Mission Statement

Illuminating the pathway to success, where students dream, discover their strengths, and plan for their future.

YLA Advisory Board

Latino Achievers Advisory Board


Edward Y. Zavala, MBA (Chair)
Administrator, Vanderbilt Transplant Center
Research Assistant Professor
Adjunct Professor of Management
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

"I have been involved with the YMCA Latino Achievers for several years. I have seen first-hand how the program positively impacts our young students and inspires them to dream big. I strive to do all I can to help our students think of the possibilities that lie within their grasp and to lead extraordinary lives." (Ed Zavala)

Mr. Zavala is the Administrator of the Vanderbilt Transplant Center, Research Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery, and Adjunct Professor of Management at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. He possesses over 38 years of experience in healthcare with more than 23 years of transplant experience as an administrator.  He has authored/co-authored over 150 abstracts and publications, given more than 100 invited lectures on various aspects of transplant administration, and taught 25 courses on transplant administration.

Mr. Zavala is the Co-Founder and Principal of Transplant Management Group, a transplant business consulting firm established in 1997.

Mr. Zavala is a second generation Mexican-American. His grandparents came from Michoacan and Guanajuato, Mexico. He grew up in Central California and has 3 younger brothers.


Mayra Zimmer
Vice President of Multicultural Marketing
AIG Financial Network

"Working with YLA means results, seeing physical results from the efforts put into this program by the board and the YLA program staff.  Our collective efforts are moving young Latino individuals towards the great path of education that will propel them towards a successful future. It’s just like when your children graduate, we feel that same sense of accomplishment when our students graduate and move into the next phase of their lives." (Mayra Zimmer)

Mayra develops and provides marketing initiatives directed at growing Emerging Markets for the company’s nationwide offices.  This includes strategic planning, collaborative partnerships, advertising, special events and consumer-focused in-language collateral and product DVD’s. She has diverse experience in operations, marketing, talent acquisition and training within the insurance industry.  She creates an environment of inclusion and demonstrated leadership in building a diverse workforce. 

She obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from Aquinas College where she graduated Magna cum Laude and also has an Associates’ Degree in Paralegal Studies. Mayra’s family hails from Puerto Rico.  She was born in New York and is fluent in Spanish. 

Mayra feels that it is truly important to give back to the community. To that extent, she serves on voluntary boards that garner her interests in diversity, mentoring young Latino children towards a goal of higher education and leadership.  She has being asked to speak on the topics of Diversity and Leadership numerous times in Middle Tennessee where she currently resides.  She has been involved in the following organizations: Graduate of Leadership Middle TN Class of 2015, Appointed to the State Workforce Development Board, Representative of the General Public by Governor Haslam, Scholarship Chair for YMCA Latino Achievers since 2015, Secretary, Board of Directors, ALPFA – Association of Latino Professionals for America, Past Board President of TLACC (TN Latin American Chamber of Commerce) 2014, LIMRA’s Diversity Council member, Served on American General’s Diversity Council, and Served as the Secretary of the Board of WIFS (Women in Financial Services-Middle TN Chapter).


Vanessa Hollingshead-Cook
Credit Analyst, Caterpillar Financial Services


Vanessa graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Tennessee and started her career with Caterpillar as a Treasury Finance Analyst in 2005. During her ten years with the company, she has held various finance-related positions supporting Caterpillar’s internal and external customers.  She currently serves as the President of the Caterpillar Financial Employee Resource Group, Caterpillar Latino Connection, and is pursuing an MBA at Belmont University. Vanessa is passionate about Latino culture and is excited to serve as a resource for Latino students in the Nashville community.  She hopes to inspire youth to embrace their heritage of passion, drive, and perseverance to fulfill their greatest ambitions.





Board Member Profile Link

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