Elisa, Charters, Founder of Lean In Latina Surge

Elisa Charters is a passionate advocate for Diversity and Inclusion (D&I), community and small business development.  In 2014, Elisa co-founded Latina Surge National, a 501c3 start-up with a mission to educate and advocate for D&I and gender parity on executive boards in government, corporate America, and higher education.  In 2017 and 2018, Latina Surge National was one of seventy-five leading networks from a pool of 47,000 globally, recognized by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and Co-Founder of the Lean In organization.
Professionally, Elisa is an entrepreneur and consultant, having conducted international trade, and wholesale and retail apparel sourcing from South America.  She is a seasoned executive strategist with extensive public-sector finance and transactional experience. She negotiated major economic development, infrastructure and transportation initiatives throughout the NY/NJ region. 
In 2012, Gov. Christie appointed Elisa to the New Jersey Health Care Facilities Financing Authority (NJHCFFA), where she served as Vice Chair for four years.  During her tenure, NJHCFFA approved over $2.6 billion in financing for hospital expansions and health care entities, and achieved 21% MWBE participation among co-leads in the State.  Prior to this appointment, she was commissioned by Rutgers University student organizations and statewide Latino community organizations to lead the #MP4RBOG coalition supporting inclusion.  It succeeded with Gov. Christie’s appointment and confirmation of Martin Perez, Esq., a civil rights activist, who is the second Latino ever confirmed to serve the university’s board in its 240+ year history.
In 2008, Gov. Corzine appointed Elisa to the State of Jersey’s Minority and Women Business Development Advisory Council where she served for four years to address disparities in the State’s procurement pipeline. Prior to this gubnatorial appointment, Elisa served as President of the Port Authority Hispanic Society (PAHS) employee resource group, where she represented Latino/a/x employees from a total base of 8,000 employees.  She pioneered inclusion efforts, successfully negotiating staff promotions with Port Authority of NY & NJ’s (PANYNJ) C-suite Diversity Council, including the PANYNJ’s promotion of its first Latino Chief of Police.
Her achievements include being the GM/Assistant Comptroller of the Port Commerce business at PANYNJ, an agency she served for 14 years.  As a survivor of 9/11, she served as Lead Negotiator of Acquisitions and Operations for the WTC Redevelopment effort post 9/11, developing key strategies for the Master Lease Agreement and relevant sub-agreements on behalf of PANYNJ ($11.6 billion project cost). 
She continues to serve in higher education as an Advisory Board Member of New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Martin Tuchman School of Management focusing on the inclusion of women in business and in STEM fields; as President of the Latino Alumni Association of Columbia University (LAACU), and most recently, as an Advisory Member of Montclair State University’s Feliciano School of Business.  
Elisa is a certified Cornell University/ILR D&I Management professional.  She is a graduate of New Jersey Institute of Technology, New York University and Columbia University with advanced degrees in Environmental Science, Real Estate Finance and International Finance and Business, respectively. Elisa resides with her husband, Brian, and two children, Remy and Lucian, and elder cousin, Manuela, in Short Hills, New Jersey.  As a family, they are committed to WE.org helping to bring clean water and education to children of the Masai Mara of Kenya, Africa.

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