Board of Directors



Adolfo Ventura, M.A., President
MAAC, Director of Operations
Adolfo Ventura is a strategic thinker who has spent his career dedicated to building stronger communities, with a particular focus on education, economic development, and real estate development. He is passionate about strengthening the nonprofit sector and has deep experience transforming organizations by developing strong systems and structures, as well as creating pathways for leadership development. A natural relationship-builder, he is highly successful in community engagement and in his advocacy on behalf of under-invested communities and complex issues related to poverty. Adolfo is currently the Director of Operations at MAAC, a social service organization that spans 32 sites across San Diego County and includes over 400 staff members and an annual budget of $43 million. In that role, Adolfo has a broad range of responsibilities, including management of procurement, contracts, facilities, and IT. He is also in charge of safety and risk management. Throughout his career at MAAC, Adolfo has gained extensive experience in and responsibilities for real estate development, including affordable housing, educational facilities, and commercial projects. Additionally, Adolfo plays a key role in MAAC’s labor management and negotiations team, which works directly with the two unions that represent more than 300 MAAC staff members. Mr. Ventura earned his Bachelor’s Degree from UC Berkeley, where he majored in Latin American Studies and minored in Portuguese and Spanish Language and Literature. He earned his Master’s Degree at the University of San Diego, where he studied Nonprofit Leadership and Management. During his down time, Adolfo enjoys sharing home-cooked meals with friends, bike-riding with his two boys, and attending concerts with his wife, Oralia, to feed their mutual love of music.


Paul Espinosa, Vice President
Award-winning Filmmaker Paul Espinosa is the President/CEO of Espinosa Productions, a San Diego film and video company specializing in documentary and dramatic films focused on the U.S.-Mexico border region. He has been involved with producing films for nearly 40 years and is Professor Emeritus in the School of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University. Espinosa has produced, directed and written numerous films for PBS including California and the American Dream, The Price of Renewal, The Border, The U.S.-Mexican War: 1846-1848, In the Shadow of the Law, …and the earth did not swallow him, Uneasy Neighbors, The Hunt for Pancho Villa, and The Lemon Grove Incident. He received his B.A. degree from Brown University and his Ph.D. from Stanford University, both in Anthropology. Espinosa’s films have been screened at festivals around the world and have won many awards including eight Emmys. He has been honored with retrospective Paul Espinosa Film Festivals in Phoenix, Albuquerque, El Paso and San Diego. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the California Chicano News Media Association and was inducted into the National Association of Hispanic Journalist’s Hall of Fame. He has received funding from many agencies, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, ITVS, the American Experience, Latino Public Broadcasting, the NALIP Producer’s Academy and The John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.


Gustavo Perez, Treasurer
Gustavo Perez is a Senior Manager with Ernst & Young LLP’s Indirect Tax Practice, State and Local Tax located in San Diego, California. His experience includes affordable care act IRS compliance and reporting, state/federal tax credits, discretionary incentive programs and related state and local tax planning. Gustavo has worked with a variety of public and private clients in a number of industries including energy, entertainment, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, services and transportation. Gustavo is also a Reserve Public Affairs Officer in the United States Navy and a Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a Lieutenant Commander, he is directly responsible for the coordination of strategic media and community engagements, both abroad and with the local community. He plans, organizes and supports all external and internal media functions in support of the U.S Navy’s strategic goals. As community involvement is an important part of his life, Gustavo serves as an active board member of a number of important organizations such as the San Diego Padres Hispanic Community Advisory Council, Southwestern College Community Foundation, Leonardo Da Vinci Health Science Charter School and the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA). Gustavo has a Master of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Accounting (Summa Cum Laude) and a Bachelors of Art in International Business.


Francisco Mata, Secretary
San Ysidro School District, Coordinator of Public Relations and Community Services
Francisco Mata is an accomplished communications professional with over 26 years experience in the media industry; he has a strong reputation in the community as a Latino market specialist. He began his career with The Sacramento Bee newspaper, building an impressive record of achievements in local retail, Spanish language, and national advertising sales. Nationally recognized for his pioneering work in Spanish language news media, he conceived and implemented The Bee’s first Spanish language newspaper, Vida en el Valle. At The San Diego Union-Tribune, he served as a member of the Executive Committee and as Publisher of Enlace, the Spanish language newspaper. Francisco has recently embarked on a new career in the public education field as Coordinator of Public Relations and Community Services for the San Ysidro School District. He serves on the boards of the Media Arts Center of San Diego and Encuentros Leadership. Francisco is a member of the San Diego Advertising Club’s Hispanic Marketing Day Committee and the San Diego Community College Corporate Council. He received his B.A. degree in Journalism/Advertising from California State University, Fresno.


Linda Caballero-Sotelo, Director
Linda Caballero Sotelo is the Executive Director of the New Americans Museum. Caballero Sotelo is deeply committed to the advancement of immigrants of all backgrounds, believing in the power of civic engagement, arts & culture as catalysts for the integration, inclusion, and celebration of immigrant stories into the American experience. Caballero Sotelo has over 20 years of professional experience as a senior level executive, advocate and activist for high profile national and international projects and organizations. She is fluent in Spanish, conversant in French, and has led initiatives and high performing teams in a variety of corporate, public, and non-profit settings in both the U.S. and abroad. She has led a successful strategic consulting business with local and national clients, and previously served in the following roles: president & chief executive officer of the San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; director of marketing & corporate communications for the San Diego Workforce Partnership; and as US director of projects overseeing exhibition logistics, budgets & residencies leading to the internationally acclaimed US/Mexico public art initiative INSITE ‘97 and again for InSite 2000 where Caballero Sotelo organized & collaborated in the development of over 80 original public art installations and exhibition-related commissions and works spearheading logistics, budgets, curatorial & artistic residencies and production teams; while overseeing the development and creation of a variety of works by both established and emerging international artists in two versions of the triennial of what art critic Leah Olman described as “…a [groundbreaking] series of bi national exhibitions of art in public places that operated at a high order of magnitude since its inception in 1992.


John Kiladis, Director
Marketing & Communications San Diego Gas & Electric
John Kiladis is currently the Residential Marketing Supervisor at San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E®). In his position, John is responsible for the strategic marketing and communication of SDG&E commercial and industrial programs. John has over 19 years of experience creating sound strategic direction and developing successful marketing communication plans for companies like the FDA, the re-launch of Napster, California Bank & Trust, and the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism. For 10 of those years he was in charge of strategic direction and communications to the Multicultural consumer for brands such as Disney, Gilead, Sunny D, General Mills, Levi’s, Washington Mutual, and Converse, working for Carol H. Williams Advertising, Arnold Worldwide Communications and TBWA Chiat/Day. John is a graduate of Babson College with a degree in International Business and Marketing.


Gustavo M. Rios, Director
Construction Attorney & Project Advisor
Law and Consulting Office of Gustavo Rios / Gustavo Rios, PE, ESQ., MBA. Georgetown University – The McDonough School. Over 20 years delivering construction, engineering and legal advice to private and public clients. Creative in seeking new business development opportunities. Seasoned project management specialist. Superb client development, relationship management and negotiation skills. California Registered Civil Engineer (PE), Member of the State Bar of California and the D.C. Bar, MBA, and LEED Accredited Professional. Bi-National, multi-lingual, native speaker of Spanish and English, proficient in Italian and Portuguese, reading level in French.


Cindy Cesare, Director
Cindy Cesare is an Emmy-nominated journalist and a full-time investigative researcher and field producer for the network show, CBS News/48 Hours. She is also the owner and President of CinCity Media, Inc. based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Since 2006, Cesare has assisted in the production of hundreds of stories for CBS News/48 Hours. Those include the four Emmy nominated stories in the Breaking News category for: “Muhammad Ali: Remembering a Legend,” “Dallas: Bringing a Nation Together,” “48 Hours Special Report: Paris under Attack,” and the “Craigslist Killer Case: Classified for Murder.” Cindy Cesare also founded CinCity Media in 2006 after spending more than a decade as a local news reporter in various western television markets. The company was founded after realizing that business owners and friends needed help navigating the confusing video production world. Since establishing, CinCity Media, Inc., Cesare became a trusted source for national broadcast outlets like the Home Shopping Network, Showtime Sports, and NBC News which eventually turned into a full-time job for Cesare at CBS News/48 Hours. Cindy is proud to be a board member for the Media Arts Center of San Diego, after years of enjoying unique and independent cinema at the Digital Gym and at the annual San Diego Latino film festival (both a branch of MAC). After living in Argentina for a semester of college and a recent trip to Cuba, she can still enjoy cinema from Latin American Countries offered by MAC. She is excited to extend her talents and skills with MAC for community education programs when she is in San Diego.


Taina Berardi, Director
Taina Berardi is a holistic health entrepreneur that integrates movement therapy, meditation, and the creative arts to build custom solutions for private clients, corporate wellness programs and community-based organizations looking for ways to reduce stress, remediate chronic pain, invigorate and/or educate their students, staff and the underserved on the benefits of developing healthy habits. Formerly a marketing and communications executive in the video game industry, Taina worked with brands like SONY, Star Wars, DC Comics, and Marvel Universe, and spent more than 15-years crafting product development strategy and mass-market promotional campaigns focused on gamifying consumer behavior and spending habits in online games and digital products. After earning her MBA from San Diego State University, she now melds her passions for yoga, meditation and holistic healing with her corporate background and digital marketing experience to mentor and consult with businesses who aspire to bring well-being to the masses.


Maria Toscano, Director
Maria Toscano has been in the Real Estate industry since 1988. Ranging from Lending, Notary, Commercial & Residential Marketing and Sales. She is very active with the National City, Hispanic and Chula Vista Chamber as an ambassador. Currently, she is also a member of San Diego Junior League, earning a Board Academy Certificate, which is how she became inspired to become a board member. Maria found volunteering at Junior Achievement, teaching school age children business skills, and at the Latino Film Festival, very rewarding. Through extensive sales training, marketing and experience, she has developed a strong network of influential San Diegan’s. Fully bilingual in Spanish and licensed as a Health and Life Insurance agent, Maria is involved in the Senior community helping them navigate their Social Security benefits and Medicare Insurance.


Michael Caro, Director
Michael first learned about the Media Arts Center San Diego (MACSD) while working for a national print publication based in Hollywood. The San Diego Latino Film Festival was Michael’s first exposure to this great organization and has been a consistent thread throughout the years. Michael still writes for some online outlets to keep his chops up and has been a proponent of MACSD’s Teens Producer Project (TPP).

Michael was a New York transplant in Los Angeles, who first enjoyed San Diego while in the Navy back in 1977. He went to boot camp at the now Liberty Station grounds. Since then he has pursued a career in I.T. and technical support. Michael has lived in San Diego for 20 years and has been at Cox Communications for the last 15 yrs.

Michael also sits on the Cox Charities Advisory Board where he has been able to champion the Teens Producer Project and help elevate the MACSDs profile in his corporate arena. Michael hopes to continue to bring to light those issues and organizations that help lift up those who interact with them.

Michael is passionate about giving back to the community. A Veteran of the US Navy and the California Air National Guard Michael is the San Diego Regional Manager of Assistance for Veterans (AFV) a nonprofit whose mission is to deliver food to in need veterans in San Diego duplicating efforts of the Los Angeles team of AFV.

Michael enjoys riding his bike near his home in Imperial Beach, and along with his wife Lorraine visits the beach often for picnics and soul soothing wave watching! Michael is a grandfather and visits with his college-attending granddaughter as often as possible.


Shelby Batchelor Courtney, Director

Shelby Courtney has spent over 10 years in the healthcare industry working in pediatrics, trauma, adult psychology, ICUs, and most recently as a community educator. Having graduated from Yale in 2001 with a B.A. in Film Studies, with a focus on screenwriting and documentary filmmaking, her love of international cinema and the creative process has only grown. In 2007 she graduated from Yale Divinity School with an M.Div. and dedicated herself to the service of others as a Spiritual Care provider. In her most recent role, Shelby offered extensive end-of-life, cultural intelligence and spiritual care training to her colleagues and the larger community while developing outreach programs. She was responsible for writing/directing/producing company wide marketing and educational videos. One of her productions was screened by the CEO at the Business Research Intelligence Network’s Palliative and Hospice Care Congress in January 2019. Shelby has been very active with MANA de San Diego completing the Latina Success Leadership Program in 2015 and presenting a workshop at the Latina Success Conference in 2018. In 2017, Shelby received the Health Committee Member of the Year Award.  Since 2011, she has served on the Board of Directors of the Yale Club of San Diego as the Outreach and Social Media Chair responsible for content creation and email marketing to the local Yale Alumni community. This year, she is ecstatic to be a Fellow in the RISE Urban Leadership Program Gen V and excited to discover new ways to positively impact local San Diego communities. Current interests include documentary photography (B&W), sailing, ukulele, cello, tennis, golf, and improving her French and other languages. Her next endeavor is to share her love of languages as a Duolingo Ambassador!


Alberto Cruz, Director
As president of JAMR Properties, Alberto Cruz is part of the executive team that sets the strategic direction and oversees day-to-day operations at San Diego’s Park, Shuttle & Fly.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in real estate from Point Loma Nazarene College, Alberto earned his real estate sales credentials from Anthony’s School of Real Estate and went to work at the family real estate firm, Central Realty, Inc., where he spent four years as the broker of record in residential home sales and mortgage originations. Alberto then went to work as a broker associate for McMillin Realty, where he spent six years.

In 1994, Alberto took an ownership interest in Credit Mortgage, Inc., where he managed a staff of 35 employees and a $30 million line of credit. In 2001, Alberto started Premiere Real Estate & Loans, representing buyers and sellers in both real estate transactions and other financial transactions.

Alberto also has significant relevant experience operating general-use parking lots. His earliest experience was in 1989, when the Cruz family purchased a 1000-space parking lot in San Ysidro near the U.S.- Mexico border. A few years later, Alberto Cruz won a contract with Caltrans to turn a vacant dirt lot in San Ysidro into a 200-space parking facility. Through his vision, resourcefulness and ingenuity, Alberto turned a non-performing asset into a vibrant business that created a new revenue stream for the State of California.

Alberto has a history of civic engagement and community service in San Diego. In the early 1990s, he was hired by Gil Partida to manage Hispanic outreach at the San Diego Chamber of Commerce. He was one of the first two individuals to take on this role for the chamber. While working in the San Diego Film Division, Alberto was able to use his role in the chamber of commerce to close the San Ysidro Mexico border crossing in order to film No Man’s Land. He continues to be a member of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce as well as the Mexican-American Business Professionals Association. Alberto is an active member of the community at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Bonita; he is also a member of the Knights of Columbus. 

Alberto’s expertise in real estate transactions and business administration has translated directly to the effective management and growth of the business at San Diego’s Park, Shuttle & Fly.