Luz E. Flores has been designated to lead AVANCE-Houston, a United Way agency offering parenting, preschool, adult education, and workforce training serving nearly nine-thousand individuals annually in 20 locations across the city.
Flores’ appointment comes after José Villarreal, who served in the position since 2006, announced his retirement. AVANCE is distinguished for parental engagement, nationally recognized pre-school programs, and partnerships with school districts and universities.
Board Chairman, Ron Oran announced that Flores was selected from an extensive pool of qualified candidates.
Flores left her native Puerto Rico in the late 80’s and moved to Philadelphia P.A. She arrived with a strong desire to build a career in public service; 10 years later she decided to call Houston her home, and over the past 28 years, she has lived her dream of helping transform communities.
She joined AVANCE-Houston in 2009 as Sr. Director of Human Resources, and shortly after transitioned to Deputy Director, serving as a key contributor to strategic planning, government and Board relations.
Prior to joining AVANCE, she held the role of Vice President of Human Resources with the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, and also held leadership roles with United Way of Greater Houston and SER Jobs for Progress.
AVANCE is a two-generation national nonprofit with chapters in Texas, New Mexico, and California, and Flores feels thrilled for the opportunity to lead a team of over 400 employees in Houston; the largest AVANCE chapter.
“Luz brings a wealth of experience to this position. I am confident her leadership will guide Houston on its path of innovation to better serve more families and children,” said AVANCE President/CEO, Rick Noriega.
The AVANCE Parent-Child Education Program (PCEP) has been recognized among the top six, two-generation models in the nation. The organization takes pride in serving a diverse population by offering services in English and Spanish; and also ranks among the top U.S. Hispanic-serving nonprofits. Furthermore, five of the AVANCE-Houston Head Start centers have been recognized among the top early childhood education providers in the nation by earning NAEYC accreditation.
“ An exciting journey lies ahead for me, and I look forward to working with the Board, partners, and staff to continue expanding and delivering the highest quality services to our families, ” says Flores, as she commences her new role leading the first AVANCE Health & Wellness Clinic, which opened its doors in July 2016 serving families in the Jensen Drive area.
The ground-breaking project, achieved through a partnership with UT Health School of Nursing, marked a new era for AVANCE, by incorporating a more comprehensive health component into its program model.
“It is gratifying for me, to continue this innovative and much-needed project that Jose initiated,” she adds.
Throughout her career, Flores has successfully led hundreds of employees through periods of substantial growth and transition, and has developed strong partnerships in the community.
In 2015, she was honored with the Wise Woman award by Houston Woman Magazine for her professional achievements and contributions to the Houston community. Under her leadership, the AVANCE-Houston communications and marketing department was honored “Non-Profit Communications Team of the Year,” by the Public Relations Society of America-Houston, in 2012 & 2015.
Flores holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters in Non-Profit Management from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio Texas, a Human Resources Certificate from Rice University. She is an American Leadership Forum (ALF)-Senior Fellow Graduate of Class XXXII, and serves on the Investing in Impact Committee with the National Head Start Association in Washington DC.