Meet The Team
With the untimely passing of our esteemed President, Dara Lustgarten, on June 11, 2018, the Board of Directors of the New York League of Puerto Rican Women named Eunice Santiago as its President. During the past 4 years, Eunice had served as Vice-President of the League. Eunice has her Master’s Degree from Nyack College in the field of Mental Health Counseling, and her Bachelor’s Degree of Applied Science from Boricua College. Eunice is employed as a Psychotherapist at Nurture We, home of Discovery Mental Health Counseling, PLCC. Prior to that, she worked as a Clinical Coordinator at the Brownsville Community Development Corporation in Brooklyn for 5 years. Prior to that, she held the position of Executive Assistant / Operations Manager and Program Coordinator at Samaritan Village for 3 years. She has also worked at Boricua College. Eunice has performed extensive community service as a Teacher and Community Outreach & Intake Counselor at Wykoff Hospital. But Eunice’ claim to fame is that she is the very first NYLPRW, Inc. Scholarship Recipient to be on our Board of Directors, and to become President of the New York League of Puerto Rican Women, Inc.
Director of Digital Marketing/Board Member
Felipe Ayala Jr.
Felipe Ayala Jr. is an experienced academic counselor specializing in career and college guidance within
urban settings. With over 25 years of expertise in coaching, Felipe has developed a professional and
effective approach to understanding students; issues and situations.
Currently serving as an ASAP Academic Advisor at CUNY Bronx Community College in New York City,
Felipe advises a caseload of 150 students on various college-related matters. In addition to his advising
role, he also serves as the ASAP Social Media Manager, utilizing digital platforms to enhance student
engagement and communication.
Felipe's commitment to fostering a supportive community among male students is evident through his
involvement as the co-chair of the ASAP Men's Roundtable group. Through this initiative, he organizes
events that focus on mental health, financial literacy, and leadership, all aimed at promoting graduation
and building a strong male community.
Within the college community, Felipe takes an active role in promoting diversity and inclusion. He co-
leads campus-wide initiatives that address issues such as racism and colorism, striving to create an
inclusive environment for all students. Additionally, Felipe is involved in the ASAP transfer committee,
facilitating the smooth transition of students to four-year colleges.
Prior to his role at CUNY Bronx Community College, Felipe held positions at various organizations where
he contributed to career advancement programs, facilitated coaching sessions, and provided support to
employed individuals in overcoming barriers to career progression. His work at Urban Upbound involved
maintaining strong relationships with participants, referring them to relevant support opportunities, and
planning offsite trips to enhance networking and community engagement.
In his previous role as the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the NYC Department of Education, Felipe
managed multimillion-dollar contracts, collaborated with stakeholders, and led the implementation of
college access initiatives. His experience in managing vendor relationships and liaising with key
stakeholders highlights his ability to navigate complex educational landscapes.
Throughout his career, Felipe has demonstrated a passion for serving others and empowering youth. He
has held roles at organizations such as Life Changers Church and Ministries of Manhattan, Inc., the
Children's Aid Society, and the College Access Consortium of New York (CACNY). His work in these
positions involved providing college and career counseling, conducting trainings, and fostering effective
relationships with community partners.
Felipe's educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Africana Studies from the
State University of New York at Binghamton. He also holds a high school diploma in Electrical and
Electronics Engineering from Chelsea Vocational HS.
With his extensive experience in academic counseling, commitment to student success, and dedication
to diversity and inclusion, Felipe Ayala Jr. continues to make a significant impact in guiding and
supporting students in their educational journeys.
Chief Financial Officer
Kristine Serrano is a Senior Client Advocate with Bank of America and has been in the Banking industry for over 15 years. Her job includes managing a team of call agents to provide world class service to clients while providing the agents with the tool and resources they need to succeed. She believes that every interaction counts and every interaction is an opportunity to make a positive impact in someone’s life. Her success is based on the service and respect she extends to others.
Kristine has earned an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts from Boricua College and is actively pursuing her Bachelors Degree in Business Management. Kristine was a 2021 New York League of Puerto Rican Women scholarship award winner and has received much recognition from her current employer. Kristine is also a certified Notary Public with the State of New York. She believes that it is never too late to pursue your dreams and further your education.
Aside from managing at Bank of America, Kristine is active in community volunteering and has participated in events with companies such as New York Cares and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Kristine’s passion for helping others motivates her to give back to the community and actively care for her mother who is currently fighting Huntington’s Disease. Being nominated to serve as CFO for the NYLPRW this year has been an honor for her and she looks forward to great success with everyone on the team.
Helga Robles Ortiz
Helga Robles Ortiz was born in June 20 1972 in San Juan, P.R. Her mother Maritza Nelson moved to the Bronx to raise her with her Father, Eduardo Nelson. Helga is the eldest sister to four wonderful siblings. Helga has always worked with children. She became a Sunday School teacher at the church where her mother pastors, worked in several non for profit organizations as a program assistant while simultaneously earning her Bachelors in Public Health. Shortly after graduating, she decided to earn her masters in Human Services at Boricua College, graduating 2017. She continues to work with Children with the Department of Education as a per diem employee since 2016 to date. As a former community board member for district #6 working from 2019 til 2021, she participated in outreach where she discovered her love of networking. When she was asked to become part of the NYLPRW Board in 2020 she was very honored and didn't hesitate to accept a seat as board member and liaison. Helga has witnessed many of the scholarship recipients obtain their degrees, which has allowed them to pursue greater endeavors. This is the organization’s mission, we believe when we educate a woman, we educate her entire family. The NYLPRW together with our sponsors, stakeholders and supporters will bridge unnecessary gaps through continual collaborations. In order for this mission to continue to remain strong as it has for 15 years, we must all stand in solidarity as we build stronger communities for our young latinas in New York City and hopefully all across the United States.