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Agency Leadership

Click on the names below to read staff bios and contact information.

Cynthia F. Figueroa

CONGRESO_20111110_CYNTHIA-116-CROP-WEBPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Cynthia Figueroa began her tenure as President and CEO of Congreso de Latinos Unidos in January 2011. In this capacity, she has fiscal oversight of more than $24 million dedicated to strengthening Latino communities through social, economic, education and health services. Founded in 1977, Congreso is the City of Philadelphia’s largest nonprofit agency providing expert services to the Latino community, and has been recognized as one of the Top 25 Hispanic nonprofits in the nation by Hispanic Business magazine. The agency employs more than 200 full-time employees.

Immediately before leading Congreso, Ms. Figueroa served as the Deputy Commissioner for the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services (DHS). Highlights of her time working at DHS include leading a comprehensive two-year alignment process addressing all community-based child welfare prevention services and overseeing the contracting of services to over 200 social service providers. She also led the development and implementation of the Education Support Center, which has quickly become recognized as providing innovative solutions to enhance the educational outcomes of children in the child welfare system.

For six years prior to joining DHS, Ms. Figueroa served as the Executive Director of Women Against Abuse, the largest domestic violence agency in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Under Ms. Figueroa’s leadership, Women Against Abuse increased its operating budget from $2 million to $5 million and grew its endowment to $3 million. She also executed a comprehensive building development project with the City of Philadelphia to expand the number of domestic violence shelter beds by 50% for victims of domestic violence. The five years before her time at Women Against Abuse were spent working in a variety of capacities at Congreso and overseeing several of the organization’s programs including behavioral health services, women’s wellness programs and Latina domestic violence programs.

In 2010 Ms Figueroa was selected for the prestigious Eisenhower Fellowship and traveled to Chile and Argentina to explore women leadership models in the government and the private sector. Based on her leadership she has also received the following awards and recognitions: The University of Pennsylvania Outstanding Leadership Award (2005), Al Dia Latina Woman of Merit (2002), Philadelphia Business Journal 40 Under 40 (2003), Impacto’s Most Influential Latinos, top 10 under 40 (2009), and the Philadelphia Flyers Community Leadership Award (2008).

Born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Ms. Figueroa has a bachelor’s degree from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. She resides in Mount Airy with her husband Robert Clark, daughter Lola, and son Santiago.




Dominique Bernardo

Dominique2013Chief Financial Officer & VP, Quality Assurance

Dominique Bernardo is an operations expert who utilizes 18 years of experience in nonprofit management and consulting to assist nonprofit organizations operate more efficiently and effectively while accounting for their most valuable asset – the employees. 

Dominique is known for her quick-thinking, analytical focus, attention to detail, and ability to marry the acumen of the business world with the values of the nonprofit, social work field.  She has extensive experience in Operations (system design, department integration, internal controls), Policies and Procedures (developing, evaluation, refining), Data and Evaluation (planning, determining intended impact, creating system), and Staffing (training, hiring, motivating, and evaluating).

Dominique began her career as a financial auditor with Coopers and Lybrand, specializing in nonprofit organizations.  She has worked as a community organizer for immigrants at Chelsea Human Services Collaborative in the Boston area, and as a social worker for high risk adolescent girls in Latin America through a Shine A Light Foundation Fellowship.  Her most recent experience includes 10 years in senior management at Congreso de Latinos Unidos, one of the top 25 Latino nonprofits in the country.  Her program experience there includes directing more than 15 in-school and after-school youth development and truancy/delinquency prevention programs for at-risk youth and managing a division of $2.5M in contracts.  She also served as interim CFO at Congreso for 8 months, overseeing human resources, information technology, facilities, and fiscal.  She spent 2 years overseeing development and marketing, developing systems for grant tracking and communications.  Her most recent role as Vice President of Quality Assurance involves oversight of the agency’s business plan strategy as well as the data and evaluation department which measures the impact of the 51 programs that Congreso provides to 15,000 people annually. 

A native of Norristown, Pennsylvania, Dominique  is a Licensed Social Worker and also a Certified Public Accountant (inactive) in Pennsylvania.  She holds a Master of Social Work and a Master of Business Administration from Boston College.

Sybille Damas

Sybille2013Chief Operations Officer

Sybille Damas joined Congreso in 2003 as Division Director of Neighborhood and Family Development. Today, she leads its Human Resources, IT and Facilities departments.

She was drawn to a career in social work when visiting her parents’ native Haiti, seeing for the first-time the marked disparities between the haves and have nots. Back home in the United States, she dedicated her educational and professional pursuits to ensuring that there be no excuse for such disparities here. She began to work in the field of geriatric care before focusing her efforts on child welfare and juvenile justice advocacy.

While at Congreso, Ms. Damas has played a role in the development of its innovative Primary Client Management (PCM) model, allowing for measured, holistic service delivery across systems.  She led the agency’s relationship with the National Council of La Raza and the National Housing Network, allowing Congreso to grow its mortgage counseling assistance and foreclosure prevention services. Through her leadership, Congreso focused on reducing the number of minority children in foster care, providing intensive services for at-risk families in crisis, and keeping urban violence from manifesting in families. She has managed the agency’s relationship with the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, the Philadelphia Office of Housing and Community Development and the Philadelphia Office of Supportive Housing.  Ms. Damas also led Congreso’s work in addressing Disproportionate Minority Contact, specifically as it relates to youth in the justice system , in partnership with the MacArthur Foundation and the National Council of La Raza, of the Latino Juvenile Justice Network.

Ms. Damas is a married mother of two, residing in Ardmore, Pa., where she volunteers at her daughters’ school. She has a Masters in Social Work from Temple University and is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College’s Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute. She enjoys running and playing sports.  She is a former competitive swimmer and soccer player, and is a fan of many musical genres from classic rock to jazz.

Waleska Maldonado

CONGRESO_WALLY_20100210-WEBChief Program Officer

Ms. Maldonado is Congreso’s Chief Program Officer. In this role, she has oversight of the agency's four programmatic divisions, including Education and Workforce Services, Family and Housing Services, Health Care Services and Healtth Promotion and Wellenss.

She came to Congreso in 1995 and served at all levels in the agency, from Health Services Operations Coordinator, to Manager of HIV Prevention and Education Services, to Director of HIV Services, to Vice President of the Health Promotion and Wellness Division before being promoted to Senior Vice President of Health Services. As Senior Vice President, Ms. Maldonado is responsible for the fiscal management, development, strategic planning, and integration of Congreso’s health services, which number over 20 different programs, including an on-site federally qualified health center.

Ms. Maldonado is very active in the community, serving on numerous boards, including Planned Parenthood, YMCA-North,  the Community Planning Group and the Ryan White Title I Groups (at the office of HIV Planning). She is also a member of the Review Panel for the City of Philadelphia's AIDS Activities Coordinating Office.

In 2013, Ms. Maldonado co-chaired the National Council of La Raza's Institute for Hispanic Health's Annual Health Summit, a component of NCLR's annual conference which attracts over 5,000 attendees from throughout the nation. She also joined the National Alliance for Hispanic Health in Bogota, Colombia as a presenter at its first international conference. An established leader in public health, Ms. Maldonado was invited to a press conference in the White House Rose Garden that same year, where President Barack Obama discussed the Affordable Care Act.

Ms. Maldonado holds a Masters of Health Services Administration from Strayer University and a Business Administration Degree from Temple University.

Yvette A. Núñez

CONGRESO_20111110_YVETTE-123-WEBChief Communications Officer

Yvette A. Núñez is Congreso's Chief Communications Officer. She came to Congreso in 2011 with more than 10 years of experience as an established communications leader. In her current capacity. Ms. Núñez oversees the agency's communications, civic engagement, events, fundraising and volunteer management.

During her tenure, the agency made its debut on's Top Workplaces in the Region, was featured on CNN for its voter engagement work, and established its first individual donor campaign, increasing donations by 80 percent, and individual donors by 110 percent.

Ms. Núñez has served on numerous boards, including serving as former Chair of the Latino Employment Opportunities Network, Past President of the Philadelphia Public Relations Association, and a former member of the Philadelphia Multicultural Affairs Congress Board of Directors.

In 2013, she served as a presenter on resident and/or civic engagement at two national conferences, including the United Neighborhood Centers of America and the National Council of La Raza.

Ms. Núñez is an honor graduate of Temple University, where she earned a degree in Journalism. She is a freelance writer and has a blog on The Huffington Post.

Jannette Diaz

Jannette Diaz is the Vice President of Health Promotion and Wellness.

Bio and photo coming soon.

Thomas Dowd

tom2013Vice President, Real Estate and Operations

Biography coming soon.

Jose Rivera

CONGRESO_20111110_JOSE-R-010-WEBVice President of Health Care Services

José F. Rivera joined Congreso in 2008 as Director of Operations and Quality Assurance of its Health Promotion and Wellness Division, and now serves as Vice President of Health Care Services (HCS), overseeing the agency’s Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), Behavioral Health Services and HIV/AIDS programs.

Mr. Rivera has 10 years of experience in the health sector, including direct client service and program supervision. For seven years, he managed service delivery and program implementation benefiting children and adults with developmental disabilities. He is experienced in delivering comprehensive health services training curricula, including safety, documentation, compliance, medication administration and HIPAA compliance.

Born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, Mr. Rivera studied at the University of Puerto Rico, where he was selected for The National Student Exchange, allowing him to spend a year at West Chester University. It was then that he first realized the significant differences in cultural attitudes towards healthy eating between his native Puerto Rico and non-Latino populations. “A lot of the foods served in schools and households in Puerto Rico are fried, leading to high cholesterol and opening the door for a host of other health issues,” explains Mr. Rivera. “I believe that food is a part of our heritage, but want to promote new behaviors towards food in this community, as chronic health issues have a direct impact on economic progress.”

Originally intending to pursue a medical degree, Mr. Rivera was inspired by a mentor who shared the impact that nonprofits have in health management, and their role as a trusted source of information for community residents. This relationship has a long-term direct impact on improved health outcomes for low-income populations. Mr. Rivera thus continued his studies at St. Joseph’s University, where he obtained an MBA in Health and Medical Services Administration.

Today, Mr. Rivera resides in Limerick, PA, where he serves on the Board of Directors of Good Samaritan Shelter, which provides safe, comfortable housing for homeless men, women and women with children in the greater Phoenixville and Ephrata areas.  He is also an avid athlete, competing in triathlons and biathlons, mountain bike and adventure racing. He and his wife Sharon are the proud parents of two year-old Annabella.

Daisy Rosa

Vice President of Family and Housing Services

Daisy Rosa is Vice President of Family and Housing Services.  In this capacity, she oversees the agency’s child welfare, parenting, housing, senior services, financial literacy and tax site programs. She came to Congreso with 18 years of experience in social services and has held a number of positions in administration, including the management of a $55 million system established by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare designed to help over 15,000 welfare recipients a year move to economic self-sufficiency.

She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Latinas in Motion (LIM) a nonprofit which encourages, inspires and empowers women to stay healthy and fit.  She also chaired the Board of Directors of Work Opportunities, Inc, a non-profit dedicated to helping welfare clients become gainfully employed.

Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, Ms. Rosa and her family moved to Guanica, Puerto Rico when she was thirteen, thus completing her secondary education there. She later returned to the mainland and graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from Rowan University.

She resides in Cherry Hill, NJ with her husband Brian and daughter Brianna.  In her spare time, you will find her running with her Doberman Pinscher, Klaus.  She has a passion for the sport and has completed several marathon races including a 100 mile ultra marathon.  Ms. Rosa is also a certified running coach with Road Runners Coach of America.