¡Bienvenidas New Board Members!

Please help us in welcoming our newest board members to the AVANCE-Austin familia: Stephanie Bergara, Cristina Gomez, and Leonor Vargas.

Stephanie Bergara

Stephanie is a native of Austin Texas. She grew up in Southeast Austin and attended Del Valle High School and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

She has spent 10 years at the City of Austin’s Economic Development Department’s Music & Entertainment Division as an artist and industry advocate and also serves on the Board of Directors for Health Alliance for Austin Musicians.

Stephanie shows her deep connection to the Austin community in everything she does as Program and Event Manager at Waterloo Greenway Conservancy, Talent Director of Chingona Fest, and lead singer of her award winning Selena tribute band, Bidi Bidi Banda.

She has recently won awards from both Girls Rock Austin and Con Mi Madre for her community leadership and is excited to now contribute to AVANCE’s mission through board support.

Stephanie recently shared with us that she loves to involve her 5 year old son, Andres, in everything she does from her love to music to her creativity in serving their community. This duo seem to share the AVANCE encouraged parent-child bond and we are ecstatic to have both Stephanie and Andres join our board family.


Cristina Gomez

Cristina currently works as the Deputy Director of Annie’s List PAC and runs a consulting practice, CACSM.

She is an expert fundraiser and strategy planner, helping organizations raise over $575MM and elevating their organizational profiles among national leaders throughout her career.

Cristina is committed to transforming our entire country through social and political change, empowering others to develop their own personal political activism.

She founded the New Leaders Council South Texas Frontera in 2020 and currently serves as Vice Chair for Austin Women Invest to Elect. She holds a BA in Public Relations from the University of Houston, MA in Public Administration from the University of Southern California, and has certificates in Social Sector Leadership from UC Berkeley, as well as, Spanish Language and Culture from La Universidad de Granada.

Cristina is eager to lend her knowledge and expertise to our Board and help uplift the Austin Latino community. “I’m looking forward to adding to AVANCE’s already incredible work in Austin and making a direct impact on people’s lives,” said Cristina.

We’ve already seen that Cristina is a true leader within the community but recently found out that one of her favorite things to do as a child was organizing her book and pencil collections. We are so thrilled to have this organizational queen join our board of directors!


Leonor Vargas

Leonor is a proud advocate of early childhood education and has been collaborating with AVANCE-Austin for over 10 years through the Austin Independent School District (AISD).

She has spent many years supporting marginalized families and students through her previous work as AISD’s Administrative Supervisor of Parent Programs and The Austin Project’s Director of Family Resource Centers.

Leonor continues her support for Central Texas families with her current Advisory Committee Membership roles with United Way: Success by 6 Coalition, Texas Center for Child and Family Studies, and Early Childhood Quality of Life. She is also the founder of Wisdom En Familias, providing consulting services to school districts and institutions to transform systems of practice.

She holds a BA in Criminal Justice from St. Edward’s University and an MS in Social Work, Administration, and Planning from the University of Texas. Leonor is thrilled to share her dedication of providing authentic and equitable family engagement in institutions that honor individual cultures through the AVANCE-Austin board.

“Being on the board creates the opportunity for me to keep a promise to my grandmother – to never forget where I came from and to always support and give back to my neighbors,” said Leonor. Leonor’s grandmother is truly inspirational. Leonor recently shared with us that one of her earliest childhood memories was sitting in the kitchen with her grandmother, learning to cook and read through family recipes.

We are so glad to have Leonor on our board of directors, supporting families to fulfill their hopes and dreams.


AVANCE-Austin’s Board of Directors blends a diverse group of distinguished leaders. The Board oversees the organization’s business strategy, ensures accountability, enhances its public reputation, and serves as a thought partner to the leadership team. Each of the members of our board comes from different walks-of-life but they are all committed to empowering AVANCE-Austin families to reach their highest potential. AVANCE-Austin is so thankful and grateful for everything that the Board does to help this underserved and under-resourced population. A full list of the AVANCE-Austin Board of Directors can be viewed here.