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Special Edition : Latinos in Technology & Energy








COVER STORY: Evelyn Miralles, NASA’s leading Virtual Reality Latina. She focused on creating something and she did.

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We want to say Thank You and give our most sincere and deepest appreciation to all of our advisors, friends, consultants and colleagues that have extended their support every time. It is because of them that we’re able to open doors, obtain interviews, get guidance and advice on content and some have assisted us with their written collaboration. In this edition, we have three very special features. First, our special feature on Latinos and Hi-Tech, which for the first time ever includes an excellent compilation that Mariana Gutierrez and our staff writers have done with some of the most significant Latino leaders in the Hi-Tech industry. Leaders that have never been introduced or identified talked to our team to discover who are those Latinos moving the needle in technology. Here we want to recognize and show are gratitude to Andre Arbelaez, CEO at the Hispanic IT Executive Council (HITEC). Andre and his team have guided us and opened doors for Latino Leaders like no one has done before. This effort led us to a fantastic Latina who is a real pioneer and creator of much of what we now know as “Virtual Reality”; Evelyn Miralles, who leads the Virtual Reality Laboratory at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. Evelyn met with us at her NASA Lab and showed us how she and her colleagues have been working on these technologies for decades, even before most of this technology was made available to the public. Their purpose was to re-create the space and its environments for astronaut training. Evelyn has a beautiful and inspiring story that has made us proud to have a Latina working at that level in science. Next, our second Latinos in Energy feature ever, in which we provide a general scenario on where we are in energy and the role that Latinos have had in this industry until now. A great research made by our contributors, lead and advised by our great friend Arcilia Acosta, President and CEO of Carcon Industries and STL Engineers. Arcilia, is not only a very successful energy and construction business owner, but she is also a true expert on people and talent. She has helped us tremendously by creating a connection and helping us identify those who needed to be included in the edition. Thanks to her advice and support, we’ve been able to put together this edition that seems to have enough “energy” to last for many years as a feature. Third, our first ever feature on the Insurance industry. With the help of very skilled and talented collaborators like Jose Madero and Kristian Jaime, we are presenting for the first time ever a comprehensive list of the Best Insurance Companies for the Latino consumer and a list of the Top Latino Insurance Agents, based on a national survey we’ve conducted. We feature great companies and individual agents that have done an excellent work to serve their Latino community of clients. All of this under the smart and effective management of our Editor Sarai Vega. This edition is one of our best!

Jorge & Raul Ferraez

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CONTENTS MARCH/ APRIL 2017 4 Publisher’s Letter- Jorge Ferraez introduces our main feature, Latinos in Technology & Energy, and talks about our cover leader Evelyn Miralles and our visit to Johnson Space Center.


6 Editor’s Letter- Editor Sarai Vega shares her mustreads for the Technology & Energy edition.


8 Message from the Co-Editor- Our Special Co-Editor Mariana Gutierrez has carefully curated every piece to create the Technology feature. 10 Grace Lieblein- Automotive industry leader Grace

Lieblein shares about her time in General Motors and her secrets to reach success.


12 ALPFA- Lisette Nieves, social entrepreneur and

public sector leader, is part of ALPFA and comes to share her experience and what she hopes to see for the future of ALPFA.

14 ENERGY FEATURE- Introduction by Arcilia Acosta,


CEO of Carcon Industries and STL Engineers. She talks about the industry of Energy and the force the drives this industry: Latinos.

20 Curt Morgan- A Q&A moment with Vistra’s leader,

CEO Curt Morgan

21 Stephanie Zapata Moore- Latino Leaders chats

with Vistra’s Latina power, Stephanie Zapata Moore, General Counsel and EVP.


22 Top Insurance Agents- Latino Leaders staff compiled a list of top Latino Insurance agents based on nominations, community involvements, and employee diversity. 27 Best Insurance Companies- The top Insurance

companies for Latinos. Latino Leaders staff have researched to compile a list of the best insurance agencies that cater to the Latino community.


HITEC President Andre Arbelaez gives us an overview of the industry of Technology and the impact Latinos are making.

31 Internet of Everything- Cisco’s Guillermo Diaz talks about the Internet of everything, new development and the inclusion of the internet in our daily routines. 32 Latinos in Technology- The most influential Latinos in the Technology industry. They share their background, advice and what it takes to succeed. 38 Best Companies for Latinos in Tech- Leading Tech companies that encourage Latino talent and combat pipeline shortage.

42 Tony Jimenez- Spotlight on Tony Jimenez, CEO of Microtech. He speaks about his experience as an entrepreneur and a game-changer.


44 Laura Gomez- Atipica’s Founder, Laura Gomez, chats with Latino Leaders about what success means to her and to where it leads her.

46 HITEC Foundation- The organization is created to equip more leaders in the Technology field. Read about the 3 pillars used to breed more technology talent. 48 Cisco- Nina Lualdi shares her thoughts on how to effect change in an industry driven by constant innovation. 49 FDIC- Senior IT Examiner, Marco D’Antonio, talks about his philosophy when leading a tech team.

54 Dallas Children’s Theatre- A play based on a true story, Edwin Alan Aguilar bring Tomas to life in the play “Tomas and the Library Lady”. 56 LL Cellar- Publisher Jorge Ferraez shares two wines from his collection.


H Hello LL readers!

The industry of Technology is overflowing with talent. Some we know of and some that still have yet to be recognized. But thanks to Andre Arbelaez, President of HITEC, we were able to meet some of the most influential and recognized Latinos in the Technology industry. This edition stores three great features: Technology, Energy and Insurance. Meet Evelyn Miralles, NASA’s Virtual Reality innovator. Evelyn has been a key innovator for virtual reality. She had led her team in the development of software and training modules for practicing astronauts. All virtual reality you see is attributed to Evelyn and her drive to create innovation. We’ve also included the Top Latinos in Tech. In this article, you will find heavy-hitters like Miguel Gamino, Chief Technology Office for the City of New York, and Rodolfo Dominguez, VP of Business Transformation and Chief Digital Officer at Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA, only to name a few. As you continue, you will come across the list of the Best Companies for Latinos in Tech. These companies have demonstrated the need for Latinos to progress. You will also come across inspiring stories from Tony Jimenez and Laura Gomez, both Tech entrepreneurs. Latino Leaders got the chance sit down with them and we learned about them as entrepreneurs, bosses, and as mentors. In this issue, we have also included our Energy section. Thanks to Arcilia Acosta of Carcon Industries and STL Engineers, who was been such an important part in the feature. Arcilia has been the connecting piece for all our interviews and stories. Flipping through this section, you will be able to find the list of 20 leading Latinos in energy. These leaders have done a remarkable job representing Latinos within their companies, careers, and communities. As you continue, you will find our spotlight article on Vistra leaders Curt Morgan, CEO, and Stephanie Zapata Moore, General Counsel and EVP. To finish this edition of strong, we have also included a small but powerful Insurance section. You will find two lists: Top Latino Agents and Best Insurance Companies. Our Latino Leaders team has done extensive research to deliver the Top Latino Agents and the Best Insurance Companies in the US that have made an effort to reach one of the most important communities: Latinos. Inspiration comes in so many shapes and forms. We had the opportunity to chat with Director, Robyn Flatt, and Lead Actor, Edwin Alan Aguilar, for the Children’s play “Tomas and the Library Lady”. This play, which is based on a true story, tells the story of Tomas Rivera and his journey to the United States. His will to achieve and become somebody was his drive. Tomas Rivera’s story has been so impactful that it was recreated and adapted for a children’s play in Dallas. I couldn’t be any prouder of this edition and the great collaborative work of the entire staff at Latino Leaders in partnership with HITEC and Arcilia Acosta!

Publisher Jorge Ferraez

President and CEO Raul Ferraez

Director of Journalism Mariana Gutierrez Briones Event and PR Director Mireya Cortez Administrative Director Lawrence Teodoro Managing Editor Sarai Vega Washington, D.C. Sales Associate and Representative Deyanira Ferraez Karla Espinoza Art Director Fernando Izquierdo Editorial Art & Design Rodrigo Valderrama Carlos Cuevas Luis Enrique González Moisés Cervantes Oswaldo Bernal Guerrero Human Resources Manager Susana Sanchez Administration and Bookkeeping Claudia García Bejarano Executive Assistant to the Publishers Liliana Morales Social Media Manager and Graphic Designer Kenzie Tysl For advertising inquiries, please call 214-206-4966 x 227.

Latino Leaders: The National Magazine of the Successful American Latino (ISSN 1529-3998) is published seven times annually by Ferraez Publications of America Corp., 15443 Knoll Trail, Suite 210, 75248 Dallas, TX, USA, March / April 2017. 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.

With no further comments, Let’s read!

Sarai Vega Managing Editor

Member of The National Association of Hispanic Publications

Audited by Member of Reg. # 283/01


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Latino Leaders The National Magazine of the Successful American Latino 15443 Knoll Trail, Suite 210, 75248 Dallas, TX, USA Phone: (214) 206-4966 / Fax: (214) 206-4970



Hello readers! Cisco’s Nina Lualdi states in her interview, “Technology today is much more about the human experience. Almost everything we know and do in the larger world is technology-driven in some way.” In an industry that now permeates every aspect of our daily interactions, where the race for constant innovation opens up new realities by the day… how do we keep grounded? From AI, to virtual reality, to the capacity to reach millions with a tweet, the world is changing at a pace that supersedes our wildest dreams. And behind every one of these technologies are individuals whose ingenuity and enterprising spirit have profoundly changed our lives. Leaders who have broken rules, beaten odds, and opened paths for others to follow. But the main lesson to learn from these innovators is not about mathematical equations or coding, but about human connections, our responsibility to look out for the younger generations, to open doors for those who look up to us and to inspire others by putting forth our best work–every day. Our cover story is a wonderful example of when imagination and talent collide. NASA’s virtual reality pioneer Evelyn Miralles, one of the world’s leading authorities in the subject shares powerful insights and creative ideas about how this technology is starting to radically transform our world; opening a glimpse to girls of what is possible for Latinas though a career in Tech. Even though there is still much work to be done, women are making great strides, as exemplified by leaders like Rosa Ramos-Kwok, named one of the most powerful female engineers this year by Business Insider. For Microsoft’s Javier Soltero one of the most exiting innovations in AI is the advancement in machine translation. “I am amazed at the impact that allowing people from different parts of the world to communicate and collaborate in real time while speaking their native language can have in making the world better.” he shares, while also stressing the challenge that the rapid progress of technology poses on those that lack the skills to participate in the modern workforce. Education, as all leaders agree, is vital to develop future leaders in Tech. That is why for Mercedes Benz Financial Services Rodolfo Dominguez it is all about giving back. “Be curious about the world around you and never be afraid to ask questions”, is what he shares with mentees. For Miguel Gamino, whom Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed as Chief Technology Officer for the City of New York last year, opening up the world for the disadvantaged through the city’s Broadband Program is the most rewarding aspect of a stellar career. Finally, for Marco D’Antonio the lessons learned though 18 years of experience as Senior Information Technology Examiner for the FDIC summarize to this: “Pave the way and never forget to look back and remember how you got here and who helped you.” All of these innovators represent not only the best in Tech – but exemplify the best of what true leadership entails. We are proud to recognize these Latino Leaders.

Mariana Gutierrez Briones Special Co-Editor

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Breaking the Glass Ceiling:


Grace Lieblein

Landing hifting in delight from the role of automotive leader to that of an attentive mentor for Hispanic women, Grace Lieblein recently discussed with affection and poignancy the people, family and successful strategies that helped her become a key player at General Motors. She retired as Vice President of Global Quality from GM in 2015 after 37 years of service. Lieblein credits her success to her mother’s optimism and her father’s advice that no matter where one goes, education remains the one constant that can never be diminished by anything or anyone. She is a leader who has found success in every assignment she has ever undertaken, and every personal and professional goal she’s pursued. “My focus has always been on excellence; it has been a driving force in my career,’’ said Lieblein. “My philosophy has always been, when you get the job, you let your credibility, your performance and your drive propel you forward. If there are people who, maybe have question marks in their mind about you being a woman or a minority, or any other reason, they’ll be won over even before they have a chance to say anything. You’ll be seen as a leader first.’’ That leadership mantra was a quality instilled early in life by her parents. She grew up in Los Angeles and was GM’s highest-ranking Hispanic woman (her father is from Cuba and her mother is from Nicaragua). At the urging of her GM autoworker father, Lieblein applied to Kettering University (then called General Motors Institute, or GMI). Sponsored by her father’s plant in California, she earned acceptance to GMI and began her engineering career in 1978. She graduated with a degree in industrial engineering in 1983. From 2004 to 2008, Lieblein was a chief engineer on GM’s large crossovers, the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia. She said that job was a turning point in her career because it raised her profile inside the company and immersed her in the business side of vehicle development. “I was fortunate,’’ she recalls. “I had a couple of leaders who pushed me out of my comfort zone. They called them stretch assignments. They told me you will do this, you can do this and you will be great.” Two such stretch assignments took her into international business. In January 2009, she was named president of GM Mexico, making her the first women ever to lead the $2 GET T billion operation that employed 11,000 workers at the time. GRACEO KNOW LIEBLE “My daughter was halfway through her senior year in high school, and my husband and I IN decided he would stay back with her. It was very difficult for me at first, ‘’ she said. “I spent a She was lot of time at work and worked out. Eventually I met people and became fluent in Spanish.’’ th named e first woman e However, she continues, “I went immediately from Mexico to Brazil and the first presiden v t and M er to be thing my Portuguese instructor told me was I had to forget all my Spanish to learn Director anaging o f GM Me Portuguese. Now that I’m back in the States, I’m trying to relearn my Spanish.” xico. “I went from being somebody in engineering to somebody who got exposure Grace h to the broader base of leadership,’’ she added. “I was always quite hesitant when as bee Latina in n the highest r somebody wanted to give me a new job. There’s always the voice in the back of your ank the Auto head saying, ‘You don’t have experience in that,’ or ‘I’m not sure you can do that.’ I Industry ing . had to get over that.’’ In As an innovator, she also put in place a new system for nurturing closer ties to 2013, s Fortune he was featured GM’s largest and most strategic suppliers. ’s 1 in Women 0 Most Powerfu And her mantra of success for future generations includes three basic points: l in Autom • “Believe in yourself. And as parents make certain you instill that in your children.’’ otive. • “Get an education and stay in school to maximize your potential.’’ • “Learn what success means to you: For some it could be the corner office or a promotion. But to others, it could be taking jobs where you don’t have to travel and be away from family.’’ At the same time, Lieblein admits that you must be willing to take chances and endure some risk to be successful. And that success has continued to follow her as she shares her business experience and leadership skills on two corporate boards. She has been a director on Honeywell’s board since 2012 and joined the board of Southwest Airlines in 2016. “I’m not afraid to speak up now and provide input when needed at these board meetings, ‘’ she said. “I care about people. And if you don’t care about people, you should not be a leader.’’ Her many accolades include being named Michigan Woman’s Foundation 2015 Women of Achievement and Courage Award, the 2014 Engineer of the Year by Great minds in STEM, and the 2013 Fortune Magazine’s 10 Most Powerful Women in Automotive. She also pointed out that the business world is not stable, and says successful leaders must be agile and willing to change course when consumer demands dictate change. “I was also a smart kid and good in science and math, and I think that also helped me a lot,’’ she recalls. Her path to engineering was always a challenge, though. She remembers her high school friends asking her why she wanted to be an engineer because they saw it as a male-only career. “I saw it as something I wanted to do and my parents encouraged me,’’ she said.



L Story by Latino

Leaders staff

isette is a seasoned social entrepreneur and widely respected public sector leader. She is a Founding Partner at Lingo Ventures, where she leverages her expertise in education, talent recruitment/ retention, enterprise growth, and change management and provides consulting services to the nonprofit and public sectors. Lisette also teaches an education course at New York University. Lisette also served as the founding Executive Director of Year Up NY, an innovative workforce development program, where in the span of five years she grew the organization from a $250,000 seed grant to a $6,000,000 operation with only 40 staff serving over 1,000 young adults from lowincome neighborhoods empowering them to go from poverty to professional careers in a single year. In her government roles, Lisette was appointed by President Obama as a Commissioner on the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, where she served as the Co-Chair for the Higher Education Subcommittee. She also served as the Chief of Staff at the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) for the City of New York and, working at the federal level at the Corporation for National Service, she was part of the launch and administration of the AmeriCorps program. Lisette holds a B.A. from Brooklyn College, an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and an Ed.D in Higher Education Management at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a Truman Scholar, Rhodes Scholar and an Aspen Pahara Fellow. Can you tell us about your background? I am a proud first generation Puerto Rican woman who was born and raised in Brooklyn. My parents were hardworking and even in the toughest of times, they would find a way to help others who were less fortunate. When you are young, you learn many lessons through actions. I can remember family and friends staying with us for stretches of time while they worked to get back on their feet – even if we were not doing well. I also remember my parents participating in a rent strike as a protest to the landlord’s poor management of our building. My parents’ actions taught me that you can always help and serve others and begin taking action against injustice matters. It was no surprise that after high school I joined City Volunteer Corps in NYC where I served for a year on a variety of social issues including working on one of the first AIDS wards in the city. Choosing to serve and be active in your environment is what I know and am blessed to be able to do throughout my professional and personal career. In my senior year at Brooklyn College, I was awarded the Rhodes Scholarship making me the first Puerto Rican woman to receive such an award. My history of service and activism was not an add-on to my academics but was woven into my studies and my future mission in life. After Oxford, I served in the Clinton administration and worked on the AmeriCorps program, very much like a program I did after high school in New York. After Princeton, I served in the Bloomberg administration at the Department for Youth and Community Development supporting youth services city-side. It was shortly after my time in public service, I channeled my entrepreneurial energies 12 • March / April 2017

and founded Year UP New York which provides young adults 18-24 years of age with training, education and an internship that leads to livable wage careers in the private sector. I grew Year UP from a $250K seed grant to a $6 million organization. It was during the Obama administration I was asked to serve as a Commissioner on The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics where I co-chaired the Higher Education Committee. Now I have the pleasure of running my own business, enjoying the completion of my doctorate and teaching at New York University. Why did you get involved with ALPFA? Charlie Garcia, CEO of ALPFA, reached out to me based on my work at Year UP in New York. Once I met Charlie and heard about the mission and his vision for ALPFA I knew I needed to get involved. Now, I currently sit on the New York Senior Leadership Committee, chaired by Orlando Camargo. It is through the SLC, that we, as professionals, support the great work of the local chapter. You see, ALPFA is about building leaders, not just showcasing and highlighting leaders. As Latinos, we are an economic, political and social force. ALPFA highlights the visibility of Latino talent and demonstrates that Latino talent is not the exception – it is the rule. How has this partnership with ALPFA made a difference to you? ALPFA provides me the opportunity to take part in, and support, a multi-generational Professional Latino network that serves and supports 10,000 members in New York. ALPFA’s impressive college campus presence and engagement of Latino professionals at diverse stages in the corporate sector is inspiring and demonstrates that one organization can grow and support talent at every stage of one’s career. I am personally inspired by the Latina Summit that will take place on May 20th, which will highlight 50 of the most influential Latinas as well as provide a place for c-suite Latinas to exchange ideas and inspire each other all under the ALPFA banner.

Ca os rlo ta sC ue va s

By :A De sig rcil ia nb Ac y:


DI S TH CO W E N VE AV E RI W N E G O A P rc Ca resi ilia C r d A En on con ent cos t g st a ta Ho he B ine ruc Indu nd is on ld o er tio st CE th o in ar s. n ri O e G f Le the gs d o Sh an es a o ro g B C f e d n f up ac oa or En se ST d , I y T rd po er rve L nc e o ra gy s . t xas f D tio F on o F ir n ut na in ec a ur m an to nd e e cia rs a l fe w .

Harnessing the potential of a $280 billion energy industry is no easy task. Predicting the tenuous relationship between market shakeups and corrections is nothing short of palmist’s work. Yet as the country sits at the crossroads of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) policy rollbacks, hope for all future domestic energy production is coming by way of alternative sources far removed from the bastions of coal country. Natural gas and solar and wind energy all stand at the precipice of the next century of viable and sustainable options. But any sea change in the market is founded and capitalized in a workforce that is increasingly Hispanic. Headway for the lack of representation in the industry is already being made by organizations like The Association of Latino Energy and Environmental Professionals (LEEP) and Hispanics in Energy (HIE). For a nation already producing more oil domestically than it imports, something not achieved in roughly 20 years, companies are looking to diversify with 14 • March / April 2017

the workforce of the future. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), 3.64 million Americans work in traditional energy industries, including production, transmission, distribution, and storage. Just two years ago, Hispanics comprised 18 percent of all employees in oil and gas extraction. Those numbers were poised to increase as the expansion of drilling and fracking locations ballooned and companies expanded or were formed to seize the moment. But Latinos still lag behind when it comes to managerial or executive level positions in energy companies. For that reason, Latino Leaders Magazine honors those leading the way and showing that the corporate ladder is not an exclusive club, but a reward for years of education, tireless work and singular focus on realistic goals. For a second time, Latino Leaders Magazine spotlights those redefining success in a field very much in flux.


• Geotechnical Engineering • Construction Materials Testing • Civil Construction • Pipeline Construction • Land Reclamation

Arcilia C. Acosta

CEO and Founder CARCON Industries/ STL Engineers 100% MWBE Texas locations: DALLAS (3) MIDLAND • HOUSTON • CORPUS CHRISTI (214) 352-8515 • (432) 684-8400


sta ory b f y: La De sig f tin nb oL y: Ca ea de rlo rs sC ue va s



There’s no doubt that En- Arcilia Acosta ergy is such an important Carcon Industries and STL Engineers industry. Everything from CEO transportation to power Arcilia is the President and CEO of generation, from connec- CARCON Industries & Construction, tivity to global warning. specializing in commercial, instituIt all has to do with En- tional and transportation construction, ergy. This is definitely an and is also the CEO and controlling of STL Engineers. Ms. Acosta industry that moves the principal serves on the Board of Directors of world. Every day, Latinos Legacy Texas Financial Group, Inc. are reaching leadership where she serves on the Audit and the positions within relevant Compensation Committees. She also sector. Scientists, Execu- serves on the Board of Energy Future tives, Operation Gurus, En- Holdings Corporation (9 yrs.) where trepreneurs and Marketers she serves on the Audit and on the are gaining notoriety in compensation committees. In March of 2016, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott this industry. Based on our own re- appointed Ms. Acosta to the board of search and supported by the Texas Higher Education CoordinatBoard. She has served for six years our advisors, we have ing on the board of the Dallas Citizens compiled what could be Council and Ms. Acosta previously the only list of the most served on the national advisory board relevant Latino leaders in for BBVA Compass Bank and the Texas the Energy sector. Tech National Alumni Association. Ms. These individuals are Acosta received her undergraduate game-changers in this from Texas Tech University and Board field and will keep advanc- Director Certification from Southern ing into it, opening the Methodist University - Southwest way for other Latinos to School of Banking and is a Graduate of the Harvard University Busiwork and lead in Energy. ness School Corporate Governance Program.

16 • March / April 2017

David Hernandez Liberty Power CEO and Co-founder Accomplished leader with a solid track record of performance in building an energy company after the implosion of Enron and subsequent layoffs. A well-respected businessman in the $300 Billion Retail Energy sector and in the Hispanic community, Hernandez founded Liberty Power in 2001. Liberty Power was ranked as the #1 Fastest Growing Hispanic 500 company by Hispanic Business magazine in 2007. The same publication recognized Mr. Hernandez as Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006 and Rising Star in 2005.

ment and production of unconventional oil and gas resource plays in the US). He also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce and the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University. Mr. Carrillo is a petroleum geologist and geophysicist, attorney, former city councilman, former county judge, and former statewide elected official.

Victor G. Carrillo

Jose Bravo

Zion Oil & Gas CEO Effective June 15, 2015, Zion’s Board of Directors appointed Victor G. Carrillo as Zion’s CEO. Mr. Carrillo was appointed to Zion’s Board in September 2010 and appointed Executive Vice President in January 2011. In October of 2011 he was appointed as the Company President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Carrillo also currently serves as a director of Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation (an oil and gas company engaged in the acquisition, develop-

Royal Dutch Shell Group Chief Scientist Physics and Separations Jose has been with Shell since 1995. As Chief Scientist Physics and Separations for Royal Dutch Shell Group, he advises on technology and R&D strategy and implementation. He leads a team of seven scientists and provides strategic level consulting in technology and R&D for Upstream and Downstream (chemicals and refining), gas, renewables, and hydrogen businesses. His experience includes commercial interactions,

technology licensing and technical services. He has published over 50 technical papers and six patents in distillation and extraction areas. He has also instructed the Distillation in Practice and Extraction course for Continuing Education for The University of Texas and the Separations Research Program.

Dorene C. Dominguez Vanir Group Chairman Dorene C. Dominguez is the Chairman of the Vanir Group of Companies. Ms. Dominguez succeeded her beloved late father, H. Frank Dominguez, overseeing 15 offices throughout the United States. The Vanir companies employ a growing staff of more than 300 talented executives, architects, engineers, construction managers, developers, contractors and support staff.

Mauricio Gutierrez NRG President and CEO Mauricio Gutierrez is President and CEO of NRG. Mauricio joined NRG in 2004 and helped build it from a regional wholesale generation business to a national, Fortune 200 diversified energy company. NRG is the nation’s largest competitive power generator. The company is also a major competitive energy retailer that serves nearly 3 million recurring retail customers and is one of the country’s largest owners and operators of renewable power facilities.

Eduardo Assef CITGO VP Refining Eduardo Assef started his career in the oil refining industry in Venezuela in 1985 with PDVSA At PDVSA, Assef held several positions of increasing responsibility in the areas of project, maintenance, process engineering and operations. In 1999 he was transferred to CITGO’s Corpus Christi Refinery, where he held positions in the technical and operational areas. In October 2004, he was appointed general manager, operations and maintenance at the

Corpus Christi Refinery. In April 2006, he became vice president and general manager, Corpus Christi Refinery. He was appointed vice president and general manager, Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex in November 2008. And in December 2011, he was appointed Vice President Refining.

Hugo Gutierrez Marathon Oil Corporation Manager Governmental Affairs Hugo Gutierrez joined Marathon Oil Corporation in November,1999 after serving as Chief of Staff to two South Texas lawmakers in the Texas House of Representatives. He currently serves as Sr. Manager for Government and Community Relations and directs the company’s lobbying, political and community engagement in Texas, New Mexico and Washington D.C.. He is a McAllen, Tx native in the Rio Grande Valley and is a 1993 graduate of Texas State University in San Marcos. He resides in Houston, Tx.

Eugene Garcia Hurd Enterprises, Ltd. President Eugene is a member of the executive team at Hurd Enterprises, Ltd., a fourth generation family business engaged in oil and gas, ranching, real estate, and investments. Eugene serves as President of the Hurd Family Entities with direct responsibility over the Oil and Gas exploration and production and Ranching businesses. Eugene graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and received his M.B.A. from the Florida State University. After spending several years in the co-op program at NASA and working at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Eugene changed career paths and joined the Intel Corporation in 1995 in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Eugene worked as a Business Analyst and Supervisor at Intel until moving to Austin, Texas to work for Dell Computers in 1999. Eugene was a Manager for Dell’s Product Development and Procurement organizations until 2004 when he joined Hurd Enterprises. Eugene currently serves as a Member of the Board of Directors for

the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association and the Boy Scouts of America, Alamo Area Council. Additionally, Eugene currently holds the position of Committee Chairman with the Boy Scouts of America, Saint Mary’s Hall Troop 496 following two years as Scoutmaster. Previously, Eugene served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity of San Antonio, Board Member for Mission Road Ministries, and as a Member of the McDonald Observatory Board of Visitors. Eugene is also actively involved at his church, First Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, Texas.

Luis Sierra BP Petrochemicals President BP Aromatics Luis Sierra currently runs BP’s aromatics chemicals business unit, a role he assumed in January 2016. This global business generates revenue of $4 billion and comprises manufacturing assets in Texas, South Carolina, Belgium, Indonesia and China serving the intermediate chemicals needs of packaging, beverage, textiles and films and industries around the world. Luis currently serves on the board of directors for a number of entities, including Junior Achievement of Chicago and BP’s top subsidiary in the U.S., BP America. He also serves on the board of directors for BP Energy Company and the American Fuels and Petrochemical Manufacturers.

Aleida Rios BP Gulf of Mexico Vice President of Operations As vice president of BP’s operations in the Gulf of Mexico, Aleida Rios is one of the company’s top women leaders. She is responsible for the safe, reliable and compliant operations on BP’s four offshore platforms in the deepwater gulf, which collectively produce over 250,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. Along with managing a $1 billion operating budget, she oversees a team of more than 1,000 employees and contractors. Aleida is based at BP’s U.S. headquarters in Houston, but

she takes monthly trips offshore — via helicopter — to actively lead and personally engage with her staff. Aleida serves on BP’s global operations executive leadership team and sponsors the company’s Supplier Diversity Council and Gulf of Mexico Women’s Leadership Council, which supports gender diversity and promotes networking and career development opportunities. She is also a member of BP’s leadership council for the Million Women Mentors program, encouraging employees to mentor girls and young women who are interested in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

Rafael Sanchez Indianapolis Power & Light Co. President and CEO Rafael is a highly respected business and community leader and joined IPL in February as Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning. Prior to IPL, Rafael was a partner at Bingham Greenebaum Doll, LLP and he was also Vice President of Business Development & Legal Affairs for Fineline Printing Group. He has a good outlook of IPL as he served on the IPL Advisory Board for the past five years. He also serves as Secretary for the Indy Chamber, Co-Chair for Plan 2020, Chair for Cancer Support Community, Executive Committee member for the United Way of Central Indiana and a board member of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Methodist Health Foundation.

Benjamin G. Bordelon Bollinger Shipyards President and CEO Mr. Benjamin G. Bordelon, also known as Ben has been the Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and President of Bollinger Shipyards, Inc since December 2014. Mr. Bordelon served as the Chief Operating Officer of Bollinger Shipyards, Inc. since August 30, 2013. Mr. Bordelon served as an Executive Vice President of Repair at Bollinger Shipyards, Inc. until August 30, 2013. Benjamin is part of the NOIA America’s Offshore Energy Industry board of directors.

Joseph E. Casabona Halio Energy CEO Joseph E. Casabona has over 30 years of experience in the US oil and gas industry, with extensive background in strategic planning, capital structure, capital markets, business development, acquisitions and successful divestments. Casabona currently serves on the Board of Directors of PDCE Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ:PDCE) a $2.5 billion oil & gas exploration and production company operating in the United States. With extensive and respected first-hand experience in conventional energy (natural gas exploration, development, marketing, acquisitions and mid-stream operations) and renewable energy sources (wind, solar, combined heat and power, hydroelectric and biomass), Casabona served as a Director of the privately held oil giant Energy Corporation of America from 1993 to 2007, which owns and operates over 4600 producing wells and 5000 miles of pipeline as part of over a million acres of land holdings.

Patrick Apodaca PNM Resources Senior VP and General Counsel Patrick Apodaca is Senior Vice President and General Counsel for PNM Resources, the parent company of PNM and TNMP. He joined PNM Resources in January 2010. Patrick has responsibility for assuring the provision of high quality, efficient and effective legal services to all areas of the company. He also oversees corporate governance, environmental services and human resources. Patrick previously served as University Counsel for the University of New Mexico. He also served as independent counsel to the City of Albuquerque and associate counsel to the President in the White House from 1977-1981.

Alfredo Trujillo Georgia Tech Foundation, Inc. President & COO Al Trujillo is President of the Georgia Tech Foundation (GTF). GTF’s Al 18 • March / April 2017

Trujillo became President and Chief Operating Officer of The Georgia Tech Foundation, Inc. on July 1, 2013. The mission of the Georgia Tech Foundation is to foster and manage gifts given in support of academic excellence in the spirit and traditions of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to joining the Foundation, Al had a career in industry, both in executive and nonexecutive director roles. He currently serves as non-executive director of Havertys Corporation, a NYSE listed company (HVT) in the furniture retailing industry, and on the board of SCANA Corporation, a NYSE listed energy-based holding company (SCG). Until 2007, Al Trujillo served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Recall Corporation, a global document management organization with operations in 23 countries.

Dennis Arriola SoCalGas Chairman and CEO Arriola has spent nearly two decades in a broad range of leadership roles for Sempra Energy. He was named chief operating officer of SoCalGas in 2012 and promoted to CEO in 2014. From 2008 to 2012, he served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of SunPower Corporation, a Silicon Valley-based solar panel manufacturer. Prior to this, Arriola served as senior vice president and chief financial officer for SoCalGas and San Diego Gas & Electric, vice president of communications and investor relations for Sempra Energy and regional vice president and general manager for Sempra’s South American operations. He first joined the company in 1994 as treasurer for Pacific Enterprises, SoCalGas’ former parent company. Arriola is chairman of the board of directors for the California Business Roundtable and on the boards of the American Gas Association, Latino Donor Collaborative and Southern California Leadership Council, as well as United Way of Greater Los Angeles, through which

he is actively involved in efforts to implement Linked Learning at Los Angeles Unified School District schools.

Omar Garcia STEER President As President of the South Texas Energy & Economic Roundtable (STEER), Omar Garcia facilitates communication, education and public advocacy surrounding the production of energy resources in South Texas. An experienced industry leader, Garcia is an expert on business opportunities associated with the Eagle Ford Shale. Garcia works directly with the oil and natural gas industry, local officials, community members, regional stakeholders, educational institutions and economic development organizations to ensure that the oil and natural gas industry in South Texas is advancing in a positive way that is mutually beneficial to both the community and the industry. Garcia is a former vice president of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, and has over 12 years of Economic Development experience in working for the Texas Governor’s Office, TIP Strategies, Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development, the City of San Antonio Economic Development Department, and the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation. In addition to his economic development experience, Garcia spent two years working for Bank of America as Vice President of Business Development for their Treasury Management division.

Roberto de Hoyos Tenaris Public Affairs Director He is currently the Vice-President of Public Affairs for Tenaris. Before Tenaris, he was a Principal at Ryan, where he specialized in providing economic development, government relations, site selection, and business incentives consulting services. He

was also Director of Latin American Business Development and Director of Purchasing, International Trade and Government Affairs of AHMSA Steel. In the public sector, de Hoyos has extensive experience. He has been the Texas Enterprise Fund Designee and Director of Business Incentives Office of Governor Rick Perry. He’s also been highly involved with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism with positions such as Deputy Executive Director, Director of Texas Business Development and Director of International Business and Recruitment. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Technological Institute in Mexico.

Rudy Garza Senior Vice President of Distribution Services and Operations CPS Energy Rudy joined CPS Energy, the nation’s largest municipally-owned electric and gas utility, in 2012 and Vice President of External Relations. In 2016, he was promoted to Senior Vice President of Distribution Services & Operations and is currently responsible for the largest operating division at CPS Energy, with three Service Districts responsible for our maintenance and construction activity as well as the Emergency Management Center which operates our distribution system on a daily basis. With more than 20 years of experience in the energy and utility sector, Rudy maintains a strong understanding of the issues that impact the utility industry. As a result, Rudy was named one of the 10 most influential Latinos in the energy industry by Latino Leaders magazine in 2014.



with lower power generation fuel costs, has resulted in wholesale power prices at their historic lows. The power generation business is cyclical and right now we are in the midst of a trough in the market. On the retail side, we continue to be excited about the opportunity to create value through the innovative products and services we offer our customers. TXU Energy continues to be a first-mover when it comes to introducing cutting edge retail electricity products to the market, and through our steadfast focus on customer service, coupled with our brand promise of being a stable, reliable, “no surprises” retail electric provider, we continue to attract new customers and retain existing ones in what is a hyper-competitive energy market.

Could you share a little on your new position responsibilities and background? I assumed the duties of Vistra Energy president and chief executive officer effective in October of 2016, having the good fortune of being on the ground since June of 2016 in support of the first lien creditors who eventually became the stockholders of Vistra upon emergence from bankruptcy. I have worked in the energy industry for 35 years and specifically in the electric power business for the past 20. I was attracted to Vistra Energy primarily because of TXU Energy, our retail electric provider, and the integrated operations of TXU Energy and Luminant, our power generating company. Pairing a retail electric provider of TXU Energy’s size and brand quality with the diverse portfolio of generation assets owned by Luminant provides for a truly unique and valuable operating model. The integrated nature of our business mitigates the extreme volatility inherent in the standalone wholesale and retail markets and makes for a more stable, attractive investment. I see my primary roles as the president and CEO of Vistra as providing overall vision and leadership, defining and driving culture, guiding the governance processes, developing our leadership team, and holding our organization accountable for superior business results and to its core principles. How would you describe the current industry environment around Energy; production, distribution and retail? The current wholesale electricity markets, with an emphasis on power generation, are certainly challenged. While ERCOT, where we exclusively operate today, is one of the few electricity markets experiencing year-over-year load growth, we also have seen increased investment in renewable and natural gas fueled generation in recent years leading to an oversupplied wholesale electric power market. This new investment, along 20 • March / April 2017

How was Vistra created to respond to the current demands of the Market and Industry? Vistra is uniquely positioned in our market due to our integrated nature: We produce a tremendous amount of power while also serving 1.7 million residential and business customers. Because electricity cannot be stored and is an instantaneous product we can utilize our generation assets to create products to meet our retail customers ever changing needs. There is an undeniable – and growing – demand for our product. We have a fleet of nuclear power units, natural gas fueled power plants, and coal-fueled power plants that can be called on to meet this demand. We are continually evaluating opportunities to evolve our generation portfolio to be best positioned to meet market conditions and customer needs. There are also growing needs from our retail customers for more electricity related products and services and digital information to manage their electricity usage. Where do you see this industry in 20 years from now in terms of the needs of the market and the technological advances? Technological advancement in recent years has changed our industry in a fundamental manner. On the generation side of our business we have seen incredible advancement in renewables – wind and solar – and battery technologically seems to be closer to large scale application than ever before. On the retail side, the digital world has placed control over electric power usage in the hands of consumers like never before. We look at the change in our industry as an opportunity for our company more than a threat to it especially given our direct relationship to the customer. Vistra is uniquely positioned in the market to adapt and evolve as technology changes and the industry adopts new methods of generating, delivering, and consuming electricity. The key to Vistra’s long-term strategy and value proposition to our investors is our direct relationship with the end consumer. As long as we maintain that relationship through superior retail product and service offerings we can sustain and capitalize on technology changes that will assuredly change the way electric power is generated, delivered, and sold to consumers, and ultimately maintain our leadership position in Texas.



Could you share a little on your background and how did you get into Vistra? I knew I wanted to be a lawyer since I was about 9 years old. Growing up, I always looked for opportunities to experience the practice of law (mock trial, teen court in Tampa, where I went to high school, classes in college even though there wasn’t a pre-law major). I went to Duke undergrad and William and Mary Law School. I started in private practice in the corporate and securities group at Gardere, where I worked for almost eight years after law school. In 2005, I decided to make a move from a firm to in-house and started with the company in November of that year, supporting the retail and wholesale businesses as counsel (the entry-level attorney position at the company). I was promoted to senior counsel in 2006. In 2008, when the company went private, I moved with my boss and the wholesale business to Luminant and began supporting the generation and mining organizations in addition to wholesale. Then, in 2012, I became the general counsel of Luminant. And in October of last year I took on the role of general counsel of the parent company over all of Vistra’s competitive businesses. As General Counsel and EVP, what are your responsibilities and how do you manage them? We have several broad categories of responsibility in our department – compliance (responsible for centralized reporting on all compliance matters across the company and primary compliance assurance for wholesale and retail operations); corporate secretary’s office (corporate governance, including coordination of our board of directors); litigation (including labor and employment counseling, commercial litigation and regulatory administrative matters); commercial/operational support (supporting all of our operations teams in commercial transactions); corporate, securities and M&A; and environmental services (reporting, permitting and compliance). We have a very experienced and knowledgeable team of attorneys and professionals who provide these support services to our internal clients across the company. We also work with many outside law firms, but strive to handle as much work internally as possible. Our department operates as a mini, internal law firm but our attorneys and professionals are not able to be as specialized as firm attorneys, given the broad range of legal matters that arise within the company every day.

What links do you see between your job and the Hispanic Community? Are there any specific opportunities for Latinos in this industry and Vistra? I personally try to give back to the Hispanic community in multiple ways. For the past six years, I have served on the board of AVANCE-Dallas, a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower parents, primarily in Hispanic populations of Dallas, to serve as their child’s first teacher, and to ready families to actively participate in and seek out educational opportunities for their children all the way through high school and beyond. Last year, I also joined the board of Girls, Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas, an organization that provides afterschool and summer programming for girls ages 5-18, designed to make girls strong, smart, and bold. There are a number of educational programs designed to foster long-term success for our girls, including many Latinos. As a company, Vistra Energy is committed to diversity of thought in our workforce, and leadership ranks and fully supports internal hiring of diverse candidates. In addition, we support diversity among our vendors and suppliers, and the company’s supplier diversity program has been recognized and used as a model for other companies to follow.

“I personally try to give back to the Hispanic community in multiple ways”.


TOP INSURANCE AGENTS By: Latino Leaders staff

The insurance industry is big and

growing in the Hispanic Markets. Companies offering coverages in many different areas are depending on the grow of these markets to achieve overall growth. The Latino community still represents a fabulous opportunity for insurance services. But, the warriors wining the battles of competition are their agents. Especially Latino agents when it comes to get Latino customers. The following list based in our own research, shows some of the Top Latino agents in the Country, based on their performances, clientele and involvement in the Community.

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P.J. Busse Insurance and Financial Services 3750 NW 87 Ave. Suite #500 Miami, FL, 33178 (786) 275-1355

Frank Ramos

Allstate Insurance 231 W 29th St Rm 510 New York, NY 10001 (212) 206-0494

Ed Lara

State Farm 17194 Preston Rd Suite 221B Dallas, TX, 75248-1225 (972) 233-7300

Jose R. Gomez Allstate Insurance 3250 N Pulaski Rd Chicago, IL, 60641 (773) 777-7520

Tom D. Gallegos and Dominic Garcia Rio Grande Insurance Services 1231 S. St. Francis Dr. Bldg A Suite A Santa Fe, NM, 87505 (877) 984-8216

Monica Martinez-Hess New York Life Insurance Company Manhattan General Office 120 Broadway 29th Floor New York NY 10271 914 373 1636

Since 1995, Pedro J. Busse has been involved in the insurance and financial services business in the South Florida area. Pedro has earned membership in the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table*. Outstanding product knowledge and client service has enabled Pedro to consistently qualify for the Million Dollar Round Table*. The Round Table’s membership represents the top life insurance professionals worldwide. Of special interest to Peter is Personal Planning, as well as, Business Planning since fifty percent of his business is with small business owners. I’ve represented Allstate for over 19 years and have worn many hats in the company. My tenure and experience has allowed me to not only understand the ins and outs of insurance, but also to service hundreds of families regarding their protection needs. My awards include being recipient of the Honor Ring twice and the National Conference Award. Community services involves being a Coach at Teaneck Southern Little League.

Ed Lara focuses on Auto, Home, Life and Small Business Insurance. He has State Farm experience since 2011. Ed Lara offers services for areas around Dallas such as Plano, Addison, Richardson, Allen, Garland, Carrollton, Frisco and more.

Jose Gomez became an Allstate agent because he has a passion for helping individuals and families navigate through the insurance maze. Gomez Insurance Agency opened on the northwest side of Chicago as an Allstate Insurance and Financial Service agency over 10 years ago. He has since built his agency with a reputation of being trusted advisors for personal, life/ retirement and commercial solutions. Prior to opening his agency, Mr. Gomez held several senior corporate management positions both domestically and internationally. Under the leadership of Thomas D. Gallegos, Owner and Agent, and Dominic Garcia, General Manager, Rio Grande Insurance Services is a corporation of 23 insurance professionals with over 100 years combined insurance experience and 3 generations of Latino agents within the organization. Our mission is to provide a broad range of insurance products that meet the varied needs of our customers. By exclusively handling automobile, homeowners, life, health, business. and other financial products we can coordinate coverage and offer value to our customers. We proudly serve all clients within our communities offering bi-lingual customer service in order to support our Hispanic cultures which compose greater than 30 % of our book of business. We are an active member of the Hispano Chamber of Commerce and a proud sponsor of the NM Hispano Music Awards. Monica was born and raised in Mexico and moved to the United States in 2009, where she began her career as a Financial Professional with New York Life in March 2010. Monica achieved several awards in the company, and because of her success, she was assigned to a special role to expand the Latino market. Currently, she is a Financial Professional at New York Life Manhattan General Office. Monica has been recognized by the Westchester Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at Growing with Heels, Celebrating the Power of Women. She is also part of the Board of Directors of 100 Hispanic Women of Westchester.


Pedro J. Busse


Francisco J. Rodriguez Prudential Financial 3030 N Rocky Point Dr W, Suite 460 Tampa, FL, 33607 Phone: (813) 520-4120

Claudia Salas

State Farm 2335 W Shady Grove Rd, Suite 100A Irving, TX, 75060-5059 (972) 790-4001 Claudia-Salas-4M8G57BWWGF

Maribel Marron Allstate Insurance 2060 W Armitage Ave Chicago, IL 60647 (773) 572-9495

Jorge C. Jorge New York Life 495 North Keller Rd, Suite 150 Maitland, FL, 32751 Phone: (407) 999-6578

Pete Fernandez Allstate Insurance 1719 N Western Ave Chicago, IL, 60647 (773) 252-2100

Richard Ramirez State Farm 9400 N Central Expressway, Suite 120 Dallas, TX 75231-5040 (214) 320-3000 Richard-Ramirez-C63251YS000

Jim Diaz

State Farm 13550 SW 88 ST, Suite #294 Miami, FL, 33186-1513 (305) 385-6696

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My name is Francisco Rodriguez I’m an agent/advisor at Prudential Financial in Tampa, specializing in life insurance, retirement planning, and investments. Born in Panama City, Panama, I moved to Florida in 2005 from Mexico City, and obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Florida in 2014. I achieved the 2016 Rookie of the Year Award in production and also reached Prudential Annuities Masters Council for over 1 million dollars of annuity business. My community involvement includes proactively volunteering on Tuesdays at Academy Prep of Tampa, participation in Hispanic Chamber of Tampa events, St. Petersburg Chamber, and member of Business Networking International (BNI) for small business owners. The most remarkable moment in my life, outside of my son’s birth, was on February 21, 2010. When I was awakened by an apartment fire that destroyed everything I had. Luckily my State Farm Agent had given me a renter policy 5 months earlier and State Farm helped me to recover after my fire! More than the monetary value, the insurance coverage represented a fresh start for Aaron and me. At that time, I learned that life happens and all you can do is to choose to be protected or not. I know that my calling is helping other people live protected. I want to connect with people and make a difference on a daily basis. Maribel Marron is a Latino entrepreneur who has more than 15 years of experience in the insurance business. With only four years as an agency owner she has become a Premier Agent for Allstate Insurance. Through the Allstate Insurance foundation Helping Hands she has been able to donate resources to nonprofit organizations. Recently, she has become a board member for a foundation named after her father, Francisco Marron, who has been helping the community for more than 40 years. As a board member her mission is to help the Latino community with mentoring and donating resources for youth programs. Jorge is an Agent through New York Life Insurance Company (NYLIC) in the states of Florida, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Indiana and North Carolina. Jorge became an Agent with New York Life Insurance Company in 2014 after working for 20 years on Wall Street in the financial services industry with Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and BNY Mellon to name a few. He obtained his MBA with a dual concentration in Finance and Marketing from Fordham University, NY, in 2010. Jorge is also very involved with a national not-for-profit organization, ALPFA, having held several positions in the Orlando Chapter, most recently VP of Corporate Development. When it comes to insurance, you want to protect what matters most: your family, your financial well-being, and your prized possessions. I’ve been an Allstate agent since 2007, and I have worked in the insurance industry since 1997. I specialize in auto, life and home insurance, including renters insurance, and can assist customers with insurance coverage for motorcycles and boats, too. Financial service products, including retirement and college savings plans, are also available. Awards include the Inner Circle Elite for two years, Circle of Champions for three years, National Conference Award, the Honor Ring for five years and other great recognitions. Richard has been with State Farm since 1978 but he has been a State Farm Agent since 1984. He has a Bachelor in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska. He serves as a St Mark’s School of Texas Trustee. He’s service goes beyond that. He also served in the United States Army-Field Artillery. Within State Farm, he has been an Ambassador Club Qualifier, National Convention Qualifier, State Farm Legion of Honor Agent and a Silver Scroll Qualifier.

Jim Diaz is a State Farm Agent who services the areas of Miami, Kendall and South Miami. Jim offers services like Auto, Renters, Homeowners and Retirement & College Planning. He has a degree in Finance & Marketing from Florida International University. He is involvement within the community include the Special Olympics event MDCC. He is part of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and has been feature in Univision’s Despierta America as a guest speaker.



Jose Luis Gonzalez Jr.

Nationwide Insurance 4949 Walzem Rd San Antonio, TX 78218 (210) 591-7058

Ed Mena

Allstate Insurance 5509 Balcones Dr Austin, TX, 78731 (512) 459-5363

Richard Griego State Farm 1880 E. Lohman Suite D Las Cruces, NM 88001 (575) 523-2451

Anita Avila Allstate Insurance 216 Marble Ave NW Albuquerque, NM, 87102 (505) 262-1821

Miguel Torres

Nationwide Insurance 5901 W Indian School Rd, Suite 4 Phoenix, AZ 85033 (623) 873-1234

Lissette Nolasco Liberty Mutual One Battery Park Plaza, 30th Floor New York, NY 10004 (212) 398-2480

Jimmy O. Moscoso Lincoln Financial Group 5124 Coronado Rdg Boca Raton, Florida 33486-1444 (561) 809-3039

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Jose L. Gonzalez Jr. has over 7 years of experience. He has represented some of the largest insurance companies in the world and joined Nationwide Insurance as a program agent in February 2012. In December of 2013, Mr. Gonzalez fulfilled the production requirements to transition to an independent location. On April 1, 2014, Jose L. Gonzalez Jr. opened a new independent insurance office location that is staffed with licensed professionals ready to service your insurance needs. At the Jose L. Gonzalez Jr. Agency ensuring that each of our member policy holders has the right insurance coverage for their individual families is our top priority. In 2014, I opened my agency in Austin, Texas, after purchasing an existing agency. When I graduated from the University of Texas in 1987, I began my career with Allstate. I worked in Dallas as an agent and then was promoted to Chicago to work for Allstate’s home office in Northbrook, Illinois. I left Allstate in 1996 and spent several years working as a senior executive for a U.S. multi-national insurance company. I’m actively involved in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Through an Allstate Helping Hands grant, I was able to contribute a $1000 community service award to the NCMEC. I also serve as a board member and ambassador for the Four Points Chamber of Commerce. Richard Griego has been serving State Farm customers since 1994. He has a BBA from the University of New Mexico. Richard is also part of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, American Association of Long Term Care Insurance Member, and the Lions Club. As a Native New Mexican and with a bilingual staff, Richard Griego is able to offer all your insurance needs such as auto, home, motorcycle and health.

As an Allstate agent in Albuquerque, I’ve gotten to know a lot of local families. I enjoy being a part of the community, and building relationships is one of the best parts of my job. I know what life is like in Albuquerque — that we choose cars, homes, boats and more to fit our lifestyle and budget. I also know how important it is to do the same when it comes to protecting them. I look forward to getting to know you and helping you find the solutions that meet your needs. Our agency has been serving individuals and families in the Phoenix area for the last 10 years for car and homeowners insurance. We provide outstanding customer service, and our focus is to provide the right coverage at the right price. Let us be your local Phoenix Nationwide agent to help you find the right car insurance coverage for you and your family. We offer a full array of products for Phoenix residents, which include: car insurance, home insurance, business insurance and life insurance. Nationwide is proud to serve Phoenix. I am excited about the wide range of cost-effective programs Liberty Mutual has to offer. I graduated from SUNY at Albany and majored in Economics. My husband and I have 1 child. I am an active member of The Hispanic Business and Professional Association. As a New York Automobile driver you are entitled to take the New York State Dept. of Motor Vehicle 6-hour point/ reduction program administered by the National Traffic and Safety Institute which will enable you to save 10% off your liability, collision, and no fault insurance rates for a 3 year period. Jimmy O. Moscoso is the Leader of the Latino Business Resource Group for Lincoln Financial Group; as well he serves the role of Retirement Consultant for LFG’s Retirement Plan Services. His responsibilities include working as a liaison between LFG’s RPS business unit and government/healthcare plan sponsors throughout Florida. Jimmy joined Lincoln Financial Group in 2014. Previous financial experience includes over 8 years in various progressive roles with Putnam Investments, including two years of retirement speaking assignments throughout the Continental United States, and Puerto Rico.

By: Jose Madero

For the longest time,

when it came to acquiring life insurance, Latinos were missing in action. Insurance companies tended not to seek out if altogether ignore Hispanics when it came to promoting their products to them. Not anymore. With the growth of the Hispanic population in the U.S. and the Latino boom of the 1990’s, industry giants like State Farm and Allstate have made it a mission to tap into the community. Venerable companies like New York Life employ well-trained armies of bilingual agents and have made inroads into the Latinos community under the guidance of their impassioned CEO, Ted Mathas. Still, Latinos remain the group with the least life insurance. According to “Trends in Marketing Insurance to Hispanics,” a study conducted by the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication of Florida’s State University, only 34% of Latinos had this type of coverage, compared to 62% of the general populations. That study was done in 2006, so things may have improved. Still, the study seems to concur with a 2004 investigation done by the Tomás Rivera Institute which concluded that Latinos are some of the least covered by life insurance. Nevertheless, according to experts, the fact that insurance companies seem now committed to penetrate the Latino market is encouraging. Below are the 15 companies chosen by Latino Leaders which are considered the best at this time for Hispanics.

Aflac Headquartered in: Columbus, Georgia Established in: 1955 Performance, variety of coverage. A Fortune 500 company, Aflac serves more than 50 million people all over the world. It insures the sick, those who have been hurt and prides itself in paying cash benefits “fairly and promptly” to their insured. Outreach to Latino market: Aflac has been creating a series of Spanish-language commercials solely dedicated to this area. The company stresses the speed in which they make their payments and how they help their clients fast in times of need. Diversity: Latino publications like Latina Style, has named Aflac as one of the best companies for Latinas to work for. Hispanic Magazine chose Aflac to be among its “100 companies providing the most opportunities to Hispanics.” Allstate Headquartered in: Northfield Township, Illinois Established in: 1931 Performance, variety of coverage. The financial giant started as a part of Sears, insuring drivers. It spun off in 1993. Besides life insurance, the company offers autos, home, renters, boat, landlord, condo and motorcycle insurance. Outreach to Latino market: It was one of the first life insurance companies to reach the Latino community. In 1999 it included spots in Sábado Gigante and during the last decade it ran the campaign “Así piensa Allstate.” Diversity: Allstate improved during the 2016 HACR Corporate Inclusion Index report, reaching 75 points. It hires Hispanic agents and from early on it has recognized the importance of the agent as a marketing tool.




Cigna Headquartered in: Bloomfield, Connecticut Established in: 1982 Performance, variety of coverage. - Mainly know in the U.S. as a health insurance provider, it also provides life insurance via employers. Its current campaign, Ve. Informate. Toma Control targets the Hispanic community through improving health and medical check-ups. Outreach to Latino market- Cigna has been doing outreach to the Latino community not only in the U.S., but abroad. It has been a mainstay in Spain since the 1950s and has offices in Guatemala. Diversity: Scoring an impressive 90 points on the HACR Inclusion Index, the company has Roman Martinez IV on its board and has a supplier diversity program that dates back to the 1970’s. Farmers Insurance Headquartered in: Los Angeles. Established in: 1928 Performance, variety of coverage. Like its name says, it started as a company offering farmers and ranchers lower insurance premiums due to their better driving rates. Since then, the company has grown into an insurance company, including life and other financial services. Outreach to Latino market- It started by putting a few television spots geared toward the Latino community, but by 2001 it had hired Enlace Communications, adopting the slogan “Tranquilidad asegurada.” Diversity: The company stresses diversity in several ways, including a Farmer’s Women’s Network, Discovering Diversity (created by Farmers Employees) and stressing a bilingual workplace. “We embrace our bilingual environment, we view it as an asset to expanding the exchange of ideas,” according to their website. GEICO Headquartered in: Chevy Chase, Maryland Established in: 1936 Performance, variety of coverage. The well-known brand actually belongs to conglomerate giant Berkshire-Hathaway. Known mostly for their Gecko mascot and car insurance, it offers all types of coverage, including life. Outreach to Latino market: Since 1999 the brand started working with the López-Negrete agency. It has continued to spend a lot in reaching Latinos. It is now aiming for the Millennial generation and it is succeeding. Diversity: The company prides itself in celebrating diversity. “At GEICO every individual is valued for his/her skills and perspectives. We hire the best people, help them develop their talents and abilities. Kaiser Permanente Headquartered in: Oakland, California Established in: 1945 Performance, variety of coverage. A giant in the health industry. It has about 10.2 million health plan members, runs 38 medical centers and over 186,000 employees. Outreach to Latino market: A large portion of its insurance members are Latino, with giant medical centers in heavily Latino areas like Los Angeles. DiversityInc’s included it in its top 50 companies in 2016. Diversity: Latinos, Asians and African-Americans make-up over 66% of its workforce. It has two Latinos on its board: Ramón Baez and Cynthia A. Tellez. It belongs to the Billion Dollar Roundtable for spending over $1 billion on minority suppliers.

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Liberty Mutual Headquartered in: Boston, Massachusetts. Established in: 1912 Performance, variety of coverage. A Fortune 100 company, Liberty Mutual Insurance. It is the second largest property and casualty insurer. Besides life insurance, it also insures automobiles; it has over 50,000 employees all over the world. Outreach to Latino market: Through Safeco, which was acquired by Liberty in 2008, the company has been making inroads into the Latino market. In 1990 it created a bilingual phone line with AT&T, followed by opening centers for multicultural training and recruiting. Diversity: Angel Ruiz, Ericcson’s North American leader, sits on the board of Liberty Mutual. Gerardo Lopez, the CEO of Extended Stay America is on Safeco’s board. Both, Liberty and Safeco companies have diversity programs. MassMutual Financial Group Headquartered in: Springfield, Massachusetts Established in: 1851. Performance, variety of coverage. It is one of the largest American Mutual Life Insurance companies, belonging to the Fortune 500 list. It provides life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, retirement, plan services and annuities. Outreach to Latino market: With David Hufnagel as the Latino Markets Director at MassMutual, the company is working with non-profits like ALPFA, creating a website tailored to the Hispanic market and creating more offices across the country. Diversity: The highly respected Patricia Diaz Dennis sits on the company’s board. Lorie Valle-Yáñez is Chief Diversity officer. It has reverse mentoring program in which millenials mentor senior leaders and a supplier’s diversity program. Nationwide Headquartered in: Columbus, Ohio Established in: 1926 Performance, variety of coverage. The company grew from a small Mutual auto insurer into a national powerhouse. It offers insurance, of course, investments, financial planning and banking. Besides life insurance, it offers many others like property. Outreach to Latino market: Nationwide has concentrated in the Hispanic market for some time now. It offers sponsorships as well as campaign ads and aggressively recruiting agents, joining forces with many Latino organizations. Diversity: The company has been stressing diversity in several areas, including supplier diversity. Fortune Magazine, Latina Style and Black Enterprise Magazine has awarded the company for it efforts.

Northwestern Mutual Headquartered in: Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Established in: 1857 Performance, variety of coverage. A highly respected company, in addition to life insurance, Northwestern provides wealth consultation, retirement planning, investment services, long-term care insurance and trust and private client services. It also provides business planning and investment advisory products. Outreach to Latino market-With Jorge Quezada as its Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Lead, Northwestern Mutual’s current philosophy goes beyond targeting the Latino community: “We are embracing them,” Quezada says. Its goal-based planning aligns well with Hispanic families, he adds. Diversity: The company is a strong sponsor of several Hispanic non-profits like ALPFA and the National Hispanic Corporate Council. It is a strategic sponsor of Latino initiatives and its supplier’s diversity program is valued.

Prudential Headquartered in: Newark, New Jersey Established in: 1875 Performance, variety of coverage. An American Fortune 500 company, Prudential has been part of the American financial landscape for a long time. It also works in 30 countries. From life insurance to annuities to mutual funds, the company is diverse. Outreach to Latino market. The insurance giant began tapping into the Latino market in 1998. That included major television ads. It has sponsored events and organizations like the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Diversity: It scored 80 in the HACR index and it has been constantly recognized as one of the best places for Latinos to work at. It has two Latinos in its board of directors and a respectable Supplier’s Diversity program. Safeco Headquartered in: Seattle. Established in: 1923 Performance, variety of coverage. An experienced insurer, Safeco offers everything from auto, boat, landlord protection and renter’s insurance. It has a Spanishlanguage website to complement its English version. Outreach to Latino market: Safeco, which was acquired by Liberty in 2008, the company has been making inroads into the Latino market. In 1990 it created a bilingual phone line with AT&T, followed by opening centers for multicultural training and recruiting. Diversity: Angel Ruiz, Ericcson’s North American leader, sits on the board of Liberty Mutual, Safeco’s parent company. Gerardo Lopez, the CEO of Extended Stay America is on Safeco’s board. Both companies have diversity programs.

State Farm Headquartered in: Bloomington, Illinois. Established in: 1922 Performance, variety of coverage. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto, home and individual life insurance in the United States. Its 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve more than 83 million policies and accounts – nearly 81 million auto, home, life, health and commercial policies, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. Outreach to Latino market: It is one of the most highly regarded companies of its kind by Latinos. State Farm is the top Hispanic advertising investor among the financial services and insurance category. In 2014, the company allocated 22 percent, or $109 million, of its advertising budget to Hispanic-dedicated efforts. In addition, the company has a robust community outreach and philanthropy program and has a relationship with a variety of national Latino organizations. State Farm’s charitable giving and social investments help build safer, strong, better educated communities. Diversity: Dan E. Arvizu sits on its board. The company has been recognized as a good place to work by Latina Style, Working Mother and Black Enterprise to name a few. The HACR Index Report gave State Farm an impressive 80 points. Working Mother magazine, Best Companies for Multicultural Women (2009-2016). LATINA Style 50 Best Companies for Latinas to Work for the 19th consecutive year. And the State Farm Hispanic Employee Resource Organization (HERO) has been recognized by several publications. TIAA Headquartered in: New York Established in: 1918 Performance, variety of coverage: Serving over 5 million employees in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields TIAA is a Fortune 100 company. It is a non for profit and just acquired EverBank. Outreach to Latino market: TIAA created a National Contact Center to take care of customer requests, it launched a Spanish-language website and offers personalized, one on one retirement planning in Spanish. Diversity: DiversityInc’s named TIAA into one of their top 50 companies for diversity, while Latina Style Magazine has chosen the company as one of the best employers for Latinas.


New York Life Headquartered in: Manhattan. Established in: 1845 Performance, variety of coverage. One of the premiere insurance companies in the world. It offers life insurance in all levels with the experience you expect from such a highly respected company with CEO Ted Mathas at its helm. Outreach to Latino market: The company started early in targeting the Latino community. CEO Ted Mathas knows the Latino community well and places a deep value in family life, which is at the core of the Hispanic community. Diversity: By 1999 it started a national Hispanic Marketing Conference for its agents. It has nearly 200 Latinos in management positions, with Ralph de la Vega, Vice Chairman of AT&T sitting on its board; 10% of its agents are Hispanic.

Design by: Carlos Cuevas

Latinos in Technology HITEC is proud to partner with Latino Leaders

Magazine as it is an essential element in the “Push up and Pull Up” method that has helped our organization skyrocket with our incredible members, corporate sponsors and community partners across America. This partnership has helped us celebrate the achievements of HITEC executives and their companies and exponentially give them and HITEC visibility across the Hispanic community and Corporate America. I thank Jorge Ferraez and his editorial team for engaging HITEC and recognizing that the future of Hispanics is through education, and in exposing the incredible opportunities in technologydriven careers that can create real wealth. It is equally important that we support our Hispanic publications as they represent such an important voice and a platform to address issues and to embrace excellence. Andre Arbelaez President

30 • March / April 2017

The Internet of Everything: Story by: Chriss Swaney


Hispanics Lead the Charge

urn it on: a lamp, a television, a car, a But Diaz, who has been a major driver of the developthermostat. Actions at the end of a finger ment of Cisco, cautions that securing information remains – multiplied by millions of fingers – and a critical challenge. “Companies want to go fast but they also must be comconnected to the Internet. Guillermo Diaz Jr. speaks about the pliant, ‘’ Diaz said. “Today’s businesses need to understand Internet of Everything and how it revolves the skills essential in securing information and that includes around increased machine-to-machine being agile, understanding how to use data analytics and communication: it’s built on cloud computing and being savvy about cloud technology. ‘’ His admonitions about security are supported by a renetworks of data-gathering sensors. “It’s mobile, its virtual, its instantaneous and it’s cent study done by the National Association of Corporate going to change our culture and make everything in Directors who surveyed its members and found that only 14 our lives from streetlights to seaports smart,’’ accord- percent felt their boards had a high level of understanding ing to Diaz, Senior Vice President and Chief Informa- regarding cybersecurity risks. tion Officer at Cisco. And Diaz is quick to point out “Everyone should have knowledge of the kinds of risks that it was Cisco that developed the concept of the that exist and the seriousness of the risk that is dynamic,’’ Internet of Everything: the intelligent connection of said Diaz. people, process, data and things. The growing list of high-profile cybersecurity breaches Diaz, who joined Cisco in 2000, is responsible for include the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, where leading the company’s global information technology hackers accessed information on as many as 25 million federal workers, and the U.S. political system now under siege organization and services. “The focus is on transforming the overall IT expe- by investigations into Russian hacking of the 2016 presidenrience by strengthening foundational business capa- tial elections. bilities,’’ said Diaz. Diaz said that when he conducted a survey of clients, Driven by faster Internet connections, ubiquitous they all pointed to cultural changes resulting from the onsmartphones and changing consumer demands, more going need to learn how to cope and manage in this new businesses are now embracing the need to be more wired world. This cultural shift also ushers in a new opportunity and call familiar with cloud-based applications. “The real value that the internet of things creates for diversity in corporations and businesses globally. Diaz has is at the intersection of gathering data and leveraging answered that clarion call as the primary leader of the Cisco Diit. All the information gathered by all the sensors in versity Council and the executive sponsor of Conexion, Cisco’s the world isn’t worth much if there isn’t an infrastruc- Hispanic/Latino employee resource network. ture in place to analyze it in real time, ‘’ Diaz said. The diversity council is tapping into growing Latino parHe stressed that cloud-based applications are ticipation in the U.S. economy. In 2015, U.S. Hispanics conthe key to using leveraged data. The internet of trolled $1.3 trillion in buying power – equal to the GDP of things doesn’t function without cloud-based appli- Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Guatemala combined, cations to interpret and transmit the data coming according to the U.S. Commerce Department. Latinos represent nearly 15 percent of the country’s workforce – a from all sensors. “The cloud is what enables the apps to go to work workforce forever changed by the Internet. for you anywhere, anytime,’’ said Diaz. And Diaz knows this firsthand. He talked about how his mother survived cancer after having an operation conducted by robots powered via information GUILLERMO DIAZ JR. technology. He talked about how today’s children are digital mavens, naturally trained to access information at Internet speeds never dreamed of before. He also spoke about how the internet of things is going to give us more things by 2020.

TOP LATINOS IN TECH By: Steve Penhollow


Miguel Gamino:


efore anyone had coined the phrase “cloud service,” Miguel Gamino Jr. created a cloud service. Visionaries are often people who create things before people can come up with the words to describe them. Nowadays, Gamino is New York City’s Chief Technology Officer, a role he had previously held in San Francisco. Gamino’s title in San Francisco was Chief Information Officer, but his duties were similar to what he is doing now. “When I was an entrepreneur, I invested my own 32 • March / April 2017

Connecting the City of New York

private money and time into helping build a publicfacing, free WiFi network called Digital El Paso,” Gamino said in a phone interview. “And in San Francisco, on top of going in and doing the operational improvements, I was given the opportunity to focus on this broadband story that I personally find very important.” Gamino said his proudest moment in the City by the Bay was when he and his team got a story about their broadband efforts on the cover of the San Francisco Chronicle. “I felt like broadband was finally entering the mainstream conversation,” he said. “That it wasn’t just a bunch of geeks in a room or people in an echo chamber. It escaped that echo chamber into the general conversation.” The goal in San Francisco (a goal that continues to be pursued in Gamino’s absence) is pervasive broadband, meaning that every person in the city will be connected to a speedy, efficient Internet. In 2016, Gamino was asked by the city of New York to switch coasts and develop a Smart City and “Internet of Things” (IoT) strategy. “That was an invitation I could not refuse,” he said. “The conversation I had with the major confirmed for me that, all the way up to the mayor, there was … not just (a serious) commitment to doing it, but an understanding of why it should be done.” Gamino said technology can make the city — and make life in the city — more inclusive and equitable. “Now I’m here and I am focused specifically on fulfilling the commitment to broadband for all New Yorkers,” he said. Some of society’s efforts to evolve technologically can create even wider digital divides, Gamino said. Technologically advanced classrooms help us compete on the world stage, but if children don’t have access to those same tools at home, “we could inadvertently be putting some (children) at a further disadvantage,” Gamino said. He believes we have to take a “full life cycle” approach when considering access to technology and global systems. Gamino and his team are driven in their endeavors by “who New York is.” “We have such a diverse population,” he said. “We have such a diverse set of industries, a diverse set of needs and resources. By virtue of keeping up with those things, we tend to continue to find ourselves leading a lot of the conversation.” Which is not to suggest other cities aren’t doing equally cool and even cooler things. “There are other cities that are doing great things that

we haven’t thought of,” Gamino said. “But I think very often we find ourselves thinking creatively about solving problems, being very focused on inclusiveness and equity and caring for that very important diversity aspect of our community.” That’s all part of the DNA of New York, Gamino said. “My role is to make sure we are bringing technology into the conversation very, very actively,” he said, “but also very, very responsibly for all those non-technology outcomes. Technology is always about benefitting people and their lives and public experiences, not just technology for technology’s sake.” Ubiquitous, high-quality broadband will lead to “the next wave of industry,” Gamino said, “and progress and prosperity will come, in my belief, sitting on top of that hyper-connected community.” It was hard to find mentors when he was younger, Gamino said, so he is focused now on giving back as much as he can. “I very rarely turn down a request for a meeting or advice,” he said. “I guess that’s the way I’m compensating for having not done it really well when I was coming up the ranks. I am trying to find people who might be at risk of making the same mistakes I did and being very accessible to those people, because I want them to have the benefit of whatever I have to offer.” Paying it back and paying it forward is vitally important, said Gamino, who tries to help people realize their potential even when they are able to recognize that potential themselves. “As often as you can, you have to do right by people,” he said. “At the end of the day, whatever business or industry you are in, it involves people. Never forgetting that. It’s easy to get focused on profit margin … and on the tactical, technical components and forget why you’re doing this in the first place.”

“We have such a diverse set of industries, a diverse set of needs and resources. By virtue of keeping up with those things, we tend to continue to find ourselves leading a lot of the conversation.”

Rosa Ramos-Kwok: Accomplished. Authentic. Ambitious.


osa joined Bank of America in February 2014 as the Global Wholesale Bank Chief Technology Officer. Prior to joining the bank, she was the Morgan Stanley Global head of Enterprise Production Management as well as the Americas regional head of Enterprise Infrastructure. Rosa had a 25+ year tenure at Morgan Stanley joining as a trainee and rising through the ranks to become Managing Director. She held roles in Application Development, Infrastructure Management, Risk Management and Production Management. Rosa was also the Chair of the Latino Employee Network. Rosa has been featured in several publications including Latina Style Magazine and Diversity and Careers Magazine, was recognized as a Trendsetter by Latin Trends magazine, and Hispanic Engineer and IT Magazine recently named Rosa as one of the top Latinas in Information Technology. In 2017, Rosa has been recognized in Fortune among the 50 most powerful Latinas in corporate America, a list compiled by the Association of Latino Professionals (ALPFA), and she ranks eighth among Business Insider’s 43 most powerful female engineers for the year. She was recognized as a great mind in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) by the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference (HENAAC) organization, was recognized by the Hispanic IT Executive Council (HITEC) as one of the top 100 U.S. based Latinos in Technology (2013, 2014, and 2015) and is a HITEC board member. Rosa is also a Senior Leadership Council member of the NY Chapter of the ALPFA and a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). How did you arrive to your current position? I joined Bank of America three years ago as the Chief Technology Officer for the Global Wholesale Bank after more than 25 years at Morgan Stanley. After two years at Bank of America, I had the opportunity to join Retail, Preferred and Small Business and GWIM Technology, leading the Consumer and Shared Services Operations Technology organization. I studied liberal arts in college and was drawn to Technology to help automate business processes and make the workplace more efficient. I learned to code in the Morgan Stanley technology training program.

is very special and unique. The next generation needs role models that look like our communities – you get that with HITEC.



What steps do we need to take to address the Hispanic Technology pipeline shortage? How can we improve Latino representation? I think Hispanic youth need to see role models that look like them and come from similar backgrounds. I think to improve representation we need to show the younger generation what is possible. Parents also have to be educated about the job market in technology – it is a great career with even more promise. What role do you see Latinos playing for BoA’s future, as leaders, customers and collaborators? The bank is committed to diversity and inclusion – for our employees to reflect the communities we serve. As Latino’s we are contributing to all of the firm’s lines of business, one of the fastest growing customer bases. We are focused on meeting the needs of Latinos. Our Mobile applications are available in Spanish – that is just one example of how important the Latino community is to the bank. Which is your main strategy to ensure success in your operations? Do your best everyday – focus on your people, the business and technology. I think it is important to connect and be available for your team and your clients.

What was given to you in terms of advice or mentorship that pushed you to where you are today? A few points – first, always be your authentic self. Remember to leverage your strengths just as much as you focus on your development areas. I have had a number of mentors along the way. One of my mentors encouraged me to stay on a more technical path, which has served me well. I also received great coaching about dealing with disappointments. While we all want our careers to grow exponentially, that does not always happen. Sometimes we have set backs. When you do, sulk for 24 hours and then get right back in the game and focus on your goals. As a recognized industry leader - what advice can you give to the upcoming generations? Careers are long. To achieve a long career, focus on your craft – have the right balance of patience to learn your craft. At the same time incorporate a sense of urgency to achieve and continue learning. Learn, learn, learn, have fun, collaborate, have integrity about who you are. Give back, be a role model. What advantages do you see in supporting organizations such as HITEC? The HITEC organization showcases great technology leaders (they also happen to be Hispanic!). The mentoring of emerging executives is something that 34 • March / April 2017

What are your most important work and professional values? Be true to yourself, remember where you came from, have integrity, try your best and help others along the way. How do you see the challenges ahead for your company and in your industry? How do you approach them? Technology is always changing – that is what makes it interesting – embrace it. I see challenges as opportunities – go toward them and be a thought leader in the process. What innovations are you most exited about? Lately I have been learning about and implementing Robotic Process Automation as well as digitizing business processes. Very cool! What is the main lesson you have learned at BoA? I have met great people at the bank – all committed to doing what is best for our customers and clients. All working to make our clients financial lives better – through the power of making connections. Technology helps drive those connections. What is the philosophy you lead your teams with? Teamwork – together we can accomplish so much more than any individual can. Doing the right thing never feels difficult – it feels right.

Rodolfo Dominguez: By: Steve Penhollow

A 10-Rule Ride to the Top Ranks


odolfo Dominguez was named Vice President of Business Transformation and Chief Digital Officer of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA LLC last August, an appointment that heightened his leadership in the automotive financial services industry. Now leading a team of more than 90 members that is responsible for the transformational change of people, processes and technologies that accelerate the company’s vision of providing a first-class digital experience for key stakeholders in the Americas region, Rodolfo is quick to remind us that his success arose from humble beginnings. Growing up in Mexico City, he learned how to be entrepreneurial as a way of filling gaps in the family budget. “From a very early age, I learned that a person’s value is not given by how much they have materially, but by their level of contribution to others” he said in a phone interview. As a teenager, Dominguez worked a number of jobs and also started several small businesses selling cold cuts, pottery and t-shirts at rock concerts. “It was a tough time for the country,” he said. “There were a number of downturns. I was able to learn very quickly that life has its ups and downs. And some of the folks who were selling t-shirts at the concerts were architects, doctors and dentists. During the crisis, they were out of a job and we found a way to help each other out.” Dominguez’ father advised that he pursue public accounting as a career. “I learned from my dad that this would provide me with a great foundation in terms of understanding the financial or accounting information flow of any business,” he said. “And that eventually allowed me to also understand how processes and systems support organizations.” A former mentor eventually offered Dominguez a job at Mercedes-Benz Financial Services in Mexico City. “I came over to the company 20 years ago,” he said. “I started as a portfolio accountant.” Dominguez moved up in the company ranks, including as a portfolio administration manager. “We would receive requests from the business, and I would get the key stakeholders together and collaborate until we arrived at a successful solution.” The team had to be creative, Dominguez said, because of the volatile economic situation in Mexico. “We had to find a way to remain competitive,” he said, “and support our customers and dealers through the ups and downs of the economy, while still making the company profitable.” Other titles Dominguez has held at Mercedes-Benz Financial Services include Vice President of Enterprise Portfolio Management, Vice President of Global Products, Processes and Systems, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Canada and Business Center Director in Canada.

In addition to his job responsibilities, Dominguez serves as president of the Michigan Chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) and works with at-risk students through Junior Achievement. “I have been very fortunate to have had many people help me throughout my career. It’s my turn to leverage my experience and resources and pay it forward” Dominguez said there are things he wishes that he knew when he was starting his career, things he learned the hard way, and he tries to impart some of these learnings to younger generations. He calls this collected wisdom his “toolbox.” Rule one: Stick to your values and never compromise your credibility. “Credibility is extremely hard to earn and it’s very easy to lose if you aren’t careful,” Dominguez said. “Stay true to your values no matter what position you are in.”

Rule two: Know what you want and set clear goals. “Short, mid- and long-term,” Dominguez said. “And make sure that everything you are doing brings you one step closer to those goals. Not everything might go your way, but if you know where you are going, you are going to make sure that the choices you make are getting you closer to that next step”



Rule three: Be humble and never stop learning. “Be curious about the world around you and never be afraid to ask questions,” Dominguez said. “That’s something I like to live with my team. Creating learning opportunities, not being afraid to take risks, being curious, asking questions, never losing that constant curiosity that makes you hungry to learn every day.” Dominguez said he listens to audio books and podcasts every day and he gives out books to members of his team. “Maybe sometimes my team looks at me like, ‘Oh, man. Another book,’” he said. “I believe in constantly renewing myself and learning, and the day I stop doing that, everybody should be very concerned.” Rule four: Show genuine concern for the people in your life. “That obviously includes your team members,” Dominguez said. “Learn what they value most and create winning situations.” In Mexico City, Dominguez said he interacted with many people who were not as fortunate as he was, and he learned to treat them with respect. “We can all learn from each other and help each other out”” he said. “‘Treat everyone with respect’ has been very, very critical for my success. Stay humble, stay grounded and never forget that everyone in life plays a key role in making you who you are.” Rule five: Be self-aware. “I find that self-awareness is your best friend,” Dominguez said. “It is good to know your strengths but also your opportunities and blind spots.” Rule six: Develop mechanisms to renew your energy and nurture your mind, body and soul. Dominguez said a team feeds off the energy of its team leader and other company leaders. “If you don’t constantly renew that and you get depleted or burnt out and you have nothing to give, you’d better not show up at the office,” he said. “You’re going to be driving your team down and that’s not fair.” Rule seven: Network. “Develop and cultivate strong professional and personal networks,” Dominguez said. “Whenever I have a big decision, I know I am going to reach out to three to five people. It’s important that I have access to those resources and that other people see me as a resource.” Rule eight: Take risks. “Sometimes the most rewarding opportunities involve risk,” Dominguez said. “So listen to your instincts and learn as much as you can when things don’t go your way.” 36 • March / April 2017

Rule nine: Communicate, communicate, communicate. “Learn to give people the information that they need, when they need it, with the right level of detail so they feel respected as you are implementing change,” Dominguez said. “The idea is that the people who are going through the change feel you are implementing change with them and not to them.” Rule ten: Be comfortable with ambiguity. “Don’t lose your mind over stuff you can’t change,” Dominguez said. “Focus on what you can control or influence.”

“Sometimes the most rewarding opportunities involve risk,” Dominguez said. “So listen to your instincts and learn as much as you can when things don’t go your way.”

Javier Soltero: Innovation That Never Quits


avier Soltero is one of Microsoft’s biggest rising stars. After rapidly ascending through the giant tech ranks, he was promoted to Corporate Vice President, Office Product Group in November, where he now leads the overall strategy for Microsoft Outlook. A key player in CEO Satya Nadella’s vision to continually innovate the brand, his philosophy of pushing boundaries and taking risks has positioned him as an agent of internal culture change. With a “No quitting, no whining” approach Javier is steadily leading Microsoft into the future. How did you arrive to your current position at Microsoft? Microsoft acquired Acompli, the company where I was CEO and Co-Founder of in 2014. Shortly after the acquisition, I was promoted to lead the Outlook product and most recently moved into a new role driving the overall strategy for the Office Product Group. What was given to you in terms of advice or mentorship that pushed you to where you are today? The best advice I ever got came from a poem called Cantares by Spanish poet Antonio Machado:

“Caminante, no hay camino. Se hace camino al andar. Al andar se hace camino y al volver la vista atras se ve la senda que nunca se ha de volver a pisar”. In English: “Wanderer, there is no road. The road is made by walking. One makes the road by walking, and when glancing behind one sees the path that will never be trod again”.

I learned this quote from my late stepfather who was a successful Puerto Rican artist and entrepreneur. It’s the best piece of advice I could ever hope to offer…keep walking, keep learning, don’t dwell on the past. Which is your main strategy to ensure success in your operations? Define success, get the right people on board, get out of their way. Lather, rinse, and repeat Which Microsoft innovations are you most excited about and what solutions do they provide? Microsoft is working across such a broad range of products; it would be very difficult to pick just a few. That said, I find our innovation around mixed reality technologies (Microsoft’s HoloLens technology for example) and our innovation in artificial intelligence incredible. One aspect of AI which is absolutely incredible to me is the advancements we’ve made in machine translation. As a bilingual person, I am amazed at the impact that allowing people from different parts of the world to communicate and collaborate in real time while speaking their native language can have in making the world better. What steps do we need to take to address the Hispanic Technology pipeline shortage? How can we improve Latino representation? Continued, increased investments in STEM education programs in schools in Latino communities is a good start. Talent is everywhere, we just need to nurture it and provide these young men and women with the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to help us continue to use technology to improve the lives of people around the world. Microsoft and other companies are making great efforts to support this through support of educational institutions as well as through their hiring practices. We have a long way to go, but I am personally very encouraged by the amazing Latino talent I see at Microsoft and in many other places. As a recognized industry leader - what advice can you give to the upcoming generations? It doesn’t matter where you come from, what you look like, what language you speak. What matters is how hard you’re willing to work and how good you are at your trade. Opportunity shows up in the least likely places, you just need to be open to it and be willing to work hard to get it. What role do you see Latinos playing for Microsoft’s future - as customers and collaborators? As a global company, I am proud to know Microsoft’s technology and services are trusted by companies throughout Latin America including my native Puerto Rico. It means even more when I consider the increasing number of Latinos contributing to build and deliver these products and services around the world. In order to compete and thrive, Microsoft needs to continue to innovate and build products that appeal to our global audience. Doing this requires nurturing and growing a diverse talent pool that includes Latinos and people from around the world and letting them loose on solving the hardest problems. What are your most important professional values? They are best summarized by the two main rules I’ve asked my 5-year old son to live by: “No quitting, no whining”. Commitment is a critical ingredient in any functioning organization. Often in

the face of disagreement or difficult challenges, people waver and often passively or actively work to undermine the efforts of their team. Similarly, when people struggle, too often the discussion turns towards emotions instead of focusing on what people can do to work together to solve big problems. What are the main challenges facing the Tech industry today, and how to you approach them? The biggest challenge facing the tech industry today is the effect of all the rapid progress technology has delivered in productivity and modernization on people that lack the skills to participate in the modern workforce. As an industry, we are slowly coming to terms with the balance that is required to both drive big advancements in technology while investing in education and skills building that will enable as many people as possible to participate and take advantage of these advancements. The next biggest challenge is the need for more diversity in the industry. Gender and ethnic diversity is not where it should be in the technology industry. The good news is this is now being actively discussed and companies across the industry are being more proactive about correcting this. We can’t build the future without the best talent in the world. The best talent is diverse and inclusive. What is the main lesson you have learned at Microsoft? Growing and modernizing products that are used by hundreds of millions of people is extremely difficult. Listening to users is critical, but often the people who are most committed to your products are the ones that are most resistant to changes that would make the same product more appealing to a new audience. What is the philosophy you lead your teams with? Same as above. No quitting, no whining.

Design by: Carlos Cuevas


Best Companies for Latinos in Tech The cornerstone of any great domestic Accenture firm boasts over 47,000 employees and has already made strides to bring economy has always been diversifica- The in a diverse workforce to the tune of 7.3 percent of their employees being tion. So when the United States saw Hispanic. That is above the average for a company their size. Among executive exponential investment in technology positions, Latinos make up over 750 employees. infrastructure and data management, It also launched a new referral program to reward employees for successthe only real question was how lucra- fully referring women and minority candidates in the US. And, as a company, it is facilitating open, conversations about diversity with current employees, tive could it get? the industry and in the communities where their potential employees According to the Bureau of Labor within work and live. Statistics, 2014 saw 17 million people Additional programs include Diversity Management courses to equip execuemployed in the technology field. Just tives with skills to manage diverse teams effectively, while fostering an incluthree years later, it became a $100 bil- sive work environment. Also, Professional Development enables ethnically dilion industry with efforts across the verse employees to build skills for success through leadership, client-centricity, and performance, among others. country and in Washington D.C. to pre- negotiation The Diverse Supplier Development Program pairs executive mentors pare more Hispanics for the jobs of the with “protégé” businesses to strengthen the relationships with minority-run future. Not only would that empower companies. The goal is to develop the economic influence of the nation’s diverse suppliers. To date, that has included 70 in the country with a largest minority block, but also it would 2020 plan to reach 170 partnermake a dent in the staggering underships domestically. representation in the ranks of employees and executives. The discrepancy is not so jarring un- Bank of America til recent statistics by the U.S. Equal Around the world, it places the responsibility of building diverse teams and Employment Opportunity Commission fostering an inclusive environment on a corporate structure continually on lookout for talented employees. This accountability starts with CEO, (EEOC) stated the private high tech sec- the Brian Moynihan, who chairs the Global Diversity and Inclusion Council. tor only employed 13 percent Latinos in More than half of the global workforce is women and more than 40 perits total workforce. Hispanic executives cent of the American workforce is racially and ethnically diverse. in the technology field nationwide hover The financial institution has expanded to dedicated campus and specialat a dismal 5 percent of the payroll. Yet ty-sourcing recruiting teams, which partner with more than 200 colleges, there are silver linings finally emerging universities and other organizations around the world to recruit diverse talThe most recent campus recruiting class was more than 50 percent diwith national companies actively seek- ent. verse. 12 employee networks have more than 70,000 memberships around ing Latino employees with a wide vari- the world. Among those universities are Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) ety of outreach programs and diversity Accolades being named among the top 10 companies in Diversity by MBA incentives. These are the top tech com- Magazine’s 2015 ranking of 50 Out Front Companies for Diversity Leadership and Best Places for Women panies for Hispanics across the country. and Diverse Managers to Work. It also has been recognized in the Top 10 Best-in-Class Category for Representation and Workplace Inclusion.

38 • March / April 2017



The tech giant is one of the few on the list that not only boast outreach programs, but also employee groups to highlight the diversity in the workforce. That includes the Conexión: Latino Employee Community. Over 7 percent of the executive leadership team is comprised of Latinos with 5 percent of its overall total employees being Hispanic. In 160 chapters across 43 countries, over 25,000 employees now participate in the Cisco Inclusion and Diversity Community. This platform helps diverse groups connect, explore their unique passions and talents, innovate, and excel. The numerous awards bestowed on Cisco include: Cisco is number 16 on the list of 50 Out Front Companies For Diverse Managers To Work; In partnership with Great Place to Work, Fortune ranked Cisco fourteenth on their list of the World’s Best Multinational Workplaces; Cisco Mexico was ranked in fifth place in places to work. This year we also received a special recognition in the area of credibility. Lastly, the company has a full-time Chief Diversity Officer in charge with developing and cultivating programs to attract more women and minority employees.

Inclusion is an integral part of how Johnson & Johnson leverage diversity into the company. It implements programs, policies and processes that enable all the employees to feel the company makes diversity a priority.

Los Alamos National Laboratory Los Alamos National Laboratory was recently recognized by Latina Style as a top 50 employer for Latina women, the first national laboratory to achieve the distinction. With a proven track record of reaching out to Hispanics for employment opportunities, LANL frequently works with organizations like the National Society for Hispanic Professionals (NSHP) on events like the LatPro Hispanic Diversity Job Fair. Out of it’s 10,800 employees 37.9 % are Hispanic, their largest minority group. It’s Women’s Employee Resource Group currently has four Lab subgroups that help provide a network of mentors and peers to ensure skills are developed to their full potential. Director Charlie McMillan’s commitment to making the Laboratory an employer of choice for Latinas and other women who are considering careers at scientific and technical institutions confirms LANL as leaders in diversity and a top choice for Latinos in Tech.

Hewlett Packard


HP joins many others on this list as a company with a full-time Chief Diversity Officer in Lesley Slaton Brown. The result show when, in the United States, minorities constituted 17.3 percent of their executive employees. In the United States it provided funding and products for Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), which addresses the underrepresentation of minorities in business leadership positions. Its Employee Resources Groups (ERG) bring together employees with common interests and backgrounds. HP has 115 ERGs worldwide, representing aspects of diversity including gender, ethnicity or national origin. In the Americas, HP sponsored the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineer’s Executive Leadership program, a five-day program designed to develop leadership excellence, strategic thinking and planning in preparation for executive roles. Key talent from HP as well as other leading technology companies participated. HP make efforts to expand our workforce diversity by proactively recruiting best-in-class diverse talent, embedding diversity into all core people development processes and by sponsoring key development programs to prepare diverse top talent for career advancement and professional growth.

To help foster diversity and inclusion, Microsoft has a rich community of Employee Resource Groups (ERG) and Employee Networks (EN). Its approach to diversity and inclusion does not stop with its workforce. It includes helping to build a pipeline of candidates for jobs in the tech industry, investing in diverse suppliers, and partnering with policy makers and others on broad reaching activities in this space. HOLA, the Latino EGR, has a vision to educate and connect Microsoft to the Latino communities and enable the company’s mission within the global Hispanic communities to realize their full potential. It also aims at enhancing employee development and supporting building a pipeline within Microsoft through aiding in recruiting, retaining and advancing current and future employees of Latino descent. That includes engaging the Hispanic communities in the development of products and services. Finally, that means driving and participating in community outreach events. Microsoft recruiters and business leaders recruit at many conferences and events throughout the year, including Grace Hopper, Tapia, National Society of Black MBAs, National Society of Hispanic MBAs, Out and Equal, Recruit Military Career Expo and others.

Johnson & Johnson Among the most ubiquitous companies on the list, Johnson & Johnson established Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and have partnered with the Office of Diversity & Inclusion in creating an open forum to exchange ideas and to strengthen the linkage to and within diverse communities. ERGs, formerly known as Affinity Groups, engage an estimated 13,000 employees across 186 U.S. chapters and 18 non-domestic chapters. 12 enterprise-wide ERGs are uniquely positioned to provide key insights, strategically focused on driving better outcomes on behalf of our employees, the marketplace and the community. ERGs worked with the Johnson & Johnson Supplier Diversity group in support of the Company’s efforts to become the first health care firm to be inducted into the Billion Dollar Roundtable, an elite group of corporations that have achieved spending of at least $1 billion with diverse suppliers. 40 • March / April 2017

Telefonica In a company with a team comprised by almost 100 nationalities, heterogeneity is an accurate reflection of what its customers are composed of and it encourages creativity. To help the promotion of diversity among our staff, during 2016, it established the Global Diversity Council of Telefónica, led by Laura Abasolo, member of the Executive Committee of the company. Diversity is integral to the organization, as it employees in more than 21 countries (three of which are represented on the Board of Directors) and operates in 17. Outreach efforts have included active recruiting of minorities and women to the total of 47 percent of employees all under age of 30 and female in 2015. To date, total recruitment of both minorities and women have equaled over 10,000 employees.

The Coca-Cola Company Perhaps the best-known company on the list, the total workforce is comprised by 19 percent of Hispanics with eight percent of corporate headquarters also Latino. The three pillars of diversity education are Diversity Training, a Diversity Speaker Series and our Diversity Library. The Coca-Cola Company also offer supplier diversity training to help ensure that associates understand how to leverage the procurement power of the company by creating a pool of suppliers that include minority- and women-owned businesses. The total worldwide employees of 123,200 is among the most diverse of any major company on the planet. That comes as a result of a comprehensive recruitment and training policy. Many people across the company continue to work diligently to help CocaCola advance in the diversity journey and build practices on diversity, inclusion and fairness. It includes associates in the process. The company garners their feedback through formal surveys and informally through their participation in the business resource groups, various diversity education programs and the Resolution Resources Program, where associates can work to resolve issues they face in our Company.

Other Top Companies: • Gartner • Link America • Ultima Software • Intel Corporation • AT&T • IBM Corporation • Xerox • Rackspace Hosting • United Corporation • Boston Corporation

Wells Fargo You could say Wells Fargo was founded with diversity in its blood with its earliest examples of supporting Latino business back in 1875. Today, the Enterprise Diversity and Inclusion Council is chaired by CEO and President, Timothy Sloan, and is comprised of senior leaders who have been identified by our Operating Committee. They oversee partnering with the Operating Committee to establish goals and set direction in the areas of team member diversity and inclusion, market segment diversity, supplier diversity, and regulatory and external reputation. With 269,000 in its global workforce, 42 percent of American employees are ethnically and racially diverse. Team Member Networks align with strategy and are devoted to professional growth and education, community outreach, recruiting and retention, business development, and customer insight. Individuals connected by a shared background, experience, or other affinity organize each network. Latin Connection acts the company’s Hispanic organization for the growing number of professional and executive level employees. To implement diversity and inclusion in every aspect of business, it collaborates with key internal partners including Human Resources, Government and Community Relations, Enterprise Marketing, and Corporate Communications.

Top in STEM Accenture through ASPIRA AssociationAccenture offers multiyear internships and $3,000 scholarships for college sophomores studying business, engineering, computer science, information systems, or math. They are awarded in conjunction with the ASPIRA Association Lockhead Martin - Viva Technology: As part of the Minds in STEM (GMIS) — Hispanic students participating in GMIS’ Viva Technology program experience a day filled with fun, hands-on STEM-focused activities. Exxon Mobile: - The Hispanic Heritage Foundation, in partnership with ExxonMobil, identifies, nurtures and prepares future Latino leaders in STEM. The Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards recognize achievements in math and engineering, while Latinos on the Fast Track, or LOFT, provides mentoring and guidance to promising Hispanic STEM students. Comcast: Last year NCLR (National Council of La Raza) and Comcast announced the first cohort of Comcast Digital Innovation grantees. For 10 years, grants have supported both existing and new initiatives that help Latinos improve their lives through the use of technology, and this initiative is sure to reach many more .

Story by: Rita Cook

Microtech’s Tony Jimenez



uccessful, humble and a leader in the Hispanic community, Tony Jimenez is living the American Dream. It is a dream he worked hard to achieve. It is a dream he does not take lightly. “There are people out there who do not want to see Latinos succeed,” Jimenez, the founder of MicroTech, said in a recent interview. That does not daunt him, however; it just makes him work that much harder. “It is difficult for folks to think you did it the right way with no extra benefits or extra help,” he says about being Hispanic and rising to the top of his field with no handouts. “At the end of the day, I hope people will take a look at my efforts and successes and realize the opportunity is there if you apply yourself. We have the ability to do great things in the community.” Jimenez identifies with Texas even though he has lived in a number of states as an military brat. Technically from Virginia he was born at the Portsmouth Navy Hospital, but shortly after his birth his Navy father was transferred. Over the years he lived in Germany and Spain and around the United States, having joined the Army himself when he was old enough. During that chapter, he traveled around the world and then ended up back in Virginia in 1991. He says he still has a unique connection with Virginia, but he likes to call Texas home. It was in Texas where he was stationed in San Antonio and where he received his bachelor’s in Business Management from St. Mary’s University. Jimenez also has a master’s in Computers and Information Systems from Missouri’s Webster University and a master’s in Acquisition Management from Florida Institute of Technology (Florida Tech) in Melbourne. He is a graduate of the Executive Education Course at the Dartmouth Tuck School of Business and is a National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Governance Fellow. He has the military to thank for his success in technology since it was while he was enlisted that he was steered in that direction. “I didn’t choose it, it chose me,” he says. “I was working in the military in what they call the acquisition side and I essentially got about halfway through my military career and I was responsible for buying largepurchase and equipment items that Uncle Sam needed in order to make sure the mission was a success.” Around that time he got more involved in the technology purchase area of the business and he says 42 • March / April 2017

Talks Success

before he knew it he had his various master’s degrees. “It was after that I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time (with) the technology to decipher requirements so I could make informed acquisitions as they call it,” he explains. “I got involved in some pretty neat stuff early on — one thing led to another, and before I knew it I spoke technology fluently.” Jimenez retired in 2003 from the Army and after a brief stint at a large technology company, where he worked for six months, he decided pretty quickly he had the things he needed to start his own company. Early on, money was the only issue with his startup, but he did it anyway in 2004. “Access to capital in the first few years was a challenge, but we worked through that and attracted some good partners and people and we grew to amazing numbers,” he explains. From there, his company was the fastest-growing Hispanic business in the nation three years in a row and was recognized by everyone in the industry as a company to emulate. “We grew and grew, and early on I took some partners on. We eventually made the decision it was time to do it on my own,” he explains, adding that two years ago, he bought his partners out and restructured the company. With that restructuring, he is doing some innovative things. As a result, he says his company is back in its original growth pattern “and the rest is going to remain to be seen.” Jimenez says the good news is the company is seeing the same things now that he saw the first time around during the first round exponential growth. “I feel good about the fact that I am back in the growth pattern, and this time around we are a lot better. I think the growth we saw the first time is nothing compared to what we will see now,” he adds. Overall, MicroTech is an industry leading

prime contractor on over 100 federal projects and holds more than 25 procurement vehicles, offering access to 2,500 vendors and over a million technology products and services. Since founding MicroTech, Jimenez has grown the business into a profitable multimillion-dollar company, providing IT and network support to many Fortune 500 companies around the globe. Even with the growth of MicroTech, however, Jimenez says success can be “pretty scary.” “At first you feel great about it, and then after a while you begin to realize that you had not really intended it to happen,” he says. “But somewhere along the line you became a role model and an inspiration for people who are trying to, or thinking about starting a company.” That comes with a lot of responsibility in his mind because he believes it is imperative that he represent the community properly. Not just the Hispanic community, but all minority communities. “Those successes are not as commonplace and we have to be careful because with success comes scrutiny,” he explains. “Initially, success was wonderful and I thought it was amazing. My family and friends loved it and folks said they knew me back when.” Fast forward to now. Jimenez says that when you begin to build that portfolio, you start to realize it is more than just the accolades. You are now an important part of the community you represent. He is all about giving back and sits on the board of the Boy Scouts, the George Mason University’s Board of Visitors, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy Executive Advisory Committee, Partnership for a New American Economy, and the Latino Donor Collaborative. He is the former National Chairman of Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA) and is a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the American Legion, the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). “You must represent in the best possible way — and give back and mentor and make sure you are doing everything ethically and responsibly,” he says. “When folks see your success, it opens the door for others.” For his achievements, Jimenez has been named “Executive of the Year,” “Most Innovative Entrepreneur,” “Most Influential Hispanic in IT,” “Entrepreneur of the Year,” “Small Business Person of the Year,” and “CEO of the Year” by several national organizations. Jimenez also has been recognized as one of the “Most Influential Hispanics in the Nation” by Hispanic Business Magazine, one of the “Most Powerful Minority Men in Business” by the Minority Enterprise Executive Council, “Most Innovative Entrepreneur” by Goldman Sachs, PODER-abc* Entrepreneurship Award winner,

one of the “Top 50 Most Influential Virginians” by Virginian Business, and he was awarded a Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP) for his sustained support and advocacy of Veterans and Latinos. “For me, the most important thing is to know the things I am doing is opening doors for others out there,” he says. “Someone from a poor family, Hispanic, minority, from the military was able to figure this out. The things I have accomplished came from hard work. I knew and understood what I needed to do. My father and mother who did not graduate high school both understood the importance of education and taught me and my brother and sister how important education was.” Under Jimenez’s leadership, MicroTech has been awarded the distinguished Excellence in Partnership (EIP) Award as General Service Administration’s (GSA) “Most Successful Newcomer” by the Coalition for Government Procurement, the Top 100 Minority Business Enterprise Award (MBE 100), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce “Blue Ribbon Small Business” Award, the “Top 25 Disabled Veteran-Owned Business” Award, the U.S. Department of the Army “Featured Small Business,” and the U.S. Department of Transportation — “Small Business Success Story.” Jimenez says he still gets excited when he reads about other people’s success, too. “That is what success is all about is getting excited when other people do great things. And before you know it, we won’t be in the minority; we will be in the majortoty of people that others know you come to get the job done,” he explains. “We have some great leaders out there and I think the most important thing for people to know right now is that the future is ours. If we don’t seize the opportunity right now, then a dream never becomes a reality.” In closing, he says when it is all said and done, he wants folks to know he worked hard and made the sacrifices to blaze the path for others. “I have no problem with taking risks and taking the scrutiny that comes with being one of the early folks in the industry because there is a lot of sceptsism that comes with the success if you are Hispanic” Jimenez concludes. “I have been told Hispanics don’t know IT, there aren’t that many Hispanic in this business. I guess, looking back, I want people to remember that I opened the door and I proved to people that we (Hispanics) can and will continue to be a player in this space and more important I did it at a time when it was not easy. The more we can bang our own drum and talk about our success, the easier it will be for the young people who aspire to do great things to be able to do those great things.”

Story by: Judi Jordan

Laura Gomez: Silicon Crusader



ake way, stubborn obstacles of di-

versity in tech: Laura Gomez, founder/CEO of Atipica, has breached the portals of Silicon Valley’s upper strata with her brainchild; a venturebacked data and machine learning startup for the talent lifecycle. Decoded, Atipica quantifies the benefits of diversity through highly sophisticated data. Gomez is shattering glass ceilings and kicking down doors with A.I., titanium tenacity, and a heart full of joy. This is Laura’s world. She speaks the language of “the Valley,” and they are finally listening. In the tech game it’s unquestionably a race about who’s first to the party – and to the finish line. It can be a slog, but for the intrepid Gomez it was a destiny moment. In 2014, she seized the diversity baton that no one else seemed willing to grasp — and ran with it. A hard-core techie, Gomez proposed using predictive data cases analysis to drive home the point for diversity of Latinos in tech. Gomez’s nerdy but nice approach to the dearth of diversity captured the interest of thought leaders. Timing was right but it wasn’t easy. Gomez asserts, “I always say it takes ten years of work to look like an overnight success; I make sure that everyone who works with me knows that.” However, Atipica was an idea for which the execution was overdue, and Gomez was the apt choice to lead the effort. “A lot of joy comes from this business, and as a Latina it’s another intersection, and I’m a woman,” she said. “It’s also very joyful; I learn every day. It’s not about me. I don’t think of the success of Laura Gomez; I think it’s a milestone for other Latinos. For them to see that I could have a mission-driven start up.” Gomez obviously feels she has a responsibility. “I care deeply in our DNA about diversity in our community; that I can build a successful business. I think that’s really important,” she added. “I’m a California immigrant from Mexico. I was undocumented until I went to Berkeley. It’s important to understand immigration reform … a lot of entrepreneurs come here from different countries to pursue their dreams.” Initially, like many crusaders in the making, Gomez wasn’t quite convinced of her special powers until others made her aware of her potential. Gomez came to the U.S. from Mexico as a child; her mother’s health issues drove them north, but destiny planted their roots where her nascent intellect got the boost and encouragement that propelled her toward success. 44 • March / April 2017

“Through high school I had great teachers who said I could achieve anything I wanted,” she said. “I was always kind of skeptical. I grew up in the heart of Silicon Valley near Palo Alto. I remember getting my first email way back in high school where access to a computer was not standard, but because I grew up in Silicon Valley, it was very accessible.” Gomez always has been ahead of the curve, jumping head first into tech at age 17. She pioneered with Twitter in its experimental stages as a founding member of the International team and spearheaded the social media site’ product explosion into multiple languages and scores of foreign lands. “After my master’s I worked for some big names and small names and I think was active building out Twitter as a lead of localization,” she said. “I think being present at that time of hyper growth and change helps me when I talk to my clients.” She also toiled at Jawbone, YouTube, Google Brasil, and AKQA London before taking the big leap. It took another journalist to point Gomez to her moment of destiny. “I had been talking about diversity for a long time,” she recalled. “After I left Twitter I wrote my blog. A journalist who followed me said, ‘Hey there’s a lot of talks about diversity. Would you like to be on a panel? It’s with the editor in chief of USA Today, and they have a representative for diversity on Facebook and Google and Rev. Jesse Jackson is in.’ So I said, ‘yes I’d be more than happy to participate in this panel.’” The seed that would grow to be Atipica was planted. “That’s where Atipica came in; everyone was talking about the pipeline … is there not enough talent to fill the different roles in tech companies? I replied, ‘yes, there is.’” That led to the elephant in the room: biases. “What are the biases? A lot of people talk about conscious and unconscious bias as it relates to diversity, so yes, we can all relate to this,” she said. “There are very conscious and unconscious patterns of bias that we adhere to, so that’s where Atipica came from a little over two years ago. I want to be able to learn data so that people can understand the ramifications of their choices now.” Atipica is a work in progress. “We actually still focus on diversity on our own model, we’re powered by AI, artificial intelligence to learn the good things from computers and remove the things that humans tend to propagate — around talent acquisition, mobility, and employee happiness,” Gomez said. Initial funding came in from angel investors, while

Gomez and her team had plenty of support in the community. “All of my early investors were Latinos,” she said. “Those were small amounts and it was enough to sustain me and my team early on.” Gomez and her team kept up the good work. “About a year ago we got funded by True Ventures, which was sort of a monumental step for the company and me.” Now she travels all over the world, answering questions, learning, sharing. She’s brutally honest; it sounds stressful. “People ask me if regardless of gender or race if being a tech entrepreneur is a lonely ride even if you have a co-founder. I don’t have a cofounder! I’m a Latina founder — it’s like I took the path that’s most difficult,” she said. Still, with all of this going on, I need to be grateful. and for this I do practice a lot of wellness around gratitude.” Giving back for Gomez is work-related. She’s a founding member of Project Include, a non-profit organization that addresses diversity and inclusion in tech. Despite this all, she rejects the label of trailblazer.

“ I’m always asking what is my opportunity in giving others opportunity? I don’t take the success of my company for granted. The success of my company means the success of my community as well.” “Paving the way is not really how I feel, it’s just, ‘can I just open some doors?’, and if I have to knock down some doors and endure challenges in the process, I’ll learn from those challenges and relay that back,” she said. “I think that’s really important. I’ve said this before, that everyone has a linear career path. I’m always asking what is my opportunity in giving others opportunity? I don’t take the success of my company for granted. The success of my company means the success of my community as well. I’m always asking how I can sustain success so that we don’t get pigeon holed into ‘oh, I invested one time into this Latina startup and it wasn’t this …’” Gomez’s vision has attracted the Institute for Technology and Public Policy; she currently serves on the board alongside Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Secretary of State George P .Schultz. “I want to de-politicize work opportunities thru data,” she said. Obviously, this is terrific news for Latinos, women and all diversity candidates who have felt the sting of exclusion, but it is also good for the companies and clients that have opted to access Gomez’s brilliance to their own success advantage. Her next step is to raise the next round of funding. “I want to raise another round and become a very highly valued startup,” Gomez said. “Ambition never sleeps. With entrepreneurship, it’s always something. Even if things are going really well. It’s like now … I need to hire more people. But there’s a lot of joy in that!”

By José Madero

Behind the HITEC In a world where technology rules, Hispanics may seem to some to have been left behind. But not if HITEC can help it. In fact, the organization is geared toward helping Latinos become not only technologically savvy, but to become the leaders in these fields. To ensure that, the organization, comprised of senior business and IT executives, is raising funds to award scholarships to the next generation of Latinos. It has set its sights on the Cristo Rey schools, a group of Catholic College preparatory schools with 10,700 students across 21 states. Cristo Rey recruits students from economically disadvantaged families. Through rigorous training and other programs, the schools prepare them for college in several fields. Andre Arbelaez, president of HITEC, says that the organization selected the Cristo Rey schools as because of their success history. The schools are noted for instilling in students a culture of work ethic, study and respect, with many students already dressing like junior executives during classes. “The delivery of incredible students who have difficult income situations and 100% college acceptance rates across the country,” Arbelaez says.


Latinos in technology The mantra held by some in the corporate and technological world is that Latinos are just not into technology, hence the lack of students going into those fields. Arbelaez does not believe that. “At a high level that is the narrative. I believe the reality is a lot of corporations don’t send recruiters to colleges that are part of the Hispanic association of Colleges and Universities,” he says. There’s talent out. That’s part of this overall process. It’s an effort that needs more guidance and leadership. The reality is there is a lot of outpour. We need to push, even our own internal companies to look to these places.” HITEC began in 2007. The organization was able to hold their first event in New York that year and ever since it has been “a great ride,” Arbelaez says. HITEC brings together a family of people in technology who are like-minded. It brings companies. Mentorship programs and helps develop relationships, geared toward helping Latinos grow in the technology world. That’s why raising funds and giving scholarships to 27 different Cristo Rey schools is so important, he says.


“The audience of executive level Hispanics that we have created, an opportunity to recognize one’s obligation and responsibility to support the next generation of students that may have not been as fortunate as we have been.

HITEC’s 3 Pillars Pillar 1 – Scholarships and Grants The HITEC Foundation is committed to early academic engagement of Hispanic youth as well as their persistence through degree completion. At the middle-school level, it provides grants so that students can attend technology-based summer camps. It also awards college scholarships to Hispanic high school students who have a demonstrated interest in and talent for STEM. In order to retain college and university STEM students, the HITEC Foundation provides internship and mentorship opportunities with its corporate partners, thereby ensuring a smoother transition into technical careers. Pillar 2 – Technical and Educational Resources Feeding the pipeline begins by cultivating an early interest in STEM especially among underserved middle and high schools with high Hispanic populations. The HITEC Foundation is committed to improving access to technology, whether by establishing Wi-Fi connectivity or providing computers and software to schools with high Hispanic enrollment. It also delivers STEM educational materials to supplement the local school curriculum and hands-on, computer-based activities that bring to life the math and science lessons learned in the classroom. Pillar 3 – Executive Development To increase Hispanic representation on corporate boards, the HITEC Foundation collaborates with HITEC on the Emerging Executive Program (EEP). The program identifies Hispanic IT leaders who demonstrate high desire, initiative and potential to advance into executive positions. In addition to mentorship and executive coaching, EEP participants interact with senior IT executives and business leaders. The program offers a safe environment for Hispanics to seek and exchange guidance on career-related issues. They come away with a deeper understanding of how corporate executives use core IT competencies and performance metrics to improve their organizations.

Cisco’s Nina Lualdi

Balancing Innovation and Culture

Nina Lualdi


is Cisco’s Sr. Director, Strategic Innovation and an advisor to start-up companies in Silicon Valley and Latin America. In the past three years, she has helped lead the Latin America strategy to develop new markets and drive transformational opportunities through customer, partner and start-up co-innovation. She is the recipient of the 2016 HITEC Top 50 award presented to the most influential leaders in Latin America and Spain’s IT industry. With more than two decades of experience managing complex, multicultural and multi-geographic transformation initiatives on a global scale, Ms. Lualdi has managed some of the most critical strategic initiatives within Cisco. Here she shares her thoughts on how to effect change in an industry driven by constant innovation, while staying firmly grounded to your roots. High tech is at an important inflexion point today, primarily driven by the advent of cloud and cloud-based applications in conjunction with the Internet of Things and the rapid evolution in artificial intelligence. But unlike previous technology waves that focused mostly on back-end processes and business models, technology today is much more about the human experience. Almost everything we know and do in the larger world is technology-driven in some way. The result is a more consumer-driven society that is more and more dependent on technology every day. All of this makes it extremely important that technology companies understand the customer; and more and more, the customer is diverse – coming from different parts of the world, with different cultural backgrounds, and different life experiences. This is where diversity and inclusion in your employee population is a huge advantage. Latinos represent a large and growing percentage of the US population, and Latin America is an increasingly important and lucrative market. Because of this, it is important that Latinos are represented in the companies that are creating technology solutions for these markets. Companies that truly understand the significance of diversity and the importance of diverse perspectives are the ones that will succeed. And the most successful companies will be those that not only seek diversity, but create an inclusive environment where every employee can bring his or her whole self to work. There is a unique and historic opportunity in high tech today because of the fast pace and global nature of technology solutions. For employees willing to gain the technology skills, there is a unique

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opportunity because virtually every industry will urgently require those skills in order to remain competitive and survive. For companies in different industries and geographies, there is a need to work together at a level that has never been seen before. This is where Cisco’s culture of inclusion and collaboration is a huge advantage. Cisco understands the value diversity in partnering, in building the best teams, and in fueling innovation. I also think it is important for companies to find ways for employees in different functions and geographies to share their unique expertise – to learn from one another. This can be accomplished through job rotations where employees have the opportunity to drive business in a different cultural environment or to learn a new part of the business altogether. Mentoring and sponsorship programs are also a great way of sharing this type of knowledge. The more we do this, the more we get closer to our customers, partners, and stakeholders, and the better we get at competing and driving the change that we all strive for in the world. What this means is that we need to reward and support employees who take the risk to move and embark on these experiences and make sure we leverage their knowledge not just to drive business, but to help evolve the overall culture of the company, which tremendously accelerates the move towards a more inclusive environment. Another thing I believe will be increasingly important in the high tech industry and that I hope and strive to encourage is appreciation for all generations of workers. There’s a misperception that high tech tends to be an industry that believes “younger is better” and “old is obsolete.” On the positive side, there has been a concerted effort in the industry to make sure the new generation is included and set up for success, but we need to be careful not to swing the pendulum completely to the other side and create an environment where the mature and experienced workforce feels excluded. We Latinos can be an influencer here as our culture is very rooted in the mature and older generations playing a key role in family and society as a whole. We can help our companies come up with approaches to help in this area. In the end, study after study shows that your most experienced employees, contrary to common wisdom, are still your most productive and effective ones. Having grown up in Venezuela and having worked extensively in the US, Europe and Latin America, I’m privileged to have a global perspective. I have many unique lessons and experiences that I bring to the table. I have used my Latino background and unique perspective to my advantage – to approach things differently, move things along, and in the end turn things that most people would think impossible into a reality.

Marco D’Antonio, Senior IT Examiner Marco D’Antonio has 18 years of experience as a bank examiner with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). He currently serves as a Senior Information Technology (IT) Examiner. Mr. D’Antonio is particularly experienced in the information technology, anti-money laundering, and terrorist financing review of financial institutions. As a bank examiner, Mr. D’Antonio has served as the Subject Matter Expert in Information Technology and Bank Secrecy Act/AntiMoney Laundering from 2002 through 2008. He is a certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist, a certification recognized worldwide by employers in both the private industry and government sectors. In his tenure at FDIC, Mr. D’Antonio served as Examinerin-Charge for numerous complex financial institutions in the safety and soundness examinations, and assisted in various data centers’ IT examinations. Also, Mr. D’Antonio has participated in numerous money laundering examinations and investigations. In addition to his responsibilities as a bank examiner, Mr. D’Antonio currently serves as a Corporate Recruiter for FDIC and a Diversity Coordinator in the Austin/Lubbock Territory of FDIC. His primary responsibility as a Diversity Coordinator is promoting increased diversity among the FDIC field offices in the Austin and Lubbock territories. 1. When and why did you join the FDIC? What has the experience been like? The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is such a phenomenal place to work. It has excellent career and developmental opportunities, an emphasized work/life balance, competitive pay, and comprehensive benefits. I joined FDIC a couple years after completing my education at the University of Southern California. I actually learned of opportunities at the FDIC through a networking experience, and am so thankful that I followed through with the reference to apply. I began my career as a Risk Management Examiner Trainee in FDIC’s Lubbock Field Office in Lubbock, Texas. FDIC provides many rotational opportunities for examiners to explore various careers within the Corporation. One can specialize in many areas such as accounting, capital markets, fraud, bank secrecy, information technology (IT), trust -- the list goes on. During my tenure specializing as a Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) Specialist for over six years in the area of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Activities, I examined banks’ operating systems for threats to security and monitored for fraudulent transactions, among other things. This experience piqued my interested in learning more about the integrity of financial institutions’ information technology systems and how these businesses protect customer information (hence my career move to IT). Not only was I excited to have discovered by niche, but it was an added bonus that FDIC sponsored all the training I needed to develop my skills in my chosen area of specialty.

As with any position in any field, the day-to-day can sometimes get a little hectic. However, I know that what I am doing matters. FDIC employees believe in the mission of the Corporation, and we operate with the understanding that our work has a direct impact on the public. My job is to instill the confidence of the banking system to the public and to protect the consumers’ deposits. Financial institutions rely on the FDIC to equip them with the proper information and guidance to improve their information security posture to safeguard customer information. It is especially rewarding when bankers express their gratitude in our partnership with this collaborative effort, which I highly value. 2. What is the philosophy you lead your teams with? When I lead assignments, I strive to uphold the values of the FDIC, which are: integrity, teamwork, competence, effectiveness, fairness, and financial responsibility. I believe in fostering a sense of comradery, mutual respect, and accountability for one another, and in empowering individual team members to continually develop their skillsets by learning from one another. 3. What has been the biggest challenge you have had to face and how did you tackle it? While the decision to pursue a career with the FDIC was an easy one, leaving my extended family and friends in Los Angeles, California to transition to my job in Lubbock, Texas was quite challenging. It was difficult to adjust to a new location without the family support and without knowing anyone in the new city. As a result of my relocation, however, I gained independence and became more self-confident and mature. I felt purposeful and mission-driven, which helped propel me forward in focusing on the positives and potential successes of my career and ways to give back to my community. Leaving home was hard, but it thrust me forward into a career and lifestyle that I tremendously enjoy. 4. What is the most important piece of advice that was passed on to you? Three things come to mind: 1.Never forget to look back and remember how you got here and who helped you. 2.Pave the way for others. 3.Success is not a measure of how much you achieve, but how far you have come from where you started.

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Story by: Judi Jordan Photo: Jonah Gilmore Design by: Carlos Cuevas

Her dreamy eyes envisioned the impossible—until it wasn’t. Evelyn Miralles is not your basic rocket scientist. In a department overwhelmingly populated by bearded, bespectacled men, she’s a feminine force of nature. Her intellectual gifts landed her at NASA, but her innate survival skills; a warm personality, intense curiosity, personal initiative and collaborative nature has kept her there. As documented in “Hidden Figures,” the 2016 Oscar nominated film about Katherine Johnson, the African-American mathematician behind the ‘60s space race, there is a history of ‘under the radar woman power’ at NASA. And yes, this time, 18,250 days later, it’s a hidden Latina coming up for her long due recognition. For twenty-five Earth years Miralles’ big, beautiful brain has been crushing preconceived models of thought innovation, and piloting new dimensions launching her own ‘virtual architecture’ in space. As Principal Engineer and Lead VR Innovator for the astronaut training facility at NASA Johnson Space Center, Evelyn far surpassed her earliest ambition to design buildings; Miralles’ premiere project was the construction of a 3D model of a habitat on the moon. Before joining the VRLab, she worked as a Lead Graphic Simulator and Software Developer for the Integrated Graphics Operations & Analysis Laboratory (IGOAL) in the JSC Engineering Directorate. Technology’s unlimited potential spoke directly through Evelyn; effectively since 1992, Miralles has been passionately involved with space shuttle and International Space Station missions. While VR is the current “hot topic” on the lips of every tech thrill seeker, it’s practically ‘old news’ for Evelyn Miralles and her team. Since 1993, her Dynamic Onboard Ubiquitous Graphics has been used to simulate space operations. Evelyn’s work at NASA’s Virtual Reality Laboratory (VRLab) is used to train astronauts in extravehicular activity. How’s that for leading edge? This is a great example of the importance of NASA as a place where great female minds may flourish. Overseeing the development and operations of the Virtual Reality Laboratory (VRLab) utilized for Astronaut space training, Evelyn’s VRLab is responsible for Extra Vehicular Activities (EVA) or Spacewalks, Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER) runs, Mass Handling scenarios and Robotics operations. As the pioneer of VR, there is no one better positioned to explain the history and future of VR technology application for space exploration than Evelyn Miralles. In a career trajectory that can authentically be described as meteoric, Evelyn’s designing work began with computers at the University of Houston. In 1990, she graduated from Lamar University and, in 1992, from University of Houston–Clear Lake. Miralles’ degrees in Computer Engineering, Computer Graphics, and MBA in Management of Technologies from the University of Houston provided the foundation for the innate gift and mystifying grasp of dimensions beyond others’ perception. She was the co-author of the state-of-the-art Dynamic Onboard Ubiquitous Graphics (DOUG) which has been used since 1993 for training in virtual reality by astronauts of STS 61 mission who repaired the space telescope Hubble, and then for all the other missions. DOUG has been distributed to all NASA centers and other institutions around the world supporting our International Space Partners. Miralles also worked in the space station ISS, designing the structure and work steps for astronauts and serves as the active EVA Chair member for the AIAA Houston Chapter. 52 • March / April 2017

Her accomplishments are legion, and while NASA has awarded her the 2009 NASA Exceptional Award for Innovation for the Engineering DOUG Graphics for Exploration software (EDGE), and the prestigious NASA Flight Safety Award in 2012, the nonspace world is just catching up with Evelyn. She was named one of BBC’s 100 Inspirational Women in the World, 2016, CNET in Spanish named her one of the Top 20 most influential Hispanics in the US, 2016, and she was honored with University of Houston–Clear Lake - Distinguished Alumna Award – 2016. Evelyn’s addressing Hispanicize 2017, where her achievements and insights will inspire awe and appreciation. Meet the no-longer hidden Latina of NASA, Evelyn Miralles. Numbers are in her blood, but her father’s support was her nourishment. Evelyn grew up in Caracas, Venezuela. Although she has been in the US for thirty years, her soft accent lingers; it is a definite asset. One of five children, three brothers and two girls, Evelyn is the youngest. “I was the surprise,” she laughs. Her dad worked as a paralegal in the oil industry. “My biggest influence was my father. He was a hard worker and very responsible. I saw that first: you work hard, you’re going to get there. Growing up, he never treated me like a girl; he never treated his daughters differently from his sons. He always supported me saying, “You’re going to get a degree, you’re going to college and you’re going to be independent, you’re not going to depend on anyone.” Evelyn was drawn to art and making things. “I was always building something. I have that engineer inside; the art with the logic.” As a girl she emulated her oldest brother. “My brother, the mathematician, was always studying.” Evelyn’s other siblings include an electrical engineer, and her sister is a chemical engineer. Numbers and science didn’t daunt her. “I had no fear. Nothing is that difficult that people can’t understand; you can really learn anything; it’s about how much you want it.” Architectural Dreams became Virtual Reality. “As a girl, I drew and built things and thought, maybe I’m an architect.” She gradually moved into a more theoretical and futuristic artistry. “I went into the graphic arts design and then into computer design because I had to program it. I had the ability to logically think about it, step by step.” “I saw that I really loved computers. I loved to work with the hardware, the logic of writing programs. At the University of Houston, I studied computer science. After that, I got the position at NASA.” Evelyn’s combined skills were a fit. “They were looking for someone with a background in computer graphics. I really wasn’t looking at it like ‘It’s NASA!’ My ultimate goal was to do what I wanted to do. I had better offers than NASA but I liked the team, I felt pretty comfortable.” Then things got tough. NASA’s ‘sink or swim’ ecosystem tested every instinct in Evelyn’s survival kit. “My first year was intense! There are so many moving parts! You see the scope of the job you’re going to do and you think they’re going to hold your hand. No. It’s you going out there and figuring out how this all integrates. Many people are compiling their own part and they all have to come together and work, so all that was very complex, this was at a level where you needed to go on your own.” After the initial shock, Evelyn found her footing. “I read a lot, and I relied on my own creativity to ask the right questions. We had four women on the team--the rest were men.”

Things got better. “The job started to get interesting after my first year. A manager asked me, “Can you build this for me?” At that time we had engineers working on a few projects at a time, when projects got funded we went forward. We did many different things, programming graphics software; I worked in software development, software integration. In the face of constant challenges, Evelyn did not panic. “I’m a mover, I don’t get static,—that’s my character. I always try to modify, do something better. The curiosity lives in me, wanting to improve the system. It’s not difficult but you have to want it.” It actually sounds pretty daunting. “Working with type A personalities—everyone in that room is very accomplished, intelligent. You have very competitive people, with masters, PhD’s, a lot of engineering background, so when you talk you better know what you’re saying.” Evelyn stresses the team-playing aspect. Unlike some professions where looks are considered an advantage, Evelyn rains on that fantasy as it applies to NASA. “It’s not because you have a pretty face that you got the jobyou have the knowledge!” It’s easy to imagine Evelyn saying this now to her two teen-aged daughters. As a mom, Evelyn doubtless has huge life lessons to impart, but this is her mantra: “You have to know how to deal with people. Being a female in that realm of knowledgeable people you are one of a few. It’s a delicate dance. Dealing with people is complicated. Know what you’re bringing to the table. You need that self esteem.” Evelyn’s secret to her longevity at NASA is love your work. “Really, VR has been my life.” Everyone says Evelyn IS the VR LAB. “When I was pregnant I was here until the last moment my daughter came to life. We try to make it a place that’s fun and happy; we were doing something very unique that allowed us to open up and be free, and to be our own boss. I credit my being here so long to my great communication with our team. Being very open. We’re like brothers. We truly respect each other. It is very important to maintain the happy environment. We’re training astronauts! It’s such a great job. Freedom of creation also means picking the right people because while we’re making jokes, we’re also doing something very unique. I have accomplished many things but this is about a team. The kind of management and leadership I’ve seen at NASA is something that I hope continues and I try to pass along.” Evelyn is onto VR’s next big thing, Augmented Reality.

“Space exploration, it’s a passion for me. I want to see the technology flourish beyond me. Imagine somebody standing on the moon looking at the earth through a VR helmet that allows all the children in one school to see what that astronaut is looking at. I love to empower people. Right now we’re sending a new helmet into space, so we’re working on that upgrade. That’s what we do with the astronauts; these three people we send are fantastic. One day I would like to write a book, sharing those experiences.” In 2011, Evelyn kept the VR Lab moving forward and connected with the outside VR world. “When we ended the space station, the shuttle was cancelled. I decided to take what we did out to the world.” She addressed NASA decision makers. “I told them I was going to give a presentation at the Silicon Valley Conference of Virtual Reality. I also wanted to see what they were doing with VR.” This was a watershed moment. “The Silicon Valley Conference organizers asked me “Is NASA doing something with VR?” Evelyn clued them in. NASA’s VR history began in the 50’s and 60’s where the use was probed for military use. Development picked up in the 90’s. “It’s been a slow process because it was so expensive. Our company hardware was $2 million when we started—just for the lab. Of course the cost for NASA is still high because of the software we’re designing.” Stunned, the Silicon Valley conference wanted NASA, and Evelyn-on board. “They asked me to come present. I put together a presentation with no words- just pictures. There were 2,000 people, and of the 60 presenters, just three were women. Evelyn captivated the crowd. “I said, ‘I’m not an astronaut. I’m just an engineer. We’ve been doing this for years and years.’ People were shocked.” For that community this was a revelation! Afterwards, she was swamped. “A line of people waited to talk, including the Navy who were trying to build a VR for training people on different ships. Soon, all those people started visiting NASA, trying to get inside.” That was four years ago. “That opened up social media. I was the first one to unlock that door. The VRLab was for building experiments, an experience that was now huge. I was very proud to share our story.” What’s next? “VR is all about the content. Creating content so you can feel it in VR form is not easy, but you need something very powerful! You can train early med students with VR. Next is medical psychological testing. For content, the big step is AR Augmented Reality.” For Evelyn Miralles it’s all logical. For those of us playing catch up, the world will never be the same, and just think, it was a hidden Latina who opened that door.

The Onstage Tribute to Tomás Rivera

Story by: Steve Penhollow Design by: Luis González


“Tomás and the Library Lady,” originally a book by Pat Mora, tells the true story of how young Tomás Rivera came to love reading and libraries. 54 • March / April 2017


ivera, who died in 1984, grew up to be a prominent writer and educator. A stage adaptation of Mora’s book, written by playwright José Cruz González, will be presented at the Dallas Children’s Theatre this spring. The show started March 24. Rivera was the son of poor migrant workers and the young man who is playing him in the stage version, Edwin Alan Aguilar, said he is able to empathize with the difficulties of Tomás’ early life. “I know the hardships that my family had to go through in order to get here and to get molded into society,” he said. “Not only that, the hardships of building from a new land and starting all over — leaving their hometown and their home country. Just the roller coaster of surprises in life. I had to go through that as well.” Aguilar said he had difficulties at first in a U.S. school because English was not his first language.


“We speak Spanish only in my house, and in the story, Tomás’ family speaks Spanish in their house only,” he said. “So there’s a similarity right there. Learning English for me was a little bit hard in school. I am still struggling right now in college. It’s a process.” Aguilar’s mother insisted that he get an education and this wasn’t something he fully appreciated at first. “I didn’t see that at the very beginning,” he said. “I was like, ‘Oh, man. I gotta go to school, mom? Oh, no.’ “But she was doing the right thing for me,” he continued. “Because she didn’t get an education herself, she knew what she was doing from the beginning. When I grew up, I started trusting her more.” Aguilar recalled an unfortunate interaction he had as a boy with a misguided teacher, but one that had a positive outcome. “There was this one teacher who was very rude to me,” he said. “He’d put his finger on my chest. My mother said, ‘Mi hijo … ¿Por qué tienes esto aquí? Why do you have red marks on your chest?’ I cried. I said, ‘There’s just this one teacher who touches me when he gets mad.’ They ended up firing the teacher.” This episode could have turned into a lifelong mistrust of teachers and other authority figures. But the opposite occurred. Aguilar said a lot of good faculty members rallied around him, and his family was very supportive. Just as the librarian in the play helps Tomás feel comfortable and grow, so did the adults in Aguilar’s life help him move past his initial fears and misgivings. “Having the support of teachers and mentors and people who don’t give up on you is very important,” he said. “That definitely helps push a student

“HAVING THE SUPPORT OF TEACHERS AND MENTORS AND PEOPLE WHO DON’T GIVE UP ON YOU IS VERY IMPORTANT,” HE SAID. “THAT DEFINITELY HELPS PUSH A STUDENT AND A PERSON’S LIFE IN GENERAL.” and a person’s life in general.” Tomás’ curiosity lead him to this place and he met this wonderful lady. She saved his life. He opened up to new roads and new opportunities. He learned to read and to speak and he just carried on from right there because he enjoyed that; he loved that process. He knew that this was another way of expressing himself.” Robyn Flatt, the co-founder and director of the Dallas Children’s Theatre, said she has collaborated with playwright González on other projects. “He’s always been so nurturing of other playwrights and theaters,” she said. This play in particular spoke to her, she said, because artistic alliances with libraries have always been important to her theater. “Here’s a child who’s curious, who’s hungry,” Flatt said. “He wants to know more stories. He’s just thirsty like a little sponge. He goes to the library and this woman takes him in. She takes him in in a way that nobody has done except his family, but they didn’t have access to books. To me, that is so exciting.” Another wonderful aspect of the story, she said, is the encouragement of the grandfather.


“His grandfather can’t read,” Flatt said. “But he knows stories are important. He knows imagination is important and curiosity is important. And so he encourages his grandson.” Flatt said she is upset “about how America steps on the backs of the people who need the most help.” She wants this play to send a vital message to the children that come see it.




FTER A MILD WINTER, Spring 2017 arrives with refreshing colors, flavors and aromas. It is time to open up those sparkling wines for the Sunday brunches, the crisp and citric whites for the sip before lunch, the rosés for the afternoon appetizer and the mellow aromatic reds for dinner.


Benjamin et David DUCLAUX Cote-Rotie “La Germine” 2012 Region: Rhone, Cote-Rotie Varietal: Syrah blend Price: $65 Aromas: Cherry, plum, fruit punch Flavors: Red Currant, forest berries marmalade Impression: Powerful, elegant Structure: Great balanced body and good complexity Drink with: French Haut Cuisine Why I loved this wine? Silky with lots of deep fruits My Rating: 94 pts.

Dominus Napa Valley 1994 Region: Napanook Vineyard, Napa Valley Varietal: Bordeaux Blend Price: $360 Aromas: Lactic notes, vanilla, ripe cherries Flavors: Plum, Blueberries, dark chocolate Impression: Incredible subtle, silky tannins Structure: Excellent balance and concentration Drink with: Camembert, Brie, Reblochon or Cambozola cheeses and crackers Why I loved this wine? California at its best! My Rating: 98 pts.

Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler Bernkasteler alte Badstube am Doctorberg 2014

Firriato SANTAGOSTINO Baglio Sorìa, Nero D’Avola 2011

Region: Mosel, Germany Varietal: Reisling (Spatlese) Price: $29 Aromas: Apple, Caramelized Peaches Flavors: Honeysuckle, Vanilla, Flowers Impression: Crisp and delicious Structure: Nice balance Drink with: Elaborated white fish dishes. Raw Oysters. Why I loved this wine? Very nice perfumed notes My Rating: 91 pts.

Region: Sicilia Varietal: Syrah Price: $27 Aromas: Earthy notes, black cherry, Tobacco Flavors: Blackberries, licorice, caramel Impression: Long finish with a harmonic aproach Structure: Medium Body, ample spectrum of aromas and flavors Drink with: Pasta, Lamb dishes, Pork chops. Why I loved this wine? Mineral and aromatic at the same time My Rating: 92 pts.

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Latino Leaders Magazine: The Technology Edition  
Latino Leaders Magazine: The Technology Edition