Bridget B. Espinosa
President / Executive Director
I have spent my life traveling and working with our youth. As I started my consulting business, Puente Cultural Integration, I realized I had to include a non-profit division of Puente. After a quick volunteer trip to the Domincan Republic in July of 2015, Puente de Conexión was created. I am so excited to help support existing programs while providing opportunities for travel & experiences for students here in Metro Detroit. We have an amazing team of talent and heart on our Board of Directors. Together we will do great things in our own community and throughout Latin America.
María Elena Blanco
Vice President / Creative Director
I am a native of Cuba and the proud mom of two grown sons. I currently teach 5th and 6th graders at Farmington Public Schools and received my Masters in Reading from Oakland University. I enjoy traveling, sculpting, photography, and creating mixed media art pieces. After spending a summer as a professional development coach for teachers in the Dominican Republic, I was inspired to take a sabbatical from Farmington and volunteer teach there for the 2011-2012 school year. The cultural experiences I have been fortunate to participate in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, Honduras, Puerto Rico, and Belize have expanded my perspective and the people I met enriched my heart and soul.
Diane L. Barnes
I am retired from Bloomfield Public Schools where I worked as their Financial Director. I started my career in Plymouth-Canton Schools and after retirement, continued to work as an interim director throughout Metro Detroit. I have had a passion for travel since I was young and my favorite destinations are throughout Latin America. I am involved with multiple nonprofit organizations and have also worked on several political campaigns. I am thrilled to support Conexion as we combine educational and travel goals. I look forward to accompany our volunteers and plan to develop long-term relationships within the communities we support.
Isabel Rodriguez Wosina
With over 20 years experience in the community outreach, journalism and special events fields, I bring considerable event management, volunteer recruitment and fundraising skills to the table. Notable is my involvement with Latina Style Magazine, Hispanic Magazine, Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development, Inc. (LA SED); SER Metro-Detroit Jobs for Progress, Inc., SER National and the National Hispanic Scholarship Fund.
I am from Colombia and have been in the United States for ? years working as a Creative Design Director??? for a major marketing / graphic design company in Metro Detroit. I have a passion for people, Latin dancing and soccer. Volunteering my time and talents to Conexion is a meaningful application of all that I am and all that I do. I believe that I was meant to do great things and I am excited to create powerful connections between Latin America and Michigan.
Dawn (Gonzalez) Blair
I am a wife and mother of two teenage boys. I graduated from Madonna University with a B.S in Criminal Justice and received my Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University. I have been an attorney for 14 years and have owned my firm for the past 8 years. My boys started playing soccer when they were in kindergarten and I have grown to love this sport. My husband has been involved in the coaching and I have managed the team for him. Soccer has taught my boys not only the importance of teamwork but it also requires individual discipline and perseverance which carries over into other aspects of their lives. I feel it is important to help children reach their fullest potential by providing them opportunities to learn and expand their horizons in ways they may not realize or normally have available to them.
I am an educator, traveler, wife & mom. I graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Spanish and a B.A. in Secondary Education. I completed my Master’s in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language at the University of Guanajuato, Mexico. I currently teach Spanish and Leadership Dialogues on Diversity near Detroit, MI. I love travel! I usually feel most inspired somewhere that I’ve never been. I love adventure, new experiences and problem-solving, things that travel never fails to deliver. I have lived in or traveled to 21 countries on 4 continents. St. Augustine said: “The world is a book and those who don’t travel read only a page.” I am inspired to help more youth around the world have these opportunities through travel and cross-cultural exchange because I know that it is the key to a more open-minded and caring world.
I was born and raised in the land of coffee growers in Colombia, and have been happily living in the US for more than twenty years. I am married and am raising two wonderful, bilingual children. I am always moved and ready to help people and animals in need. This is what inspires me to be part of this great team, I am looking forward to collaborate and make a difference.