The Team

  Deborah Azer

Program Manager

Deb, originally from Boston, USA, joined Huaywasi’s team in June 2019 as a Business Development Intern and continued to work remotely after departing from Huaycán. In June 2020 she graduated to a full-time employee and became the new Huaywasi Program Manager! Her degree is in International Sustainable Fashion, and she’s working to streamline operations and market the best Huaywasi products through the artisans' greatest talents. Deb is passionate about ethical fashion, traveling, yoga, and of course eating as much local Peruvian food as she possibly can (her favorite is ceviche)!


Lara DeVries
Founder & Advisor
Lara, originally from the suburbs of Chicago, moved to Huaycán, Peru in 2009 after founding the Light and Leadership Initiative. Since 2009, she's worked with a steady team of volunteers (both local and international) and LLI staff members to improve Peruvian education for women, teens and kids. She's passionate about the Huaywasi artisan project because it provides not only fair wages to women, but educational opportunities to advance their careers and personal lives.
Having lived in Lima for almost 8 years, she just recently moved back to Chicago with her husband (and new baby Gael!) and loves a good Chilcano (pisco, ginger ale and lime juice--yum).


Maria Llanos Martell

Executive Director

Maria LLanos Martell LLI and Huaywasi Executive Director

Maria, based in Lima, is the Executive Director of The Light and Leadership Initiative, responsible for the strategic direction, vision, growth, and performance of the organization. Maria joined our team in September 2020 as a seasoned professional with more than 20 years of strategic communications experience and she holds an MA in Interpersonal Communication & Media from Fairfield University along with a Bachelor’s Degree in Corporate Communications from the University of Lima. She is known for driving brand growth, maximizing operational excellence and delivering financial performance. As a long time supporter of animal welfare and gender equality, Maria is passionate about incorporating sustainable sourcing options into Huaywasi’s operations. She is an avid running and hiking enthusiast. Her favorite Peruvian dish is mushroom ceviche and picarones are her favorite Peruvian dessert. She lives with her husband and her rescued dogs.

 Catya  Martinez-Gloria

Storytelling Marketing Intern

Catya, a proud Texan with Tejano roots, resides in Georgia where she has worked remotely with Huaywasi since June 2021. As a Storytelling Marketing Intern, she focuses on building an engaging narrative within marketing tactics to humanize content that may otherwise seem primarily automated. Currently pursuing a degree in Fashion Marketing & Management from the Savannah College of Art & Design, Catya also holds a minor in Fibers where she applies her interests in Textile Studies and Print & Pattern Design. Introduced to Chavín Textiles and Andean culture in a Textile History course, Catya has since used Peruvian weavings as a source of inspiration for imagery in her own work. In addition to working with Huaywasi, Catya enjoys cooking, studying nutrition, running, and promoting local artists at her day job. 


Dikshya Upadhyay

Digital Marketing Intern


Dikshya, originally from Kathmandu, Nepal, currently resides in Missouri. Dikshya joined Huaywasi's team in April 2021, working remotely as a Digital Marketing Intern. After completing a Bachelor's in Fashion Design, she moved to the USA to pursue a Master's in Fashion Business and Entrepreneurship. She is also a freelance fashion illustrator and has worked in different spheres of fashion such as styling, designing, as well as public relations. Dikshya has a passion for e-commerce and fashion business particularly in the sustainability sector. 

Jacqueline Karp

Sustainable Research and Development Intern

Jacqueline Karp

Jacque, from the Chicago suburbs, began working remotely with Huaywasi as a Sustainable Research and Development Intern in February 2021. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s in International Business alongside a minor in Environmental Sustainability and Resilience at Drake University in Des Moines, IA. Jacque is passionate about nature and the environment, as well as traveling and women’s advocacy.


Nicolette  Gaboriault-Whitcomb

Sustainable Sourcing and Research Intern

Nicolette, originally from Texas, USA, joined the Huaywasi team in May 2021 as a Sustainable Sourcing and Research Intern. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s in Fashion Merchandising at Radford University in Virginia, USA. Nicolette has always had a passion for the environment, human rights, and ethical fashion. She loves the fact that Huaywasi provides the opportunity to combine all three passions into one experience! She also enjoys traveling, reading, crafting, and spending time with her family and friends.


Jordan Petteys

Artisan Storytelling & Textile Design Intern

Jordan Petteys

Jordan, from Littleton, Colorado, has served Huaywasi as an Artisan storyteller since June 2021. Jordan uses her passion for screen printing, weaving, and Peruvian textiles to elevate Huaywasi’s narrative through new product ideas, design concepts, and color choices. Jordan hopes her work with Huaywasi will influence her senior capstone project as a Fibers major at SCAD. Even still, the best part about volunteering with Huaywasi for Jordan is representing an ethical and slow fashion brand.


Previous Team Members
Yet still part of the Huaywasi family
Huaywasi would also like to thank the many dedicated LLI and Huaywasi Managers that have worked with our artisans over the past years, and helped the artisan program to grow and develop into what it is today:
Jillian Schneider, Mara de los Angeles, Justine Gilliot, Leni Rohbeck, Charlotte Bennett, Patricia Imada, Sofia Perhomaa, Jessie Sweet, Carina Martin, Naomi Campbell, Adrianna Carlesimo, Leslie Gordon, Beth Bellatti, Chelsea Mahan, Audrey Fulwiler, Abby Carrigan, Heidi Valimaki, Sarah Renkert, Ellie Hargadon-Lowe, Franzi Weil, Meri Paunonen, Shelby O'Brien, Patrícia Imada, Loli Apaéstegui, María Jose Valdivia Alzamora, Keir Hayden

Join our team! 

Are you interested in working with Huaywasi? We offer virtual and local positions in Fashion Design, Business Development, and more.