Dedicated individuals passionate support to Chula's Mission Vision
Board of Directors
Lyndsay Ruiz, Founder
I have 9 years of experience in early childhood education, with two years of being a Director of a Preschool. While I love working with children, I also have a passion for the restaurant business. I have been in this industry for almost 20 years, starting at the tender age of 16.
I studied Spanish for 2 years in Salamanca, Spain and studied child development and psychology at the University of Houston.
I was born in Mexico City but grew up in Texas. I have lived in different parts of the United States but now reside in Flagstaff, AZ.
I am very passionate about cooking and helping others. That is one of the reasons I started Chula’s Mission. I was taught, starting at a young age, by my mother, that not everyone possesses the appropriate life tools due to certain life circumstances. We must give back to those who need it. I wanted to teach other girls that had lost their mother, everything that my own mother had taught me before she passed away when I was 24. It is important to me that motherless girls are taught coping skills, life skills, and are given specialized therapy through Chula’s Mission. This ensures that they will grow up to be well-adjusted, successful members of society.
Mayra San Juan, Co-Founder
As current Contract Administrator, Mayra San Juan brings 11 years experience with CBG Building Company, a general contractor that specializes in multi-family residential construction.
Mayra San Juan attended the University of San Diego where she received her bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in International Business and minor in Spanish.
Mayra is originally from Houston, Texas and has lived in San Diego since 2003. In May 2010, she unexpectedly lost her mother to a brain anerysum. Even though her mother has passed away, she continues to inspire her each and every day. Her mother chose to leave everything she knew behind in hopes of giving her the American dream. She taught her how to be strong and independent. Although their time was cut short, her values and beliefs continue to mold the woman she has become today. As Vice President of Chula's Mission, she hopes to inspire young motherless girls the way her mother has and will teach them the tools needed to become strong, successful, independent women.
During her free time, you can find Mayra spending time with her friends or traveling to new cities.
Bridgette Cerles, Treasurer
Bridgette Cerles was born and raised in Sacramento, California. Bridgette moved to San Diego to go to college and graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor of science in accounting. Bridgette is a CPA and runs her own accounting consulting business. As an only child, Bridgette has an extremely close relationship with her mother, which has helped her realize every young girl needs a mother's influence. As treasurer for Chula's Mission, she is excited to be part of this organization and hopes to watch it grow over the years and impact thousands of young girl's lives.
Amanda Cheney, Operations Director
Amanda brings over 10 years of experience in non profit management and project management. She currently works for a non profit organization that supports small businesses and has previous experience in youth development, workforce development, healthcare and technology.
Amanda attended San Diego State University, College of Business and studied abroad throughout the Mediterranean with Semester at Sea. Additionally, she completed a Non Profit Management Certificate at Harvard Business School Alumni Club in San Diego.
Amanda was born and raised in San Diego and also lived abroad in Jalisco, Mexico.
Amanda is passionate about Chula's Mission because she was her mom's long term caregiver for over 15 years. Her mom "Tilly" passed away in 2013 from chronic disease. Amanda understands the grief of being a motherless daughter and also the importance of mentoring for positive youth development. She volunteers her time with Chula's Mission to support her healing journey. Her mom "Tilly" instilled the value of being of service and creating opportunities for all.
During her free time, you can find Amanda walking in nature, trying out new coffee shops, exploring neighborhood restaurants, hanging out in North Park, listening to podcasts, jamming to music, wandering in Target or cooking delicious food.
Denise O'Neil, Mental Health Advisor
Denise O’Neil is a licensed Psychotherapist who works with individuals of all ages to help them increase their ability to resiliently manage the challenges of life.
Denise knows first-hand the difficulties of losing a mother at a tender age and is passionate about creating programs which facilitate the nurturance and growth of young, motherless girls.
Denise has a broad background in mental health that includes experience in a world-renowned children’s hospital, community- based clinics, public schools, and private practice. Before becoming a therapist, Denise was a professional clinical researcher in the biotechnology industry. Several molecules Denise worked on developed into blockbuster medicines for cancer and autoimmune disease.
Denise holds a Master of Public Health Degree with a concentration in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Boston University as well as a Master of Science Degree in Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy from San Diego State University.
In her free time, Denise may be found exploring San Diego’s fabulous farmer’s markets, hiking in Torrey Pines State Park, or enjoying Del Mar Dog Beach with her four-legged fur child.