Young Professionals of the Americas
Young Professionals of the Americas
Founded in 2013, Young Professionals of the Americas (YPA) is a member initiative of AS/COA that provides a platform for young professionals to connect around the latest trends in the Americas through its New York City, Miami, and Washington, DC chapters.
YPA Mission Statement
The mission of YPA is to build a network that engages, connects, and inspires future leaders passionate about Latin America through professional development and social events.
Join our mailing list to get updates on membership and events.
Steering Committee Members
The YPA Steering Committee comprises the network’s leadership. Selected members represent a variety of sectors and backgrounds, and offer their professional experience and connections to develop fun, dynamic, and enriching programs. They also enjoy additional, elite benefits.
The YPA Internal Committee comprises a small group of employees of the AS/COA. The internal team spearheads YPA’s membership expansion and coordinates programs.
- Cyndi Balladares, head of YPA Miami
Cara Caponi is Chief of Staff to the President and CEO of Americas Society/Council of the Americas. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Young Professionals of the Americas and co-leads the Women’s Hemispheric Network which seeks to support and encourage professional women across the Americas. Cara previously worked on the Programs Team at AS/COA where she covered Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Chile. Her interest in Latin America began while in high school in Indiana and continued as she studied abroad in El Salvador. After graduating from Boston College with a bachelor’s degree in History, Cara moved to Peru where she served as a Jesuit Volunteer for three years in Tacna and Andahuaylillas. She holds a masters in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from New York University where she studied Quechua language. An avid singer, Cara currently sings with Choral Chameleon, the Ignatian Schola, and the choir at the Church of St. Francis Xavier in New York City.
Tyler Crowe is a Manager of IP, International at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC). He is primarily responsible for leading the Chamber’s Special 301 submission, GIPC’s IP Scholars and Champions program, and GIPC’s engagement in strategic markets. Before joining the Chamber, Tyler spent nearly four years with the Global Policy team at the Motion Picture Association, where he consulted with World Bank researchers on market access barriers in audiovisual services trade, briefed U.S. government officials on IP trends in emerging markets, and traveled through China to assess commercial opportunities in that country's theatrical film market. He started his career interning in the trade and investment section at the Embassy of Brazil in Washington. Originally from Ellicott City, Maryland, he holds a B.A. in Chinese and a certificate in international agriculture and natural resources from the University of Maryland-College Park. He speaks Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, French, and (some) Mandarin Chinese.
Allie Fleder is the COO and a founding team member at SimplyWise, a fintech empowering better decisions for modern retirement. She previously founded and ran Sherpa, a British luggage delivery platform for busy travelers that was acquired in 2019. Before starting her own business, she consulted for a number of VC-backed startups in London and NYC. Allie began her career at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, where she served as the chief of staff to the president. In that role, she worked with entrepreneurs and tech companies to help them scale up their operations in Latin America. She is a founding member and former Executive Director of the Young Professionals of the Americas network. She is a board member and former Chair of EUROUT, Europe’s largest LGBT+ business conference, and serves on the Digital Corps leadership team of Out in Tech. Allie received a bachelor of arts in Latin American studies from Columbia College and an MBA from London Business School, where she was a 50th Anniversary Scholar.
Juan Carlos Freile is a banker at JP Morgan Private Bank, where he advises wealthy individuals and families in South Florida and Puerto Rico, with a focus on privately-held business owners and executives of public companies. He works closely with an integrated team of specialists to provide customized wealth management solutions, including investing, wealth structuring, fiduciary services, philanthropy, banking, and credit, among others. Prior to joining JP Morgan’s Private Bank seven years ago, Juan Carlos worked in investing banking at Goldman Sachs & Co. in New York City. Juan Carlos received his BA in economics and history cum laude from Dartmouth College. He is actively involved with his alma mater, interviewing high school student applicants in Miami and Latin America, as well as Dartmouth Recruiting nationally for JP Morgan Asset & Wealth Management. Locally in Miami, Juan Carlos is a young patron of the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science. He is also a CFA charterholder and a member of the CFA Society of Miami. Juan Carlos lives in Miami with his wife Isabel and their son Juan Carlos III.
Pía Fuentealba joined YPA in 2020. She is a corporate communications professional, leading the media relations department at AS/COA since 2018. Her efforts promote the organization throughout the United States and Latin America through the placement of Americas Society and Council of the Americas programs in news outlets, Pía also manages interviews for AS/COA's experts. She came to New York from Chile in 2016 to complete a M.S. in corporate communications and public relations at New York University. In Santiago, she worked at a public relations firm and previously at an energy multinational company.
Cristina Guevara is a public policy programs associate at Americas Society/Council of the Americas, where she covers the Andean Region, the Women’s Hemispheric Network initiative, and her home country, Panama. Cristina has conducted extensive research on corruption, gender equality, public-private partnerships, and sustainable development across the Americas. She has a Master of Arts in International Affairs from the George Washington University, where she conducted fieldwork in Colombia on the country’s extractive industry, and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Holy Cross College in Notre Dame, Indiana. She joined the YPA Internal Committee in 2022 to help conceptualize and implement programs that connect and inspire young leaders who are passionate about Latin American development and prosperity.
Chase Harrison is the editorial manager at Americas Society/Council of the Americas Online. In this role, he produces digital content on Latin American politics and economics, including articles and infographics. He also is one of the rotating hosts of AS/COA Online’s Latin America in Focus podcast. Prior to AS/COA, he completed a MPhil degree in comparative politics at the University of Oxford where his work focused on populist parties in Central America and Mexico. For his thesis, he completed fieldwork throughout Mexico City, where he also worked as a political risk consultant. Chase has extensive experience in political campaigns across the U.S. and once held the title of New Jersey’s youngest elected official. In his spare time, Chase is an award-nominated globe-trotting comedian. Have you seen him perform in England, Scotland, Mexico, the Netherlands, or the United States? Probably not.
Zac Hersman works at Raymond James as a member of The Americas Group. The Americas Group, with operations in Coral Gables and Boca Raton, is a wealth management advisory practice with $3.5B AUM that provides financial services to high to ultra-high net worth entrepreneurs and families, corporations, and institutions globally, but with a geographic niche in the Caribbean and Latin America. Hersman's responsibilities include execution of discretionary models and business development. He obtained his BA in Economics from Emory University and completed a summer abroad in Italy through the Emory Italian Studies Department. Hersman obtained his MBA with a concentration in Finance from the College of Charleston while completing an internship conducting fundamental research for Tandem Investment Advisors, a deep-value asset manager that invests in US publicly traded equities. Born and raised in South Florida, Hersman is an avid tennis player who enjoys exploring cuisines, spending time with family & friends, and making an occasional ski trip.
Luisa M. Horwitz is a public policy programs associate at Americas Society/Council of the Americas. A member of YPA's internal committee, she helps develop the network's online content, social media strategy, and programmatic activity. Horwitz works to execute public policy programs for a range of Latin American countries of interest for AS/COA members, both public and private. She also works on creating programs for AS/COA's Women's Hemispheric Network, hosting top public- and private-sector leaders across the Americas to address issues around women in the workforce and inspire more women to achieve leadership positions. She is from Buenos Aires but has lived in Houston, Rio de Janeiro, London and New York, and graduated with a dual bachelor's degree in political science and journalism from New York University.
Aris Iliopulos is an assistant vice president in the Latin America Sovereign and Financial Institutions Credit Risk team at Barclays in New York. In this capacity he structures and monitors trades and loans with counterparties across the region, and is responsible for assigning internal country risk grades. Previously, he was a country analyst in the Latin America team at The Economist Intelligence Unit, where he provided political and macroeconomic analysis and forecasts for Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Trinidad & Tobago. He holds a masters in public administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) where he focused on International Finance and Economic Policy and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) and Diplomatic History from the University of Pennsylvania.
Gabriela Lujambio is a Mexican diplomat with years of international experience in government affairs, corporate relations, and trade. She is a lawyer by training from the Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City, with a post-graduate degree in constitutional law, where she graduated with honors. She has a certificate from the Harvard Extension School on nutrition and sustainability. Currently, Lujambio serves as an economic officer at the Embassy of Mexico in the United States, a position she has held for the past two years. Before moving to the United States, she worked at the Corporate Affairs division at Walmart’s headquarters for Mexico and Central America. Lujambio is currently pursuing an executive master’s degree in policy management (M.P.M. - 2018) at Georgetown University. She is very active and committed to her community, volunteering and supporting causes that she cares for. As such, she sits on the Steering Committee of MXDC – The Mexican Professionals Network, a Washington, DC based association of Mexican professional expatriates. She has lived in four counties and five cities, pursuing personal and professional experiences. Lujambio is a native of Mexico and is fluent in Spanish and English.
Alvaro J. Muñiz is a project manager/business analyst for academic innovation and new ventures at George Mason University. In this role, he provides support and analysis for new high-impact growth strategies across the university. Prior to joining Mason, he worked at Ashoka supporting numerous domestic and international social entrepreneurship projects. He also served as a deputy chief of staff with the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners working on technology ecosystem initiatives along with policy research and strategy. While in Miami, he was a graduate of Leadership Miami’s 35th class. Alvaro holds a JD from Saint Louis University School of Law, a BA in Political Science from Providence College, and a Sports Impact Leadership Certificate from Johns Hopkins University.
Mariana Muruzabal works in the Strategic Sales & Business Development group at SAP. In this role Mariana works with SAP’s most strategic customers across North and Latin America, in close collaboration with SAP’s board to drive innovation with a customer centric view. Originally joining SAP through the Impact Leadership Rotational Program, Mariana also spent time as the chief of staff for SAP’s chief strategy officer. Previously Mariana had worked at Coca-Cola Company in Argentina. Mariana holds an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and a BA in Business from the Universidad de San Andres. Born and raised in Buenos Aires, but having lived in Mexico City, Madrid, and now Washington DC; Mariana has a deep commitment to economic development in Latin America and wants to continue to drive collaboration throughout the Americas.
Liz Nunez is a product strategist within the Active Equities Group at BlackRock, representing sector and thematic strategies. At BlackRock, Liz is part of the Somos Latinx Network (SLN) Operating Committee, the team who helped found BlackRock's first employee network for Latinx professionals, reaching more than 300 members today. An alum of the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business, Liz has a bachelor of science degree in finance from The Wharton School of Business and a bachelor of arts in international studies and Italian from The University of Pennsylvania. An avid enthusiast of music and theater, Liz studied vocal music and performing arts at LaGuardia Arts High School. Born in the Dominican Republic and growing up in New York City, Liz enjoys traveling to adventurous places, cooking, and reading magical realism literature. She is fluent in English, Spanish, and Italian.
Alberto Peralta Ramos joined Morgan Stanley in 2016 as part of the Wealth Management Division. Previously, Peralta Ramos was part of the Global Asset Management Analyst and Associate Programs at J.P. Morgan in New York and Miami. Peralta Ramos graduated with a BS in economics and finance from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL. He enjoys practicing sports (soccer, golf, and tennis), transcendental meditation, and spending time with family and friends. Peralta Ramos is also fluent in Portuguese and Spanish.
Vanessa Perez currently serves as project manager for the Television Association of Programmers Latin America, a trade association representing Pay-TV content producers in legal and government relations issues in the region. Perez previously spent two years working in the Latin America practice of the DC-based strategic advisory firm McLarty Associates, where she supported the consulting efforts of the company’s managing partner and led the region’s research team. She also has experience interning at the US Trade Representative’s Office and the Department of Education, as well as serving as a summer teacher for the NGO Breakthrough Collaborative. Originally from Colombia, Perez is fluent in Spanish and professionally proficient in Portuguese. She holds degrees in economics and international relations from American University and spent a semester studying in Brazil at the Pontificia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro. She is a member of the Executive Committee for the Miami Professional Chapter of the national PorColombia organization, focused on promoting cultural, professional, and philanthropic activities related to Colombia.
Brett Perlmutter founded and leads Google’s efforts in Cuba. In that capacity, Perlmutter was the principal negotiator of the first ever internet-related deal between the U.S. and Cuba which placed infrastructure in Havana to make uncensored platforms like YouTube available for the Cuban public. He also negotiated and signed an agreement to interconnect Google and Cuba's networks. He originally spearheaded Google’s market entry into Cuba with Eric Schmidt and then championed Google's first connectivity initiative in the country at Havana’s Museo Orgánico Romerillo, which was the only location to offer free, high speed wifi in the country. Prior to the US amending its policy towards Cuba, Perlmutter led the effort to offer Google technology in the country which included the launch of Google Chrome, Google Play for Free Apps, Google Analytics, and Google Toolbar. Perlmutter started his career as a consultant in McKinsey & Company’s New York Office, where he advised CEOs and leaders across North and South America, Europe, and Asia in strategy and corporate finance. He has lectured to students and academics at the Harvard Kennedy School, the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, Brown University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Manchester. In 2016, Perlmutter was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 List. A native of Colorado, he received an M.Phil from the University of Cambridge and completed his BA (magna cum laude) from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Benjamin Franklin Scholar, the president of his class for 3 years, and the Spoonman–the top honor given to a male student upon graduation.
André Soares serves as counselor at the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) board of directors. Prior to joining the board, Soares served as a trade economist to the Integration and Trade Department of the IDB on projects related to China-Latin American trade and economic relations. Before that, he acted as research coordinator for the China-Brazil Business Council (CBBC), where he was involved in restructuring CBBC's research area, which is now considered an international reference in the field. Soares holds a master's degree in industrial engineering with an emphasis on economics and innovation from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and has an executive education from Harvard Kennedy School of Government with a focus on economic development.
Andrés Varona is a business development manager at White & Case LLP, a leading global law firm. At White & Case, Andrés develops proposals and multilingual marketing materials for corporate (e.g. agriculture, aviation, construction, mining, oil & gas, renewables) and sovereign clients (e.g. ministries, multilaterals, SOEs) related to high-stakes, cross-border disputes. He also manages firm-organized and external events for White & Case’s Latin American Arbitration practice, and serves as the BD liaison for the Firm’s Business & Human Rights global interest group. Prior to joining White & Case, Andrés consulted for a number of agribusinesses, non-profits, and advisory firms doing work in and around the Western Hemisphere. Previously, he interned at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, where he supported the planning and logistics of the 42nd Annual Washington Conference on the Americas. Andrés earned both his BA and MA from The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. A Native of Cali, Colombia, Andrés is fluent in English and Spanish. Having lived and studied in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, he also has a professional working proficiency in Portuguese.
Ezequiel Vázquez-Ger is the founder and managing director at Innovatics Group LLC, an international advisory firm based in Washington, DC. Originally from Argentina, he has represented a wide range of clients from the United States and Latin America. His experience includes working in areas such as international government and business relations, public relations, political risk analysis and campaign management. His clients range from big media conglomerates, presidential candidates, to human rights defenders. He is the founder of the Center for Investigative Journalism in the Americas, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase public awareness on the issues of corruption and abuse of power, promoting transparency, public integrity and accountability, through the use of investigative journalism. He is a contributor to the newspaper El País, and his opinion columns have been also published by several top media outlets such as the The Hill, Huffington Post, The Miami Herald, Foreign Policy Online, and other news outlets throughout Latin America. Previously, he was an associate director at Otto Reich Associates LLC, a consulting firm headed by former U.S. Ambassador and Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Otto J. Reich; and a Latin American fellow at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.
Marvin Jay Wiley Jr is the Senior Programs Associate in the Washington DC office of the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. He also serves as the Washington, D.C. Chapter Ambassador of the Young Professionals of the Americas. Marvin manages programs that focus on the economic, political, and social ties between Latin America, United States and Asia. His interest in Latin America began while growing up in predominantly Latinx neighborhoods in Reading, Pennsylvania. After studying Japanese abroad in Kanagawa, Japan in high school, he decided to switch gears and study Spanish. After briefly studying abroad in Oviedo, Spain and graduating from Temple University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, Marvin moved to Colombia where he worked as an English teacher for two years in Santiago de Cali. After working abroad, Marvin returned to the United States to teach high school Spanish for two years and later completed an internship with the Colombian National Planning Department in Bogota and AthenaLab, a Chilean think tank based in Santiago while in graduate school. He holds a masters in Latin American Studies with a concentration in Development and Political Economy from the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. An enthusiastic dancer, Marvin attends various Latin dance events across the D.C. Area and appreciates discovering new music while spending time with family and close friends.
Join the Young Professionals of the Americas for an in-person happy hour conversation with Surge's Juliette Chevalier and Jackie Berardo.
Join YPA and the Wharton School of Business’ Sarah Hammer for a rundown on Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), their applications, and their potential for Latin America and the world.
Join us as we host the Argentine entrepreneur to hear about his journey and how he developed a sustainable packaging business around plant-based regenerative technology.
Members of Young Professionals of the Americas (YPA) are primarily international and represent a diverse spectrum of professional sectors, including venture capital and finance, fashion, government, design, consulting, law, and the arts. Membership includes exclusive access to our networking and social events, such as private art fair tours, concerts, and intimate talks with industry leaders around professional development.
YPA currently has active chapters in New York, Miami, and Washington, DC.
Annual Contribution of $100 ($75 tax deductible)
- Complimentary or discounted admission for public and private YPA events and parties
- Opportunities to expand your professional network through interaction with other international rising leaders
- Complimentary admission to select Americas Society’s culture programs
- Complimentary one-year subscription to Americas Quarterly
YPA Silver Member
Annual Contribution of $500 ($320 tax deductible)
Silver members are considered upper-level members of Americas Society (AS) and enjoy benefits of the Cultural Circle and YPA.
YPA Silver Benefits:
- All Standard YPA Member benefits
- Invitations to select YPA Steering Committee events and elite programs from the network
- Access to intimate cocktail receptions, gallery tours, art fairs, and dinners exclusively for upper-level members of the Cultural Circle
- AS/COA member rate admission to all public policy programs in New York, Washington, DC, Miami, and Latin America with high-level industry and government leaders
YPA Artist Member
A limited number of complimentary YPA memberships for both the New York and Miami chapters are given annually to artists and musicians. These members enjoy all of the below mentioned benefits as well as access to Americas Society concerts and gallery openings.
Our YPA Artist membership is competitive. We select applications based on high artistic achievement and our confidence that the candidate will contribute to the cultural life of our organization and YPA’s mission to promote greater appreciation of the Western Hemisphere’s cultural diversity.
As a YPA Artist member, you will have the following benefits:
- All Standard YPA Member benefits
- Access to intimate cocktail receptions, gallery tours, art fairs, and dinners exclusively for members of the Cultural Circle
Interested applicants, please send a CV/portfolio link and cover letter to Cara Caponi at email@example.com. The YPA Artist membership will be subject to renewal after a one-year term.
Apply to our Steering Committee
Annual Contribution varies depending on the chapter.
The YPA Steering Committee comprises the network’s leadership. Selected members represent a variety of sectors and backgrounds, and offer their professional experience to develop fun, entertaining, and enriching programs. They also enjoy additional, elite benefits.
Steering Committee Benefits:
- All Standard and Silver YPA Member benefits
- Invitation to Steering Committee-only dinners and social gatherings
- Priority access and complimentary admission for all public and private YPA events and parties
- Invitations to select AS/COA VIP galas, receptions, and award dinners
- Access to select AS/COA leadership events exclusive to COA corporate members
- Invitations to intimate cocktail receptions, gallery tours, art fairs, and dinners exclusively for upper-level members of the Cultural Circle
- Opportunity to give introductions at/cohost YPA events and represent the network at specific occasions
- Opportunity to develop YPA programs alongside the YPA internal committee
SC members enjoyed access to private high-level AS/COA programs, including:
- A talk with Pacific Alliance presidents, featuring Michelle Bachelet, Juan Manuel Santos, Eduardo Ferreyros, and Luis Videgaray Caso
- UNGA week events with Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís, Ecuadoran President Lenín Moreno, and Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela
- Americas Society Spring Party honoring President of Bridas Corporation Alejandro P. Bulgheroni and Chief Executive Officer of Brookfield Asset Management Bruce Flatt
- The Americas Society Cultural Achievement Award honoring Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel
- Opera Favorites with the Instituto Superior de Arte del Teatro Colón
- A dinner with former Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Jorge Castañeda,
- Off-the-record lunch with exiled Venezuelan mayor David Smolansky
- Private meeting with Humberto de la Calle, chief peace negotiator and presidential candidate in Colombia
Learn more about the application process here.
*YPA memberships are individual and non-transferable. Memberships run for a 12-month period from the time of joining.
1. Continual branding and media exposure
- Company’s name and/or logo included in all promotional material related to the event (if permitted). This includes:
- Electronic invitations
- AS/COA’s webpage promoting the event (logo hyperlinked to company’s website)
- Folders distributed at the event (if available)
- Speaker badges (if applicable)
- Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn posts promoting the sponsored event (YPA's landing page is one of the most visited pages on AS/COA's website)
- Sponsor will be acknowledged in the introductory remarks of all events
- Sponsor will have the opportunity to include a piece of promotional material or a small banner at all events
2. Special registration rates and access
- Opportunity to host YPA event(s) at sponsors’ offices, if applicable
- Unlimited YPA Silver Membership benefits for all company’s employees
Want to sponsor YPA? Contact Cara Caponi at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and rates.