Jenice Contreras is an established leader in small business and community development, healthcare and nonprofit management. Currently, she serves as the Executive Director of the Northeast Ohio Hispanic Center for Economic Development (the Center). Under the Center, Jenice is responsible for the NEO Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and community development. Jenice is a driving force around the neighborhood redevelopment efforts in Cleveland’s Clark-Fulton neighborhood known as La Villa Hispana. La Villa Hispana is a cultural and economic placemaking initiative in the most densely populated Hispanic enclave in the state of Ohio.
Under Jenice’s leadership, the Center has ventured into the first real estate development of La Villa Hispana known as CentroVilla25 where she serves as Project Owner and a Co-developer. Prior to her current role as Executive Director, Jenice worked as a Public Health Consultant with Collaborative Research, LLC which administers Federal grants through the Health and Resources Services Administration (HRSA).
Jenice earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Capital University and an Executive Master of Business Administration from The Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business. Jenice serves on the Board for the Center for Community Solutions and is a member of the City of Cleveland’s Near West Design Review Committee. In 2017, Jenice completed a fellowship through the Business Alliance for Living Local Economies (BALLE) and also served as the Faculty Chair for the National League of Cities Equitable Economic Development Fellowship.
Most recently, Jenice is part of the steering committee of the Cleveland Innovation Project, she was recognized on Crain’s Cleveland Magazine’s 2019 Woman of Note in Non-Profit. In 2018, Crain’s Cleveland Business Magazine also recognized Jenice as a Notable Woman in Real Estate, was awarded the 2018 YWCA Woman of Achievement and was the 2017 Ohio Latino Affairs Commission’s Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan. She is an advocate in addressing racial diversity and representation of people of color. Jenice was born in Puerto Rico, is bilingual, bicultural and is proud of her heritage. She is a mother of two young adults (Karl & Kyle) and continues to ensure growth in economic and community development for Latinx in the City of Cleveland.
La Villa Hispana (“La Villa”) embodies the long-cultivated collective vision for a vibrant, authentic, and inclusive Latino cultural district in the heart of the Clark-Fulton neighborhood that will serve as both an anchor and a magnet.