Our Team

 

 

Martin Curiel
Co-Founder, Chairman of the Board

Martin Curiel is co-founder of the Rising Farmworker Dream Fund (RFDF). A migrant farm worker from the age of five until the age of nineteen, Martin has experienced first-hand the harsh life of a migrant and seasonal farm laborer. Alongside his family who originally came to the U.S. as undocumented immigrants, Martin harvested peaches, cherries, olives, prunes, and many other crops.  His community service mission is to leverage the principles of business and capitalism to help migrant workers and other impoverished communities.  Martin is a former engineer with a degree in Civil Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and an MBA degree from the Harvard Business School. Martin is currently an entrepreneur with various business ventures in the field of investment management. 

 

 
 

Mariela Dabbah
Board Member 

Mariela Dabbah is the author of Help your Children Succeed in High School and Go to College, Help your Children Succeed in School, How to Get a Job in the U.S. and the co-author of The Latino Advantage in the Workplace. Mariela has been a guest at Wake up with Whoopie (Syndicated Radio Show),All things considered (NPR),Good Morning America (ABC) Today in New York (NBC), Despierta América (Univision), America (ABC) Today in New York (NBC), Despierta América (Univision), Directo desde Estados Unidos (CNN en Español), Temprano en la Mañana (93.1 FM- AMOR), and many other TV programs and radio shows. She's been interviewed by Business Week and Time magazine and she's been featured and quoted in publications across the country including the New York Times, Latina magazine and Vanidades magazine. The author received her Master's degree in Philosophy and Literature from the University of Buenos Aires. She was one of the owners of Flame Co., an educational book distributor, where she developed products as well as marketing and training programs for teachers and parents. Since the publication of her books she has focused on her speaking and consulting career, offering workshops and keynotes to corporations and organizations such as General Electric, American Express, Goldman Sachs and HBO. Mariela is the national spokesperson for the Ronald McDonald House Charities/HACER scholarships for Latino students and the columnist of the www.meencanta.com website. She is a contributor for Siempre Mujer (Meredith Corporation), Nexos magazine (American Airlines), YahooTelemundo and the columnist of Guía para Padres de Hoy (Hoy Chicago- Tribune).

 
 

Misha Simmonds
COO, Co-Founder, Board Member

Misha is currently Executive Director of University Heights Charter School, an elementary school serving 200 students in Newark, New Jersey. His interest in education and social justice began as an undergraduate freshman when he read Jonathan Kozol's Savage Inequalities. After graduation, Misha served as a Jesuit Volunteer teacher for two years at St. Xavier's School in Kathmandu, Nepal. He subsequently taught at Link Community School and later interned as a Resident Principal at North Star Academy through the New Leaders for New Schools program. As Associate Partner at NewSchools Venture Fund, Mishamanaged the philanthropy's $20M reform strategy focusing on investments in charter management organizations.  His business experience includes work as business manager of the Daily Princetonian and a summer internship with the marketing department of the Washington Post. Misha has a BA from Princeton University, an MBA from Harvard University, and a Masters of Science in Educational Leadership from Baruch College.

 
 

Chadd Garcia
CFO, Co-Founder, Board Member

Originally from Yuma, Arizona, Mr. Garcia now resides in Naples, Florida where he is a private equity investor that is focused on investments in companies undergoing special situations. Prior to entering the private equity industry, Mr. Garcia worked in the New York City office of the Mergers & Acquisitions group of CIBC World Markets. Before attending business school, Mr. Garcia worked for the agribusiness Cargill and held management positions in three locations throughout the United States, during which time Mr. Garcia executed the turnaround of a poorly performing business. Mr. Garcia also worked as a specialist in the procurement department of Diageo. Mr. Garcia holds an M.B.A from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of Arizona. Mr. Garcia has strong ties to the migrant worker community as his father, Mitchell Garcia worked as a migrant worker in his youth before ultimately saving enough money for a down payment on his own citrus farm, fulfilling the American Dream. This dedication to his dream served as an inspiration to Chadd. In addition to working with The Rising Farmworker Dream Fund, Mr. Garcia is a member of Legatus and a Knight of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.


 

 
 

Samuel Ulloa
COO, Co-Founder, Board Member

Once labeled an illegal alien in the U.S, Samuel worked in the agricultural fields of California to become the first in his family to graduate from a four year University.  He later became an American citizen.  Samuel is a passionate social entrepreneur with years of business development, operations, P&L and technology experience.  Most recently Samuel co-founded a social mission driven start-up.  Previously, Samuel played a primary leadership role in building Progreso Financiero, a social mission driven company with more than 80 retail locations across California, Texas and Illinois, making it one of the largest Community Development Financial Institutions in the USA focused on responsibly serving the financial needs of the Hispanic community.  Prior to joining Progreso, Samuel worked at Apple as a World Wide Operations Supply Demand Product Manager, where he was responsible for leading the operational efforts in bringing the MacBook Pro to market and running the day to day operations. Prior to attending business school, Samuel was hired into the Leadership Development Program for SBC (now AT&T).  Previously, Samuel co-founded an international technology-consulting firm, with clients/offices in Silicon Valley and Mexico and also worked as an IT Consultant for IBM Global Services.  Samuel was the former President of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Cal Poly SLO Chapter.  Samuel holds an M.B.A from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.  

 
 

Omar Hyder
Co-Founder, Board Member

Born in Bangladesh and growing up throughout the United States, Mr. Hyder now makes his home in Houston, Texas. Mr. Hyder received a petroleum engineering degree from Texas A&M and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management. Having varied experiences in Eastern and Western cultures, Omar has seen the power of education flourish with many. He brings a zest for inculcating this power into others and a resume that includes establishing educational community service initiatives in California and Illinois. He is co-founder of Professionals for Education (PFE), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping disadvantaged youth learning about leadership and career opportunities. Mr. Hyder worked as an engineer with ChevronTexaco in California and is now working as a business analyst with ExxonMobil.