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Who We Are

The Starfish team is more than a collection of hired hands. We are a dedicated, passionate team. We blend traditional values with progressive thinking. We act, we learn, we refine…and we act again.

Starfish consists of a streamlined support team in the US and a broader operational staff in Guatemala. All of our staff members are 100 percent committed to the success of the girls and families in our program. The entire team, including our Board of Directors, is driven by Starfish’s core values.

We are a team of 40+ full-time employees in Guatemala. Our combined US and Guatemalan staff is 86 percent Mayan indigenous and 90 percent female. We are among the only indigenous-led organizations in Guatemala. In order to keep our US operations lean, our Colorado-based office has three full-time and one part-time staff.

Take a look at our 2018 Culture Guide to learn more about the values and competencies that shape our organization!

Leadership Team

Executive Director
Travis Ning

Guatemala Executive Director
Norma Bajan Balan

Guatemala Finance Director 
Mercedes Alvarado

Director of Programs
Andrea Coche Mendoza

Director of Innovation
Oscar López

Director of the Starfish Impact School and Science Educator
Vilma Saloj Chiyal

Guatemalan Team

Director of Collaboration
María Cecilia Arriaza

Starfish Impact School Selection Mentor
Mayra Leticia Ben Chuj

Hector Ben Xoquic

Administrative Assistant 
Ana Caníz López

Administration and Human Resources Coordinator 
América Castro Vargas

Finance Coordinator 
Mercedes Floridalma Coché Quiejú

Visits Mentor 
Juana Verónica Cosiguá Julajuj

Social Studies Educator
Concepción Cua Lacan

Productivity and Development Educator
Celena Cuy Chom

Starfish Impact School Mentor
María Isabel de la Cruz Diego Lejá

Starfish Impact School Mentor
Andrea Yessenia González Cox

Starfish Impact School Mentor
Nina López Pérez

English Language Educator
Blanca Elizabeth Marroquin Díaz

Sololá Mentor
Yakelin Menchú Par

Monitoring and Evaluation Manager
Ana Lucía Morales Ortiz

Natural Sciences Educator
Marlen Karina Muj Cúmes

Panajachel Mentor
Silvia Graciela Naz Calel

Paola Elena Tzina Petzey's Photo

New Horizons Coach Manager 
Paola Petzey

Math Educator
Celestina Poz Bocel

Margarita Sacuj

Information and Technology Manager
Manolo Juntoj Saloj Cumatz

New Horizons Coach 
Petrona Sanchéz

Mentorship Curriculum Manager
Marcela Odily Santizo Anleú

Starfish Impact School Selection Mentor
Selina Sotoy Lopic

Kaqchikel Language Educator 
Jeronima Sulugüi Chumil

Spanish Language Arts Educator
Allexy Eduarda Tacán Coxoy

Director of University Access and the Quetzal Fund
Beverly Tecún Cojon

Spanish Language Arts Educator
María Ixkik Teny Puac

Program Coordinator
Roselia Toj

Starfish Impact School Mentor
Irma Tzay Julajuj

Director of Curriculum and Assessment
Alix Van Zandt

Movement Educator 
Virgilio Yach Queche

Math Educator
Ventura Yolanda Yaxón Martín

U.S. Team

Director of Engagement
Laura Benoit

Director of Strategy and Operations
Hannah Bick

Director of Major Gifts
Wende Valentine

Communications Coordinator
Yihemba Yikona


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