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.


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.



Juan Carlos Hernandez , Chief Credit Officer

Juan Carlos Hernandez joined Accion in September 2014 as the Chief Credit Officer and is responsible for lending staff supervision and training, program development, underwriting, loan portfolio quality and management, loss mitigation and recovery, development of bank and community partner relationships, and community outreach. Hernandez received a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, with an emphasis in Work Force Studies from University of Illinois at Chicago. He is originally from Mexico City; moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1977 and then to San Diego in July 2012. Hernandez has over 25 years of experience in banking, including consumer and business lending. Previously, he was employed at US Bank in San Diego. In Chicago, he worked for Metropolitan Bank Group, La Salle Bank & Trust and The First National Bank of Chicago. Mr. Hernandez worked as a business analyst for the Small Business Development Center (SBCD) in Chicago. He has been featured in various newspaper articles in Chicago and The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Hernandez serves on the Board of Directors for The San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.


Valery Belloso, Chief Strategy Officer

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 March 2018

Suzanne Anderson, Director of Marketing & Communications
Monica Battah, Accountant
Dominic Bendinelli, Loan Support Specialist
Ericka Cordero, Office Administrator
Linda Dao, Junior Accountant
Rosalinda Delgado, Lead Business Development Officer
Ruben Flores, Business Development Officer
Nicole Jansma, Director of Grants & Impact
Etla Moreno, Portfolio Service Manager
Francisca Orellana Polanka, Jr. Loan Underwriter
Alma Palencia, Business Development Associate
Maria Partida, Client Experience Manager
Isaac Ramirez, Business Development Officer
Danea Ramos, Business Development Associate
Elizabeth Rodriguez , Loan Processor
Christine Sanchez, Business Development Officer
Samer Shaba, Director of Portfolio Quality
Larisa Vega, Business Development Officer
John Veneklasen, Loan Underwriter
Erin Vuong, Loan Underwriter
Angela Zappia, Development & Communications Associate