LAA Leadership Team Members
Jeffrey Tapia was named the Latin American Association's Executive Director in October 2011, bringing more than 30 years experience leading programs and initiatives serving the Latino community. Prior to her appointment, Tapia held two key roles for the organization, serving as the Chief Operating Office since 2008 and as the Associate Executive Director from 1994 to 2001, during which time she led key strategic, programmatic and advocacy initiatives impacting the Latino community. Advocacy efforts include ensuring access for immigrants to health care and education, advising the state on the concerns of uninsured immigrants, opposing numerous English Only initiatives throughout the years.
Tapia was the Director of Hispanic Outreach for Catholic Charities (formerly Catholic Social Services) from 1988 to 1994 where she provided advocacy and expanded the organization's outreach to the Latino community, opening offices in both Athens and Gainesville. She was instrumental in the early efforts to have Georgia school districts comply with Plyer vs. Doe, which states that all school-aged children have the right to a public education regardless of their immigration status.
Tapia has been a tireless advocate for social justice issues and Latino concerns. Fully bilingual, she has lived in Colombia, Nicaragua and Argentina. From 1980 to 1985 she led education, advocacy, and social services programming for the Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers Association in North Carolina. She served as an interpreter and logistical coordinator for National Geographic and international press in Nicaragua from 1985 to 1987, where she was involved in interviews with top political and religious leaders, as well as local families.
From 1996 to 2001, Tapia was instrumental in an effort to oppose Georgia’s proposed TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families) program, which initially proposed to deny legal immigrants the same benefits granted to US citizens. In 2001, the group of community organizations advocating on behalf of the immigrants succeeded in passing legislation that permanently extended benefits to all legal immigrants under the same conditions given to citizens.
Tapia is a 1995 graduate of Leadership Atlanta and of the Regional Leadership Institute, and was recently appointed to the Georgia Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College.
Managing Director Resource Development
Martha Perusek joined the Latin American Association as Managing Director of Grants in March 2011 and is responsible for the LAA’s relationships with public and private foundations, government partners, and United Way. She was named the Latin American Association's Managing Director Resource Development in March 2012.
Martha has dedicated more than 20 years to nonprofit management and fundraising, and prior to joining the LAA, she served as the Director of Development and as an events consultant for the C5 Youth Foundation of Georgia. She was also the Director of Development for Prevent Child Abuse Georgia, where she was responsible for generating contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations. With a personal interest in literacy and public libraries, Martha has also served as the Executive Director of the DeKalb Library Foundation.
Martha worked 13 years with the American Cancer Society at both the national and local levels. As an Area Director for multiple regions across Missouri, she was responsible for all aspects of community and board development, fundraising, and program delivery. In 1996 she joined the Society’s National Home Office in Atlanta where she specialized in corporate and workplace giving, United Way relationships, staff training and development, and fundraising communications. Martha has also led projects and initiatives in consulting roles for diverse community organizations.
Prior to her nonprofit career, Martha worked at a local radio station in her home state of Missouri, where she hosted a daily call-in talk program and served as promotions director. She graduated with honors from Evangel University with a BA in communications and theology.
Jonathan Eoloff is the director of immigration services at the LAA. Prior to joining the LAA, Jonathan worked at Catholic Charities Immigration Services in the detention project. Prior to relocating to Atlanta in August 2008, Jonathan worked at the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago, where he represented LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants in asylum, Convention Against Torture, Violence Against Women Act, U visa and other protection-based claims. After law school, Jonathan worked for one year with the Mexican Capital Legal Assistance Program, where he assisted in the defense of Mexican nationals on death row or facing capital trials in the U.S. Jonathan is a 2004 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School.
Managing Director of Academic Achievement
Isabel Perez is the Managing Director of Academic Achievement at the Latin American Association. She brings to the LAA a wealth of personal academic achievement as well as considerable experience in the field of education. Isabel has a Master of Education from the University of Washington with an emphasis in Higher Education and Leadership, a Master of Public Education with an emphasis in Educational Policy from The Evergreen State College, and a Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis in Multicultural Studies and Student Retention also from The Evergreen State College.
Isabel is a native Spanish-English bilingual and has over 20 years of experience working in the educational sector. Originally a New Yorker, Isabel is most recently a transplant from Washington State, where she lived for 28 years. Some of her experiences include being a Community Outreach Specialist for the Office of Recruitment & Outreach at Tacoma Community College. During her time there, Isabel spearheaded TCC’s First Latino Parent Conference working collaboratively and collectively with school districts, state, and local-level offices. Isabel also served as the Director of Upward Bound at The Evergreen State College and as a Special Education teacher at the Tukwila School District, which is one of the most diverse districts in the nation. She has extensive experience in leadership and in working with socially diverse populations that include differences in culture, gender, age, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Cynthia Roman-Hernández is managing director of family services at that Latin American Association where she heads up outreach initiatives such as parenting programs; rent, mortgage, and utility assistance; and access to health care and insurance in an effort to provide sustainable solutions for families in urgent need.
Cynthia is a PhD candidate in social work and social policy from the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Puerto Rico. She obtained her master’s degree with a concentration in community organization from the same institution.
She possesses 10 years working in different focus-areas within the social work field such as a clinical social work, community organization, program management and research.
Cynthia has experience working with grassroots community organizations such as Peninsula of Cantera Project, one of the most successful community organizations in Puerto Rico and was a member of the executive board of the nonprofit organization, Casa Protegida Julia Burgos, the first shelter for victims of domestic violence in Puerto Rico. She is a certified Social Worker and a member of the National Association of Social Work. She is published in serveral journals including ATLANTEA Journal, Analysis, a social work graduate school journal, and Bordes, a review publication of Alternative Studies Group.
To become a volunteer, contact
For media inquiries, contact:
Resource Development Coordinator