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Las Vegas Latino Leaders™ is a registered trademark of ConnectWelch Publishing Company Purchase additional copies online

www.connectwelchpublishing.com Corporate Headquarters ConnectWelch Publishing Co. 4780 West Ann Road, Suite 5-424 North Las Vegas, NV 89031

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Copyright © 2012 by Wendy M. Welch ConnectWelch Publishing Company All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the written permission from the Publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, send requests to address above.

Photo Credits Derek Caldwell LaMonte McLemore Cover Design by: Martin Lapid

ISBN: 978-0-9854105-0-6 Paperback $25.00 each - U.S. Paperback 2    |    LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION


Foreword by Tony Sanchez 9 Letters of Greeting 10 Founder & CEO 20 Criteria for Inclusion 23 Memorial Tribute Eddie Escobedo, Sr. 27 History 28 Caesars Entertainment Corporate Spotlight 38 Southwest Airlines Corporate Spotlight 45 The Nevada Hispanic Legislative Caucus 54 Inspiring Personalities 57 NV Energy Corporate Spotlight 110 Las Vegas’ Most Influential 121 Las Vegas’ Corporate Brass 133 Las Vegas’ Community Leaders 139 Las Vegas’ Academia 149 Las Vegas’ Entrepreneurs 155 Las Vegas’ Media & Entertainment 161 Las Vegas’ Young Rising Stars 165 Las Vegas’ Professionals 169 Biographical Index 174 Advertiser’s Index 176 LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    3


ConnectWelch Publishing Co. Corporate Headquarters

4780 West Ann Road, Suite 5-424 | North Las Vegas, NV 89031 (702) 716-5764 | www.connectwelchpublishing.com Wendy M. Welch

Founder, CEO and Publisher

Zonya Adams

Brijette Alex

Derek Caldwell

Contributing Writer

Virtual Assistant

Official Photographer

Dane Maralason

LaMonte McLemore

Rhonda Shaw

Contributing Writer

Official Photographer

4    |    LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION

Executive Editor

Martin Lapid

Executive Graphic Designer

Mon Wei

Senior Editor


The legacy of leadership

Great leaders leave a mark on the communities they serve. They bring people together, create a consensus and work hard to make positive change. What is accomplished today can last for generations. Las Vegas Latino Leaders, thank you for creating a lasting legacy of success.

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NV Energy is proud of our Latino Leaders and their contributions to Nevada. Muchas Gracias!

Tony Sanchez NV Energy Senior Vice President Government & Community Strategy

Roberto Denis NV Energy Senior Vice President Energy Delivery


by

Tony  F.  Sanchez,  III

When a young Spanish scout named Rafael Rivera discovered our valley, calling it “Las Vegas,” which translates to “The Meadows,” he became the first in a long line of Latinos who would have a tremendous impact on our city. The Latino influence on Las Vegas is undeniable. Hispanic families came to Las Vegas in the early 1900s to work on the railroads. The arrival of Cubans in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and the massive influx of Mexicans and Central and South Americans in the late 1980s can be credited with bringing cultural vibrancy to a city that desperately needed it. I was born in Las Vegas, growing up here in the early 1970s when the Latino population didn’t even register in the double digits. I graduated from Valley High School and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, during a time when being the only Latino in a classroom full of students was the norm. That is no longer the case. Ten years ago, Latinos accounted for approximately 20 percent of the population. Today, Latinos make up almost 30 percent of our population in Southern Nevada, and a larger component of the student population within the Clark County School District. In a relatively short period of time, the Latino presence has grown dramatically, and that influence is not going unnoticed. Last year marks the first ever Nevada Hispanic Legislative Caucus with an unprecedented and historic eight elected officials in office, including two state senators, and seven members of the assembly. Even more impressive is the fact that four of the elected officials are women. They are making history in their own right as the first four Latinas to be elected to the state Legislature. Factor in the once-every –decaderedistricting process, and the prospect of future representation is bright indeed.

Tony  F.  Sanchez,  III

Senior Vice President Government and Community Strategy NV Energy Our impact has been felt in the business community as well. The Latin Chamber of Commerce, which was still in its infancy when I was growing up, is now a strong and vibrant organization with more than 1,200 members. Latino-owned businesses are now commonplace across this valley. Large supermarket chains, television and radio stations, successful restaurants and professionals are all thriving in this city. My desire is to leave Las Vegas a better place, not only for my family, but for those coming behind me. This book is a tribute to the individuals who paved the way for me and for those who will follow in the future. My hope is that the next generation of leaders featured in this book will open the doors even more for those coming after them. So I extend my heartfelt thanks to the leaders of yesteryear, and I applaud and congratulate all of the individuals highlighted in this book. Here’s to you… the Who’s Who of Latinos in Las Vegas.

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8da_fZWaXX[UWaX ?Skad5Sda^k`9 9aaV_S`

 

  CAROLYN G. GOODMAN MAYOR  

CITY  OF  LAS  VEGAS   400  STEWART  AVENUE   LAS  VEGAS,  NEVADA  89101         VOICE  702.229.6241   FAX  702.385.7960   TTY  702.386.9108     EMAIL  cgoodman@lasvegasnevada.gov   WEBSITE    www.lasvegasnevada.gov    

 



          August  29,  2011                   Dear  Friends,     On  behalf  of  the  citizens  of  the  great  City  of  Las  Vegas,  it  is  my  distinct  pleasure   to  offer  congratulations  on  the  inaugural  edition  of  Las  Vegas  Latino  Leaders,  a   publication  celebrating  the  achievements  and  triumphs  of  our  revered  Latino   population.     Las  Vegas  is  proud  to  celebrate  diversity  and  the  unique  features  within  each   culture  that  combine  to  create  an  exciting,  vibrant  community.    By  showcasing   Latino  leaders,  artists,  educators  and  activists,  ConnectWelch  Publishing  reminds   us  of  the  outstanding  accomplishments  of  our  neighbors  and  friends.     Therefore,  I  offer  sincere  congratulations  to  those  who  are  featured  in  this   inaugural  publication,  as  well  as  to  those  at  ConnectWelch  Publishing  for  their   ongoing  dedication  to  the  City  of  Las  Vegas.    Your  interest  and  activism  are   greatly  appreciated.    Best  wishes  in  all  of  your  future  endeavors.     Sincerely,  

&DURO\Q**RRGPDQ 0D\RU&LW\RI/DV9HJDV



       

™ THE  INAGURAL  EDITION    |    11 LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS    |    |  T  HE  INAUGURAL  EDITION


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8da_fZWaXX[UWaX ?Skad5Sda^k`9 9aaV_S`

 

  CAROLYN G. GOODMAN MAYOR  

CITY  OF  LAS  VEGAS   400  STEWART  AVENUE   LAS  VEGAS,  NEVADA  89101         VOICE  702.229.6241   FAX  702.385.7960   TTY  702.386.9108     EMAIL  cgoodman@lasvegasnevada.gov   WEBSITE    www.lasvegasnevada.gov    

 



          August  29,  2011                   Dear  Friends,     On  behalf  of  the  citizens  of  the  great  City  of  Las  Vegas,  it  is  my  distinct  pleasure   to  offer  congratulations  on  the  inaugural  edition  of  Las  Vegas  Latino  Leaders,  a   publication  celebrating  the  achievements  and  triumphs  of  our  revered  Latino   population.     Las  Vegas  is  proud  to  celebrate  diversity  and  the  unique  features  within  each   culture  that  combine  to  create  an  exciting,  vibrant  community.    By  showcasing   Latino  leaders,  artists,  educators  and  activists,  ConnectWelch  Publishing  reminds   us  of  the  outstanding  accomplishments  of  our  neighbors  and  friends.     Therefore,  I  offer  sincere  congratulations  to  those  who  are  featured  in  this   inaugural  publication,  as  well  as  to  those  at  ConnectWelch  Publishing  for  their   ongoing  dedication  to  the  City  of  Las  Vegas.    Your  interest  and  activism  are   greatly  appreciated.    Best  wishes  in  all  of  your  future  endeavors.     Sincerely,  

&DURO\Q**RRGPDQ 0D\RU&LW\RI/DV9HJDV



       

™ THE  INAGURAL  EDITION    |  |    13 LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS      |  |    T  HE  INAUGURAL  EDITION 1


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8da_fZWaXX[UWaX ?Skad5Sda^k`9 9aaV_S`

 

  CAROLYN G. GOODMAN MAYOR  

CITY  OF  LAS  VEGAS   400  STEWART  AVENUE   LAS  VEGAS,  NEVADA  89101         VOICE  702.229.6241   FAX  702.385.7960   TTY  702.386.9108     EMAIL  cgoodman@lasvegasnevada.gov   WEBSITE    www.lasvegasnevada.gov    

 



          August  29,  2011                   Dear  Friends,     On  behalf  of  the  citizens  of  the  great  City  of  Las  Vegas,  it  is  my  distinct  pleasure   to  offer  congratulations  on  the  inaugural  edition  of  Las  Vegas  Latino  Leaders,  a   publication  celebrating  the  achievements  and  triumphs  of  our  revered  Latino   population.     Las  Vegas  is  proud  to  celebrate  diversity  and  the  unique  features  within  each   culture  that  combine  to  create  an  exciting,  vibrant  community.    By  showcasing   Latino  leaders,  artists,  educators  and  activists,  ConnectWelch  Publishing  reminds   us  of  the  outstanding  accomplishments  of  our  neighbors  and  friends.     Therefore,  I  offer  sincere  congratulations  to  those  who  are  featured  in  this   inaugural  publication,  as  well  as  to  those  at  ConnectWelch  Publishing  for  their   ongoing  dedication  to  the  City  of  Las  Vegas.    Your  interest  and  activism  are   greatly  appreciated.    Best  wishes  in  all  of  your  future  endeavors.     Sincerely,  

&DURO\Q**RRGPDQ 0D\RU&LW\RI/DV9HJDV



       

™ THE  INAGURAL  EDITION INAUGURAL  EDITION    |  |    15 LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS      |  |    T  HE   1


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8da_fZWaXX[UWaX ?Skad5Sda^k`9 9aaV_S`

 

  CAROLYN G. GOODMAN MAYOR  

CITY  OF  LAS  VEGAS   400  STEWART  AVENUE   LAS  VEGAS,  NEVADA  89101         VOICE  702.229.6241   FAX  702.385.7960   TTY  702.386.9108     EMAIL  cgoodman@lasvegasnevada.gov   WEBSITE    www.lasvegasnevada.gov    

 



          August  29,  2011                   Dear  Friends,     On  behalf  of  the  citizens  of  the  great  City  of  Las  Vegas,  it  is  my  distinct  pleasure   to  offer  congratulations  on  the  inaugural  edition  of  Las  Vegas  Latino  Leaders,  a   publication  celebrating  the  achievements  and  triumphs  of  our  revered  Latino   population.     Las  Vegas  is  proud  to  celebrate  diversity  and  the  unique  features  within  each   culture  that  combine  to  create  an  exciting,  vibrant  community.    By  showcasing   Latino  leaders,  artists,  educators  and  activists,  ConnectWelch  Publishing  reminds   us  of  the  outstanding  accomplishments  of  our  neighbors  and  friends.     Therefore,  I  offer  sincere  congratulations  to  those  who  are  featured  in  this   inaugural  publication,  as  well  as  to  those  at  ConnectWelch  Publishing  for  their   ongoing  dedication  to  the  City  of  Las  Vegas.    Your  interest  and  activism  are   greatly  appreciated.    Best  wishes  in  all  of  your  future  endeavors.     Sincerely,  

&DURO\Q**RRGPDQ 0D\RU&LW\RI/DV9HJDV



       

™ THE  INAGURAL  EDITION INAUGURAL  EDITION    |  |    17 LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS      |  |    T  HE   1




8da_fZWaXX[UWaX ?Skad5Sda^k`9 9aaV_S`

 

Shari L. Buck M ay or

Department Name

 



 ada 89030 ¡ North Las Vegas, Nev ic Center Drive, Suite 100 0) 326-6868 Civ 0 (80 220 D: TD ¡ 39  -13 CAROLYN G. GOODMAN (702) 633 (702) 633-1007 ¡ Fax: : one eph Tel m s.co MAYOR     www.cityofnorthlasvega

      August  29,  2011         ing Company ConnectWelch Publi  sh 424   , Suite 54780 West Ann Road   89031 North Las Vegas, NV   h Publishing Company:   ectWelc Dear Friends at Conn s Vegas Dear  Friends,   inaugural edition of La the of n tio ca bli pu the u on   ratulate yo I am pleased to cong l. fal s On  behalf  of  the  citizens  of  the  great  City  of  Las  Vegas,  it  is  my  distinct  pleasure   Latino Leaders™ thi people in our to  offer  congratulations  on  the  inaugural  edition  of  Las  Vegas  Latino  Leaders,  a   of the hardest working me so to ute trib le mb ys hu s have made great This publication papublication  celebrating  the  achievements  and  triumphs  of  our  revered  Latino   ries grace these page sto d an s me na e os wh their own passions ople population.   community. The pe inspiring others follow ile wh , ity un mm co ir the strides toward impr  oving r place. tte be a rld Las  Vegas  is  proud  to  celebrate  diversity  and  the  unique  features  within  each   wo and make the The people culture  that  combine  to  create  an  exciting,  vibrant  community.    By  showcasing   cation and its readers. bli pu s thi of rs tho au ulate, and tulations to the ure generations to em fut I extend my congraLatino  leaders,  artists,  educators  and  activists,  ConnectWelch  Publishing  reminds   for d ar nd sta a t se blication have ic responsibility. honored in this puus  of  the  outstanding  accomplishments  of  our  neighbors  and  friends.   ethic, humanity and civ rk wo of y ac leg ir the   ultimately carry on Therefore,  I  offer  sincere  congratulations  to  those  who  are  featured  in  this   inaugural  publication,  as  well  as  to  those  at  ConnectWelch  Publishing  for  their   , ely Sincer ongoing  dedication  to  the  City  of  Las  Vegas.    Your  interest  and  activism  are   greatly  appreciated.    Best  wishes  in  all  of  your  future  endeavors.     CITY  OF   i L.   Buck arVEGAS ShLAS   Sincerely,   400  STEWART  AVENUE   yor89101   Ma LAS  VEGAS ,  NEVADA         VOICE  702.229.6241   FAX  702.385.7960   TTY  702.386.9108    

EMAIL  cgoodman@lasvegasnevada.gov   WEBSITE    www.lasvegasnevada.gov    

 

&DURO\Q**RRGPDQ 0D\RU&LW\RI/DV9HJDV

       

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A  Message  from the

A

s I speak to audiences throughout the country, often times I am asked about my motivation to be a part of the publishing world. For many of my colleagues, it is the love of words that serves as inspiration to create. For me, however, it is my desire to tell the story less told. It is the exclusive story of a great community whose history, people and culture is filled with dignity, honor, resilience and pride. It is a story that always surprises the reader with the magnitude of the successes, sacrifices and triumphs of those who realize the altitude of their potential. Over the past few years, I have had the good fortune of traveling throughout this wonderful state, meeting accomplished Latino leaders whose backgrounds are varied and whose career paths are diverse. These inspiring individuals told their stories to me with unbelievable passion, sharing intimate details of their triumphs over misfortune, strong family bonds, sacrifices, resolve, and the sheer love and appreciation for this country, this state and their community. With each story, I was amazed at the depth of the talent, perseverance, national influence, community outreach, and more importantly, the strength in the heart of these individuals. Today, I am truly honored and thrilled to bring those same inspiring stories of greatness to this wonderful community, with this inaugural edition of Las Vegas Latino Leaders™. 20    |    LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION

Wendy  Welch

CEO ConnectWelch Publishing

You will find that these men and women represent every segment of Nevada’s Latino community politically, economically and socially. They are civic leaders, successful business executives, social activists and trailblazers. Their stories may start at immigration or before, on a migrant farm or in another state. Each has traveled a journey that has led to success. The pages in this volume serve as an all-encompassing display of the vast achievement and notable accomplishments of individuals who have positively influenced the Las Vegas community and set the standard for those who follow.


I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Hannah “Mother” Brown for her continued support and guidance. I am indeed grateful that Tony F. Sanchez contributed an outstanding foreword to this inaugural edition. Additionally, special thanks to Odalys Carmona, Chelsie Campbell, Nancy Alamo and Judy Fleischman for diligently working on the advisory committee. The undying support that I received from the advisory committee was, without question, the lifeline to the success of this undertaking. Bringing such a huge undertaking to fruition takes the support and hard work of lots of people to whom I am extremely thankful. I want to express my sincere appreciation to our ConnectWelch Publishing team for their continued loyalty, dedication and creativity. Lastly, thank you to Zonya Adams, Brijette Alex, Phyllis Bailey, Rory McAlister, Jerrie Merritt, Roxann McCoy, Vicki Palmer and Roosevelt Williams, Jr. for your unwavering support through your listening, advising and encouragement in this endeavor, coupled with your unconditional love. I would also be remiss if I didn’t express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to Chief José Armando Elique, of the University of Nevada Las Vegas Police Department, whose contribution, chronicling the historical journey of Latinos in Las Vegas, serves as the essential backdrop for the wonderful stories told in this volume. Thank you also José for extending your services as the backup “proof reader” to my editors.

be possible. You have not only supported our publication, but you have sown the stories and profiles of leadership and courage in the lives of Las Vegas’ future generations. Our mission as a company is to highlight the positive achievements of Latino Americans in the local markets we serve. In doing so, many of our readers can become more acquainted with those in their own backyard whose achievements and accomplishments we are not likely to see featured on the evening news. My hope is that each of you who read this edition will have an opportunity to expose Las Vegas’ next generation of leaders, our youth, to this awe-inspiring edition! I am honored to be a part of this remarkable legacy started by pioneers like Eddie Escobedo, Sr., who founded El Mundo Newspaper, one of numerous accomplishments, and was a sagacious, inspirational mentor to many. I trust that this book will serve as a historical reference guide that will educate, inspire and build networks so that our community will continue to prosper and reach the greatness proudly exhibited by the men and women included in this volume. Sincerely,

Without the support of our sponsors and advertisers, this inaugural edition would not LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    21


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Las Vegas Latino Leaders’™ sincere objective is to recognize those who have made a significant impact in their profession or as community leaders, serving the needs of residents throughout the Las Vegas Valley. Considerable effort was made to include all whose accomplishments are noteworthy. We relied heavily on conventional resources, traditional networks and recommendations from those whom we deemed exemplary, insightful and well connected to the community. As with any publication; however, we acknowledge that there may be stones unturned and incomplete lists; those whom we may have overlooked or who chose not to be included. Again, we stress that our goal was to include all whose contributions have made significant impact in their professional disciplines or throughout the Las Vegas Valley. During the process, we invited participants to send biographies. We have included the data in the publication, relying on the integrity of the information submitted and should not be held responsible for the accuracy. Throughout this endeavor, participants were informed that their inclusion would be at the discretion of the publisher, and there would not be any payment, either to the participant or the publisher, for inclusion rights. Comments and other concerns should be addressed to: ConnectWelch Publishing Company 4780 West Ann Road, Suite 5-424 North Las Vegas, NV 89031 Phone: (702) 716-5764 Email: editorial@connectwelchpublishing.com www.connectwelchpublishing.com

LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    23


Difference 1

Thank you for moving the community forward. We’re proud to support the Inaugural Edition of The Las Vegas Latino Leaders. American Family Insurance salutes your efforts in making your community a better place: A strong, diverse group of people who got that way by refusing to accept the status quo–by moving forward without leaving their heritage behind. Thank you for the opportunity to do our part.

American Family Mutual Insurance Company and its Subsidiaries American Family Insurance Company Home Office – Madison, WI 53783 ©2011 005197 – 6/11


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6/21/11 10:16:17 PM


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Heart  and  Soul:  A

 

 

 

 

     Tribute  to

Eddie  Escobedo,  Sr. By Dane Maralason

W

hile many use their success to escape their origins, Eddie Escobedo loved his community and used his success to help others achieve their full potential. Eddie Escobedo entered this world deprived of comforts but he achieved in life a pinnacle of success that is, to most of us, only a dream. Well told by many is Escobedo’s American dream story of crossing the border, joining the Air Force, rising from bar back to head bartender, operating the area’s first Spanish-language movie theater, building the first Hispanic business center, and starting El Mundo Newspaper while he continued to tend bar at the Sahara. But what made him great is how he touched so many lives during his own journey toward success. Escobedo inspired Jose Gutierrez to follow his dream. Escobedo loaned Gutierrez $2,000 to help him buy his first tortilla machine from Mexico. “I had everything set to go except permits,” Gutierrez remembered. “When the health department would not approve this unfamiliar machine, Escobedo went to their top guy and made my case. I got approved!” In the years that followed, Los Arcos Tortillas became the largest tortilla maker west of the Mississippi. Javier Barajas and Escobedo were strangers when Escobedo first helped him become successful. Barajas remembers, “We only had six tables and I needed a liquor license to grow.” But a DUI from years before made that impossible. “I stood there before the commissioners and no one would approve me. Then, from the back of the room, a man I didn’t even know came forward to speak on my behalf. He told the commissioners, ‘Everybody makes a mistake. He won’t do it again. If he can’t expand his business who will take care of his kids? We need businesses like his in our community!’ He talked for 15 minutes,” said Barajas. “And when he sat down, every light turned green. I was approved!”

Barajas expanded Michoacan Mexican Restaurant which today employs more than 300 people. Escobedo inspired Maria Teresa Huffman, a cosmetologist, who once prepared Escobedo for a television appearance. “When I saw Eddie sometime later at a community event, he recognized me, came over and talked to me. He inspired me to believe in myself, she said. “I felt that if he liked my work, I must be good!” She continues that to this day. His words resonate in her mind to do her best, have faith in what the future holds and remember that she is somebody. Amazingly, all three of these people made one common request: “Talk to others.” Saying what Escobedo did for them was no different than what he did for many. Nobody wanted to think that theirs was the only example of Escobedo’s contribution. Escobedo was talented, motivated, brilliant and loving, but his greatness, the stuff of legends, is how he used his skills and ability, his fortune and fame, his heart and soul, to help everybody he could to achieve their dreams and rise to their highest pinnacle in order to fully experience everything life had to offer. Escobedo will be missed, never forgotten and will always be loved by those whose lives he touched. LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    27


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T

hroughout America’s history, the world rapidly

Mexican governing authorities, were subsequently used

came to perceive the country as distinctive. It was

by a Mexican trade caravan led by Mexican merchant

the land of opportunity; a place unlike any other

Antonio Armijo. Armijo helped establish a trade

on the planet, where anything

route from New Mexico to Los

could be achieved if one dreamed

Angeles. The caravan, comprised

big enough, aspired, and worked

of approximately 60 men, had

hard to make it a reality. The term

amongst its ranks an adventurous

“American Dream” was coined

Mexican by the name of Rafael

in the 1800s and described the

Rivera. On Christmas Day in

aspirations of pioneers headed

1829, Rivera and others were sent

west in search of land and riches.

on a scouting mission by Armijo,

But some of these pioneers and

whose group was now camped on

immigrants did not just travel

the Virgin River northeast of Las

west from the eastern part of

Vegas. A few days later, Rivera

the U.S. Most were of Latino

returned and advised that he

or Hispanic origins, some who had arrived decades and even centuries before. They would play a significant role in the history of the American Southwest and the city of Las Vegas. Jedediah Smith, an American explorer and mountain man,

 Jeff Mosier, Southwest View (newspaper) - A statue of Rafael Rivera mounted on a horse is displayed outside the city of Las Vegas’ Rafael Rivera Community Center at 2900 E. Stewart Ave. A scout for Spanish explorer Antonio Armijo, Rivera is widely credited with becoming, in 1830, the first non-native person to enter the Las Vegas Valley. At least one local historian, however, says there’s scant evidence that Rivera was the first in Armijo’s party to arrive here.

had discovered a shortcut where he could observe springs and meadows thriving in the desert. Rivera and his fellow travelers named the area Las Vegas, which in Spanish means “The Meadows.” In the 19th century, small areas of the Las Vegas Valley contained

founded the Las Vegas Valley with an exploratory

artesian wells, which supported extensive green areas.

group he led in 1827. The maps and routes discovered

So it is easy to see why Rivera named the area Las Vegas

by Smith, and other maps acquired by Spanish and

upon his discovery. It is also clear that Hispanic and

LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    29


Latino culture and influence have been a part of Las

as a part owner of one of the Comstock Lodes most

Vegas since its discovery.

productive mines. His name was Gabriel Maldonado.

While Rivera is credited with discovering Las Vegas, it

Nevada has always had a notable ranching industry. A

was not until 1845 that John C. Fremont, appointed by

Mexican named Guadalupe S. Garcia became world

President James K. Polk in anticipation of the war with

renowned for his saddle making craftsmanship when

Mexico, led a group of scientists, scouts and spies for

one of his artistic hand-tooled saddles was displayed

the Army Corps of Engineers and printed 20,000 maps

at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Mo. The Elko

identifying Las Vegas as a “watering spot.” One could

resident was awarded a gold medal for his entry.

argue that even this early expedition and mapping of Las Vegas was influenced by Mexicans, since the exploration and establishment of a clandestine fort in the Las Vegas Springs was done in anticipation of war with Mexico, which would subsequently make the Las Vegas area American territory. The clandestine fort pre-dates the Las Vegas Mormon Fort by 10 years, which was the first permanent, non-native settlement in the valley.

Gambling was legalized in Nevada in 1931. Organized crime was quick to recognize the potential for reaping millions of dollars, and by 1947, with the opening of the Flamingo, became firmly entrenched in the local industry. Even during these early days, there was a Latino connection and influence. Cuban President Gen. Fulgencio Batista formed a business relationship with Meyer Lansky and Charles “Lucky” Luciano of the mob. Lansky and Luciano extended the gambling

Nevada became a state in 1864 and Las Vegas officially

empire they built in Las Vegas and Miami to Havana,

a city in 1911. Throughout this period to present day,

Cuba, where a percentage of the profits from Cuban

people from Latin America and Spain have made their

casinos went to Batista and toward expansions of

presence felt in varying degrees in “The Entertainment

organized crime gambling operations in Las Vegas.

Capital of the World” and throughout Nevada.

After Fidel Castro overthrew the Batista Regime in

Hispanics were involved early on in the state’s mining

1959, the new Cuban Revolutionary Government

discoveries using a method invented by a Spaniard

seized all American-owned businesses and the great

dating back to the 16th century. A Latino was also listed

exodus of Cuban nationals began. Many Cuban exiles

30    |    LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION


leaving the island had been employed in the gambling

of all types can be enjoyed throughout the hundreds

industry, which had flourished under Batista and his

of entertainment venues in Las Vegas, and the city has

mob partners. Las Vegas became the preferred final

even hosted the Latin Grammy Awards showcasing

destination of Cuban expatriates with gambling casino

Latin entertainers from around the world to a national

experience.

audience.

Almost a decade earlier, Latinos

As the population in general has

were already making their mark

risen, so has the Latino influx.

in the Las Vegas entertainment

According to the 2010 Census, the

industry. During the late 1940s

racial/ethnic composition of Las

and throughout the 1950s, Latin

Vegas was as follows:

music was embraced in many U.S.

t 8IJUF /PO)JTQBOJD-BUJOP o

cities. New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas had all been captivated

62.1%

by the rhythms and sounds of the

t )JTQBOJD PS -BUJOP o 

Latin beat. The mambo, salsa,

(24% Mexican, 1.4% Salvadoran,

cha-cha and rumba had arrived

0.9% Puerto Rican, 0.9% Cuban,

from Cuba and Puerto Rico, later

0.6% Guatemalan, 0.2% Peruvian,

followed by the merengue from the Dominican Republic. As the popularity of this music grew, so

0.2% Columbian, 0.2% Honduran, Desi Arnaz

did the appearance of live bands, singers and dance entertainers in many of the Las Vegas showrooms. Well-known and now legendary Hispanic entertainers such as Xavier Cugat, Pupi Campos, Carmen Miranda and Desi Arnaz appeared on Vegas stages, including the Flamingo and the Dunes. Today, Hispanic entertainers

& 0.2% Nicaraguan) t "GSJDBO"NFSJDBOo t "TJBO"NFSJDBO o   'JMJQJOP   Chinese, 0.5% Korean, 0.4% Japanese, 0.4% Indian, 0.2% Vietnamese, 0.2% Thai) t 5XPPSNPSFSBDFTo

LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    31


t /BUJWF"NFSJDBO t /BUJWF)BXBJJBOBOEPUIFS1BDJÄ•D*TMBOEFS Almost one-third of the Las Vegas population is comprised of Latinos and Hispanics. The surge in Latino immigration began gradually in the 1940s and 1950s with the popularity of Latin music and Latino entertainers. However, much like other American

particularly in Las Vegas where at least 20 Latino and Hispanic cultures call the city home. As the Hispanic population in Las Vegas grew and a community began to emerge, several Hispanics provided inspiration, leadership and guidance. The most notable are Otto Merida, a Cuban-American, and the late Eddie Escobedo, Sr., a Mexican-American.

cities of that era, Las Vegas entertainment venues were

Escobedo, who died in October 2010, was born in

segregated between black and white owned businesses,

Juarez, Mexico, in 1932. He crossed the border as a teen

and catered to a white-only clientele. While the impact

and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force as a means to obtain

of these misguided policies was not felt as harshly by

U.S. citizenship. After serving in the U.S. military, he

well-known Hispanic entertainment acts, Hispanics

worked several jobs in Las Vegas including bar tending,

were limited in employment even in low paying menial

entertainment promoter, community organizer, and

positions at white owned hotels and clubs. Because of

successful entrepreneur and businessman. After

employment deals with black worker groups, many

opening a Spanish language movie theater and

clubs and hotels favored African-American workers

developing the Escobedo Professional Plaza, he went

and the Hispanic population actually decreased briefly

on to become renowned in the Latino journalism

and significantly by the mid-1950s.

community. He co-owned a Spanish language radio

During the following decades, as the Las Vegas Valley grew and especially over the last 25 years, Nevada’s Hispanic and Latino communities emerged and expanded rapidly. While there are significant Latino populations in the Reno-Carson City area and in the ranching regions of Northern Nevada, the largest numbers of Hispanics are in Southern Nevada,

32    |    LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION

station and founded the El Mundo Newspaper, which is considered his signature achievement. It is still in publication and informs the Las Vegas Hispanic community in their native language. Throughout his life in Las Vegas, Escobedo was committed to helping the Hispanic community through his works of charity, motivating through example, and using his


considerable influence to empower all Latinos. Otto Merida was born in Havana, Cuba, and came to the United States following the Castro Revolution in 1961. Merida arrived in Las Vegas in 1974 and was committed to his heritage and empowering the Hispanic community. He was an organizer and founding member of the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce in 1978. His name is synonymous with

Tony Alamo, Sr. came to the United States from Cuba when he was 19 years old. Working in several positions of increasing responsibility in the Las Vegas gaming industry, he quickly rose through the ranks becoming one of its top executives as senior vice president of the Mandalay Resort Group. He is extremely well known as a supporter of Hispanics in the community as well as in the gaming industry.

the Latin Chamber, an organization dedicated to the

Joe Cortez, a Puerto Rican from New York City, is well

betterment of the Hispanic community through the

known in Las Vegas especially in the world of boxing. A

outreach of its commercial enterprise membership affiliations, which today number well over 1,000. In addition to his notable contributions through the Latin Chamber, Merida has worked with the Las Vegas

renowned boxing referee, Cortez was recently inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame and continues to referee major boxing matches, most recently the MayweatherOrtiz fight. Cortez is a mentor to Hispanic youths

Housing Authority, Nevada Judicial Commission, and

seeking a career in the prize-fighting industry.

the Nevada Commission of Economic Development.

Lynette Sawyer, also a Puerto Rican from New York,

Merida is truly one of Las Vegas’ Hispanic pioneers and

was instrumental in establishing the Hispanic Museum

continues to use his well-earned reputation, influence

of Nevada. Founded in 1991, the mission of El Museo

and political acumen to advance the interests of Latinos

Hispano de Nevada is to enhance intercultural

in the community.

connection and understanding, while raising awareness

These gentlemen are just two of the many notable Latinos who have taken the lead in demonstrating that

and educating Las Vegans about the importance and contributions of Hispanic people.

Hispanics are an integral and viable component of the

Other notable Latinos and Latino organizations and

beautiful mosaic that comprises the vibrant community

enterprises also made and left their mark on the Las

that is Las Vegas. Here are some others.

Vegas panorama. One of the oldest Mexican civic

LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    33


organizations in Las Vegas is the Mexican Patriotic

committed to the preservation of Puerto Rican history,

Committee, headed for many years by the late

music, arts and literature.

Escobedo. This organization sponsors two celebrations and festivities a year in Freedom Park highlighting Mexican folklore, music and food.

Other Hispanic organizations serving the Las Vegas community include the Colombian Association of Las Vegas, the Center for the Culture and Folklore of Peru,

The second largest group of Latinos

and Dominicans in Nevada. Most

inhabiting Vegas comes from El

hold annual events celebrating

Salvador, making their presence

their independence from Spain.

felt

in

numerous

Salvadoran

Latinos and Hispanics continue

restaurants around the city. The

to emerge in the fields of politics,

Guatemalan Unity Committee

education, media and public safety.

of Las Vegas also represents

Notables include individuals like

Central America and sponsors a

celebration

of

Fernando Romero, a long-standing

Guatemala’s

political activist and president

independence from Spain. The

of Hispanics in Politics based in

Guatemalan community has a

Las Vegas. Bob Coffin served as a

radio program called, La Hora

member of the Nevada Legislature

Chapina, which airs on Sundays offering marimba music and Guatemalan news.

from 1983-1985 and is currently Las Vegas Sun – Fernando Romero

a Las Vegas city councilman. In

2011, the Nevada Legislature elected its largest class

The Puerto Rican Association of Las Vegas assists the

of Hispanic legislators, many who represent Las Vegas

Puerto Rican community with education, housing,

and Southern Nevada. For the first time ever, these

employment, health and safety. While this group is

leaders created a Hispanic caucus in the Legislature

committed to teaching the larger Las Vegas population

to coordinate and increase the influence of Hispanics

about the diversity of Latino culture, it is especially

in Nevada government decision-making processes.

34    |    LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION


Nevada’s newly elected governor; the honorable Brian

School District and Nevada System of Higher

E. Sandoval is a Mexican-American. He also holds the

Education. These are the mentors and teachers who

distinction of being the first Hispanic federal judge for

will mold the Latino youth into leaders of the future.

Nevada’s federal district court.

As the history of Latinos and Hispanics has evolved,

The public safety and law enforcement sector of

one thing is eminently clear; Latinos have always been

American society has traditionally been relatively

an integral part of the growth of this world-renowned

reticent in attracting Latinos or Hispanics into its ranks. Over the years, this situation has gradually improved in major cities with large Hispanic populations. The Las

city. The city has grown in all things Latino: numbers,

Vegas area has been especially proficient in attracting

contributions, prominence and success. There is no

highly qualified Hispanics to this discipline. Latinos now

doubt that the Latino youth of today will mold and

hold significant numbers in various law enforcement

guide the city as the history of Las Vegas continues to

agencies of Las Vegas and Clark County. Several

be written. The Latino history will be a proud, never-

have attained prominent supervisory and managerial

ending story and ongoing legacy of perseverance,

positions with increasing areas of responsibilities. The

distinction and honor.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is a prime example, with numerous members serving above the rank of sergeant. Three of the four Nevada System of Higher Education Police Department chiefs are Hispanic. The Clark County School District’s last two police chiefs were Hispanic. All of these positions are especially noteworthy in today’s political climate where immigration issues are often focused upon. Lastly, are the numerous dedicated Latino educators who have achieved prominence in the Clark County

LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    35


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LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    37


RECOGNITION INTEREST FOCUS 38    |    LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION

LIMELIGHT CELEBRATE ATTENTION

PROMINENCE HIGHLIGHT HEADLINE


CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT SALUTES LAS VEGAS’ LATINO LEADERS Caesars Entertainment Corporation salutes all of the honorees in the inaugural issue of “Las Vegas Latino Leaders.” Caesars Entertainment Corporation salutes of the honorees inaugural issue of “Lashas Vegas Leaders.” Your commitment to professionalism in theall workplace as wellin asthe in the Latin community notLatino gone unnoticed. Your commitment to professionalism in the workplace as well as in the Latin community has not gone unnoticed. We We applaud all of your accomplishments in contributing to the ever-growing diversity in this great city. applaud all of your accomplishments in contributing to the ever-growing diversity in this great city.

Caesars is no stranger to the diversity that is being honored in this publication. The company has been recognized is no stranger to efforts the diversity is beinggrowth honoredand in this publication.ofThe company has been recognized in inCaesars the community for its in thethat continued development diversity initiatives. the community for its efforts in the continued growth and development of diversity initiatives.

Caesars is committed to recruiting, retaining and developing the best employees regardless of race, color, religion, Caesars is committed to recruiting, retaining and developing the best employees regardless of race, color,in religion, sex, sex, age, disability or national origin. Incorporating individuals from these various groups is crucial developing disability or national origin.isIncorporating individuals from these various groups isdiversity, crucial inwhich developing a diverse aage, diverse workforce. Diversity taken much further at Caesars through cognitive celebrates and workforce. Diversity is taken much further at Caesars through cognitive diversity, which celebrates and leverages leverages contributions from individuals with different backgrounds, different cognitive processes and genetic contributions from better individuals withoutcomes. different backgrounds, different cognitive processes and genetic wiring to produce wiring to produce business better business outcomes.

We encourage a diverse work environment that fully capitalizes on the talents, skills and potential of all our We encourage a diverse work environment that fully capitalizes on the talents, skills andand potential of all our employees, employees, thus inspiring innovation. Caesars is committed to creating a dynamic innovative culture where thus inspiring innovation. Caesars is committed to creating a dynamic and innovative culture where an individual’s an individual’s growth is not only encouraged, but also rewarded, recognized and celebrated. We have strong growth is not only encouraged, but also rewarded, recognized and celebrated. We have strong mentoring, management mentoring, management development and tuition reimbursement programs to ensure that everyone has the development and tuition reimbursement programs to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to build the best opportunity to build the best career possible. Additionally, employees at Caesars Entertainment have access to career possible. Additionally, employees at Caesars Entertainment have access to no-cost language classes as well as no-cost language classes astowell as opportunities to contribute to conversations business objectives opportunities to contribute conversations surrounding business objectives throughsurrounding business resource groups. We are through business resource groups. dedicatedoperate to ensuring that all areas the organization with dedicated to ensuring that all areas ofWe theare organization with openness, equalofopportunity, mutualoperate respect and openness, equal opportunity, mutual respect and genuine pride. genuine pride. Caesars has a long-standing history of community engagement and social responsibility through its Code of Caesars has a long-standing history of community engagement and social responsibility through its Code of Commitment, which seeks totostrengthen bygiving givingsupport support and resources. Locally, Commitment, which seeks strengthenits itsoperating operating communities communities by and resources. Locally, we we are highly involved with thethe Las Vegas as aasponsor sponsorofofthe the Latin Chamber of Commerce are highly involved with Las VegasLatin Latincommunity community as Latin Chamber of Commerce and and founding member (It’s time, Citizenship!) workshop workshopcampaign. campaign. Through Hora founding memberofofYa YaEs EsHora Hora¡Ciudadanía! ¡Ciudadanía! (It’s time, Citizenship!) Through YaYa EsEs Hora workshops, HERO employee volunteers and partners at the Human Rights Campaign and Mi Familia Vota have workshops, HERO employee volunteers and partners at the Human Rights Campaign and Mi Familia Vota have assistedhundreds hundreds of toward citizenship. On a On national level, Caesars Entertainment touches assisted of their theirfriends friendsand andneighbors neighbors toward citizenship. a national level, Caesars Entertainment many additional organizations, including the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, of UnitedLeague Latin American touches many additional organizations, including the U.S. Hispanic Chamber League of Commerce, of United Citizens, National CounselNational of La RazaCounsel and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists,of as Hispanic well as the Journalists, Internationalas Latin American Citizens, of La Raza and the National Association Association of Hispanic Meeting Planners. well as the International Association of Hispanic Meeting Planners. are proud to employ support manymembers members of community featured in this theirfor their We are We proud to employ andand support many ofthe theLatin Latin community featured inissue thisfor issue excellence in our industry. excellence in our industry.

Must be 21 or older to gamble. Know When To Stop Before You Start.® Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-522-4700. ©2012, Caesars License Company, LLC.


J

acqueline Beato is the director of investor relations for Caesars Entertainment where she oversees all investor related operations, reporting and communications.

Prior to her current role, Beato worked at Harrah’s Joliet Casino as a president’s associate where she managed several teams during her tenure, including the property’s senior executive host team and members of the Casino Operations department. She also drove communication initiatives such as hosting weekly “Buzz” sessions in Spanish and translating all-property meeting information to Spanish. Previously, Beato worked at Deutsche Bank in New York where she was part of their equity derivatives trading team.

CORPORATE  SPOTLIGHT

Jacqueline  Beato

Director of Investor Relations Caesars Entertainment Corporation

Beato has been actively involved in community events throughout her career. While in Joliet, Beato served as a director for the Will-Grundy Center for Independent Living Board of Directors. During her time in New York, Beato volunteered as a mentor through Deutsche Bank, working with minority students entering the financial services industry. Beato earned her master’s of business administration from Harvard Business School as well as a bachelor’s of science in industrial engineering from the University of Miami where she graduated cum laude.

K

arina De La O’Herrera is the executive steward at Rio AllSuite Hotel & Casino where she oversees shift supervisors and line level employees who are responsible for cleaning the kitchens. Additionally, she manages the line of supply during operating hours for restaurants. De La O’Herrera began her career with Caesars Entertainment in 2002 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. She later transferred to the Bally’s Las Vegas and Paris Las Vegas as an Administration Assistant for both properties. De La O’Herrera was promoted to Shift Supervisor and worked her way up the steward department ladder to her current position.

Karina  De  La  O’Herrera

Executive Steward Caesars Entertainment Corporation

40    |    LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION

De La O’Herrera is an active member of the CodeGreen team at Paris Las Vegas, Bally’s Las Vegas and Planet Hollywood where she is the lead. She has played an instrumental role coordinating several employee Farmer’s Markets to raise money for the HERO (Caesars’ employee volunteerism program) fund. De La O’Herrera graduated from the Southern Nevada Vocational Technical Center.


E

Eric joined Caesars Entertainment in 2005 and is currently their Corporate Director of Energy and Environmental Services. He manages energy efficiency and conservation efforts across the Caesars portfolio of 50+ properties; promotes green building and certification; is responsible for wholesale energy risk management; directs environmental compliance activities; and co-leads Caesars CodeGreen sustainability program. Eric earned a bachelor’s of science in mechanical engineering from Cornell University and a master’s of business administration from UNLV. He completed U.S. Naval Nuclear Power School as a civilian while at Westinghouse. Eric is a Certified Energy Manager, a LEED Accredited Professional and a member of Senator Harry Reid’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Energy.

Eric  Dominguez

Corporate Director of Energy and Environmental Services Caesars Entertainment Corporation

J

oe Ripoll is vice president of Latin marketing for Caesars Entertainment at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. In his role he oversees the strategic marketing efforts for Caesars Entertainment resort casinos in Las Vegas. These efforts are a part of a large corporate effort comprised of a team of executives dedicated to Latin marketing across the company. During the past 20 years, Ripoll has held a variety of positions within the company where he has made significant contributions to the company’s efforts to reach out to the Latin community. In 2008, he began the Domestic Marketing Program that has proved to be a very successful tool, especially when reaching out to loyal Total Rewards customers. Ripoll takes pride in working with a company that embraces the Hispanic market. He is active in the company’s Latin business resource group, VIA, within the Diversity and Inclusion Department. Additionally, Ripoll serves as the director of the Las Vegas Walk of Stars that recognizes Las Vegans for their contributions to the City.

Joe  Ripoll

Vice President of Latin Marketing for Las Vegas Region Caesars Entertainment Corporation

Ripoll earned a bachelor’s degree in hotel administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    41

CORPORATE  SPOTLIGHT

ric Dominguez has a long and diverse career in the energy industry, promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy development in both the public and private sectors. Eric is a native of Las Vegas and is of Cuban decent; however, he spent much of his youth on the east coast living in the Bostonarea. Eric returned to Vegas nearly two decades ago where he established solid roots, marrying his lovely wife Amalia and now raising three beautiful daughters.


R

uben Sigala is the senior vice president of Enterprise Analytics for Caesars Entertainment Corporation. As a senior analytical leader, he oversees 175 employees and provides analytical support to all areas of operations as well as analytical coverage for all properties, regions and functions across Caesars Entertainment. Sigala has worked at Caesars Entertainment Corporation for more than six years. Prior to his current role, he was the vice president of Business Strategy and Revenue Management after working as the director of Pricing and Business Intelligence.

CORPORATE  SPOTLIGHT

Ruben  Sigala

Senior Analytical Leader Caesars Entertainment Corporation

Sigala is on the board of the Multicultural Business Scholars Program for his alma mater, the University of Kansas, where he mentors and facilitates scholarships for minority students and is a regular alumni speaker for the university. Sigala received a bachelor’s of science degree in finance from the University of Kansas and a master’s of business administration from Harvard University.

A

ngie Smith is the employee/labor relations advisor at Paris Las Vegas where she oversees managing grievances and partners with departments controlling employee performance to provide leadership supporting human resources. Smith was hired as a sales administrative assistant, however, within three months she was promoted to employee engagement advisor where she created and implemented the “Coffee Talk” program, led employee rallies and facilitated training classes for supervisors. Smith has participated in numerous Caesars Entertainment efforts, including volunteering with United Way, “Ya Es Hora” and blood drives.

Angie  Smith

Employee/Labor Relations Advisor Paris Las Vegas

42    |    LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION

Smith earned her bachelor’s degree from California State University San Marcos. She has lived in Las Vegas for five years with her husband. Angie’s a very active person, working out in her free time or hiking at Red Rock Canyon. She also completed her first sprint triathlon, Iron Girl at Lake Las Vegas. Smith also loves to read during some of her down time.


J

anet Turman is the director of VIP operations for Enterprise Shared Services where she oversees the development and development of new reporting capabilities for VIP guests. Turman’s overall efforts are focused on building reporting, tools, and new technology that will empower management and users to optimize performance results.

As a first generation U.S. citizen and native Las Vegan, Turman is very focused on civic duty which is reflected in her membership with the United Way Young Philanthropist Group. She has also volunteered her time with “Ya Es Hora” a citizenship assistance event sponsored by Caesars Entertainment.

Janet  Turman

Director of VIP Operations for Enterprise Shared Services Caesars Entertainment Corporation

She attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she earned a bachelor’s in accounting.

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CORPORATE  SPOTLIGHT

She began her career with Caesars Entertainment in 2005 as a consolidated operations analyst and quickly moved to fill the manager of VIP analytics position. As the manager, she was responsible for the development of new reporting capabilities for VIP guests, a segment worth over $300 million. She was also responsible for the company’s consolidated reporting to National Casino Marketing.


©2011 Southwest Airlines Co.

WE CAN SOAR TO NEW HEIGHTS TOGETHER AS ONE. Southwest Airlines® proudly partners with those who are helping to shape our communities all across America. One good deed—when coupled with another and another and another—can truly make a positive difference in our daily lives.

Southwest Airlines is Proud to support the Las Vegas community. Congratulations to all the featured Latino leaders.


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LIMELIGHT CELEBRATE ATTENTION

PROMINENCE HIGHLIGHT HEADLINE LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    45


Southwest Airlines would like to thank the publisher of Las Vegas Latino Leaders for acknowledging those who champion diversity and make a positive difference in the workplace. Additionally, we would like to congratulate the honorees who are featured for their honorable achievements.

reviewed on a regular basis from various organizations. A team of Las Vegas employees who serve on our Giving Board selects those events and activities they would like to see supported. The employees are from all different departments who live and work in the Las Vegas community.

For 40 years, Southwest Airlines has shown dedication to our employees and customers. We are fully committed to a culture of living the Golden Rule and have been successful at achieving an environment of diversity and inclusion. These basic principles are what Southwest Airlines were founded upon. We are proud to highlight our Latino Leaders in this publication and salute all those who work for Southwest Airlines.

Southwest Airlines shows its dedication to diversity and inclusion through many different avenues. We are committed to hiring employees from all different backgrounds and cultures. In addition, we have a team of people who serve on the Southwest Airlines Diversity Council, a group of volunteers from all levels at Southwest Airlines that meet every month to discuss internal and external integration issues. Laura Nieto, senior manager of Community Affairs & Grassroots, serves as a member of the Diversity Council, which is more than just a team of people from all different walks of life. It’s a group of dedicated Southwest warriors who work tirelessly to increase employee awareness of the wide diversity already represented in our workforce, and to help the company on various diversity issues. Our Diversity Council works to increase and improve supplier diversity and our efforts to do business with more women and minority owned businesses, the recruitment and advancement of women and minorities, and to create awareness of and show appreciation for cultural or lifestyle differences within our diverse workforce.

Southwest Airlines is committed to the Las Vegas community. We show our support not only through providing the people of Las Vegas and across the country the Freedom to Fly, but also through monthly donations to local nonprofit organizations. Requests are

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community outreach In 2010, the Southwest Airlines Diversity Council hosted the first Southwest Airlines Diversity Summit at our headquarters in Dallas. The summit brought approximately 100 human resources, diversity and inclusion professionals together from a variety of industries. These professionals were invited to join Southwest Airlines in a forum on diversity and inclusion to share triumphs and challenges. The theme of this event was “Join the Conversation,” and converse we did. Together, participants discussed the various challenges that people from all different backgrounds face in the workplace and worked to understand the role each person can play to make improvements in their own work environments. The group learned from guest speakers about the efforts that other companies make to create an environment of inclusion. We were fortunate to have an experienced group that was willing to speak up and share opinions, best practices and ideas for a better future. Southwest Airlines shows its dedication to the Latino community through the efforts of the Community Affairs & Grassroots Team. Southwest Airlines is involved in a number of national and local partnerships. Overall, Southwest Airlines currently boasts almost 100 national partnerships as well as more than 200 state and local partnerships while currently serving 71 cities.

In Nevada, Southwest Airlines partners with the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce, Clark County School District, individual schools and other nonprofits to support the Latino community. Las Vegas is one of Southwest’s busiest airports in terms of daily departures. We currently operate 226 daily nonstop departures to 57 cities. After 40 years of service, we continue to differentiate ourselves from other low fare carriers – offering a reliable product with exemplary customer service. We are the nation’s largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded; now serving 71 cities in 36 states, including our newest service to Charleston, GreenvilleSpartanburg, and Newark Liberty International that began in March 2011. Southwest also is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for its commitment to the triple bottom line of performance, people and planet. To read more about how Southwest Airlines is doing its part to be a good citizen, visit southwest. com/cares to read the Southwest Airlines One Report™. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,400 daily departures and has nearly 35,000 employees system-wide.

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oseph Steven Arellano began his career with Southwest Airlines in Albuquerque, N.M., in 1987 and has been in Las Vegas for the last three years. Arellano has worked in several positions with the company. As manager of administration, Arellano manages payroll related activities, staffing and interprets union contracts. Ask Arellano why he likes his job and he will say, “It’s the people. We are different from any other place I have worked. Just knowing when I wake up every day that we all are fighting to get to the same goal and to have the freedom to agree to disagree.”

CORPORATE  SPOTLIGHT

Joseph  “Joe”  Steven  Arellano Manager of Administration Southwest Airlines

Arellano owned his own restaurant before graduating from the New Mexico Department of Public Safety Police Academy. In his spare time, he supports the community by volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House and Adopt-A-School Program. The father of three also finds joy in coaching YAFL football, Little League and summer league basketball. He has been married to his wife Zeda for 24 years and they have three children; Jessica Lynn, Jon Joseph and Jacob Tomas.

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ndrew J. Loya, better known as “Andy,” has been at Southwest Airlines since 1983. As manager of ramp and operations, he plays an important role as liaison between Southwest’s ground operations and aircraft maintenance. Loya works on facility maintenance, ground maintenance, and safety special projects. Loya has worked in Las Vegas for the past 18 years and came to Vegas “to learn at a large operations airport but just forgot to leave.”

Andrew  J.  Loya

Manager of Ramp and Operations Southwest Airlines

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Loya supports his Las Vegas community by volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House and Adopt-A-School program. He has been named employee of the year for his tireless efforts at work and in the community. He was a young restaurant entrepreneur at 18 in El Paso when his friend encouraged him to apply at Southwest Airlines. He took a chance and has never looked back. Loya enjoys working with his hands and building things. He is skilled in welding, automotive mechanics, light upholstery, woodwork and general construction. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Susan, and has raised six children.


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oe Mendez is senior director of provisioning and has been with Southwest Airlines for almost 28 years. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso. He began his career with Southwest at the local airport. He worked in several positions and cities within Southwest before leading the department that supplies more than 3,400 daily flights with refreshments and other necessities. Mendez recently was an integral part of the Southwest Airlines and AirTran integration project.

During his time in Vegas, Mendez supported the community by helping to provide monthly meals to families at the Ronald McDonald House and at the local Adopt-A-School. Though he now lives in Texas, he is still an avid supporter of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas basketball team. Mendez has four children, Michael, Richard, Christopher and Veronica.

 Jose  “Joe”  Francisco  Mendez Senior Director of Provisioning Southwest Airlines

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aura S. Nieto is senior manager of Southwest Airline’s Community Affairs & Grassroots. Nieto is a passionate expert in community outreach to diverse audiences. Nieto has formed a powerful team of Community Affairs & Grassroots managers who develop strategic relationships with key constituencies and national leaders in the Hispanic, African-American, Asian, women, and LGBT communities. Their work ensures that Southwest Airlines is a trusted and valued partner in the communities it serves and confirms its commitment to championing causes that matter most in the daily lives of its customers. Nieto has developed many innovative community programs, championed the company’s multicultural initiatives among internal workgroups and external customers, and established a broad reach community affairs platform. Under her leadership, the airline has been recognized as an industry leader and outstanding corporate citizen due to its breakthrough Hispanic marketing efforts and numerous awards and accolades for corporate commitment, community outreach, diversity and inclusion.

Laura  Nieto

Senior Manager of Community Affairs & Grassroots Southwest Airlines

Nieto is a 2010 fellow of the National Hispana Leadership Institute Executive Leadership Program. The graduate of Texas Tech University earned a bachelor’s of arts in public relations. LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    49

CORPORATE  SPOTLIGHT

Before moving to Dallas headquarters, Mendez lived and worked in Las Vegas for 10 years, during which time he opened the provisioning center. The facility employs 85 and handles more than 220 daily flights. Mendez received the prestigious President’s Award at Southwest Airlines.


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osé Luis Sánchez is senior director of governmental affairs for Southwest Airlines. He works with elected and appointed officials at all levels of government throughout the country. Sánchez is active with local and national civic business organizations, including the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, Silicon Valley Leadership Group in San Jose and the Association of Commerce and Industry in New Mexico. He recently served as chairman of the state and local affairs committee for the Air Transport Association in Washington, D.C.

CORPORATE  SPOTLIGHT

 José  Luis  Sánchez

Senior Director of Governmental Affairs Southwest Airlines

A native of El Paso, he is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas School of Law. Before joining Southwest, he worked as a senior legislative aide with two members of Congress in Washington, D.C. Proud of his Mexican heritage, Sánchez collects folk art from the Mexican revolutionary period as well as Mexican religious antiques. Sánchez is a permanent ordained deacon of the Roman Catholic Church, serving in the Diocese of El Paso. He is married to Estela Mora. Together, they have two daughters.

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andy Shaw began his career at Southwest Airlines in March of 1989 and has been in Las Vegas, Nevada for 14 years. As station manager, Shaw oversees daily operations of more than 200 flights and almost 800 employees at one of the largest airports in the Southwest system. During his 22-year tenure, Shaw has held various positions in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Sacramento, California and as station manager in El Paso, Texas. Shaw is a graduate of the Level II Manager in Training Program, a leadership course at Southwest Airlines. He enjoys developing employees into future leaders for Southwest Airlines. Shaw supports the community through monthly dinners the company provides for the Ronald McDonald House and participating in activities for Adopt-A-School.

Randy  Shaw

Station Manager, Las Vegas Southwest Airlines

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Before beginning his career in the airline industry at Mesa Airlines, Shaw served four years in the Air Force. Keeping it all in the family, his wife Joyce works for Allegiant Airlines. Together they have a daughter named Darby and a dog named Bubbles.


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uan Suarez joined Southwest Airlines in 2000 and serves as associate general counsel. He specializes in employment and labor law. Suarez is responsible for providing legal counsel on various employment and labor-related issues that affect Southwest’s more than 35,000 employees. He addresses issues related to employment compliance and employee relations, negotiates collective-bargaining agreements, represents Southwest in labor arbitrations, and represents Southwest before various governmental agencies.

Suarez began his legal career as an assistant district attorney where he successfully argued both criminal trials and appellate cases. Upon leaving the district attorney’s office, Suarez worked in legislative affairs on behalf of Trinity Industries and in the area of employment law with the law firm of Epstein, Becker & Green before joining Southwest Airlines.

Juan  Suarez

Associate General Counsel Southwest Airlines

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CORPORATE  SPOTLIGHT

Suarez grew up in Oklahoma and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Oklahoma in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in public administration. He earned his juris doctorate from Cornell University Law School in 1993 with a concentration in advocacy.


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The Power… to Beat the Streets Meet Bea

One of our young leaders. She’s proof that when you combine drive and ambition with a world-class university, you’re bound to get something great.

Beatriz Alcala

’06 BA Kinesiology ’10 Doctor of Physical Therapy

Hear Bea’s story and learn how others have seized the power at

unlv.edu/videos/power LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS

   |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    53


da

N “   u e eva”  R h T e

volutio n  in

a v  N e

By Dane Maralason

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he largest bloc of Hispanics ever elected to the Nevada Legislature have, for the first time, made the Nevada Hispanic Legislative Caucus significant enough to give Latinos a voice and commanding presence in Nevada’s halls of political power. The election of 2010 saw Hispanic representation grow three-fold in just one election cycle from three assembly members to two senators and seven assembly members. Redistricting accounted for some seats, voter turnout for more, but six of the new Hispanics members were elected in non-Hispanic majority districts, meaning that the message of these candidates transcended their ethnicity. The Nevada Hispanic Legislative Caucus was formed to address these common concerns. Newly elected Assemblywoman Lucy Flores described caucus accomplishments as “being a strong voice for the Latino community,” stating that a couple of anti-immigrant bills had come up and since have gone away. Veteran legislator Sen. Mo Denis put it stronger, “In all cases, we have been able to kill all the legislation that was anti-immigrant.” Newly elected Assemblyman Steven Brooks said specifically his goal is “to protect the human rights of all Latin people.” The values Hispanics bring to Nevada are core American values: family, faith, freedom and a fair return for hard work. The caucus reflects these 54    |    LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION

priorities in several ways. “Jobs, government efficiency and transparency, economic development and education are Hispanic issues. By addressing them as Hispanics we address them for all Nevadans,” said newly elected Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante. She cited advocating for small businesses as one example because by removing obstacles and odious governmental burdens on small businesses, we help all Nevadans who want to start their own business. Since a greater proportion of Hispanics derive their income from entrepreneurialism, the caucus has an interest in fighting for the Hispanic small business owner, and as a result benefiting all business owners. Newly elected Sen. Ruben Kihuen is one of the most significant voices for the Hispanic community. He cited fighting crime as an example of serving all constituents. “Nobody wants crime in the streets,” he said. “When the economy goes up, crime goes down.” To grow jobs, he said, we have to diversify Nevada’s economy and one of the many ways to do that is to “embrace the film industry.” He used The Hangover as an example of how filming in Las Vegas can have a huge impact on the local economy, not just for the exposure it brings to Las Vegas, but for the jobs that result. “We are heterogeneous,” newly elected Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson,


former Miss Nevada (2002) and third runner-up Miss America (2003), said about the unity of the caucus. “We come from different backgrounds and all walks of life. But I love the camaraderie among our members and feel so good to be working with such a great group of legislators.” She added, “What is most important for me is protecting health and human services, especially the safety net for our most vulnerable citizens.” Newly elected Assemblyman Richard Carrillo said about the camaraderie of the caucus, “There is always disagreement on some items, but as a caucus we stand together because it’s all about people. I am absolutely against anti-immigration legislation.” He added that he is a businessman who is very concerned about growing the economy. If he could do one thing as a Hispanic, it would be to “change the perception that Hispanics have something to do with the bad economy, or that Hispanic kids are somehow the problem with schools in Nevada.” “Hispanics tend to be younger, so by helping create opportunities for Hispanic youth, we create opportunities for all Nevada’s youth,” newly elected Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz said.

Although all the members of the caucus are Democrats, there is an openness and expectation that Hispanic Republicans will be elected and certainly will be embraced by the caucus. This is not a party affiliation but rather a community affiliation. “I’m proud to belong to the Hispanic community and I am also proud that today, there are more Hispanic representatives than ever before serving in the Legislature,” veteran Assemblyman and Speaker John Oceguera said. “Because of that, not only has the influence of Hispanic Nevadans been strengthened, but the body as a whole is strengthened.” The caucus members are “inspiring others to use their talents to serve the community,” Assemblywoman Bustamante said. Once again, America’s greatness is demonstrated by the fact that a voice and a vote can change everything.

Elected state senators and assembly member include, from left, Steven Brooks, Mo Denis, Richard Carrillo, Teresa Benitez-Thompson, Lucy Flores, Irene Bustamante Adams, Olivia Diaz, Ruben Kihuen and John Oceguera. Photograph by Claudio Ferreiro LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    55




Diversity isn’t a goal, it’s a strength. At Sprint, we value inclusion because each new point of view brings innovation, success and growth. That’s what makes our company strong and allows us to grow as a leader in our industry and our community. sprint.com We congratulate Sprint’s Nancy Frago on her recognition as an Inspiring Personality.


AFFECT MOTIVATE INFLUENCE

EXCITE EXALT INVIGORATE

ENCOURAGE STIMULATE IMBUE LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    57


Photo by: Derek Caldwell

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A  Humble  Icon  and  Living  Legend Otto  Merida

President and Chief Executive Officer Latin Chamber of Commerce

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here is no question that the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce (LVLCC) is the result of the unyielding drive of Otto Merida. Although many have tried to compete with the LVLCC, Merida has guided the organization to reach its mission and has created a structure that will continue to serve the Hispanic community long after Merida is retired.

Merida said Alvarez’ bank was the first to give loans to dealers based on their total income, including tips, not just the income reported by the casino. This had a direct impact on Hispanics’ ability to buy cars, homes and furniture. Merida called on every casino and bank seeking financial support for the fledgling chamber. With the support of Governor O’Callaghan and Lieutenant Governor Buddy Rose, Merida secured Caesars and MGM, which became the organization’s largest contributors. As funding grew, membership grew from a mere 12 in 1976 to over 1,500 today.

In 1976, the Las Vegas Hispanic community was a rather small and intimate group with clearly defined goals and an objective to grow the community. During that time, several prominent Hispanics held meetings, organized social clubs, and helped one another find jobs and learn their way around the community. One A sparkle comes to Merida’s eye when he speaks of how such group was The Cuban Circle. the chamber is producing leaders who are committed “The Cuban Circle was a place where Cubans would to the chamber’s mission. He is proud of the legacy come when they arrived in Vegas and people would help and the impact it has on those coming up through the them get jobs,” Merida recalled. “At one of the meetings, ranks to become the chamber’s future leaders. They I was talking to Arturo Cambeiro, an architect in town, carry the same commitment to fulfill the mission and who has designed many of the elementary schools, serve the community faithfully. senior centers and The Thomas and Mack Center. He said, ‘Why don’t we organize a chamber of commerce The Scholarship Fund, the Leadership Conference, for Latinos. If we do that, we would be able to have and the free income tax preparation are all things influence not only in commerce but also in politics.’” one can read about on the website. The achievement of a lifetime and the determination to do something Within weeks, the LVLCC was born. extraordinary for the Hispanic community, however, is Originally to be called The Latin Chamber of the the result of one life, one man, and one extraordinary Cuban Circle, one of Merida’s biggest supporters, then person: Otto Merida. Governor. Mike O’Callaghan, who was renowned for placing and promoting Hispanics into key governmental positions, suggested that would be a mistake. He told Merida, “We want to unite people, not divide them.” The Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce was identified as an organization that represents all Latinos. “Our first meeting was held at El Cholo’s Mexican Restaurant,” Merida says, as if it were yesterday. “One of our first speakers was Al Alvarez of Valley Bank.” LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    59

INSPIRING  PERSONALITIES

By Dane Maralason


Photo by: LaMonte McLemore

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Commitment  to  Serve CATHERINE  CORTEZ  MASTO Attorney General State of Nevada

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orn into a family whose outstanding commitment to public service is etched in the landscape of Las Vegas politics, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto has certainly continued the traditions of community service of the Cortez family in Nevada.

services, child welfare services and juvenile justice programs. She participated in a task force to explore the creation of a domestic violence court and sought funding for a Family Justice Center to provide services and support to domestic violence victims. In addition, Masto assisted in the development of the Criminal A journey started by her late father, former Clark Justice Advisory Counsel, whose mission is to improve County Commissioner Manny Cortez, who is the overall working relationship of departments within recognized for his role in altering the course of tourism the criminal justice system. throughout the state, the Cortez/Masto community service tradition continues, as Attorney General Masto In 2006, Masto set her sights on her first public office serves her second term as the Nevada attorney general. and threw her hat into the attorney general’s race. Her She is often described as a rising political star in the proven leadership and accomplishments resulted in Democratic Party, a label frequently bestowed upon her receiving support from key figures throughout the officials who are considered among the next generation community. Masto’s margin of victory was considerable. of leaders that will one day set the national agenda. Now in her second term in office, the attorney Masto’s journey to success, however, should not be general’s achievements have been significant. She characterized simply as a family legacy. She graduated has successfully introduced numerous bills in the from the University of Nevada, Reno, with a bachelor Legislature to improve and clarify laws concerning of science degree in finance and cum laude from senior rights, identity theft, child advocacy, mortgage Gonzaga University School of Law. fraud abuse, fraud of all types and drug abuse. She has also proved to be an effective leader with a talent “I learned the value of hard work, education and respect for bringing stakeholders together to solve problems from my parents,” explains Masto. “I also learned from and improve the quality of life in Nevada. Moreover, them the importance of public service and of giving the issues of domestic violence, methamphetamine back to your community.” production and juvenile justice that ignited her passion In 1995, she served three years as the Southern District to run for office continue to fuel her productive and director for Governor Bob Miller’s administration spirited initiatives today. before her appointment as the governor’s chief of Many have speculated about what is to come for staff. At the end of the governor’s term, she relocated Masto, including charting a map to the governor’s to Washington, D.C. where she assumed the post of mansion or possibly higher. For now, however, it is assistant United States attorney, prosecuting felony clear that Attorney General Masto’s star continues to and distribution of drug cases. burn brightly. In 2002, Masto returned to Nevada accepting a position as the assistant county manager for Clark County, where she worked with county agencies to improve child services, including foster care, adoption LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    61

INSPIRING  PERSONALITIES

By Zonya J. Adams


Photo by: LaMonte McLemore

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Preparing  the   21st  Century  Workforce JAIME  R.  CRUZ

Green Economy Workforce Development Workforce CONNECTIONS

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he 20th century saw enormous changes in technology that enhanced productivity and created new industries that increased the demand for skilled labor. In this century, as we seek to grow from a fossil fuel economy to a green economy, environmentally related green jobs have grown substantially and will continue to grow in the decades to come. As a result, Jaime Cruz, director of Green Economy Workforce Development for Workforce Connection, is educating, training and preparing Nevada’s 21st century workforce. “After spending more than 20 years in Nevada’s most important economic sector, hospitality and gaming, I was ready for a new challenge,” explains Cruz. “Talk across the country focused on diversifying the economy with the renewable energy revolution, and I wanted to be a part of developing the workforce that would transform this nation and the world.” Cruz is convinced that Nevadans, across a wide range of familiar occupations, income and skill levels, will benefit in this new era of defeating global warming and creating a green economy. He is focused on developing the most talented professionals in the renewable energy, solar energy, wind energy and thermal energy generations. Cruz stresses, “The new green economy also represents the transition of existing jobs into those with a more green emphasis. For example, those who have worked in the automobile industry for decades are now working on hybrids and electric cars. These trends are growing across many sectors where the occupation has not been redefined but has been ‘greenafied’.”

Resorts International, hired him as a mechanical engineer. During his tenure he opened the Mirage, Treasure Island and the Bellagio. Before leaving the company, he served as the corporate director of energy and environmental services for the MGM Mirage, where he was responsible for creating an energyefficient environment at the CityCenter. For Cruz, it has been a journey of a lifetime that started with a modest upbringing in Lima, Peru, where as a young boy he dreamed of traveling around the world. Higher education was not a choice in his household but a requirement. However, resources were limited being raised by his mother in a single income home. To kill two birds with one stone, Cruz joined the Merchant Marines, seeing the world and receiving a government sponsored education, resulting in a mechanical engineering degree. In 1988, after serving four years at sea, Cruz received a phone call from his mother that altered the course of his life. While living in Las Vegas, she became ill and had to return to Peru. Cruz left the Merchant Marines for what was to be a temporary relocation to Nevada to take care of his younger brother. He was immediately taken by the culture, lifestyle and opportunities and made the decision to make Las Vegas his home. It has been a rewarding experience for Cruz, who balances it all with tennis and fishing in his leisure time, and most importantly, family time with his children Samuel and Sofia.

Although Cruz explains that the transition into the public sector came at a time when he was looking for a change, it only made sense, given the different energy and environmental related positions he held over the years. In 1989, Mirage, Inc., known today as MGM LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    63

INSPIRING  PERSONALITIES

By Zonya J. Adams


Photo by: LaMonte McLemore

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Changing  the  Community Through  Financial  Literacy ELOIZA  MARTNEZ

Former Vice President Wells Fargo Banking Education Center

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or many, understanding our purpose in life and fulfilling our destiny is the ultimate in living. For Eloiza Martinez, she understood that she was born to make a difference in the lives of many and is fulfilling her destiny with community outreach initiatives.

she became a vice president working in the role of Community Development Officer for Wells Fargo Bank before retiring in 2011. As the Community Development Officer, she worked with community organizations, business owners and consumers to educate them on financial literacy. Her message was clear: financial management is key in changing a person’s well-being, and education is necessary in how individuals relate to money. Martinez taught the basics of money management, including checking and savings accounts, credit management and budgeting to thousands of Southern Nevadans every year.

Born in Derry, New Mexico, to migrant farm workers, Martinez and her nine siblings joined their parents as hand laborers in the demanding agriculture industry. Although there was a great sense of pride in being able to contribute to society and earn a living, the family made tremendous sacrifices, including education for the children. All of this changed when Martinez was 13. Her father earned a contract to pick prunes in California. It was a great opportunity for the family but Martinez did not stop there in her efforts to help even better for the children who enrolled in school. people needing financial education. In 2002, she began It is that hard working foundation Martinez credits for providing financial literacy courses to teens. Her her strong work ethic and willingness to sacrifice in six-week financial management course encouraged order to help others. “My parents taught us the value students to take everything they learned and share it of a true foundation,” she explains. “We were always with their parents. On the first day of class, she put her taught that hard work builds character and to respect name and phone number on the board and instructed opportunity while advocating on your own behalf.” the students to call. To her delight, many of them did. Today, she continues to takes her message to prisons, Armed with that strong foundation, Martinez left the educating inmates with a similar course that provides agriculture industry and joined Commercial Credit baby steps in the process of transitioning into the Corporation as a clerk after graduating from high community upon their release. school. She held several management posts throughout her career and eventually accepted an opportunity for Martinez sits on numerous boards and has been professional and personal growth with a transfer to Las recognized for her many contributions to the Vegas. She retired after 20 years in the lending industry community, including receiving an honorary doctorate but not before making an indelible mark, becoming degree from the University of Nicaragua for her strong Commercial Credit’s first Latina manager in 1969. community involvement. It is a long way from her childhood dream of becoming a U.S. immigration After two short weeks of retirement, she joined the officer, but there is no question that Eloiza Martinez banking industry with First Western as the pilot officer. is fulfilling her destiny, and, although she has retired, Martinez went through mergers and acquisitions and she has no plans of stopping her efforts to educate the worked in several positions, including loan manager, community. production manager and branch manager. Eventually, LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    65

INSPIRING  PERSONALITIES

By Zonya J. Adams


Photo by: LaMonte McLemore

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Determined,  Dedicated,  Dependable HERNANDO  AMAYA Editor in Chief El Tiempo

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as Vegas prides itself as the keeper of secrets, where visitors get a taste of pleasure unavailable in their own backyards and indulge in what many consider forbidden fun. Resident journalist Hernando Amaya is not interested in keeping secrets, whether they belong to the city or the world. Instead, he has spent more than half his life exposing the truth in order to educate and uplift Spanish-speaking people throughout Nevada, the nation and around the world with his award-winning journalism. As editor-in-chief of El Tiempo newspaper, Amaya serves as the primary editor for the city’s largest Spanishlanguage newspaper. With a weekly distribution that tops 50,000 readers and a considerable Internet following, the publication educates Spanish-speaking readers on local and national issues in the areas of news, entertainment and sports. It also gives a glimpse of the world, featuring stories relevant to the state’s large and ever growing Hispanic population, as they bring international news that connects residents to their native soil. In a time where newspaper and print media are struggling, under Amaya’s editorial leadership, the publication is staying the course, developing content and focusing on educating its readers. Perhaps, its success lies in the fact that it is never the same publication twice, creating new energy with stories on health, the economy, technology, immigration and so much more. His mission is simple: create stories that expand the reader’s mind.

in all aspects of life, like politics and education. We encourage the community to participate in the life of this country.” Amaya credits his high school teachers for cultivating his passion for communicating. He recalls their fond appreciation of his ability to express himself, selecting him to host every event at the school and to speak whenever a student was needed. His ability to communicate ideas in writing grew through the years, and eventually, he published his high school’s first newspaper. His professional journalism career began after receiving a bachelor of science in communications strategic planning from Sabana University in Bogota, Colombia. He worked for several media outlets before accepting a position with the army media outlet in Colombia. As the executive director for both AM and FM outlets, Amaya delivered current events to the people of Colombia. He is credited with the tremendous growth of the network during his time there, adding 19 AM stations and 25 FM stations. In 2001, Amaya relocated to Las Vegas where he resides with his wife Zoraida. In addition to his post at El Tiempo, he hosts a weekly news show on 1340 AM and is a contributor to the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. news hours every Thursday on Univision. Amaya is highly respected and is often called upon as a political commentator during the election seasons to offer analysis on the election from the Latin American perspective.

“I love the opportunity I have been given to be in this “My job is to do better this week than last week. I have country,” he said. “To be a part of this community and always been passionate about delivering information educate the Hispanic population is my passion.” and believe it is so important to educate our community,” explains Amaya. “Our community needs to participate LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    67

INSPIRING  PERSONALITIES

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Community,  Determination and  Commitment ANGÉLICA  QUIROZ-­MARALASON Public Information Coordinator Southern Nevada Water Authority

rowing up in Mexico, Angélica Quiroz-Maralason was the last of her family members to learn the English language. “I was very fortunate growing up, as my siblings and many in my immediate community were privileged enough to travel to the U.S. to learn the language,” she shares. “But when they came back, they were different and seemed to have lost command of the Spanish language. I was adamant with my parents; I was born Mexican and was going to remain Mexican.”

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In this capacity she continues to be responsible for connecting to Nevada’s fast growing Hispanic community. She encourages residents to join the SNWA’s conservation efforts and informs customers on events and activities at the Springs Preserve, a 180-acre cultural institution. The Preserve is home to museums, galleries, botanical gardens and a trail through a scenic wetland habitat that commemorates history, dating back thousands of years provides a vision of a sustainable future for the city of Las Vegas.

That didn’t stop her from traveling back and forth to the U.S. regularly to visit family and friends and soak up some of the American culture. However, those visits were narrowed to some degree as she remained committed to staying connected to her Hispanic heritage. Eventually, her mother grew tired of her period of discovery and demanded that she return to the U.S. to further her education.

In her role as events coordinator at the Springs Preserve, she has designed and promoted several of the most attended, well-received and profitable events held since its opening. Her favorite, no doubt, was the celebration of “El Dia de los Muertos” (the Day of the Dead) which brought more than 5,000 visitors to the Preserve.

Quiroz-Maralason settled in Mt. Vernon, Illinois , with her sister and enrolled in the community college. She was strongly affected by the culture, and given her limited interaction with Spanish-speaking people in her immediate circle; she learned the English language almost immediately and became immersed in the lifestyle. It was a period of tremendous personal growth as she made the decision to remain in the country and become a United States citizen. In 1989, soon after her husband Dane Maralason relocated to Nevada for employment opportunities, Quiroz-Maralason accepted a position with the Las Vegas Valley Water District in their Human Resources Department. Within two years, the Southern Nevada Water Authority was formed and she accepted a position as the public information coordinator.

Passionate about the community, she is an active member of the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce and volunteers with the Hispanic Museum, the Johnny Brenden Mann Foundation, Latinas Association, LUZ and other community organizations. Ultimately, Angélica Quiroz-Maralason is a leader who is the embodiment of what community outreach, determination and commitment can achieve. She is passionate about the growth of her community and shares, “As large majorities in a minority world, we, as Latinas, have a great opportunity to set an example. I encourage all Latinas to remember their heritage, the culture and its customs. At the same time, we should remember we are now citizens of this beautiful country, and we need to totally engage in this society by learning the language, respecting with appreciation, all of the opportunities available.” LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    69

INSPIRING  PERSONALITIES

By Zonya J. Adams


Photo by: LaMonte McLemore

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Managing  the  Risk JOE  A.  HERNANDEZ,  JR.,  ARM,  AAI President and Chief Operating Officer Branch-Hernandez & Associates

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ike many kids in the ‘70s, Joe Hernandez, Jr. was struck by the continuous allure of the entertainment industry and dreamed of an exciting life of fame, either in theater or touring around the country with his band. After all, he was well prepared with years of acting and entertaining experience in junior high school, high school and junior college. While he may have been laced with talent, he quickly found that the industry was a difficult one to crack, given the avalanche of fierce competition. It did not take long before he realized that he needed to focus his energy elsewhere.

Having been born and raised in California, Hernandez began to desire a slower pace and relocated his family to Nevada in 2002. It was a starting over of sorts, but given his entrepreneurial drive, he was confident that he would regain his position as principal and partner. Today, Hernandez is the principal of BranchHernandez & Associates; the largest 100 percent minority-owned insurance agency in the Nevada area, and serves as the president and COO. The firm provides commercial insurance, risk management, safety and claims administration to the private and public sectors, including MGM Resorts International, the Department With the advancement of technology in the ‘80s, the of Aviation, the City of North Las Vegas, and a host of industry provided job opportunities, and Hernandez prestigious clients throughout the country. transitioned into a computer-programming career. It proved to be a challenging, yet rewarding occupation, Hernandez has a strong sense of responsibility to providing innovative solutions as computer technology the community. He tells the story of his high school became part of day-to-day life in corporate America. teacher Mr. Deponzio, who recognized the potential It was not without growing pains, and Hernandez in every student and encouraged each one to release decided to refocus his energy yet again. that potential. With that, Hernandez works tirelessly as the secretary and treasurer of the Latin Chamber of After marrying his wife Lynelle, he was exposed to Commerce to educate, uplift and encourage those in the insurance industry by his father-in-law who had his community to realize their potential. He is also the years of experience in the business and knew that chairman-elect of the Nevada Independent Insurance Hernandez, with his outgoing personality, would be Agents and is a member of numerous community and extremely successful. His introduction was with AAA professional organizations. where he wrote auto insurance policies and sold AAA memberships for nine years. It was during that time Born and raised as a devout Catholic, his strong that Hernandez realized the journey he had taken, values are definitely reflected in all aspects of his life. which included several forks in the road, had finally Hernandez does not hesitate to testify. “I give all the brought him to the place where he felt he was supposed glory to the Lord for my success and am so thankful to be. With that, he mapped out a plan that would take for all that God has equipped me with.” him from agent to a principle partnership and joined a firm as an independent agent. After 13 years in the industry, he was offered a partnership in the agency that included full equity. LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    71

INSPIRING  PERSONALITIES

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Golden  Opportunity PATRICIA  NAVARRO-­ISSEL McDonald’s Owner/Operator & President Issel Corporation

or some, life is defined by what happens when individuals change course and make other plans. For Patricia Navarro-Issel, her other plan took her to the Golden Arches, which brought golden opportunities.

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this time, she had her first son. As a single parent, her focus changed and her desire to succeed grew even stronger. As a result, she formulated a plan that would mark the beginning of her climb up the McDonald’s career ladder.

Navarro-Issel’s hard-working mother and stepfather raised her in a home where the family struggled with extreme financial hardships in East Los Angeles. While many parents are able to shelter their children from the harsh reality of their financial circumstances, Navarro-Issel’s mother did not speak English, which meant that she often found herself in adult situations, acting as a translator, negotiating on behalf of the family. Regardless of the adversity they faced, her proud parents taught their children to work hard and not to rely on anyone for opportunities to succeed.

She received countless promotions in the years that followed, including restaurant manager, which provided tremendous growth and career development that resulted in a move to the corporate side. Although McDonald’s applies strong diversity initiatives, Navarro-Issel, in her roles as supervisor, training consultant, business consultant, and profit center trainer, found herself the only Hispanic and took advantage of every chance to create networks and mentoring opportunities to help other Hispanics succeed.

Navarro-Issel understood, nonetheless, that circumstances do not have to define who you are or determine where life can take you. Hard work was always the message taught in her home, though there was little emphasis on education. She excelled in school, however, as a participant in the gifted program. The curriculum exposed her to countless successful professionals who exemplified the value of an education.

At this point, it was an amazing journey, but one that was just beginning. In 2008, after a four-year process and with the support of McDonald’s corporate staff and the McDonald’s Hispanic Owner/Operators Association, she received the opportunity to become an owner/operator in the Las Vegas market.

Armed with the leadership lessons she learned behind the counter and her experiences improving several restaurants, Navarro-Issel worked tirelessly with her Eventually, she moved to Fresno with her family and husband, Michael, and their children, Hank, Lance began working for McDonald’s at night while attending and Kiana, to turn her restaurant into a success. She is school during the day. After six months, Navarro-Issel the only Hispanic female owner/operator in Las Vegas. completed the management-training program and was promoted to swing manager. While many viewed the Patricia Navarro-Issel takes advantage of every work as difficult, it came easy for her, considering her opportunity to share her story and her message of mother’s high expectations for the hard work done in seizing opportunities with students in high school, college and community organizations. “No matter her home growing up. where you find yourself, there is always an opportunity Her determination and work ethic did not go that can change your life. You just need to look for it unnoticed as she began to exceed expectations. During and go after it.” LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    73

INSPIRING  PERSONALITIES

By Zonya J. Adams


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The  Courage  to  Change  Direction STEVEN  J.  BROOKS,  II Assemblyman, District 19 Nevada Assembly

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he way Assemblyman Steven Brooks sees it, changing direction and travelling into the unknown is not as frightening as some may think. After all, in doing so, it opened his eyes, mind and heart to opportunities that have enriched his life and provided tremendous professional growth.

After careful evaluation of the agency’s previous fundraising activities, he put forth an intense effort to increase non-restricted funds through grants and private donations. He also made significant personnel changes, placing into key positions people whom he believed would be instrumental in advancing the organization. Under his leadership, the agency’s budget grew from $4 million to $15 million in a year with the help of federal grants, stimulus funding and private donations. “We restored the trust of the community and they joined me and the whole team in protecting an agency that is run by the community for the community,” he said. “I’m just proud to be a part of standing in the gap for citizens in need.”

As a freshman at the University of California, Riverside, Brooks declared business administration as his major. He changed it to biology during his sophomore year because of his love for science and his childhood desire to be a doctor. He spent his undergraduate years designing a plan that would lead him to research labs where he could focus on dermatological issues affecting minorities. He secured a full scholarship to attend Howard University Medical School, but his Opportunity and change knocked yet again when plans changed when Brooks took a leave of absence to Brooks was asked to consider running for public care for his ailing father. office. Today, he represents District 19 as the state’s first Puerto Rican assemblyman. He is working feverishly In 1998, he relocated to Las Vegas and in the years that to fulfill the promises made to his constituents, followed owned several businesses while working for the including sponsoring a bill that will ensure the hiring university system. His leadership was felt throughout of four grant writers who will seek federal funds for the community as he bridged the learning gap for many the state in the areas of health and human services and Nevadan students with the organizations he founded, green energy. The assemblyman is confident that it will including Freedom Enhancement Academy, the Doctor change the dynamics of the state. for a Day series, and A&S Tutorial. Although his path seemed to change drastically from In 2007, he changed direction yet again. Brooks was medical school, there remains a common purpose and presented with an opportunity to make a difference in goal. Assemblyman Brooks may not spend time in a the public sector as chief of staff for City Councilman lab working on the next cure for skin conditions, but Ricki Barlow. Always open to new opportunities, he is certainly in the position to care for innumerable Brooks attended his first Urban League meeting on people in the state of Nevada. behalf of Councilman Barlow and was nominated to be the chairman of the agency. Although the agency was struggling to establish its roots in the community, having been founded a few years prior, Brooks did not hesitate to step up to the plate and, along with his team, is credited for the agency’s unprecedented growth.

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INSPIRING  PERSONALITIES

By Zonya J. Adams


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Journey  of  Hope  and  Determination NANCY  FRAGO

Public Sector Account Manager Sprint

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n the highly competitive world of telecommunications, there is one name that stands out in Nevada among the giants in the industry – Nancy Frago, public sector account manager for Sprint. In her professional journey, each position has served as a gateway to greater opportunity. This executive often played for high stakes and won.

joined Sprint’s public sector division to work with the Secret Service, FBI and other intelligence units in the federal government.

Frago’s journey to success was not exactly a ride down easy street. At the young age of 16, she left high school during 10th grade to become a teenage mother. “Statistics show that I should have been on welfare and In 2000, Frago and her then-husband, Angelo, accepted definitely not living the life I’m living,” she explains. “I a military relocation to Las Vegas, and she declared two am proof that you can overcome any situation.” options – city government or Sprint. In just two weeks, Frago delivers that message to teens throughout Nevada Sprint hired her in its call center. It was no doubt the as an executive board member of the Embracing ground floor, but Frago was determined to work her way Project, a community based organization determined through the organization into the management circle. to change the lives of young people. She also sits on She re-enrolled in college and connected immediately the board of directors of the American Red Cross and with a fellow Sprint colleague who would become the Asian Chamber of Commerce Foundation and her mentor and encouraged her to apply for several is a former board member of the Latin Chamber of positions, including those she was not qualified for, to Commerce. sharpen her interview techniques. The strategy worked With a career overflowing with professional success, and she eventually secured a promotion to sales in Frago is making plans to return to college with her the business division. She was the only staff member sights set on law school. This undertaking is a labor of who spoke Spanish, so Frago was fully responsible for love for her brother, a U.S. citizen who was deported building brand awareness and increasing growth in to the family’s homeland of Guatemala after violating Nevada’s large Latino market. probation. She makes no excuses for the choices her In 2005, Sprint merged with Nextel, and Frago’s brother made. Still, she believes he was treated unfairly. confidence in the company’s stability began to waver, “I feel the treatment of my brother was inhumane,” so she accepted an offer from Verizon Wireless to she said. “This is the only home my brother has really join its team as an account manager. She oversaw the known, and people who have been convicted of company’s network designs for the federal government murder, rape and molestation are still here.” and state of Nevada. Eventually, she was promoted Frago’s will and determination certainly paved the way to the public sector division. Nevertheless, Sprint for her success and is now the driving force to make was always home, so in 2011 Frago accepted an offer her family whole again. to return to the company she credits as the platform for her many accomplishments. Upon her return, she LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    77

INSPIRING  PERSONALITIES

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Paying  it  Forward MARIO  BERLANGA President Mario’s Westside Market

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sk any mentor, and he will tell you that at the center of their giving is a burning desire to foster growth in youth so they can become assets instead of liabilities in their communities. For Mario Berlanga, owner of Mario’s Westside Market, his mentoring efforts are deeply rooted in the opportunities given to him by individuals who were determined to see him reach his full potential. “When you’re young, you just don’t think about how the choices you make will determine your future,” he explains. “It is so easy to stray, and these kids just need someone to talk to. That’s what I am here for because somebody was there for me.”

stocking shelves, was an extremely dedicated employee. So he set out to teach him the grocery business. Through a series of promotions, Berlanga worked his way up to manager before being offered a partnership with Johnson’s brother to turn around a struggling mini market. The two were very successful, eventually purchasing an additional market. Today, Berlanga is the sole proprietor of the 10,000 square foot store, and sales have grown from $60,000 to $100,000 per month.

With all of his success, Berlanga’s sincere appreciation for the opportunities afforded to him by generous helping hands is clear by the enormous size of his heart and overwhelming spirit of giving. It is a wellkept secret, but many throughout the community have Berlanga recalls his teen years at Rancho High School felt Berlanga’s generosity, as he does not turn away a in Las Vegas, where he constantly faced temptation to hungry mouth, regardless of their ability to pay. follow his friends who lacked the supportive guidance necessary to avoid gang violence, illegal drugs and As a coach and board member of the Community dropping out of school. Without question, Berlanga Little League, he has mentored countless youths and credits his relationship with his mentor, high school spread the positive message taught to him as a teen. “I police officer Jose Concosco, the North Las Vegas tell these kids all the time, it doesn’t matter where you Police Explorers, and his dream of becoming a police grow up or your heritage, don’t let anyone tell you that officer for his ability to stay on the right track. you can’t become something,” he said. “All you have to do is make the right choices.” Berlanga is also a member As a part-time school custodian, Berlanga forged a of the North Las Vegas Police Department’s Citizen valuable relationship with Concosco and confided Advisory Council and founded an annual classic car that he wanted to follow in his footsteps to become a show to raise money for neighborhood schools. police officer. Immediately, his mentor advised him to join the North Las Vegas Police Explorers, where Berlanga spent four years preparing for a career in law enforcement. During this period, he also accepted a position bagging groceries at the Vegas Village grocery store that eventually became J&J Supermarket. There, he met the second mentor who would change his life and set him on a path far from law enforcement. Sam Johnson was the owner of J&J Supermarkets and immediately recognized that Berlanga, who was LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    79

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Balancing  The  Scale THE  HONORABLE  GLORIA  M.  NAVARRO Judge United States District Court

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hen the Senate unanimously confirmed President Obama’s nominee Gloria Navarro to serve as a federal judge in the U.S. District Court in Nevada, history was made. The decision will pave the way of a road less traveled. When you hear of Navarro’s decision to serve, making her the first Latina woman to hold that position in the state, it is clear how Senator Harry Reid reached the decision to recommend the chief deputy district attorney. “I was happy with the work I was doing, impacting change in my community and hadn’t given any thought to being a judge,” she explains. “At the same time, I didn’t think it was right to foreclose on the opportunity for my culture and for my gender. I had to think about others, what kind of a role model I could be and what kind of confidence I could instill.”

Navarro earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a law degree from Arizona State University. She served in the district attorney’s office, the federal public defender’s office and worked in private practice. She received countless awards and recognitions, including the Louis Wiener Pro Bono service award and the Public Lawyer of the Year award by the Nevada State Bar Association. With this appointment to the bench, Navarro continues to be concerned about protecting the interest of the community as a whole and looks at every case as an opportunity to serve the cause of justice. “It hurts to sit on the bench and think about the parents who risked their lives and gave up so much to come to this country for a better life for their families, and look where their children end up,” says Navarro. “There wasn’t a dinner at my family’s table where I wasn’t told what a wonderful country America is, how lucky we are to be here, the sacrifices made to be here and how important it is to take advantage of opportunities. I wish this generation would get that!”

Although Navarro never had her sights set on the bench, those on both sides of the aisle approached her throughout the years whenever there was an open appointment. What they saw was a hard-working, disciplined leader, whose strong reputation was anchored in the pursuit of justice and her commitment to public service. What we see today is Navarro living After completing her first year as a judge, Navarro is still finding her way. Her legacy will be felt by generations the American dream. of women and minorities for years to come. “It was As the daughter of Cuban political refugees, Navarro important to be the first, but it’s more important not to was born and raised in Nevada, where she succeeded in be the last,” declared Navarro. school, was voted student body president and received countless awards, including the title of Most Likely to Succeed. Because she absorbed the English language intuitively and was very outgoing, she was often the family spokesperson at doctors’ visits, restaurants and numerous appointments. She was always in the position of resolving issues for those who could not otherwise help themselves. It came as no surprise when she decided at a young age that she wanted to be a lawyer.

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Making  the  Most   Out  of  a  Second  Chance ALEX  BERNAL

Back On Track Coordinator Clark County Parks & Recreation Gang Intervention

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Bernal accepted a position as a coordinator with the Back On Track program for the Clark County Parks & Recreation Department in 2003. This intervention team mentors high-risk youths in an effort to avoid or leave gangs through various programs, including cultural activities, sports programs, community service projects and educational programs. In addition, “I kept thinking about my mom, crying as the judge serving as life coaches, they involve family members in sentenced me and realized how much I had let her counseling in order to assist parents in resolving any down,” Bernal said, remembering that day. “I was the problems before they are passed on to the children. man of the house, and she really needed me to care for One of the highlights of his career came when he was my sister who was mentally disabled.” selected as one of 30 people in the country to attend What Bernal did not know, as he agonized in his the United Nations University for Peace in Costa cell, was that his mother spent the day waiting in Rica. He is proudest of the work he is doing with his the employee parking lot for Judge Fisher, whom she nonprofit, Vegas Rebels. The organization sponsors begged to have her son’s sentence reversed. There was sports programs that encourage academic excellence. no mistaking the heartache that flowed with her every As a result, more than 70 kids from disadvantaged word as she explained how much she relied on her son backgrounds are pursuing a college education. to care for his sister. As a result, the judge lessened the sentence to house arrest. His progression from that As Bernal tells his story, it is clear that he has not incident to his life today included additional brushes forgotten the opportunity given to him by Judge Fisher, with the law, but a final turning point came with the a debt paid to his community repeatedly. He continues birth of his son. Bernal’s life changed in more ways to pay it forward and explains, “I have raised many kids, than one. been the legal guardian of a few, and today I am the foster parent to two. I am just passionate about helping In 1992, after working in the casinos for several years, Bernal was invited to share his journey with a group people who may not be able to help themselves.” lex Bernal recalls sitting in his juvenile detention cell, afraid this time he may have run out of chances and could possibly end up in prison. He had grown very accustomed to his life of violence, burglaries and dealing drugs, and while he watched many of his friends go to jail, consequences for his actions never seemed to enter his mind, until that day.

of errant juveniles and, after speaking the first two words, he realized his true purpose in life. Since that day, in various capacities, he has delivered hundreds of speeches with fervor, as he attempts to pull young gang members away from a culture of drugs and violence that plagues many communities throughout the state. He reaches those deeply rooted in that lifestyle and tells the story of his troubled home-life and the tough streets that surrounded him daily.

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Bridge  to  the  Community LIZZETTE  VILLANUEVA Brand and Retail Consultant American Family Insurance

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s the brand and retail consultant for American Family Insurance, Lizzette Villanueva thinks of herself as a bridge builder, narrowing the gap between corporate and its countless partners in the field. With teams in Nevada, Utah and Idaho, this chief architect engineer’s strategic marketing tactics have positioned American Family to be a leader in the market. With a career that started as the multicultural market developer, Villanueva spent three years building brand awareness and devising strategies and marketing plans that advanced American Family’s business growth in Nevada’s fast-growing multicultural market. It was a perfect fit for Villanueva whose passion for connecting the company to the community was clear. “My role was to recommend programs for corporate financial sponsorship, however, it was important to me to have agents actually getting involved and out in the community,” she explains. “It was not just money, it was time.”

Although born in Sonora, Mexico, Villanueva was raised in Tucson, Arizona, along with her three younger brothers. Her parents were certified teachers in Mexico; however her father chose a career in the copper mines of Arizona after moving to the U.S. Their standards were high, and they taught their children to respect opportunity and appreciate the gift of education, which has clearly shaped her longevity and consistency today. With that, Villanueva’s life is overflowing with professional success and accolades, but that success demands personal sacrifice. She admits friends and family describe her as a workaholic, but she is focused on a balanced life and credits the love and closeness shared with her family for creating the long lasting balance that has come with her success.

She also acknowledges that success is a legacy fulfilled for a Latina. “I have always felt good about myself, as being a Latina is special,” she explains. “We are strong, confident women. We might have to work a little harder, Today, she continues her efforts to increase exposure and but that is what we do, and we are OK with that. Through growth from the multicultural segment; however, her hard work, we will get to where we need to go.” span has broadened. She, along with 10 other colleagues, supports the sales team, educating agents on strategizing Villanueva makes her home in Nevada with her husband, and developing marketing plans that build brand Rafael, who is the director of international sales for the awareness. They specialize in identifying opportunities Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and with and challenges and determine initiatives to promote their dog Saint. She is an active board member of the Latin Chamber of Commerce and the Women’s Chamber maximum growth across the board. of Commerce. Her passion and community involvement was illuminated while attending the University of Arizona when Aeromexico Airlines recruited her to join their multicultural marketing team. With a career that grew over more than two decades, she held several marketing, sales and operation positions and travelled the world representing the airline along with its strategic partners. In 2001, Aeromexico relocated Villanueva to Las Vegas, where she served as the city manager. LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    85

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Committed  to  Serve ANDRES  RAMIREZ President Ramirez Group

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hen it was time for members of the Democratic National Committee’s Hispanic Caucus to elect new leadership in 2010, they looked to Nevada’s Andres Ramirez to serve a four-year term as the vice chairman. In a time when the role of the Hispanic vote is critical to the outcome of national elections, Ramirez, along with Chairman Martinez and the members of the Hispanic Caucus are leading the effort to advocate for Hispanic communities across the country.

bid for the White House. Ramirez continued to grow professionally, also serving as the senior vice president of the political and advocacy think-tank, NDN, based in Washington. For as long as he can remember, Ramirez has always been interested in politics, not because of a family dynasty or a continued legacy, but because of his strong desire to see a better community for generations to come. “Having lived in many different communities, affluent, less affluent, homogeneous and diverse, I was exposed to different microcosms of America and began to understand the role government plays,” remarks Ramirez. “I wanted to be involved as the voice that made a difference in communities, advocating for the best education, housing, health care and business initiatives.”

After the historic election of 2008, President Obama and the then Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Governor Tim Kaine, appointed Ramirez to the DNC as a member-at-large, representing the state of Nevada. His appointment imparts leadership in the Democratic National Committee and offers the opportunity to vote at the The reasons that he entered politics are the same national convention. reasons that keep Ramirez involved today, but on a Ramirez’s rising career has been a long journey of hard larger, more impactful scale. Ramirez, along with work and dedication, but he understands what it takes his partners, opened the doors to Ramirez Group in to succeed in the tough world of politics. “I pride January, 2011. The firm consults for clients in the myself on the quality of my work, which speaks for areas of public affairs, political consulting and strategic me, as I have rarely sought the positions that have been communication. Its goal is simple: advocating for a presented,” explains Ramirez. “I select the projects better community to leave for generations that follow. that I believe in and from which I can learn and grow both professionally and personally. To my credit, I am That unwavering code of conduct permeates all aspects very disciplined and when I commit, I see it through.” of Ramirez’s life, as he dedicates much of his time volunteering for many nonprofits and community Ramirez began his career in Washington, D.C. in 1996, service organizations. To keep his balance, Ramirez working as a legislative aide to U.S. Senator Harry places a premium on family, spending time with his Reid. In 1997, he joined Nevada Governor Bob Miller’s parents and siblings who live in Nevada, along with his Washington office, ensuring that the governor’s agenda wife and daughter. was a top priority with those members of Congress who represented the State of Nevada. At the end of the governor’s term, he joined numerous advocacy and political campaigns, including the re-election campaign for Senator Reid and Vice President Gore’s

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INSPIRING  PERSONALITIES

By Zonya J. Adams


Photo by: LaMonte McLemore

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Impacting  Change IRENE  BUSTAMANTE  ADAMS Assemblywoman, District 42 Nevada Assembly

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t is a long road from the rural farmlands of the central valley in California to the legislative building in the heart of Carson City, Nevada Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams has made that long journey with a growing desire to effect change for those around her. “My decision point was always to impact a larger circle than the prior one,” explains Bustamante Adams. “Whether it was working in the training program or promoting construction diversity for Project City Center, I always asked myself, ‘How can I enlarge the territory of people I get to serve?’”

school, she received a scholarship from the migrant farm worker’s program and attended the University of California, where she graduated with a degree in business management. For the 18 years that followed, Bustamante Adams enjoyed a rewarding career in the gaming industry. It was an amazing journey that included executive level positions in various programs, including training and recruiting, corporate philanthropy and corporate diversity. The company was focused on developing innovative initiatives, and Bustamante Adams was proud to be a part of a team that created a new vision for the company as director of construction diversity before leaving the industry.

With that guiding principle, it is no wonder that Bustamante Adams’ journey has brought her to the largest circle in the state where she effects change for nearly 2 million Nevadans daily. It has been an amazing In 2010, after years of advocating for small businesses, journey. It is the memories of her childhood that are Bustamante Adams was elected to the Nevada State ever-present as she tells her story. Assembly. While many in her freshman class had political backgrounds, Adams started from scratch and Her parents were migrant farm workers who were with her love for learning, has enjoyed every moment forced to move their children from region to region, of this opportunity to increase the number of people their location dependent on the agricultural product in she could impact. season. For Bustamante Adams and her four siblings, it was understood that it was a family effort, so at the Although it is still very new, Bustamante Adams is young age of 7, she joined her parents, pulling weeds in clear on the legacy she would like to leave behind. “I the cotton fields. When the season changed, the family want to be remembered as an objective listener, who moved to follow the crops, whether it was harvesting took the opinions of a diverse group in order to reach tomatoes on one ranch, or drying grapes for raisins common goals that will help our state.” on another. It was hard labor and a transient lifestyle that left the children without a stable education or a Bustamante Adams is married to Army Sgt. Brad Adams, who recently completed his third tour of connection to community and friends. combat duty. They are the proud parents of two Eventually, her father secured a job as a ranch foreman, daughters. so the family settled in Kermen, California, in time for Bustamante Adams to enter middle school. She quickly developed a passion for learning, and the hard work and dedication learned in the fields was evident as she excelled in the classroom. Upon graduating from high LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    89

INSPIRING  PERSONALITIES

By Zonya J. Adams


Photo by: LaMonte McLemore

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Endless  Possibilities DAVID  SEGURA Chief Executive Officer VisionIT

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hen he was just a young boy, David Segura, founder and ceo of VisionIT, fell in love with technology, following the latest developments in the field and enlarging his life experiences in immeasurable ways. He began programming software in high school, and by the time he reached college, his spark for this industry burned so bright, he knew that he was definitely at home in this business. “I remember being so amazed by my first computer and the ability to invent and create, that I knew at a very young age I was going to make a career out of it,” recalls Segura.

strong believer that the most talented teams are those comprised of individuals with different backgrounds and experiences. With that, he works with many diversity organizations, including the National Minority Supplier Development Council and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to promote the advancement of minority firms throughout the country. Segura has also consulted many Fortune 500 firms on their diversity initiatives within the IT industry, connecting Latinos, African-Americans, Native Americans and women in technology. He helped start the Hispanic IT Executive Council, focused on helping Latino IT managers reach their full potential of securing and flourishing in executive level opportunities.

Upon graduating with a bachelor of science degree in computer science from the University of MichiganDearborn, Segura joined a Fortune 10 corporation as an IT professional. Although it was a secure dream job Communities throughout the country have felt of sorts, his enthusiasm was now matched by a strong Segura’s sincere concern for humanity with his yearning to have his own IT firm. summer internship programs, scholarships and job opportunities. Recently, he helped sponsor a In 1997, Segura formed VisionIT, delivering consulting technology center in Las Vegas called T-LAB, where and technology services to the public and private sector. students from kindergarten through high school learn Since then, Segura’s vision has come to fruition as the about high tech computers and interactive learning company has grown into a global enterprise with more applications. than 900 employees and 3,500 independent contractors in cities throughout the United States, as well as Puerto Segura’s success has been celebrated through numerous Rico, Mexico and India. With his leadership, VisionIT awards and recognitions. He’s received several has become one of the most recognized minority- appointments to boards, among many other impressive owned businesses in the United States and was ranked affiliations. Most recently, President Obama selected in the top 25 largest Hispanic-owned businesses in the him as one of 50 CEOs to participate in the White United States by Hispanic Business Magazine. House Forum on Modernizing U.S. Government and to serve on the President’s Advisory Committee for Segura’s journey to success has been very fulfilling, but Trade Policy and Negotiations. the story goes well beyond numbers and contracts. His dynamic leadership and sincere effort to bring about The marriage between business and community diversity and minority business development has service is one that adds energy to both, and it is clear earned him the reputation as a champion of diversity that David Segura is highly motivated to advance this with business leaders throughout the nation. He is a union to its endless possibilities. LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    91

INSPIRING  PERSONALITIES

By Zonya J. Adams


Photo by: Gary M. Perkins

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An  Adventurous  Spirit LAURA  NIETO

Senior Manager of Community Affairs and Grassroots Southwest Airlines

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s a child growing up in San Antonio, Texas, Laura Nieto’s adventurous spirit fueled dreams of experiencing the wonders of flying to faraway destinations. Perhaps the strength of those dreams, almost like a precursor, coupled with the force of her enduring resolve and that same adventurous spirit, landed Nieto in the airline industry. As senior manager of Community Affairs & Grassroots at Southwest Airlines, it is clear Nieto has found her dream job. “It is fulfilling to be able to support community organizations and give back to our communities,” says Nieto. “I am very proud that the work we do affects many people in such a positive way.” Responsible for producing outstanding corporate citizenship, Nieto and her team work to ensure that Southwest Airlines is a trusted and valued partner in the communities it serves. Through various initiatives, the airline’s strong commitment to the community at large and causes that influence the lives of its customers is apparent.

an education infrastructure that promotes increased graduation rates throughout the Las Vegas community. “We believe that education is probably one of the single most achievements that is key to success in the Latino community,” Nieto said. Many would say her career has been defined by her unyielding tenacity and her strong sense of purpose and self that has been her hallmark since childhood. She has fond memories of where she spent her summer as a fifth grade student, of attending junior college and taking pre-college creative writing courses. That constant thirst for knowledge grew for several years to follow when at age 12, Nieto entered a pre-freshmen engineering summer course at the local university. It was there that she began to dream of a career making defensive maps for the United States military.

While she’s not quite fulfilling that childhood dream, Nieto has spent her career serving diverse communities all across the Southwest Airlines route map. Nieto lead Southwest’s multicultural marketing, advertising, promotional and community outreach initiatives, Nieto is proudest of Southwest’s Dandole Alas a Tu which undoubtedly laid the foundation for the airline’s Exito/Giving Flight to Your Success annual education strong positioning within diverse communities and its travel award program, sponsored in conjunction with breakthrough Hispanic marketing efforts. the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. Hispanic students with socio-economic needs are There is no doubt that hers is a life overflowing with selected through a writing contest to receive between professional accomplishments, yet Laura Nieto puts a one to four tickets for use by the student or family premium on balance. With that, she enjoys spending members to travel between their college or university. time with her husband, Ruben Nieto, and their daughter, Sobie. Experiencing the wonders of flying With a brand that reaches tens of thousands a day to destinations near and far is no longer a childhood on its more than 3,400 flights, Southwest’s message dream. She enjoys traveling with her family and having of commitment to the community is reinforced the opportunity to open her daughter’s eyes to the through national education initiatives. It is no secret diverse world around her. that education is fundamental to socio-economic advancement. Therefore, the airline’s partnership with the Clark County School District assists in building LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    93

INSPIRING  PERSONALITIES

By Zonya J. Adams


Photo by: LaMonte McLemore

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Aiming  High LUIS  F.  VALERA

Interim Vice President of Diversity Initiatives & Government Relations University of Nevada, Las Vegas s a young boy growing up in a home strongly influenced by his parents’ Cuban and Venezuelan heritage, Luis Valera heard his father’s mantra as it resounded throughout their home: They can take everything away from you, but they can’t take away what you know.

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to Nevada after his assignment and enrolled in law school. As a second year law student, he was offered the opportunity of a lifetime, working with the Nevada Resort Association as a lobbyist. It was the perfect marriage of politics and law and proved to be a fulfilling three-year engagement.

His family stressed the value of an education, while instilling American pride and reinforcing an appreciation of the privilege and opportunity of citizenship. It was the quintessential American story. He watched and learned from hard working immigrant parents and grandparents, who put in 14-hour days, six days a week to capture the American dream.

In 2008, he was appointed by Governor Jim Gibbons to the Nevada Commission on Economic Development before joining UNLV as government relations director. He now serves as the Interim Vice President for Diversity Initiatives and Government Relations.

It only made sense that after high school, Valera would take considerable time to study the economic and social climate of the state before deciding that Nevada was the place to realize his potential. He enrolled at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas as a pre-med student, but he changed his course after visiting his parents in Miami. There, he met Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart. They discussed the economic impact of Hispanics and the effects of Fidel Castro’s regime. Valera decided that politics was his true calling. He changed his major and graduated from UNLV with a bachelor of arts degree in political science. He also served as student body vice president and as the registered student-lobbyist for the student government.

As he reflects on his success, Valera is positive his family’s influence was the key. “My parents pushed me to work hard and aim high but didn’t frame it as a dream or an amazing accomplishment. It was an expectation,” he explains. “My parents believed in my potential, which in turn influenced me to set high expectations.” He also expressed gratitude to the many mentors who happened to be there at pivotal moments in his life, and believes in the value of reaching back to bring someone else along.

“Nevada was the only state that I saw where you had full access to the governor and senators,” explains Valera. “I saw employment opportunities and the ability to own a home in the 1990s was unique to Nevada, so I decided that I needed to make this my home.” Valera temporarily relocated to Washington, D.C. to work on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer. It was an incredible learning experience, but he returned LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    95

INSPIRING  PERSONALITIES

By Zonya J. Adams


Courtesy of: Gallagher Group International

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The  Ingenuity  to  Make  it  Happen ELIZABETH  GALLAGHER President and Chief Executive Officer The Gallagher Group International

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ith ingenuity being the benchmark for distinction in public relations and marketing, Elizabeth Gallagher, of the Gallagher Group, has proven her significance in every sense of the word. As a leading marketing expert for more than 30 years, she has established herself as a constant force in the industry. Without a doubt, Gallagher has a natural flair for marketing and discovered this gift as a teen while working in an orthodontics practice, where she singlehandedly created a marketing campaign that doubled the number of patients. It would be her first of many success stories to follow.

in the construction business, but it was very tough, always having to prove myself while the men didn’t,” she recalls. “I always believed in diversity but after that experience, I made it my mission to champion for total inclusion and diversity.” In her role as vice president of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Gallagher was asked to produce a debate between the Democratic presidential candidates in 2008. She admits that it was her proudest moment, as she took advantage of an opportunity to bring issues that affect minority communities to the forefront of the election process, requiring that the debate focus on black and brown issues.

In 1979, she co-founded Air Nevada, a commuter airline based in Las Vegas. With astute marketing skills, she developed and executed a strategic marketing plan that took the airline from a local business to an international operation.

In 2010, she focused exclusively on her marketing firm, Gallagher Group International. In doing so, she positioned herself on a national and global scale, emerging as a key figure in promoting partnerships that facilitated growth and development of minority firms throughout the country. Through her many diversity Gallagher admits the key to her continued success initiatives, she continues to create filters for minority is understanding market trends and knowing when suppliers, leveraging key relationships to connect to shift gears. In 1997, she sold her shares in the Fortune 500 companies with countless minority firms. airline and created Gallagher Agency/Gallagher Group International, a business marketing and public Today Gallagher’s star continues to rise as she has her relations firm, to manage branding for her clients and hand in a myriad of multicultural marketing efforts business enterprises. While doing so, she launched EZ throughout the nation. She is finalizing plans to take a Casino, the first female owned charter service in the delegation of 12 leaders from Fortune 500 companies gaming industry, and Condor Training & Aviation, a on a trade mission to the Dominican Republic to meet first officers training program. with President Leonel Fernandez. Never missing an opportunity to promote diversity, she is including The 9/11 tragedy had a devastating impact on the owners of minority firms in the delegation. As a airline industry, and Gallagher shifted gears yet woman and minority business owner, Gallagher has again. She purchased the majority of shares in a small experienced astounding success. Her driving passion construction firm, and armed with years of marketing continues to focus on changing the landscape of and leadership experience, re-branded the image, corporate America to one of total inclusion for all resulting in unprecedented growth in commercial minority firms. and health care construction. “I was very successful LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    97

INSPIRING  PERSONALITIES

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Photo by: LaMonte McLemore

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Fearless  Predictions JEREMY  AGUERO Principal Applied Analysis

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ailed banks, terrified consumers and flustered markets seem to characterize the general economic climate of the modern day Recession. Although this economic suffering pales in comparison to the Great Depression, for those who study and predict trends in the economy like economist Jeremy Aguero, the scars of that period will fade only modestly for decades to come and will keep them busy well into the future. As a fourth generation Nevadan, Aguero founded Applied Analysis in 1997, a leading economic, fiscal and policy research firm based in Las Vegas. In contemplating ventures, taking risks, and making critical business decisions, Aguero expertly advises his varied pool of clients and puts their minds at ease with answers to their many questions: What is the true value of the property? What should be built here? Where is the market for my product? How will this legislation impact business? Although his responses and predictions to those pressing questions determine their fate, Aguero is fearless in his verdicts, leading some to believe that economics has always been his foundation.

Aguero resigned and joined Dr. Bybee to write a paper on the economic and fiscal impacts of the gaming industry on the state of Nevada for the Federal Gaming Impact Study Commission. As a result, he established his first client and brought Coopers on board as a client as well. The list has grown tremendously since those first two clients and includes both the private and public sectors, with clients throughout the world. Aguero is also called upon to speak on economic and development trends for numerous professional groups including the Nevada Development Authority, the International Association of Hospitality Accountants and the Southern Nevada Economic Conference. In addition, he has testified before the state Legislature on bills that affect the future of the gaming industry.

While he focuses on building his successful firm, he is also active in the community, serving as the secretary of Opportunity Village, the president of Nevada Child Seekers, a member of the board of the R & R Foundation, and on the board of directors of the Nevada State Bank. In addition, he coaches youth baseball, basketball and As a young student, Aguero consistently fell in the top soccer and is an adjunct professor at UNLV, where he 10 percent of his class throughout high school. Upon teaches hotel and gaming law. graduating he found himself undecided for his future studies. He enrolled at the University of Nevada, Las Although this journey had an undecided start, Jeremy Vegas as an undeclared major, exploring biology and Aguero will certainly testify that he has found his psychology. During his junior year, he met his mentor, spark. “I am very happy with the choice I made and Dr. Shannon Bybee, who saw the light before Aguero love where I am,” he remarks. “I am looking forward to and encouraged him to take economics, finance and growing with new, innovative ideas.” management classes. He found his niche and went on to graduate with honors in 1996. His impressive career began during his senior year when he accepted an internship as an analyst for Coopers & Lybrand, now PricewaterhouseCoopers. After gaining a year and half of valuable experience, LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    99

INSPIRING  PERSONALITIES

By Zonya J. Adams


Photo by: LaMonte McLemore

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For  Best  Producer-­In-­The-­Making,     “And  the  Winner  is…” CONSTANZA  CASTRO Film Student University of Nevada, Las Vegas

“All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun,” jokes Constanza Castro, age 25, quoting director JeanLuc Godard, as she sits on the verge of her filmmaking breakthrough with “Liars, Fires, and Bears,” her first full-length feature film.

silent flickering film clip. She describes the revelation that changed her life when she came to understand the difference between film and stage. She goes on to explain how stage play audiences can’t see the faces, eyes and quivering lips of its actors. Instead, it takes a big move or loud noise to draw peoples’ attention. “Film is truth!” she says. With film, the audience can see the sweat, the rising eyebrow and the pulsing neck. Film can seize your emotions. “I sat there thinking, oh my God, this is it!” she said. She realized there would be no more acting, no more endless auditions, no more one-year-and-out at college. Film was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.

Born in Mexico City, Mexico, to an entertainment family, Castro, at age 4, asked her father to get her a part in a major stage production, but he told her, “No, you go, you ask the director for an audition.” At age 7, her mother dressed her in plain clothes and would not mention Castro’s entertainment lineage when she auditioned for “Los Papás de Mis Papás,” an evening soap opera broadcast nationally in Mexico. Castro landed both parts and these early accomplishments “’Liars, Fires, and Bears is the culmination of four served as a character lesson she treasures to this day. year’s experience gained to date,” she says of her 25th project. “Because we have a budget, the stakes are Her parents leveraged their entertainment roots to higher. You’re not just making a short film over the build a highly successful, full-service advertising weekend. You have 30 plus people who are committing agency in Mexico. At age 12, they brought Castro to their time, talent and energy to your project. They’re Las Vegas to open their first USA-based branch office. giving it their all, so it’s huge! It either works or it’s the Starting at Roger M. Brian Elementary School, followed end of me!” by Lawrence Middle School, Castro graduated from Sierra Vista High School with a 3.6 GPA. She never Constanza recently won UNLV’s inaugural Johnny lost sight of becoming an actress, though at times Brenden Filmmakers Scholarship Award of $25,000 she also wanted to be a teacher, astronaut and even a for “Liars, Fires, and Bears,” which is expected to be screened at various film festivals throughout the hairdresser. country. From progeny to prodigy, the winner is: Her plan after graduating was to go to Hollywood, Constanza Castro!!! audition endlessly, get a part and be discovered. The only thing that stood between her and the leading role in the next world-wide, mega-blockbuster was her father saying, “No, you’re 18 and you’re going college first.” Disappointed but resigned, she figured she would attend the University of Nevada at Las Vegas for one year, and then set off for Hollywood. Her eyes start glowing as she talks about her first film class; how she became inspired as she watched an old LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    101

INSPIRING  PERSONALITIES

By Dane Maralason


Photo by: LaMonte McLemore

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C,-"'2.%_%% JUAN  DIAZ

Agent State  Farm  Insurance

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uan Diaz’ humble upbringing in San Angelo, Texas was filled with fond memories, love for family and a solidarity that gave him a strong sense of identity. Those fond memories included monthly trips to Mexico that offered the chance to connect with family and the proud, rich ethnic heritage and traditions that symbolize the essence of Latino culture. It was also a typical foundation, characterized by hard work, determination and diligence, where the children were taught the value of money at a young age. That left Diaz with an entrepreneurial spirit that shaped his destiny.

headed for Nevada to join his family. It was a transition period in more ways than one as Diaz used this fresh start to refocus his energy on his dream of owning his own business.

Although it may appear as a fluke, his shift into the insurance industry proved to be destiny fulfilled. While visiting his local State Farm office to pay the family’s bill, he overheard the owner mention that he was looking for a bilingual agent. Diaz applied and was hired within a week. He convinced the owner that he was committed to a career in insurance and was permitted to take the property/casualty and life/health “My parents always had full-time jobs but had small licensing class the following week. It was not long businesses on the side, whether it was reselling items at before Diaz knew that he wanted to be an owner/agent the swap meet or selling cooked items, such as burritos and designed a path to reach that goal. or tamales,” explains Diaz. “I always noticed that there was something different about them when they worked In 2008, Diaz and his wife, Ednna, opened their agency for themselves as opposed to working their full-time in Las Vegas. It has been a long, difficult journey, but jobs. Because of that, I always knew I wanted to own the agency has experienced unprecedented growth from zero customers to insuring more than 2,000 my own business and work for myself.” automobiles in an impressive, short period. State Farm He began his journey upon graduating from high has recognized his success repeatedly with its highest school in 1987, working as a cook for the privately honors, including the Ambassador Travel and National owned food concession at the San Angelo State School, Sales Achievement Awards. a facility caring for patients with various mental health challenges. It was a stepping-stone of sorts for Diaz, as With success, Diaz is finally able to take time to take in he forged valuable relationships with facility personnel the destiny fulfilled. A fan of the outdoors, he spends who advised him on career paths within the institution time camping with his wife and their four children and and encouraged him to apply for suitable openings. In balances it all with a game of golf. 1990, he secured a position as a direct care provider, which led to a promotion to case worker. Eventually, he made the transition to the private sector and relocated to Dallas. His career in mental health continued to grow for years to follow. He held numerous positions, including advanced administrative posts. However, it was a very taxing career, and in 2002, Diaz walked away and LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    103

INSPIRING  PERSONALITIES

By Zonya J. Adams


Photo courtesy of the Latin Chamber of Commerce

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A  Conversation  with  a Modern  Vegas  Legend Tony  Alamo  Sr.

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ony Alamo Sr. is mythic in his scale of accomplishments. He is the father of the modern slot floor. The Mandalay Bay Hotel-Casino, the renovation of the Luxor Hotel and Casino, the construction of the new MGM Grand, running CircusCircus and the Monte Carlo are a few of Alamo’s professional accomplishments. He is one of the most real, down-to-earth, hardworking individuals one will ever meet.

birthday is not always on a Monday, it’s the only day off I got!’ So we always scheduled his birthday for Monday at three in the afternoon.”

Asked about Las Vegas’ future, Alamo said, “You will never in your lifetime see a repeat of the years ‘06 and ‘07 and beginning of ‘08. We have a situation we’ve never had before. In the past, we were always able to come back because we were the only ones that had the capital, knowledge and resources. We’re not the “I started as a porter, cleaning the bathrooms at Harrah’s only ones anymore! China has the same thing, so does Reno. I was very poor in Cuba. My grandfather and Russia, India and Brazil.” father didn’t have any money. We didn’t have running water. We had an outhouse,” Alamo said. “I started in Alamo’s greatest accomplishments in life are, “Married 1963. I was 21 years old. I worked my way up in each to the same woman for more than 50 years, having a wonderful son that I’m very proud of, and having and every position that Harrah’s had.” a wonderful daughter who I’m very proud of, too. Whenever he got a new position, he learned what was Everything else is second, third, fourth, and fifth.” required to get promoted. He said math was his strong suit and with two years at the University of Havana, he Fernando Ramirez of Hispanics in Politics said Alamo knew how to study and take exams. Of the 150 people never sought accolades or recognition and he did much who applied for craps school, Alamo was one of only to help many. “He helped the Hispanic community by creating jobs. Before he took over Circus-Circus, it was 16 selected. nothing but a circus,” Ramirez said. “Tony built the “So I went to craps school and dealt craps. I dealt 21, high-rise; he made it a hotel-casino.” dealt the wheel, I dealt Baccarat,” Alamo said. “Then I was a boxman. Then I was a floor man. Then I was a pit Ramirez said a small but telling example of Alamo’s boss. Then I was an assistant shift manager. Then I was generosity “was when Tony donated a raffle prize to your organization,” he said. “It never said ‘valid at assistant director for customer development.” Circus-Circus only,’ it would be valid anywhere on the Alamo says he can outwork anybody. “I worked 14 Strip. That’s the class act that is Tony Alamo Sr.” hours a day, seven days a week, for an entire year; 1974,” he said. “I didn’t take a vacation for 21 years. The only vacation I took was to Los Angeles for two days…in 21 years. It was a very long and very difficult process. “My son would ask why was it that his birthday was always on a Monday?” Alamo recalled. “I said, ‘Your LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    105

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By Dane Maralason


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WHAT KIDS SEE THEY CAN BE Help inspire our younger generations! Please call 702.716.5764 or visit ConnectWelchPublishing.com to donate bulk purchases for minority youth groups, schools and churches.

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“Building Communities and Changing Lives”

A Dynamic and Engaged Faculty www.law.unlv.edu/facultyhome.html

Nationally Ranked Programs Thomas & Mack Legal Clinic www.law.unlv.edu/clinic.html

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University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law

(702) 895-3671

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Brijette  Alex

bjacksonbydesign@cox.net www.bjacksonbydesign.com LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    109


RECOGNITION INTEREST FOCUS 110    |    LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION

LIMELIGHT CELEBRATE ATTENTION

PROMINENCE HIGHLIGHT HEADLINE


NV Energy takes pride in its longstanding role as a community partner. In 2011 we continued to make great strides in improving the communities in which we live and work. In light of an ever-challenging economic climate, NV Energy focuses its philanthropic efforts on programs we believe have a lasting benefit to the community and our customers. As a result, over $5 million in contributions, including multi-year commitments, went to organizations that advocate health, education, arts and culture, and the environment. Our commitment to the community is also demonstrated in our values of diversity. NV Energy’s support of the Latino community reflects this approach. “Diversity and inclusion are essential components of our business strategy,” said Doretha Graham-Easler, Manager of Community Relations for NV Energy. “By respecting and including different viewpoints, we are better able to meet the needs of our customers.” Our outreach efforts include Spanish language translations to promote NV Energy programs and initiatives as well as philanthropic investments that directly support vital programs to serve the Latino community. NV Energy supports several Latino organizations in Las Vegas including the Latin Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic Museum of Nevada and Senoras of Excellence and Senores of Distinction. Standing behind our company’s philanthropic involvement were hundreds of our dedicated employees, who demonstrated that the spirit of volunteerism, diversity and community service was as strong as ever. In 2011, our employees gave more than 30,000 hours to a multitude of important causes and organizations. NV Energy is making a difference in Nevada. LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    111


A

s Government Affairs Local - South, Chelsie C. Campbell combines her corporate communications and public affairs experience to strengthen the company’s effectiveness at the local political level, generating support and goodwill for company positions and policies. Campbell fosters high visibility by developing relationships and alliances with government, business, economic development, civic and policy-making organizations related to the electric industry. Campbell graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a bachelor’s of arts in communications Phi Kappa Phi with an emphasis in broadcast journalism and a second major in Spanish literature Phi Kappa Phi, both cum laude. She graduated from the William S. Boyd School of Law where she was honored with the prestigious dean’s award.

CORPORATE  SPOTLIGHT

Chelsie  C.  Campbell

Local Government Affairs – South NV Energy

Campbell is on the advisory board for Chicanos Por La Causa of Nevada, a committee member for the Henderson Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee, and a member of the advisory commission on law-related education for the State Bar of Nevada. She has been recognized by KLAS-TV Channel 8 “Portrait of Success,” the City of Las Vegas, the Latin Chamber of Commerce and by Nevada’s congressional delegation.

F

rank Gonzales is the vice president of corporate services at NV Energy. He has 25 years of electric utility construction and operations experience. He has formal and practical education in the areas of business and management, with special expertise in utility operations. Gonzales has implemented performance measures and auditing programs to better enhance productivity and delivery of services, and has provided leadership in labor negotiations and personnel management.

Francis  “Frank”  Gonzales

Vice President, Corporate Services NV Energy

112    |    LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION

Gonzales also serves as a brigadier general in the Nevada Army National Guard where he serves as assistant adjutant general. Gonzales oversees and guides the training and readiness activities for 3,200 Nevada Army Guard soldiers. Gonzales concluded a deployment in support of Iraqi Freedom and participated in Iraqi Governance and National Resolution. He served as the Gulf Region Division project office chief of staff and security in the international zone forward operating base. As chief of staff, he oversaw contractors working on 3,400 projects worth $18.4 billion and was also responsible for the 2,700 joint-force soldiers, airmen, Marines and sailors employed across the hostile combat zone contributing to the reconstruction of Iraq.


F

or the past 17 years, Carol Montoya has been a dedicated member of NV Energy. She began her career with NV Energy as a team leader in the North Las Vegas office overseeing staff and walk-in customer services. She is currently the customer service team leader, overseeing the daily operations in the contact center in Southern Nevada.

Montoya attained a Toastmasters Award for Advanced Communicator Bronze and served as secretary and president of Say Watt Toastmasters. She has been a member of the Hotel Managers Association, LVEA and the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. Montoya volunteers with Junior Achievement, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, Ronald McDonald House Charities and several other local nonprofits.

Carol  Montoya  

Team Leader, Customer Service Division NV Energy

E

dgar Patino is manager of local government affairs at NV Energy. He leads the government affairs group in both Northern and Southern Nevada. Patino and his team are responsible for creating effective relationships with governments and organizations involving business, economic development, civic and policy-making organizations related to the electric and gas industry. He joined NV Energy as part of its corporate communications department in 2001. His experience with the group included roles in media and community relations, internal and external communications, and market research. Prior to joining NV Energy, Patino served seven years in the United States Air Force as a non-commissioned officer. He attended the University of Las Vegas, Nevada (UNLV) where he earned a bachelor’s of science in business management/ marketing. He also completed the UNLV Executive MBA program in December 2008. Patino is a board member of the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce and a trustee for the College of Southern Nevada Foundation. Patino is a Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce Leadership Alumnus and was a recipient of the In Business Las Vegas “40 Under 40” award in 2011.

Edgar  Patino

Manager, Local Government Affairs NV Energy

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CORPORATE  SPOTLIGHT

She was born in Chama, New Mexico and moved to Henderson, Nevada in 1961. She graduated from Basic High School and attended Stevens Henager College in Salt Lake City. She started a career in customer service at the Dunes Hotel and held hotel management positions at the Dunes, Aladdin, Sands, Showboat and Mirage for more than 27 years.


A

ngelica Silveyra began her career with NV Energy 19 years ago and has held various positions in corporate communications and customer service. Currently a team leader, she oversees daily operations for the Southern Nevada Contact Center. Silveyra graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and a minor in Spanish. Silveyra is a past member of the Bavington Court board of directors, past vice president of public relations of the Say Watt Toastmaster Club. She was honored with the In Business Las Vegas “40 under 40” award in 2010.

CORPORATE  SPOTLIGHT

Angelica  Silveyra

Team Leader for Customer Contact NV Energy

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Silveyra volunteers at the Boys & Girls Club of Las Vegas and supports Goodie Two Shoes Foundation charity events. Silveyra is an active supporter of United Way both financially and by organizing fundraisers. Her passion is ensuring people’s basic needs are met. She serves on the NV Energy Volunteer Council and assists in organizing the Low Income Energy Assistance events. She is active in her church and assists with the preparation of the annual Latin American Congress.


e c r e m m o C f o r e b m a h C n i t The La n o i t a z i n a g r o r e i m e r p e h t is s s e n i s u b e h t serving s d e e n l a n o i s and profes s e s s e n i s u b l l a m s d n a s c i n of Hispa . a d a v e N n r e h in sout Latin Chamber of Commerce (702) 385-7367 LVLCC.COM

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116    |    LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION


Entravision Communications Corporation (NYSE: EVC) is a diversified Spanish-­language media company. In Las Vegas, Nevada, the company operates three television stations, two radio stations, and four local internet sites, including:

www.NoticiasNevada.com

www.Tricolor1051.com

www.ElGato927.com

Entravision’s properties serve the Hispanic community and other Spanish-­language media enthusiasts through its top quality programming, entertainment, news, promotions and community service initiatives. We serve a wide range of companies and organizations, both in the private and public sectors, to build their businesses and relationships with over 600,000 Hispanics who call the Las Vegas region home. Community service is a core part of what we do at Entravision, whether it is in furnishing up-­to-­the-­minute news and information, or through initiatives such as . . .

For more information on Entravision Communications Corporation in Las Vegas, please contact: Chris Roman Vice President, General Manager Entravision Communications Corporation 500 Pilot Road, Suite D, Las Vegas, Nevada 89119 Main: 702.434.0015 Fax: 702.507.1086 croman@entravision.com

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ConnectWelch Publishing Company is committed to improving the perceptions of Latino and other minority communities by highlighting the achievements and contributions of its citizens. We believe that enhancing and expanding these perceptives and motivations begins with the education of our youth. As such, with this Inaugural Edition of Las Vegas Latino Leaders™, the mission and goal of ConnectWelch Publishing is to provide at least 1000 Latino youth with their very own copy of this publication which I am confident will depict the positive aspects of our communities. Like the proverbial drinking glass, the potential of the Latino community can be viewed as half empty or half full. ConnectWelch Publishing takes the optimistic “half full” view of the Latino community. Our publications feature stories, pictures and bios from ordinary people who are committed to education and growth and who have made significant contributions to their respective organizations, communities or to others in need.

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We at ConnectWelch Publishing are committed to partnering with you to assist us in our efforts to get 1,000 copies of the publication into the hands of young kids. We know that what our kids see, they want to be! We are making books available at a very affordable wholesale rate of $18.00 per book (minimum order of 10) to assist in this endeavor. We need your help! Can we count on you? Please call our corporate office at 702-716-5764 to make your pledge today. The books can be delivered in your name or company’s name to a local school or youth group of your choosing. I believe that success does not leave clues. Let’s expose these successes to our kids. Sincerely

Wendy M Welch Founder & President


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Call (702) 716-5764 www.connectwelchpublishing.com LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    119


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120    |    LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION

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PROMINENT SIGNIFICANT LEADING

EFFECTIVE MEANINGFUL POWERFUL

GUIDING AUTHORITATIVE MOMENTOUS

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ulcinea Almazan is the president and chief executive officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas (BGCLV). She is responsible for the guidance and management of eight Boys & Girls Club facilities, serving 14,000 youth annually in Clark County. Almazan joined BGCLV as a board member six years ago. In May 2008, Almazan realized her passion for the youth of the Las Vegas Valley and joined the BGCLV executive team as the vice president of development. She transitioned into her current role on September 1, 2010. Before joining the talented staff at BGCLV, she spent 12 years as an insurance agent.

Dulcinea  Almazan

MOST  INFLUENTIAL

President and Chief Executive Officer Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas

Almazan is active in the Rotary Club of Las Vegas Fremont, currently club president. She is a proud 2010 graduate of Leadership Las Vegas and currently serves as co-curriculum chair. She is also vice president of philanthropy for the Kappa Kappa Gamma Southern Nevada Alumnae Association. In 2011, she received the prestigious In Business Top 40 Under 40 award. Almazan graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor of arts degree with an emphasis on marketing, Spanish and communication.

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r. Cambeiro is a double board-certified plastic surgeon and owner of SurgiSpa Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery. He belongs to the National Advisory Council for Leaders in Breast Aesthetics, an elite group of fewer than 100 plastic surgeons who are at the forefront of breast and facial surgery. He serves on the Latin Chamber Board of Directors and both the St. Rose Hospital Foundation and Community Board of Directors. Dr. Cambeiro is a native of Las Vegas and a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School. Graduating with honors from the University of Southern California, he obtained his medical degree from the University of Colorado. He continued his education in plastic and reconstructive surgery at the world famous Mayo Clinic.

Arthur  M.  Cambeiro,  M.D.  FACS  

Plastic Surgeon SurgiSpa Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery

122    |    LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION

Glamour, Allure and Newsweek magazines have featured Dr. Cambeiro. Voted one of Las Vegas’ top plastic surgeons by Las Vegas Life, KNPR’s Desert Companion and Guide to America’s Top Plastic Surgeons, he has also been honored as one of the 40 Under 40 by InBusiness Las Vegas and was named a Señores of Distinction by the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce.


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arryl Caraballo has served in law enforcement for 18 years. He is the chief of police of the College of Southern Nevada Police Department (“CSNPD”), and has been a member of the CSNPD since 2005. Prior to his appointment as chief of police, he previously attained the ranks of interim chief of police, lieutenant, and sergeant. As the chief of police, he is responsible for the supervision of the day-to-day efforts and operational planning of the CSNPD at its three main campuses and six learning centers throughout Nevada. Prior to his appointment at CSNPD, Caraballo was a peace officer in New York City for 12 years.

He holds a bachelor’s of arts degree in public administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. He is also a graduate of the 204th Session of the FBI National Academy in Virginia.

Darryl  Caraballo

Chief of Police College of Southern Nevada Police Department

A

ssemblyman Richard Carrillo was first elected in November 2010. During the 76th legislative session, he served on the Health & Human Services, Judiciary and Transportation Committees. Carrillo was born and raised in Belen, New Mexico, graduated from Belen High School and attended the Universal Technical Institute. After graduating from trade school in Phoenix, Arizona, Richard moved to Las Vegas in 1987. He has been a licensed contractor in Nevada since 1997. Carrillo is a member of the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union Local 525. He is an active member of the union’s local community action program, which helps seniors with their air conditioning and heating problems. Carrillo is also a board member of his homeowners association and was appointed by the Clark County Commission to the Whitney Town Advisory Board. Carrillo and his wife Annette recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a daughter, Heather, and a grandson, Giovanni.

The  Honorable  Richard  Carrillo Assemblyman, District 18 Nevada State Assembly

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MOST  INFLUENTIAL

Caraballo was born and raised in the Bronx of New York City. After graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and completed four years of honorable active duty service.


C

ouncilman Bob Coffin was elected to represent Ward 3 on Tuesday, June 7, 2011. Councilman Coffin has deep roots in downtown Las Vegas, having been a resident in and around Ward 3 for more than 60 years. He now raises his family less than a mile from his boyhood home. Councilman Coffin’s commitment to Southern Nevada can be seen through his decades of public service. He was first elected in 1982 to the Nevada Assembly where he served two terms. He continued his public service in the Nevada State Senate where he served until 2011.

!('(+%@(B(_'

MOST  INFLUENTIAL

Council Member, Ward 3 City of Las Vegas

During his childhood in Las Vegas, Councilman Coffin developed a passion for two things – his Mexican-American heritage and the sport of golf. His ancestral family immigrated to Southern California from Mexico, where he saw firsthand the discrimination his mother faced as a young woman. As such, the councilman has spent much of his career fighting this injustice. He has traveled to Central America to help children and families and has been an active member in the Latin Chamber of Commerce.

D

r. Alain Coppel was born in Mexico and moved with his family to Tucson, Arizona.

He graduated with honors from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. He earned a medical degree in 1996 from the University of Arizona School of Medicine. He then completed an internship at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Illinois. He did his residency in anesthesiology and critical care at the University of Chicago Hospital in 2005. Dr. Coppel completed an interventional spine and pain management fellowship at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland in 2006.

Alain  Coppel,  M.D.  

Board Certified in Pain Management Anesthesiology and Critical Care Nevada Comprehensive Pain Center

124    |    LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION

Dr. Coppel has resided in Las Vegas since 2006. He is certified by the American Board of Medical Specialists in anesthesiology with critical care and pain medicine. Since establishing his practice in Las Vegas in 2006, Dr. Coppel became one of the first physicians to utilize a multidisciplinary approach to pain management. He started the Nevada Comprehensive Pain Center in 2011. Given his Hispanic heritage and the fact that he is fluent in Spanish, he has been particularly interested in serving the Hispanic community.


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oe Cortez was born and raised in New York City’s Spanish Harlem. For eight years, he lived in Puerto Rico, working as the executive assistant manager at the El Conquistador Hotel. In 1976 he returned to New York to work with the El San Juan Hotel Corporation as the assistant casino operating manager. Cortez has been an international boxing referee for more than 30 years. He was an amateur boxer and a four-time Golden Glove Champion. He turned pro in 1963 and compiled an 18-1 record before retiring in 1971. He joined the professional referee ranks in 1982 and officiated his first world title bout.

On June 12, 2011, Cortez was the first Hispanic referee inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York.

Joe  Cortez

Referee Boxing Hall of Fame

T

he Honorable Moises “Mo” Denis was elected to the Nevada Senate in November of 2010. He previously served three terms as a Nevada State assemblyman. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Armando and Dolores Denis, Cuban immigrants. Spanish is Denis’ first language. Denis is a proud graduate of Rancho High School. He has a long and extensive record of service in the neighborhood he grew up in, serving as a volunteer in local schools, scouting and church activities. Denis obtained a bachelor’s of arts in music at Brigham Young University. Denis and his wife Susan have been married for 28 years and have five children. They had their first grandchild in December of 2011. Denis has served on several community, state and national boards including, as past president of the Nevada Parent Teacher Association and chairman of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District. In the Legislature, he is the assistant majority whip, chair of the Majority 2012 Initiative, chair of the education committee and immediate past chair of the Nevada Hispanic Legislative Caucus. In 2009, the Latin Chamber of Commerce honored Denis as Hispanic of the Year.

The  Honorable     Moises  “Mo”  Denis Senator, District 2 Nevada Senate

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MOST  INFLUENTIAL

Since 1992, Cortez has called Las Vegas home, officiating more than 170 world championship bouts. Some of the most notable fights he refereed were Mike Tyson vs. Larry Holmes, and Oscar De La Hoya vs. Julio Cesar Chavez. Cortez has trademarked the phrase, “I’m fair but I’m firm,” in his work as a referee.


R

oberto R. Denis joined NV Energy in 2003 and has been affiliated with the utility industry for more than 38 years. Prior to joining NV Energy, he was vice president of market and regulatory affairs for Florida Power & Light, a subsidiary of Florida-based NextEra Energy, Inc., one of the nation’s largest electric utility holding companies and leader in the production of renewable energy. At NV Energy, he is responsible for all aspects of energy delivery, including the development and construction of new transmission projects as well as the reliable and efficient operation of the company’s transmission and distribution.

Roberto  R.  Denis

MOST  INFLUENTIAL

Senior Vice President, Energy Delivery NV Energy

Denis holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, graduating cum laude from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a nuclear power engineering certificate from the University of Florida, and is a registered professional engineer in Florida. He is on the board of directors of the North Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce; a previous board member of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ Minority Engineering Program and is a past board member of Miami-Dade County’s Urban League.

J

osé Armando Elique is the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ chief of police. With more than 40 years of police experience, he is responsible for providing law enforcement services to over 27,000 students. Before coming to UNLV, José served as the director of public safety for the City University of New York (CUNY). Elique was also the highest-ranking Latino police officer in the history of the 1,500-member Port Authority Police Department, which protects 13 transportation facilities in New York and New Jersey.

José  Armando  Elique  

Chief of Police Director of Police Services University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Chief Elique holds a bachelor’s of arts degree from Adelphi University. He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Institute of Police Administration, the Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management Institute for Police and the United States Secret Service Dignitary Protection School. He has been published in the FBI’s Law Enforcement Bulletin and the Campus Law Enforcement Journal. Elique is a recipient of KLAS-TV Channel 8’s Hispanic Award of Excellence and the Latin Chamber of Commerce President’s Award for Law Enforcement. Of Puerto Rican heritage, Elique was raised in the Bronx, New York. He is a Navy veteran who served during the Vietnam War.

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A

driana Escobar serves as deputy attorney general in the Office of the Nevada Attorney General where she prosecutes complex mortgage and securities fraud cases. She was special counsel at Fox Rothschild, and a founding principal of Chanos Escobar Chanos. She served as a Nevada Public Utilities commissioner, Nevada Consumer’s Advocate and as a member of the Nevada Taxi Cab Authority. Escobar has practiced law for more than 20 years with experience in civil, criminal and administrative law. She is a graduate of California Western School of Law, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Bishop Gorman High School. Escobar is chairman of the board of governors for Spring Valley Hospital and previously served on the board of directors for the Latin Chamber of Commerce.

Adriana  Escobar

Deputy Attorney General Office of the Nevada Attorney General

Escobar is a judicial candidate for Clark County District Court, Department 14.

L

ucy Flores was elected to the Nevada Assembly in 2010 and represented District 28 during the 76th regular session in 2011. She passed the Nevada bar exam during the session and joined the law firm of Maddox, Isaacson & Cisneros, LLP where she works as a trial attorney. Flores attended the University of Southern California where she studied political science, worked in the School of Policy Planning and Development and was an Unruh Institute of Politics scholar. From there, she received her juris doctorate degree in early 2010 at the Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In 2008, she was appointed to the Nevada Commission on Minority Affairs. Flores advocated for the renewal of the state’s ombudsman for minority consumer affairs, ensuring equal protection under Nevada’s consumer protection laws. Flores is one of four Hispanic female lawmakers who are the first Hispanic women to serve in the Nevada Legislature. She is vice-chair of the Legislative Operations and Elections committee, and is a member of the Education, Government Affairs, Health and Human Services, and Taxation committees.

Lucy  Flores

Assemblywoman, District 28 Nevada State Assembly

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MOST  INFLUENTIAL

She is a recipient of the Latin Chamber of Commerce Professional of the Year Award and the Señoras of Excellence Award. She is active in the community and has volunteered for Friends of The Shade Tree Shelter, Three Square Food Bank and other charitable organizations.


R

andy Garcia is chief executive officer of the oldest independent investment consulting firm in Nevada, The Investment Counsel Company. He provides investment guidance to high net worth families, qualified plans, foundations and endowments. Clients rely on Garcia’s assistance to establish realistic financial goals and implement prudent investment plans to match their specific needs. Garcia has been recognized for his expertise by BARRON’S, MONEY, Forbes, Wealth Manager, and Medical Economics.

Randy  A.  Garcia

MOST  INFLUENTIAL

Chief Executive Officer The Investment Counsel Company

A resident of Las Vegas since 1957, Garcia is a 1977 honors graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). His volunteer activities include serving on the boards of the UNLV Foundation, the Council for a Better Nevada, the Nevada System of Higher Education Inclusive Excellence Advisory Board, the Latin Chamber of Commerce, the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and the Southern Nevada Boy Scouts. He also is an honorary commander of the Nellis Air Force Base Support Team. In 2007, he was honored as Hispanic of the Year by the Latin Chamber of Commerce and in 2009 he received the Nevada State College President’s Award for contributions to improving education.

J

udge William B. Gonzalez was appointed to the Eighth Judicial District Court bench in March 2009. He presides over domestic and family related matters. He is one of two Spanish-speaking Latino district court judges in the family division. Prior to taking the bench, he represented more than 2,000 children in the juvenile justice system. Gonzalez is a native of Southern California. He and his family made Las Vegas home in 1997. He and his wife, Ana Maria, have four children. He attained a bachelor’s of science in business management from Redlands University and a master’s in international business from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He earned his juris doctorate from J. Reuben Clark Law School.

William  B.  Gonzalez

Judge Eighth Judicial District Court Family Division

128    |    LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION

Gonzalez serves on the advisory board of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Boyd School of Law Legal Clinics. He served as vice-chairman of the City of Las Vegas Housing Authority board from 2003 to 2007. For the last 14 years, he has held a number of leadership positions in the Boy Scouts of America Troop 269.


T

he Honorable Ruben Kihuen was elected to the Nevada State Senate in November of 2010, where he represents Senatorial District 10. He served as state assemblyman for District 11 for two terms. Kihuen has spent his career empowering working families, students and the poor as a community organizer, college recruiter and academic advisor. He was a student recruiter and academic advisor for the College of Southern Nevada where he motivated hundreds of students to pursue higher education Kihuen is diversity programs manager for the College of Southern Nevada, and is a past member of the Clark County Community Development Advisory Committee and the North Las Vegas Citizen’s Advisory Committee.

The  Honorable  Ruben  Kihuen   Senator, District 10 Nevada Senate

L

iliam Lujan Hickey began her 47-year career in Nevada as a social worker and employment supervisor with the Nevada State Department. In 1980, she became the first Hispanic woman to hold office when elected to the Nevada State Board of Education. A Cuban native, she became a citizen in 1969. She is fluent in five languages and holds a bachelor’s degree. Hickey resides with her husband, Thomas Hickey, a retired Nevada state senator and assemblyman. She served on the U.S. Governors Work Force Board, Nevada State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Board, Literacy Foundation, Adoption Resource Center Committee on Employment and Placement of Hispanic Children, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Hispanic Advisory Committee. She founded the Latin Chamber of Commerce’s “Stop Youth Drug Abuse,” program and co-founded Classroom on Wheels and the Language Bank. The Liliam Lujan Hickey Elementary School was dedicated in May 2005. She has earned numerous awards including, the Good Housekeeping Award for Women in Government, the Women of Achievement Award-LV Chamber, the U.S. Department of the Interior Award, and The Great Unconformity Community Bailey-Hickey Sponsorship.

Liliam  Lujan  Hickey

Chairman Emeritus United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation Board

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MOST  INFLUENTIAL

He was the first and youngest Hispanic immigrant to be elected to Nevada political office. His other honors include Nevada State Legislature co-Freshman of the Year; the Rising Star Award and John F. Kennedy Award by the Nevada State Democratic Party; Hispanic of the Year by the Latin Chamber of Commerce; Outstanding Political Activist by the City of Las Vegas and Nevada High School Soccer Player of the Year.


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r. Magdalena Martinez is assistant vice chancellor for academic and student affairs for the Nevada System of Higher Education. She has worked at the National Forum of Higher Education for the Public Good at the University of Michigan where she contributed to the research, planning and implementation of multiple national dialogues that focused on issues related to postsecondary access, equity and student success. She also has served as a program evaluator for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Minority Serving Institutions Leadership Fellows Program. The three-year, grant funded program prepares individuals for leadership positions at Hispanic, historically black and Native American institutions of higher education.

Magdalena  Martinez,  Ph.D.

MOST  INFLUENTIAL

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Nevada System of Higher Education

Martinez also has served as a community college administrator at the College of Southern Nevada and a policy and management analyst at the City of Las Vegas. Dr. Martinez holds a Ph.D. in education from the University of Michigan, master’s degree in education from Harvard University and a bachelor’s of science in business from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

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n April, 2011, the Clark County School District (CCSD) Board of Trustees selected Pedro Martinez as deputy superintendent, overseeing the district’s 357 schools and academic departments. Martinez previously served as deputy superintendent of the Washoe County School District, overseeing the district’s 102 schools. He implemented a K–12 College and Career Readiness Pathway and an initiative that increased graduation rates by an average of seven percent.

Pedro  Martinez

Deputy Superintendent Clark County School District

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Martinez previously served as a regional superintendent and the chief financial officer at the Chicago Public Schools. Under his leadership, the district increased its financial reserves, received bond rating upgrades and implemented academic initiatives that resulted in significant student achievement and graduation gains. Martinez also served as the director of finance and technology at the Archdiocese of Chicago and an audit manager at Deloitte & Touche and Price Waterhouse Coopers. He is a certified public accountant and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree in business administration from DePaul University. Martinez is a graduate of the 2009 class of The Broad Superintendents Academy.


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arry Mason was the first Hispanic member of the Clark County School Board and served as a trustee for 16 years. A career educator, he spent 32 years in higher education, including 20 years at four-year institutions and 12 years at twoyear institutions. Mason is a passionate community activist working on behalf of children and parents. He has also been a fiscal steward, overseeing the Clark County School District’s $3 billion budget. He has served twice as president, vice president, and clerk for the board. Mason worked as interim vice-president, Office of Diversity and Cultural Affairs for the College of Southern Nevada. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico

Larry  P.  Mason Retired Educator

MOST  INFLUENTIAL

Mason has been honored by the Latino community, receiving such awards as Hispanic of the Year, Educator of the Year, and Community Service Person of the Year by the Latin Chamber of Commerce. Mason has also been recognized as Señores of Excellence and has been inducted into the Hispanic Basketball Hall of Fame by the Latino in Action Sports Association.

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hris Roman is vice president and general manager of Entravision Communications Corporation’s Las Vegas Spanish-language media cluster. This group includes the top-rated KINC Univision Channel 15, KELV TeleFutura Channel 27, two radio stations, KQRT-FM La Tricolor and KRRN-FM El Gato, and four local Spanish-language websites. Chris’ career spans over 30 years in media, advertising, marketing and promotion. Born in New York City, he has lived in eleven cities, including Bogota, Colombia, where he grew up from ages 2 to 12. A graduate of St. John’s University in New York, Chris began his professional career with Spanish International Network, the predecessor company to UNIVISION. His current company, Entravision Communications, recruited him in 2002 to run sales operations for Palm Springs, California media group. Shortly thereafter, he was promoted to general manager of Entravision’s Santa Barbara, California properties. In January 2005, he was reassigned to Las Vegas. Chris sits on several boards, including UNLV’s Hank Greenspun School of Public Affairs. Additionally, he serves on the board of United Way of Southern Nevada and the Nevada Broadcaster Association.

Chris  Roman

Vice President and General Manager Entravision Communications Corporation

The father of three beautiful daughters, Chris lives in Henderson, Nevada. LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    131


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ony F. Sanchez III joined NV Energy in 2007 as senior vice president of government and community strategy. He was a lawyer for U.S. Senator Richard Bryan, for the Public Utilities Commission and for Governor Bob Miller before joining Jones Vargas. He serves on numerous non-profit boards. He is the vicechair of Nevada Partners, is on the executive committee of the Public Education Foundation, and is on two higher education committees. He served on the board of the Latin Chamber of Commerce for 10 years, including as president in 2003-2004, and on the board of the United Way.

Tony  F.  Sanchez,  III

MOST  INFLUENTIAL

Senior Vice President of Government & Community Strategy NV Energy

He has been recognized as the Chamber’s Hispanic of the Year, the Diabetes Association’s Person of the Year, and in 2011 was the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ Liberal Arts Alumni of the Year. In 2011, Sanchez received an honorary degree from the College of Southern Nevada. He holds a bachelor’s of arts in political science from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a law degree from Arizona State University College of Law. Sanchez and his wife Elaine reside in Las Vegas with their four children.

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udge Valorie J. Vega has been a jurist for 22 years. Before taking the bench, she practiced criminal and civil law.

Judge Vega has presided in District Court since 1999. She served as a municipal court judge for 10 years and worked as a Clark County deputy district attorney. She also has been a judicial law clerk, an associate attorney and a court interpreter. Judge Vega is vice chair of the Financial Guidance Center and is a board member of the Latin Chamber of Commerce and the Latino Bar Association. She also is a member of the Nevada Supreme Court’s committees on Public Trust and Confidence, Certification of Court Interpreters and Judicial Ethics. She chairs the Rules Committee of the District Court. She has received many awards, including Señora of Excellence in 2010.

Valorie  J.  Vega

Judge, Civil Division and Criminal Division Eighth Judicial District Court

Judge Vega has a bachelor’s of arts degree from California State University, a graduate studies certificate in interpretation/ translation from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a juris doctorate degree from the University of Southern California. Judge Vega is married, has one child and has been a resident of Southern Nevada since 1978.

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amon Alvarez is a proven leader with over 25 years of management experience in the retail industry. He began his career in California and currently holds the position of market manager for Wal-Mart Corporation in Southern Nevada. He has led up to 4,000 associates and managed a budget of over $850 million for the $400 billion organization. Alvarez has also led high performance teams for Target, Home Depot, and Safeway in California, Arizona, and Nevada. As an expatriate for Home Depot, he successfully embraced the challenge of opening stores in Chile and Argentina as Director of Operations.

Ramon  Alvarez                                      

CORPORATE  BRASS

Market Manager Wal-Mart Corporation

Alvarez is active in various professional organizations, including Retail Executives, Big Box Retail Professionals, and Retail Industry Professionals. He proudly serves on the Las Vegas Board of Directors for the Latin Chamber of Commerce. He was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and immigrated to California at the age of 9. Alvarez holds a degree in business management from the University of Phoenix. Growing up poor, he has a passion for improving the quality of life and education of children throughout the community.

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ince moving to Las Vegas to join Lionel Sawyer & Collins, Maximiliano D. Couvillier has distinguished himself as an active member and leader in the community. In 2008, he was recognized as one of the Top 40 Under 40 business and community leaders in Southern Nevada by the leading business publication In Business Las Vegas. In 2002, Couvillier participated in the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce Focus Leadership program. He was also awarded the prestigious Arturo Cambeiro Outstanding Hispanic of the Year for 2004 by the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce, in recognition of his leadership and contributions to the Southern Nevada Hispanic community.

Maximiliano  D.  Couvillier  III,  Esq. Attorney & Shareholder Lionel Sawyer & Collins

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In his work as an attorney, Couvillier’s practice focuses on commercial disputes, corporate governance, shareholder disputes, labor/employment, real estate and construction matters. Max has also participated in significant appellate matters, representing some of Nevada’s largest companies. Couvillier serves on the board of directors of the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce and Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Nevada, among his many community commitments.


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lex Garza is an accomplished bilingual professional and active member of the Las Vegas community. Born and raised in Nevada, he is proud of his Mexican heritage and feels privileged to be living the American dream. Garza is the national vice president and business development manager for Austin, Texas based Venta Financial Group. He has a strong leadership role as vice president of Hispanics in Politics group of Nevada. A believer in American entrepreneurship, Garza saw his family build a business from the ground up; a restaurant and gas station in Alamo, Nevada, where he filled gas tanks after school.

Alex  Garza

National Vice President Venta Financial Group

Hard-working and energetic, determined, intelligent and friendly, he is a married father of three.

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ariana Kihuen is an attorney with the Clark County Public Defender’s Office, where she provides legal counsel for criminal defendants who cannot afford to hire a private attorney. Prior to law school, Kihuen worked for GMMB, Inc., a communications firm in Washington, D.C., where she provided strategic communications counsel for the education division of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. While in law school, Kihuen clerked for the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Judge Marisa J. Demeo at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, and for the Law Firm of Jones Vargas. During the 2008 presidential campaign, she was a member of the Democratic National Committee’s Latino Voter Protection Task Force and recruited hundreds of law students throughout battleground states to combat Latino voter suppression. She was also one of five Latinos chosen nationwide by MTV to appear in public service announcements and biographical television ads designed to increase young Latino voter turnout.

Mariana  Kihuen

Attorney Clark County Public Defender’s Office

Kihuen received a juris doctorate degree from the American University Washington College of Law and her bachelor’s of arts in government and english from Georgetown University. LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    135

CORPORATE  BRASS

He earned his bachelor’s of science in education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and taught grades six through eight at the Clark County School District. After teaching, Garza went into the real estate business, establishing his own company, and culminated his experience as president and chief executive officer of the Nevada Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, a national nonprofit organization.


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atherine Levy directs accounts in varied sectors such as gaming, utilities, healthcare and education as director of public affairs for R&R Partners. She also handles the firm’s public relations strategies and legislative efforts. Her work includes crisis communications, media relations, strategic planning and event management. Prior to joining R&R Partners, Levy served as director of public affairs for the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce.

Catherine  Levy

CORPORATE  BRASS

Director of Public Affairs R&R Partners

After completing several internships with such organizations as the World Cup USA in 1994 and Cable News Network (CNN) during the 1996 Olympics, Levy began her career as a writer and production assistant at WCVB-TV in Boston. There, she further honed her journalism skills, which led to her subsequent role as public relations officer for Collette Vacations in Rhode Island. While at Collette, she managed international marketing and public relations initiatives, until her move to Las Vegas in 2001. Levy earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in psychology from Williams College and a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Boston University. She is a graduate of the Leadership Las Vegas Class of 2004.

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arines Linera was born and raised in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico where she earned a bachelor’s of arts in communications at the University of Sacred Heart. Her background in communications and journalism has been key to her success. She directs all public relations, media relations, production of newsletters, press releases and bilingual seminars and workshops as part of her responsibilities as the business information director for the Nevada Minority Development Council.

Marines  Linera

Business Information Director Nevada Minority Supplier Development Council

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Prior to coming to the Council, Marines was a successful news anchor and reporter for over 10 years with Telemundo and Univision in Las Vegas. Her wonderful sense of humor and skillful producing was instrumental in making Telemundo news the top Spanish news gathering team in Las Vegas, earning her numerous accolades and awards. Marines was a disc jockey on Tropical radio station WQBS, reporter for the San Juan Star and news radio WKAQ in Puerto Rico, where she received many honors as a reporter. With extensive experience, she values her bilingual ability to keep the Las Vegas Spanish speaking community informed on business events and issues that affect them.


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laine Sanchez joined McCarran International Airport in 2004 as the public affairs manager. Two years later she was promoted to airport public affairs and marketing manager and is responsible for air service development, media relations, community outreach, advertising, marketing and strategic planning for the nation’s eighth-busiest airport. Prior to joining the Department of Aviation, Sanchez was a senior public information officer for the City of Las Vegas. Before that she worked for then U.S. Senator Richard Bryan and as an advertising account executive for The Rogich Communications Group.

Elaine  Sanchez

Public Affairs Manager McCarran International Airport

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rlando Sanchez has extensive knowledge and experience in the public sector and with the City of Las Vegas dating back to 1988. He has worked with the Department of Economic and Urban Development and the Neighborhood Services Department where he served as director, spearheading many key innovative plans and programs. Among those programs are the 10-year Plan to End Homelessness, the Homeownership For Educators Program, which assists teachers with housing costs, and the EVOLVE Program, which reintegrates felons into society and helps them lead productive lives. He was appointed deputy city manager in May 2006. A native of Belen, New Mexico, Sanchez graduated from New Mexico State University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and later received a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix. In 2005, Sanchez was recognized as the “Emerging Public Administrator of the Year” by the American Society for Public Administration.

Orlando  Sanchez

Deputy City Manager City of Las Vegas

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CORPORATE  BRASS

Sanchez holds a bachelor’s of arts in political science and criminal justice from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She has been very active in the Southern Nevada community, previously serving on the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District from 2001-2009, serving as chairman for two years. Currently, she serves on the board of advisors of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts and also as a trustee on the Sunrise Hospital Board.


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afael Villanueva joined the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority (LVCVA) in the spring of 1998 as a domestic sales executive. Over the past decade, he has helped to increase the profile of Las Vegas in the Latin American market exponentially. His current mission is to generate the same success to the expansive global audience. As director of international sales, he manages Las Vegas’ global strategy and the day-to-day operations of its international offices, which reach over 50 countries throughout the world. Prior to joining the LVCVA, Villanueva served as executive director of advertising and public relations at the Tropicana Resort and Casino. His career also included working for some of the top advertising agencies in Las Vegas.

Rafael  Villanueva

CORPORATE  BRASS

Director of International Sales Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

Villanueva has served as president of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Alumni Association as well as the board of directors of the Latin Chamber of Commerce. Born in Mexico, Villanueva has spent all but one year of his life in Las Vegas. He is a graduate of Las Vegas High School and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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obert Agonia retired from federal service after 38 years. Initially a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador, he worked for the Internal Revenue Service in California and Nevada, then for the Nevada Operations office of the U.S. Department of Energy. Originally from California, he earned an associate’s of arts degree from Orange Coast College and a bachelor’s of arts in social science from Long Beach State University. He also completed the course work for a master’s in public administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Robert  Agonia

COMMUNITY  LEADERS

Vice President, Board of Trustees Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation

A long-time advocate for equal educational opportunity, he was a founding member of the Nevada League of United Latin American Citizens and the Southern Nevada Hispanic Employment Program. Today, he serves as co-chair of the Southern Nevada Science Education Consortium and has played a major role in creating the Atomic Testing Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute. Agonia resides in Las Vegas with his wife Barbara and their two dogs.

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aggie Arias-Petrel, born in Quito-Ecuador, is the chief executive officer of Global Professional Medical Consulting, which specializes in marketing, business development and strategic partnerships for the Hispanic market. Arias-Petrel has more than 20 years of medical practice management, marketing, and consulting experience. As an administrator for several multi-specialty practices in Las Vegas during the past decade, Arias-Petrel understands the needs of a comprehensive health care service and access to the underserved communities in Nevada.

Maggie  Arias-­Petrel

Chief Executive Officer Global Professional Medical Consulting

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Her concerns relating to the current medical crisis with the shortage of qualified bicultural and bilingual medical professionals prompted her to create a partnership between the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, one of the most prestigious institutions of higher education in Mexico, St. Rose Dominican Hospitals and the Nevada System of Higher Education Appointed by Governor Jim Gibbons to the Office of Minority Health, she chairs the Southern Nevada Immunization Coalition, a partnership with the Southern Nevada Health District, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Workforce Connections of Nevada, The American Red Cross, United Way and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Community Advisory boards.


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elly Benavidez is a Clark County commissioner liaison to commissioner Lawrence Weekly. She helps represent a highly populated Hispanic area in Clark County. As a liaison, she helps residents in the community with accessing different departments in Clark County. Benavidez’s position with the county gives her the opportunity to partner with agencies like METRO, the City of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and state and federal agencies on various projects.

Benavidez spent most of her childhood in Las Vegas where she met and married the love of her life, Robert R. Williams, and has a beautiful, rambunctious son, Santiago G. Williams.

Kelly  D.  Benavidez

Clark County Commissioner Liaison Clark County

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r. René Cantú Jr. is the executive director of the Latin Chamber of Commerce Community Foundation. He has raised more than $3.3 million since 2009 to benefit the community through the Latin Chamber of Commerce Community Foundation. Under Dr. Cantú’s leadership, the Latin Chamber of Commerce Community Foundation has established a vibrant workforce development program currently serving 266 adult and dislocated workers by helping them enter health care and green sector jobs. Previously, Dr. Cantú was the vice president for multicultural affairs at Nevada State College. At Nevada State College, Dr. Cantú established the Multicultural Affairs Department, the Nevada State College Diversity Coalition, and the College Diversification Advisory Committee. He has served as president of the Latin Chamber of Commerce Community Foundation and as vice chair of the Latin Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Cantú holds a Ph.D. in educational administration, as well as master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.

René  Cantú  Jr.,  Ph.D.

Executive Director Latin Chamber of Commerce Community Foundation

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She has held positions on many boards, including The Reynaldo L. Martinez Institute for Leadership and Research, The Women’s Research Institute of Nevada at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), The Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce, Hispanics in Politics and The Latina Network, to name a few. She was the co-chair of UNLV’s Public Safety Advisory Board and is currently the chair trustee of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District.


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usie Cortez has been working for the Latino community for more than 20 years. She is responsible for the management and operation of Nevada Adult Day Healthcare at the Arturo Cambeiro Senior Center, where she is able to provide a wide range of services to maintain the health and independence of the Hispanic elderly. She oversees daily activities, meals and health care services specially designed for Latino Seniors. Cortez has been a senior advocate working and managing Arturo Cambeiro Senior Center under The Latin Chamber of Commerce Administration for over six years. Before that, she was an administrative assistant for the Nevada Association of Latin Americans, the first Hispanic association founded in the state. During this time, she worked directly with the operations department and internal programming.

Susie  Cortez

COMMUNITY  LEADERS

Program Director Nevada Adult Day Healthcare Center

In April of 2005, she received the citizen of the month award presented by the mayor and council members of the City of Las Vegas. Cortez is proud to be part of the Inaugural Edition of Las Vegas Latino Leaders™, and looks forward to continuing to serve the Latino community.

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ibi Ellis is the president and chief executive officer for Home Helpers, a homecare provider, and Direct Link, a personal emergency response company serving the elderly, convalescing and disabled in Las Vegas. Her experience includes acute care, ambulatory services, long-term care, ancillary services and provider relations in for profit and nonprofit healthcare organizations. She has more than 25 years of experience in healthcare and mentors and assists other healthcare professionals. She holds an executive master’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in healthcare administration from the University of Colorado, Denver.

Tibi  Ellis

President and Chief Executive Officer Home Helpers

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She is a sought-after speaker in the Las Vegas community on elder care, minority healthcare services, caregiving and aging. She facilitates support groups for people fighting cancer and holds seminars on healthcare in the Hispanic community. Ellis was elected woman of the year by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in 2011. She is a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society, a charitable Catholic organization and was recognized as a Señora of Excellence for Nevada in 2008. She is a member of the Psychological Board of Examiners in Nevada.


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udy Fleischman currently serves as district representative for Congresswoman Shelley Berkley. Since January 1999, she has been responsible for covering all areas related to the Department of Justice, State Department, Citizenship and Immigration Services and Small Business Administration. She represents the congresswoman at community events, provides constituent services and all Hispanic outreach. She grew up between Puerto Rico and the city of Chicago. After finishing college, she moved to Washington, D.C. in 1983. There, she worked for various organizations, such as United Press International, Freddie Mac and as human resources officer for the Office of the Governor of Puerto Rico, under the administration of Honorable Pedro Rosello.

She has been honored by Las Vegas Friends, The Central American Coalition of Nevada, El Concilio Hispano and Senoras of Excellence/Senores of Distinction.

Judy  Fleischman

District Representative, Las Vegas Office of U.S. Congresswoman Shelley Berkley

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s the ombudsman of consumer affairs for the Nevada Department of Business and Industry, Christina Fuentes is responsible for the design and implementation of outreach activities in minority communities. Her focus is on overcoming the common barriers facing minorities, such as unfamiliarity with contracts, reading and language barriers, lack of awareness of available services and a reluctance to trust government agencies. She started her career in the casino industry where she worked her way up to the corporate level. She was the first diversity relations manager for one of the largest casino companies. After leaving the casino industry Christina focused on business development and working with the Hispanic community to develop future entrepreneurs. She received her bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Phoenix. She is president of the board of Quest Preparatory Academy and is active with the Latin Chamber of Commerce, EMPLEO, the Fight Fraud Task Force, the Southern Nevada Hispanic Employment Program, and the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority.

Christina  Fuentes

Ombudsman of Minority Affairs for Consumers Department of Business & Industry State of Nevada

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Fleischman was formerly the president of the Puerto Rican Association of Las Vegas, a board member of the Family Leadership Initiative and a former board member of the Hispanic Museum of Nevada.


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armen Mahan was born in Columbia and has built strong ties with other Columbians living in Las Vegas. She retains her links to the Columbian expat community in several ways, including helping individuals vote in Columbian presidential elections and organizing local events to celebrate the independence of Columbia. She is the co-founder, first president and former director of the Columbian Association. She is heavily involved in the Hispanic Day Parade and the Ya Es Hora program, which helps immigrants become U.S. citizens.

Carmen  Mahan

COMMUNITY  LEADERS

Director Columbian Association

She has earned many honors and awards in Las Vegas, including Señoras of Excellence; 100 Years of Influence, The Role of Women Shaping the First 100 Years of Las Vegas; Entrepreneur of the Year by the Latin Chamber of Commerce; Hispanic Profiles of Success by Channel 8 and by the former Mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman. She is a Nevada representative to the National Hispanic Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., and was chosen to greet President Bush during his visit to Las Vegas. Mahan is married to Arthur Mahan. They have a son, Kevin.

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hristina Martinez is a native of Las Vegas, Nevada having family roots that date back from the late 1960’s. She became politically involved at a very young age thanks to the leadership of her aunt Delia Martinez. One of her first volunteer jobs was campaigning for U.S. Senator Harry Reid when he ran for his first U.S. Senate seat in 1986. She attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas College of Business Science, obtaining her bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in marketing. Immediately after graduating college, she hit the ground running representing Senator Reid in Southern Nevada. She has worked for the senator for over a decade.

Christina  Martinez

Regional Representative, Las Vegas Office of U.S. Senator Harry Reid

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Her primary responsibilities are linking the resources of the senator’s office directly to constituents and serving as a liaison to the federal government and the community of Southern Nevada. Out of the Las Vegas field office, she oversees Latino affairs, including working with faith based communities, foreign dignitaries and new citizens. In addition, she works directly with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State in resolving constituent needs.


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ictoria Napoles-Laza is a first generation immigrant, born in Sonora, Mexico. She started with the Latin Chamber of Commerce as an office manager in 1987 and is now the senior executive vice president. Victoria worked with the chamber to develop the leadership structure and strategic plan. She set and met goals for quality, financial management, and fundraising. Under her leadership, the chamber produced the Annual Golf Tournament, “La Oportunidad,” the International Expo, the Annual Gala and monthly luncheons and business mixers. Her efforts culminated in her work with the Clark County School District to create a program to convey positive messages to Las Vegas Hispanic youth.

Victoria  Napoles-­Laza

Senior Executive Vice President Latin Chamber of Commerce

Her three children, Veronica, Karla, and Luis have all grown up to be successful professionals in the community; and her four grandchildren, Alexandra, Benjamin, Hudson and Ava, are the joys of her life.

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ora Luna is the daughter of Mexican immigrants, and has been working in youth development and community education for nearly 20 years. She began her career as a prevention specialist for the YMCA of Southern Nevada. Nora also worked for the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) as a Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist and a School Retention Specialist for over thirteen years. Nora developed, implemented, and evaluated educational programs for youth and families. She currently serves as the Hispanic/Latino program manager for Nathan Adelson Hospice where she works to increase healthcare equity and conducts education on the benefits of healthcare planning. A native Nevadan she graduated from Las Vegas High School, attained her bachelor of arts in Criminal Justice from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a masters in Counseling and Education Psychology from UNR. Nora serves on the board of the Girls Scouts of Southern Nevada and is a member of the Nevada Charter School Board Authority. In 2012 she received the Spirit of Cesar Chavez award.

Nora  Luna

Hispanic/Latino Program Manager Nathan Adelson Hospice

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In addition to the chamber, she is a member of the board of directors of the Dignity Healthcare St. Rose Dominican Hospitals, commissioner for the State of Nevada Commission on Minority Affairs, and board member of the National Association of Latin Americans.


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eborah Reyes, an attorney with more than 25 years of experience, joined the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s Gang Crimes Bureau as its prevention section coordinator in December 2008. She directs the department’s youth violence and gang prevention efforts. A New York native, she attained a bachelor’s of arts in urban legal studies from City University of New York, where she served as a Revson Fellow Law Professor. She attained her juris doctorate from New York Law School. In addition to running her own law firm, Reyes has served as commissioner of the New York State Commission of Corrections, the executive director of a New York State Hispanic legislative task force, and the director of government operations for a Hispanic non-profit consortium.

Deborah  Ann  Reyes

COMMUNITY  LEADERS

Community Outreach & Prevention Coordinator Gang Crimes Bureau Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

Reyes served on many non-profit boards before relocating to Nevada. She was a founding member of Comite Noviembre, New York’s annual program celebrating Puerto Rican culture and history, and Madrinas, a mentoring program. She serves on the board of directors of The Embracing Project and the advisory boards of the Nurse Family Partnership and End Violence Now.

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avier Trujillo is a member of the City of Henderson’s intergovernmental relations division. His responsibilities include representing Henderson in local and state legislative affairs, providing high-level analysis of issues and cultivating relationships with leaders and elected officials throughout Nevada. Previously, he served as the Nevada political director for former presidential candidate, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico.

Javier  Trujillo

Intergovernmental Relations City of Henderson

Trujillo is chairman of the Latin Chamber of Commerce board of directors and president of the First Med Health and Wellness Center board of directors. He is active in various non-profit organizations that are focused on increasing educational opportunities for Latinos and other underrepresented populations; creating academic scholarship programs to support non-traditional, economically challenged students seeking a college or university education; and establishing service-based youth leadership programs focused on civic engagement, community development and community service. Trujillo has been honored by the City of Las Vegas, the Latin Chamber of Commerce and the Nevada League of Cities & Municipalities. He has represented Nevada at various events held in Washington, D.C. Trujillo holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in business administration.

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orge Viote emigrated from his native Cuba in 1995. Since moving to Las Vegas in 1997, Viote has been actively involved in promoting community resources and services on behalf of the Latino community. Viote works for the Southern Nevada Health District as the district’s community outreach coordinator. His work involves overseeing volunteer programs, serving as a representative with the Hispanic media, promoting programs and services and participating in community outreach events. In addition, he has worked with local and nationally recognized organizations such as the National Alliance for Hispanic Health.

His accomplishments in the community have garnered him the Latin Chamber of Commerce Medical and Health Services Award in 2007 and Manager of the Year Award from Directors of Volunteers in Agencies in 2008.

Jorge  Viote

Community Outreach Coordinator Southern Nevada Health District

Viote is married and the proud father of two wonderful daughters.

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COMMUNITY  LEADERS

Viote has been a member of the Latin Chamber of Commerce since 2000, and served as a board of director in 2006 and 2011. He took the opportunity to represent the chamber at the 2009 Congressional Hispanic Caucus.


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SCHOLAR MERIT VALUE

PERFORM MENTOR PHENOM

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r. Nancy Alamo has been an educator for more than 20 years. She began her career as a bilingual school psychologist and was appointed one of the youngest Hispanic administrators. She has held administrative positions in the ELL program, human resources, and is currently the director in substitute services where she oversees more than 4,000 substitute teachers and support staff district-wide. She is a native Nevadan and graduate of Chaparral High School. She attained her bachelor of arts in psychology with a minor in alcohol drug/studies, and two masters degrees in counseling and educational psychology from Loyola Marymount University. She earned her doctorate in education from Nova Southeastern University.

Dr.  Nancy  M.  Alamo

Director Clark County School District

Dr. Alamo has served as president of the Hispanic Educators Association of Nevada for more than a decade and hosts the annual Hispanic Baccalaureate. She also serves on the advisory boards of Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. of Nevada, Nevada Youth Alliance, and is a Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce Leadership alumna.

ACADEMIA

Z

oraida Caldera has been a community educator for more than 15 years, working primarily with the Latino community in Southern Nevada. She has developed, implemented and facilitated a variety of school readiness and academic improvement programs. Her most popular are “Gearing Up for Kindergarten,” a parent-child preschool participation program, and “Reading and Math Tutoring.” Caldera also coordinates Cooperative Extension programs at the Cambridge Community Center. Caldera is originally from Caracas, Venezuela. Her desire to earn a bachelor’s degree in hotel management at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) motivated her to migrate to the United States. She worked in the human resources department at the Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco and San Diego.

Zoraida  Caldera

Community Educator University of Nevada Reno Cooperative Extension

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Caldera is the state director of FUNDVEC, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to providing literacy programs in rural areas in Venezuela. She is the co-founder and first president of the Venezuelan Cultural Association of Las Vegas and represented the Foreign Languages College in the UNLV Graduate Professional Student Association from 2008-2010. She is pursuing a master’s degree in Spanish at UNLV.


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igoberto Carmona is an educator with the Clark County School District at Sunrise Mountain High School where he teaches English and world history. He was previously a teacher at Del Sol and Eldorado High School where he taught English III and IV. Carmona also spends the school year not only teaching, but as a softball, cross country, track, football and basketball coach. He graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a bachelor’s of arts in special education and is currently pursuing his master’s of arts in educational leadership.

He is currently a member of the dropout prevention committee at Sunrise Mountain High School and served as a mentor for the Summer Business Institute Program. He was also the coordinator for the Hispanic Employment Program at Eldorado High School. A native of Cuba, Carmona has lived in Las Vegas for more than 30 years.

Rigoberto  Carmona

Educator Clark County School District

ACADEMIA

Carmona has been recognized for his leadership within the Clark County School District. He has received numerous RAVE awards and was named coach of the month at Eldorado High School.

D

r. Maurice Flores has been an educator for the past 40 years and currently serves as an adjunct professor for Nevada State College. He served in the US Navy with two tours of duty in Vietnam. Dr. Flores holds a bachelor’s of science degree in education from Northern Arizona University, a master’s of science degree and a doctorate of education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Dr. Flores has been a community leader since 1972. He is a charter member of Hispanic Educators of Nevada, member of the Latin Chamber of Commerce, and charter member of the Association of Latin American Superintendents. Dr. Flores has held several elected positions within the education community including president of the Clark County Elementary Principal Association; president of Nevada Association of School Administrators and has served on its board of directors; and chairman of the negotiations team of the Clark County Association of School Administrators.

Dr.  Maurice  Flores Adjunct Professor Nevada State College

Dr. Flores has been selected Educator of the Year, received the Distinguished Service Award for the Clark County School District master plan; and has had two Senatorial and two Congressional recognitions. LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    151


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il Lopez has been an educator for over eight years. He began his career as a middle school tutor and later became a guest teacher for the Clark County School District. Currently, he works for Nevada State College (NSC) as an admissions counselor and recruiter where he focuses on the North and East valley high schools. Gil moved to Las Vegas in 1995 and graduated from VoTech High School. He attained his bachelor’s of science in economics from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).

Gil  Lopez

Admissions Counselor/Recruiter Nevada State College

He has been involved with the Latino Youth Leadership Conference for over seven years, as a participant, peer and adult facilitator. He has also served as a board member for the Latin Chamber of Commerce and currently serves on the board of directors for Hispanics in Politics. Gil is the academic advisor for the fraternity chapter he helped found, Omega Delta Phi and is also the faculty advisor for the Latino Scorpions at NSC. Lastly, he is involved in the planning of The Latino Graduation Ceremony and Hispanic Heritage Month for NSC and UNLV.

ACADEMIA

D

r. Cecilia Maldonado is an associate professor of workforce education and development in the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs, School of Environmental and Public Affairs. She serves as program and graduate coordinator of the Ph.D. in Workforce Development and Organizational Leadership program. Previously, she held a faculty appointment in the College of Education. She has published numerous scholarly papers and book chapters on areas related to Latina leadership and workplace issues and has presented at national and international conferences. She has received honors for her work.

Cecilia  Maldonado-­Daniels,  Ph.D. Associate Professor in Workforce Education and Development University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Maldonado holds a doctorate from Pennsylvania State University in workforce education and development, a master’s of science in technical education, and two bachelors of science degrees; one in industrial management, and the other in elementary education from the University of Akron in Ohio. In 2010, she was elected chairwoman of the Faculty Senate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and was the first Latina in this leadership position. She remains active in faculty governance as a member of the executive committee. She has a daughter, Alex, who will be a senior at UNLV.

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J

osé Luis Mayorga has been a Spanish instructor for more than 17 years. He has been teaching Spanish for Workplace ESL Solutions for four years in both community based programs and local hotels. José Luis teaches using the communicative approach. He introduces the language, lets students practice it, and then shows them how to use it in real life situations. José Luis knows how to take the Spanish language and make it easy and interesting for adults to learn. “Adults don’t need grammar and memorization” he explains. “They need tools to use in the real world speaking to customers, staff or on vacation.” José Luis has been regarded as a high energy facilitator and often interprets in Spanish for corporate Human Resources events. Mayorga also has been teaching children Spanish at Merry Hill Elementary School for nine years. He prides himself on getting kids excited to speak Spanish. Being bilingual is a gift and he is helping kids achieve that gift.

José  Luis  Mayorga

Spanish Instructor Workplace ESL Solutions

ACADEMIA

José Luis has a bachelor’s degree in business, and certifications for interpretation, translation and teaching Spanish.

P

riscilla Rocha has been an educator for more than 25 years. She was named director of Adult English Language Acquisition Services for the Clark County School District in 2001. The program provides English as a second language instruction to more than 2,500 adult students from 72 countries. She also developed the Parent Institute for the Clark County School District. Rocha is a native New Mexican. She earned a bachelor’s of arts in elementary education from the College of Santa Fe, a master’s from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a doctorate from the University of Phoenix. From 1998-2002, Rocha served on the Nevada Board of Education. She also was elected to former President Vicente Fox’s advisory council and served from 2006-2009. She is a member of the City of Las Vegas Civil Service Board and has dedicated her time to various organizations. Rocha has received numerous awards for her work and contributions to the Las Vegas Community. She has been honored by KLAS-TV Channel 8 as a “Portrait of Success,” and by the National Association of Working Women.

Priscilla  Rocha

Director, Education Services Division Clark County School District

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aniel Tafoya hails from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He joined the United States Air Force in 1986 where he served for nearly 12 years as a non-commissioned officer, earning the rank of Master Technical Instructor. Tafoya is a coordinator for the Clark County School District’s Office of Charter Schools where he oversees seven of the largest charter schools in Nevada. In 1998, he began his civilian career with the Nevada System of Higher Education where he served in several positions during his five-year tenure, including operations manager, assistant director for telecommunication services, director of government affairs and special events and director of strategic planning. He also worked as a lobbyist during legislative sessions.

Daniel  José  Tafoya

Coordinator, Clark County High School Clark County School District

ACADEMIA

Tafoya was recognized as the Latin Chamber of Commerce’s 2006 non-profit public servant of the year. He holds three associate of science degrees from the Community College of the Air Force, a bachelor’s of science degree in educational and organizational technologies from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, a master’s of arts in organizational management and a master’s of science in quality assurance from California State University.

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SELF-­SACRIFICING ALTRUISTIC HUMANITARIAN

HEROIC PHILANTHROPIC CARING

EMPOWERING GENEROUS NOBLE

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V

alerie Aragon was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and has been a resident of Las Vegas since 1985. Not long after high school she worked with a wide range of non-profits, government agencies, and major corporations. She realized her special interests were in retail sales, business management and customer relations. Aragon is an active professional focused on supporting the development of Latino businesses. For the last 10 years, she has been specializing in mobile accessories and wireless communications. Originally an employee at Yes of Course, Aragon purchased the business in 2005 and has continued offering the most comprehensive services in the wireless industry.

Valerie  Aragon

ENTREPRENEURS

President and Owner V’s Accessories, Inc. d/b/a Yes of Course

Aragon is married and the proud mother of three beautiful children, two sons and a daughter whom she enjoys spending quality time with, along with other family and friends. An active and passionate leader in the community, she enjoys making a difference in the lives of others and is always willing to offer a helping hand to those in need.

L

ynnette Arvelo Sawyer is executive director and chief executive officer of the Hispanic Museum of Nevada, which she founded in 1991 to promote awareness, education, and the contributions of diverse Latino cultures. She has been an assistant principal, a learning strategist, English language learner specialist, literacy specialist, and kindergarten through seventh grade art, math, language arts, Spanish and general education instructor. Sawyer holds a master’s degree in education with an emphasis on curriculum and instruction-TESL, a bachelor’s degree in education, and licenses in educational administration and bilingual education.

Lynnette  Arvelo  Sawyer

Founder, Executive Director and CEO Hispanic Museum of Nevada

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She has served as chairperson for the Nevada Association of Latin Americans, as trustee for the North Las Vegas Library Board, and as general manager for the Las Vegas Sentinel Voice newspaper. She has received numerous community awards and commendations for her tireless advocacy and cultural arts work in the community. Lynnette has also received various accolades, including the Professional Business Women’s Associate of the Year Award, the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce Award for Cultural Contributions, the Clark County School District Community Contribution Award, and the Foundation for an Independent Tomorrow Community Contribution Award.


I

n 2006, Derek Caldwell took his passion for photography and founded Derek’s Photography. Some of his clients and events include brides, corporations, movie premiers and quinceañeras, to name a few. A highly sought-after professional, Derek has been tapped as an official photographer for Las Vegas Latino Leaders™. One of his favorite projects was working for Chris Roman, vice president and general manager for Entravision. He has taken pictures for Roman at various functions, which included photographing the up-and-coming actress and model Mirtha Michelle. Caldwell says the most interesting person he’s photographed in his career to date was Mariano Lemus Gas, director of the Mexican Embassy in Las Vegas.

Derek  Caldwell

Photographer and Owner Photography by Derek

ENTREPRENEURS

Caldwell’s latest project was with Gyre Entertainment. He handled all of the photography for the red carpet movie premier event titled “From The Rough,” attended by some of the stars of the movie and the producer. Caldwell loves his Hispanic heritage and the language in which he is fluent. Caldwell is married to Shanease Bauman Caldwell and has two beautiful children who are his treasured subjects to photograph over and over.

P

eter Guzman is the founding principal of The Opa Group. He is an accomplished real estate investor, developer and broker. Guzman is a member of the Latin Chamber of Commerce and is treasurer of the Latin Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Under Guzman’s leadership, The Opa Group has created a very impressive portfolio of companies. This includes national, publicly traded companies as well as privately held companies. Guzman has guided The Opa Group into the gaming industry and has negotiated gaming licenses throughout the world. Guzman has worked very hard in helping people achieve the dream of home ownership. His work has been recognized nationally by all of the major real estate organizations for sales exceeding $300 million. He won awards as the company’s top producer from 2002-2007. He has gained recognition from senators and congressmen for his ideas on affordable housing. Father to Jovani and Tatiana, Guzman shares his life with wife Mercy Guzman.

Peter  Guzman

Founding Principal The Opa Group

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O

f Puerto Rican heritage, Anita Laruy has lived in Nevada for 25 years, previously hailing from New York. She attained a bachelor’s of arts from the City College of New York, a juris doctorate from the Interamerican University Law School, and her life coaching certification from the Coach Training Alliance. Since 2006, Laruy has been running her business, Dynamic Life Changes, as a certified life coach. She retired from the City of North Las Vegas in 2007 where she held the positions of director of intergovernmental relations, assistant to the city manager and director of North Las Vegas Library District.

Anita  Laruy

Life and Legislative Coach Dynamic Life Changes, LLC

Laruy serves as the vice chair of the board of governors of North Vista Hospital and on the executive board of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Nevada.

ENTREPRENEURS

Her accolades include the KLAS-TV 8 News Hispanic Award of Excellence, Señoras of Excellence Award, and Role Model Award from the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, among others. She was also a part of Women Who Have Contributed to the Growth of Las Vegas in the Last 100 Years.

I

rene Lowe has more than 30 years of combined management experience in both private and public sectors. Her experience incorporated various areas, including budget management and information systems project management for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. In 2006, Lowe joined Kama Energy Efficient Building Systems, Inc. as owner/director. The company manufactures wall, floor and roof systems for new construction, and a retro-wrap system for existing structures under the name of K-tect Sustainable Building Systems (K-tect). K-tect systems are light-gauge, metal stud framing building panels that integrate superior insulation and soundproofing, while eliminating any thermal bridging. K-tect considers building green a standard and not a trend.

Irene  Lowe

Owner/Director K-tect Sustainable Building System

Prior to moving to Nevada, Lowe lived in California. During this time she partnered with her husband in establishing Stain Specialties, Inc., a water base coatings company. It was one of the first companies to look to the future and manufacture environmentally safe, non-toxic coatings. Through K-tect, Lowe contributes to and supports such organizations as St. Jude Hospital for Children, The Smile Train, Paralyzed Veterans and The Huntsman Cancer Institute.

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D

ane Maralason was born in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from the California College of Commerce with a degree in accounting. He began his career as a cost analyst for a subsidiary of Hughes Aircraft, but quickly moved into media. Maralason produced several award-winning direct-mail programs for the Chevrolet Motor Division of General Motors, and, as a freelancer, he created some of the most responsive direct-marketing programs experienced by his customers. He was a founding executive of two publishing companies in Michigan; The Aegis Group and The Quarton Group. Maralason patented and nationally markets Repuff™, a product line of cigar relighting, preservation, repair, and storage solutions.

Dane  Maralason

Writer, Inventor, Entrepreneur

ENTREPRENEURS

Maralason was first published in the “Letters to the Editor” section of The Wall Street Journal, and served as a lecturer at the Department of Rhetoric, Communication and Journalism at Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Michigan. He is a contributing writer to ¿Que Pasa Vegas? and Gaming and Leisure magazines.

A

ttorney Miriam Rodriguez has been involved with the local courts since the mid-1990s. She began her career as a Spanish certified court interpreter for the Eighth Judicial District Court and later transitioned into law. She holds dual degrees from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) with a bachelor’s of arts in foreign languages and a juris doctorate from the W. S. Boyd School of Law. Rodriguez has enriched her practice with her work experience in real estate finance, credit and collections, nonprofit management and court interpreting. Rodriguez serves as a judge for the Truancy Diversion Program within Family Court and a mediator for the Nevada Foreclosure Mediation Program. She also assists local nonprofit organizations with community oriented events. Rodriguez and her husband are the proud parents of a daughter who is completing her degree in criminal justice at UNLV. Their son, also an attorney, specializes in intellectual property law. They love spending time with their granddaughter.

Miriam  E.  Rodriguez

Attorney Law Office of Miriam E. Rodriguez, PC

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enny Scialabba-Perez is the owner of Malco Contracting, Inc., a construction firm that has completed more than $100 million in projects in the Las Vegas area, including the Dunes Hotel & Casino and the Encore Resort. ScialabbaPerez is a 30 year construction industry veteran and one of only a few female company presidents in the country. The Las Vegas native built a struggling firm into a multi-million dollar company. A graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, ScialabbaPerez recently founded iPriceMatch.com. The company compares advertised specials for local, regional, and national grocery stores and delivers the information throughout the web.

Penny  Scialabba-­Perez  

Founder and Chief Executive Officer iPriceMatch.com

ENTREPRENEURS

She is a board member of the Southern Nevada Workforce Connection, which retrains adult, displaced and youth workers for jobs in high growth areas. Scialabba-Perez has been recognized by the Latin Chamber of Commerce. She is married and the mother of five children.

H

elen Vasquez serves as a trilingual (Spanish, English and French) insurance leader and offers a variety of life, health, property/casualty and investment products.

A native of Guatemala, Vasquez is a strong, independent Hispanic who carries her heritage with pride. Helen obtained an associate’s degree in accounting from Rancho Santiago College. She has received numerous awards, trophies, and medals for being a top student and an accomplished and recognized cross country runner.

Helen  K.  Vasquez

Agent American Family Insurance

A community leader, she is an active professional focused on supporting the development of Hispanic businesses, education and arts. Vasquez is a member of the Latin Chamber of Commerce, Urban Chamber of Commerce, the Las Vegas Young Professionals and Women’s Chamber of Commerce. Vasquez sits on the board of directors of LeTip International, an organization of business professionals whose purpose is to help businesses to grow and become successful in their respective industries. One of her favorite authors is Booker T. Washington who once said “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life… as by the obstacles which he has overcome”.

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CAPTIVATE INNOVATIVE INSPIRE

DELIGHT ILLUMINATE ENLIVEN

AMUSE RECREATE IMAGINE LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    161


A

driana Arevalo completed her undergraduate studies in social communications and journalism at the prestigious Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Bogotá, Columbia where she began her journalism career. Adriana became Chief Correspondent for several networks, including Colombia’s NTC, RCN News, and CBS Television. A nationally recognized journalist and producer, Arevalo joined Entravision as news director of KINC-TV Channel 15 Univision in July 2006. Under her leadership, the Las Vegas affiliate’s Noticias 15 ratings continued to grow amidst increased competition. Aside from increasing ratings, she also expanded the range of stories and investigative reporting as well as launching the production of news specials.

MEDIA  AND  ENTERTAINMENT  

Adriana  Arevalo News Director Univision

In 2010, Arevalo was charged with developing and launching the statewide newscast. With teams in Las Vegas and Reno, Noticias Univision Nevada, is now able to furnish viewers with comprehensive and breaking news taking place anywhere in the Silver State. Arevalo also writes a weekly column for El Tiempo newspaper in Las Vegas, and co-produces a weekly radio news feature and interview program, “Despierta Las Vegas,” which airs Sunday mornings on Entravision’s KQRT-FM La Tricolor and KRRN-FM El Gato.

G

erardo Fernandez was born and raised in Mexico. He started his career in radio at the age of 17 as an on-air radio personality. He worked his way up and became one of the main programming directors for multiple Spanish stations in Mexico. Later Gerardo moved to the United States and was given the opportunity to work in programming and production for Clear Channel in Tucson, Entravision Communications in Phoenix, MVS Radio in San Diego, and El Paso. Today Gerardo is one of the most sought out marketing directors and talents in Las Vegas.

Gerardo  “Gerry”  Fernandez

Promotions and Marketing Director Entravision Communications Corporation

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He currently holds the position as promotions and marketing director for Entravision Communications Corporation. Gerardo contributes as the entertainment anchor for Noticias Univision Nevada KINC 15 and is the host of the 30 minute community affairs talk show named Despierta Las Vegas. He also advises programming content on KRRN-FM El Gato and KQRT-FM La Tricolor. Gerardo also contributes in voiceover work and video production for local commercials and public related events.


D

In January of 2002 David moved to Las Vegas, Nevada and was recruited by Entravision Communications to start as an account executive. Four years later he was promoted as the local sales manager. David’s contributions to Entravision Communications have been key to the growth of Hispanic advertising in Las Vegas. He’s the father of two beautiful children.

David  Ferran

Local Sales Manager Entravision Communications

C

hris Saldaña is an Emmy award-winning journalist. He joined 8 News Now in April 2004. Born and raised a military brat, Saldaña comes from the Lone Star state of Texas. He is from the small border town of Del Rio, and a graduate of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Saldaña also studied in Brisbane, Australia, and Salamanca, Spain. When he can, he enjoys traveling home to visit his folks, and seeing his niece and nephew, Isabella and Mark, in New York. In 2004, he was named Best TV Reporter in Las Vegas at the annual Electronic Media Awards. He was awarded an Emmy for his reporting in the Pacific Southwest region in 2008. He is active with the Latin Chamber of Commerce, The Human Rights Campaign, The Gay & Lesbian Center of Southern Nevada, to name a few. In 2008, Saldaña was named Hispanic of the Year in Arts & Entertainment by the Latin Chamber of Commerce, and Volunteer of the Year by the Southern Nevada Gay & Lesbian Center.

Chris  Saldaña

News Anchor/Reporter KLAS-TV

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MEDIA  AND  ENTERTAINMENT  

avid Ferran was born in Mexico City and graduated from Universidad Loyola de America located in Cuernavaca Morelos, Mexico. David began his broadcasting career in 1995 in Washington State working for Bridge Broadcasting as an account executive. He then went on to work for KMNA-FM La Maquina Musical in Yakima, Washington as a spokesperson and advertising sales executive. Later an opportunity opened to work with the National Farm Workers Radio La Campesina KRCW-FM in Pasco, Washington. David was subsequently promoted as the general sales manager for the station.


M

aria Silva’s broadcast career spans more than 13 years. A graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, she holds a bachelor’s degree in communication with an emphasis in broadcast journalism. Silva shined as the face and voice of the Hispanic community in Las Vegas, debuting as the anchor for Univision in 1999. In 2002, Silva joined the NBC affiliate, covering the news as a general assignment reporter and anchor. She anchored entire newscasts solo and handled a variety of assignments, including weather, hard-news, in-studio interviews and entertainment.

MEDIA  AND  ENTERTAINMENT  

After eight years of hard news, she moved to the lighter side as producer and special reporter for FOX TV’s Entertainment Show, MORE, which airs weekdays on Fox-5.

Maria  Silva

Producer and Special Reporter Fox TV’s Entertainment Show - MORE

Silva volunteers for community food drives, local parades, charity fundraisers and other events. Testing her endurance, she completed the Las Vegas Marathon not once, but twice. Having lost her amazing mama to cancer, and as a way to honor her memory, Silva is involved with the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network. She’s traveled to Washington D.C. to lobby for cancer research.

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PROFICIENT EXCEL OUTSHINE

SURPASS TRANSCEND ENHANCE

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icardo Cornejo is the Nevada student affairs director for the Consolidated Students of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Undergraduate Student Government. He is the main representative of CSUN before local and state government officials representing nearly 22,000 undergraduate students advocating on behalf of UNLV and higher education in Nevada. An immigrant from El Salvador, Cornejo arrived to the U.S. at the age of 11. He submerged himself into the American public education system as soon as he stepped foot in the U.S. without knowing much English. Upon his graduation from Clark High School and entrance to UNLV, he made a commitment to the campus community of becoming involved and making UNLV a better place for his fellow students.

Ricardo  Cornejo

YOUNG  RISING  STARS

Director, UNLV CSUN Student Government Nevada Student Affairs

Cornejo has been honored to be a five-time recipient of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Las Vegas Scholarship Program and a member of Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society. Cornejo graduated in May of 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and will continue on to obtain a masters of arts in economics at UNLV.

H

eriberto “Eddie” Galaz-Gonzalez has worked with the Latin Chamber of Commerce as a student representative on its board of directors for two years and has successfully transitioned to directorship for the 2012 term. He served on the finance committee and chaired the Latino Youth Leadership Alumni committee. He is also an organizer for the Latino Youth Leadership Conference, the Latin Chamber’s premier youth conference. He was born in Tijuana, Mexico, and came to Las Vegas at the age of five. He graduated from CCSN High School with honors. He recently attained his bachelor’s of science in business administration in finance from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and is planning to attend Boyd School of Law.

Heriberto  “Eddie”   Galaz-­Gonzalez

Board of Directors Latin Chamber of Commerce

Galaz-Gonzalez is a member of Sigma Delta Alpha, Nevada’s first Latino fraternity, for which he served as president and social director. Through the fraternity and the Latino Youth Leadership Conference Alumni, he has volunteered for Toys 4 Tots, canned food and clothes drives and mentoring programs. Galaz-Gonzalez has worked throughout school since he was 14. He currently works at Julian Serrano restaurant inside the Aria Resort & Casino.

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L

eo Murrieta is the co-founder and president of the Nevada Youth Coalition, a nonprofit youth organization whose focus is getting young people engaged in civic and community service projects. Through his work with the Nevada Youth Coalition, he has led many young people in feeding the homeless, participating in toy distributions for low income children; youth resume building and mock interview workshops. Murrieta’s involvement in the education advocacy movement in Nevada during the 2011 legislative session was highlighted by his key role in organizing the largest demonstration in the state capital’s history.

Leo  Murrieta

Co-Founder and President Nevada Youth Coalition

An immigrant to the United States, Murrieta has lived almost his entire life in Las Vegas and remains involved in improving the community.

J

uan Ortega is a 21-year-old community organizer wanting to make a difference in his community. He began organizing during high school when he became president of the Student Organization of Latinos. He was first given the opportunity to serve as an intern for the presidential campaign of then Senator Hillary Clinton. He then became involved in the election of President Obama and several other important campaigns for the State of Nevada, such as the re-election of Senator Harry Reid. Ortega has lived in Las Vegas most of his life but was born in El Paso, Texas. He attended Canyon Springs High School and the Leadership and Law Preparatory Academy where he learned to develop his leadership skills that are now essential to his work. Ortega is currently the president of DREAM Big Vegas, a local organization whose main focus is to educate the community on the importance of supporting undocumented youth in their efforts to obtain equal opportunities to education.

Juan  Ortega

President DREAM Big Vegas

He recently discovered a love for running and has participated in several races around the country.

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YOUNG  RISING  STARS

He also played a role in the Nevada 2010 election by leading organizing initiatives in Latino communities throughout Southern Nevada. His community activism began through the LGBT equality movement. He served as the political correspondent for the Nevada LGBT publication, QVegas Magazine, covering issues such as, California’s Proposition 8 trials and the National Equality March in Washington, D.C. that attracted more than 150,000 participants.


I

vet Santiago is a first generation college graduate. She earned a bachelor’s of science degree in human services counseling with a minor in communication studies and a master’s in social work from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). She is the executive director for Nevada Child Seekers, a notfor-profit organization for missing and exploited children. Her passion is helping youth achieve the skills necessary to reach their highest potential and have successful lives. Santiago also works with high school students through the Latino Youth Leadership Conference.

Ivet  Santiago,  MSW

YOUNG  RISING  STARS

Executive Director Nevada Child Seekers

She was honored in 2011 as the National Hispana Leadership Institute’s Professional Rising Star and named as Nissan’s Latina Innovator. She has been honored as Miss Hispana and is a key founder of Kappa Delta Chi, Incorporated Sorority at UNLV, the first community service Latina sorority in the state. She also received the Outstanding Student Activism Award on behalf of the City of Las Vegas, and is a member of the State of Nevada Juvenile Justice Commission.

A

strid Silva is a nationally noted Latina activist who made her home Las Vegas in 1993.

She is an honors graduate of Advanced Technologies Academy and the College of Southern Nevada. She has been a leading proponent of coalition building between the Latino activist community and other groups to achieve common goals.

Astrid  Silva

Community Activist President, Clark County Young Democrats

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In addition to her work in the Latino community on issues such as immigration reform and students’ rights, Silva has been mentioned on the floor of the Senate by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. She was most recently honored by the Stonewall Democratic Club of Southern Nevada for her work in forming a coalition between the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act activists and the LGBT community. They lobbied for the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and passage of the DREAM Act. She is active in DREAM Big Vegas, an organization that educates the community about the plight of undocumented students and is president of the Clark County Young Democrats.


PROFICIENT KNOWLEDGEABLE GURU

QUALIFIED DILIGENT SPECIALIST

COMPETENT PRECISE SKILLFUL LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    169


E

ricka Aviles has worked tirelessly for the last five years promoting Las Vegas as the world’s most desirable destination for leisure and business travel at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. She began her career with MGM Resorts International where she was accepted into the MAP (Management Associate Program) prior to joining Group Sales. Her current role is working alongside Chairman Oscar Goodman in managing the efforts of the Las Vegas Host Committee, whose purpose is to educate local business leaders on the importance of tourism to Southern Nevada’s economy, and to engage them to help make Las Vegas a hospitable destination for our visitors.

Ericka  L.    Aviles

PROFESSIONALS

Business Marketing Manager Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

She was born in El Salvador and moved with her family to Las Vegas when she was 6 years old. She attended the Academy of Travel & Tourism at Valley High School and then went on to earn her bachelor’s of science in hotel administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Ericka currently serves on the Board of the Las Vegas Hospitality Association and on the Collegiate Committee for the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce.

“I’m so very proud of my Puerto Rican heritage,” says Debra Baez, director of business development for Power Services and PowerChoice Construction, two Las Vegas-based construction, management advisory and program/project management companies. Prior to this position, Debra was managing partner for Baez Design, a Las Vegas-based branding and graphic design studio. She moved to Nevada from New York in 1999 and is experienced in sales, marketing, project management, sales/ service training, and creative writing. Debra volunteers for the Nevada Minority Supplier Development Council; is a Latin Chamber of Commerce inaugural Leadership Nevada class member; and a marketing advisor for Miracle Flights for Kids and the Las Vegas Area Council Boy Scouts.

Debra  Baez

Director of Business Development Power Services and PowerChoice Construction

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She was named a NAWBO/Las Vegas Woman of Distinction; Latina Style magazine’s Leading Entrepreneur of Las Vegas; appointed by Governor Kenny Guinn to serve the Nevada Governor’s Workforce Investment Board; a vice president of communications for IABC/Las Vegas; and a sub-committee member for the Nevada Development Authority. Baez has studied at Tuck’s Executive Education School at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, and is a graduate of New York’s Laboratory Institute of Merchandising.


O

dalys Carmona is an administrative manager with the State of Nevada, Department of Training and Rehabilitation where she oversees implementation of the Workforce Investment Act. She monitors the programmatic performances of department, division and local investment boards. Carmona is also responsible for data collection, evaluation and information processing. Previously, she worked for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) as a diversity program coordinator. A graduate of UNLV, Carmona earned a bachelor’s of arts in communications with an emphasis in public relations. She is pursuing a master’s in education at University of Nevada Reno. She received her certification as a public service manager from the State of Nevada.

Odalys  Carmona

Administrative Manager Nevada Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation

Carmona is a member of the Latin, Urban and Asian Chambers of Commerce. Carmona was nominated for a Golden Eagle Feather Award, and was awarded the College of Southern Nevada Student Achievement Award.

S

antana Garcia is an intergovernmental relations specialist for the City of Henderson. Raised in a U.S. Air Force family, he has lived across the globe. He graduated from Sonoma State University with a degree in economics in 1995 before becoming a legislative aide in the California State Assembly in Sacramento. Santana then served as special assistant to the Undersecretary of the California Resources Agency. Governor Pete Wilson later named him deputy assistant secretary for Communications and Operations. In 1999, Santana moved to Nevada to pursue a career with the Las Vegas Valley Water District/Southern Nevada Water Authority as a registered lobbyist beginning with the 2001 legislative session. He joined the City of Henderson in 2003 as a lobbyist for the city’s interests beginning in the 2005 session. Santana continues to serve in government affairs, now focusing on federal issues, and has expanded his responsibilities to include analyses and policy research for the city manager and city council. In 2012, he was appointed chairman of the government affairs committee for the Latin Chamber of Commerce.

Santana  Garcia

Intergovernmental Relations Specialist City of Henderson

He has one daughter, Elisa. LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    171

PROFESSIONALS

Carmona has dedicated her time to various committees including, the Southern Nevada Regional Youth Committee, the United Way Workforce Development Committee, the Communities in School Advisory Board, the NCAA Gender and Equity Committee and the Governor’s Youth Council.


H

aving purchased his first home at the age of 19, Julio Jimenez believes that the dream of home ownership can be a reality for almost anyone. A Las Vegas resident for 15 years, Julio has been involved in the housing sector for over 18 years. Under Julio’s leadership, the Nevada Partners Housing Partnership helps local residents overcome barriers that prohibit them from owning their own home. The program has helped over 475 local families purchase homes and has educated more than 2,300 people regarding the home buying process. Over 60% of the program’s clients are Hispanic. Julio ensures that homebuyers purchase a home they can afford.

Julio  A.  Jimenez  

Housing Program Administrator Nevada Partners, Inc.

PROFESSIONALS

Julio is an active member in many community organizations including Golden Rainbow and National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. He participated in the Foreclosure Task Force which was recognized by Senator Harry Reid. He routinely organizes fundraisers to help those most in need in our community. Julio is also dedicated to his family. He donated a kidney to his mother and frequently serves as an organ donor speaker and promoter of this worthy cause.

B

orn in Puerto Rico, Jean Paul Labadie grew up in a diverse kitchen, cooking alongside his Spanish grandparents and Italian great-grandmother. He learned the family secrets and strived to replicate their culinary mastery for creating delectable dishes. Labadie attended Iowa State University to study hotel and restaurant management. His passion for cooking inspired him to transfer to and graduate from the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon. Returning to Iowa, he worked for restaurateur Bob Cummings and as a sous chef for the Des Moines Golf & Country Club.

Jean  Paul  Labadie Chef Garfield’s Restaurant

He later received the offer of a lifetime; cooking for Food Network personality Emeril Lagasse’s New Orleans restaurant. Labadie moved to Las Vegas and worked at Lagasse’s New Orleans Fish House in the MGM Grand. Promoted to Chef de Cuisine, he was then tapped to open Lagasse’s Table Ten in the Palazzo Resort & Casino. Labadie recently won “Extreme Chef ” on the Food Network. He also served as a judge for “Throwdown with Bobby Flay.” The father of two boys hopes to open a restaurant and write a cookbook.

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J

uan Payán, born in El Paso, Texas, is a proud Mexican. He is an assistant manager and automotive engineer at Smog Busters. With more than 10 years of experience in the automotive industry, Payán applies his expertise to assist his customers. As an assistant manager, he is the lead technician who oversees the employees’ performance after work is completed to ensure customer satisfaction. Payán is independent and self-motivated. He attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In addition, he has also received his 1G and 2G licenses for the Clean Air Act in Nevada.

When he is not working, Payán enjoys taking his daughters to the park, playing handball, mountain riding, camping and outdoor sports.

Juan  José  Payán Assistant Manager Smog Busters

PROFESSIONALS

Payán and his wife are the proud parents of four beautiful girls. Their priority is maintaining their family values and leaving a legacy to their children Jade, Savahna, Maggie and Aurorra. His greatest motivation, he says, is his family, and his greatest success is to have raised four wonderful children.

J

osé A. Perez has been in law enforcement for 18 years. Perez was hired as a corrections officer in 1994 and became a police officer in 1996. Since then, he has served on patrol, as an undercover officer in the Narcotics Bureau and spent time as a field training officer. In 2005, Perez was promoted to his current position. He was previously the special events/overtime coordinator as well as the Problem Solving Unit sergeant. He is currently assigned as the day shift patrol sergeant in the South Area Command. He is a native Nevadan and graduate of Rancho High School. He has completed numerous training classes related to police functions and law enforcement leadership. Perez received a meritorious service award from the North Las Vegas Police Department. Sergeant Perez is also a member of the Latin Police Officers Association. He coordinated efforts within his department to collect donations and toys to assist the Las Vegas Metro Police Department Chapter in the 2010 Christmas toy drive for “Christmas en el Barrio,” providing toys to underprivileged kids in the community.

José  A.  Perez

Sergeant North Las Vegas Police Department

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BIOGRAPHICAL  INDEX

Agonia, Robert. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .140

Cortez, Joe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .125

Aguero, Jeremy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .99

Cortez, Susie. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .142

Alamo, Nancy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .150

Cortez Masto, Catherine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61

Alamo, Sr., Tony. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .105

Couvillier, Maximilian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .134

Almazan, Dulcinea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .122

Cruz, Jaime R. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63

Alvarez, Ramon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .134

De Le O’Herrera, Karina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40

Amaya, Hernando . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67

Denis, Moises. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .125

Aragon, Valerie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .156

Denis, Roberto. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .126

Arellano, Joseph. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48

Diaz, Juan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .103

Arevalo, Adriana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .156

Dominguez, Eric . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41

Arias-Petrel, Maggie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .140

Elique, José Armando . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .126

Arvelo Sawyer, Lynnette . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .156

Ellis, Tibi. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .142

Aviles, Ericka . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .170

Escobar, Adriana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .127

Baez, Debra . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .170

Escobedo Sr., Eddie. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27

Beato, Jacqueline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40

Fernandez, Gerardo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .162

Benavidez, Kelly. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .141

Ferran, David . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .163

Berlanga, Mario . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79

Fleischman, Judy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .143

Bernal, Alex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .83

Flores, Lucy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .127

Brooks, Steven . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75

Flores, Maurice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .151

Bustamante Adams, Irene . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89

Frago, Nancy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77

Caldera, Zoraida . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .150

Fuentes, Christina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .143

Caldwell, Derek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .157

Galaz-Gonzalez, Heriberto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .166

Cambeiro, Arthur . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .122

Gallagher, Elizabeth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .97

Campbell, Chelsie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .112

Garcia, Randy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .128

Cantú, Rene . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .141

Garcia, Santana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .171

Caraballo, Darryl. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .123

Garza, Alex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .135

Carmona, Odalys. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .171

Gonzales, Francis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .112

Carmona, Rigoberto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .151

Gonzalez, William. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .128

Carrillo, Richard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .123

Guzman, Peter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .157

Castro, Constanza . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101

Hernandez, Joe A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71

Coffin, Bob . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .124

Jimenez, Julio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .172

Coppel, Alain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .124

Kihuen, Mariana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .135

Cornejo, Ricardo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .166

Kihuen, Ruben . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .129

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Reyes, Deborah Ann . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .146

Laruy, Anita . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .158

Rocha, Priscilla . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .153

Levy, Catherine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .136

Rodriquez, Miriam E. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .159

Linera, Marines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .136

Roman, Christopher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .131

Lopez, Gil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .152

Saldaña, Chris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .163

Lowe, Irene . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .158

Sanchez, Elaine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .137

Loya, Andrew. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48

Sanchez, José Luis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50

Lujan-Hickey, Liliam. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .129

Sanchez, Orlando . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .137

Luna, Nora . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .145

Sanchez, Tony F.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .132

Mahan, Carmen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .144

Santiago, Ivet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .168

Maldonado-Daniels, Cecilia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .152

Scialabba-Perez, Penny. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .160

Maralason, Dane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .159

Segura, David. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .91

Martinez, Christina. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .144

Shaw, Randy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50

Martinez, Eloiza. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65

Sigala, Ruben . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42

Martinez, Magdalena . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .130

Silva, Astrid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .168

Martinez, Pedro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .130

Silva, Maria. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .164

Mason, Larry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .131

Silveyra, Angelica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .114

Mayorga, José Luis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .153

Smith, Angie. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42

Mendez, José Francisco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49

Suarez, Juan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51

Merida, Otto. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59

Tafoya, Daniel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .154

Montoya, Carol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .113

Trujillo, Javier. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .146

Murrieta, Leo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .167

Turman, Janet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43

Napoles-Laza, Victoria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .145

Valera, Luis F. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .95

Navarro, Gloria M. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81

Vasquez, Helen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .160

Navarro-Issel, Patricia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73

Vega, Valorie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .132

Nieto, Laura . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49, 93

Villanueva, Lizzette . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .85

Ortega, Juan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .167

Villanueva, Rafael . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .138

Patino, Edgar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .113

Viote, Jorge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .147

Payán, Juan José. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .173 Perez, José A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .173 Quiroz-Maralason, Angélica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69 Ramirez, Andres . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .87 Ripoll, Joe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 LAS  VEGAS  LATINO  LEADERS™    |    THE  INAUGURAL  EDITION    |    175

BIOGRAPHICAL  INDEX

Labadie, Jean Paul . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .172


American Family Insurance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Branch-Hernandez and Associates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120 By Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109 Caesars Entertainment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inside Front Cover, 39 ConnectWelch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 ConnectWelch Publishing Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36, 43, 108, 118, 119, 138, 148, 154, 164 Cox Communications. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Entravision Communications Corporation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 LaMonte McLemore . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108

ADVERTISER’S  INDEX

Latin Chamber of Commerce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115 McDonald’s. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5, Inside Back Cover Nathan Adelson Hospice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116 NV Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8, 111 Photography by Derek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147 Pixel Pusher Media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107 Southern Nevada Water Authority . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Southwest Airlines. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44, Back Cover Sprint. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 University of Nevada, Las Vegas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Velt 1 Photography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116 VisionIT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Wells Fargo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 William S. Boyd School of Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109 Workforce Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Zonya Adams Agency. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120

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Las Vegas Latino Leaders - The Inaugural Edition