Join Us in Welcoming YANA DC’s New Chapter Chair, Maria Laura Acebal YLS ’94!

Maria comes to YANA with amazing ideas and inspiration for the next stage of our DC chapter. We are grateful to Laura Kadetsky ’99, Co-founder and first Chair of YANA DC, for her three years of service to the chapter and for getting one of our biggest chapters off the ground. We look forward to even more opportunities and growth under Maria’s leadership!

Read on to learn a bit more about Maria…


Meet Maria Laura Acebal YLS ’94

Maria began her professional career with a focus on law and business, first as an attorney at the law firm of Williams & Connolly and then as a business consultant at McKinsey & Company. Today, she leads the North American youth division for the global nonprofit Ashoka, an organization credited with pioneering the international field of social entrepreneurship. Prior to joining Ashoka, Maria worked at The Orr Group, a consulting firm serving a broad range of nonprofit organizations on strategy, fundraising, and board development. Her work at Ashoka and The Orr Group is the continuation of an almost fifteen-year focus on the nonprofit sector, a shift that came when she founded an organization to promote food allergy safety in schools, camps, and daycares.

Like many founders, she set out to solve a social problem that deeply touched her personal life. That ultimately led to her becoming the CEO of the largest food allergy nonprofit in the country and to two professional highlights: initiating the work on federal legislation that eventually became the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act (signed into law by President Obama in 2013), and overseeing the merger of the country’s two leading food allergy organizations. Maria received a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1994 and a B.A. in Mathematics from Duke University in 1990. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and three kids. She is originally from La Plata, Argentina, her favorite place in the world.


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