Board of Directors
Mariella Castagnet – President
Born and raised in Montevideo-Uruguay, Mariella graduated with a Bachelors in Liberal Arts and Psychology. Mariella currently works as a realtor for Berskhire Hathaway where she is highly regarded for her ability to successfully develop relationships with clients to create a loyal customer base.
With over two decades of sales experience, Mariella is recognized as a visionary with the capability to identify and build new sales channels, increase market penetration, interact effectively with foreign owners, and gain visibility while increasing profits. Prior to becoming a realtor, Mariella owned multiple businesses, both in Uruguay and the United States.
Mariella’s vision for the GNHCC is to fortify the Hispanic community by providing them with networking and educational opportunities in the greater business community.
Mariella is a resident of Norwalk for over 20 years where she raised her two daughters.
Warren A. Peña – Vice President
Warren A. Peña, CLTC has been helping clients achieve financial security as a Financial Advisor with the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company since 2003.
Warren graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice – concentration in Legal Studies from Northeastern University in Boston, MA. He is certified in Long Term Care insurance planning, and holds a Certificate in Financial Planning from Fairfield University. Fairfield, CT.
Committed with the Latino Community, Warren has actively participated as:
– Member of the the City Council in Norwalk, CT (2011-2013)
– Chairman of the Board of the South Norwalk Community Center,in South Norwalk, CT, since 2012.
– Founder of Latinos Unidos de Connecticut (LUC) 2013
As a Founder and Vice-President of the Greater Norwalk Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GNHCC) in 2015, Warren supports the empowerment of Hispanic businesses and their inclusion in the American community, we are contributing to the economic development of the entire area.
Edgar R. Abreu Jr. – Treasurer
Edgar Rodrigues Abreu, Jr., is a CPA as well as an auditing and accounting professional. Since starting his career with ERNST & YOUNG over 20 years ago, Edgar has been working as an auditor providing his expertise in financial, operational and compliance audits to companies such as Warnaco, Texaco, Pitney Bowes, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, US Tobacco, GE Capital and Synchrony Financial.
Between 2005 and 2007, Edgar owned and operated his own tax service company, Abreu Tax Services, providing tax preparation services to his clients.
Most recently, he has been working with Primerica Financial Services as a representative offering financial services to over 300 active clients, and has started a new tax and accounting company called Abreu & Affiliates, LLC.
Eva Perello – Marketing Director
Eva’s journey has taken her around the world. Born on Barcelona (Spain) and raised on Venezuela where she met her husband and their daughter was born. Moved back to Spain in 1990 where developed most of her professional career.
After 20 years of experience as an Engineer working in the design of electric installations, the development of software programs for process control (PLC), and managing assurance and quality control, Eva moved to USA and decided to combine her love of design with her technical expertise.
Since 2008, Eva has been designing and developing stylish, progressive websites. TheEvaSite is based in Stamford, Connecticut, where Eva has developed a network through her amazing clients, other designers and developers, and groups such as Thrive BNI. She has created a happy team dedicated to the service of its clients.
She is bilingual Spanish/English.
Maria Lourdes Vilas
Maria was born in Venezuela and raised in two cultures, Spanish and Venezuelan. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from UCAB University in Caracas, and then worked in debt management for the public and private sectors, including government agencies and the global biopharmaceutical company, Bristol Myers Squibb.
Eventually, Maria left Venezuela to travel and live in several countries, where she expanded her knowledge of different cultures, from their lifestyles and customs, to their food, wine, and goods. In Brussels, she was introduced to the nonprofit sector, through her membership in the American Women’s Club.
Upon moving to the United States, Maria increased her participation in nonprofits. Since 2014, she has been a board member of Taste of Westport, a fine dining event and fundraiser hosted by CLASP, a nonprofit that provides housing and supportive services to people with
autism and developmental disabilities.
Since 2017, her day job has been Lifestyle Editor of Torosiete Magazine, an online fine art gallery and blog that features artists who celebrate the beauty of our world, both in nature and the built environment. searches the globe to bring you truly unique objects, photography, art, sculpture, writing and music.
Katia Garçon is the owner of House of Katia, Norwalk’s very own world-class personal styling boutique. She is passionate about helping her clients live their best life now, and dress their best always. Through her business, she offers a variety of services including unique personal styling, vacation wardrobe styling, custom jewelry design and more.
With her ability to consciously and accurately assess her client’s needs, Katia carefully curates the perfect balance of clothing, jewelry and accessories for every client she works with. She has more than a decade of professional experience and style industry expertise, and is a certified appraiser through the American Appraisers Association.
Katia is a graduate of the Gemological Institute of America where she earned her GG (Graduate Gemologist) and JDT (Jewelry Design Technology) degrees. She also holds a Master of Arts in Business Administration from New York University, and a Bachelor of Science in International Business from the University of Connecticut.
Rene Soto was born in La Libertad Peten, Guatemala. In November 2011, Rene left Guatemala, to pursue a career as an artist, having worked as a Physical Education instructor up to that point. Since his arrival to the United States, Rene has been making art that reflects the life he left behind. He also draws inspiration from universal truths and commonalities that cannot be communicated in any other way than through his paintings.
Currently, Rene lives in Norwalk, CT, where he has established himself as a practicing professional artist, arts educator, and manager of Rene Soto Gallery in Norwalk.
Likewise Rene is the Founder and Director of the Latincolors Magazine which mission is to present the best of the Hispanic and Latino communities, from the arts, to education, business, and family life.