Meet the Circle of Directors

MEET: Mayra Juarez-Dennis                                                                                                      Specialty: Community Partnerships, Education & Grassroots Organizing

Mayra is a native of San Antonio, TX and she was raised in Monterrey,  Mexico. She returned to the US as a teenager, with hope and dreams to acquire higher education. She is a product of SAISD, graduating in the top ten of her class, just after three years of acquiring English as her second language. After, she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University – College Station and a Master of Science in Social Work from The University of Texas at Austin.

She has extensive international experience in the non-profit world, as well as grassroots community organizing experience at a local level. She is deeply passionate about education, civic engagement and local politics.

Fun fact: Mayra has lived long term in four different countries, including Mexico, USA, Spain and Belgium. She is fluent in Spanish, English and French.

MEET Vanessa Lewis                                                                                                       SpecialtySocial Media & Communication

Vanessa Lewis is a native of San Antonio and received her BA in International Studies from the University of North Texas. Wanting to apply the knowledge she gained and explore the world, she moved to South Korea where she worked for the Korean Ministry of Education as an English Instructor. During her time in Korea, she taught in rural elementary schools,  coordinated English camps, and developed an adult language and culture class for a local community. Once returning to San Antonio, she found herself working with a local adult literacy nonprofit and area school districts. During this time she also spent a year serving as an AmeriCorps Vista, focusing on capacity building.  Vanessa joined the YWCA team in May of 2017 as the Mi Carrera Coordinator and has enjoyed her time ever since.  She loves working with teen girls and showing them the possibilities that are available to them.  Vanessa’s passion for community empowerment and education has truly shaped her professional journey. She is a graduate of Leadership SAISD and currently enrolled in the Strategic Communication Masters Program at Michigan State University.

MEET Heather Pelley                                                                                                Speciality: Logistics & Administration

Heather Pelley, Director of Membership

Heather a Tennessee native, go VOLS!  Heather is a License Manager in the Shared Services Center in Oracle San Antonio.  She has more than 12 years of contracting experience encompassing federal contracts, non-profit, and for profit commercial markets.  Prior to Oracle, Heather served eight years active duty in the Air Force prior to working as a Sr. Subcontracts Specialist at Southwest Research Institute and then moving to Oracle America Inc.  Heather is a member or OWL (Oracle Women Leaders) who is a coalition partner of YWTF.  Heather is passionate about access to education for girls and women.

MEET Shenée Simon                                                                                                   Specialty Program Development & Strategic Partnerships

Shenée Simon, Founding Member & Director

Shenée is a Virginia native with an emerging presence in the San Antonio community with over fifteen years of experience in for-profit and not-for-profit sectors specializing in Human Resources, Education and Non-Profit Management.  She founded the Younger Woman’s Task Force (YWTF) San Antonio in 2015 as a response to a need identified in her feminist pedagogy course, creating a space for like minded women. She has been an AAUW member since 2013. She also serves AAUW as  AAUW Texas College/University Committee, Chair, National Committee of Inclusion & Equity.

Her local outreach includes Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the Martinez Street Women’s Center and Mentorship Chair for NLC San Antonio.  Shenée is committed to community and service which has allowed her to serve on local, state, regional and national boards.

She holds a M.A. in Women Studies from Southern Connecticut State University, M.A. in Human Resources Management/Non Profit Management from Rollins College and B.A. in Women’s Studies & Leadership Studies from the University of Richmond.

Shenée is married and proud mother of four! She is an excited and committed new Texan! ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Circle, of Champions

Laura Villarreal is a fund development and communications professional in San Antonio, TX. She is a proud alumna of the University of Texas at San Antonio where she received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in communication.