Helios Education Foundation Appoints Jane LaRocca Roig as Vice Chair and Designates New Leadership for Committees

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At Helios Education Foundation’s first meeting of 2021, the Board solidified its leadership moving forward by appointing Jane LaRocca Roig as Vice Chair of the Foundation.  Ms. Roig was instrumental in the creation of the Foundation in 2004 and has served on the Board of Directors since 2009.  Along with the Foundation’s Founding Chairman, Ms. Roig will be assisting in leading the 10-member Board of Directors who provide critical oversight and governance to organizational operations and investments.  Under the Board’s leadership, the Foundation has invested more than $250 million in education programs and initiatives in both Arizona and Florida over the past 15 years.  

The members of the Board of Directors have a wide range of education, business, community, and policy expertise.  In addition, the board is representative, in gender, ethnicity, and geography, of the communities the Foundation serves.  The Helios Board includes the following members:

  • Vince Roig, Founding Chairman
  • Paul J. Luna, President and CEO
  • Don Aripoli, Ph.D.
  • Mark Fernandez
  • Tom Herndon
  • Vada O. Manager
  • Ioanna Morfessis, Ph.D.
  • Jane LaRocca Roig, Vice Chair
  • Maria Sastre
  • Steven Wheeler

Each board member brings a passionate commitment to student success to the Foundation and it is under the Board’s leadership that Helios has:

  • Helped more than 1.4 million students participate in early learning, college and career planning, and postsecondary education programs that will help lead to success in earning a college or postsecondary degree.
  • Provided professional development opportunities to more than 60,000 educators throughout Arizona and Florida.
  • Awarded 27,000 scholarships.

Vice Chair Jane LaRocca Roig has been a leader in higher education access, choice and success programs for over 40 years.  She is deeply committed to ensuring students have the access and financial resources to complete a postsecondary degree and has helped pave the way for thousands of students over her long career.  She is an expert in scholarship and student loan programs as well as organizational operations and development.  Ms. Roig was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Southwest Student Services Corporation when it was converted and reorganized to form Helios Education Foundation.  In addition to serving as Vice Chair, Ms. Roig also serves as the Chair of the Foundation’s Public Policy Committee.  

In addition to the Chair and Vice Chair, the Foundation is led by committee chairs who lead the oversight of strategic components of the organization.  Vada O. Manager was appointed as the Chair of the Foundation’s Finance Committee and leads the Board’s oversight on the endowment investments and portfolio. A former Nike executive and corporate board director,  Mr. Manager has a stellar background in business development and management and has managed minority investments in diverse industry sectors.  He is also passionately committed to student success and helping to ensure all students – regardless of background – have access to a high-quality education.   Mr. Manager is taking over from Tom Herndon who has led the Finance Committee since its inception in 2004 and led the growth of the endowment from $500 million to more than $730 million.  

Mark Fernandez was appointed as the Chair of the Foundation’s Community Investment Committee and leads the Board’s oversight to ensure that the organization’s grants are making an impact on student success in both Arizona and Florida. Mr. Fernandez’s career has consisted of a variety of leadership positions in banking, professional sports, and public relations.  He has vast experience in developing strategic partnerships in both Arizona and Florida.  Mr. Fernandez is taking over from Dr. Ioanna Morfessis who led the Community Investment Committee since its inception in 2004.  Under Dr. Morfessis’ leadership, the Foundation made critical investments that impacted more than 1.4 million students throughout Arizona and Florida.  

Maria Sastre was appointed as Chair of the Foundation’s Audit Committee.  Ms. Sastre is the former President and Chief Operating Officer for Signature Flight Support, the largest worldwide network of fixed-based operations and maintenance centers for private aviation.  Most of her career has been spent in south Florida where she grew up in an immigrant family from Cuba.  Having experienced firsthand the impact that education can have on individuals, families, and communities, she is passionate about ensuring all students but especially first-generation, have access to a high-quality education.   

Founding Chairman Vince Roig, Vice Chair Jane LaRocca Roig, Tom Herndon, Ioanna Morfessis, and President and CEO Paul J. Luna continue to provide leadership to the Foundation by serving on the Board’s Executive Committee.    

Under the leadership of these individuals and the rest of the Board of Directors, Helios Education Foundation will continue to make an impact in communities across Arizona and Florida and ensure that even more students have the opportunity to complete a postsecondary degree.