Meet The Staff

Robert Aboites
Chief Operating Officer
Robert has 25 years of experience as a strategic and operational director in the corporate Information Technology arena, the last 15 of which he spent working for Fox Entertainment Group as Executive Director in Information Technology. Robert also has over 15 years of experience in various areas and levels of ministry and currently serves as COO of UYWI and Executive Pastor at Seventh Street Church in Long Beach.
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Larry Acosta
Founder/Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Larry Acosta is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Hispanic Ministry Center, Urban Youth Workers Institute. Larry’s passion is to envision and shape the emerging generation of urban leadership for transformational ministry. Larry’s claim to fame is that he is married to his lovely wife Jayme and they have four wonderful children.
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Maria Cortez
 Vice President of Strategy & Execution
Full of passion for at-risk youth, Maria is driven to serve and has over 10 years of experience working with youth & community serving organizations as a Business Manager & Overseeing Operations. Technically she has no kids, but claims her nieces & nephews as her own. She enjoys spending time with her husband Will, riding their motorcycles, beach days and hiking with friends.
Bobby Duran
Event Production Manager
Bobby Duran is one of UYWI’s most active Events Production Manager, you can find him creating all the creative content & experiences behind the scenes of our National Conference, West Coast & East Coast RELOAD’s, Manhood Camp & our Urban Discipleship Tour. When he is not producing events you can find him actively deejaying at some of the most innovated events, conferences, including corporate & private events. He resides in Whittier, CA with his wife Sandy of 13 years and their son, Christian who is 8 & daughter Sophia who is 3. They both serve at Mosaic Whittier.
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Andy Fierro
Director of Creative Solutions
Andy comes with volunteering experience in youth ministry. As a volunteer and attendee at various UYWI events, he also knows that we provide resources like none other to youth workers. It is because of this knowledge he was glad to jump on board when asked to join the UYWI Staff. When Andy is not designing for the organization, he’s enjoying his time with his wife Stephanie and serving at their home church Redemption Hill Uptown Campus.
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Julie Herrick
Operations Administrator
Julie Herrick is the Operations Administrator for the Urban Youth Workers Institute. She handles event registration, office IT, and curates content for the web. She loves to travel, so visiting RELOAD cities is a great joy. She spends her free time doing triathlons, hiking, camping, and being an honorary auntie to all her friends’ kids.
Camille Hernandez
Development Director
Camille joins the Urban Youth Worker Institute team with over 18 years of strategic planning and development in non-profit and the corporate sector. Her life-long passion is to see future generations embrace Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior and to enjoy the health and freedom His love brings. She is excited to add her passion and expertise to the team so that UYWI can grow into the amazing ministry God has designed. She resides locally with her husband and two English Springer Spaniels.
Derek Hoiem
 Digital Engagement Manager
Derek is the Digital Engagement Manager for UYWI. Derek runs the JamTheHype.com platform and helps with strategic initiatives across UWYI to raise visibility for programs and share the Gospel more widely.
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John Park
Content Curator
John is the Content Curator for UYWI. With 15 years of youth and college ministry experience, John is passionate to see healthy leaders disciple the next generation of young people.
DiAnna Spells
 Training Administrator
DiAnna brings in-depth experience in project management, marketing research, consulting, and conference planning and execution. She earned a degree in Business Administration (Management) from the University of Cincinnati. Having directed several conferences in both the church and para-church settings, along with solid senior administrative skills, DiAnna is an asset to the UYWI staff. She resides in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband James. They have two children; daughter Jocelyn, a college student and son, James, a high school student.