Carlos Hernandez, Founder & Executive Director –,
Rebecca Raab, Director of Development & Programs –,
Zabdiel Santiago, Music Program Manager –
Jose Carrasquillo Soto, Music Program Manager –
Jorge Felix, Studio Arts & Exhibition Program Manager –
Steph Meza, Program and Development Assistant  –,

PRAA Main Desk – or 773-342-8865 x 104

PRAA Consultants and Instructors:

Jake Reich, Accounting Support  
Ernesto De La Torre, Accounting Consultant 
Celeste Park, Music Instructor
Florina Cupsa, Music Instructor 
Kevin Toler, Music Instructor 
Rene Avila, Music Instructor 
Mara Ayala, Studio Arts Instructor  
Maureen O’Connor, Development Consultant 
Jorge Ortega, Production Consultant 
Kopczyk, Osher & Scott


Board of Directors

Juan M. Mendez, JD, Chairman – President/Owner, Tara/Jordan Management, Ltd.
Eduardo Camacho, Vice Chairman – Senior Compliance Facilitator, OLSCR, CPS
Antonio R. Guillen, Treasurer – President, Wintrust Bank – Pilsen/Logan
Jose R. Sanchez, Secretary – President & CEO, Norwegian American Hospital
Sylvia Mojica-Castillo, PsyD – Psychotherapist Consultant
David Doebler – President, NBC 5  and Telemundo Chicago
Anastasia O’Brien, JD – Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Exelon
Robert Pantoja – Vice President, Customer Segments/Strategy Manager, BMO Harris Bank
Cheryl Cooke – Manager, Corporate Giving, Allstate Insurance Company
Manuel Cuevas-Trisan, JD – Corporate VP, Motorola Solutions, Inc.
Ignacio Lopez, President – Harold Washington College

Leadership Bios


Carlos Hernandez, Founder & Executive Director

Carlos Hernandez, Founder and Executive Director, has led PRAA since it was established in 1998. Under his guidance, PRAA has emerged as a leading non-profit arts organization in the Latino community. Carlos received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Southern Illinois University, and a Masters degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois. Additional training includes executive training at Stanford University Graduate School of Business and participation in “Leaders in the Arts” at the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Nonprofit Management. In 2010, Carlos was named an Experience Leader Fellow of the Chicago Community Trust.


Juan Mendez, Board Chairman 

Juan is the President of Tara Jordan Management, Ltd. which operates seven McDonald’s restaurants. Prior to becoming a McDonald’s franchisee, he was the principal for the law offices of Juan M. Mendez & Associates. He received his Juris Doctor Degree from De Paul University, College of Law in 1975. Juan is a veteran, having served in the U.S. Army
during the years of 1969-1970.

Throughout his career he has been actively involved in service to our community. Amongst his many contributions, he has been the National Chairman for the McDonald’s Hispanic Owners Association, Member of the Board of Trustees for Northeastern Illinois University, President of the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, President of the Latin American Bar Association, Member of the Board of Directors of the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance, Chairperson of Los Amigos del Cuatro, Panel Chairman of the Hearing Board of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois, President of the HACER Scholarship Program for the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana region, as well as Board Member of Aspira.

His love for our culture and its people are well documented. He has mentored many. The only request he makes is that when the opportunity arises, they assist others. According to him, “There is no greater gift than helping others.”

PRAA Advisory Committee

Adolfo Hernandez, J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Foundation
Angel Gutierrez, Catholic Charities
Angelo Sanchez, Community Resident
Carmen Hernandez, Clayco
Edwin Mendez, Community Resident
Edwin Rivera, Metaphrasis
Heriberto (Ed) Ruiz, R4 Commercial Real Estate Solutions
Jose Barrera, Columbia Explorers Academy
Isabel Tellez, Chicago Public Schools
Julio Cruz, Community Resident
Manuel Medina, City Colleges of Chicago
Marty Gutierrez, University of Illinois at Chicago
Pablo Matias, U.S. Bank
Milton Rodriguez, Prosper Senior Solutions
David Woolwine, Impact Squared Group
Willy Montes de Oca, Chicago Public Schools
Zoraida Sambolin, NBC 5 Chicago

Aly Echevarria, Community Resident
Angel Perez, Hijos de Borinquen
Damaris Montano, Puerto Rican Society of Waukegan
Ennedy Rivera, Office of the Lieutenant Governor

National- Puerto Rico & USA
Eduardo Diaz, Smithsonian Latino Center- Washington, DC
Miguel Rodriguez, Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe- San Juan, PR
Luz Dary Denton, Kroma Associates, LLC- San Juan, PR
Lidia Mercado de Hernandez, Empresas Hernandez Mercado- San Juan, PR
Walter Otero, Founder & President, Walter Otero Contemporary Art, San Juan, PR

El Archivo Project Advisory Committee
Hector Aponte
Alberto Carrero
Eliud Hernandez
Miguel Palacio
Dr. Milka Ramirez

Latin Music Project Parent Committee
Angelica Aguilar
Lucy Gomez
Franklin Rivera
Maria Figueroa
Juana Santoyo
Magaly Medina
Nely Perez