Skip To Main Content


Jerry Cabrera, President & CEO


Jerry, a native of Yuma and a resident of Somerton, brings a distinguished background to his role. He served as the City Manager for the City of Somerton from 2019 to 2022, and his educational credentials include a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from NAU-Yuma and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Phoenix. Before assuming the responsibilities of City Manager, Mr. Cabrera held positions of employment at the Regional Center for Border Health and the Somerton Elementary School, where he ascended through the ranks to Assistant Superintendent.

Jerry's active involvement extends beyond his professional positions, as he has been an engaged participant in numerous Yuma County boards and committees. His contributions have been notable in organizations such as the Yuma Community Foundation, Yuma County Food Bank, Somerton Rotary, Yuma HOME Consortium, Yuma County Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority, and various other committees dedicated to community development. Additionally, Mr. Cabrera maintains a portfolio of certifications, including but not limited to his Elementary School Certification, Mediation Certification, MBTI Trainer Certification, and Student Hearing Officer accreditation, which further exemplify his commitment to enhancing the educational and civic landscape of Yuma.


Nazzer O. Mendez, Program Coordinator


Nazzer was born in Caborca, Sonora, Mexico. He earned a bachelor’s degree in international business at Sonora State University – Hermosillo Campus and an associate degree in marketing at Phoenix College. He has developed a professional career in the public and private sectors in the so-called Arizona-Sonora megaregion. He has solid experience in international business, consular services, economic development programs, cultural and educational promotion, community affairs, radio, conferences, and digital platforms, among others.

Nazzer has previously provided his professional services in the following institutions: 4FrontED based in Yuma, AZ; Consulate General of Mexico in Nogales, AZ; Consulate General of Mexico in Phoenix, AZ; Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL; Phoenix College in Phoenix, AZ; and Grupo Socoada in Puerto Peñasco, MX.

Nazzer was appointed Program Coordinator of Elevate Southwest in March 2023. He is responsible for developing regional partnerships with the K-12, higher education, and employers in collaboration with the leadership of the high-technology industry in the Yuma area. Create synergies with education leaders from Yuma County, AZ; Imperial County, CA; San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora; and Mexicali, B.C. Implement a strategic social media plan, among other duties.


Melina Conroy, Program Coordinator / Marketing & Community Affairs



Melina, a Yuma native and San Luis High School graduate, holds a master's degree in International Hotel and Tourism Management from Vatel France and a B.S. in Tourism Development and Management with a Certificate in Convention Sales and Meeting Planning from Arizona State University. She has a rich and diverse professional background in the tourism and hospitality industry.

As a Social Media Manager at Pa’l Mundo Designs, LLC, she works with small businesses to boost their brand awareness through strategic social media use, creating content strategies that align with the company’s brand and fostering a strong online community. During her MBA internship at Promotora Neptuno in Bogota, Colombia, she focused on incoming tours, marketing, and sales, and developed itineraries emphasizing community-based tourism and sustainability in Colombia. At Visit Phoenix, as a Tourism Coordinator, she facilitated the organization and execution of trade shows, sales missions, and other events, ensuring effective communication with members and clients and supporting destination marketing initiatives.

Melina is deeply committed to education, culture, travel, and sustainability. She utilizes her strategic and creative skills to foster positive development and progress within her local community.


Vanessa Farfan, Executive Assistant


Vanessa earned an associate´s degree in Arts and another associate´s degree in Business at Arizona Western College. Her professional experience includes the following:

Office Assistant, E & M Farms / Administrative Assistant (May 2017 - June 2023):

Provided administrative support to staff members, including copying and scanning documents, filing paperwork, ordering supplies, organized office operations and procedures, such as managing calendars, scheduling appointments, preparing reports and maintaining records, organized files, developed spreadsheets, faxed reports and scanned documents to improve organizational workflow, collected payments, issued receipts and updated accounts to reflect new balances among others.

The White Sheet / Account Executive (Dec. 2021 - May 2022):

Account managing, money handling, sales representative, marketing, developed and implemented a comprehensive sales plan to increase revenue in assigned territory, cultivated relationships with key decision makers through regular client visits and follow-up calls, negotiated contracts with clients to ensure profitable outcomes for the company, among others.