Zaira O. Vallenilla Marte was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico to Dominican working-class parents. After she lost her mother at the early age of five, her father and three older sisters became her source of strength and inspiration, instilling in her the values of family, education, service, and humility.

Zaira’s professional career to date has primarily has revolved around the private sector and consulting industries, having held positions Accenture, Maquet Cardiovascular, Nagnoi, Inc., and Abarca Health, LLC, among others.  Travelling, studying, and working in different countries have contributed to her preparation as a human being and a professional. She speaks Spanish, English, and French, and considers herself a visionary who possesses the kind of positive energy needed to positively impact communities. She hopes to inspire and strengthen Hispanic young professionals by opening doors of opportunities that help them achieve their potential and contribute to their communities.

Zaira graduated with honors from the Mayaguez Campus of the University of Puerto Rico with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering. She also earned a Project Management certification from Stanford University.  Following her college graduation, she quickly became active in various professional organizations such as the College of Engineers and Land Surveyors of Puerto Rico, where she has been a member of the governing board and has organized workshops and seminars for audiences ranging from high school students to young professionals.

Zaira serves on the Board of Directors of the “Centro de Fortalecimiento Familiar ESCAPE,” a nonprofit organization that supports low-income families with primary needs such as food and education.  The prevalent inequalities that she has witnessed have reinforced her commitment to serve as an advocate for minorities and marginalized communities.

Zaira hopes to combine her consulting expertise, project management skills, and private sector experiences with her newly acquired public administration skills as a National Urban Fellow to achieve her goal of positively impacting communities and inspiring others to work towards opportunities development, community advocacy, and effective appropriate management of resources.