Felipe Sousa-Lazaballet (he/they)

Our Executive Director

In addition to managing day-to-day operations, leading 30 staff members, overseeing the management of seven programs, and increasing financial support for the 50-year-old organization; Felipe collaborates with community advocates, supporters, leaders, and organizations throughout Central Florida to drive the interconnectedness and synergy of Hope’s programs. His first-hand understanding of the immigrant experience along with his vision, passion, and power of networks have refreshed Hope’s support, empowerment, and advocacy for immigrants and others who are tenacious and courageous in the face of all systems of oppression.

Prior to joining Hope, Felipe was the Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Sr Specialist for the Office of Multicultural Affairs at the City of Orlando. In this position, he proposed policy recommendations and programs; advocated for best practices on LGBTQ+ issues and immigrant and refugee affairs; and directed outreach to the Muslim, Brazilian, and Haitian communities to encourage greater participation in city services.

Felipe began his work with the City of Orlando as the Manager of Collaborative Partnerships where he served as the point of contact on behalf of the City with all issues focused on the long-term recovery from the Pulse tragedy. In this role, Felipe managed deliverables, removed barriers, and created qualifiers and quality standards for those who would be served by the Orlando United Assistance Center (OUAC), a program created to provide services to those directly impacted by the Pulse tragedy. The OUAC was made possible by a collaboration between the City of Orlando, Orange County, and Heart of Florida United Way. Felipe advocated and supported the various stakeholders of the mental health and social service systems, the LGBTQ+ community, and communities of color, all of whom are integral in the creation of a successful support system.

A proud immigrant from Brazil, Felipe came to Miami when he was only 14 years old. 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 also worked with Presente.org, an organization seeking to solve some of the most pressing issues impacting the Latino community through communication strategies.

A graduate of Miami-Dade College with an Associate of Arts in International Relations and a bachelor’s degree in Business Studies with a Minor in Economics from St. Thomas University, Felipe was also Co-Director of GetEQUAL, a national social justice LGBTQ organization; served as the Deputy Managing Director at United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth network in the country; and worked at ThoughtWorks, a multinational software company, working at the Office of Social Change Initiatives as the Director of Strategic Partnerships.

Felipe has a long track record of creating strategic and collaborative partnerships in philanthropy, government, private, and the non-profit sectors. His lived experience as an undocumented immigrant and LGBTQ+ person has been the guiding light in his advocacy for equity. He believes those most impacted by issues should be at the forefront of their own struggle for liberation, which includes changing unjust laws, building solidarity movements, and providing life-saving services. Most importantly, he believes in the power of love.

Felipe is happily married to Luis Sousa-Lazaballet (he/him) and together they have a beautiful puppy, Cosito.

He is the co-chair for Orlando’s WorldPride 2026 bid, and he is the chair of the One Orlando Alliance board of directors.