Hope CommUnity Center Appoints Social Justice Advocate
Felipe Sousa-Lazaballet (he/they) as new Executive Director.


Hope CommUnity Center is proud to welcome its new Executive Director, Felipe Sousa-Lazaballet. 

Sousa-Lazaballet’s visionary and collaborative leadership, along with his life’s passion for racial, social, and gender justice, will help further advance Hope’s mission as it celebrates 50 years of serving and empowering Central Florida’s hard-working immigrants and families. Elizabeth Swart, Board President states: “We are delighted to welcome Felipe home to Hope CommUnity Center. He not only brings business and organizational skills; he also embodies the spirit of our community in all its diversity, creativity, and strength.” 

Sousa-Lazaballet will assume his role as Executive Director on Monday, March 28. He will manage day-to-day operations, oversee the development of annual budgets, increase Hope’s financial support, provide leadership to Hope’s staff members, and work in conjunction with Hope’s Board of Directors. Furthermore, Sousa-Lazaballet will collaborate with community advocates, supporters, leaders, and organizations throughout Central Florida to drive the interconnectedness and synergy of Hope’s programs.

Sousa-Lazaballet’s life is a testament to the reality of the community we serve. Felipe is a proud immigrant from Brazil who came to Miami when he was 14 years old. His life experience as a young, undocumented, immigrant and journey towards social change make him the perfect candidate for Executive Director of Hope CommUnity Center. His extensive professional background, passion for helping others, and first-hand personal experience will contribute greatly to this role.

Sousa-Lazaballet has been a faithful advocate of programs geared towards protecting immigrant rights, such as DACA, TPS, and the DREAM ACT. In 2010, he walked on the Trail of Dreams, a 1,500-mile walk from Miami to Washington, DC, to share the stories of immigrant youth and to push for administrative relief for millions of undocumented immigrants. He has served in volunteer and staff capacities for numerous organizations such as Dream Defenders, the Florida Immigrant Youth Network, and the United We Dream Network. Throughout his career, he worked for various organizations including, GetEQUAL, ThoughtWorks, at the Office of Social Change Initiatives. Most recently, he worked as the City of Orlando’s first Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Sr Specialist, where he helped Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer strengthen relationships with the LGBTQI+ community, focusing on immigrant and refugee affairs, religious minorities, and other multicultural communities. He currently serves as Board Chair for the One Orlando Alliance and serves on the boards of various other organizations. 

“My personal experiences as an immigrant have made me an empathetic and collaborative leader”, states Sousa-Lazballet. “Whether it was as a volunteer or in executive teams, I have never lost sight of a simple truth– we deserve the right to thrive, and that begins with absolutely nothing less than full justice for all. This is what makes me so passionate about the mission of Hope Community Center.” 

“Many years ago, Felipe came to Hope on foot as a teenager fighting and marching for immigrant rights,” says Hope CommUnity Center Founder Sister Ann Kendrick. “We are thrilled to welcome him back in our 50th year as our new Executive Director.”

Sousa-Lazballet believes that with his passion, his power of networks, and his goal to support immigrants and others who are tenacious and courageous in the face of all systems of oppression, they can build the common ground, vision, and strategy to achieve great things in the community while continuing Hope CommUnity Center’s legacy for many years to come.



Hope CommUnity Center fosters diverse, empowered, learning communities engaged in personal and societal transformation. Through service and advocacy, we stand together with immigrants and others who are tenacious and courageous in the face of all systems of oppression.

To learn more about other services and programs, please visit our website, www.hcc-offm.org/  or follow us on Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, and Twitter.

For more information, please contact: 

Sister Ann Kendrick

Founder/Community Relations


[email protected]

Debo Ofsowitz (she/her)

Development Director

407.880.4673 ext. 227

[email protected]