New Mexico First Staff

Meet Our Staff

Lilly Irvin-Vitela

Lilly Irvin-VitelaPresident and Executive Director

Lilly Irvin-Vitela was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Part of her family has been in New Mexico since prior to statehood and others came in the 1940s. She has over 25 years of experience working for private and public community-based and state level organizations dedicated to improving the well-being of individuals, families, and communities. She formerly served as the president of her private consulting practice, and executive director of the Wisconsin Head Start Association, Supporting Families Together Association, and New Mexico Center for Dispute Resolution. Lilly attended the University of New Mexico as a Presidential Scholar and graduated with honors with a B.A. in philosophy and political science. Lilly also earned a Masters in Community and Regional Planning from the University of New Mexico. Lilly now lives in Peralta, NM with her family and is the mother of two adult children. She enjoys spending time outdoors with friends and family, playing with her pygmy goats, chickens, dog, and cats.

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Melanie Sanchez Eastwood

Melanie Sanchez EastwoodDeputy Director

Melanie Sanchez Eastwood has over 20 years of experience in government and the nonprofit sector. She has worked for United States Senator Pete V. Domenici, a gubernatorial campaign and various nonprofit organizations, including the New Mexico Alliance for Legal Reform, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and the National Federation of Republican Women. Melanie has a B.A. in political science from Coastal Carolina University and a M.A. in Government from Johns Hopkins University.  Melanie is a native New Mexican who was raised in Rio Rancho. She is married and has one son.

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Wendy Wintermute

Wendy WintermuteShare NM Policy Director


Wendy sees her current role with SHARE as the culmination of a career helping communities come together to support healthy families, vital communities and supportive institutions. Wendy has an MA degree in Family and Community Relations from Columbia University Teachers College, an MSW and Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Work from the University of Michigan. She has decades of experience in community outreach and development. She spends the majority of her time 'in the field,' engaging with and learning from SHARE's current and potential community partners.

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Sharon Berman

Sharon BermanStrategic Civic Engagement & Policy Manager

Sharon Berman joined New Mexico First as staff in 2013. She has a background in education, anthropology and music. After moving to Corrales with her family in 2004, she managed a museum-on-wheels program for the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, designed education curriculum, and co-founded a charter school in Albuquerque. Sharon holds a M.A. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Montreal and a M.A. in Visual Anthropology from the University of Southern California.

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Erika Robers

Erika RobersStrategic Civic Engagement & Policy Manager

Erika Robers was born and raised in Wisconsin. She has over 20 years of experience working on behalf of immigrant and labor rights and as an educator and community-based researcher. Erika earned her B.A. in Sociology and Spanish from Xavier University and she has an M.A. in Social and Cultural Foundations in Education from Chicago’s DePaul University. Erika is currently completing an additional masters’ degree in Community and Regional Planning, with a concentration in Natural Resource Planning, from the University of New Mexico. Her family roots in dairy farming, time spent on a small farm in Costa Rica and love of gardening have led her to agricultural resilience work with New Mexico First. Erika lives with her 9-year-old son and husband in Albuquerque. When not at work, she spends time camping, hiking, reading, gardening, and creating herbal medicine. Contact Erika
Xavier Vallejo

Xavier VallejoAdministrative Assistant

Xavier Vallejo graduated from the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor of Science in Population Health. As a student, he dedicated his time to serving the university as a prominent leader in the student government and was awarded the prestigious Clauve Outstanding Senior Award. As an emerging professional, he holds experience in community relations, event production, and organizational leadership. He is passionate about issues pertaining to health and social equity.

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Tamara Lucero

Tamara LuceroFinance Manager

Tamara Lucero earned her Bachelor of Business Administration - Accounting from the Anderson School of Management at The University of New Mexico in 2004. She has a varied background in accounting, including financial, tax and nonprofit. In her role as Accountant, she is responsible for maintaining the accounting system, overseeing the budget preparation, maintaining internal controls, and aiding with the preparation of audit and tax return.

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