Name: Emiliano Lerda
Job Title and Organization: Vice President, Paul G. Smith Associates (PGSA)
Where you went to college and area of study: UNI – Communications Studies, Drake – JD, University of Arkansas – LL.M. in Food and Agricultural Law
Other roles or community involvement: Board members at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Douglas County Visitor Promotion Council, Omaha Community Foundation – Futuro Latino Fund.
Hobbies: Running, hiking, and spending time with my family.
What do you see as a strength of the organization? Or what do you admire about the organization?
I admire the AmeriCorps coaches at College Possible. I think that AmeriCorps coaches are the greatest strength of the organization. Their energy and enthusiasm is contagious. And they make a huge difference in so many students’ lives and educational experience.
Name one or two influential “coaches” or people who supported you on your path to a college degree. How did they impact your life or why was their encouragement meaningful?
Roland Carrillo was a highly influential coach and mentor in my life. He believed in me and my potential to make a difference. His generosity was the impetus for my strong desire to pay-it-forward by getting involved and helping make a difference in our community.
What have you learned about the organization, higher education or the community since being on the board?
Every single year I am reminded of how the AmeriCorps coaches make such a deep and meaningful difference in the life trajectory of so many students. The ripple effects of the work that College Possible does in our community is so vast and hard to fully comprehend and appreciate.
Why do you serve with College Possible? How do your values align with the organization?
I am honored to serve an organization that helps people from all walks of life reach their full potential.”
Just like so many people believed in me throughout my life, College Possible believes in every student that goes through our program.