For 15+ years, Mariela has catalyzed strategies that cultivate local economies and resilient food systems. As the principal of Orikaika Ventures, Mariela serves as an advisor, partner, and advocate for the development of new models of investment and economic opportunity that center and uplift BIPOC entrepreneurs, farmers, and community-based organizations. Prior to launching Orikaika, Mariela was the Interim Executive Director of Mandela Partners – an Oakland based non-profit organization that works to increase access to healthy food, good jobs, and ownership opportunities. In a decade at Mandela Partners, Mariela seeded and grew community-based economic development ventures, entrepreneurship programming, and access to non-extractive and relationship driven capital.
Mariela has spent her career advocating for equitable opportunity, redistribution of resources, and community-centered development. She holds a wide breadth of on the ground experience in community economic development, small business advising, non-extractive capital, financial planning, non-profit management, and much more.
Mariela holds B.A. degrees in Economics and International Relations from the University of California, Davis, and an M.A. in Latin American Development from Vanderbilt University. She is the co-chair of the Equitable Food Oriented Development Collaborative’s Community Investment Committee, on the Olamina Fund Community Advisory Committee, on the California Farmlink Board of Directors, and part of the Firebrand Stewardship Trust. Mariela is also a former Common Future fellow, NALCAB Colegio alumni, and Kiva fellow.
Mariela joined the Farmlink board because she believes that we all have a responsibility to support, uplift, and invest in the BIPOC growers and land stewards that sustain us.