroots leaders and community institutions and organizations to build livable and economically viable neighborhoods in LA’s underserved communities. Prior to joining the CDTech team in 2007, she was part of the United Way system for 17 years, helping to build the capacity of two United Ways to achieve community-level impact both in the rural areas of northern Arizona and across Los Angeles County. She approaches community development work from an integrated perspective of funder, fund raiser, program designer/implementer and administrator. She holds a Masters degree in Applied Sociology from Northern Arizona University and has worked in the community building field for over 35 years.
Director, Finance & Operationsatreister@cdtech.org
Director of Programs
Vanessa Vela-Lovelace is Director of Programs for CDTech, a community economic development and capacity building organization whose focus is building the capacity of people to make change in themselves, their communities and in policies. She was a former Director of Administration for FilAm ARTS. With a Masters in Public Administration from University of Southern California, Vela-Lovelace brings 13 years of experience as a nonprofit program manager in the fields of arts & culture, leadership development, racial equity, social justice, youth and community development.
Director, Business and Economic Development
Yvette Nunez is a partner of a new Downtown Los Angeles Café, Bakery & Market Place, “Etchea. For over a decade, Nunez served as the Executive Director for the Food Industry Business Roundtable. She also has extensive Government and Non-Profit Experience including her most recent position as Sr. Program Director for Business and Economic Development for CDTech, a nationally recognized non-profit organization dedicated to promoting economic opportunities and justice to low income communities of greater Los Angeles. Before joining CDTech, Nunez worked for RLA (Rebuild L.A.), a non-profit Los Angeles Riot Recovery agency. Nunez is also the former Executive Director of the Toy Association of Southern California (TASC), and has served under former Mayor of Los Angeles Tom Bradley, U.S. Senator Alan Cranston and the late U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Ron Brown. Ms. Nunez was the Chef at the Oso Ranch and Lodge in New Mexico for 10 years. Nunez has received numerous awards and honors and currently is a Board
member of the Food Industry Business Roundtable and an Advisory Board member for the Dorsey Culinary Arts Program and the Toy Association of Southern California. Formerly, she served on the Board of Girls and Gangs and was a member of the Steering Committee for the Ca Association of Environmental Health Administrators, Safe, Secure and Sustainable Food Systems Symposium and served on the Legislative Affairs and Environmental Affairs Committees of the California League of Food Processors.
Senior Program Manager, Place Based Civic Engagement
Susy Coracero has worked in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, she understands the importance of civic engagement to build healthy, safe and empowered communities for the past 13 years. Her current responsibilities at CDTech include overseeing place-based initiatives in Vernon Central and Vermont Square communities in South Los Angeles focused on economic development opportunities. She is responsible for overseeing the civic engagement work, community service learning projects and internships for students in CDTech programs. She is also committed to building leadership capacity in South Los Angeles as a Adjunct Faculty of the Community Planning Program at Los Angeles Trade Technical College.
She was born in Compton and proud daughter of immigrant parents. She attended Jordan High School in Watts and holds a bachelors degree from the University of California Santa Barbara with a double major in Sociology and Chican@ Studies. She received her master’s degree from Claremont Graduate University in Education with an emphasis in Higher Education.
Carlos M. Arceo
Public Allies Program DIrectorcarlosa@publicallies.org
Program Manager, Outreach & Recruitment Public Allies Los Angeles
From program participant to Program Manager, Kim Williams has committed almost ten years of service to Los Angeles communities through her work with CDTech and the Public Allies Los Angeles program. She is particularly passionate about ensuring South LA Residents take advantage of the training and learning opportunities offered by CDTech and it's partners, and is thankful to have a space to continue her professional learning and growth while doing work that empowers her community.
Program Manager, Public Allies Los Angeles & Communications Manager
Program Coordinator, Community Engagement Teamwflores@cdtech.org
Program Coordinator, Economic Development and Civic Engagement
Currently at CDTech, Sophia is serving as a Program Coordinator for Economic Development and Civic Engagement, as a community organizer for Small Business engagement in anti-displacement strategies and Workforce Development programming.
East Oakland-raised, South LA-trained, Sophia has spent the past 6 years growing in social justice community-based work with UNIDAD (United Neighbors In Defense Against Displacement) as a result of her participation in the leadership development program Public Allies Los Angeles (PALA).
In her spare time she is a member of Everything Is Medicine, a land-based indigenous practice teaching responsibility to our mother planet.
Steven Love II
Program Coordinator, Civic Engagement & Leadership Development
Steven was born in California and lived most of his life in Watts. He is the second oldest of nine children in his family. He completed a one year nonprofit apprenticeship through AmeriCorps VISTA with Venice YouthBuild and two successive 10-month apprenticeships at CDTech through the Public Allies AmeriCorps program. Steven has become a powerful leadership development mentor for South Los Angeles high-school aged youth and young adults through both of these programs. Many of the Youth he has supported are now attending college and one was recently accepted into the Public Allies program, placed at CDTech. Trained in canvassing and community engagement through his Public Allies apprenticeship at CDTech, he developed expertise in coordinating the ACA outreach and education efforts to over 5,000 residents of Vernon Central and the Vermont Square. Based on his demonstrated leadership in the community relations field work, Steven was recently hired by CDTech as a Community Engagement Program Coordinator for the neighborhood-based outreach and education work of the organization. Steven is a strong, respectful and responsible leader committed to making a change in South Los Angeles and other communities of concentrated disadvantage. Throughout the struggles he has experienced, he learned how to take action, get his voice heard and be a leader, and most of all, how to be a team player. Steven values the community, unity and hard work and he passes these values onto the youth that he trains, mentor and engages in the neighborhood-based outreach and education work.
Daniel Johnson is a Los Angeles California native currently residing in Compton California. He is an Alumni of the YouthBuild program, currently serving his 2nd AmeriCorp term, on the YouthBuild California State Alumni Council, active in the United Neighborhoods Neighborhood Council and works with YouthBuild USA as a YouthBuild Network Agent. He is currently enrolled in Santa Monica College taking online courses and enrolled in Los Angeles Trade Tech's Los Angeles Community Organizing Academy. Daniel joined CDTech's Public Allies Los Angeles apprenticeship program to strengthen his leadership development, professional development and to gain experience working in the non profit sector. His experience also includes web graphics design, web development, social media and construction. After the Public Allies Los Angeles apprenticeship program he plans on studying political science, public policy and community development. With his passion for black and brown unity, civic engagement and becoming the voice for all undeserved communities, Daniel hopes to become the Mayor of Los Angeles one day.