Community Advisory Board
Bishop Angelo Rosario
Bishop Nancy Rosario
Rana Amirtahmasebi the founding principal of Eparque, is an economic development and urban planning strategist and architect who is helping make impactful and transformative changes in communities around the world. With nearly two decades of experience designing and implementing strategies for neighborhood development and urban revitalization, Rana launched Eparque Urban Strategies in 2016. She has since grown her company into one of the leading women-owned firms focused on economic development and urban planning. Some of her projects focused on the intersection of planning and public health by mapping communicable disease and water quality and solid waste management.
With direct experience supporting cities after devastating wars and natural disasters and in this particular time coping with COVID-19, Rana’s skills and insights are needed now more than ever. A multi-lingual speaker and practitioner, Rana serves as a translator, convener, storyteller, and facilitator.
As a trained architect and city planner, she’s just as comfortable working with economists as she is developers or designers. She has worked in different regions of the world and has led and facilitated technical meetings, workshops, and charrettes attended by high-level local and national level officials and industry executives. Rana is experienced in policy analysis and program design and implementation in projects focused on urban planning, service delivery, economic development, urban resilience, settlement upgrading, and land governance frameworks. She holds advanced degrees in both City Planning and Urbanism Studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated with a master’s degree in architectural engineering from Azad University in her hometown of Tehran, Iran.
Claire Iwatsu is a specialist in marketing to diverse populations. She has published articles for the American Marketing Association, a 58,000 member organization, and spoken on ethnic diversity in New York and New Jersey.
Her clients include Fortune 500 companies in New York that produce an array of products and services with a focus on cross-cultural marketing.
Her continuing interest in diversity marketing has afforded her the opportunity to serve the State of New Jersey Governor's Commission on Minorities and Woman-owned Businesses through various programs focused on teaching minority business owners the principles of strategic planning and tactics relating to sound marketing principles.
Ms. Iwatsu has served organizations such as the Asian-American Federation of New York and was elected Chair of the NJ Asian-American Association for Human Services.
Antonio Ibarria, Sr.
Born on the island of Cuba, Antonio Ibarria arrived in the United States in 1955 with no possessions except fierce ambition along with relentless drive.
In 1961 he was elected president of the Cuban Club and created the "Information Center for Immigrants" shortly after, he became the personal advisor to the then mayor of Elizabeth, Tom Dunn, also Executive Bishop of the Chamber of Commerce, director of the Boy Scouts of America, president of the Federation of Hispanic Merchants and M I work ethic from many other business and humanitarian institutions.
In the early 1980s, Antonio Ibarria published "El Especial" a weekly Hispanic entertainment newspaper that became an immediate hit in the tri-state area of New York and later in Miami.
In 1987 and 1988 Mr. Ibarria launched the largest Hispanic free event in the history of Union City New Jersey. "The Bergenline Carnival", a business and folk festival that attracted more than half a million spectators.
Mr. Ibarria had first cared and then pledged to fight the lack of basic information and resources available to Hispanics arriving in the country, and out of his own motivation to help these families, he founded Save Latin America, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free access to education, health and other opportunities to improve the well-being of immigrant families from all Latin American countries, with special emphasis on the needs of children.
Save Latin America now operates nine programs and provides thirty-five associated services to low-income Hispanic families and has helped over 202,189 underserved individuals.
More than 137,000 students, grades 3 through 12, across New Jersey, as well as the five boroughs of New York City have benefited from the "Reaching Our Dreams “educational program and more than 8,500 parents have become more involved in their children's education by participating in this program. More than 1,725 Students have received Essay Awards for essays reflecting on the impact the program has had on their lives and what they need to do to “Reach Their Dream”.
In addition, Save Latin America offers free of charge to public medical information and health services. More than 156,000 men, women and children have received free health screenings for vision, breast, prostate, colorectal, blood pressure, ultrasound, Pap smear, diabetes, cholesterol, H.I.V., asthma and dental among other free health services.
In 1998 Mr. Ibarria achieved one of his greatest ambitions: the creation of a newspaper of Spanish-language newspapers. On November 16, 1998, HOY, the newspaper hit the streets of New York and New Jersey. This company was in partnership with times mirror and Newsday Newspapers. From hiring his staff to printing and distribution, Mr. Ibarria managed the entire operation and TODAY was an immediate success.
Finally, a year later, in 1999, he sold his interest in that newspaper to Newsday. Separately, being aware of the need for a geo-targeted publication that would focus on the denser Hispanic neighborhoods of New York, New Jersey, and Miami, with a specific focus on local area news and service to those local retailers, Mr. Ibarria launched "EL ESPECIALITO" as a weekly newspaper.
Distributing 320,000 copies each Friday, El Especialito reaches more than 1.3 million Hispanic readers in Hudson, Passaic, Essex, Union, Middlesex, and Bergen County in New Jersey; as well as Washington Heights, Jackson Heights, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Spanish Harlem, Lower East Side and El West Side in New York.
Mr. Ibarria then launched "Personalidades" another local community newspaper dedicated to promoting personalities who represent role models in local communities to penetrate and inform ever-growing Hispanic communities.
Mr. Ibarria also played a critical role in the creation of Pan American Bank, the first Hispanic bank in Hudson County, New Jersey; at the time when only 1% of the bank's employees were of Hispanic origin. The new bank opened up new job opportunities for Hudson County's Hispanic population and today 85% of the bank's employees are Hispanic.
Through many years of arduous work, sacrifice and perseverance, Mr. Antonio Ibarria is an editor who has received hundreds of accolades for his merits as a businessperson as well as a humanitarian for his dedication to the Hispanic community.
Among the most important recognitions is the naming of 38th Street in Union City as "Antonio Ibarria Way".