President – Latina Surge National
Elisa Charters is a passionate advocate for Diversity and Inclusion (D&I), community and small business development. In 2014, Elisa co-founded Latina Surge National, a 501c3 start-up with a mission to educate and advocate for D&I and gender parity on executive boards in government, corporate America, and higher education. In 2017 and 2018, Latina Surge National was one of seventy-five leading networks from a pool of 44,000 globally, that was recognized by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and Founder of the Lean In organization.
Professionally, Elisa is an entrepreneur and consultant, having conducted international trade, wholesale and retail relating to South American sourcing. She is a seasoned executive strategist with extensive public-sector finance and transactional experience. She negotiated major economic development, infrastructure and transportation initiatives throughout the NY/NJ region.
In 2012, Gov. Christie appointed Elisa to the New Jersey Health Care Facilities Financing Authority (NJHCFFA), where she served as Vice Chair for four years. During her tenure, NJHCFFA approved over $2.6 billion in financing for hospital expansions and health care entities, and achieved 21% MWBE participation among co-leads in the State. Prior to this appointment, she was commissioned by Rutgers students and the statewide Latino community to lead a Coalition supporting inclusion. It succeeded with Gov. Christie’s appointment and confirmation of Martin Perez, Esq., a civil rights activist, who is the second Latino ever confirmed to serve the university’s board in its 240+ year history.
In 2008, Gov. Corzine appointed Elisa to the State of Jersey’s Minority and Women Business Development Advisory Council where she served for four years to address disparities in the State’s procurement pipeline. In 2000, as President of the Port Authority Hispanic Society (PAHS) she represented Latino/a/x employees from a total base of 8,000 employees. She pioneered inclusion efforts, successfully negotiating staff promotions with Port Authority of NY & NJ’s (PANYNJ) C-suite Diversity Council, including the PANYNJ’s promotion of its first Latino Chief of Police.
Her achievements include being the GM/Assistant Comptroller of the Port Commerce business at PANYNJ, an agency she served for 14 years. As a survivor of 9/11, she served as Lead Negotiator of Acquisitions and Operations for the WTC Redevelopment effort post 9/11, developing key strategies for the Master Lease Agreement and relevant sub-agreements on behalf of PANYNJ ($11.6 billion project cost).
Prior to 9/11, she served as a Senior Financial Analyst in the Real Estate Department, where she conducted lease analysis of 23 million square feet and assisted the Agency in achieving maximum valuation at 98% tenant occupancy of the original WTC, pre-9/11, in preparation for the RFP to net lease WTC (Silverstein Properties won bid for $3.2 billion). Additionally, Elisa was responsible for the Queens West/NY Development Project and the Hoboken South/NJ Waterfront Project, mixed-use real estate projects with a combined area of 100 acres valued at $3.6 billion in public and private investment. The Queens West site was designated the Olympic Village for NYC’s 2012 Olympic Bid, where she supported logistics efforts with the Bloomberg administration.
She continues to serve in higher education as an Advisory Board Member of New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Martin Tuchman School of Management focusing on the inclusion of women in business and in STEM fields; as President of the Latino Alumni Association of Columbia University (LAACU), and most recently, as an Advisory Member of Montclair State University’s Feliciano School of Business. She feels rooted in Essex County, having served as an Essex County Planning Board Member for the last 12 years; as a Junior League of Montclair-Newark Sustainer; and as a CASA Essex County advocate.
Elisa is a certified Cornell University/ILR D&I Management professional. She is a graduate of New Jersey Institute of Technology, New York University and Columbia University with advanced degrees in Environmental Science, Real Estate Finance and International Finance and Business, respectively. Elisa resides with her husband, Brian and two children, Remy and Lucian, and elder cousin, Manuela, in Short Hills, New Jersey. As a family, they are committed to WE.org helping to bring clean water and education to children of the Masai Mara of Kenya, Africa.