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Meet the Team
Manuel Michel | Executive Director
Manuel Michel joined the NMB in 2014 as the Executive Director where he is responsible for developing and overseeing strategic goals, plans, and program initiatives that promote higher awareness and consumption of mangos in the U.S. Manuel joins the NMB with extensive background and experience in agriculture and issues that affect the industry including crop production, management, business development, marketing, food safety and government relations. Manuel provided regulatory oversight to several federal government commodity programs as a marketing order specialist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Marketing Order and Agreement Division. Prior to that, he managed quality assurance and food safety programs for L&J Farms and Jackpot in the Salinas Valley of California. Manuel was also a managing associate attorney with the Whittenburg Law Firm in Texas. He has been a member of the Texas State Bar since 2008.
Manuel received a bachelor’s in agricultural business management, a bachelor’s in international studies in agriculture, and a minor in crop science from Oregon State University. He also earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Texas Tech University School of Law. Throughout his career, Manuel has received several awards and recognitions. His strong work ethic, integrity, and passion for agriculture have earned him the respect and confidence of the people and industries he has worked with. Manuel and his wife have a beautiful three year old daughter. They enjoy outdoor activities and spending time with family and friends.
Amy Mercado | Director of Operations
Amy joined the NMB in 2005 as a consultant and in 2006 became the Administrative Coordinator; she was then promoted to the Director of Operations in 2012. Amy has been pivotal in the development and growth of the NMB and is responsible for ensuring all organizational effectiveness by providing leadership for the board's compliance needs, financial functions; and developing, implementing and improving organizational strategies in collaboration with the executive director, staff, and Board Members. Amy received a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a specialization in management from American Intercontinental University. She is currently pursuing an executive master’s degree in business administration at Strayer University.
Amy is a wife, mother, and business executive, who enjoys reading and practicing martial arts with her family. She is a resident of Central Florida and has been actively engaged in her community for over 20 years.
Damaris Gonzalez | Accountant
Damaris joined the NMB in 2013 as the Accountant where she is responsible for managing and providing guidance in relations to all the financials and accounting controls. Prior to the NMB, Damaris was an Accountant at Liberty Investment Property where she handled the financial reporting for 12 hotels, as well as the parent company’s financials. She also spent 11 years at InCharge Institute where she held the title of Corporate Accounting Manager. Damaris received a bachelor’s in business from the University of Puerto Rico where she graduated Cum Laude. She also received her master’s degree in accounting/controllership from Strayer University.
Damaris came to Orlando, Florida from Puerto Rico in 1998; she likes music, dancing, and eating typical native dishes. She also enjoys reading, and believe it or not, bowling. She is also currently involved as the treasurer at one of the ministries of her church.
Anna Deschamps-Polonia | Executive Assistant
Anna joined the NMB in 2013 as the Executive Assistant where she is responsible for providing support to the Board, Committees, Executive Director and Accountant on several tasks such as nominations, clerical, event accommodations, and accounts payables. She was in the financial industry for 25 years and had started her career on Wall Street in New York City in the Capital Markets division for major international banking institutions such as First Chicago Intl, Natwest Capital Markets and Deutsche Securities. She then moved to Miami, FL and worked as Securities Operations Banking Officer for Coutts USA and Bank Hapoalim B.M.
In her spare time, Anna enjoys listening and dancing to music with over 15,000 songs on her iTunes. She also enjoys reading and watching movies.
Rachel Muñoz | Director of Marketing
Rachel joined the NMB in 2014 as the Director of Marketing where she is responsible for overseeing marketing and public relations efforts for consumer, nutrition, retail, and foodservice programs, as well as manages trade shows and website communications. Rachel joins the NMB from the Home Shopping Network team where she selected a range of products and developed their on-air presentations. She also managed over 20 brand assortments and marketing plans, ensuring success through television and digital sales. Prior to that, she managed the growth of several top electronic vendors and brands through all major delivery channels for Best Buy Corporate.
Rachel received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas-PanAmerican. In her spare time, Rachel volunteers with Sally’s House Foster Care, enjoys visiting friends and family in St. Petersburg, FL and is a music and concerts enthusiast.
Jami Kinney | Marketing Specialist
Jami joined the NMB in 2013 as the Marketing Intern and later became the Marketing Specialist in 2015. She is responsible for overseeing NMB’s social media outlets and website communications. In addition, she plans and coordinates marketing and public relations programs, including trade shows. Jami joins the NMB with extensive experience in event marketing and management.
Jami received a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Central Florida in the spring of 2014. Prior to the NMB, she honed her experience in event management as the Regional Operations Coordinator at StubHub. In her spare time, she enjoys baking and spending time with her family, friends and new puppy.
Melony Marcella | Marketing Assistant
Melony joined the NMB in 2013 as the Operations Assistant where she was responsible for the office accounting, bookkeeping, filing systems, clerical duties, and the care of the NMB office. She has then transitioned into the Marketing Assistant position in 2014. Melony aids the Marketing Department in budget keeping, processing the department’s financials, coordinating travel and hotel accommodations, website updates, and administrative support for reports such as Mango Mover, Mango Connection, and the Crop Report.
Melony is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in hospitality and tourism management at Strayer University. In her spare time, Melony loves to cook and bake for her family.
Leonardo Ortega | Director of Research
Leonardo joined the NMB in 2007 as the Research Specialist and in 2008 he was promoted to Director of Research where he coordinates all the research activities of the NMB, including production, postharvest, nutrition and consumer research programs. Leonardo is an agronomist with a master’s in animal production and a doctorate degree in agricultural economics. Prior to the NMB, Leonardo spent more than 15 years at the university level in Venezuela teaching and conducting research and extension programs.
In his spare time, Leonardo enjoys outdoor sport activities such as hiking, soccer, basketball, volleyball and kayaking.
Wanda Ramos | Research Assistant
Wanda joined the NMB in 2009 as an entry level office clerk, supporting the Operations Department and staff for specific projects. In 2012, Wanda transitioned into the Research Department as the Research Assistant where she is responsible with the logistics of projects as well as the processing of reports. Prior to the NMB, Wanda worked in the retail industry as a sale’s professional and customer service clerk.
In her spare time, Wanda enjoys volunteering in her community and spending time with her family. She also enjoyed being a host of a radio show.
Kristine Concepcion | Director of Industry Relations
Kristine joined the NMB in 2012 as Communications Manager where she was responsible for industry and Board communications, including trade media, Mango Connection and Crop Report. In 2014, Kristine was promoted to Director of Industry Relations primarily due to her management of industry communications. Kristine continues to guide and oversee industry communication initiatives and works closely with the mango industry to better support members and understand their needs, as well as help educate about NMB's programs.
Kristine received a bachelor’s degree in communications with a strong focus in marketing from the University of Central Florida. Prior to the NMB, she worked in the nutrition field for 5 ½ years as a consultant, and worked as an Events and Marketing Intern at the City of Orlando where she was responsible for writing the ‘City News’ weekly e-newsletter, press releases, and the planning and execution of city events. In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities and loves watersports such as paddle boarding.
Angela Serna | Communications Manager
Angela joined the NMB in 2014 as the Communications Manager where she is responsible for Public Relations’ communications including trade media, Mango Connection and Crop Report. Prior to the NMB, Angela worked as a marketing intern for a professional camera gear company where she led public relations and sales projects. Angela also worked in retail management and the banking industry for over 8 years.
Angela received a bachelor’s in international business and management from Stetson University and is currently pursuing a master’s in business administration with a concentration in marketing at Nova Southeastern University. Angela has a passion for adventure traveling, loves to spend time with family and friends, and is involved in volunteering at the local county animal shelter.
Carla Sosa | Industry Relations Specialist
Carla joined the NMB in 2013 as the Marketing Intern where she was responsible for creating brand awareness through the increase of followers throughout the different social media sites by sharing valuable mango information. After her internship with the NMB, Carla interned at the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund where she worked in marketing and communications. She rejoined the NMB team in 2014 as the Industry Relations Assistant and was then promoted to Industry Relations Specialist where she is responsible for organizing and coordinating special events on behalf of the Industry Relations Department.
Carla received a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing from the University of Central Florida. In her spare time, she enjoys running outdoors, playing tennis and crafting.