Leadership Team

Be a champion of a family’s future

Leaders with Distinguished and Broad Experience

AVANCE's leadership team is distinguished by its broad and deep experience and its unsurpassed focus on AVANCE’s mission of helping families scale new heights and achieve future success.

National Office

Dr. Teresa Granillo

Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Teresa Granillo is the Chief Executive Officer of AVANCE Inc. She previously served as Executive Director of Con Mi MADRE, a two-generation organization that supports young Latinas on the path to higher education and engages their mothers in the educational journey alongside them. In her six years as Executive Director, Granillo and her team significantly expanded the impact of Con Mi MADRE, increasing the number of mothers and daughters served, expanding programming to new sites in Austin, and establishing chapters in two additional cities. Prior to Con Mi MADRE, Granillo was a tenure-track professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Steve Hicks School of Social Work. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona, and dual Ph.D.’s from the University of Michigan.

Elida Gonzales

Chief Operating Officer

Elida serves as Chief Operating Officer of AVANCE.  Elida joined AVANCE in 1998 and has spent most of her career in leadership roles in accounting, finance and business development.  Elida is the project lead for AVANCE’s Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action, a collective impact project in the Texas Rio Grande Valley called PACES (Pathways to Alliances for Community Engagement Services). She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from St. Mary’s University and her Master of Science in Accounting from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Sonia Dominguez

Chief Program Officer

As Chief Program Officer, Sonia provides leadership and strategy for programming across the AVANCE network. She holds Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Education from the University of Texas at El Paso and formerly served as the Senior Director of Learning Networks for E3 Alliance, a collective impact organization based in Austin, Texas, where she led systems-change efforts in education to improve student outcomes from cradle-to-career. Her work in education includes serving as a Public School Teacher, Instructional Coach, Mathematics Coordinator, Director of Curriculum, and Adjunct Faculty.

Angela Cardona

Executive Assistant/ Community Relations

Angela Cardona is the Executive Assistant and oversees community relations for AVANCE Inc. She has an extensive background in management; her experience includes various leadership roles across the private and public sectors. She is also passionate about her community, actively engaging in local community initiatives and serving on the board of her Neighborhood Association as Past President. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Management from Our Lady of the Lake University and Master of Public Administration degree from St. Mary’s University.

Chapter Leadership

Luz Flores

Houston - Executive Director

As Executive Director for AVANCE-Houston, Luz Flores has nearly 30 years of leadership experience with national nonprofit organizations. Throughout her career, Luz has successfully steered organizations, such as the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto, the United Way of Greater Houston and SER Jobs for Progress, through periods of substantial growth and transition. Luz joined AVANCE-Houston in 2009, serving in several management positions, and assumed her current role in 2016. Originally from Puerto Rico, Luz holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters in Non-Profit Management from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio Texas, and a Human Resources Certificate from Rice University.

Susan Thompson

San Antonio - Executive Director

Thompson brings 28 years of leadership experience in nonprofit business, social services, and healthcare sectors. She most recently served as the Vice President – Grants, Programs, and Services at the San Antonio Area Foundation. Susan is actively involved with a wide range of professional and nonprofit organizations, including the Masters Leadership Program, John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas. A native San Antonian, Thompson holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology/english from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Business Administration from Rice University.

Cristina Garza

Austin - Executive Director

Prior to joining AVANCE-Austin as Executive Director, Cristina served as Director of Social Impact for the Mission Economic Development Corporation (EDC) where she curated and led all STEAM and entrepreneurship initiatives. 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, and an MA from Syracuse University where she received the Florence Graduate Fellowship.

Vanessa Maldonado

AVANCE North Texas - Executive Director

Vanessa Maldonado is the Executive Director of AVANCE-North Texas. Maldonado joined AVANCE-North Texas with a degree in nonprofit management from St. Edward’s University and more than a decade of experience in nonprofit leadership and development. Most recently, she served as the Chief Engagement Officer for Easterseals, a nonprofit organization that promotes independence and creates opportunities for people with disabilities. In this previous role, Maldonado managed the organization’s fundraising activities, retail operations, communications, marketing, and advocacy in Central and North Texas.