Announcing a New Leadership Model at the Florence Project—Lauren and Lillian, Co-Executive Directors

Lillian Aponte Miranda (left) and Lauren Dasse (right), Co-Executive Directors

On behalf of the Florence Project Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that we are implementing a new Co-Executive Director Leadership Model. As the organization has grown over the years to meet the expanding need for our services, this innovative model will increase the Florence Project’s organizational capacity to strategically manage our growing organization, embrace our values of collaboration and inclusion, and further support our staff and clients, among other benefits. Please join us as we welcome Lauren Dasse and Lillian Aponte Miranda as the organization’s Co-Executive Directors.  

Lauren and Lillian have both played important roles in the organization for many years. Lauren has expertly led this organization for the past eight years as Executive Director, growing the organization from a staff of 22 to over 180, and increasing the organizational budget 15-fold to meet a rapidly growing need for our services. During her tenure as Executive Director, the Florence Project increased its services to children and adults, greatly increased the number of social workers on staff, established an Advocacy Team, deepened its communications presence, established a partnership on the U.S. Mexico border, strengthened benefits for staff, and implemented best practices in finances and development. Lauren is a humble, effective leader, and a strong believer in collaborative leadership. 

Lillian has been involved with the Florence Project for the past seven years, with her first involvement as a pro bono attorney in the Children’s Program. She later joined the Florence Project as a Staff Attorney with the Children’s Program in Phoenix, then became a Children’s Program Pro Bono Mentor, and was subsequently promoted to Pro Bono Program Manager. Most recently, Lillian has been the Children’s Program Manager, effectively and collaboratively managing the Florence Project’s largest program and being a key member of the Leadership Team. In addition, Lillian brings 11 years of experience as a law school professor focusing on international human rights and indigenous peoples’ rights and experience as a lawyer in private practice. Lillian is a kind, strategic leader who brings her enthusiasm and experience to this position.  

Together, Lauren and Lillian bring their knowledge, skills, strategy, and talent to continue leading this exceptional organization, as we celebrate our 32nd year of providing free legal and social services to detained adults and unaccompanied children facing deportation. We are grateful for their willingness to lead with compassion, dignity, and purpose, managing change, and implementing our strategic vision and mission during this critical time.   

With enthusiasm for the future, as we continue our important work together, 

Milagros Cisneros 

Board President