With true understanding of education’s power to uplift, Izmira Santiago Mikel has dedicated her career to promoting causes that seek to open doors for all—including underrepresented populations throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. With over a decade of experience in philanthropy management across a variety of sectors, Izmira serves as the Managing Director for Strategy & Operations for the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation.
Izmira previously served as Director of CSR & Foundation Relations for TelevisaUnivision and as the Executive Director for the Univision Foundation. She also led Strategy Planning and Management as a Program Officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she implemented projects that helped push the organization’s mission toward postsecondary success, strategy execution and DE&I. But no matter what project she’s working on, Izmira combines technical expertise with influential people skills to create efficiencies.
Prior to joining the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Izmira was a Business Analyst for the Department of Homeland Security where she made important contributions on initiatives meant to better equip low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented populations with the skills needed to participate in the knowledge economy.
Izmira was born and raised in Puerto Rico. Her parents placed high value on education and participated in organizations championing human rights, education, and community programs. Izmira followed suit—hoping to help others from minoritized backgrounds. She studied music and sound engineering in college and went on to earn her MBA. She currently lives in South Florida with her husband Eli and young son Miles.
Izmira serves on the Advisory Board of Directors for organizations such as Twilio.org, The Black Economic Advancement Network, A Picture’s Worth, Friends of Puerto Rico, and the Metro Women’s Business Center. When she’s not working or helping others, Izmira loves playing with her son, reading, traveling, digging for obscure vinyl records, and attending concerts and comedy shows with her husband, friends, and family.