Our Team | Eva's Heroes
 

CO-FOUNDERS

In 2011, Eva was appointed by President Obama to the commission on the National Museum of the American Latino, which will house historical artifacts, images, and personal stories documenting more than 500 years of Latino contributions to the U.S. She has received numerous awards for her philanthropy from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the National Hispanic Leadership Institute, The National Civil Rights Museum, Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, and the Mayor of Los Angeles, among others.

Eva Longoria

In 2011, Eva was appointed by President Obama to the commission on the National Museum of the American Latino, which will house historical artifacts, images, and personal stories documenting more than 500 years of Latino contributions to the U.S. She has received numerous awards for her philanthropy from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the National Hispanic Leadership Institute, The National Civil Rights Museum, Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, and the Mayor of Los Angeles, among others.
  • Eva served as a national cochair for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

    Eva is an active philanthropist. She founded the Eva Longoria Foundation in 2012 to help Latinas build better futures for themselves and their families through education and entrepreneurship. In her own words, “The growing Latina population is an untapped resource in this country. If we give Latinas the tools to unlock their potential, we will see amazing results.” She also cofounded Eva’s Heroes, a San Antonio nonprofit that benefits children with intellectual special needs, and serves as a spokesperson for Padres Contra el Cancer, an organization supporting Latino families who have children with cancer. Additionally, Eva sits on the boards of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) and LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes. She has supported United Farm Workers and the Dolores Huerta Foundation, among other organizations.

    Eva Longoria is an actress best known for her role as Gabriel Solis on the hit show “Desperate Housewives.”  Her film credits include The Truth, Long Time Gone, The Sentinel, and Over Her Dead Body, among others. In addition to acting, Eva has produced the National Council of La Raza’s ALMA awards; Harvest, a documentary about the plight of child farm workers in the US, and Latinos Living the American Dream, a film documenting the contributions of Latinos in America. Eva is also co-owner of Latin Steakhouses Beso Hollywood and Beso Las Vegas, and she recently released her New York Times best-selling cookbook, Eva’s Kitchen, in 2011. In addition to her career, Eva is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Chicano Studies at California State University – Northridge.

In 2006, after noticing a lack of programming available for special needs children, Christiane cofounded Eva's Heroes with actress Eva Longoria. Today, Christiane and the staff of Eva's Heroes strive to provide a fun and enriching environment for individuals to interact, grow, learn, and love. Christiane began her career as a special education teacher in San Antonio’s Northside Independent School District, where she taught for more than 11 years.

Christiane Perkins-Garcia

In 2006, after noticing a lack of programming available for special needs children, Christiane cofounded Eva’s Heroes with actress Eva Longoria. Today, Christiane and the staff of Eva’s Heroes strive to provide a fun and enriching environment for individuals to interact, grow, learn, and love. Christiane began her career as a special education teacher in San Antonio’s Northside Independent School District, where she taught for more than 11 years.
  • She has always believed that every individual deserves the same opportunities in life. Her desire to provide growth and opportunity for others has been a common thread throughout Christiane’s educational and professional careers.

    Christiane graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1994. She earned her Master’s of Education in Special Education from Texas State University (formerly Southwest Texas State University) in 1998. She and her husband, Rene, reside in San Antonio and have two beautiful children, Tiannah and Gavino.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

David Damian worked for nearly a decade in the Latin music industry for clients such as Boyz II Men, Jose Jose, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Arista Latin, MCA Polygram, BMI Latin, and Motown Latino. He later joined the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). There he worked as director of Public Relations

David Damian Figueroa

David Damian worked for nearly a decade in the Latin music industry for clients such as Boyz II Men, Jose Jose, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Arista Latin, MCA Polygram, BMI Latin, and Motown Latino. He later joined the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). There he worked as director of Public Relations & Creative Marketing under the leadership of its president and general counsel, Antonia Hernandez. While at MALDEF, he publicized many of its landmark lawsuits.
  • In 2009, David Damian was invited by Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF’s new president and general counsel, to return to the organization.

    David Damian is the former associate state director of the Los Angeles County Region for AARP California, where he oversaw the implementation of social campaigns, community alliances, volunteer management, membership development, and member value. He has a wealth of experience in working with diverse segments of the population. David Damian helped launch AARP’s Segunda Juventud bilingual magazine as special editor, securing several celebrity covers.

    In 2008, David Damian was appointed by Los Angeles’ Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to serve as commissioner of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. He has served as chair of the Communications Committee for the Office of the Mayor’s Complete Count – Census 2010 campaign for the city of Los Angeles.

    David Damian serves as philanthropic advisor to several influential individuals and specializes in connecting celebrities to nonprofit organizations, like Familia Unida Living with MS, AltaMed Health Servies, The Dolores Huerta Foundation, Farmworker Justice, The Cesar E. Chavez Foundation, and United Farm Workers of America. He is a former board member of Clinica Msr. Oscar A. Romero, Familia Unida Living with M.S., and The Getty House Foundation; he is an advisory board member for the PBS flagship television station KCET; and currently serves as an advisor for Shine Global.

    The Chicano Studies Research Center Library and Archive of UCLA maintains the David Damian Figueroa Collection. These materials document his career as a performer and an entertainment publicist, as well as his work in civil rights and public policy with MALDEF, the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority, and the AARP. The collection, which includes photographs, correspondence, ephemera, books, serials, and audio and visual materials, serves as a resource for researchers interested in Chicano popular culture and Chicano participation in civic service and civil rights organizing.

    David Damian has been lauded by many elected officials and is the recipient of Family Unida’s Living with M.S. Founder’s Award, 2008 President’s Volunteer Service Award, and the Pasadena Playhouse District Association’s Culture, Commerce, and Community Award.

    David Damian, an avid collector of Chicano Art, resides in Pasadena, California, and is active in the community and on a national scope.

Cory Basso has been working in advertising and marketing for more than 25 years.  He has worked on award winning campaigns for Toyota, Capital One, SONY, Heineken and many others both in the U.S. and Worldwide. He has held senior positions at some of the largest advertising agencies in the World, including Young

Cory Basso

Cory Basso has been working in advertising and marketing for more than 25 years. He has worked on award winning campaigns for Toyota, Capital One, SONY, Heineken and many others both in the U.S. and Worldwide. He has held senior positions at some of the largest advertising agencies in the World, including Young & Rubicam, Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi and FCB. He moved to San Antonio from New York 11 years ago and is currently Group Vice President of Marketing and Advertising for H-E-B, one of the largest private retailers in the U.S. 
  • He is responsible for all aspects of H-E-B’s advertising and marketing, including acting as Publisher/Editor of My Texas Life magazine. Cory serves on a number of boards, including St. PJ’s Children’s Home, Spurs Foundation, Alamo Heights School Foundation and also does work for Family Endeavors, San Antonio Children’s Shelter and Mission Road Ministries.

    After getting asked…”Why?” many times by his children over the years…he also decided to write a series of Children’s books to answer the many questions that inquisitive kids have…and do it with a mix of education and entertainment…or “edutainment.”

    Cory is originally from California and attended Pepperdine University.  He currently resides in Terrell Hills, with his wife Dorothy and three highly inquisitive kids Hudson (16), Brandt (14) and Anabelle (8)…the main character featured in his award winning Children’s book “Why? Moon.”

Bennett moved to San Antonio in 1991 to attend the University of Texas San Antonio where he received his Bachelors in Biology. Bennett serves as Senior Vice President for Corporate Development to Mission Pharmacy Company, a privately held pharmaceutical company headquartered in San Antonio Texas. Bennett has served on several non-profit organizations both at the local and national level.

Bennett Kennedy

Bennett moved to San Antonio in 1991 to attend the University of Texas San Antonio where he received his Bachelors in Biology. Bennett serves as Senior Vice President for Corporate Development to Mission Pharmacy Company, a privately held pharmaceutical company headquartered in San Antonio Texas. Bennett has served on several non-profit organizations both at the local and national level.
  • Bennett began working with Eva’s Hero’s as a Board Advisor in 2014 and joined the Board in 2015.  Bennett is an active member of the San Antonio and Boerne community donating his time to his local church and other community centered initiatives such as Leadership San Antonio.  Bennett is married to Vicki and they have two children, Kohl and Kade. 

Adept at combining his people skills with a little charisma, Tomas paved his way with passion and tons of enthusiasm. Exceptionally hard working, he carved his success while teaching at some of San Antonio's toughest schools.  After graduating from UTSA, he began his teaching career at Camelot Elementary. Disappointed with the state test scores, Tomas worked tirelessly to help his students by creating after school tutoring programs.

Tomas Martinez

Adept at combining his people skills with a little charisma, Tomas paved his way with passion and tons of enthusiasm. Exceptionally hard working, he carved his success while teaching at some of San Antonio’s toughest schools.  After graduating from UTSA, he began his teaching career at Camelot Elementary. Disappointed with the state test scores, Tomas worked tirelessly to help his students by creating after school tutoring programs.
  • His hard work paid off when his class had some of the best test scores. Graduate school at A&M university helped shape his passion for helping teachers improve, leading to his consulting work with Forde-Ferrier.  He led countless workshops and conducted many model lessons, improving scores at each school he worked with. His transition into real estate came in 2009.  After joining Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty, Tomas began teaching a different subject with the same passion.  Starting a new luxury real estate publication for the San Antonio area was the next logical step after two years of working one-on-one with buyers and sellers.  As with each job, Tomas saw that San Antonio needed a luxury real estate magazine. As the publisher and owner of Luxury Home Magazine, he is now teaching realtors how to effectively market their luxury listings.  His passion and enthusiasm helps to create trust and lasting relationships. 

    Tomas and his wife also own Spanish Grove Academy, a local Spanish emersion preschool in the Stone Oak area.  They have been married for 16 years and have one child, Enzo.

STAFF

Shawne brings several years of diverse media and nonprofit experience to Eva's Heroes.

Shawne Zakaria

Shawne brings several years of diverse media and nonprofit experience to Eva’s Heroes.
  • She was greatly influenced by her mother, a retired special education teacher. Shawne spent seven years as the regional executive director of a national nonprofit, which experienced double-digit growth for revenue and programs. She received an Associate of Arts in Fine Arts from Kilgore College and a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science, Summa Cum Laude, from Texas State University. Shawne serves on the board of CTRC Council and Prospera. When she’s not at work, she loves traveling internationally, learning new languages, watching Madam Secretary, and spending time with her family.

Throughout her career, she has employed diverse techniques that encourage her students to socialize and work cohesively in small groups.

Jennifer Stevenson

Throughout her career, she has employed diverse techniques that encourage her students to socialize and work cohesively in small groups.
  • From California to Texas, Jennifer has shared her love for young adults with intellectual challenges through the gift of teaching.

    Jennifer graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with a minor in Special Education from California State University Chico in 2004. During her educational career, she also obtained her Multiple Subject Teaching and Education Specialist credentials.

A sixth generation Texan, Lisa has moved around quite a bit, and made her family’s home in San Antonio with her husband Allen of 22 years and her two children, Jacob and Jordan.

Lisa Shelley

A sixth generation Texan, Lisa has moved around quite a bit, and made her family’s home in San Antonio with her husband Allen of 22 years and her two children, Jacob and Jordan.
  • With over 15 years of nonprofit experience, she is no stranger to making an “ask.” Lisa splits her time between fundraising and program support as the Development and Outreach Associate. When she is not at work, you can find Lisa taking on DIY projects like painting, tile work, landscaping – even plumbing if something is broken. She studied at Texas State University.

Hailing from the West Coast, a Golden State native, Elizabeth earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Texas A

Elizabeth Cervantes

Hailing from the West Coast, a Golden State native, Elizabeth earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University.
  • With 5 years of experience in corporate America and superior administrative skills, Elizabeth made the leap to nonprofit and hasn’t looked back. As the executive assistant, she helps manage critical projects and is the best task master―but, always with a smile!

We rely on the invaluable work and dedication
of our teachers, interns and volunteers.

Our Team