Community Engagement Committee - Fairfax County, VA
About Us

Our Chairman is Dr. Lolita Mancheno-Smoak


While born in Ecuador, Lolita is from Manhattan, NY, where her parents moved when she was the young age of 4 years.  She graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1977, then proceeded to get her Engineering degree from Columbia University, graduating with the class of 1981. She graduated from the University of Miami with a Masters in Engineering in 2004, and went on with her doctoral studies in Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, where she obtained her PhD in 2008.  Her community engagement revolves around education and children at risk.  She chairs and is a Board member of various non-profits such as HACAN and COTS, and theHispanic Chambers of Commerce. 


Meet our Community Engagement Leaders! 


Sang Yi, Chairman, Asian Engagement, was born in Seoul, South Korea, and raised in the Washington metropolitan area.  Sang is a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Transportation, as well as a graduate of the U.S. Naval War College, where he received a Master of Arts in National Security.  He completed his Juris Doctor degree at The George Washington University Law School.  He has experience working for both the executive and legislative branches of government.  He also currently serves as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, and is a licensed merchant marine officer.  Sang is actively engaged in the Northern Virginia community as a member of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce, the local American Legion, and is an appointed member of the RPV Asian American and Pacific Islander Advisory Council for Virginia. 


Gabrielle Jackson, our Millennial Engagement Chair,is a generational change agent passionate about empowering others to realize their personal potential and equipping them to achieve their destiny. A Millennial herself, Gabrielle specializes in youth leadership style and interaction and uses her personal experience on the field to make her teaching style interactive and practical.  She is the founder of the Millennial Solution. Gabrielle has a Masters of Arts in Government and Certificate of Public Administration from Regent University. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Public Policy and minor in Theology from William Jessup University.


Leah Durant, our Black Engagement Chair, is an attorney in private practice who focuses on representing clients in complex vaccine litigation matters.  Previously, Leah served as a Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, where she argued civil cases on behalf of the Federal Government. Leah Durant’s professional experience spans several years of involvement with public policy matters. Leah received a B.A. degree from the University of Maryland, College Park and a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law.  She currently servers as VP for Programs in the Clifton RWC.

Theresa Alvillar-Speake is our Hispanic Engagement Chair. In her passion for Latino youth and their education, she strives  to empower these students with the knowledge  and training they need to be successful in life. She serves as Hispanic Heroes panelist and speech contest judge for the Hispanic Youth Institute, Marymount University, and Moderator for Latinas Leading Tomorrow – Arlington, VA.  She has mentored Hispanic College Fund students, and sponsored summer interns on an ongoing basis. She has also served as panelist/moderator for the Minority Business Roundtable, and is Chair for the Education Committee of the Annandale Women’s Club.  She has recently been appointed to the Virginia Governor’s Latino Advisory Board. 

Additionally we have chairs by District:  Sandra Maryoral Pedroarias for Dranesville, Marta E. Delacre  for Mount Vernon, Fredy Burgos and Jaime Casabianca for Springfield, and Maria Riegge for Lee.

Posted on December 30th, 2014

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