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Change is in the air... Goodbye Brien...Welcome Octavio


This July, we bid safe-travels to our outgoing Executive Director Brien Ashdown, who is taking up a Associate Professor of Psychology role at the American University of Sharjah in the UAE. Brien has inspired so many to get involved with EFTC’s work and has been instrumental in hundreds of US based students pursuing volunteer internships at the foundation. We are delighted that Brien will remain as the President of our US Board of Trustees and we hope will inspire his new school to become EFTC patrons!

As Brien leaves us, we are delighted to welcome our new Executive Director, Octavio A. Hinojosa Mier. Octavio brings with him over sixteen years of nonprofit strategic leadership and organizational development experience. His passion for education and sustainable development in Latin America is directly derived from years of study, travel, and work throughout the region.

Octavio is excited to begin working with EFTC at the start of August and traveling to Guatemala as soon as possible to meet the team. His priority is to become immersed in the foundation's work to enable him to grow the number of US-based organizations that provide grants and fundraise on our behalf.

Octavio graduated with a Master in Public Administration (M.P.A) from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He is the Founding Executive Director of the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI), a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC. which promotes education and leadership opportunities for first-generation Hispanic and Portuguese Americans.

Octavio also gained extensive public policy experience through his time with the U.S. Department of State and the United States Congress. In April of 2013, he was decorated with the Officer's Cross of the Order of Civil Merit by the Spanish Ambassador to the United States for "extraordinary services" in benefit of the Kingdom of Spain.

Octavio was brought up in Kansas, the eldest son of Mexican immigrants, and knows first-hand the transformative value of a quality education. He currently lives in the Austin, Texas, area with his wife and three children. He is looking forward to working with both EFTC staff and donors to ensure that young people from Jocotenango can access quality education and employment opportunities.