Board of Directors

Maria Suarez

Executive Director/Founder

Maria Suarez is a counselor, public speaker, and advocate for victims of modern-day slavery. For over ten years, her work in the Greater Los Angeles area and Mexico has been an integral and invaluable part of the effort to end slavery. Maria courageously shares her personal story to prevent others from enduring the same trauma. She has spoken at numerous national conferences, legislative hearings, and media events in the U.S. and Mexico, and her testimony was instrumental in passing the 2005 California Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

Maria has been recognized and awarded the 2014 La Opinion 8th Annual “Mujeres Destacadas” Leadership Award, 2013 California Community Foundation and The Eisner Foundation “Unsung Heroes of Los Angeles” Award, 2011 Bank of America Neighborhood Excellence Initiative Award Local Heroes, 2011 Certificate of Recognition National Association of Social Workers Women’s Council California Chapter, 2011 Public Citizen of the Year National Association of Social Workers, 2006 Women Crowned In Glory Award Safe Passage Helping Abused Women and their Children, and 2006 Special Recognition Los Angeles County Bar Association Immigration Law Section.

She has also appeared on Univision's Don Francisco Presenta, El Show de Cristina, Telemundo's En Contexto, Dr. Phil, KPFK Pacifica Radio, and featured in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and La Opinion, in addition to the documentary films Dreams Die Hard and Sold in America.

Maria is also a long distance runner and has completed 10 Los Angeles Marathon events.

Charles Song

Board President

Charles Song is an attorney specializing in immigration, employment, and civil rights and Adjunct Professor at Loyola Law School's immigration clinic. Since 1999, he has successfully represented hundreds of thousands of immigrants before the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Federal District Courts, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In recognition of his tireless work on behalf of immigrants, Charles has been named one of the top lawyers in Southern California, a role model by KSCI Channel 18, and an Attorney of the Year in immigration law in California.

He is also a frequent author and lecturer in immigration law. Charles’ articles, quotes, and interviews have been published by, among others, the American Bar Association, CNN, University of California, Berkeley Law Journal, and the Associated Press. Charles has also testified before the United States Senate, the House of Representatives, and the California Senate and Assembly on immigration-related legislation. In addition, he has lectured at law schools such as Harvard and Berkeley, served as a national resource attorney, and conducted trainings for organizations such as the United States Department of Justice.

Prior to founding an immigration law firm, Charles worked for, among others, one of the largest international law firms in the world, Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the White House Council on Women.

He is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of California, the Federal District Courts, and the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Susana Frausto

Board Treasurer

Susana Frausto holds the important role of administrative support and historian for the Maria Suarez Foundation. She has been helping Maria Suarez achieve her dreams for 27 years. She assisted Maria in her legal struggle for freedom from wrongful imprisonment, communicating on her behalf with lawyers and agencies.

Since Maria's release, Susana has aided her with a variety of anti-trafficking activities, she organized the logistics for two trips to Oaxaca, she maintains Maria's extensive contact list, and she tracks the Foundation's finances.

Susana has worked in security and accounting, and is currently completing a certificate in accounting with emphasis on nonprofits.

David Amaral

Board Member

David is a technologist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.

He is the Founder/CEO of Phantom Design, a technology and design firm. David has designed Fortune 500 sites such as Microsoft, Epson, J2Global, Deluxe, and Sony Pictures.

He is classically trained in drawing and painting. David holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Laguna College + Design.

Imelda Buncab

Board Member

Imelda is a nonprofit consultant specializing in gender-based violence and human trafficking. Since 1996, Imelda has worked to end gender-based violence for various non-profit organizations in providing direct services, training, outreach, and systems advocacy. Her anti-trafficking work encompasses developing and providing training, presentations, organizational capacity building, outreach, and survivor advocacy.

Imelda's anti-trafficking work has given her the privilege to work with relentless social change advocates around the globe. She has participated as a speaker, spokesperson in numerous US (including territories: US Virgin Islands, Common Wealth of Northern Mariana Islands) and international (Philippines, Spain, Mexico, Canada, United Kingdom) conferences addressing the issues of human trafficking and gender-based violence. Imelda has trained and presented to nongovernmental organizations, government agencies, law enforcement, faith-based groups, universities, and community groups. She also co-authored the "Human Trafficking” chapter in the book, "Medical Response to Adult Sexual Assault: A Resource for Clinicians and Related Professionals" published in 2011.

She has worked for organizations, among others, Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking, California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Futures Without Violence (formerly Family Violence Prevention Fund), and Not For Sale.

Imelda is a Co-Founding Member of the National Organization of Asians and Pacific Islanders Ending Sexual Violence (NAPIESV). She is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara with a degree in Sociology.

Tina Malave

Board Member

Emmy Award winning Host and Producer, Tina Malave began her television career in her early 20s when she suddenly became the nation's "go-to girl" for everything hot happening in Miami. She was in high demand, reporting for WFOR-CBS and WSVN-FOX, as an award-winning morning radio show host and producer for top rated Clear Channel station Y-100, and Miami correspondent for several national entertainment outlets. Her wit and intellect also earned her respect as a much sought after writer and producer.

In 2000, Tina went from being an East Coast girl to an L.A. woman! Since then Tina has become an internationally recognized TV personality with shows such as E!'s 101 Series, Extreme Close Up and FYE, Joel Silver’s Next Action Star, and FOX's A Current Affair.

Today Tina brings her many talents to ABC7’s iconic Eye on L.A. as Host and Senior Producer. Thriving on adventure, Tina loves to uncover new and unique things to see and do throughout Los Angeles, and now she can take viewers along for the ride! In Tina’s words, “L.A. is a city that’s so vast you really have to shrink your focus to be able to see all of its hidden gems. But the gems are endless!” Look for more gems to be uncovered throughout L.A. as only Tina can deliver with her trademark sense of humor. Eye on L.A. first hit the air in the ‘80s, and is now a weekly show all about adventures in Los Angeles. From style to food, from the people to the places, you’ll always discover something new and have a little fun on Eye on L.A. Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. on ABC7. Eye on L.A. is a production of KABC-TV Los Angeles.

Chloe Hanna

Board Secretary

Chloe has four years of experience coordinating scholarship and cultural exchange programs for non-profit organizations in the U.S. and abroad.

Her passion for education and human rights developed during her undergraduate years at Columbia University where she studied Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures and tutored at-risk children at New York City’s public schools and shelters. After graduating, she coordinated programs and advised students for AMIDEAST, the U.S. Department of State’s EducationUSA Center in Cairo, Egypt.

She is currently the Scholarship Coordinator for the National Council of Jewish Women/Los Angeles and assists with a variety of other activities, including grant writing, fundraising, communications, and website development.

About Our Board

The Maria Suarez Foundation is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors who are committed to providing MSF strategic direction and essential resources to fulfill its mission.