PODER’s Board of Director’s is comprised of women and gender non-conforming and non-binary peoples from the Latin American diaspora. All of the board members are required to sit on at least one committee that supports the organization’s development. 

Yamari Martin-Halsall 


"Naksa! Yang nini Yamari. I am a Miskita-Kriol woman raised by my Afro-Indigenous Nicaraguan family in Toronto. After completing my BA in Hispanic Studies, I had more questions than answers, and found community as a participant at the last Decolonizing Latine Feminisms Course. Since then, I've worked in solidarity with the Nicaraguan diaspora here in Toronto, Indigenous and Black knowledge keepers from the Mosquito Coast, and as a board member at Poder. And I am still learning!! For now you can find me either at our co-op garden, biking, dancing or working in Arts Administration at the Ontario Arts Council. Tinki pali!"

Eli Carmona


"Eli is an immigrant from El Salvador, living in Toronto since 2014. They are an emerging multimedia artist, photographer, and a communications coordinator at The 519, where they work with 2SLGBTQ+ communities, advocacy, education and training, communications, events, and community support.

Their work, learnings, inspirations, and safety comes from lived experience, community leaders, peer-led groups, and community support trainings. Their passion is to be involved in creating better futures for everyone, in whatever way that might be, and to creating spaces where 2 Spirit, trans and non-binary folks can the their whole self."

Barbara dos Santos

co-Director of Communications

co-Director of Finance

"Hi everyone. I’m Barb (she/her/they/them or ela/dela in Portuguese) an immigrant from Brazil, living in Toronto since 2021 and Canada since 2017. I’m passionate about sharing and listening stories, experiences, learnings and generating xirê filosófico (dialogues). My learnings come from lived experience, challenging years in academia and in activism where my passion was women’s history and in the later years decolonizing knowledge and the various ways we as Amefricans write our own stories. Since 2021 I work at The 519, where I’m growing and learning while I work with community access to vaccines and health resources."

Jess De Vitt

co-Director of Communications

"Jess De Vitt (she/they) is a community arts mentor and visual artist based in T’karonto (Treaty 13). Jess is an Aquarius sun, double Virgo queer mexican-italian always looking for new ways of creating, learning and collaborating. Jess has experience working with community through the arts offering instructional workshops for a range of mediums and art making techniques both

digitally and in person. The techniques Jess teaches range from watercolour, acrylic, oil, image transfer, charcoal, resin, jewellery, bookbinding, soft and oil pastels, knitting and more. Jess is interested in challenging notions of scarcity within arts and community, searching for

ways of connecting with each other with intention and care."

Natalia Ruiz Cuartas

Director of Finance

Natalia is a Community educator, Feminist, and Communicator professional with a postgraduate degree in innovation management, communication, and digital journalism. She has more than 8 years of experience in community work with women, the LGBTQIA+ population, Victims of armed conflict and forced displacement and people with disabilities. Her professional practice has been linked to developing inclusive education strategies and using communication tools for activism, education and culture. Natalia is the co-founder of Fundación Poderosas Colombia, a non-profit organization that works to address gender-based violence.

She is currently doing her Ph.D. in Sociology with International Development Studies."

Nylda Gallardo López

Director of Fundraising

"Nylda is a pan, first-generation settler in Turtle Island, the child of political refugee parents of multi-ethnic Diasporic Ancestry. They consider themselves a forever student humbled and grateful to have experienced over 20 + yrs as a professional break dancer, movement facilitator, activist, and youth mentor. As a certified life skills coach, and a practicing initiate in Ifá, Espiritismo, and Regla de Oshá; their process is informed by Ancestral mediumship, community empowerment, and intentional joy practices. Nylda is passionate about sharing the abundance of decolonial knowledge and practices that were passed down by their family and many elders to address intergenerational trauma with movement, rituals, and ceremonies."

Melisa Prieto

Co-Director of Programming

Melisa Prieto is a Toronto-based artist educator and community worker from Bogotá, Colombia, who believes education and community spaces should nourish peoples' creative expression, affirm their identities, and strengthen their agency.

She creates wholistic, body centered programming to engage people of all ages as active learners and thinkers through play-based activities, artistic exploration, storytelling, multigenerational collaboration, and collective care.

Melisa is passionate about social justice and community organizing, inspired by liberation movements led by Black & Indigenous women, queer communities, and youth, and their vision for the respect of life. Their work focuses on activating diverse spaces to prioritize and celebrate the knowledge that children and youth have to offer to social transformation.

Diana Franco

Co-Director of Programming

"My name is Diana and I am an Ecuadorian, first generation, afro-latinx, community worker. I've been programming with various non-for-profit organizations for over 10 years, i love facilitating crafts, guided discussions, and group activities. I am passionate about finding and creating opportunities for youth and engaging through a strengths-based, anti-oppressive lens that always them to show up as their authentic self in all spaces! I am a firm believer in the universe, self love, and care!"

Jenniffer Duverge

Board Member

"Jenniffer is an Afro-Dominican, born and raised in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. She's a multidisciplinary artist that moved to Tkaronto in 2014. She has experience working in the non-for-profit sector in Tkaronto with Access Alliance in their Settlement Services for newcomers and with UforChange in their Youth Arts Programs. She has also volunteered in various community organizations in Chiapas, Mexico, focusing on educational programs with street children; and also acted as an observer at the Lacandon Forest, avoiding the attacks in the Indigenous community in that area. She is passionate about mental health awareness/education and committed to anti-oppression, anti-racism and decolonization."