Derene began her professional career in Latin America with American Express. She is a successful international entrepreneur, comfortable in high growth, highly volatile environments, having co-founded a database marketing company in 4 countries in Latin America. For close to two decades, she was a Principal at Santiago Solutions Group, responsible for their Social Practice, linking for profit organizations with community opportunities. She has worked with a diverse set of organizations from Verizon and Johnson & Johnson to AARP, UNICEF, and Catholic Charities.
Derene has extensive experience helping nonprofits develop more sustainable financial models, devising social enterprises, fundraising, and volunteer recruitment strategies that result in increased earned income, engagement, and volunteer participation, particularly from multicultural communities. In 2008, in the midst of the great recession, Derene launched and managed the San Francisco worker owned cooperative for the nonprofit, Prospera, a social enterprise creating healthy, dignified jobs for low income Latinas.
Derene has taught at universities in the United States and in Latin America. She currently serves as an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship for UC Berkeley Extension, the Silicon Valley Immersion Program at the University of San Francisco, and as a Mentor in the Global Social Benefits Institute at the Miller Center of Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University.