Board of Directors
ZULEMA ARROYO FARLEy- FOUNDER
BOARD CHAIRMAN AND president
Zulema Arroyo Farley is the Founder, Board Chairman and President and “face” of Artz Cure Sarcoma™ Foundation, a non-profit foundation she created in 2015 along with her husband, Nick, following her own sarcoma diagnosis.
Shocked and appalled by the lack of sarcoma awareness, high number of misdiagnosis and limited treatment options, this former accomplished advertising & marketing senior executive, known for revitalizing numerous Fortune 500 brands, decided to use her media expertise and advertising business know-how to create awareness and raise research funds to find treatment options for this orphan and deadly cancer. Artz Cure Sarcoma™ Foundation's primary fund-raising pillar utilizes the arts to bring hope & beauty to this difficult cancer challenge.
As a fierce advocate for greater research and through Artz Cure Sarcoma™ Foundation, she not only aims to change how sarcoma is viewed, as a rare cancer, but her ultimate goal is to fund research to develop chemotherapy drugs specifically for this cancer because they currently do not exist in the United States. This will allow sarcoma patients to have treatment options like all other types of cancer.
She is also fearlessly passionate about raising sarcoma awareness and on April 5, 2016, the one and only, Adele called Zulema up on stage at her London concert. Adele gave Zulema the opportunity to be one of the first global voices for sarcoma patients. In addition, Zulema has been the subject of many articles raising awareness for this cancer around the world including the USA, the UK and her native Puerto Rico.
Zulema Arroyo Farley has added the author title to her accomplishments. In 2017, she signed an international book deal with globally renowned publishing company Atria Books, Simon & Schuster making its debut Summer 2019! The time has come to finally put pen to paper and share her story with the world: the soaring highs and profound lows, and the diagnosis that changed her life forever: sarcoma.
Born and raised on the west coast of Puerto Rico, Zulema currently resides in Manhattan with her amazingly supportive husband, Nick. She continues fight her own on-going battle against sarcoma, chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis, plus three other auto immune diseases, and is a patient at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas where she travels every six months for her sarcoma check-ups.
Nick Farley- BOARD MEMBER
Vice President and Treasurer
Nicholas (Nick) Farley was born and raised in the United Kingdom. He received a First Class BSc with Hons in Operational Research from the University of Lancaster before beginning his career as a management consultant with Andersen Consulting in 1982, specializing in financial tax-based leasing.
In 1995, Nick joined Goldman Sachs in London, becoming their European Chief Information Officer in 1989. In 1992, he joined Barings to become their Global Chief Information Officer and Head of Business Development, spearheading Barings’ expansion into the South East Asian and South American emerging markets. In 1997, Nick joined Morgan Stanley in New York as a Managing Director and head of Corporate Technology. During his 14 year tenure at Morgan Stanley, he held a broad range of roles spanning IT, the trading areas and firm management. In 2003, Nick established Morgan Stanley's offshore knowledge centre in Mumbai, operating as the General Manager for its first year of operation and growing the centre to over 600 staff. In 2005, he ran an internal consulting group in London and New York, completing a series of engagements within the revenue producing areas that generated over $100m in additional revenue and cost savings. In 2008, in response to the credit crisis, he developed a solution that provided the CFO with the ability to manage cash flow usage and attribute the use of balance sheet, funding and capital to generate risk adjusted returns on capital. In 2011, Nick joined UBS in New York as a Managing Director, heading up Equities technology globally and directing a portfolio of major transformation programs for the Cash Equities and Equity Derivatives businesses.
In 2016, after working in the financial services industry for over 32 years, Nick decided to retire from the banking world and now works with his wife, Zulema Arroyo-Farley, as the Vice President and Treasurer for Artz Cure Sarcoma™ Foundation.
In his spare time, Nick enjoys world traveling, the arts, spending time with his sons and family, skiing, marathon running and Formula 1. He is an avid audiophile, an enthusiastic wine collector and is about to become a certified sommelier by the Court of Masters Sommeliers.
Yesenia Naber- BOARD MEMBER
Yesenia Naber is the Admissions Director at Abiding Savior Lutheran Church and School, in California since 2014 where she partners with the Preschool & Elementary School Directors to welcome new families and students to the Abiding Savior School and community.
Prior to joining Abiding Savior, she worked over 12 years as a Senior Account Executive for renowned Hispanic Ad Agencies in the US, managing multimillion dollar brands such as Mission Foods, Toyota/Lexus, P&G, Mazda, Cingular Wireless/AT&T, and Chevrolet among others.
Yesenia decided to focus on raising a family and look for an opportunity to connect and work closely with families and their children, while serving as a volunteer in her church and community.
In her spare time you can find Yesenia at her children’s sports games, cooking, relaxing at the beach, listening to music, spending time with family and friends, or watching tennis.
She is a native of Puerto Rico and currently lives in Lake Forest, California with her husband, daughter, son, mom and rescued dog. Yesenia is an avid animal lover, her dream is to open an animal shelter in Puerto Rico.
Yesenia holds a BA in Business Administration with a minor in Tourism from the University of Sacred Heart, Puerto Rico.
Her life motto: Life is short, time is fast, no replay, no rewind, so enjoy every moment as it comes!
Michael Velazquez- Board advisor
Michael is a seasoned financial professional with over 30 years of experience in the financial industry, as a CPA, financial planner and business consultant. In 1992, Michael founded his firm, Velazquez & Associates in Glendale, California, providing services to business owners, performers & professionals while developing expertise in the health care, entertainment and real estate industries.
Michael is passionate about financial education. He has served on the California Financial Literacy Committee, as a member of the AICPA, and the California Society of CPAs, speaking to high school students and parents. Michael has also served as an officer or board member of several prestigious non-profits. He currently serves on the Executive Committee for Personal Financial Planning of the AICPA.
In his spare time, Michael loves to play golf and spend time with his family.
Isabel Fernández- Board MEMBER
Marketing, EVENTS & LEGAL COUNSEL
Isabel is an advocate for initiatives that showcase and create platforms for the promotion of creative industries, as well as technology an innovation. She is the Co-Founder and Chair of the San Juan Tech Meetup (2015) in Puerto Rico and creator of the PRO TECH program @PR Trade, a local and federal grant-funded program providing mentoring and seed capital to startups. PRO TECH sponsored Puerto Rico’s first two country delegations of startups (2015 and 2016) at the South by Southwest (SXSW) trade show, the leading world event for showcasing creative industries, technology and innovation in Austin, Texas.
Her collaborations on fashion and art initiatives include the production of the Puerto Rico Fashionart Institute (FI) exhibition (canvas-made gowns painted by renowned painters from around the world) at the Museo de las Américas in 2014. This effort allowed local renowned and emerging artists from Puerto Rico to exhibit their art pieces during the Miami Art Basel (2014), at Paraguay’s Casa Bicentenario del Teatro (2016), and the Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso in Cuba (December 2016). As an independent fashion design mecenas, Isabel supports the production of Changing Room Puerto Rico, an independent fashion design event created and held annually in Barcelona, which will have its second edition in the island in 2017. Changing Room Puerto Rico provides a platform for designers from Europe, USA and Puerto Rico to showcase unique creations and manufacturing processes.
Born and raised in Panama, Isabel C. Fernández is an attorney with studies at the Universidad Santa María la Antigua in Panama, Republic of Panama (Licenciada en Derecho y Ciencias Políticas), University of Nottingham, UK (LLM) and Universidad de Puerto Rico (J.D., LLM).
Her professional experience has spanned over international trade issues, technology/ innovation and diplomacy, including her role as Legal Counselor of the Embassy of Panama in Washington, DC (2005-2008), Associate at Ballard & Ballard Law firm (2009-2010), Senior Executive Aide to the Director, Federal Grants Manager and Project Director at the Puerto Rico Trade and Export Company (2013-2016). She is currently Co-Founder and Vice President of ALL GRANTS LLC (2017), a boutique consulting firm providing strategic funding development for NGO’s, universities, foundations and municipalities, through federal and state grants design and writing, compliance and management, partnership-building alliances, monitoring and fundraising strategies.
Dr. Maria I. Cancio, MD, FAAP- Board Advisor
Dr. Cancio graduated Summa Cum Laude in Biology and Biomedical sciences and was recipient of the coveted medal in Science and Technology in her native Puerto Rico. She attended Medical School in the premier National University in Ireland, again graduating with the highest distinctions and honors. Prior to attending medical school and throughout her education, Dr. Cancio participated in field leading research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, a hospital dedicated to eliminating catastrophic pediatric diseases.
After medical school, Dr. Cancio trained at the world-renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland for her Internship and Residency, dedicating her postgraduate training to caring for the sickest of children. Dr. Cancio returned to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital after her Residency, completing a Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Fellowship, dedicated to caring for children with various pediatric cancers and life-threatening blood disorders. Dr. Cancio is Board Certified in Pediatrics and in Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. She received her Stem Cell and Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation fellowship training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, also ranked as one of the best cancer centers in the world. Dr. Cancio is an astute, caring doctor and advocate for her patients and a member of several committees dedicated to enhance clinical care and outcomes.
Dr. Cancio’s work has been published in top tier peer reviewed medical journals including the New England Journal of Medicine. Her important contributions to the field of hematology signaled Dr. Cancio as a rising star in her field and lead to a Faculty appointment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She has presented her work at national and international scientific symposiums.
Dr. Cancio is currently a Faculty member at Memorial Sloan Kettering Comprehensive Cancer Center, Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Division, where she cares for children with cancer and potentially lethal immune and hematologic disorders. Her team has pioneered the use of cellular therapies and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
Dr. Cancio currently resides on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City with her son and her husband, who is a geneticist and oncologist also at MSKCC. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and supporting arts in NYC.
Marielena Santana - BOARD MEMBER
PUBLIC RELATIONS EXECUTIVE Director
After her husband’s untimely death from cancer, Marielena Santana jumped onboard to bring attention to Artz Cure Sarcoma™ Foundation and Zulema’s mission to raise major awareness and funds for sarcoma. When she is not supporting PR initiatives for Artz Cure Sarcoma™, Mari serves as a Vice President at DiGennaro Communications, an independent public relations company with clients such as Facebook, Instagram, Microsoft, Spotify, National Geographic and a variety of leading advertising agencies. Before joining DGC, Mari held corporate communications roles at Univision, where she led and drove regular press coverage and thought leadership for the media company and its executives. Prior, she managed marketing and media relations efforts for The Deal, part of The Street.com. She started her career at Miami-based PR agency Becker Public Relations. Mari graduated magna cum laude from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s of science degree in public relations and a minor in Spanish.
Elizabeth Yanev -BOARD MEMBER
Fundraising and Events Director
Elizabeth Yanev is currently Director of Project Management for R.A.Stinson & Associates, a New York City based architecture firm, where she oversees and coordinates various commercial and residential construction projects. Prior to working at R.A.Stinson & Associates Elizabeth designed and ran her own clothing line, Elizabeth Olliver, which she continues to pursue. Upon graduation Elizabeth worked in the fabric department of Donna Karan Collection for where she oversaw sample and production fabric orders, met with fabric mills from around the world, worked extensively with designers, and acted as liaison between multiple departments within Donna Karan.
Elizabeth is actively involved with the American Museum of Natural History as a member of the Steering Committee for the Junior Council. In early 2017 she worked on a separate committee to help overhaul the membership structure of the Junior Council. She also volunteers with the Junior League of New York City, and through the NYJL mentors teenage girls with the Personal Empowerment Project in partnership with the Supportive Children's Advocacy Network (SCAN). Elizabeth became involved with Artz Cure Sarcoma™ Foundation in 2016, assisting with the 2016 Benefit Auction.
Elizabeth received her bachelors degree from Texas Christian University in Fashion Merchandising and General Business Studies.
DIANA VALENCIA -VOLUNTEER
PUBLIC RELATIONS DIRECTOR
Diana has leveraged her multicultural marketing, client relationship management, and multimedia expertise in securing exclusive multimillion-dollar deals, expanding market share among cross-cultural populations, and bringing brands to untapped markets. During her career, she has focused on multicultural markets, promoting mobile, digital, interactive, and consumer products and services. In corporate and agency roles, Diana has helped clients engage and successfully market to a truly multicultural nation.
Diana served as Senior Vice President of Multicultural Communications with Porter Novelli, where she oversaw client programming targeted for all demographic segments under the multicultural umbrella. Previously, Diana served as Senior Director of Mobile Sales Development at Univision Interactive Media, her third leadership position with the Spanish-language media giant. Her range of influence included key technology and consumer product accounts, media agencies, telecommunications companies, and integration with reality, music, and sports programming.
Earlier in her career, in addition to working with DDB Needham, The Bravo Group-Y&R, and The Vidal Partnership, Diana spent over three years with Verizon Wireless, as Multicultural Marketing/Segmentation Manager, targeting the Hispanic sector.
After a few of Diana’s family members being affected by cancer, she became determined to find an organization to give back and help find a cure for cancer. She was inspired to help Zulema and Artz Cure Sarcoma™ Foundation create massive amounts of awareness and research funds to find targeted treatments.
Currently she is the founder and CEO of Valencia Media Group a Public Relations consulting firm focusing on Multicultural, Sports and Entertainment.
2016 BENEFIT AUCTION VOLUNTEERS
Vanilla Macias- Rodríguez