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Christina Vela


Christina Vela

Dr. Christina Vela, Chief Executive Officer of St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, has more than two decades of professional and progressive human and social service experience that includes developing and administering foster care, homeless and supportive services to children, youth, transition age-youth and their families.

She has worked at the non-profit level as the Executive Director and the Chief Program Officer for St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, a Manager for the Clark County Department of Family Services, Social Services Program Specialist for the State of Nevada and a Program Specialist for the Federal Administration for Children and Families-Children’s Bureau in Washington DC.  More recently, Christina has been the Coordinator for the State of Nevada Coalition to Prevent the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.

Vela holds her Doctorate in Public Policy and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. She is a proud alumnus of Emerge Nevada, Leadership Las Vegas Class of 2013, Jameson Fellows and Clark County Leadership Academy.

Vela was selected as a 2024 National Board Member for the Family Focused Treatment Association (FFTA) and currently sits on the Clark County Juvenile Justice Community Advisory Committee and the City of Henderson Housing Advisory Committee. In 2023, she was awarded the Million Dollar Master Award for outstanding fundraising leadership. In 2021, judges selected Vela as the Humanitarian of the Year Award for Vegas Inc’s Angel Awards. She also received the 2020 NAWBO Women of Distinction Award, the 2020 Vistage Member Excellence Impact Award, and Vegas Inc.’s 2018 Women to Watch coveted award. Christina is a National Board Member for The Family Focused Treatment Association and a member of the Nevada Forum of the International Women’s Forum. She was a member of the Board of Trustees for the CASA Foundation of Las Vegas and has led St. Jude’s Ranch for Children to receive the Women’s Chamber of Commerce Athena Award and a bronze medal for volunteerism from the Governor’s Point of Light Awards.

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