Joanne was born in Compton, California and raised in the City of Downey. She attended Downey High School, Cerritos College, and Para-Medical & Technical College in Long Beach. Joanne has been at VELA for 10+ years and is proud to be a member of the VELA team. Joanne’s knowledge in business development to compliment the various programs and projects that focus on enhancing the quality of life of the community.
As Executive Director, Joanne provides and assists in the direction and focus of fulfilling the agencies mission and oversees staff in various key departments emphasized on the overall goal of the company. She works closely with the Board of Directors in representing the organization to all government agencies and/or their representatives, community and public at large. As well as in overseeing all fundamentals of management practices: strategic planning, programs, and communications. Joanne also oversees grant management, software databases, provides technical advice for compliance regarding program goals and policies.
Her background includes Private Practice Management, Business Development, Marketing, Contracting, Credentialing and Provider Services for a Health Care Management Service Organization, (MSO). She has also owned her own business as a consultant in marketing and sales. Joanne has been involved in the non-profit sector for the past 8 years and served as Vice President and Editor for High School Booster Organizations.
Joanne is married, has three adult children, seven grandchildren, and two great grandchildren whom are all very precious to her. Joanne learned to sew at an early age and has a creative side in fashion design. On her off time Joanne enjoys camping, boating, dancing and is passionate about the time spent with family. Despite having a disabling health condition she is always professional and passionate about helping others. She believes that life is what you make of it and has refused to succumb to her disability.
Jackie Castellanos joined VELA as a Program Assistant in 2006 with the responsibility of assisting in the VELA programs. While working as a Program Assistant, she also worked for the Department of Rehabilitation as a Support Services Assistant. During that time, she graduated from California State University Dominguez Hills with a B.A. in Liberal Studies and earned her Masters in Public Administration from National University. With her education complete, she continued working with VELA as a Program Assistant until 2012 when she became the Program Director/Analyst with the responsibility of overseeing the federally funded VELA programs. Her education and involvement with VELA has given her the opportunity to ensure that the programs operate efficiently and continue to provide services to the community.
When Jackie is not dedicating her time to VELA, she is spending her time with her family and friends. Jackie presently resides in Fullerton but loves to travel, her favorite travel destination being New York.
Director of Finance
Born and raised in Southern California, Alenna grew up to love traveling, respect the environment, eat right, to be smart with every decision she makes, and Disneyland (She was born with Mickey Mouse ears). Throughout the early years of her education, Alenna participated in many activities and events where she learned skills that could be applied in her adulthood. She took those skills after graduating high school, and used them while exploring new ideas and concepts teaching dance and color guard, and working as a hostess, waitress, and bartender.
Alenna’s journey with VELA began in 2006, when she was battling Cancer. VELA was able to guide her in the right direction so that she was able to get the appropriate treatment for her condition and fight her ailments so that she could accomplish a treasured goal: to become a mother. Her joy comes from her children and she thanks VELA every day for its assistance. Realizing that she had strength in accounting practices, she began a hard-earned journey into completing her higher education in Finance. In 2011, Alenna received an Associates of Arts degree in Accounting, and obtained her BBS Bachelors of Business Sciences in Finance and continue her education as a Certified Treasury Professional (CTP). This path of realization could not have come true if it wasn’t accompanied by the help, support, and guidance from the many mentors, family, and friends Alenna has in her life. The altruistic support she has received has shaped the woman she has become today.
As VELA’s Finance Director, Alenna processes and keeps the financial activities of all VELA programs, conducts appropriate accounting practices according to GAAP, SEC, and IRS and maintains appropriate internal control processes. She works closely with the VELA executive team, Board of Directors, and upper management. Today, she can confidently say that she knows that her role at VELA is a significant one, and although she may not always be seen, you may catch a glimpse of her smiling from backstage after an accomplished event or audit, taking pride that VELA’s teamwork pays off, and knowing that her contributions play such a strong role.
Data Specialist/AP Clerk
Diana Castillo was born and raised in East Los Angeles. She attended Garfield High School and joined VELA in July of 2011 through volunteering for the Archdiocesan Youth Employment Services as a receptionist and performing data entry. Diana was very joyful to have joined VELA due to the fact that she likes helping others and she is proud to serve her community. Now Diana has held the positions of a Program Assistant , Data Specialist, Executive Assistant and Accounts Payable Clerk and will continue attending East Los Angeles College to pursue her career.
Handyworker Crew Member