Our People

Judith A. Yañez

Founder & Executive Director

As a daughter of immigrant parents and as a single mother, I relied on the support of my Northwest Arkansas community to help me navigate educational systems. It was through this support that I was able to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Master of Arts in Teaching degree from the University of Arkansas. After graduation, I served as a mathematics teacher at Springdale High School and Haas Hall Academy in Bentonville. It wasn’t until I earned my Master’s degree and served as a teacher that I was able to help my own children become exceptional students. I was able to help them identify as learners and find the educational environments that met their unique needs.

Prior to establishing RootED Northwest Arkansas, I served as the Education Program Manager at the Cisneros Center for New Americans. My work at the Cisneros Center allowed me to meet hardworking parents. Parents that did not have an education beyond elementary school, resources, or support to make confident decisions for their child’s education. These parents reminded me of my parents. This experience helped me identify my passion and purpose to help families become confident advocates for their child’s education. Opening the doors to educational options and strong foundations in education that will continue for generations to come.


Program Coordinator

Elizabeth is an Arkansas native and Colorado College graduate. She spent many years
volunteering for various organizations in Northwest Arkansas. Outside of NWA, Elizabeth has
worked for non-profits in Colorado and Los Angeles. Having grown up in the community,
Elizabeth is excited to be a part of a great and empowering resource

Alison Nail-Malone

HR & Leadership Development Consultant

Her Philosophy: People in our lives deserve the best from us. When we can’t do that for
ourselves, it’s hard to do that for others in a fulfilling way. We can’t be present for our kids,
spouses, or community if we can’t be fully present for ourselves.
Her Why: In my thirties, I faced health issues that I attribute entirely to my job. I didn’t address
the healing I needed to live out my legacy. That’s what I want to offer to my clients – the ability
to live out your legacy. I will be your cheerleader and push you to be the human you want to be.
Alison has been in the Human Resources industry for over 20 years, with certifications from
International Coaches Federation, Transform Coaching Academy, Birkman, DISC, and
Strengthfinder. As an HR recruiter, she loved strategizing with the client and the candidates to
create a win-win for both. This experience contributes to her unique ability as a leadership
She recently earned accreditation as an End of Life Doula to help the dying recognize the
meaning of their life, create open discussion between the dying and their loved ones, and guide
the family through their emotions after their loved one has passed.

Yesica De Gonzalez

Parent Leader

Yesica De Gonzalez, born and raised in El Salvador, was deeply inspired by her community
doctor’s selfless care for all, regardless of their financial situation. Dreaming of becoming a
doctor herself, Yesica’s aspirations were dampened by the economic challenges and violence
plaguing her country. In 2014, she made one of the most difficult decisions of her life, leaving
her daughter behind in El Salvador and migrating to the United States to build a foundation for a
better life.
Originally settling in California, Yesica has vast experience navigating the challenges immigrant
women face when they come to this country, yearning for something more, but faced with the
reality that a better life might not exist. Bringing her daughter to the U.S. and being pregnant
with her second child, rappled with educational inequities and the realization that her demanding
work schedule was leading to neglect of her daughter, contrasting with her ability to be a
present mother back in El Salvador. Her life had no direction, and she was seeking a path to
best support her family.
In 2021, Yesica moved to Arkansas where she found an organization that transformed her life,
offering support and resources for her to care for her daughters, one of whom was recently
diagnosed with a cognitive disability. With this support, Yesica is now the Founding CEO of
Yesica Gonzalez Services, LLC and supports organizations with community driven initiatives in
immigrant women leadership, disability and inclusion initiatives, social change communication
and community driven program design.