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11- PROSPANICA- A thorough coverage of the 2018 Prospanica Conference & Career Expo in Milwaukee. 12-COMERICA- El Rancho Mexican Restaurant in Detroit, MI is owned by the Avila Family. Alfonso and his wife came to United States in 1983, worked various jobs, but decided to open their own restaurant. This is their story. 14 FDIC- Mario Diaz, FDIC IT Examiner, talks about his growth inside FDIC. What was supposed to be a six-month stay, became permanent. His life changed but it wasn’t all easy.

Mario Diaz

16- HC3- An interview with leader and President of Hispanic C-Suite Corporate Council (HC3), Andre Arbelaez. His mission is to advocate and develop Latino leaders capable of taking on corporate executive positions. 18- AT&T- A look inside AT&T’s Employee Resource Group, HACEMOS. We’ve interviewed Cynthia Allen, former HACEMOS president; Emely Villeda, scholarship recipient, former intern now a full-time employee; and Yovany Jerez, current HACEMOS president. 20- MASS MUTUAL- The newly-released study focuses on the financial trends of the Latino family. We spoke to “Wicho” Hernandez, Managing Partner of Mass Mutual Miami, and he gave us a recap of the study and tips to secure of finances. 22- DIVERSITY- We have highlighted the 2018 HACR Corporate Inclusion Index. This list features companies that have excelled in certain categories, or pillars. Through a survey done by each company, points and ratings were given based on their responses.

Sofia Adrogue

27- LAWYERS- Another year recognizing the Top Latino Lawyers in the country. This section includes: Top Latino Lawyer, Super Lawyers, Most Powerful Women in Law, and General Counsels. You will also be able to find interviews with Sofia Adrogue, Christina Antelo, Florentino Ramirez, and our cover leader, Benny Agosto. 54- EDUCATION- This year our University list is slightly different. We have separated the list by industries. You will find the best universities for Latino in Business, Law, Medicine, STEM, and Arts. You will also find an exclusive list of the Top Hispanic-Serving Universities in Texas. We have also interviewed Sam Houston State University’s President, Dr. Dana Hoyt. IN EVERY EDITION 4- Publisher’s Letter 6- Editor’s Corner

Dr. Dana Hoyt. FOLLOW US @latinoleadersmag


9- De la Vega on Leadership 64- Cellar

Pine Ridge FORTIS 2014


Publisher Jorge Ferraez

President and CEO Raul Ferraez

Director of Journalism Mariana Gutierrez Briones mariana@latinoleaders.com Administrative Director Lawrence Teodoro Editor Sarai Vega svega@latinoleaders.com Business Development Manager Cristina Gonzalez cristina@latinoleaders.com Art Director Fernando Izquierdo

ANOTHER YEAR GOES BY at the speed of light. At Latino Leaders we like to see the future with an optimistic lens. That’s why we think 2019 will be a great year for Latinos in the U.S. We will continue contributing with our publication towards advancing our leaders in every single field. We would like to see more Hispanic Suppliers, new Latin American companies, more Latinos in fields like Energy, Law Practice, Healthcare, Corporate Boards, C-Suite level, Hi-Tech industries. We want to see more Latinas in relevant and decision-making positions across the board, entrepreneurs, Presidents of Universities and elected officials too. Our commitment is to keep publishing, promoting, recognizing and shouting out very loudly the great stories of success and leadership we have in the Latino community of our country. We would like to keep thinking that this action will keep transcending to other media outlets and companies so they are aware of all these leaders and their significance. As it has been for the last five years, this end of the year edition is devoted to the Top Latino Lawyers, where we have found tremendous stories of professional excellence, commitment, cleverness, fight and perseverance. The cover story is that of a fantastic lawyer, whose personal professional and financial success has not prevented him from being deeply involved with his community and work socially with people in need of justice. Benny Agosto, a bright lawyer from Houston is the epitome of the concept of servant leadership and law practice with a cause. For the first time ever, we’re also featuring the Most Powerful Latinas in Law and a special section on the Super Lawyers from our List. Also, for the first time, we’re featuring the 15 General Counsels from the F500 Corporations that are Latino. Also, our Best Colleges for Latinos, includes this time a special section on Texas Best Schools, with interviews and profiles of those leaders leading these “Hispanic Serving Institutions” into the academic excellence. Universities like UTRGV, Texas Women University, UTA, University of Houston-Downtown from Texas and Northern Arizona, Southern Georgia are among those who have distinguished themselves for its performance. We hope you enjoy all the profiles and interviews with great personalities and leaders.

Editorial Art & Design Carlos Cuevas Luis Enrique González Moisés Cervantes Human Resources Manager Susana Sanchez Administration and Bookkeeping Claudia García Bejarano Executive Assistant to the Publishers Liliana Morales Digital Media & Design Manager Mia Carrera mcarrera@latinoleaders.com Executive Assistant Fabiola Tarango fabiola@latinoleaders.com For advertising inquiries, please call 214-206-9587

Latino Leaders: The National Magazine of the Successful American Latino (ISSN 1529-3998) is published seven times annually by Ferraez Publications of America Corp., 11300 N. Central Expressway, Suite 300, Dallas, TX, 75243, November/ December 2018. Subscription rates: In U.S. and possessions, one year $15.00. Checks payable to Ferraez Publications of America, 15443 Knoll Trail, Suite 210, 75248 Dallas, TX, USA. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Latino Leaders, 15443 Knoll Trail, Suite 210, 75248 Dallas, TX, USA.© 2001 by Ferraez Publications of America Corporation. All rights reserved. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without the consent of Latino Leaders: The National Magazine of the Successful American Latino. The periodical’s name and logo, and the various titles and headings therein, are trademarks of Ferraez Publications of America Corp.

Jorge & Raul Ferraez

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Latino Leaders The National Magazine of the Successful American Latino 11300 N. Central Expressway, Suite 300, Dallas, TX, 75243 Phone: 214-206-9587 / Fax: (214) 206-4970




2018 FAVES:



t is the most wonderful time of the year. Time to rest! Time to relax! Time to turn off our computers and emails and enjoy time with family and friends. As I sit here reminisce about how great 2018 has been, I couldn’t help but to also be reminded of our ongoing mission. The same simple reminder gives me momentum to continue onto 2019. There are so many plans on the table for the upcoming year. For those who loyally read us, expect great things in 2019! We are working to bring you better features, better interviews, better events for you to meet other driven Latinos. As for our last edition of 2018, we have included three powerful features: Diversity, Education, and Lawyers. Each section includes impressive lists and/or interviews with some of the top leaders in the industry. We also include a highlight article on AT&T’s ERG HACEMOS. It was such a pleasant experience to work with AT&T team. Also, make sure to read the amazing job Andre Arbelaez is doing. He recently stepped down from HITEC president seat, but it’s not due to retirement. He founded the new HC3 organization! This organization serves to develop leaders to fill c-suite positions inside top corporations. Keep up the great work, Andre! Check out the rest of the issue for more incredible article! This is an edition that will truly not disappoint! Let us know your thoughts and suggestions on our social media outlets! To the LLM team: You guys are the true champs! Cheers to another successful year! To the readers: From my desk to you, HAPPY HOLIDAYS! See you in 2019! Sarai

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A NEW BEGINNING Survivor Hector Nunez talks about his journey with cancer and his effort to be a voice of education in the Hispanic community. Joe Dyton

Luis González

HECTOR NUNEZ’S life changed forever the day an ordinary misfortune of biting his tongue quickly developed into a far from ordinary finding—a tumor. After visits to his primary physician and a local specialist, Nunez learned that he had a squamous cell carcinoma; Hector had cancer. “When the word cancer was mentioned, I experienced a series of emotions immediately. My mom had died of cancer,” Nunez said. “My father had just passed away and I said, ‘This is it. I’m done.’” According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 3 Hispanic men and 1 in 3 Hispanic women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime and it remains the leading cause of death among Hispanics. The first step for Nunez was to meet with a thoracic surgeon, but it became clear rather quickly that this particular provider was not a good fit for his journey. The surgeon informed him of the tumor removal process and shared that Nunez would never speak again. “I got out of my chair, looked him in the eye and said, ‘Doctor, I respect your opinion and your profession, but honestly, I serve a God that can heal me at the snap of a finger.’’ Nunez's sentiment was met with only a laugh from the physician. “I told him to have a great day and I walked away,” he recounted. Nunez left the physician’s office angry and thought that his life was over. His wife had other plans, however. While researching additional options, she happened upon Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), and they ended up speaking with an Oncology Information Specialist on the phone for nearly two hours about the diagnosis. “By the time our conversation was over, I was convinced this guy was an angel sent by God,” Nunez said. Nunez, along with his wife, brother and sister went to CTCA® Chicago and could not have received a warmer reception. He saw a number of physicians, including otolaryngologist Carol Bier-Laning, MD, MBA, FACS, who showed him there were fortunately no signs of cancer around his neck or voice box. 8 LATINO LEADERS NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018


Nunez was scheduled for surgery after the Thanksgiving holiday to have the tumor on his tongue removed. “When I think of Hector, he’s just a very positive guy,” Dr. Bier-Laning said. “He said, ‘Okay, this is what I have to do. Let’s do it. Let’s get it done.’ It did not appear to phase him.” The 13-hour surgery was a success. Nunez was able to maintain his voice. Physical therapy followed, as well as chemotherapy and radiation to reduce the chances of the cancer returning. Today, he has no evidence of disease and is an inspiration to those he meets. “I want to tell the world my story, because it’s important that people know about this disease, especially the Hispanic community,” Nunez said. “Oftentimes, as Hispanics, we wait because we don’t want to know. We may not get checked because we’re scared of what it could be. It’s so important to get checked though—cancer is a disease that doesn’t care who you are. Everyone should talk to their doctors if they have any concerns.” Dr. Bier-Laning went on to share the critical importance of early detection, explaining that many cancers have a much wider range of treatment options and improved prognoses when detected early. An overarching theme in both Nunez and Bier-Laning’s rhetoric was that cancer is a scary diagnosis, but that it is by no means a death sentence. Treatments have come a long way, and there are countless success stories like Nunez’s. Nunez now uses his brush with cancer as a life purpose—to educate those around him about the disease to try to save lives. He finds ways to talk about cancer as often as possible—through his church, his friends and even his rideshare passengers. What he once viewed as an end has turned out to be a new beginning and a fresh purpose. To learn more about Hector’s story, visit cancercenter.com. If you’re interested in more information on early cancer detection, visit noesperes.org.


1 Hector Nunez and his wife, Evelyn Nunez 2 Hector Nunez and Dr. Bier-Laning


LEADERSHIP AND LIFELONG LEARNING Technological change is making us rethink what we thought was indispensable. Take the college degree, for example. It used to be the standard requirement for most professional and managerial jobs.


ut recently as many as 15 top employers, including Apple and Google, have dropped that requirement . Innovation may be outpacing the knowledge learned in college. Consider the argument that the half-life of a learned skill is about five years. That means half of what you learned 10 years ago is obsolete and half of what you learned five years ago is irrelevant. Is a degree still necessary? I’m a huge proponent of a college education. When young people ask me that question I encourage them to get the best education possible. But I also tell them they must continue to learn their entire lives so they can remain up to date. The key is to do both. If I had to choose, I’d say that constant learning in a self-directed environment might even more important. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, two of the best-educated people I’ve known, did not get college degrees. Yet they found a way to educate themselves and never stopped learning. As a result, they were able to bring incredible innovation to our lives. From the leaders’ point of view When I talk to leaders, I encourage them to look for people with proven records of handling difficult and varied assignments with unquestionable integrity. People who can continuously develop new leadership skills. Academic degrees and strong grade point averages (GPAs) are good indicators of the person’s self-discipline to achieve a goal. But they are not the sole indicators of his or her future performance. In an article I wrote for LinkedIn (What I Look for isn’t on your Resume) I argued that, for me, a candidate’s ethics, integrity, and credibility were more important than degrees and GPAs. I continue to stand by what I said at that time. In fact, given today’s pace of change, I’d add the ability to learn to the list.

Your organization depends on it If you are in an industry that is impacted by change (and which isn’t?) you must look for the ability to learn and relearn among the people you hire and promote. Let’s look at the fast-moving field of information technology and software development using the 10-year life of a learned skill concept. Over that time frame, the development of the smartphone, app stores, the cloud, microservices and DevOps required learning new skills. Now think of the skills that will be needed in the near future to deal with artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality. The rapid introduction of new technologies and concepts will require continuous learning and adaptation. The key to success The organizations that will survive and succeed in the fastchanging environment are those that not only possess the best talent but that are also driven by a culture of continuous learning. It is the leaders’ job to create a culture that prizes innovation driven by lifelong learning. A culture that embraces rather than fears change. A culture that encourages individuals and teams to let go of what is no longer valid and learn again, as many times as it takes to stay on the lead. In my view, creating that culture is the ultimate calling for todays’ leaders. And, if well done, it could be their highest achievement. Ralph https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/no-degree-required/ John Seely Brown and Prof. Peter Denning in “A New Culture of Learning.” https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-i-hire-what-im-looking-isnt-yourresume-ralph-de-la-vega

Ralph de la Vega is the former vice-chairman of AT&T Inc. He is the author of the best-selling book “Obstacles Welcome: Turn Adversity to Advantage in Business and Life.” He is also a LinkedIn Influencer, posting regularly on leadership and innovation. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018 LATINO LEADERS 9



ABOUT NINA G. VACA: Nina G. Vaca is an awardwinning entrepreneur, philanthropist and civic leader. She is best known as the Chairman and CEO of Pinnacle Group, which was named the Fastest-Growing Women-Owned Business in the United States in 2015. Vaca is the Chairman Emeritus of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (following her service as Chair from 20102012), as well as Chairman of the USHCC Foundation. She currently sits on the boards of three publiclytraded companies.

FISH FOR FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES “I want to scale and work with Fortune 500 companies, but I’m not sure how to land a big fish.” It’s a question I get a lot from aspiring Latino entrepreneurs. I love being an advocate for Latino and female-owned companies, to help them break through and realize their full potential in the marketplace. But even though people tell me they want to grow big, they’re still thinking small. While it’s understandably common to stick with small company deals, their limited budgets and resources can only take you so far: low risk, low reward. To seriously increase sales and impact, you need a whale of a client. So how do you catch a whale of a client, a Fortune 500 company that will finally give you the challenge you need to break the glass ceiling and shatter even your own expectations? Get your gear ready, because I have personally tested these business tips to send you fishing for that key client that can be your key to explosive growth. Tip #1. Start on Tier Two. Being a prime supplier to these Fortune 500 companies also means taking on a lot of risk overnight that can be challenging if you are not ready. There are a lot of penalties, owner risks, and compliance issues when you are big-game fishing. On top of that, you need to raise substantial capital to help keep you afloat and secure. My first tip is to start off as a Tier Two supplier—that’s selling into one of the existing suppliers instead of directly to the corporation. That way, you’re protected from some of that risk. To me, it didn’t matter whether the money was coming directly from the corporation or whether it was from a prime supplier. So I’d hunker down in Tier Two, learning the supply chain, how the company’s procurement process works and how to add value while meeting my financial goals. 10 LATINO LEADERS NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018

GLO Global Leaders Organization represents a community breakthrough for business owners and entrepreneurs. Designed for business owners with a minimum of $250,000 of annual revenue, GLO provides a peer platform for networking, expanding markets, and raising capital. Business owners organize into communities by industry, demographic and local city chapters. With an aggressive plan for a global footprint to recognize global marketplace, GLO is committed to meeting the unique challenges of small businesses into today’s economy. BUSINESS BARRIERS Latino business leaders report that raising capital is one of the most challenging aspects to the growth of their business. Traditional barriers that small business owners experience are even more challenging with the lack of familiarity with business banking, private securities, and financing systems. This is why Global Leader’s Organization is building a network of investment portals for GLO members to raise capital.

Tip #2. Reinvest Aggressively. Take your earnings and put them back into the business. Reinvesting into the company, especially at the early stage, is critical and massive if you want to scale. Fast growth can kill you if you don’t reinvest in infrastructure. If you do want to do business with a Fortune 500 company, they’ll ask for your financials to verify that your financial integrity is beyond reproach. If they see that you’re not investing, they’ll think you don't believe in yourself and your company. I know it can be daunting to figure out how you are going to raise the capital to prove your company is not only wonderfully innovative, but also financially secure to swim with the big fish. So how do you reel in this vital capital? Tip #3. Connect with a Community. GLO has reinvented the “business association” concept, leveraging a dynamic digital platform to breathe new life into the business of finding capital. You can get started risk-free and explore how qualified business owners can get easier access to funding outside the usual channels. Plus, with in-person, local and virtual meeting points, GLO provides the perfect platform for Hispanic entrepreneurs to make an impact, including local chapters where members interact firsthand. By joining an organization like GLO, (www. GlobalLeadersOrg.com) Latino business owners-and all entrepreneurs--can come together to build our businesses by landing that Fortune 500 “whale of a client,” find the resources to scale, and increase our impact in the world.





THE 2018 Prospanica Conference & Career Expo was a celebration of more than 30 years of impact as an organization. Since the association’s founders built the National Society of Hispanic MBAs in 1988, which would later grow into Prospanica, Latino influence in the United States has expanded exponentially. It was fitting and exciting to celebrate in Milwaukee, a city that has witnessed its own Latino population triple since 1990. Conference attendees were a mix of students, professionals and Prospanica leadership from across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and this diverse body reported an excellent experience. The event delivered industry-leading content through powerful and insightful professional development sessions that inspired attendees and generated a palpable positive energy at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee. Next year’s Prospanica Conference & Career Expo —SIN FRONTERAS: New Leaders, Next Gen Ideas— will take place October 30 – November 1, in Orlando FL, a metropolitan area that is 30% Hispanic.

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EL RANCHO MEXICAN R ESTAURANT Alfonso Avila and family have made a name for themselves in the Detroit community with their authentic and mouth-watering Mexican food.


L RANCHO opened its doors on October 7, 1983; and, it has touched the lives and stomachs of Detroit residents for many years. The journey began in California when Alfonso and late wife, Lucia immigrated to the United States. Lucia’s father taught her how to cook while working in the fields. They made their way to Detroit to pursue automotive jobs and grew their family. After their move to Detroit, the automotive companies where both parents worked, shut down. The couple were forced to look for other employment. One day while shopping at a Mexican grocery store in Southwest Detroit, a “lease” sign caught the family’s attention thus marking the inception of El Rancho. “El Rancho” was embraced by the community with the help of their banking partner. Comerica played a huge part in the upbringing of the Detroit Mexican restaurant. Coupled with the main ingredients,


FACTS • The values of El Rancho are cleanliness, delicious food, and excellent customer service. • The name “El Rancho” was decided by the children because it reminded them of their yearly vacations to their grandmother’s ranch in San Luis Potosi, Mexico

mom’s home cooking and recipes, the customers and the community felt right at home. It made El Rancho what it is today. Five years after the launch of “El Rancho” the company was able to expand and grow with the vibrant Southwest Detroit community. “Comerica was instrumental in lending us the money for expansion,” Avila said. El Rancho’s relationship with Comerica allowed the family a second renovation in 2003, thus establishing it further as a staple in Metro Detroit. “We’ve grown with Comerica and with the community,” Avila said. Each family member contributed to keep the restaurant up to par and running on all cylinders. Even when the number of Detroit residents decreased because of job loss, the family kept together and continued to progress. Nonetheless, family values have proven to be the engine that keeps the restaurant running. One of the most rewarding aspects of El Rancho is ensuring the well being of their employees and the total satisfaction of their customers. Alfonso Jr. states it best, “The food business is not easy, its success is tied to a collaboration of all family members involved inputting their experiences and hard work. If you mix that with a fantastic product, great employees and a community that embraces you, success is forth coming.” “Knowing that we’ve been able to give more to the community and give more to families especially for those that have worked for us, has been our greatest satisfaction,” Avila said. Alfonso Avila made his family a household name through the development and success of El Rancho. The Avila family has plans to renovate El Rancho in 2019 and is so grateful to its customers and Comerica. Kaitlyn Luckow


Moisés Cervantes


EVERY BOTTLE HOLDS A YEAR INSIDE ON NEARLY every bottle of wine you’ll find a year on the label. Called the vintage date, this is the year in which the fruit was harvested to make the wine that awaits under that cork. Why is that important? Every year is different. The level of winter rain, the chill of early spring temperatures, the heat of the summer sun, the cool of fall – all four seasons of that year affect the aromas, flavors, and textures of the wine from that vintage. An experienced winemaker knows how to respond to all of Mother Nature’s surprises. An enormous amount of work happens in Shafer’s vineyards – all of it to ensure the bottle you purchase years later is the very best. On our hillside vineyard, home to Hillside Select, our team may irrigate a bit more in a dry year. In our Chardonnay vineyards, home to Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay, we may remove a few extra leaves in a cool year to give the fruit more exposure to sunlight. As a winemaker, I look back on the bottles in my own cellar and, yes, I remember all the rain we had in spring of 2006, the heat of the 2007 summer, or the relative cool of 2010, but a vintage date can also bring back memories of coaching my sons’ basketball teams, attending a White House ceremony with other Hispanic leaders, good times with friends at Napa restaurants. And that’s the beauty of wine – it celebrates the moment (there’s nothing like the sound of a cork) and it reminds us of the important parts of our past. Salud!




Mario Diaz FDIC Information Technology Examiner

Kaitlyn Luckow Jesse Nogales Luis González


AVING GRADUATED from a preparatory high school in Monterrey, Mexico at age 16, Mario Diaz was accustomed to a standard of success. During a family visit to Texas, Mario noticed an opportunity to secure his future in Mexico: learn English to become bilingual. His plans won the approval of his mother, and he left college at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León in pursuit of a new skill. However, what Mario thought was a six month stay at his grandfather’s home became permanent. Though he viewed his new residence in the United States with hope and expectation, the relocation proved to be difficult. Because of his young age and novitiate with the English language, Mario’s mother advised him to complete an additional two years of high school upon his arrival

in Texas. Though disappointing, he welcomed this as an opportunity to become more proficient in English. Mario recalled, “Coming from a big city, things were a little different in Bryan, Texas.” Mario faced issues of reliable transportation, learning new social etiquette, and managing the common challenges of adolescence. He soon learned that coping with the dynamic changes while adapting to a new country posed a unique set of challenges. After graduating from high school, Mario earned an Associate’s Degree in Business Management. Early on, he discovered his niche in economics, which offered a respite from the continued barriers with English. Fortified with vision and a dream, he marched forward. Mario pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and International Business. And it was during his matriculation at Sam Houston State University where he first learned of the FDIC. During his sophomore year, Mario attended the university’s annual career fair. When he arrived at the FDIC booth, he noticed a “different energy.” Upon speaking with a recruiter, Mario understood what set the FDIC apart: “They were very refined. They had a lot of experience. And most importantly, they were very positive and encouraging.” After that encounter, Mario was relentless in his pursuit of an internship with the FDIC. Much to his satisfaction, he was interviewed and accepted the internship offer. In 2009, Mario graduated during the housing crisis and was fortunate to achieve permanent status as an FDIC bank examiner. He did not take this position for granted, as many of his peers had a hard time securing employment. Mario was recently promoted to an IT Examiner position for the Dallas Regional Office. He is a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), and serves as the treasurer for an employee resource group, Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Advancement. For Mario, working for FDIC has been a positive experience. He values the continual learning from his peers and using that knowledge to improve his own skills. This emphasis placed on education and training is demonstrated throughout FDIC’s coaching programs and continuing education. Mario’s journey encompassed many trials -- moving to a new country, learning a new language, and adapting to a new culture. As he looks back, he values each experience -- the good and the bad -- with gratitude. They shaped him into who he is today. Despite his challenges, Mario persevered and plans to pay it forward. SUCCESS In the end, if you are happy with where you are in life and who you’ve become – that is success. Definition of Success “I think success is when you commit to a goal and you accomplish it through the ups and downs without giving up.”


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Melissa Rondon

Carlos Cuevas

Inspired by lacking representation in corporate America, Andre Arbelaez is on a mission to bring diversity to the C-suite and change the face of the American CEO. WHEN YOU LOOK at the faces of the C-level executives that dominate the American corporate landscape, it’s easy to notice a trend: Caucasian faces abound, and people of color are a rare find amidst the pale. Andre Arbelaez is fighting to change this by making C-suites across the nation more reflective of the diverse, vibrant communities they serve. He founded the Hispanic C-Suite Corporate Council, or HC3, in 2018 as part of an effort to increase the number of successful Hispanic executives in both public and private companies, a move that he believes is good not only for the Latino community, but also the entire corporate ecosystem. Arbelaez has dedicated his career to empowering Latinos to lead and to represent their community at every level of business. He believes in the power of the united Latino community, according to Arbelaez, it’s time “to knock down doors to communicate the strength of the values we have,” adding, “We have been very patient and very nice, but we need to be more assertive in positioning our executives in corporate America to reflect their customer base. It’s as simple as that.” That’s Arbelaez’s ultimate goal with HC3; to build a world where C-suites across the nation look more like the customers they serve. The idea of the American Dream is important to Arbelaez, who was born in Detroit, MI to Colombian parents and spent his entire life in Motor City, save only for the five years he spent in Bogota, Colombia during his early childhood. “We came to the United States with a ‘work hard and live the American Dream’ mentality,” he says. “It was an opportunity for my parents to seek a better life and to move faster along the economic ladder.” His father worked as a computer programmer in the US, while his mother started a language education and translation company. His parents’ example taught him that, by “working hard and doing things the right way”, he could achieve more, not just for himself, but for others as well. “That mindset kind of created a discipline, a philosophy, of always trying to help others as you’re succeeding, and it is a mindset that I’ve always had,” he says. It’s this mindset that propels Arbelaez’s entire mission, and his passion is evident when he talks about it. 16 LATINO LEADERS NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018

ANDRE ARBELAEZ Occupation: CEO and President of HC3 “To be the best, be with the best.”

HC3’S MISSION: •Advocacy for Hispanic executive leadership in Corporate America •Increase the number of global Hispanic executives serving in CEO positions, and those one and two levels below, by a net addition of at least one in each Fortune 500 company •Develop a robust pipeline of Hispanic corporate leaders through education, training and scholarship programs •To be recognized as the most reputable source regarding advocacy for full inclusion as it relates to Hispanics •Engagement, services and support for multicultural and multi-generational leaders at executive career lifecycle stages •Integrate the Academic community serving Latino students

His cultural awareness and diversity helped him as his career grew, often in unexpected ways. “I’m always thankful to my mother, who forced me to speak Spanish in the home, because that allowed me to get my first tech job -- being assigned to a large German automotive customer -- because I spoke Spanish.” This may seem counterintuitive -- after all, wouldn’t a German customer speak, well, German? -- but “the mere fact of having this second language was already a leg up on the position competition, and it showed a cultural understanding that some of my fellow executives didn’t have.” Arbelaez knows firsthand the power of diversity to benefit businesses, and bringing Latino leaders to the forefront is beneficial both to Latinos and the companies they helm. As President and CEO of HC3 and former President Emeritus of the Hispanic IT Executive Council (HITEC), Arbelaez seeks to

companies and being a voice of what’s right to our community,” he says. Arbelaez founded HC3 with the intention of creating a force for inclusivity in the world of corporate leadership. “The organization was built on a lot of discussions with great leaders from across the country, including your Jorge Ferraez himself” (Ferraez is one of the founders of Latino Leaders). He pauses for a moment, then quips, “We had a lot of wine, as you can imagine,” and we laugh. Returning to his characteristic focus, he continues, “In talking [we saw] that there was this important area that wasn’t being addressed in the ecosystem.” Arbelaez decided to use his voice to amplify others’ in the Latino community, filling that void. Getting necessary support from corporations and executives was easy for Arbelaez. “It took a very simple mindset of how important this was to develop and gather incredible support … to say that there was a niche in the Hispanic community that needed to be filled with HC3,” he says. That simple mindset can be summed up in one of Arbelaez’s favorite sayings, “You can’t be it if you can’t see it.” And he’s right, representation really does matter, at every level. He continues, “So let’s expose, elevate, celebrate, and then develop the next generation so they can be it,” and that, at its heart, is the mission of HC3. lift up Latinos into corporate positions, elevating them by helping them seize the opportunities they are presented with and create their own paths to leadership. “I’m trying to collect the best leaders because you have to start there, and we have them,” he says with confidence. He believes that members of the Latino community are uniquely suited to C-suite leadership, pointing out that “we as a Hispanic community have assimilated so well because of our cultural background: the Catholic religion, the work-hard ethic, the loyalty mentality we have, the strong family unit, the purpose we serve -- the combination of all that makes us excellent corporate leaders.” Arbelaez is a crusader for diversity in corporate leadership with big goals: he wants to increase the number of Hispanic CEOs in the Fortune 500 from 13 to 50 by the year 2050. It may sound ambitious, but Arbelaez has never been one for small thinking; he has his eye not just on those C-level positions, but on the positions one and two levels below them. This puts qualified Latinos into a favorable position for promotion and is part of Arbelaez’s long-term strategy to get more Latinos into the C-suite. “We need to be engaged in determining economic policies within our




Yovany Jerez

Cinthya Allen

AT&T’S HACEMOS Employee Resource Group Celebrates 30 Years of Empowering Latinos Since its beginning, HACEMOS has supported the personal and professional successes of AT&T’s Hispanic employees through mentorship, volunteerism, and philanthropy. Today, thirty years since its inception, HACEMOS comprises 11,000 members in 42 local chapters. As of 2018, HACEMOS has awarded more than $3.5 million in scholarship awards to Hispanic students.


CCORDING to HACEMOS president Yovany Jerez, who was elected in July 2018, HACEMOS’s core strength is its members’ willingness to give generously of their time and talent. HACEMOS members are “committed to having an impact, to a vision that’s bigger than themselves, and they’ve sustained that vision for the past 30 years,” he says. Jerez has had a passion for championing Latinos from early in his career. AT&T’s demonstrated commitment to Hispanic employees, through initiatives such as HACEMOS, was a primary reason he chose to join the company. Jerez became involved with HACEMOS immediately, rising through local and national leadership positions before taking the lead as president. He is driven by a strong personal belief that leadership roles come with a responsibility to work even harder, and this drive is shaping Jerez’s approach to his new role. Jerez steps into the large shoes left by former HACEMOS president Cynthia Allen, who likewise began her journey with HACEMOS as an active member of her local, Okla-


Emely Villeda

homa City chapter. Allen’s commitment to HACEMOS is rooted in her belief that ERGs both support employees and represent a high level of value for the company. Building connections between employees fosters the cooperative spirit required to realize audacious visions and accomplish long-term missions. HACEMOS, in particular, provides an important insight into the growing, lucrative market of Hispanic customers. By utilizing the expertise of HACEMOS members, customers receive service tailored to their needs, while AT&T becomes better positioned to grow their Hispanic customer base. One of Allen’s initial reasons for joining HACEMOS was its ability to connect her family life to her work life. Through bringing her daughters to volunteer events, she was able to provide them a glimpse into their mother’s role as a working professional. Looking back on her experiences with HACEMOS, the most rewarding aspect of her work has been the chance to forge interpersonal connections, such as nurturing relationships and creating opportunities for others to succeed.


Proof of HACEMOS’s power to open doors can be found in software engineer Emely Villeda-Principe, who joined AT&T as a fulltime employee in 2017. Villeda-Principe was as a HACEMOS scholarship recipient, and the connections she made through that

Lola Arellano-Fryer


to navigate the strait, which he successfully crossed this past July. While HACEMOS remains focused on its local chapters, its impact can be seen resonating even across oceans.

LISTEN, LEARN, AND THEN LEAD According to Yovany Jerez, leadership requires due diligence. It’s essential to ask questions, then listen to the answers. Likewise, leaders must learn from the past, examining what worked and what didn’t. Only after listening and learning can a leader move forward and make informed decisions.

Moving Forward

opportunity led to intern with AT&T, and ON CREATING OPPORTUNITY then to accept a full-time position. Her scholWhen considering the future impact of arship, beyond helping pay her tuition – she HACEMOS, former president Cynthia graduated from Southern Methodist UniverAllen says that it’s essential to “infuse the sity in 2017 – also gave her the opportunities pipeline, not just create it.” Blazing paths she needed to launch her career. to success is not enough; the work remains Interning at AT&T equipped Villeda-Princito mentor potential leaders so that they can pe with the crucial skills needed to succeed utilize that path. in the workplace. “You need soft skills in EMELY’S ADVICE TO EARLY CAREER addition to traditional STEM skills,” she says, LATINOS IN STEM: but for a STEM major, those supplementary For fellow Latinos aspiring to a career skills aren’t covered in the classroom. The in STEM, Emely recommends seizing mentorship and support she gained through every opportunity to develop professional HACEMOS filled in these vital gaps. Villeskills, like internships. It can be difficult to da-Principe represents HACEMOS working transition from college to working world, so at its best: supporting Hispanic students in before you graduate, take every chance you achieving their education while preparing get to acclimate to corporate culture. them for distinguished careers. Villeda-Principe is excited to mentor the next generation of students like herself, and to serve as a role rating IoT (Internet of Things) technology into Atlanta’s High Tech Day. A small team model as a Latina working in STEM. of volunteers took the idea and ran with it, developing the curriculum, securing fundA cornerstone of HACEMOS’s commitment ing, and piloting the program. It was so sucto promoting STEM is their annual High cessful that 19 other chapters followed suit, Tech Day. For this event, local HACEMOS eventually creating the IOT Academy. Along the way, Ahmet Ustunel, a teacher chapters invite students to visit the AT&T offices in order to discover career possibil- who works with students with disabilities, ities. The event is spearheaded entirely by and who is himself blind, learned about employees and happens simultaneously in the initiative. He came with an ambitious cities throughout the United States. High proposal. His dream was to kayak across IsTech Day, with its focus on the future minds tanbul’s Bosphorus Strait, a tricky feat even in STEM, provides HACEMOS members an for a sighted person. Through collaboration opportunity to lead with a high level of cre- between HACEMOS and the AT&T Foundry ativity and innovation. An example of this Innovation Center, they were able to create innovation began with the idea of incorpo- a GPS-powered device that enabled Ahmet

Championing STEM

Luis E. González

Looking back on the 30-year history of HACEMOS, Allen seems in awe of all that the ERG has accomplished. Established in an era before the internet, without any of the communication tools on which we rely today, HACEMOS’s nascent years depended upon incredible vision and leadership to build something at such a scale. It required individuals to “be daring to execute it for others,”’ Allen says. Jerez, for his part, is quick to highlight the power of HACEMOS’s decades-long institutional knowledge and the best practices that have grown out of the experience. (He’s also eager to share this knowledge with emerging ERGs – just ask.) This rich heritage gives Jerez a deep sense of responsibility as HACEMOS’s new president, but he also has a clear vision for where HACMEOS is headed next. Jerez’s first priority is to raise HACEMOS’s digital profile, by creating a website that better facilitates information sharing and communication. He plans to create a platform that will celebrate the accomplishments of scholarship winners and better connect HACEMOS with local communities. By creating new pathways for a digital connection, Jerez envisions that better community collaboration and a strengthened scholarship program will result. HACEMOS was built over three decades through the hard work of Latinos who were driven to strengthen their personal and professional community. The future of the ERG is certain to honor that hard work while continuing to positively impact in the lives of Latino employees and the future of STEM.





Moisés Cervantes

Luis Hernandez, better known as Wicho, knows what’s important to Latino families when it comes to planning for the future. He talks financial security and well-being, and how to make your finances serve your family’s best interest.


uis “Wicho” Hernandez* has been helping Latino families achieve the American Dream for years. As Managing Partner of MassMutual Miami, a MassMutual general agency, Hernandez has helped thousands of Latino families plan their futures and achieve their long-term financial goals. Family interests propel Latinos’ financial decision-making in powerful ways: according to the 2018 MassMutual State of the American Family Survey, 76% of Latinos prioritize having a stable source of income for the family in the event of the unexpected, and Latinos are more likely to consider extended family and friends in


their definition of family than non-Hispanic whites. Nearly half of Latinos believe that they can achieve financial wellness, the heart of the American Dream. Despite these good intentions and an optimistic outlook, Latinos remain among the least financially prepared for an unexpected interruption in their ability to work, with 27% of Latino families having less than a month of expenses saved for emergencies. Just 21% of Latino families have 6 months or more of expenses saved. Latinos as a group face unique problems: they represent the lowest household income of the groups surveyed in the study

“YOU DON’T DO IT ALL AT ONCE. IT REALLY IS A LIFELONG JOURNEY. IF YOU LOOK AT IT AS LITTLE BITS AND PIECES INSTEAD OF THIS ONE BIG TASK, I THINK IT BECOMES A LOT EASIER... THE MOST IMPORTANT CHALLENGE THAT WE SEE IS JUST GETTING STARTED.” and have fewer opportunities to build generational wealth than non-Hispanic whites. This gap in financial wellbeing is the heart of what Hernandez seeks to improve in his work with MassMutual. Hernandez knows the importance of understanding his clients’ motivations, the focus of the MassMutual study. “It’s not about going out there and pushing a product,” he says, “but it’s truly going out there and understanding what are the goals, what are the objectives that the customer is trying to achieve, and seeking to understand that first.” He applies this philosophy to his work with his clients, having a direct and honest conversation with them about what their specific needs are before discussing how to financially prepare to provide for those needs. Credit is a common topic among his clients: paying down debt is a priority for 73% of Latino families, yet Hernandez finds that many of his clients don’t have a clear understanding of their credit and how it affects their financial wellbeing. “Credit is almost as important as having money,” he says, and “having good credit and managing that credit is second to none when it comes to … building a strong financial future for yourself.” Hernandez works to educate his clients on how to manage their credit, and finds it often comes down to something as simple as making a budget: after all, “if you can’t manage your income relative to your expenses, typically you’ll see that flow into having poor credit decisions and having poor credit,” he says, which can drastically affect how much you’ll pay on a home, credit card debt, and other expenses.

LATINOS AND PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE • 80% of Hispanic families are involved in making long-term financial decisions, and 63% feel confident doing so. • 68% say that saving as much as possible is a high priority • 31% are developing a detailed financial plan Source: 2018 MassMutual State of the American Family Survey

Mr. Hernandez is licensed to sell insurance in CA, FL, HI, MA, NC, PR, VA and WI. CA Insurance License # 0G10758 CRN202012-240607

*Luis Hernandez is a registered representative and investment advisor representative of MML Investor’s Services, LLC Member SIPC. Supervisory address: 1221 Brickell Avenue, Suite 300, Miami, Florida 33131 Phone: 786-491-7700.

One of the biggest priorities among Latinos is educating their children, a fact that doesn’t come as a surprise to Hernandez. “I feel like I’ve lived it,” he says, “but it’s nice to see that it’s confirmed … 61% of Latino families consider paying for their child’s college a financial priority.” He continues, emphasizing, “I know in my house it was not one of the financial priorities, it was the priority.” That sounds good on the surface, but Hernandez says that laser focus on education can sometimes be a problem. “Having enough life insurance to protect your family, having enough money put away for your retirement, should be equally important because, if those things aren’t in place, you’re putting them and education also in jeopardy,” he says, and he’s right: if you find yourself unable to pay your bills, financing education is out of the question. One of the findings of the study is particularly hopeful: 46% of Latino parents are actively educating their children about finances, saying that they wished their parents had done more to teach them about finances. More and more Latinos want to learn to become financially savvy and teach their children good financial practices, a trend that Hernandez hopes to help advance both through his work with MassMutual and through this study of the financial motivations of Latinos. “Their priorities are their priorities, and we’re not going to change what they think is important,” he says, adding, “we want to empower them to think that. We also want to shed light on understanding the big picture.” And that, at its heart, is what this study seeks to illuminate: a holistic approach to financial security and well-being for Latino families. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018 LATINO LEADERS 21



PRESIDENT AND CEO OF HACR IN THIS FEATURE, we have collaborated with Hispanic Association of Corporate Responsibility (HACR) to include the 2018 HACR Corporate Inclusion Index. The HACR Corporate Inclusion Index (CII) is an annual survey that takes a comprehensive measurement of the business practices and strategies of participating companies. Companies interested in engaging in a dialogue around diversity and inclusion metrics in order to make improvements in these areas should consider taking the survey. The HACR CII can help your company understand the Hispanic inclusion needs of your business and benchmark your progress. In a brief conversation with the President and CEO of HACR, Cid Wilson, he spoke of the importance of the survey and the potential significance of its results.

How did this (HACR CII) study originate?

In 2009, HACR’s Board of Directors adopted a comprehensive corporate accountability strategy which included the HACR Corporate Inclusion Index (CII). The purpose of the CII was to understand what makes a company “good” for Hispanics by determining Corporate America’s commitment to the nation’s fastest growing consumer, voter, taxpayer, and workforce population. As such, HACR developed the CII as a tool to evaluate levels of Hispanic inclusion across four key areas: employment, procurement, philanthropy and governance.

What could this recognition mean to these companies?

Recognition of companies as “good” for Hispanics signals to the community that through participation in the HACR CII they are committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive work environment. Most importantly, the process requires transparency on the part of participating companies. The information that is shared with HACR serves as the basis for conversation around current practices to help companies identify opportunities and inform on improving performance. 22 LATINO LEADERS NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018

KEY FINDINGS: Employment -Hispanics comprise an average of more than 17 percent of the total reported employee base for the 2018 HACR CII participants. Procurement -On average, participants reported directing nearly two (2) percent of total procurement spend to Hispanic-owned businesses. Philanthropy -90 percent of participants reported having a plan for outreach and corporate giving to local and national Hispanic organizations. Governance -Hispanics held just over seven (7) percent of board seats amongst the participant companies.

With the information collected, what is your forecast for the upcoming years?

HACR is in a position to inform and raise awareness on these practice trends through the information that is collected. However, with respect to forecasting changes to Hispanic inclusion in Corporate America in the coming years, only time will tell. The more companies participate and are transparent on the CII, the better equipped we will be to forecast future trends.


2018 HACR CII PARTICIPATION EMPLOYMENT Why is Employment important? Work is a central component of our society. Not only is it the single most important way that people provide for themselves and their families economically, but it is also helps to define who we are, how we see ourselves, and how others see us. Through work we obtain meaning to our existence. Arguably, this is all influenced by the quality of jobs, and though how we define “good” jobs versus “bad” jobs changes with time, most can agree that “good” jobs are those that provide livable wages, fringe benefits, security, stability, and satisfaction. Given the importance of securing “good” jobs to the overall health and wellbeing of individuals and families in the U.S. it is crucial for HACR to ensure that Hispanics are well represented in those "good" jobs. Hispanics should not simply be left the occupy marginal jobs because of the convergence of a multitude of factors including the precarious nature of immigration in the U.S. or perceptions about race, ethnicity, and gender.











• AT&T








• GM





PROCUREMENT Why is Procurement important? Many companies are starting to recognize that, much like overall employee diversity, supplier diversity is also a business imperative. Supplier diversity impacts large firms and small businesses enabling them to grow their consumer base, develop community relationships, and build their brands among potential new customers and partners. At the same time, Corporate America is in a unique position to make a significant difference in sustaining growth and economic development in Hispanic communities. By providing vendor opportunities to underrepresented suppliers and facilitating the success of Hispanic-owned businesses, corporate giants have the power to promote the economic development of the local and regional areas surrounding these businesses. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. There is no doubt that Corporate America has been making strides in Hispanic inclusion through their procurement efforts. However, supplier diversity remains an area where significant improvements should be made if Corporate America is to remain competitive in the changing economy.



PHILANTHROPY Why is Philanthropy important? Have you ever stopped to think about what makes communities work? People who live and work, either for themselves or someone else are the lifeblood of community economies, which is why HACR focuses so intently on Employment and Procurement as principles that guide our mission. But what about Corporate America’s role in the community through service and financial contributions for the greater good, which help to sustain quality of life for those in need? Corporate social responsibility through the work of their charitable arms is equally as important for ensuring the long term growth and sustainability of the Hispanic community in the U.S. Successful businesses have an obligation to give back to the communities in which they are embedded and by doing so help to prepare the next generation to succeed. Like supplier diversity, inclusive philanthropic efforts are an area of opportunity for Corporate America. There is so much that can be done to contribute to the development of communities around the U.S. and there is nothing more rewarding than involving your employees in building that goodwill. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018 LATINO LEADERS 25



• AT&T







GOVERNANCE Why is Governance important? Governance, which examines corporate leadership, is potentially the most important pillar of HACR’s mission. Employment, Procurement, and Philanthropy all play a role in the sustained growth of the Hispanic community in the U.S. However, Governance sets the tone for how effective all policies in HACR’s other pillars will ultimately be. The C-suite influences corporate culture and is responsible for creating an environment where diversity and inclusion can thrive. Leaders who understand that, fully champion the cause, and aren’t afraid to leverage their influence for positive gains, are needed to affect change. The next generation of Americans needs to see themselves reflected in the leadership of Corporate America, and while we have made modest gains, there is still more work to be done. What are companies doing to impact meaningful change and how are we holding them accountable for the needed cultural shift?



• GM












For more information on the complete study, please visit HACR online. https://hacr.org/hacr-cii



TOP LATINO LAWYERS OF 2018 The business of law is one of the most important professions in our country. Lawyers bring justice to those in need and make sure that the rights and obligations of everyone are served. For four years Latino Leaders Magazine has published the selection of the top Latino lawyers that with each of their achievements, community involvement, and successful career paths are examples of leaders that work to bring justice in our country. With more than 600 nominations nationwide from lawyers with diverse backgrounds, from self-owned firms to partners in major firms, General Counsels and Judges, our committee selected those that are Top in their specializations, not only winning notable cases but also giving back to their local communities. We want to congratulate all the Lawyers that are part of our 2018 list and encourage them to continue fighting for the good and the just.



Hereunder you will find the selection of the Top Latino Lawyers of 2018. For the past couple of months our team has worked gathering information and researching over 600 nominations to determine the top Latino Lawyers that best serve our community. Key metrics include achievements and recognitions, community involvement and affiliation with bar associations.





Diamond McCarthy LLP

Houston, TX


Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend

Houston, TX


Jackson Lewis P.C.

Morristown, NJ


Colorado Insurance Law Center

Westminster, CO


Michael Best & Friedrich LLP

Milwaukee, WI


Akin Gump Straus Hauer & Feld LLP

Los Angeles, CA


Sofia Adrogue is a business trial partner with the Houston office of Diamond McCarthy LLP. A litigator for more than 25 years, she has obtained favorable judgments and settlements on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants in a myriad of complex business cases in state and federal courts and in ADR proceedings. She envisioned and created the Texas Business Litigation treatise (ALM 2015, 2016, 2017) and is the Chair of the Texas Business Litigation CLEs. She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Owner/President Management Program, an alumna of the Harvard Business School, and received her J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif and Barons, and her B.A. from Rice University, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. Benny Agosto, Jr. is a partner at the Houston personal injury law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto, & Aziz. His areas of practice include, but are not limited to, medical malpractice, work place accidents, motor vehicle and 18-wheeler accidents, wrongful death, business litigation, environmental law, explosions, electrocutions, admiralty and maritime accidents. Benny is active in the community. He is a past President of both the Hispanic National Bar Association and the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas. He is the Founder and President of the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas Foundation and is the Co-Founder of the HNBA Legal Education Fund. He is currently the President-Elect of the Houston Bar Association, and chair of Houston Volunteer Lawyers. Gregory T. Alvarez is a Principal in the Morristown, New Jersey office of Jackson Lewis P.C. and a member of the firm’s Board of Directors. He focuses his practice on employment litigation, including class and collective action cases, as well as employment law counseling. He is a member of the firm’s Hispanic Attorney Resource Group and former Board Liaison to the firm’s Diversity Committee. He is recognized in The Best Lawyers in America and rated by Super Lawyers. He is the Legal Officer for the North Jersey Rockland Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management. He is a member of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, the Hispanic National Bar, the New Jersey Hispanic Bar Association, and the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Section. Damian J. Arguello, principal of Colorado Insurance Law Center, is one of Colorado’s preeminent policyholder insurance law attorneys. He drew from over twenty-five years of experience in the insurance industry when he founded Colorado Insurance Law Center, a private law firm. Damian represents businesses and business owners, in Colorado and nationally, enforcing their rights under their commercial insurance policies. He also serves as co-counsel for trial lawyers involved in litigation where insurance claims are an underlying issue and as an expert witness providing testimony regarding insurance law. In addition to practicing insurance law, Damian is a leader in the Colorado legal community. He is a Past-President of the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association, one of the largest minority bar associations in the state. Luis Arroyo is a partner in the Labor & Employment Relations practice at Michael Best & Friedrich LLP and a member of the firm’s Higher Education and Unfair Competition & Trade Secrets teams. Luis represents employers in a range of traditional management-side employment matters regarding protected class discrimination, retaliation, and disability accommodation issues. Luis has developed a significant practice focusing on employee defection and recruitment, including litigating injunction and damage actions relating to: covenants not to compete, non-solicitation and non-disclosure agreements, unfair competition, trade secrets, duty of loyalty, the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act, and state trade secrets and unfair competition statutes. Dino Barajas is a member of the firm’s cross border transactions and corporate practice groups and focuses his practice on domestic and international project development and finance, with particular emphasis on Latin American infrastructure project financings, debt financings, and M&A. He has worked on transactions in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guam, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States and Yemen. He is currently a member of the Los Angeles office’s diversity committee and has been recognized for four consecutive years by both Legal 500 Latin America in Projects and Energy and Latinvex as a top 100 Latin American Lawyer, and by A Word About Wind in 2018 for their Top 100 Legal Power List.




Akin Gump Straus Hauer & Feld LLP

Los Angeles, CA


Vinson & Elkins LLP

Dallas, TX


Bowman and Brooke LLP

Plano, TX


Squire Patton Boggs

Miami, FL


The Castro Firm, Inc.

Wilmington, DE


Hugo Chaviano PC

Harlingen, TX


Carlos M. Bermudez is a member of Akin Gump’s corporate practice and has more than 15 years of experience in mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and securities representations. Carlos advises a diverse array of clients in matters in Latin America, the U.S. and Asia. He also has broad experience in corporate finance, securities and general corporate matters and in the corporate aspects of financial restructurings. He’s currently a member of the firm’s diversity and pro bono committees and is recognized by IFLR1000’s 2019 US law firm rankings as a Notable Practitioner in M&A. Mr. Bermudez holds a B.A. from Princeton University (1998) and a J.D. from Stanford Law School (2002).

Manuel Berrelez is a partner in the Dallas office of Vinson & Elkins. He is a trial and regulatory enforcement lawyer whose practice focuses on fraud and fiduciary duty claims, contract disputes, trade secret claims, oil field services litigation, and other business torts. Manuel has particular experience representing financial institutions and their directors and officers during all phases of regulatory investigation and enforcement proceedings. He served as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Raymond C. Fisher, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit before joining V&E. Manuel was selected to the Texas Rising Stars list from 2013-2017. Manuel is a board member of the Dallas Hispanic Law Foundation, Educate Dallas, and The Dallas Winds. Yesenia Cárdenas is a litigator and trial attorney.  She defends, and champions for, the state-of-the-art technology of product manufacturers and their engineers.  For over a decade, Yesenia has dedicated her practice to the representation of U.S. and international vehicle manufacturers in individual civil cases and mass tort multi-district litigation.  Her professional ethos also extends to written advocacy through the authorship of persuasive dispositive and discovery motions, the results of which have led to published opinions at the state and federal level. Yesenia also provides client support services through the development of litigation strategies, preparation of case evaluations, and litigation costs budgeting.

Al Cardenas chairs Squire Patton Boggs’ Latin America Practice and is widely recognized for his leadership in Latin America affairs. He was named one of “The Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community Today,” one of the “Legal Impact Leaders,” one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics” by Hispanic Business. His deep experience in Latin America includes having served on the President's Trade Policy Commission, where he participated in policy discussions and recommendations at the White House regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and subsequently represented the countries of Ecuador, Panama and the Dominican Republic in the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) negotiations. Ronald Reagan chose Al for his transition team, making him responsible for the transition of the United States Department of Commerce. Tabatha Castro is the President and Managing Attorney of The Castro Firm, Inc., a minority and woman-owned law firm specializing in New Jersey and Delaware legal matters. She is licensed to practice law in the states of New Jersey and Delaware. She is admitted to practice law before the United States Supreme Court, Federal District Court of Delaware, Delaware Supreme Court and New Jersey Supreme Court. She is the President of the Delaware Hispanic Bar Association and Board Trustee of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey. In 2013, she was awarded the Professional Latino of the Year Award by the Latin American Community Center.

Hugo Chaviano’s legal career has encompassed private practice, leadership of not for profit organizations, government service and academia. He served as Secretary General of the Inter American Bar Association as well as President of the Hispanic National Bar Association and the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement. He is a recipient of Lexis-Nexis / Martindale Hubbell AV Pre-Eminent Rating. Hugo has been recognized for his work advocating diversity. Some of the awards and special recognitions he has received include the American Bar Association Spirit of Excellence Award, and the National Mercurio Award, the highest award given by the Cuban-American Chamber of Commerce to a Cuban.


Willenken Wilson Loh & Delgado LLP

Los Angeles, CA


Morgan and Morgan, PLLC

Atlanta, GA


The Dominguez Firm

Los Angeles, CA


Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

Seattle, WA


Denver County Court

Denver, CO


Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP

Miami, FL

Will Delgado is an experienced trial lawyer whose practice focuses on intellectual property litigation, class actions, and complex business litigation. Recognized in April 2012 by the Recorder as one of fifty young California lawyers “On the Fast Track”. Recognized in January 2014 as a "Top 20 Lawyer Under 40" by the Daily Journal. Recognized in February 2015 for securing one of the "Top 20 Defense Verdicts of 2014" by the Daily Journal. Recognized in February 2017 as a "Class Action Lawyer of the Year" for California by the International Advisory Experts organization. Recognized as a "Local Litigation Star" for 2018 and 2019 by Benchmark Litigation. 

Miguel Dominguez began his career as a social worker serving the homeless and mentally-ill, later transitioning into the law as a criminal defense attorney. As a state prosecutor, he had the honor of serving as the first Latino prosecutor in the history of several metro Atlanta judicial circuits. Miguel serves as an advisor to Atlanta Mayor Bottoms as a member of her Progressive Agenda Working Group and as co-chairman of her Criminal Justice Reform Commission. Miguel provides pro bono legal services to victims of domestic violence, as well as, to youthful offenders, using his experience as a prosecutor to provide them a second chance at becoming productive members of society by way of having their criminal records expunged. Juan J. Dominguez is a nationally recognized, award-winning, bilingual attorney. He is the founder, CEO and Managing Partner of The Dominguez Firm, LLP; a personal injury, workers' compensation and employment law practice based in Los Angeles. In 2013, he was honored with distinction by the Hispanic National Bar Association with the Attorney of the Year award. In 2014, the Mexican-American Bar Association honored Mr. Dominguez with the Special Recognition Award for his outstanding career accomplishments and contributions to the community. In 2015, The Los Angeles Business Journal awarded him the Latino Business Award for setting the example for excellence.

Camilo Echavarria works with large and medium-sized employers in California to defend them in employment lawsuits — from single and multi-plaintiff litigation, to class action cases. Camilo has been recognized as one of the “Most Influential Minority Attorneys in Los Angeles” by the Los Angeles Business Journal and as one of “California’s 75 Top Labor and Employment Lawyers” by the Daily Journal. A leader in both his profession and his community, Camilo is on the Board of Trustees for the Mexican American Bar Foundation, the Board of Directors for the California Minority Counsel Program, and is on the Board of Directors for Latino Kids Health. In the coming months, Camilo will take over as Partner in Charge of the firm’s Los Angeles office. Honorable Adam J. Espinosa is a Denver County Court Judge who has served in the Civil, Municipal Criminal, and State Criminal Divisions of that court and presided over two hundred trials. Prior to his appointment, he served as a senior trial attorney for the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel and as a deputy district attorney in several Colorado counties. Judge Adam is active in the community, having been appointed and served on numerous local, state, and national boards including the Denver Crime Prevention and Control Commission, the Colorado Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission, the ABA Standing Committee on Client Protection, and the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association. Manuel Fernandez, a partner in Kasowitz Benson Torres’ Real Estate Transactions group, has played an instrumental role in some of Florida’s largest real estate transactions over the past two decades, including handling the purchase of the Southeast Financial Center in a deal exceeding $500 million, hailed by the Miami Herald as the largest single-building transaction in Miami’s history.  He is regularly honored as a leading lawyer by Chambers USA and The Legal 500, among other publications. Manuel represents institutional and non-institutional investors, as well as financial institutions, in a variety of real estate matters, including real estate acquisitions and dispositions, commercial leases, distressed real estate transactions, and the formation of real estate joint ventures. 





Winston & Strawn, LLP

Chicago, IL


Squire Patton Boggs

Dallas, TX


Squire Patton Boggs

Santo Domingo, DR


LULAC National President

Dallas, TX



Dallas, TX


Snell & Wilmer LLP

Costa Mesa, CA


Steve Flores advises employers of all sizes on a broad array of matters involving employee benefit plans and executive compensation, including in the context of mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, and lending transactions. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers, by Legal 500 for employee health and retirement plans, and by the Hispanic National Bar Association. He serves on Winston’s Hiring and Diversity Committees and chairs the firm’s Hispanic Affinity Group (Latina/o Lawyer Alliance at Winston). He has twice been appointed by the Mayor of Chicago to serve on the Chicago Police Board. A primary responsibility of the Police Board is to decide cases involving allegations of serious misconduct made against members of the Chicago Police Department. Paula Galhardo serves as Chair of the Squire Patton Boggs Brazil Country Desk and is a member of the Corporate Practice, based in Houston. Dual-qualified in New York and Brazil, Paula has more than 15 years’ of experience in Brazil and in the US on advising US, Latin America, Europe and Asia clients on corporate transactions in numerous jurisdictions. Paula serves as regional legal counsel for a US$5.5 billion chemical company in Latin America, which includes operations in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia. She is in the board of the Brazil Texas Chamber of Commerce. Paula regularly donates her time to volunteer work such as The Beacon and LegalLine, a community service outreach program organized by the Bar Association that is designed to help the people of Houston receive free, simple legal advice. Pedro Gamundi focuses on international commercial and financial transactions, and on cross-border labor, litigious, reorganization and insolvency matters. With 30 years of experience, Pedro recently assisted a pool of banks in the $533 million refinancing of the senior bonds of airport concessionaire AERODOM. In 2016, our Santo Domingo office received the DR Client Services Award by Chambers Latin America. From 2000-2012, Pedro served as a member and then as President of the Board of Directors of Fundación Dominicana de Desarrollo, a regional pioneer in adopting micro-financing as a tool for social promotion and economic development. Pedro is a founding member of the Georgetown Law Latin America Advisory Board. Domingo Garcia started his own law practice in 1983 with his sister as the only staff and within just two years, the firm grew to four attorneys. Today, 35-years later, Domingo has established a thriving multi-million legal network with offices in Dallas, Houston, Tyler, and Odessa. Domingo’s first legal victory happened in in 1995 when a jury decided in favor of his client who was the victim of a drunk driver and awarded $1.1 million. In 2004, he won a six-million-dollar settlement on behalf of the family whose 14-year-old son was tragically electrocuted in the swimming pool of an apartment complex. In 2014, he achieved a $5.7 million-dollar victory for a Dallas police officer who was negligently struck by a van. Isabela Amie Garcia on fulfilling her dream to play and win on the professional tennis tour, traveled extensively throughout Latin America, Mexico, and the United States. After achieving her goals on tour she soon realized that her true calling was the law. She enrolled in the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with honors in the studies of philosophy and business. She then went on to the University of Oxford at which she studied International Tax Law, European Union Law, and International Constitutional Law. She earned her Juris Doctorate at Southern Methodist University School of Law with emphasis on Sports Law, Corporate Law and International Law.

Steffi Gascón Hafen is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law. Steffi is a member of Snell & Wilmer’s Private Client Services and General Federal Tax practice groups and works in the Orange County and Los Angeles offices. Steffi's practice is concentrated in tax, trust, and estate matters with emphasis in estate planning, trust and probate administration and litigation, and estate and gift taxation. She also advises clients regarding succession planning for closely held businesses, and represents clients in state and local taxation matters, including income taxation, sales and use taxation, and property taxation, as well as matters regarding residency and domicile. Steffi represents clients in front of the California taxing authorities and the IRS. 


Jackson Lewis PC

Morristown, NJ


Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.

Milwaukee, WI


Gonzalez Olivieri LLC

Houston, TX


Hernandez & Associates

Denver, CO


Hernandez & Associates

Denver, CO


Michael Best & Friedrich LLP

Chicago, IL

Jason C. Gavejian is a Principal in the Morristown, New Jersey office of Jackson Lewis P.C. His practice focuses on privacy, data security, and labor and employment law. Jason is Co-Chair of Jackson Lewis’ Hispanic Attorney Resource Group (HARG), a group of attorneys specializing in providing assistance to organizations with large Hispanic workforces. He is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/ US). Jason also represents clients in all aspects of litigation, including restrictive covenants and class actions, as well as employment claims related to harassment, retaliation, discrimination, and wage and hour. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, and the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Rufino Gaytan is a member of Godfrey & Kahn’s Labor & Employment Practice Group. He counsels clients in every aspect of labor and employment law, with an emphasis on discrimination claims, unfair labor practice charges, union election petitions, collective bargaining, safety and health issues, and Indian tribe employment matters. Rufino represents clients in federal and state courts and before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, National Labor Relations Board, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Wisconsin Equal Rights Division, and other administrative agencies. For his commitment to pro bono work, the Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission and the State Bar of Wisconsin named Rufino to the Pro Bono Honor Society in 2015. Raed Gonzalez is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gonzalez Olivieri, LLC, a nationally recognized litigator whose firm has been named one of the best Immigration Law Firms in Houston, Texas. He leads a large team of attorneys and staff devoted to providing top-notch legal services to Houston’s diverse and growing immigrant community. His record includes four victories before the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous other published Circuit Court precedential decisions. He routinely lectures at both the national and international levels with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Texas State Bar, UT LAW, the ABA and the Federal Bar Association midst others. Raed’s work for his community extends well-beyond his private practice and tireless work advocating for his clients. Arnulfo D. Hernández is one of the top Latino attorneys in Colorado. He is the founder and managing partner of Hernández & Associates, P.C., the largest immigration law firm in Denver. He is one of the most respected Latino lawyers in the Rocky Mountain area and in 2017 was named President of Region XIII of the Hispanic National Bar Association (covering Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming). This follows his service as President of the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association in 2016 and his continued work as Chair of the Hispanic National Bar Association's Immigration Committee. In 2019, his professionalism and dedication to the Latino/a legal community will be honored with the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association’s prestigious Chris Miranda Outstanding Hispanic Lawyer Award. Christine M. Hernández is an immigration litigator and appellate attorney based in Denver, Colorado. Her bilingual practice covers nearly all aspects of immigration law including removal defense, family-based immigration, and asylum. She also has years of experience with consular processing, U Visas, VAWA, and SIJS. Her practice includes "crimmigration” cases, which require knowledge of both immigration and criminal law. Christine is Chair of Hispanic National Bar Association’s Immigration Section and President-Elect of the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association.  She received the “40 Under 40 Award” by the Hispanic National Bar Association and has been named a Rising Star by Colorado Super Lawyers Magazine since 2015. Jorge is a proven lawyer, leader and influencer in Chicago.  Jorge advises the leaders of major clients, including the largest Spanish-language college, global food and beverage companies, insurers and manufacturers.  Jorge secures the retirement of over 100,000 individuals. Jorge chairs the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee where his leadership and policies help over 500 workers throughout the U.S. feel welcome and included.  His diversity efforts help our most vulnerable friends and neighbors in underserved communities nationwide.  Whether it’s providing STEM coaching to Hispanic children in Chicago, providing dignity to children in D.C.’s foster care system or battling elder loneliness among Milwaukee’s Hispanic neighborhoods, Jorge helps where and when he can.  Jorge donates countless hours, improving Hispanic children and families’ lives. 





Akerman, LLP

Dallas, TX


Squire Patton Boggs

Columbus, OH


Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete

Atlanta, GA


Associate General Counsel Global Security, Aviation/Travel & Ethics

Elsa Manzanares advises clients on global and U.S. regulations relating to the import and export of goods, technology, software, and services. She represents companies before the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Department of State on matters pertaining to violations of the U.S. Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). She also represents clients on U.S. sanctions and embargoes before the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the import regulations administered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), national security reviews conducted by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), and anti-corruption compliance. Traci L. Martinez is a partner and member of the Global Board at global law firm Squire Patton Boggs. A champion of empowering diverse lawyers, Traci has focused her energies in taking leadership roles with the Hispanic National Bar Association, the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, and the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. An experienced trial, civil litigation, and labor and employment lawyer, Traci advises public and private sector clients across various industries. She regularly counsels employers on compliance with federal and state laws impacting the employer/employee relationship. Traci was active in developing the first local National Hispanic Bar Association chapters in Region X (Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana) and led fundraising efforts for their first-ever Gala event. Erica Mason is a partner in the Atlanta office of Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete and the immediate past president of the Hispanic National Bar Association. She serves as regional and national employment counsel to large and medium-sized companies throughout the United States, primarily in the hospitality, retail and manufacturing sectors, as well as hospitals and physician's groups. She has extensive experience successfully defending enforcement actions brought by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as private class and collective actions. In addition to assisting clients in litigation, Erica also advises employers on litigation avoidance techniques and compliance issues. Jessica A. Massey is Senior Associate Counsel at Walmart Inc., where she conducts legally privileged, internal Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and financial integrity investigations worldwide, and provides daily legal advice to Walmart’s Global Ethics & Compliance Department. Jessica currently serves as National Vice-President of Regions & Affiliates for the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) and Director At Large for the Northwest Arkansas Chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA). She was named an HNBA Top Lawyer Under 40 in 2016 and a Top Latino Lawyer in the U.S. by Latino Leaders Magazine in 2017.

Bentonville, AR


Squire Patton Boggs

Washington, DC


Rivero Mestre LLP

New York, NY


Alvaro J. Mestre is a Partner at Squire Patton Boggs and Chair of the Firm’s Mexico Country Desk. Alvaro represents clients on infrastructure development, corporate structuring and compliance matters, with a regional focus on the Americas and an industry focus on Energy and Natural Resources. Additionally, Alvaro often advises his clients on compliance matters and has specific experience in connection with the preparation and implementation of compliance programs focused on the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Recognizing his high-profile work, reputation and engagement in the Mexican market, The Legal 500 has named Alvaro twice to its US/Mexico Private Practice Powerlist, and he is consistently listed as a “Leading Lawyer” by IFLR1000. Jorge A. Mestre engages exclusively in a commercial-litigation practice, including international arbitration and litigation. Among his many high-stakes matters, Mestre successfully represented a Chevron attorney in a case that was part of the $100 billion, 18-year litigation over Chevron’s alleged environmental damage in the Amazon. Mestre also successfully represented six former directors and officers in FDIC v. Stipes, the FDIC’s lawsuit arising from its takeover of Westernbank Puerto Rico. Mestre is also currently representing Cardinal Health in a case brought by the Government of Puerto Rico (the case is being litigated in Spanish) related to the current opioid crisis. Mestre also serves the interests of the Hispanic community in his role as President of the Hispanic National Bar Foundation.


Christine Montenegro, partner at Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, is one of the leading Latina lawyers handling high-stakes litigation in the nation. Notably, she played an integral role in developing a unique litigation strategy for Harbinger Capital Partners, a majority shareholder of LightSquared, in its lawsuit against Dish Chairman Charles Ergen. Christine represents investment and hedge funds, financial PARNER institutions, and corporations in commercial disputes, securities fraud, RICO, antitrust, constitutional law Kasowitz Benson Torres, LLP and defamation.  A strong advocate for the advancement of women lawyers, Christine spearheads the firm’s Women’s Initiative Committee, which mentors and advises women professionals on career and professional development opportunities.  New York, NY


Mauro Lilling Naparty, LLP

Richard J. Montes is a partner of Mauro Lilling Naparty LLP, the largest firm in the Northeast that handles appeals and litigation strategy. Since joining MLN fifteen years ago, Rich has handled numerous appeals in state and federal courts. His expansive practice includes medical and other professional malpractice. He is a frequent lecturer for in-house counsel, insurance companies and hospitals, and he has also published extensively in a wide variety of practice areas. Richard has been dedicated to advancing and protecting the legal rights of the Hispanic community on Long Island.

Woodbury, NY


Akin Gump Straus Hauer & Feld LLP

Philadelphia, PA

Ruben Muñoz has represented companies in litigations involving a wide array of technologies, including medical devices, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and electronics. Ruben heads the PTAB practice at Akin Gump and has been counsel of record in over 50 IPRs—more than half of them as lead counsel. He has also made significant contributions to the firm’s pro bono efforts, particularly on human rights, veterans, and asylum cases. He is heavily involved in the community, advising minority students and entrepreneurs on career choices and business decisions, including through the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Bar Association. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and holds a certificate in business and public policy from the Wharton School.




Vantage Law Group PLLC

Minneapolis, MN


Oliveros Law Firm

Tampa, FL


Michael Best

Milwaukee, WI


Sidley Austin, LLP

Dallas, TX


Scott Perez LLP

Dallas, TX


Warshauer Law Group, PC

Atlanta, GA


Joseph Nunez joined Vantage Law Group as a partner in 2015 after almost 20 years as a Senior Group Counsel in the Target Corporation Law Department. He currently serves as a Regional President of the Hispanic National Bar Association, member of the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association and member of the Cuban-American Bar Association. Considered one of the most experienced practitioners of shopping center law in the United States, recognized as a top lawyer by Best Lawyers™, 10 Best Lawyers™ in Minnesota for Real Estate, and the Minnesota Journal of Law & Politics. Joseph regularly presents at International Council of Shopping Center business and law conferences, as well as at the Minnesota Real Estate Institute and Minnesota State Bar Association. Andres N. Oliveros is a trial lawyer with extensive experience in administrative, criminal, and civil matters before federal courts, state courts, and other tribunals in Florida and abroad. He has litigated cases for the United States in Japan and other countries, and now exclusively represents real people in motor vehicle negligence actions before Florida courts.  With offices in Sebring and Tampa, Andres represents injured individuals from across the state of Florida in their quest for justice.  A two-time past president of the Highlands County Bar Association, Andres is currently President of the Tampa Hispanic Bar Association, Director of the Highlands County Bar Foundation and serving a second term on the Standing Committee on Diversity and Inclusion of The Florida Bar.  José Olivieri is the managing partner of Michael Best’s Milwaukee office. He is also the co-chair of the Higher Education Industry Group, the founder of the firm’s immigration law practice, and the former chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Relations Practice Group. Clients also depend on José’s deep knowledge of and experience with U.S. immigration law and employment-based immigration matters. He has been recognized as a leading immigration lawyer by Chambers USA since 2008, was named 2018 Best Lawyers in America®, “Lawyer of the Year” for Employment Law – Management in Milwaukee and received the 2016 Executive Leadership Award from the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee. Yvette Ostolaza, managing partner of Sidley’s Dallas office, member of the firm’s Management Committee, Executive Committee, and global co-head of the firmwide litigation practice, has developed a national reputation as a versatile lawyer who excels in all aspects of complex disputes and investigations. She is fluent in Spanish and regularly advised Latin American clients. Yvette litigates matters in U.S. state and federal trial and appellate courts on behalf of sophisticated, global clients. She coordinates and tries proceedings in a variety of arbitration venues, serves on the Roster of Neutral Arbitrators for the AAA for commercial litigation matters and on CPR Panel of Distinguished Neutrals as an arbitrator for the International Institute of Conflict Prevention & Resolution. Javier Perez attended The University of Texas School of Law where he served as President of the Chicano/Hispanic Law Students Association and worked in the Transnational Workers Rights Clinic at the Austin-based Equal Justice Center. Javier represents clients in employment discrimination cases, including race/color, national origin, age, sex/gender, religious, disability, as well as retaliation and violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). He also handles unpaid wages/overtime pay claims. Javier is the incoming President of the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association (DHBA) and is currently a fellow in the Latino Center for Leadership Development Leadership Academy. He was selected as a Thomson Reuters Rising Star for 2018 and 2019 and received DHBA’s Estrella award in 2015. Michael E. Pérez focusing on medical malpractice, birth injury and wrongful death cases. He is well-known for fighting for his clients’ rights both in and out of the courtroom. Michael holds an AV Preeminent rating, the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards. Michael received one of the Top 20 Verdicts in Georgia in 2017 and was named a Super Lawyer. Michael was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia after his parents and 4 sisters emigrated from Cuba in 1970. he gives back to his community by volunteering at several organizations including the Brighter DeKalb Foundation and the Interfaith Children’s Movement.


Lee & Peynado Immigration Law

Pamela Peynado Stewart is a Partner of Lee & Peynado Immigration Law Group. At the age of 29, Pamela became the youngest and only female partner in the history of the firm. With over twelve years of experience in the field, she has successfully represented individuals in their immigration matters, aggressively defended immigrants in deportation and removal proceedings in numerous states. Pamela is currently involved with various organizations, including the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys, Multi-Bar Leadership Council, Georgia Hispanic Bar Association, Latin American Association and the American Immigration Lawyer Association.

Alpharetta, GA


Cozen O'Connor

Minneapolis, MN


Jackson Lewis PC

Philadelphia, PA


Veronica Quinonez Law, PLLC

Seattle, WA


Ramirez & Associates PC

Dallas, TX


Reyes Browne Reilley

Dallas, TX

Miguel Pozo is a nationally known litigator, bar association leader and respected Latino trailblazer. Returning to private practice in July 2018 as a partner with Cozen O’Connor, Miguel represents Fortune 500 companies in the luxury, consumer/retail good and automobile sectors in high-stakes internal investigations as well as complex employment and intellectual property litigation. As President of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (2009 -2010) and President of the Hispanic National Bar Association (2013-2014), Miguel represented the interests of more than 50,000 Hispanic lawyers, judges and law students in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Angela Quiles Nevarez is Of Counsel in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her practice focuses on employment litigation in state and federal courts. She defends employers in actions involving claims of discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination and retaliation. She conducts training seminars in both English and Spanish on equal employment opportunities, anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, diversity and inclusion, and unconscious bias. Angela is Co-Chair of Jackson Lewis’ Hispanic Attorney Resource Group (HARG). Angela is a member of the American Bar Association, Hispanic National Bar Association, Los Angeles County Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and the National Employment Law Council. Verónica Quiñónez is the owner of Veronica Quiñónez Law, PLLC. Her practice focuses on providing legal representation and mediation services in the area of family law. She received her Juris Doctorate degree from Seattle University School of Law, and her undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at El Paso. Verónica is also a 2017 graduate of the UW Law Washington Leadership Institute. She is the current Latina/o Bar Association of Washington's President and the current Hispanic National Bar Association Deputy President for Region XVI. Veronica has also been an Adjunct Professor at University of Washington School of Law.

Florentino A. Ramirez joined Ramirez & Associates in upon being admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1995. He is an experienced immigration attorney and is also skilled in issues of international transactions and all aspects of doing business abroad. Florentino practices a broad range of international business, leading the firm’s Latin American practice. Florentino also counsels on the establishment of business entities both domestic and abroad, related labor issues, cross-border trade and transactions, distributorships and marketing relationships. Florentino served on the Board of Directors for the State Bar of Texas from 2013 – 2016, and presently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Texas Bar Foundation. Angel L. Reyes & Associates, PC is the parent company of Reyes / Browne / Reilley a personal injury litigation, business litigation, and mortgage default servicing law firm. The firm has worked with executives, business owners, and individuals to resolve over 30,000 cases. Additionally, the firm has tried 300 cases to a jury verdict. These cases include business disputes, life-altering personal injury, defective products, and dangerous prescription drugs, contract disputes, partnership disputes, and other businessrelated disputes. Angel was named to the Super Lawyers® list for 2008 - 2018, by Law & Politics magazine, a supplement to Texas Monthly. This honor is bestowed upon the top 5% of all lawyers in Texas.





Roman Law

Boston, MA


Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

Chicago, IL


Solano Law Firm

Atlanta, GA


Rosenthal, Levy, Simon & Ryles

West Palm Beach, FL


Yolanda V. Torres Law

Santa Ana, CA


Duffy & Duffy

Uniondale, NY


Eneida Roman is a nationally recognized leader, and for over a decade, she has been a risk-taking entrepreneur providing a breadth of legal services for her clients through the boutique legal practice she founded in Boston, MA. She is a licensed psychologist, a certified mediator, and attorney. Her law practice is focused around estate planning, family, real estate & small business transactions. She served in prominent leadership roles for the American Bar Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, and the Massachusetts Bar Association. Currently serving on the HOPE National Taskforce, Big Sister Boston’s Board of Directors, and Eastern Bank’s Board of Corporators. Eneida was appointed by Massachusetts Governor, Charlie Baker, in 2018 to serve on the Workforce Training Fund Advisory Board. Jesse Ruiz is a partner in Drinker Biddle’s Corporate and Securities Group and serves as the relationship partner for several major clients. He has been recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business as a one of the Most Influential Minority Lawyers in Chicago, and by Diversity and the Bar as one of “15 Rainmakers Who Always Shine.” Jesse concentrates his practice on middle-market mergers and acquisitions and commercial transactions. Jesse is the 1st vice president of the Chicago Bar Association and was recently elected to the inaugural class of the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois Lincoln Juarez Honor Society. For 16 years he has served as pro bono legal counsel to the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation.  He is president of the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners. Zaira Solano founded Solano Law firm in 2011 with only $100. Solano Law Firm focuses on immigration law. Zaira earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Georgia College & State University. While earning her degree, she worked in the office of a solo practitioner in the metro Atlanta area. She gained valuable, hands-on experience in family law, criminal law, and worker’s compensation law prior to her legal education. Zaira worked for several firms throughout the Atlanta area while earning her law degree at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. She discovered her passion for immigration during law school. Later in her training, she clerked at an immigration firm in Atlanta, Georgia. Zaira also worked in the Fulton County Public Defender’s Office in the Complex Case Division. Luis A. Sosa was born in Ciego De Avila, Cuba, and raised in West Palm Beach, Florida. He currently serves as the President of the St. Lucie County Bar Association (SLCBA), where he started as the bar association’s Treasurer. In addition, Luis is the youngest President the SLCBA has had. He has been named Top 40 under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers and was accepted into The Florida Bar's WM. Reece Smith Jr. Leadership Academy, Class VI. He has fought in numerous trials where he has successfully obtained verdicts in excess of $900,000. Luis has been a volunteer with the Hispanic Human Resource Center in West Palm Beach and strongly believes that being involved in the community is just as important as representing it.  Yolanda Victoria Torres is the Principal of her Family Law firm in Orange County, California. Her cases include divorces, child custody and visitation, child/ spousal support, property division, step-parent adoptions and domestic violence actions.  Yolanda has practiced Family Law for the past 17 years and has been a Certified Family Law Specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization for 11 years.  Because so many courts are impacted and there is a shortage of judicial officers, Yolanda expanded her practice to include mediation where her clients are very satisfied with the efficiency of the process and amicable resolution.  On March 9, 2019, she will be sworn in as the President of the Orange County Hispanic Bar Association Frank Torres was born and raised in Brooklyn of Latino immigrant parents. Went to St. Francis College, from which he graduated summa cum laude, and later Columbia University School of Law. He has worked the past 36 years in the field of medical malpractice, nursing home, products liability, premises liability and general personal injury, as a trial attorney, for the last 19 years solely on behalf of plaintiffs. Since 2010, he has been with Duffy & Duffy, PLLC. He is active in several Latino Bar Associations, and is the immediate past President of the Long Island Bar Association (LIHBA), he has mentor a number of young, up and coming, Latino/a lawyers, and as a bilingual attorney he takes pride in representing a many Latino/a clients, throughout the New York metropolitan region.



New York, NY


Jackson Lewis PC

Hector Torres is a name and co-founding partner of Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP and one of the country’s preeminent lawyers for antitrust, securities and complex commercial cases. He represents major U.S. and foreign corporations in a variety of actions, including antitrust, securities fraud, product liability and contract matters in both U.S. courts and international arbitration. He established a mentoring program at his former elementary school that connects students with Latino lawyers to encourage post-secondary education and goals. He also contributes to the St. Luke’s Education Foundation. Additionally, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Hector spearheaded a major firm fundraiser in New York City to raise funds for Puerto Rico. Pedro Jaime Torres-Díaz is a Principal in the San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the Miami, Florida offices of Jackson Lewis P.C. His practice concentrates in employment discrimination, wage and hour counseling, international employment issues, and litigation exclusively on behalf of employers. He is a Past President of the Hispanic National Bar Association; a Commissioner on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession; and a member of the Bar Association of Puerto Rico, The Florida Bar, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, and the Puerto Rican Bar Association of Florida. 

Miami, FL


Bois, Schiller & Flexner

Miami, FL


Elliot Greanleaf

Wilmington, DE


Vistra Energy Corp

Irving, TX

Stephen N. Zack is an Attorney and Partner at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP. He was nominated in 2013 by President Barack Obama for the position of Alternate U.S. Representative to the Sixty-eighth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, and he served as Senior Advisor to the United States Department of State.   From 2010 to 2011, he served as the first Hispanic President of the American Bar Association. Stephen is a Federal Judicial Nominating Commission member, and Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.  He served as Chair of the ABA House of Delegates, Chair of the ABA Rule of Law Initiative, and the ABA Latin American Law Initiatives.  He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Law Institute. Rafael Zahralddin is a Shareholder, Director, and Practice Chair at Elliott Greenleaf. He founded the Elliott Greenleaf Delaware office in 2007, which specializes in business law. He is a litigator and advises businesses in compliance, corporate formation, corporate governance, insolvency, distressed M&A, commercial transactions, cyber law, regulatory actions, and cross border issues. He regularly represents a variety of Fortune 500 companies, with experience as national bankruptcy counsel and in complex commercial litigation. He received the Delaware State Bar Association’s MJL “Excellence in Community Service Award” in 2016. He is a National Association of Corporate Directors Governance Fellow and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.   Stephanie Zapata Moore is executive vice president and general counsel of Vistra Energy Corp. Since 2016, Stephanie has advised Vistra’s leadership team on legal, regulatory and corporate governance matters, in addition to overseeing the corporate secretary’s office and leading the company’s legal and compliance team. Stephanie also serves as a member of the board of directors of Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas and is a past chair of the Corporate Counsel Section of the Dallas Bar Association. She received her undergraduate degree in English from Duke University and her law degree from William & Mary School of Law.




SUPER LAWYERS This is our first year including a listing of the Top Latino Lawyers who are also included in the Super Lawyer list. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. They are selected through a process that involves independent research, peer nomination and peer evaluation. These are the Top Latino Lawyers who are also Super Lawyers.




Diamond McCarthy LLP

Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend

Jackson Lewis P.C.

Houston, TX 1992 Business Litigation, General Litigation, Health Cares

Houston, TX


Workplace Accidents, Personal Injury, Catastrophic Injuries,Wrongful Death, Product Defects, Business Litigation, 18 Wheeler & Commercial Truck Accidents,Aviation Accidents, Brain Damage, among others.



Vinson & Elkins LLP

Morgan and Morgan

Dallas, TX

Atlanta, GA



Commercial and Business Litigation

Civil Rights, Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice



Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP

Winston & Strawn LLP

Chicago, IL

Miami, FL 1987

2007 Employee Benefits

Real Estate Transactions


Morristown, NJ 1991 Employment Litigation, Class Actions and Complex Litigations


The Dominguez Firm

Los Angeles, CA 1987 Personal Injury, Workers' Compensation, Employment Law


Snell & Wilmer LLP

Orange County, CA 2010 Estate Planning & Probate, Tax: Business, Estate & Trust Litigation






Jackson Lewis P.C.

Squire Patton Boggs

Scott Perez LLP

Morristown, NJ

Columbus, OH

Dallas, TX




General Employment Litigation, Privacy, e-Communication and Data Security

Civil Litigation, Employment Litigation



Warshauer Law Group, P.C.

Lee & Peynado Immigration Law

Atlanta, GA 2001 Personal Injury , Medical Malpractice, Premises Liability, Birth Injury, Wrongful Death

Alpharetta, GA 2015 Immigration


New York, NY 1983 Commercial Litigation, Antitrust Litigation, Securities Litigation WRITE AND SHARE #ConnectLL


Employment Litigation


Duffy & Duffy, PLLC

Uniondale, NY 1984 Medical Malpractice, Nursing Home Litigation, General Liability Law



MOST POWERFUL WOMEN IN LAW Also for the first year, we’ve included a collection of profiles of the Most Powerful Women in Law. Our team wants to recognized the work and effort of these Latinas Lawyers. These women continue to make major strides in the name of women and of Latinos.




Diamond McCarthy LLP

Bowman and Brooke LLP

The Castro Firm, Inc.






Hernandez & Associates

Akerman, LLP

Squire Patton Boggs

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete




Associate General Counsel Global Security, Aviation/Travel & Ethics



Kasowitz Benson Torres, LLP

Sidley Austin, LLP



Roman Law

Yolanda V. Torres Law




Vistra Energy Corp


Lee & Peynado Immigration Law




Moisés Cervantes

A compilation of the General Counsels in Fortune 500 companies. These Latinos lead legal departments and teams. Out of the 500 companies, 16 have Latino General Counsels. Our mission is to recognize the outstanding effort, but also to shed light on the great opportunity future Latino lawyers have inside the top 500 companies. KIM M. RIVERA

Chief Legal Officer, General Counsel HP Inc.



Vice President, Senior Associate General Counsel IQVIA Holdings



Executive Vice President, Corporate General Counsel MasTec


Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Secretary Asbury Automotive Group


Vice President and General Counsel, Corporate Secretary

Executive Vice President, General Counsel



Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Secretary

Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Secretary




Raytheon Company

Chief Legal Officer

Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, Secretary Fluor

Public Service Enterprise Group



Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Secretary Oshkosh

General Counsel, Corporate Secretary Ulta Beauty


Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

Executive Vice President, General Counsel Vistra Energy


Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary Praxair, Inc.


Executive Vice President, General Counsel Unum Group





PASSION PROJECTS: • Youth Leadership Forum • Latina Voices- Smart Talk • Houston First Corporation

Houston-based Latina lawyer, Sofia Adrogué, has worked vigorously for her ambitions. Hard work, passion, persistence, and lots of preparation have given her the opportunity to not only climb to the top, but also to serve her community. Lorenzo Almanza


ONLY A HANDFUL of Latinas can truly say they have achieved so much in life and have the recognition/awards to justify this assertion. Latina leader, Sofia Adrogué, has gone beyond the essence of being an immigrant in the United States, to breaking barriers only a handful of individuals can achieve. “My recipe and road to success have been built with the education that I have attained in the United States and the commensurate opportunities provided to me,” Adrogué said. The Argentinean began her journey in 1988 when she received her bachelor’s degree with high honors from Rice University. Soon after, she obtained a law degree from the University of Houston, both on full academic scholarships. Seventeen years after obtaining her law degree, Adrogué, already a mother of three, graduated from the Harvard Business School OPM Program. An HBS alumna, she was selected as the U.S. keynote graduation speaker as well as the U.S. Class Representative, becoming the first woman in history to ever do so. Achievement in education, the relentless pursuit of something meaningful, hard work and determination are the key values that helped this most successful Latina grow into one of the country’s top lawyers. In addition to receiving the U.S. Jaycees Outstanding American recognition, one of Adrogué’s top achievements was being given the Arrival Award. This Award is presented by the Uni-

versity of Houston Law Center and recognizes the achievement of select immigrants who have made a difference in the United States. Such accolades of this Texas Latina lawyer allowed the City of Houston to recognize July 10, 2004 as “Sofia Adrogué Day.” “Although 5,000 miles away from my place of birth, there is no doubt that as a Housto-

nian I am inordinately proud of the endless possibilities of our City,” Adrogué said. One major factor that has kept the mother of three focused and resolute are the values and ethics instilled from her parents. Adrogué’s journey to the United States first began when her father was given a $5,000 grant to conduct medical research in the U.S. “He knew that this was an opportunity to follow his passion. It was, and is, the land of opportunity where meritocracy—with a little luck and lots of grit—prevails,” Adrogué said. Her father graduated first in his class in medical school and always stressed the importance of education and paying it forward. When speaking of her father, Adrogué said he taught her to “never lose sight of who you are and that all you have is your name and character—the indelible values of integrity and humility.” The Argentinean lawyer has a number of future ambitions and goals in life and feels the next phase of her journey is still unwritten. “My goal and dream are to serve our community more publicly and permanently, representing our Hispanic community and all of Texas,” Adrogué said. “That is absolutely an aspiration of mine.”






Kaitlyn Luckow


Moisés Cervantes

Cristina Antelo, Principal at Ferox Strategies, paves the way for Latino representation in politics.

ALTHOUGH her path to being a lobbyist wasn’t always a straight path, Cristina Antelo always knew that she wanted to make a difference in the world of politics. Born and raised by Cuban parents in Dallas, Antelo grew up not always fitting in. From an early age, Antelo was taught to have a strong work ethic by her grandmother, a trait she accredits to her later success. After winning a scholarship, Antelo attended a private boarding school in Massachusetts where she fell in love with politics. From there, she attended Georgetown. Although she had her sights on politics, an internship at Capitol Hill left her discouraged and uninspired, which led her to work on Wall Street. After several internships with JP Morgan, she ended up working at Goldman Sachs after graduating from Georgetown. However, politics soon found their way back into Antelo’s life-calling. Antelo specifically remembers the day when everything changed for her. She was working on the trading floor in LA when the news story of Elian Gonzalez broke on the news. An FBI raid was occurring and federal agents took the young boy from his relative’s arms to send him back to Cuba. “I saw the image of an FBI guy all dressed in combat gear, gun drawn, and this little six-year-old he was ripping out of the hands of his grandfather or his uncle...And I remember thinking to myself, ‘what am I doing?’ I wasn’t supposed to be looking up the price of a target, I was supposed to be involved in this conversation,” Antelo said. “At that moment, it was crystal-clear that I was supposed to go back to politics.”

BACKGROUND: • Born and raised in Dallas, TX • Graduated from Georgetown University • Received Juris Doctor from the The George Washington University Law School • Founding member and former President of the Hispanic Lobbyist Association

With combining her skills and passions, Antelo turned her attention to the world of lobbying. After working for a lobby shop in DC for nearly ten years, she has now opened her own government relation shop: Ferox Strategies. In her first year alone, she made $1 million in annualized revenue and has 10 clients. “We seem to be on the right path,” Antelo said. Her hard work and dedication to hustling resonates with her clients and helps them feel like she’s a part of their team. Antelo wants to be someone people can rely on— whether that’s in her family or her business. Antelo hopes to also encourage other Latinos to get involved in law. One thing that Antelo hopes to address in Latino culture is that you can still give back to your community and be successful at the same time. “I think there is a stigma in our community that if you go out there and be successful and make money, that you’re a sellout. And that shouldn’t be the case,” Antelo said. In fact, she argues that Latinos need to be successful in their field in order to give back to their community. “We have the minimum wage debate raging nationwide.” Out of the Fortune500 CEOs, how many are Latino? 2%,” Antelo said. “Wouldn’t the minimum wage debate be very different if Latinos made up 18% like we make up 18% of the US population? I submit that it would be a very different conversation.” Antelo hopes to continue working with young Latino leaders and helping them succeed in their given field in order to change the representation in America today. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018 LATINO LEADERS 47



QUALITY BUSINESS Immigration lawyer, Florentino Ramirez, saw his father work as an attorney. Now, as an attorney himself, he has found his mission by helping business owners succeed through recruitment of talent for positions that are hard to fill.

Priyanka Juneja



Carlos Cuevas

lorentino Ramirez has made it is his life’s work to help immigrants realize their dreams. A prominent attorney in Dallas, Texas, Ramirez focuses on business and education related immigration. An attorney for 23 years, Ramirez has found his career to be exceptionally rewarding. “I get to establish a relationship with an individual who has dreams for both their business and their success. I get to be a part of their dream.” Ramirez was exposed to law at a very young age at home in Dallas. He recalls often waking up in the middle of the night when his dad was practicing criminal law and accompanying him to the local jail to bail a client out. Unbeknownst to him at the time, he was already on the path to becoming a lawyer himself. After attending the University of Arkansas, Ramirez returned to Texas to go to law school at the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, now known as Texas A&M University. After graduation, he joined his dad at his firm, Ramirez & Associates, P.C. He didn’t originally set out to be an immigration lawyer, his plan for his career was to represent international clients. Getting involved with the immigration aspect of the firm happened by chance. One day at the firm, his partner handed him the immigration handbooks and said, “here you go, you’re the immigration lawyer now.” Immigration work is now a great deal of what Ramirez does today. He remembers the words of advice he was given, “Help these people with their businesses and you will grow as they grow.” And he does exactly that. He helps businesses either bring their people here to the United States or he helps bring professionals to occupy positions that are hard to fill. “I liked seeing people who had helped themselves get to a point where they 48 LATINO LEADERS NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018

want to take advantage of the opportunities in this country.” Through his work, Ramirez is helping pave way for the growth of the Hispanic/Latino business community. Shortly after Ramirez joined the firm, Ramirez & Associates, P.C. expanded their presence to Mexico where they opened a new office. This new office enabled the firm, who has always had a good base of Latin American clients that they’ve helped along the way, grow their client base and increase their impact. As Ramirez reflects on his life work he knows exactly what success looks like. For him, success is all about his reputation. “I think success really is your reputation. How many people respect you for the quality of your work and the quality of your word and for you following through. The level of your reputation and what people think of you is success. Everything else will take care of itself” Ramirez’s journey isn’t without it’s challenges. For Ramirez, being in a smaller firm with limited access to lawyers was a significant challenge. “In my situation here, no one else practiced immigration law in my firm but I was fortunate enough to latch onto some mentors that I still have very strong relationships with that helped me develop as a lawyer.” Ramirez emphasizes the importance of mentors in a lawyer’s career and he has had many himself along the way. “I credit mentors so much for the success I’ve had in my career.” One such mentor is his dad who faced his own challenges after he graduated law school. “When he graduated from UT Texas he was the only Hispanic Mexican American graduate. No firm in Dallas would hire him because of his race. Out of necessity, he had to open up his own office just to survive.” Ramirez was able to learn from his dad’s wealth of knowledge and various experiences how to create and manage relationships and utilize the resources at hand. Just as his dad forged his own path, Ramirez was determined to do the same. “I had a strong desire to expand the path he had taken and not just follow along in his path.” As Ramirez continues to advocate for the Hispanic community he is building his legacy. “The quality of work that I do has an impact on future generations but in the big picture it's setting an example and opportunities for young people to reach their potential.”

PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND .Licensed in 1995, now Vice President of Ramirez & Associates, P.C. Ramirez primarily focus of practice includes international and domestic transactional and trade matters, representation of foreign business interests in the U.S., and U.S. business immigration matters.

EDUCATION Bachelor of Arts: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Doctor of Jurisprudence: Texas Wesleyan University School of Law

AREAS OF PRACTICES • Business and Education Related Immigration • Administrative Law Proceedings

Ramirez encourages young Latinos to consider a career in law. The benefits for an aspiring Latino lawyer who is bilingual are endless. “You become not just a translator of legal concepts but you develop the ability to explain legal concepts in a different language.” This, Ramirez says, is an essential skill in building a successful relationship with your client. Ramirez recognizes that there are few Latinos in law positions. He believes that this is a symptom of the lack of emphasis on the importance of education in the Latino community in general. “Everyone is hungry for the Latino community. It's just a question of motivating the kids to get to those sources and to finish an investment in college education and then in graduate education. That's the challenge.” Speaking from personal experiences at the firm, Ramirez has witnessed firsthand the impact of home life in education. “We hire interns every summer that are bright kids and we have to sit there and convince them to go away for school. Then we tell their parents: Let your child go to school she has a great opportunity but they don't want to. It's hard to let go in certain communities and invest in something that will not necessarily pay off tomorrow but will in 4 or 6 years and that's the challenge we face.” His last piece of advice for aspiring lawyers is to make their own future regardless of the times and to continually ask questions and seek help. “The political winds come and go and in the end it's up to the individual to take advantage of all the programs, all the different resources, and all the different people out there. There are people that are dedicated now so much more to reaching out and helping people further their careers.”

• Employment Issues





MAN OF THE LAW Melissa Rondon


Carlos Cuevas

From the courtroom to the classroom and absolutely everywhere in between, Benny Agosto, Jr. is making a difference by investing in future Latino leaders. He talks the importance of representation, generosity, and community involvement.


enny Agosto, Jr., believes in giving back to the community, and has built his career (and just about every other aspect of his life) around standing up for those without a voice. “We represent the little guy against the big guy,” he says. “That’s our motto.” There’s a touch of pride in his voice, and it’s warranted -- as a partner of one of Houston’s most successful plaintiffs’ law firms; former president of both the Hispanic National Bar Association and the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas; Founder and President of the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas Foundation and Co-Founder of the HNBA Legal Education fund; and President Elect of the Houston Bar Association, not to mention a member of a number of charity boards from Houston Volunteer Lawyers to Lone Star Legal Aid, Agosto is committed to making a difference in every way he can. To him, generosity is a requirement, especially for someone in his position; talking about his and his wife’s activity on various charity boards and community projects, he says, “We have to do it. We feel like it’s our duty.” This is not to say that Agosto gives out of obligation by any means. If you ask him about his verging-on-superhuman capacity to serve, he’ll tell you point blank, with undeniable earnestness, “This isn’t work to me.” Giving truly is Agosto’s passion, and it’s at the heart of nearly everything he does. “If we’re giving of ourselves and our money and our talents, then it comes back in folds,” he says. One of the best ways we can give back to our community, according to Agosto, is to educate and prepare the next generation for leadership. “It’s not about me all the time. It’s about promoting the people around you and promoting and developing talent in people,” 50 LATINO LEADERS NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018

Agosto says, which feeds a cycle of success and growth: “We become leaders, and then by being in those leadership roles we can continue to promote that well-being … It never ends once you get in that circle -- you start giving and then you get blessed and then you give more and you get blessed -- and that’s been the motto and the way I live my life.” That belief has propelled Agosto to give back to the community by shaping and investing in its future leaders. “It starts with the people around you,” he says in regards to planting the seeds of leadership. “You learn from the mentors and the people that are around you … Not all of us are lucky to have a mentor that looks like us.” That’s part of what Agosto aims to change, seeking to increase diversity and representation wherever he can. He’s no stranger to homogeneous spaces, or to diversifying them: when he was hired by his present law firm, Agosto was the only non-white male lawyer. Things have changed a lot since then: “If you look at my law firm today, now that I’m one of the owners and partners … my law firm looks like our community. It has Latinos, it has African Americans, it has different, diverse lawyers -- women, men --- of all colors.” Ever the boundary-breaker, Agosto’s legacy extends far beyond his law firm.


THERE ARE THREE PERSPECTIVES NECESSARY TO MAKE AN IMPACT: • Historical: “If we don’t study what has happened in the past, we won’t understand what needs to be done.” • Present: “[It’s] acting upon what you learn … standing in today … [and] having that sense of community.” • Future: “Put forward an action plan” with long-term goals in mind.





NOTABLE CASES: Agosto will be the first to point out the expansion of diversity over the course of his career. “Not only are we seeing gender diversity,” he says, “we’re seeing the growth of diverse lawyers -- Latinos and Latinas.” That growth is something to acknowledge, according to Agosto, who says, “We should be celebrating this diversity, as a state and as a country.” While he readily acknowledges the progress we’ve made as a community and as a nation, he recognizes that the fight for diversity and representation in leadership is far from over. In talking about our future leaders, there are key questions that Agosto asks to drive his decision-making: “Where are they? Where do they land? What opportunities are they given to be in boardrooms and … different leadership roles?” By addressing these questions, Agosto believes we can create more, higher-quality opportunities for future Latino leaders. 52 LATINO LEADERS NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018

Agosto is excited to see more Latinos leading in their communities for a number of reasons, partly because it’s evidence that his approach is working. “We see how we’re moving into positions of leadership … because we’re educated and because we’re prepared,” he says. According to him, education and preparedness are major factors of his success, both in the courtroom and in life: “We have to be the most prepared, the most studied, do the most research, and that’s the key to the success of our cases,” he says. Education in particular is critical to Agosto’s mission; after all, if we aren’t doing our due diligence to educate our future leaders and prepare them for the future, then the entire community suffers. “The profession needs to be educated to become leaders … If we do not focus on teaching others that are coming behind us (through mentorship and education) to become leaders of the future, then

• Martinez v. Republic Waste – Agosto won a multi-million dollar verdict for the family of a worker from El Salvador. Defendant appealed due to his undocumented status. The case made history in Texas, when it established the precedent that undocumented workers are entitled to loss earning capacity regardless of their status. Martinez v. Republic Waste - Agosto won payment for a worker who was denied benefits after an on-the-job injury due to his undocumented status. Established the precedent that undocumented workers are entitled to workers’ compensation.

our profession will be at a standstill ... It will not be flourishing.” And that’s at the heart of Agosto’s goal for the Latin community: Not just surviving, but really thriving. Agosto believes firmly in the ability of Latinos to succeed in leadership position -- in fact, in places like Texas (where Latinos make up a growing third of the population), Agosto even sees an advantage for Latinos, who are able to reach clients at their level, “to understand the culture, [and] to speak the language. We have that great advantage -- if, of course, we are willing to do a good job for them.” That indomitable desire to do good work for his community is at the heart of so much of what Agosto does, and he fully believes in the ability of people to grow and improve. While he acknowledges that negative stereotypes of Latinos as lazy or entitled exist, Agosto is quick to dispel them, saying, “I don’t believe that. That is not truth in my mind.” And it isn’t true in his experience, either: over the course of his career, Agosto has advocated for and uplifted thousands of people, people who very much

want to build a better world for their loved ones. Those experiences affirmed Agosto’s faith in his community and propelled his desire to There are many ways to make a difference through volunteerism, and Agosto recognizes his unique position to make a positive impact through his work in the legal community. “We can put together a plan to make the Houston Bar -- and, frankly, all bar associations across the state -- stronger, more cohesive, and [we can] be an integral part of our community … and make it better.” Agosto believes that leadership is not an innate ability, but a skill that can be learned. “I strongly believe that leadership can be taught,” he says, his passion and conviction evident in his voice. “You may have charisma, but leaders are not only the ones who stand at the podium and lead … Success in leadership is found through service.” That’s certainly true for Agosto, whose service to his community has rippled not just through his local Houston, but all the way to the state level. Agosto has used every resource he has, from his legal prowess to his natural teaching ability to his time and energy, to fight for the better world he so strongly believes in. If you ask Agosto what he wants to accomplish, when all is said and done, he says with a smile, “I’m having fun … I love what I do.” When he says that this isn’t work to him, he means it -- giving is in Agosto’s soul, and all that generosity bubbles over, rippling out to his community in remarkable ways. Agosto has no plans of retiring or stopping any time soon, either. “I’m an overcomer,” he says, “and when you’re an overcomer, you look for the next hill to climb.” That attitude is deeply woven into the fabric of Agosto’s personality, and it’s admittedly hard to imagine him choosing to pump the brakes. So long as he’s healthy and able, he’ll keep on giving it everything he’s got. In the end, his goal is a simple one: “I want it to be said that I gave more than I took,” he says. If his impact on the community is any indication, Agosto is on the right track.

www.abrahamwatkins.com @bagostojr





Carlos Cuevas

In another year of our Education feature, we have decided to categorize our list by industry. Throughout, you will find the Best Universities for Latinos in, either Business, Law, Medicine, STEM, or Arts. These universities are considered some of the most exclusive universities in the country. Through our research, we’ve discovered the efforts, organizations and plans these universities are implementing in order to advance diversity and inclusion within their institution. It is our belief that each university or college should be working towards broadening the opportunities for Latino students. With almost 25% of Hispanic student population in the country, with such a great power to influence politics and economy, it is the duty of these institutions to provide Latino students the resources to achieve their full capacity. WORD FROM ANTONIO R. FLORES “Hispanics are enrolling in higher education at unprecedented rates and are a talent source with the potential to transform America’s economy," said HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores. “Institutions with a diverse community of students and faculty welcoming and supporting Hispanic students and their families through innovative programs redefine what it means to be one of the ‘best’ universities for Latinos.”






UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA- WHARTON Wharton has earned a global reputation by educating the best minds in business for over a century. Their identity was forged by founder Joseph Wharton, who had a vision for a business school that focused on rigorous analysis, actionable knowledge, and responsible leadership. Wharton's mission is to develop leaders who act with a deeper understanding of themselves, their organizations, and their communities, and contribute positively to the growth of each. The McNulty Leadership Program offers one of the largest set of options to develop your leadership style by analyzing and building on your strengths. Supporting leadership development, Wharton’s Center for Leadership and Change Management brings new understanding to developing organizational leadership and stimulating practical applications of this knowledge.

Dean: Geoffrey Garrett

Stanford GSB offers a general management Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, the MSx Program (MS in Management for mid-career executives) and a Ph.D. program, along with joint degrees with other schools at Stanford including Earth Sciences, Education, Engineering, Law and Medicine. A recent study by two Stanford professors determined that alumni from across Stanford University have collectively created nearly $3 trillion in economic impact each year, and have generated 5.4 million jobs. Stanford GSB is also creating new knowledge, in the form of impactful research and innovative thinking by our faculty. Their work reaches and inspires global leaders — and moves them to drive positive change.


HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL The mission of Harvard Business School is to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. HBS offers eight full-time programs that lead to a PhD or DBA degree. They also offer online couses known as the HBX. It owns Harvard Business Publishing, which publishes business books, leadership articles, online management tools for corporate learning, case studies and the monthly Harvard Business Review.

Dean: Nitin Nohria


As part of the world’s leading research institution, MIT Sloan is bringing together today’s brightest minds to tackle global challenges. Its mission is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice. Sloan offers 11 degree and non-degree programs, for undergraduates through experienced executives. Through collaborations with organizations, universities, and government agencies, Sloan is helping to shape the perspective and knowledge of some of the world’s leading business leaders.


UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO-BOOTH Since 1898, Chicago Booth has produced ideas and leaders that shape the world of business. Today, they empower bold thinkers and inquisitive minds to dig deeper, discover more, and shape the future. The University of Chicago Booth School of Business is dedicated to improving markets and organizations around the world by turning the smartest ideas into meaningful action. With 11 research centers, Chicago Booth aims to promote deep research as part of their Chicago approach.

Dean: Madhav Rajan

Dean: Heather Gerken


STANFORD LAW SCHOOL SLS' approach to education is distinctly student-centric, defined by the needs and ambitions of future graduates and customizable to each individual student. And the advantages extend beyond law school, resulting in the practice-ready skills employers demand, better chances at prestigious clerkships, a high bar passage rate and support when you’re ready to launch a career. The school also encourages students to get involved in the different alumni chapters and student organizations. One of those being the Immigrants' Rights Clinic.

Dean: M. Elizabeth Magill


HARVARD LAW SCHOOL HLS is one of the professional graduate schools of Harvard University located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. HLS is currently ranked third by the U.S. News & World and Report behind only Yale Law School and Stanford Law School.

It is ranked first in the world by the 2017 QS World University Rankings and the 2017 ARWU Shanghai Ranking. It is home to the largest academic law library in the world. HLS offers the Low Income Protection Plan to help graduates with minimal salaries manage their student loans. Dean: John F. Manning




Dean: David Schmittlein

Yale Law School is one of the world’s premier law schools, offering an unmatched environment of excellence, a flourishing intellectual life, and an abundance of opportunities to engage with the law.Whether interested in constitutional law or criminal law, Yale Law School provides students with a diverse and robust academic experience that empowers them to chart their own course. With almost 200 courses taught by world-renowned faculty and a thriving network of legal clinics and intellectual centers, Yale Law School provides rich and challenging ways to gain the skills necessary to make an impact in the world at large.



Dean: Dean Levin




Columbia Law School is renowned for the intellectual rigor of its curriculum and the groundbreaking scholarship of its faculty. Drawing strength from the vast interdisciplinary resources of our distinguished research university—and the global stage of New York City—our students complete their legal training ready to engage the world’s most challenging issues across borders, jurisdictions, subject matters, sectors, and industries. 

Dean: Gillian Lester


NEW YORK UNIVERSITY LAW NYU Law School has long taken a leadership role in introducing changes that have redefined legal education, regularly launching initiatives to assure that our graduates are practice-ready for today's world. NYU Law is an intellectual powerhouse, with more than 100 faculty, 300 courses, 16 areas of study, over 30 centers, and over 80 student organizations.

The school also offers foreign student exchange programs, giving law students a chance to study at about 15 universities worldwide. Dean: Trevor Morrison







Rhode Island School of Design is a private, nonprofit college founded in Providence, RI in 1877—making it one of the first art and design schools in the US. Approximately 2,480 students from around the world are engaged in liberal arts studies and rigorous, studio-based learning at RISD (pronounced “RIZ-dee”), where they choose from 19 studio majors and earn bachelor’s or master’s degrees in the fine arts, architecture, design or art education. Each year more than 5,800 children and adults also access our specialized studio facilities through RISD|CE courses.

The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century. MIT Institute is committed to generating, disseminating, and preserving knowledge, and to working with others to bring this knowledge to bear on the world’s great challenges. MIT is dedicated to providing its students with an education that combines rigorous academic study and the excitement of discovery with the support and intellectual stimulation of a diverse campus community. We seek to develop in each member of the MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

Dean: Rosanne Somerson


Dean: L. Rafael Reif

UCLA At UCLA, imagination flourishes at three of the most respected and acclaimed professional schools in the country: The School of the Arts and Architecture, The Herb Alpert School of Music and The School of Theater, Film and Television. Here, students learn from masters in their fields, network with a host of famous alumni, build relationships with working professionals, and benefit from the breadth and depth of resources and experiences that only a world-class university in the arts and entertainment capital of the world can offer.

Dean: Gene Block


VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY VCU is a public non-profit art and design school located in Richmond. VCUarts has been consistently ranked among the top 10 art programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report, with its Sculpture MFA program occupying the top spot across all U.S. programs.[2] As of 2016, VCUarts has the top ranked visual arts and design graduate program among public universities, and tied for second overall.

Dean: Shawn Brixey


SCHOOL OF THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO SAIC is one of the most historically significant accredited independent schools of art and design in the nation located in one of the greatest American cities. SAIC is distinct in the way that it provides graduate, post-baccalaureate, and undergraduate students an interdisciplinary curriculum and the necessary freedom to develop as artists, designers, and scholars.

Dean: Elissa Tenny


COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF THE ARTS Columbia University School of the Arts awards the Master of Fine Arts degree in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing and the Master of Arts degree in Film and Media Studies; it also offers an interdisciplinary program in Sound Art. The School is a thriving, diverse community of talented, visionary, and committed artists from around the world and a faculty comprised of acclaimed and internationally renowned artists, film and theatre directors, writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, playwrights, producers, critics, and scholars. In 2015, the School marked the 50th Anniversary of its founding. In 2017, the School opened the Lenfest Center for the Arts, a multi-arts venue designed as a hub for the presentation and creation of art across disciplines on the University’s new Manhattanville campus. The Lenfest hosts exhibitions, performances, screenings, symposia, readings, and lectures that present new, global voices and perspectives, as well as an exciting, publicly accessible home for Columbia’s Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery.

Dean: Carol Becker




CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY Caltech is a world-renowned science and engineering Institute that marshals some of the world's brightest minds and most innovative tools to address fundamental scientific questions and pressing societal challenges. Caltech's extraordinary faculty and students are expanding our understanding of the universe and inventing the technologies of the future, with research interests from quantum science and engineering to bioinformatics and the nature of life itself, from human behavior and economics to energy and sustainability.

Dean: Thomas F. Rosenbaum


HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE HMC is one of the premier engineering, science, and mathematics colleges in the United States. Mudd offers nine engineering, science and mathematics-based majors, all grounded in a solid core curriculum that includes a healthy dose of humanities and social science courses. They seek to educate engineers, scientists, and mathematicians well versed in all of these areas and in the humanities and the social sciences so that they may assume leadership in their fields with a clear understanding of the impact of their work on society.

Dean: Maria Klawe


JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY Johns Hopkins enrolls more than 24,000 full- and part-time students throughout nine academic divisions. Our faculty and students study, teach, and learn across more than 260 programs in the arts and music, the humanities, the social and natural sciences, engineering, international studies, education, business, and the health professions. The Office of Technology Ventures helps Hopkins faculty and students turn their discoveries and inventions into successful enterprises, like new cancer treatments, mobile health platforms, and a device to detect and prevent blindness caused by diabetes. JHU has launched innovation hubs, invested in an incubators and accelerator programs, and created an entrepreneurship boot camp. In fiscal year 2016, we executed 162 new license and option agreements to commercialize technologies, submitted 501 new U.S. patent applications, and were issued 153 new patents.

Dean: Ronald J. Daniels




The School of Engineering and Applied Science is unique in combining the strengths of a world-leading research institution with the qualities of an outstanding liberal arts college. In both its teaching and research, Princeton engineering pursues fundamental knowledge as well as multidisciplinary collaborations that make technology effective in solving complex societal problems. The school is committed to preparing all students — engineers as well as students from across the University — to become leaders in a technology-driven society.

Mayo Clinic is at the forefront of health care discovery and innovation, and they bring that to the classroom — faster. The educational programs are closely aligned with Mayo Clinic's top-ranked clinical practice and biomedical research activities, giving learners the opportunity to follow how research is translated to improved patient care. They have been ranked as the No. 6 best medical school for research on the U.S. News & World Report's 2018-2019 list. Mayo Clinic was also ranked No.1 most innovative hospital in a survey of nearly 300 hospital leaders nationwide.

Dean: Emily A. Carter


Dean: Fred Meyer, M.D.



Medicine HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL HMS is a premier med school. They’ve piloted educational models, developed new curricula to address emerging needs in health care, and produced thousands of leaders and compassionate caregivers who are shaping the fields of science and medicine throughout the world with their expertise and passion. Members of the Harvard Medical School community have also excelled in the research arena. Faculty members have been making paradigm-shifting discoveries and achieving “firsts” since 1799, when HMS Professor Benjamin Waterhouse introduced the smallpox vaccine to the United States. Their accomplishments are recognized internationally, and, in fact, 15 researchers have shared in nine Nobel prizes for work completed while at the School.

Dean: George Q. Daley, MD, PhD

Duke University School of Medicine is the youngest of the nation’s top medical schools. Ranked tenth among its peers, the School takes pride in being an inclusive community of outstanding learners, investigators, clinicians, and staff where traditional barriers are low, interdisciplinary collaboration is embraced, and great ideas accelerate translation of fundamental scientific discoveries to improve human health locally and around the globe. To address the changing demographics of the patient popultion, the Duke University School of Medicine Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) participates in a number of initiatives to contribute to the diversity of the healthcare workforce. In conjuction with the Office of Admissions, the MRC sponsors two pipeline programs that target pre-college and pre-medical students who are underrpresented in the health professions or who are disadvantaged.

Dean: Mary E. Klotman, M.D.



JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE The mission of Johns Hopkins Medicine is to improve the health of the community and the world by setting the standard of excellence in medical education, research and clinical care. Diverse and inclusive, Johns Hopkins Medicine educates medical students, scientists, health care professionals and the public; conducts biomedical research; and provides patient-centered medicine to prevent, diagnose and treat human illness. Johns Hopkins Medicine pushes the boundaries of discovery, transforms health care, advances medical education and creates hope for humanity. Together, we will deliver the promise of medicine.

Dean: Paul B. Rothman


UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SAN FRANCISCO UCSF is a collection of dedicated scientists, clinicians, students and staff who share a common drive to make the world a better place by advancing health and the human condition. Care and compassion are as critical as science and discovery in fulfilling their mission to drive change, and make a difference for individual patients and whole populations. UCSF home to five Nobel laureates who have advanced the understanding of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, HIV/AIDS, aging and stem cell research. UCSF Medical Center, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, all four of the professional schools — dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy — and many UCSF graduate programs consistently rank among the best in the country, according to the latest surveys by U.S. News & World Report.

Dean: Sam Hawgood, MBBS    









Houston, TX




Carine M. Feyten

Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz


Amarillo, TX, El Paso, TX, Odessa, TX, Abilene, TX, Dallas, TX, Midland, TX



Brownsville,TX, Edinburg, TX, Harlingen, TX


Guy Bailey, Ph.D.



Brian McCall, Ph.D.

Austin, TX

The Woodlands, TX, Huntsville, TX


Dr. Dana Hoyt

Arlington, TX





Denton, TX, Houston, TX , Dallas, TX


Tedd L. Mitchell, M.D.

Vistasp M. Karbhari, Ph.D.

Together with the help of Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, we have selected to highlight some of the top universities of Texas that encourage Latino students to advance their education. We applaud the effort and intention to multiply the pool of talent within the community to create the leaders of tomorrow.


With enrollment of approximately 15,000 students, Texas Woman’s University (TWU) is the nation’s largest university primarily for women. Texas Woman’s offers degree programs in the liberal arts, nursing, health sciences, the sciences, business and education. Its campuses in Denton, Dallas and Houston are joined by an e-learning campus offering innovative online degree programs in business, education and general studies. Their purpose is: Educate a woman, Empower the world. Texas Woman’s University cultivates engaged leaders and global citizens by leveraging its historical strengths in health, liberal arts, and education and its standing as the nation’s largest public university primarily for women.


Located in the heart of Houston’s business district, the University of Houston-Downtown continues to grow both its campus and academic offerings. UHD is the city’s second largest higher education institution and is a recognized Hispanic Serving Institution and Minority Serving Institution. Hispanic students comprise the largest portion of UHD’s 14,000 students (46 percent), and the institution continues to proactively recruit students from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds through its Minority Male Initiative. This recruiting effort creates pathways to the university for students in area middle schools and community colleges. UHD’s Center for Critical Race Studies; Center for Student Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; and Cultural Enrichment Center host special guests and events celebrating diversity on campus and in the community. University also is extending its academic reach through strategic international partnerships, including a collaboration with the Mexican State of Tamaulipas.


TTUHSC educates students, provides patient care and conducts biomedical and clinical research. TTUHSC graduates the most health care professionals in the state of Texas. Nationally recognized for innovative programs, academic achievement, and cuttingedge research, we are training the next generation of highly qualified health professionals. To date they have trained more than 28,000 health care professionals who are serving patients and driving medical discovery in tangible, life-changing ways – both for the 2.75 million people in the immediate service area and around the world. Their mission is to enrich the lives of others by educating students to become collaborative health care professionals, providing excellent patient care, and advancing knowledge through innovative research. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is one university spanning four counties and multiple locations. Their purpose is to be a university for the entire Rio Grande Valley and beyond. UTRGV's core priorities are: Student Success; Educational Opportunities; Health and Medical Education; Research Impacting the Rio Grande Valley and Beyond; and Community Engagement. UTRGV's mission is to transform the Rio Grande Valley, the Americas, and the world through an innovative and accessible educational environment that promotes student success, research, creative works, health and well-being, community engagement, sustainable development, and commercialization of university discoveries. The Texas State University System, founded in 1911, is the first higher education system established in Texas. Beginning as an administrative means to consolidate the support and management of state teacher colleges, the System has evolved into a network of higher education institutions stretching from the Texas–Louisiana border to the Big Bend region of west Texas. Today, seven component institutions offer a broad range of academic and career opportunities. Throughout the System, faculty and staff are preparing students to work in and contribute to our global society. Named for the greatest hero of Texas, Sam Houston State University was originally founded as a teachers college and still consistently ranks among the top schools of education. Today, students can chose from 90 undergraduate degree programs, 60 master’s programs, and 11 doctoral programs at the main campus in Huntsville or a satellite campus located in The Woodlands. Classified as a Doctoral Research University by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, SHSU is in the top percentile of all colleges and universities. With seven colleges and an osteopathic medical school underway, Sam Houston State continues to grow relevant academic offerings that not only meet the needs of today’s students but those of the next generation. An educational leader in the heart of the thriving North Texas region, The University of Texas at Arlington nurtures minds within an environment that values excellence, ingenuity, and diversity. UTA is dedicated to producing the lifelong learners and critical thinkers our region and nation demand. UTA was awarded R-1: Doctoral Universities—Highest Research Activity designation by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, the definitive list for the top doctoral research universities in the United States. This puts the University in an elite group of 115 institutions, including Harvard, MIT, and Johns Hopkins.










Sam Houston State University (SHSU) is one of Texas’s oldest public institutions of higher learning, but has its eyes firmly on the future. Located in Huntsville, TX, the university serves a diverse student population, and approaches the honor of educating Texas’s future workforce with a visionary approach.

Dana Hoy President of Sam Houston State University


HE LATINO student population at SHSU is significant, and growing, with a jump of 35% over the past five years. According to college president Dr. Dana Hoyt, this growth is reflective of both the demographic shift in the region and


SHSU’s commitment to educating and supporting students from diverse backgrounds. The majority of SHSU’s more than 18,000 undergraduate students are the first in their family to attend college, and this is particularly true among SHSU’s Latino students – during the 2017-2018 academic year, 65% of the Latino student population at SHSU were first generation college students. Despite the unique challenges that Latino students, particularly first generation students, face in college, SHSU is a leader in supporting them through to graduation. Students at SHSU benefit from small class sizes, which are taught by tenured and tenure-track professors at numbers significantly higher than the state average. Support for minority students at SHSU can also be found in initiatives such as the ELITE (Establishing Leadership In and Through Education) program, which supports Hispanic and African American men in their first year of college. The proof of SHSU’s strength is in the numbers: According to a study conducted by the Education Trust, the gap between graduation rates of Latino and white students was less than 1%. Students who participate in the ELITE program, in particular, are twice as likely to graduate in five years than non-ELITE students. SHSU is also a leader in placing students in the Texas workforce, and is the state’s leader in employment within 12 months of graduation. SHSU’s strategic vision is driven strongly by the surrounding community’s needs. A key example of this

Lola Arellano-Fryer


Luis González

THE POWER OF CONNECTING WITH STUDENTS • “My favorite part of working in higher education is the students,” says Dr. Hoyt. “As I casually visit with students, I can feel my spirits lifting.” Hoyt herself is a proud product of Texas’s public higher education system; she attended Texas Women’s University for her undergraduate and MBA, and earned her PhD from the University of Texas at Arlington.

approach is the university’s proposed College of Osteopathic Medicine, which is currently seeking accreditation. At the moment, Texas has a health care problem: despite the state’s rapid population growth, it ranks 46th in the nation in terms of health care access, according to the US News and World Report, and this problem is acutely felt in Texas’s rural communities. SHSU’s new school will focus on educating primary care physicians to serve in Texas’s rural and underserved communities. Construction of the new campus is already underway, just south of the main campus in Huntsville. By building on its storied history while responding to the needs of a rapidly changing, ever more diverse state population, Sam Houston State University stands out as a leader in higher education for Latinos.



MICHELE BOBADILLA HONORED WITH MEDAL OF EXCELLENCE AFTER 40 YEARS of advocacy and making education an equal opportunity for Hispanics, Michelle Bobadilla is being honored with a Medal of Excellence. Bobadilla has been recognized by The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute as a Medallion of Excellence Honoree. Bobadilla is currently the assistant provost for Hispanic student success and senior associate Vice President for outreach services and community engagement at the University of Texas at Arlington and her passion for education started at a young age. As a daughter of an immigrant father and a migrant mother, Bobadilla has always been keenly aware of the achievement gap in education. In fact, Bobadilla‘s advocacy for education started when she was just thirteen and had the realization that her grandmother was illiterate. Bobadilla continues this advocacy at the UTA in order to create programs to help serve the Hispanic population at UTA.

Carlos Cuevas

This is increasingly important as numbers prove that the Hispanic population is the most underserved and underrepresented in higher education, such as UTA. Bobadilla is working to close that achievement gap through programs designed to meet the needs of Hispanic students. In fact, due to these programs, UTA is one of the only ten universities in the United States to be recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution as well as an R-1: Highest Research Activity. Bobadilla continues to make education accessible to all populations and will continue to be an advocate in helping Latino youth become successful in their post-secondary careers as well as their careers after college.


Kaitlyn Luckow

Michelle is the Assitant Provost for Hispanic Studet Success and Senior Associate Vice President for Outreach Services and Community Engagement at the University of Texas at Arlington.


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Jorge Ferráez

@ JFerraez_Latino

Luis E. González

PINE RIDGE VINEYARDS PINE RIDGE LABELS TASTING: • Chardonnay (Carneros) 2015.Dry tropical accents with loads of Pineapple. • Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015- A well crafted Cabernet Sauvignon with vanilla, herbal and dill notes. • Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford 2015.- Showing ripe fruit, vanilla cream, red cherry and brittle. • Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville 2015.- With nice fruit, bright plum, berry and licorice notes, deeper body and complexity.


USTAVO AVIÑA is one of the most passionate winegrowers I know. Originally from Mexico, he grew up helping his dad on the farming business. Since 1988, he has worked for some of the best and finest wineries in Napa, including Newton and Abreu. In 2003 Gustavo joined the team at Pine Ridge where he has done a stellar career that has put him in front of all the vineyards for the winery. He oversees different locations in districts like Stags Leap, Howell Mountain, Oakville, Rutherford, and Carneros. “When you love what you do, work is enjoyable,” he tells me as we drive by some of his properties. His vineyards are like gardens for him, he nurtures and walks them constantly making sure they have everything they need. On a recent visit with him at Pine Ridge, I was impressed when he showed me how he can control water irrigation and monitor the temperature of the specific rows of his vineyards remotely from his cellphone, wherever he is. Wow! I thought. That’s technology at the service of wine.

• Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap 2013.- Salty, mineral, fruity with sweet tanins and bolder structure. • Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain “Las Posadas” Vineyard 2015.- Delicate, elegant with subtle fruitiness, vanilla, chocolate and toasted bean notes.

Later on, Gustavo invited me to a fabulous and impressive wine tasting with him and Michael Beaulac, Pine Ridge’s chief winemaker where we tried most of their current releases; bold wines, great fruitiness, magnificent structures, and exquisite aromas and flavors. Perhaps the most admirable fact of Gustavo’s wines is the consistent quality of the fruit that shows very well the different character of each region, microclimate, and vineyard. Incredibly expressive wines with elegant and voluptuous personalities.



• Region: Napa Valley • Varietal: Garnacha • Price: $45 • Aromas: Fruity and mellow • Flavors: Currant, cinnamon, plum • Impression: Succulent, floral • Structure: Full bodied, • Drink with: Beef stew, duck confit, BBQ ribs • Why I loved this wine? Perfumed and complex • My Rating: 91 pts.


• Region: Napa Valley • Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon • Price: $87 • Aromas: Cocoa, crushed black cherries • Flavors: Plum, graphite, blackberry marmalade • Impression: Perfumed, dark in color • Structure: Great body and complexity • Drink with: Steak, Lamb Chops, Prime Rib • Why I loved this wine? Luscious wine! • My Rating: 93 pts.


• Region: Napa Valley, Stags Leap District • Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon • Price: $ 225 • Aromas: Dark Chocolate, fruit forward, vanilla • Flavors: Dark plum, toasted coffee, black cherry • Impression: Spectacular, big and bold! • Structure: Full bodied, complex, layered • Drink with: Steak, hard cheeses, short rib • Why I loved this wine? Gigantic! • My Rating: 94 pts.

01 Madrigal Family Winery 2014

02 Trujillo Wines "Gary Morisoli Vineyard"

05 Pine Ridge Fortis 2014

Profile for Latino Leaders

Latino Leaders Magazine- Nov/Dec 2018  

Latino Leaders Magazine- Nov/Dec 2018