Education

Young Entrepreneurs Academy Welcomes Melinda Sánchez Donio as New Program Manager

Melinda Sánchez Donio is the new Westfield YEA! program manager for the 2017-18 academic year. Credits: Great Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce

GREATER WESTFIELD AREA, NJ -- The Westfield Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) welcomes Melinda Sánchez Donio as the new program manager for the 2017-18 academic year.

YEA! is a year-long program in which students in grades 6-12 generate business ideas, conduct market research, write business plans, pitch to a panel of investors, and launch their very own companies. The Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce (GWACC), which includes Fanwood, has sponsored the local program since 2013. Student applications are now being accepted for 2017-18.

“I am excited to have Melinda on board as our Program Manager for the 2017-18 YEA! school year," Mario Cesario, former co-program manager said. "Her experience and expertise will be a great asset to the Young Entrepreneurs Academy and our community. With Melinda leading the pack, this will be our best year yet."

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Donio is an alumna of the University of Pennsylvania, earning a BA in Urban & Environmental Studies in 2002 and a Masters in City Planning in 2003. She has been actively involved in community development and ministry in the Greater Philadelphia Region for more than 20 years.

“I am thrilled to be appointed as the YEA! Program Manager. My experience in working with youth and my passion for entrepreneurship makes this position the perfect fit for me. I am excited to work with our staff and volunteers to see this year's cohort turn into CEOs of their own businesses," Donio said.

In 2015, Donio was appointed by the White House to serve as Special Assistant to the Regional Administrator (RA) for the U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) Mid-Atlantic Region. Prior to joining GSA, she served as a National Programs Director and Training Coordinator for Esperanza, Inc., one of the largest Hispanic Faith-Based Evangelical networks in the U.S.

A strong proponent for her hometown of Camden, Donio served a 5-year term as Commissioner for the Camden Redevelopment Agency and a 2-year term as member of the Board of Trustees for LEAP Academy Charter School. Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Cramer Hill Community Development Corporation and serves on the Salvation Army Kroc Center – South Jersey Advisory Board.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) was founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation. Today, YEA! serves thousands of students in 168 communities across America. This groundbreaking program transforms local middle and high school students into real, confident entrepreneurs. For more information about Wesfield YEA!, click here or email programmgr@yeawestfield.org.

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