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Our Team

Every member of our team contributes to the Institute’s mission to improve the economic and social well-being of the people of the Americas.

HOME | Our Team

PRESIDENT & CEO

Richard Kiy

Vice President, Public Programs

Sherry White

Vice President Energy & Sustainability

Jeremy Martin

Director of Policy & Stakeholder Engagement, Environment & Climate Change Program

Tania Miranda

Director, Energy Transition Initiative

Cecilia Aguillon

Assistant Director Public Programs

Francesca Carrillo Diaz

IT consultant

Christian Chavez

Advisor

James C. Clark

Multi-Media Manager

Carlos Fernández

Practitioner in Residence

Ernesto Grijalva

Director, Gulf of California Marine Program

Catalina López-Sagástegui

Energy Program Associate & Director of Operations

Rita Oliveira

Director of Communications and Energy Program Associate.

Diana Rodríguez

PRESIDENT & CEO

Richard Kiy

La Jolla, California, USA

Biography

Richard Kiy was appointed as President & CEO of the Institute of the Americas on August 3, 2020. Kiy was formerly General Partner with Alumbra Advisors, a consulting firm with clients in the U.S, Mexico and Central America. Prior to that, Kiy served for nearly 14 years as President & CEO of the International Community Foundation (ICF) where he expanded the foundation’s grantmaking throughout Mexico and 11 other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. While at ICF, Kiy served as Chairman and a founding board member of the US-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership.

Previous to his work at ICF, Kiy spent two years with PriceSmart, Inc. as Senior Vice President, Business Development expanding its business reach into 6 countries of Central America and the Caribbean. Earlier on, he was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Technical Director at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) in Washington, D.C. as well as the Acting Environmental Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.

Kiy’s other private sector experience includes having served as Vice President for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)’s Mexican subsidiary, expanding the company’s environmental technology solutions and services business in Mexico following NAFTA’s passage. Later, he helped SAIC secure a multi-year $1.2 billion contract leading to a joint venture company with Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) where he was Director of Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S) Information Systems.

Kiy is a graduate of Stanford (A.B. Economics, 1984) and Harvard’s JFK School of Government (MPA, 1986). Kiy is co-author of the book Environmental Management along North America’s Borders. He serves on the Binational Advisory Board of the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Vice President, Public Programs

Sherry White

 La Jolla, California, USA

Ms. White has been an integral member of the staff of the Institute of the Americas having served in a number of capacities; STEAM Director, Community Program Director, Board Secretary, Director Special Projects and Development, Innovation Program Director (Biotech, Health and Science), Senior Advisor, Strategic Initiatives and now Vice President, Public Programs & Institutional Advancement. In her time with the Institute, she has organized and implemented a plethora of events and programs including small, private gatherings and board meetings throughout the hemisphere, seminars, workshops, and large-scale events such as fundraising events, Institute anniversary events, and black-tie award galas for current and former Latin American heads of state.

Vice President Energy & Sustainability

Jeremy Martin

 La Jolla, California, USA

Jeremy M. Martin is Vice President, Energy & Sustainability at the Institute of the Americas, an inter-American public policy think-tank located at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). The Institute of the Americas Energy & Sustainability Program works to foster a deeper understanding of the most critical energy issues facing the Western Hemisphere. Jeremy spends his time delving into the geopolitics of energy and closely following energy industry trends and policy issues across the Americas, and is a frequent commentator and writer on Latin American and energy issues.

Jeremy has testified before the US Congress on energy issues in Latin America, teaches a graduate course in Latin American Energy Policy at UCSD and the University of San Diego (USD) and serves on the Board of Advisors for the Inter-American Dialogue’s Energy Advisor newsletter. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the San Diego Diplomacy Council and is a member of the host committee for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation San Diego Chapter annual Bet on Cures event. Thanks to his upbringing, he is a diehard Red Sox fan, Civil War buff, and news junkie. Jeremy graduated with honors in History from The Citadel in Charleston, SC and a Masters in International Affairs/International Development from the American University in Washington, DC. He has yet to achieve his lifelong dream of being a Stand-Up Comic.

Director of Policy & Stakeholder Engagement, Environment & Climate Change Program

Tania Miranda

 La Jolla, California, USA

Tania Miranda is the Director of Policy & Stakeholder Engagement for the Institute of the Americas’ Environment & Climate Change Program. This initiative strives to catalyze climate leadership amongst the private sector and sub-national governments in Latin America, to promote sustainable growth, tackle climate change and minimize environmental impacts in the region.

She has over 6 years of experience with multiple Mexican government agencies at the federal level, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ProMexico, and the Mexican Embassy in Washington D.C. Prior to the Institute, Tania worked as an Investment and Economic Analyst at the Consulate of Mexico in New York,  focusing on the promotion of the U.S. – Mexico – Canada Trade Agreement as well as energy, infrastructure, and tourism-related projects. She also has experience working as an energy liaison for the Kuwaiti government in Mexico.

Tania studied a Bachelor of Arts in Economics with a Minor in International Relations at the University of Southern California, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude, and a  Master’s of Science in Energy Policy & Climate from the Johns Hopkins University. She has published an array of research and opinion pieces on the energy sector in Mexico, and co-authored a published book titled We Are North America. She was born and raised in Mexico City, loves to scuba-dive, and is a Dallas Cowboys fan.

Director, Energy Transition Initiative

Cecilia Aguillon

 La Jolla, California, USA

Cecilia Aguillon is the Director of the Energy Transition Initiative at the Institute of the Americas, an impartial and independent non-profit organization promoting dialogue and collaboration across the Western Hemisphere to foster sound public policies and to advance sustainable inclusive economic growth and prosperity. She enables public-private dialogues to develop sustainable renewable energy markets.

Cecilia worked at Kyocera Solar, Inc. in California on Business Development and Government Relations for 18 years. She worked with policy makers on designing solar energy programs and renewable portfolio standards for implementation across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. She developed these initiatives in cooperation with several trade associations throughout the United States.

She served on the board of the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CalSEIA) and participated in the design and implementation of the California Solar Initiative. She is currently on the board of the Climate Action Campaign working to implement sustainable energy programs for San Diego, California.

Assistant Director Public Programs

Francesca Carrillo Diaz

 La Jolla, California, USA

Francesca Carrillo-Díaz is the Assistant Director of Public Programs at the Institute of the Americas. Through virtual, hybrid, and in-person events, IOA’s Public Programming aims to increase our visibility, engagement, and reach in various communities including UC San Diego, the greater binational region of San Diego/Baja California, Southern California, and Latin America.

In 2019, Francesca joined the Institute of the Americas (IOA) as a STEAM Program Associate. She helped organize various in-person and virtual events for local and international Latin American students such as the annual residential summer Science Camp and nonresidential day camps called STEAM Labs. She has also worked with the STEAM Team to coordinate professional development workshops for Latin American STEAM teachers at the IOA headquarters in La Jolla, California, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and through virtual platforms.

Francesca graduated from the University of San Diego in 2017 with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and Spanish with a minor in Latin American studies.

IT consultant

Christian Chavez

  La Jolla, California, USA

Christian Chavez is Systems Administrator at the Institute of the Americas. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics from the University of California, San Diego. His passion for computers from a very young age drew him to work in the field since 2003. His experience ranges from computer sales and repair, to network and telecomm cabling installation, to systems and network administration and security. After trying out a partnership for a couple of years, he decided to start his own company in 2011 providing a wide range of IT services to businesses throughout San Diego.

Advisor

James C. Clark

 Chula Vista, CA, USA

Clark is a native of Illinois, and a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana with a B.S. in Marketing. After military service in New York, Fort Knox, Kentucky, and Würzburg, Germany, he began his professional career in San Diego as an advertising account executive. Among his clients at the time were the San Diego Padres, Caliente Racecourse and various real estate developments.

With a partner, he moved north and founded a Los Angeles-based magazine company to publish airline in-flight and hotel in-room magazines. Clark was Associate Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of all the publications. When he left that company—East/West Network—ten years later, more than 60 percent of all commercial flights in the United States carried the company’s magazines. These included such carriers as Continental, Delta, Eastern, Pan American and United. Hotels included Westin, Holiday Inn, and Inter Continental. Following publishing ventures included serving as President/Publisher of San Francisco Magazine, the city magazine for the Bay Area, and Publisher of The Executive, a business magazine that profiled Los Angeles and Orange County companies through the eyes of those companies’ chief executive officers. Clark was also Director of Magazine Development at Freedom Communications in Irvine, and interim publisher of both World Trade and Latin Trade magazines, based in Irvine and Miami, respectively.

Clark was the Founding Executive Director of the San Diego/Tijuana Smart Border Coalition. The Coalition is the leading bi-national organization working to ease border wait times between California and Baja California. It is the only regional organization with board members equally from both San Diego and Tijuana. The Coalition also helps promote the San Diego-Tijuana Region for investment and is an advocacy group for bi-national border efficiency issues in Mexico City and Washington.

Clark was also the Founding Director of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Mexico Business Center and led the organization for 11 years. Before joining the SDRCC, he was Director for the Californias of the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, based in Los Angeles. The United States-Mexico Chamber is headquartered in Washington, D. C. He also helped lead public policy trips to Washington and Mexico City.

Clark was the Coordinator for the Tri-lateral North American Competitiveness and Innovation Conferences held annually in San Diego 2010-2013 under the auspices of the United States Department of Commerce and its Canada and Mexico counterparts.

He has been on the Board of Directors of Mainly Mozart/Promotora de Bellas Artes, South County Economic Development Council, and the German American Foundation where he was the binational chair. He was an International Friendship Commissioner for the City of Chula Vista and has served on the Advisory Boards of San Diego Citizen’s Diplomacy Council, XLNC1 Classical Radio, LEAD San Diego and Tijuana Innovadora.

He has been a Member of the Board of Directors of the International Community Foundation serving the people of Baja California Sur and Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center as well as having served as the U.S. California Regional Team Leader for FUMEC’s BIMI (Border Intelligent Manufacturing Initiative). He has been a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW).

He continues as an Honorary Board Member of the San Diego/Tijuana Smart Border Coalition. He was inducted into the Tijuana Paseo de la Fama in 2015. Clark has been honored by the Congress of the United States, California State Senate, the State of Baja California, the Consulates General of Canada, Mexico and the United States, Tijuana Economic Development Corporation, and the Mayors of San Diego and Tijuana for his service to the region. Clark currently works on projects between San Diego/Tijuana and the Bajio Region of Mexico.

Multi-Media Manager

Carlos Fernández

 La Jolla, California, USA

Prior to his current position, Carlos supported the Institute as Web administrator & Digital Media Designer. Previously, Carlos did freelance work as Web Developer, Graphic Designer and Multimedia consultant. He also worked for JVC Electronics and for the marketing department at The LandAmerica Financial Group, the third largest title insurance group in the U.S., where he worked as Junior Web Developer and Graphic Artist. A native of Spain, Carlos moved to San Diego, California in 1999. In 2001 he graduated as Web Designer at the North Media Center. From 2001-2004 he attended San Diego City College at the Graphic and Multimedia Design Department.

Practitioner in Residence

Ernesto Grijalva

 Solana Beach, CA, USA

Jesus Ernesto Grijalva has been a student of U.S.-Latin American legal and political interactions for over 30 years.  A U.C.S.D graduate with a B.A. in Political Science and with a J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law, his entire professional career has been focused on U.S.-Latin America business interactions.

The Law Offices of J. Ernesto Grijalva served clients with U.S.-Mexico cross-border business transactions and litigation.  In the early 1990’s he became the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce’s principal spokesperson on NAFTA and International trade issues.  In the mid-1990’s he joined the Chamber as VP Legal/International Trade.

In 1998, Ernie was invited to join PriceSmart, Inc., a progeny of Price-Costco.  As Sr. VP Legal Affairs Latin America/Caribbean and Chief FCPA Compliance Officer, he was charged with shepherding the legal aspects of PriceSmart’s expansion throughout Central America and then supervising legal matters throughout the Latin America/Caribbean region.  In his 20 years with PriceSmart, it grew from operations in 1 country to 13, about 300 employees to 9,000 and about $60 million in annual revenues to over $3 billion.  He personally trained thousands of employees on a variety of legal compliance related matters.  He served as the Legal Representative of over 30 corporations, serving as President of over 20 PriceSmart subsidiaries and as Secretary or General Manager of a dozen more.  He was regularly responsible for subsidiaries corporate/government relations.  His work led to being recognized as a GC Powerlist – The Legal 500 – Most Influential Corporate Counsel in Central America.  He is also rated Pre-eminent attorney by Martindale-Hubbell and a certified a Corporate Ethics and Compliance Professional – International.

Director, Gulf of California Marine Program

Catalina López-Sagástegui

 La Jolla, California, USA

Catalina López-Sagástegui is a Marine Biologist from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur (2001) in La Paz, Mexico, and obtained a Masters degree on marine biodiversity and conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography (2006). Although her initial interests focused on marine mammal ecology, her focused shifted to understanding how coastal communities adapt to changes in their socio-economic realities when public policies aimed at protecting and managing species are implemented.

From 2006-2010 she worked at NOS Noroeste Sustentable A.C., where she coordinated an effort to create a common vision for the Upper Gulf of California with scientists, conservationists, and the fishing sector. Catalina joined UCMEXUS at the University of California Riverside in 2010 as a scholar in residence where she began to develop multidisciplinary research programs that incorporate resource users’ participation in collaboration with the Gulf of California Marine Program (GCMP). Together with the Centro para la Biodiversidad Marina y la Conservación A.C., she developed a fisheries monitoring program that has generated data for the last 11 years, contributing to fisheries management on both, local and regional scales throughout the Gulf of California and Mexican Pacific.

Catalina’s experience with conflict resolution helps her create opportunities for multistakeholder collaborations and has reinforced the importance of access to information to build trust and empower communities.  In 2014, Catalina helped launch dataMares, GCMP’s initiative to promote transparency in scientific research and provide a space where access to scientific data is possible.

In 2017, Catalina became the GCMP’s director and, while she continues to do research related to small-scale fisheries in Mexico, she dedicates a significant portion of her time to promote binational research collaborations.

Energy Program Associate & Director of Operations

Rita Oliveira

 La Jolla, California, USA

Rita Oliveira is a Program Associate for the Energy and Sustainability Program. She is also the Office and HR Manager as well as Assistant to the President. Rita holds a Bachelor Degree in Economics from Universidade Católica Portuguesa in Portugal and MBA from National University, in San Diego. Prior to joining the Institute, she worked as a collector at Chase Home Finance in San Diego and as an Assistant Manager for F. Abecassis in Portugal.

Director of Communications and Energy Program Associate.

Diana Rodríguez

Diana Rodríguez has been Energy & Sustainability Program Associate for over ten years. Diana will also be managing Communications and Marketing strategies for the Institute.  Prior to joining the Institute, Diana worked assisting the DCM at the Embassy of Colombia in Washington, D.C., for seven years. She holds a BA on International Trade from Los Libertadores University in Colombia.