Meet Our Staff

Leadership Team

Elizabeth Schott, CEO

In 2004, Ms. Schott joined Accion, a nonprofit microlending organization based in San Diego, serving Southern CA’s small businesses with educational resources and access to capital ranging from $300 to $75,000. As CEO is currently responsible for overall strategic developmental and operational areas of the organization, in addition to board development, human resources, and fundraising. She brings over 15 years of project and organizational development, strategic marketing and public relations experience to the organization. When she first joined the Accion team, she worked as Marketing Coordinator and Director of Operations until taking leadership in early 2008. Prior to Accion, Ms. Schott worked with various public relations, marketing and event firms where she managed client portfolios, project development and communication efforts for primarily small businesses and non-profit organizations.


Since working with Accion, she has participated in the small business organizations and committees including service in Net Impact, the SD Chamber Small Business Advocacy Committee, SD Foundation Center for Civic Engagement Advisory Council and the CA Association for Microenterprise Opportunity (CAMEO) Board of Directors where she was most recently Chair. She is currently involved in the SD Microfinance Alliance as a founding member, as well as the Torrey Pines Bank Community Reinvestment Board, the Comerica Community Advisory Board, and the Accion U.S. Network Board. Schott received her B.A. in Communications with a Minor in Spanish from the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC. She is a graduate of the 2012 Fieldstone Foundation’s Executive Learning Group Leadership Training Program and the 2014 Coaching Program. In 2016, Schott was recognized for her work with the SBA Financial Services Champion of the Year award and she is a previous recipient of the San Diego Metro’s 40 under 40 Award in 2014 and the 2012 3rd place SD Advance Fast Pitch Competition by Social Venture Partners.

Robert Lopez, Chief Credit & Operating Officer

Mr. Lopez re-joined Accion in July of 2018 after previously working for the organization from 2008 to 2014 and is responsible for lending staff supervision and training, program development, underwriting, loan portfolio quality, compliance management, loss mitigation and recovery, and operational efficiency. Lopez received a B.A. in Urban Studies, with an emphasis in Public Administration from San Diego State University and has a Masters of Public Administration Program from SDSU.  He has 14 years’ experience in small business banking and lending and is bilingual in English and Spanish.  Prior employment includes work with VEDC as their Chief Operating Officer, Dealstruck as their Servicing Director where he oversaw client services and portfolio risk management, Union Bank of California, California Coast Credit Union, Coast Central Credit Union, & Fannie Mae. Lopez was awarded the 2013 Community Service SBA Award.

Javier Islas, Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Islas, CPA, is responsible for all finance and accounting functions of the organization and joined Accion in January 2010. He has over 30 years of experience in accounting, finance and auditing. His audit background specifically includes federal financial management requirements having participated in audits of the federal Departments of Labor and Energy. His accounting background includes for-profit and non-profit government contract organizations. He is a Chartered Global Management Accountant. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from San Diego State University and is bilingual in English and Spanish. He was a San Diego Business Journal 2014 CFO of the Year Finalist.



Valery Belloso, Director of Strategic Initiatives

Valery Belloso is the Chief  Strategy Officer at Accion. Ms. Belloso has worked at Accion since January 2006 in various capacities and joined the management team in 2015. In her current role, she is instrumental in leading the organization’s business development strategy, managing key partnerships, overseeing strategic organizational projects and ensuring programmatic goals are being met effectively. Ms. Belloso was named the Financial Services Champion of the Year by the SBA in 2013 and holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of San Diego and a Masters in Spanish Language and Literature from San Diego State University.



Staff Team


Accion Staff (as of March 2020)

Monica Battah, Accountant
Melba Baquero, Business Development Officer
Elise Baker, Development & Impact Officer
Suzanne Carlson, Director of Marketing & Communications
Linda Dao, Junior Accountant
Rosalinda Delgado, Business Development Manager
Jessica Escobar, Loan Processor
Gabriela Flores, Loan Processor
Cathy Galvan, Loan Support Associate
Shadiya Hagisufi, Underwriter Manager
Sandra Molina, Controller
Etla Moreno, Quality Assurance and Servicing Director
Lizeth Ochoa, Office Administrator
Carolina Ortega, Marketing and Design Associate
Joyce Parra, Business Development Officer
Maria Partida, Client Experience Manager
Christine Sanchez, Business Development Officer
Samer Shaba, Director of Portfolio Quality
Juliet Terramin, Business Development Officer
Larisa Vega, Business Development Officer
John Veneklasen, Loan Underwriter
Angela Zappia, Director of Grants & Impact