Meet the Advisors
Maria Cervantes is a native of Santa Ana, CA with more than 21 years of experience advocating for children’s well being and access to quality education. Over the past 18 years, she has worked with the MIND Research Institute (MIND), an Irvine, CA-based nonprofit organization, as the Community Partnerships Director, she raises funds and creates national collaborative partnerships. Maria’s current work has focused on making ST Math- a STEM focused program accessible for Latino, under-served students, and students with disabilities. She considers herself an ambassador for students of all ages and the underprivileged communities.
Previously, Maria worked for the Child Abuse Prevention Center and the Santa Ana Unified School District. Maria is currently an Executive MBA candidate at Chapman University. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services from California State University, Fullerton and a 2018 fellow for the USC Latina Global Executive Leadership Program. Maria was actively involved on the board of the National Hispanic Business Women Association, Women United Rise and the OC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as well as an advisor for the OC Youth Chamber of Commerce.
Maria has been recognized for her tremendous work and impact on behalf of our community’s young students, helping them become tomorrow’s hi-tech professionals. In May 2014, Maria was featured in the Orange County Business Journal as Women in Business nominee and OC Metro Top Woman to Watch. In April 2014, she was recognized as the Ambassador of the Year for the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. In November 2013, she received the Comerica Bank, Best of LA Women's Business Award, in acknowledgement of her leadership and contribution in Southern California. In April 2013, Maria was named a Fun Fearless Latina by Cosmopolitan for Latinas as one of twelve individuals in the community (including actress Michelle Rodriguez and journalist/TODAY Show co-anchor Natalie Morales) who have made outstanding strides in their field.
Miguel (Mike) A. Limon
Mike Limon serves as the executive Director at the Orange County Educational Arts Academy (OCEAA). OCEAA is a dual-immersion arts immersion public charter school located in Santa Ana, California. OCEAA was founded in 2005 by a group of dedicated educators, parents and community partners. OCEAA is currently serving nearly 630 students in grades TK through 8th.
Prior to OCEAA, Mike was the national Dir.,Programs & Events for MIND Research Institute. Mike was responsible for cultivating and engaging national partnerships and executing STEM-based programs.
Mike co-founded and is an advisor for the Orange County Hispanic YOUTH Chamber of Commerce (OCHYCC) in 2009, which is still going strong! OCHYCC consist of higher education student board members; dedicated to linking culturally diverse college students to the professional world through career development, community involvement, and access to higher education.
Mike is currently the Southern Region Board Director with the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. This is a state-wide umbrella organization for city & county Chambers, looking to make an impact and support businesses throughout California.
Mike achieved an Associates in Arts degree from Fullerton Community College; and then went on to California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) to achieve a Bachelorettes degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance. While at CSUF, Mike was involved with two different associations. First, was the Latino Business Student Association as a member, and secondly was the Finance Association as the Director of Corporate Relations. These two associations help Mike get acquainted with business protocol, social events and networking which helped shape Mike as a leader.
Paula Garcia-Arsenault is the Vice President of Community and Homebuyer Services with Habitat for Humanity of Orange County. Habitat for Humanity of Orange County is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. Habitat for Humanity was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, durable place to live in dignity and safety, and that decent shelter in decent communities should be a matter of conscience and action for all. As the head of the Family and Homebuyer Services department, Paula has created a comprehensive process which assures the success of the on-going family selection process, beginning with target marketing and ending with family partnerships and successful homeownership.
Paula comes with 30 years of commercial and consumer banking experience and was formerly the Business Relationship Manager Assistant Vice President with Chase Bank in Santa Ana. Prior to that, she was with Independence Bank as a First Vice President, Regional Manager of the North County and an executive with Farmers & Merchant’s Bank.
Paula is currently serves as a volunteer and board member for a number of organizations including past Chairwoman for Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce, Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, High School Inc. Foundation, Kiwanis OC, Builders Trade Network, National Hispanic Business Womens Association, Women Helping Women (WHW), and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Nydia Kush, the Founder and CEO of Citrus Marmalade built her company on a foundation of hard work, integrity and customer service. With over a decade of successful sales experience, Nydia has developed a reputation for unrivaled service to her clients and their unique needs.
After starting her career in the insurance industry, Nydia took her dedication to her clients and joined Bonaventure Realty as a realtor. Five years later after the birth of her son, Nydia followed in the entrepreneurial footsteps of so many others in her family and started what is now a thriving catering company across Southern California.
Nydia is an active board member of the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Ambassador to the Youth Chamber seeking to share her passion and conscientious nature with the next generation. She married her high school sweetheart in 2012 and enjoys spending her down time being active, outdoors with her friends and family.