Our Blog

Announcing Our New Deputy Director, Teresita Maz

By Risa Wilkerson on February 20th, 2024

Teresita Photo v6

Healthy Places by Design is thrilled to welcome Teresita Maz to our team. As our new Deputy Director, Teresita will help our organization maintain high-quality, equitable, and mission-centric practices through operational excellence, financial strategy, and human resources. She will co-lead marketing, branding, and business development strategies and foster organizational innovation. Teresita will serve as a key driver of collaborative senior leadership, contributing to the advancement of Healthy Places by Design as a prominent national leader in the healthy communities field.

Over her 20-year career, Teresita has focused on creating impact where it is most needed by taking organizations to the next level of excellence, developing strategic partnerships, and working with communities to create change. Equity and social justice are at the forefront of her leadership.

For her full bio, visit the staff page on our website. In the meantime, read on to learn what excites her about this role and what brings her joy.

RW: What brings you to Healthy Places by Design?

TM: I have been following Healthy Places by Design’s work for the last six years and have developed a deep appreciation for this work. What drew me initially, and continues to resonate with me, are the organization’s core values of equity, community, integrity, and collaboration. Their focus on walking the talk, focusing on communities as the driving force, being consistent in actions, and recognizing the power of collective impact are values that create a strong foundation for effective collaboration and meaningful impact. I believe this gives purpose to the work.

I see Healthy Places by Design as a strategic connector within the social sector, bridging nonprofits, philanthropies, and other key players to create change. This is the ideal platform to contribute to translating visions of health equity into lasting impact. I think Healthy Places by Design plays a pivotal role in facilitating change and has the right mindset, tools, and passion to fulfill its mission of advancing community-led action and proven, place-based strategies to ensure health and well-being for all.

I am very excited about being part of this transformative work.


We’re happy you’re here, too. What do you look forward to doing at Healthy Places by Design?

I look forward to contributing to the development and execution of the new strategic framework, working in partnership with Risa and the team to achieve organizational outcomes, aligning financial strategies with our long-term sustainability goals, streamlining internal practices and processes, and incorporating operational excellence as an organizational practice.

As I learn more about the ins and outs of the organization, I am sure new initiatives and exciting work will emerge. I look forward to elevating Healthy Places by Design’s national influence through new collaborations and partnerships and contributing to its broader impact.


Thank you! Finally, what is a fun fact about you?

I would say my deep love for dance and movement. It’s not just a hobby; it’s a way to stay active and socially connected with my community.

For the past 13 years, I have been part of a group that showcases Latin American culture through dance called “Takiri” which in Quechua language means “Who creates music and dance.” Our members range from age 3 to older adults and represent various countries, including Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Perú, Ecuador, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, United States, and France. The majority of our dances have African, European, and Indigenous influence.

Learning a new choreography and delving into the cultural vibes of different dance forms has been an awesome journey. Dance is my source of joy and rejuvenation!


That sounds amazing! Thank you for sharing that with us. How can people reach you?

My email is I look forward to getting to know the Healthy Places by Design network!

Risa Wilkerson

Executive Director

Action-driven optimist, abundance thinker, and simplicity seeker.