Meet the Team

Manuel Michel | Executive Director

Manuel Michel comes to 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. Most recently, 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. Other professional experience includes working as a field inspector and commerce development analyst for the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, and as a produce consultant and food safety auditor for Davis Fresh Technologies.
 
Manuel attended Oregon State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in agricultural business management, a Bachelor of Arts in international studies in agriculture, and a minor in crop science. 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 two year old daughter. They enjoy outdoor activities and spending time with family and friends.

Minerva Piller | Operations Manager

Minerva joined the NMB in 2014 as the Operations Manager. She is responsible for assisting the Executive Director in planning, managing financial, operational, and administrative functions, including accounting, budgeting, risk management, human resources, and other services on behalf of the Executive Director, Board Members, Advisors and staff. Minerva has many years of experience with accounting operations, human resources, customer service, and banking. Prior to joining the NMB, she was Director of Customer Support Operations for 13 years at InCharge Institute in Orlando, Florida. Minerva also spent 6 years as an Accounting Manager at a Real Estate appraising firm; Pardue, Heid, Church, Smith & Waller. Minerva was previously in New York, where she gave 17 years of service to Bankers Trust Company. Minerva enjoys challenges that bring resolution and implementation of strategies for continuous improvements.
 
She loves her grandchildren - 2 long haired Chihuahuas and a cat. She is a humanitarian who enjoys people, vacations by the beach, swimming, music, dancing and spending time with family and friends.

Damaris Gonzalez | Accountant

Damaris joined the NMB in October 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. She graduated Cum Laude from the University of Puerto Rico and obtained her Masters of Science 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.

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 manage trade shows and website communications. Rachel joins us 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 attended University of Texas-PanAmerican, where she received a Bachelor’s of Business Administration. She was born in Miami, FL and at a young age moved with her family to her father’s native country, Ecuador. There she spent 10 years, where her love for mangos developed, before moving back to the U.S. 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.

Jennifer Grullón | Marketing Manager

Jennifer joined the NMB in 2014 as the Marketing Manager. Jennifer is responsible for coordinating marketing and public relations programs, tradeshow outreach, website, and social media communications. Jennifer has over 11 years of experience in marketing communications and event management in the startup, information technology and engineering industries.
 
With a love of education Jennifer has received a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Central Florida and a Master’s of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University. Jennifer enjoys traveling, spending quality time with her family and is an avid movie, music and book fanatic.

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, post-harvest, nutrition and consumer research programs. Leonardo is an agronomist with a Master of Science in animal production and a Doctorate Degree in agricultural economics; he spent more than 15 years at the university level in Venezuela teaching and conducting research and extension programs.

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. She has assisted 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 volunteers in her community and was the 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 early 2014, Kristine was promoted to Director of Industry Relations primarily due to her management of industry communications. Kristine continues to guide 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 graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in Interpersonal/Organizational Communications with a strong focus in marketing. Kristine’s experience in marketing consists of helping organizations communicate their messages out clearly, concisely and accurately to their targeted audience. Before joining 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’s Communications and Neighborhood Relations Department. While interning with the City of Orlando, Kristine was responsible for writing the ‘City News’ weekly e-newsletter, press releases, and the planning and execution of city events. Kristine enjoys outdoor activities and reading. She is also an active UCF alumnus, contributing as a panelist in professional workshops for undergrads.

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 Newsletter and the 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 graduated from Stetson University with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business and Management and is currently enrolled at Nova Southeastern University earning her Masters’ of Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. 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 Assistant

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 had the opportunity to intern at the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund (HBIF) where she worked in marketing and communications. She joins the NMB team again as the Industry Relations Assistant where she will be responsible for organizing and coordinating special events on behalf of the Industry Relations Department as well as working with data from outreach meetings, and industry members conference calls attendance records.
 
She graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing. On her spare time she enjoys running outdoors, playing tennis, and crafting.

 

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