Meet The Staff

Tommy Nixon
Chief Executive Officer
Tommy is the Chief Executive Officer at UYWI. He is excited to build on the foundation that Dr. Larry Acosta has created over the last 25 years. He is a Founder and was Executive Director of Solidarity and is currently the lead pastor at One Life City Church. His passion is to help urban leaders lead from a place of depth with God while having a dynamic impact in the Kingdom.
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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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Amorette Back
Marketing & Social Media Coordinator
Amorette is the Marketing and Social Media Coordinator at UYWI. She comes with over 5 years of both youth ministry and videography/photography experience. She is in charge of creating videos for the organization, running the different social media platforms, and working alongside the marketing team.
Emelen Cedillo
Audience Relationship & Development Associate
Emelen is the Audience Relationship & Development Associate at UYWI. She also serves as the Brave Outreach Manager at Revive Church. Emelen is a first-generation and Summa Cum Laude college graduate from Texas State University. Emelen is passionate about educating youth and leaders in the area of mental health.
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.
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 family time with his wife Stephanie & son while serving at their home church Disciple Church.
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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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Lindsay Leiva
 Office Administrator
Lindsay is the Office Administrator at UYWI and a 90 Degrees graduate. She comes with over 15 years of both youth ministry and administrative experience. Lindsay is also an active youth worker at her local church in South Los Angeles.
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.
Lisa Schoch
Before becoming a pastor’s wife and mom, Lisa worked in the global public accounting field for sixteen years. Her focus and passion is to assist churches and non-profits with their accounting and finances.
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.