NCLR Strengthens its Senior Leadership at a Critical Time

Sonia M. Pérez, Delia de la Vara and Zandra Zuno Baermann expand strategic leadership team as the largest national Hispanic civil rights organization approaches its 50th anniversary

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, NCLR (National Council of La Raza) announced recent changes that the organization has made to strengthen its senior leadership team. Sonia M. Pérez assumed the role as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer, Delia de la Vara will take on a new role as Senior Vice President of Development and Strategic Initiatives and Zandra Zuno Baermann has joined NCLR as Senior Vice President, Communications and Marketing.

“Sonia’s extensive background in nonprofit management will help advance NCLR’s strategic direction and capacity to better serve our community and our nation,” said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía. “Delia’s expertise in nonprofit capacity building and partnership development, in combination with Zandra’s depth in marketing and brand management, will allow NCLR to expand our efforts to elevate the voice of Latinos and fight for equal opportunities for all Americans during this critical moment in time.”

This strengthened leadership team builds on recent organizational changes, including the appointment of Pérez as the first Chief Operating Officer. Her more than 25-year-long career at NCLR has been forged with roles in policy, programs and Affiliate Member Services in Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and New York. Pérez also has experience in the private sector and holds a master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Her bachelor’s degree from Brown University is in English and American literature.

“For more than 25 years, I have collaborated with colleagues at NCLR and community organizations to increase opportunities for Latinos and assert a Latino perspective on important issues facing our families. In my new role, I look forward to strengthening NCLR to continue our vital work,” Pérez said.

In her new position as Senior Vice President of Development and Strategic Initiatives, de la Vara will oversee NCLR’s fundraising activities, including management and growth of general support, individual giving and corporate partnerships. She will also lead activity related to NCLR’s 50th anniversary and assessment of the organization’s role in entertainment and media. Over the past 18 years, de la Vara has held various roles at NCLR focused on partnership development, fundraising, community outreach and event production. She holds a bachelor’s degree in regional development and Latin American studies from the University of Arizona.

“I am delighted to take on this new challenge at NCLR, working to more deeply engage our many friends, partners and allies in supporting NCLR and our community at this critical time,” de la Vara said.

As Senior Vice President of Communications and Marketing, Baermann will be responsible for the organization’s overall communications, marketing and branding strategies. She comes to NCLR from Golin, a leading global marketing communications firm, where she was executive director for multicultural marketing. She is a passionate supporter of civic and community issues, volunteering with several organizations. In 2010, PRWeek magazine named Zandra to its “40 Under 40” list. She holds a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Loyola University Chicago.

“This role is an exciting opportunity to renew NCLR’s marketing and communications efforts in a new era. I look forward to telling the stories that accurately reflect Latino contribution, accomplishment and vitality,” Baermann said.

These leaders reflect the diversity of the U.S. Latino community, hailing from New York, and Phoenix, and Chicago.

Baermann will be based in NCLR’s Washington, D.C. headquarters; de la Vara will work from both the Washington, D.C. headquarters and the organization’s California regional office in Los Angeles; and Pérez is based in NCLR’s New York office.

Founded in 1968, NCLR is the largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the country. For more information on NCLR, please visit or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.