Paty Funegra is a passionate change maker. She founded La Cocina VA in 2013 with a vision to create real career opportunities for the unemployed and spur economic growth in the DC metro area through promoting entrepreneurship among underserved communities. At La Cocina VA, a vocational and technical education non-profit organization, participants gain culinary skills and certifications essential to succeed in the food industry and create their own small businesses. As Chief Executive Officer, she has worked tirelessly to educate and empower women, immigrants and minorities, and to build a comprehensive network of support to assure their success. Paty has built and expanded La Cocina VA to become a renowned and respected institution nationally and internationally. She has built a robust network of partners and forged deep inroads into local immigrant communities. Her unwavering commitment to helping those in need is unparalleled and she has received numerous awards and recognition for her efforts. During 2018 Paty became a speaker of the US Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Program traveling to developing countries to promote economic development through workforce and entrepreneurship. Through this program Paty has visited Honduras, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia and Equatorial Guinea.