Sara Lamson Nathan
President & CEO
Health & Safety Manager
Managing Director of Programs
Director of Training
Youth Ambassadors Program Coordinator
Youth Ambassadors Program Coordinator
IT Systems Manager
Director of Fund Development
West Coast Development Director
San Francisco Bay Area
Digital Marketing CoordinatorHouston
Lily is passionate about social change and the power of youth to impact their world. Her enthusiasm for meaningful travel began in high school, when she lived with a family in Mexico for a Spanish immersion program. Since then, she practiced her Argentine accent while studying abroad, ate innumerable salteñas in Bolivia, met the president of Colombia, and swam in the deep waters of Guatemala’s Lake Atitlán. She studied international development at SOAS, University of London, where she completed her Master’s degree. Lily is excited to bring new Amigos into the fold so they can have amazing experiences through leadership and service in Latin America. A lover of parades and dances, Lily has been to Carnaval in Oruro, Bolivia and Barranquilla, Colombia – next on the list is Brazil!
Manager of Marketing and CommunicationsHouston
April is a native Houstonian, marketer, and veteran Amiga.
In 2008, she participated in AMIGOS in Guanajuato, Mexico. At Colorado College, she majored in Sociology and continued her Latin American travels in Ecuador and Cuba. An avid backpacker, she spent a month in the backcountry on three separate occasions.
April is excited to use digital marketing and new technologies to get the word out about the power of AMIGOS programs.
Health & Safety ManagerHouston
Rissa began her AMIGOS journey as a participant in Paraguay in 2008, which jumpstarted a decade long focus on sustainable, impactful volunteer work. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with dual degrees in Anthropology and Spanish Linguistics, and began working across Latin America in varying contexts. In 2015 and 2016, she returned to the fold on summer staff in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Rissa is passionate about health and safety as the first step to a successful AMIGOS experience. When she’s not updating handbooks or screening Confidential Health Forms, she can be found frequenting estate sales and reading anything she can get her hands on.
Top of her bucket list: Sail around the world & learn at least one new language.
Managing Director of ProgramsHouston
Ana is a 4x Amiga, first joining as a participant in Paraguarí, Paraguay in 2007. Since then, she has worked with AMIGOS in Ecuador, Mexico and Peru. Prior to joining AMIGOS, Ana worked on the Youth Team at Ipas where she focused on increasing access to abortion and other reproductive health care for young people around the world. Ana has a Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from Boston University, a Master’s degree in Global Public Health from the Boston University School of Public Health and is a Women Deliver Young Leader.
Top of her bucket list: Learn how to bake!
Director of Fund DevelopmentHouston
Jackie is a non-profit executive with 16 years of international and national fund-raising experience, specializing in donor and board development, grants, special events coupled with Houston community leadership. She applies her diverse skill-set of development initiatives and campaigns to benefit an organization’s growth and mission. Jackie has been instrumental in raising millions of dollars and social awareness for the organizations she has had the privilege to work with. She attended the University of Houston, earning her Bachelors in Business Administration specializing in Accounting. She personally embraces a social responsibility to support causes, in the areas of woman, children and family initiatives that promote health, education and wellness programs.
Top of her bucket list: Visit the Vatican and take in all its art, history and spirituality.
IT Systems ManagerHouston
David is a fifth-generation Texan and was raised in Lindale, TX. He graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University. He has worked in the for-profit and non-profit arenas in IT, finance, and management. He is excited to be at AMIGOS to support the incredible work that is being done through its staff and volunteers.
Top of Bucket List: To compose a Bucket List.
Caroline has been with AMIGOS since 2009, a two-time participant and three-time member of summer staff. She has AMIGOS experience in Nicaragua, Paraguay, Panama, and Ecuador, and can’t wait to visit the other project areas! Caroline studied Communication and Latin American Studies at The College of Wooster, and joined the AMIGOS full-time team in 2015. She loves watching young people across the Americas find their voices through our programs. When she’s not striking up conversations with taxi drivers or meticulously color-coding spreadsheets, Caroline likes to spend her time baking sweet treats for her officemates.
Top of her bucket list: to raise a small herd of alpacas.
Marketing and Outreach CoordinatorHouston, TX
Spending the last three years in real estate in Michigan, Lauren is excited to be back in her home town of Houston, bringing her marketing and outreach experience to Amigos. Lauren is a graduate of the University of the Incarnate Word with a degree in Sociology where her weekly attempts at Zumba encouraged her to take dancing classes in Latin America. After living with a host family in Guatemala and participating in local activities, Lauren was excited for the opportunity to study abroad in Chile where she spent the semester studying the culture, traveling, and acting as a teacher’s aid at a local middle school. She is excited to meet new participants, exchange stories with alumni, and is still working to become decent at salsa, bachata, and Argentine tango.
Top of her bucket list: Hike through Canaima National Park in Venezuela
Managing Director of Regional Operations
Lauren first became involved with AMIGOS as a mentor on the first AMIGOS Youth Ambassadors exchange to Paraguay in 2012. In 2013, she was the Project Director in the Yucatan, Mexico before she took on her current position. Lauren is a proud University of Wisconsin graduate, with degrees in Environmental Studies and Global Cultures and extensive travel experience in South America and globally. Prior to joining AMIGOS, Lauren worked as an AmeriCorps *VISTA on higher education service-learning initiatives then worked in a variety of youth, media, and educational-focused nonprofits, developing engaging programs focused on social justice and building more equitable communities.
Top of her bucket list: Trek to the tip of South America and hop a boat to Antarctica to drink beverages with 3 million year old ice.
Regional Outreach CoordinatorWashington D.C.
Erin is not an AMIGOS alum but she is passionate about cultural exchange, languages, travel, and education. She is a recent graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a BA in Political science, originally from Texas. During her time at Notre Dame she had a transformative study abroad experience in Chile which, coupled with a variety of other service experiences, has fueled her interest in Latin America and social justice. Erin is excited to advocate for Amigos and is grateful for the opportunity to promote the same kinds of service, leadership, and cultural experiences that have shaped her own personal development but is extremely jealous of anyone who actually got to participate in an AMIGOS program. In her spare time you can find her exploring the city and if you ever visit D.C. she can give you a definitive ranking of the best cupcakeries in town.
Top of her bucket list: Hike the Camino de Santiago in Spain and take fun photos at Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia.
West Coast Outreach Coordinator
Taylor began her AMIGOS adventure in 2008 as a participant in Nicaragua. After that life changing experience she continued to volunteer with like-minded organizations and travel in Latin America. She graduated from San Francisco State with a degree in Child and Adolescent Development and began working with youth and families. In 2015 she joined the National Office Staff to support participants and staff throughout their summer programs. In the fall of 2015 she transferred to the West Coast Team to work on recruitment and chapter support!
Top of her bucket list: Visit every continent and try the food!
As CEO, Sara leads the senior management team at AMIGOS in developing the vision and systems to ensure that programs stay relevant, sustainable, and impactful. Prior to leading the organization Sara served as Director of Programs at AMIGOS for four years, building new program models, including the gap year, college programs, and programs for youth from Latin America. Prior to working at AMIGOS, Sara served as Associate Director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Sara holds a Master of Science in International Development Management from the London School of Economics and bachelor’s degrees in Conservation and Resource Studies and Spanish from the University of California Berkeley. Sara got her start with AMIGOS as a participant in Costa Rica (1997) and Brazil (1998) and worked on program staff in the Dominican Republic (2000 & 2001) and Paraguay (2003).
Top of her bucket list: Take a month touring across Vietnam to visit the cities and coastal areas and enjoy amazing Vietnamese cuisine every day.
CFO & Vice President of AdministrationHouston
Luis is responsible for the finance, accounting, treasury, facilities, and IT functions at AMIGOS. Luis first got involved with AMIGOS in 2013 but became involved in ‘las Americas’ much earlier in life when he was born in El Salvador. He was raised in Houston, TX and attended the University of Texas, where he received his BBA from the Business Honors Program. After a few years of working with Enron (sorry about that), he then received his MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Business. Prior to joining AMIGOS, Luis worked in various energy/utility firms and in the microprocessor industry.
Top of his bucket list: Travel to Petra, Jordan.
West Coast Development DirectorSan Francisco Bay Area
Krista is from San Francisco and lives there now with her family across from Ocean Beach.
As soon as she heard about AMIGOS in her freshman year, she wanted to go. She waited impatiently until she was 16 and then headed to Mexico in 1982 to work in latrine construction. To this day, she walks by bags of concrete at Home Depot with a well-trained desire to get some water and start mixing. The following summer, she went to Ecuador on a rabies vaccination campaign. While studying Sociology at UCSC, she returned to Ecuador in 1985 as field staff and then went back to Mexico in 1987 as the project director in Michoacan.
After college, she moved to Washington DC for two years. Her life took an unexpected turn when she moved to Seoul ,South Korea for three months that became five years. Asia was a true revelation to her and she loved every moment. When she returned to the US, she came back to San Francisco to work in International Education. She is thrilled to come full circle and be back with AMIGOS on the west coast.
Top of Krista’s bucket list: Hiking the Camino de Santiago in Spain with her husband (though he does not know that yet).
Abbie is a 5-time Amiga, serving as a participant in Panama and the Dominican Republic and serving as a member of the summer leadership team in Paraguay, Nicaragua, and Ecuador. After graduating from Rockhurst University with a degree in Psychology and Spanish, Abbie received her Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. She is thrilled to be overseeing projects in Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, two of her favorite countries in Latin America (among many others). In her free time, you can find Abbie playing basketball, reading, people-watching, and going on long runs with her dog.
Top of her bucket list: Hike part of the Pacific Crest Trail with her dog, Sammie.
Director of TrainingHouston
Mason is a second generation AMIGO and was first a participant in Guanajuato, Mexico in 2000. This experience helped Mason discover his passion for traveling, cross-cultural exchange, and facilitating positive social change. He returned to work with AMIGOS on project staff four times and studied Spanish and Anthropology at the University of Arizona. Mason was the Training Director for the Tucson Chapter of AMIGOS before moving to Houston in 2011 to work for AMIGOS headquarters. He is proud to support passionate young leaders to train and prepare for their AMIGOS experiences.
Top of his bucket list: Try at least one traditional meal from every country.
Rasha joined AMIGOS in January 2014. Though not an AMIGOS alum, she served as Project Director in her home country, Colombia, from 2014-2016. In 2016 she moved up to the role of Regional Director, overseeing all programs in Panama and Colombia. She graduated in September 2013 with a degree in international relations from Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla, Colombia with emphasis on political science and diplomacy. Through her years in Uninorte, she was always an active part of UNIVOLUNTARIOS, the volunteer group on campus. Rasha was born and raised in Colombia, but she is also Lebanese and Brazilian.
Top of her bucket list: Get to meet all her family that lives all around the world.
Vanessa started her adventure with AMIGOS in 2013 as the Program Coordinator for Gap Year in Nicaragua. She continues loving her job in that role and has also twice served as Project Director for AMIGOS summer programs. Vanessa attended the University of Oregon Clark Honors College, double majoring in International Studies and Political Science. She is passionate about international development, environmental education, and youth leadership. Before joining the AMIGOS team, Vanessa worked for Global Glimpse, designing and leading group experiential learning trips to Nicaragua for young leaders.
Top of her bucket list: Hike through Patagonia and experience the astonishing beauty of the untarnished terrain.
Youth Ambassadors Program CoordinatorEcuador
Belén joined AMIGOS and Plan International in June of 2016 working with the Youth Ambassadors Program in Ecuador and the American Youth Leadership Program in Houston. Belen graduated from Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador as a clinical psychologist. After graduation, she began working with teenagers on drug prevention workshops lasting ten months. Belén loves working with teenagers and empowering them to feel capable of fulfilling their dreams and fighting for what they want. She loves learning from them every day. In her free time you can find Belén reading or dancing.
Top of her bucket list: Travel around the world!
Youth Ambassadors Program CoordinatorOakland
Emma first got involved with Amigos as a participant in Coclé, Panamá in 2008, and after a long hiatus, returned as Project Supervisor in the Dominican Republic in 2015. Her Amigos experience influenced her to study International Studies and Political Science at UC San Diego, with a focus on Latin America and the Middle East. Since then, Emma has strived to stay involved with organizations creating positive social change, including working at a refugee resettlement agency and a legal aid organization. Emma is usually planning her next trip, running to her extensive reggaeton playlist, or eating large quantities of food.
Travel bucket list: Colombia, Cuba, Chile. Anywhere and everywhere.
Elizabeth Bonilla joined the AMIGOS organization in 1998, bringing with her experience in customer service and administrative skills after working several years as a Receptionist/Office Manager for an auto dealership. Though not an AMIGOS alum she had always hoped to be part of an organization that truly cared about social change and community development, so when the position at AMIGOS became available she took it. Through the years she has assisted several of the different departments in the organization and now is primarily involved in assisting the programs department with many different types of projects. She has experienced first- hand the organizational growth and truly hopes that her children will also get the opportunity and privilege to one day be able to participate in one of the many great programs that AMIGOS has to offer.
Top of her bucket list: Win the lottery.
Regional Operations ManagerHouston
Growing up in Minnesota, Rachel never could have guessed all of the adventures that awaited her outside of the Boundary Waters. After trying her hand at ranching in Wyoming, traveling the southeastern US playing rugby, working a year in cities and towns around New Zealand, and training in Muy Thai in Thailand, Rachel found her second home in Latin America. Cumulatively, she has spent three years volunteering, working, and traveling in a dozen countries in Latin America. She is excited to be a part of the AMIGOS family and the incredible opportunities AMIGOS provides for young people across the Americas.
Top of her bucket list: Capitalize on the hilarious Minnesota-Venezuela confusion in a way that benefits both areas. It is shocking how many people think these words sound alike.
Regional Operations ManagerHouston
Though not an AMIGOS alum, Gina was drawn to AMIGOS for its belief in and support of youth taking on leadership roles. Her personal love of travel and foreign languages has culminated in her proficiency in four languages: English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Mandarin. She graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Chinese. Prior to joining AMIGOS, Gina worked as a paralegal at a corporate immigration law firm preparing visa petition filings and applications for foreign nationals and their families.
Top of her bucket list: Travel to Vietnam, her motherland
Candace was born and raised in Chicago, IL. She went to school at Colorado Technical University where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration concentrating in Healthcare Management and a Master’s Degree in Accounting. Prior to this position, Candace worked for a professional sports television station called Comcast Sportsnet Chicago as a manager. This job was pretty cool because she got to meet a lot of professional athletes! In her spare time, she likes building things, taking working things apart, and putting them back together to see if they still work when she’s done. (She has about a 50% success rate at this point).
Top of her bucket list: Go skydiving.
Katie was excited to join the International Office Staff in the fall of 2014 after spending five summers in Latin America with AMIGOS, both as a participant and on project staff. Prior to joining AMIGOS she was a Health Educator with Peer Health Exchange and graduated from Occidental College with a degree in Biology and a concentration in Public Health. In her free time Katie enjoys knitting, learning to rock climb, finding cheap yoga, and adding to the decorations in her office.
Top of her bucket list: Visit all US National Parks
Cynthia joined AMIGOS in 2013. She was born and raised in Michigan, and misses the snow but loves the Texas sunshine. She has an Accounting Degree from Michigan State University and loves numbers! She has experience as a bank examiner, internal auditor, and has been the Assistant Controller for a major grocery chain and the Treasury Director for a global staffing firm. She also loves to travel!
Favorite travel memory: Experiencing the wonderful sights of a volcano and a glacier in the same day in Iceland
Jacque joined AMIGOS in 2001 as the Executive Assistant to the President. As Data Manager, she now maintains AMIGOS’ information database. Jacque graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Houston with a BS in Anthropology. She was fortunate to be able to spend the 1990s traveling and living in several countries throughout the world, experiencing many different cultures.
Favorite travel memory: Living in the jungle of Borneo being serenaded by gibbons each morning.