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Leadership Team

Help light our future today.

Leaders with Distinguished and Broad Experience

AVANCE-Austin's leadership team offers a rich blend of experience with a collaborative team spirit to propel AVANCE's mission of helping families scale new heights and achieve future success.

Cristina Garza

Executive Director

Prior to being the Executive Director at AVANCE-Austin, Cristina served as Director of Social Impact for the Mission Economic Development Corporation (EDC) where she curated and lead all STEAM and entrepreneurship initiatives for this EDC, and through this work committed herself to improving the financial mobility of area residents, and fostering progressive and equitable economic development practices. She was named Code.Org's 2019 Champion of Computer Science. She is also a 2017 Next City Vanguard and named by CityLab Latino one of the Top 20 Young Civic Leaders of 2017. Before her career in economic development, Cristina worked in education at museums in New York City including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rubin of Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Historical Society, and the Brooklyn Museum. She holds a BA from New York University, an MA from Syracuse University where she received the Florence Graduate Fellowship.

Anurita Mittra

Director of Programs

Anurita offers years of senior administrative expertise including marketing, fundraising, human resources, and program oversight in the non-profit industry. Before joining AVANCE-Austin, Anurita served for six years as Chief Operating Officer at St. Phillips School and Community Center in Dallas. The organization offered ESL, GED, college prep classes, early childhood programs, and food assistance programs to predominantly Latino and African-American community members. Anurita, who holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications and Psychology, was also a Radio News Director at Asian Media Worldwide.

Caroline Sellars

Director of Finance and Human Resources

Caroline has over 10 years of experience working with nonprofits both as a staffer and a board member. She first fell in love with AVANCE Austin’s work while serving on a grants committee. With previous experience as a grant accountant at larger nonprofits, she brings a big organization perspective to AVANCE Austin as it expands its reach in the Central Texas community. She knows the real work happens on the front lines, so she takes joy in supporting program staff to reach their highest potential. When she’s not keeping AVANCE Austin running from behind the scenes, she can be found chasing her two young daughters or relaxing with a cup of tea.

Jessica Hernandez

Director of Development and Communications

Prior to joining AVANCE-Austin, Jessica served as Director of Development and Marketing at Austin Children’s Museum, Thinkery. She has extensive experience in strategic fundraising, leadership, marketing and relationship building. Before her time at Thinkery, she worked for over a decade in major gift fundraising at the University of Texas at Austin. She holds a BBA from the University of Texas at Austin and loves Texas Football, the Dallas Cowboys, and the New York Yankees—her twin boys are named after her favorite players. When she’s not working on a new development opportunity for AVANCE Austin, you’ll find her playing a sport or watching one with her family.

STRATEGIC PLAN 2020-2023

AVANCE-Austin is committed to excellence. Together, the Leadership Team and Board of Directors have developed a 3-year strategic plan that focuses on these 4 different areas: organizational excellence, fiscal optimization, program excellence, and brand and outreach to serve 1,000+ children and parents/caregivers with high quality, 2-generation parent/child services by FY 2023 (July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023) that include outcomes for adults and children.

View the strategic plan in more detail. Download file.