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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Jayme Acosta
 Development Coordinator
Serving as Development Coordinator, Jayme oversees major gifts, donor acquisition and donor communication. She also serves on the board at KidWorks, and volunteers all over the Santa Ana and Tustin area. You can most likely find her at a volleyball court or softball field cheering on her four kids.
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 Mosaic Whittier.
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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.
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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D.A. Horton
 Chief Evangelist
D.A. serves as the Chief Evangelist at UYWI. Prior to his current role he served as the National Coordinator of Urban Student Missions at NAM, the Executive Director of ReachLife Ministries (the non-profit ministry of Reach Records), and as an urban church planter/pastor in Kansas City, MO for nearly 6 years. He and his wife, Elicia, recently relocated to Los Angeles with their 3 children and are preparing to plant a church.
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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.
Lawrence Yau
 Chief Financial Officer
Lawrence has extensive finance & accounting experiences in various companies and holds a Bachelor of Economics from UCI and an MBA from Claremont Graduate University. With his shared passion for the vision of UYWI, he will build more efficient systems so that the organization may continually serve the emerging urban leaders. Besides crunching numbers, Lawrence enjoys reading, sports, missions, and spending time with family and friends.