Board of Directors

Maria Socorro Pesqueira, President & CEO

Maria Pesqueira has over two decades of leadership experience in the human service arena, bringing expert perspective to areas including strategic planning and management, program development, communications, fundraising and public health. She also is a sought-after speaker, addressing national and local audiences on issues including private/nonprofit partnerships, women’s issues, health disparities, and the future of philanthropy.

In 2000, Pesqueira was named President and CEO to Mujeres Latinas en Acción, one of the longest standing Latina human service organizations in the nation. Under her leadership Mujeres received the prestigious ORBA Award for Nonprofit Financial Management Excellence; moved Mujeres’ main office to a newly renovated 14,000 square foot facility and opened two additional satellite offices. Before coming to Mujeres, Maria was the Director of Development for the National Museum of Mexican Art where she started and grew the Museum’s resource development office, and completed its $7.5 million capital and endowment campaign. 

Pesqueira’s awards include being named by Chicago Magazine as one of six Chicagoans of the Year 2006; the 2005 National Organization for Women's (NOW) Women Who Dared Award; The 2003 Thomas Jefferson Award;  Accento Magazine’s “Woman of the Year” for 2002; and  the Crain’s Chicago Business “40 under 40” for the year 2000.  She was selected as a member to The Chicago Network, a premier organization of diverse, professional women in the Chicago area who have reached the highest echelons of business, the arts, government, and academia.

Her record of civic and community involvement spans two decades. She serves as Board member of the Community Memorial Foundation, a private independent health conversion foundation; has served as Executive Committee Board member for the National Council of La Raza, the nation's largest Latino civil rights organization based in Washington DC and is a member of the National Advisory Committee for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. In addition, she has been appointed to City and State level Commissions. Pesqueira was appointed to the Illinois Human Services Commission, the Governor’s Advisory Council on Domestic Violence and appointed to the Mayor of Chicago’s Advisory Council on Domestic Violence.  She is the Chair of the Illinois Partners for Human Services, a network of organizations that advocate for high quality, responsible, and sustainable approaches to providing human service in Illinois. She is the Vice-Chair of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, a state-wide coalition of member organizations dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society.

Ms. Pesqueira has a BA from DePaul University.  She is also a graduate of the Harvard University JFK School of Government Executive Program, the Center for Creative Leadership and St. Thomas University MiniMBA program in Nonprofit Management. 

Maria and her husband David are the proud parents of son David Ollin.

Lisa Montez, Board Chair

Lisa Montez is Associate General Counsel of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which she joined in 2007. As Associate General Counsel, she primarily supports the Foundation’s grantmaking efforts in the areas of media, culture, and special initiatives, and assists the Vice President and General Counsel with the Foundation’s staff proxy committee and governance and policy issues.  Prior to joining the MacArthur Foundation, Lisa was Associate Director of the Communities Program at the McCormick Foundation where she managed the program’s fundraising efforts and assisted her colleagues with legal issues. Before the McCormick Foundation, Lisa was an associate at Chapman and Cutler where she focused on public finance and asset-backed securitizations. 


Lisa is a member of the Great Lakes Area Tax Exempt and Governmental Entities Council and a member of the Latino Giving Circle of the Chicago Community Trust. She was elected as Chair of Mujeres Latinas en Acción's Board of Directors in 2014 , and is also involved with the Chicago Bar Foundation and is also a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow.


Lisa received her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Rice University.