LISC National
About Us

Meet Our Staff

Left to right: Ricardo Flores, Avital Aboody, Karina Velazquez, Denise Delgado, Kwofi Reed (LAC Member)
Left to right: Ricardo Flores, Avital Aboody, Karina Velazquez, Denise Delgado, Kwofi Reed (LAC Member)
 

Ricardo Flores, Executive Director

Ricardo Flores was named Executive Director of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) San Diego in April 2017. He joined the non-profit funding agency after serving for 12 years in leading roles with top San Diego elected officials.

In his role, Mr.  Flores oversees LISC’s extensive network of investment-based collaborations that support San Diego’s underserved neighborhoods, including City Heights, Colina Park, and Greater Logan Heights.

LISC San Diego supports neighborhood revitalization efforts by assisting community groups through financing, grants, loans and equity capital, in addition to providing technical and management assistance, training opportunities, and additional resources.

A native of City Heights, Ricardo and his wife live in Kensington.

Prior to serving as Councilmember Emerald’s chief of staff, Flores was a senior aide to Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA), dating back to 2005.  Flores has always taken an active role in his community. A long-time Meals on Wheels volunteer, he also served on numerous advisory boards and committees including the San Diego Chicano Democratic Association; San Diego Community College District; and United Way Plan to End Chronic Homelessness Resource.

After graduating from UCLA with a BA degree in Theatre, Film & Television, Flores spent several years in Los Angeles as a production assistant, most notably on the movie “Shrek 2” (2004). He also taught English in Barcelona, Spain.

DIRECT LINE: (619) 541-8017

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Ricardo Flores, Executive Director
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Siera Beal, Lending Program Officer 

Siera Beal joined LISC San Diegoin March 2020as the new Lending Program Officer. Her primary role is deploying capital to build affordable housing in San Diego County, with special focus on using LISC San Diego’s $50 million Neighborhood Catalyst Fund.

Prior to LISC, she most recently served as a Vice President with CBRE Hotels’ National Debt & Structured Finance practice, arranging over $1 billionin financing on behalf of international and domestic hospitality owners and investors.

A graduate of Cornell University’s Hotel School, Siera’s career has largely been in the hospitality real estate sector, first working in project management for RLJLodging Trust (NYSE: RLJ), and then in brokerage, both investment sales and debt & equity finance. Her experience also includes meaningful stints in a couple other industries, entertainment, technology and economic development among them, as well as time studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain.

Siera is a proud native of Ithaca, New York, and has lived in California since attending UCLA’s Anderson School of Management where she earned her MBA in 2012.

She is a pop culture enthusiast, voracious podcast listener, one-time marathoner, general lover of travel, people and their stories. It is her deep gratitude for the community that collectively raised her, alongside her single mother that brought her to the mission-driven work she gets to do with LISC and in San Diego at-large. Siera and her husband are parents to two little ones and live in the Allied Gardens/Grantville area.

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Sierra Beal, Lending Program Officer
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Avital Aboody, Program Officer 

Avital Aboody manages LISC San Diego’s Economic Development initiatives and administers the HUD Section 4 grant program. Additionally, she oversees the local Financial Opportunity Centers/Bridges to Career Opportunities sites. 

For the past 10 years, Avital has worked with social justice non-profit organizations in San Diego, Los Angeles, New York City, and Jerusalem. Her expertise is in working collaboratively with small businesses, local artists, and community organizations to support the revitalization of commercial corridors in historically under-served communities.  

Avital joined LISC after working as the Community and Policy Lead for LA-Mas, an urban design non-profit in Los Angeles. Previously, she served as the Economic Development Manager for City Heights CDC and Project Coordinator for Logan Heights CDC. All three of her most recent previous employers are LISC grantees!  

A few projects that she is proud of include launching two open-air community markets featuring first-time food and craft vendors, coordinating participatory public art projects, and spearheading the development of a volunteer-designed and built park, performance space, and garden on a formerly vacant lot. 

Avital received an MA in Urban Sustainability from Antioch University, LA and a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. She also received a Mediator Credential from the National Conflict Resolution Center. 

Avital is passionate about the arts, exploring diverse urban neighborhoods by transit, bike, and foot, and supporting local businesses and cultural institutions. Avital and her wife are parents to a beautiful child and they live in Golden Hill. 

DIRECT LINE: (619) 541-8012

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Avital Aboody, Program Officer
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Karina Velazquez, Assitant Program Officer

Karina Velazquez joined LISC San Diego in July 2017. She oversees the AmeriCorps program, Kiva loans, and the NFL Foundation Grassroots program. Karina also manages the communications strategy for the office and the Housing Development Training Institute (HDTI). 

Prior to joining LISC, Karina was Program Manager at the Diamond Business Association, where she directed a number of Economic Development initiatives such as the Diamond's first printed Business Directory. Karina also coordinated several large events such as the Diamond Street Festival, Taste of the Diamond, and quarterly networking mixers. Notably, before being hired full-time at the Diamond Business Association, Karina was served as their LISC AmeriCorps member for 10-months. 

Karina is a double-major graduate of the University of California Berkeley, with a BA in Chicano Studies and a BA in Political Science. Karina has interned for several elected officials across various levels of government and has also volunteered on a multitude of political campaigns. 

Karina sits on several boards across the city including the Chollas Valley Community Planning Group and the UC Berkeley Chicanx/Latinx Alumni Association of San Diego. 

DIRECT LINE: (619) 541-8016

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Karina Velazquez, Assistant Program Officer
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Denise Delgado, Office Manager

Denise Delgado joined Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) San Diego in August of 2019, shortly after graduating from the University of St. Thomas where she recieved a B.A. in Public Health.

At LISC, Denise coordinates all office operations, serving multiple roles that include: managing program(s) financial and fund development, administering grant compliance, overseeing communication processes, directing our local office's social media presence, coordinating the website, as well as organizing and planning all office events.

Prior to LISC, Denise worked within her University's fundraising and development department as a Professional Fundraiser from 2015 - 2017 and as a Fundraising Manager from 2017 - 2019. She secured annual donations from alumni, parents, and friends of the University, raising funds for grants, and scholarships available to students in need of financial aid. 

In addtion, Denise has previous experience as a Program Coordinator with Northern Star Council, a Boy Scouts of America outreach program that is headquartered in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She organized programs at multiple schools, recreation centers, and affordable housing communities, for children living in low socioeconomic neighborhoods. Her programs consisted of curriculum that covered STEM, social and emotional awareness, communication building skills, and physical/mental health management. 

Denise is inspired by work that empowers communities of opportunity and is excited to make a positive impact in San Diego.

DIRECT LINE: (619) 468-4428

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Denise Delgado, Office Manager
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