1O1 MOST INFLUENTIAL LATINOS
July / August 2014 Vol. 15 No. 4
CONTENTS July / August 2014
COVER STORY: 101 Most Influential Latinos: In this special edition, Latino Leaders showcases the wide diversity, talent and success of the Latino community. Our list features 101 individuals who have excelled in a variety of fields, from business to technology to politics to the entertainment industry. We are proud to share this carefully crafted list with you.
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CONTENTS July / August 2014
21 Bellaria Jimenez:
As managing director of MetLife Solutions Group, Jimenez seeks to promote financial literacy and proper saving techniques, with a particular interest in the Latino community, where she says understanding risk can make a great difference.
32 Behind the cover: Mexican artist Jazzamoart shares the inspiration behind the cover artwork, a custom image created and designed specifically for the 101 Most Influential Latino edition.
23 Fabian Gonzalez: Through Voya Financial, Gonzalez stresses the importance of financial education for Latinos, where a lack of fiscal knowledge continues to subsist. At Voya, Gonzalez builds upon a shared culture and language to strengthen trust with an ever-expanding Latino population.
26 Javier Palomarez: As president of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Palomarez has grown from a young, migrant farmer to a leader and advocate for the growth of Hispanic business throughout the nation.
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54 Club Leaders of the Future: Chicago 58 Club Leaders of the Future: Dallas
In every edition 06 08 12 64
From the editorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s desk In conversation with the publisher Southwest Landing Cellar
Letter from the editor A first time for everything There are many rewarding aspects of being an editor at a publication that emphasizes the impact that Latinos are making on our culture and society today, but with those aspects the numerous “firsts” that come with this position stand out the most in my head. Since working here, I have had the privilege of speaking for the first time on behalf of the magazine at our Maestro event, of meeting young leaders who are becoming the face of a new generation of Latinos in excellence and of engaging others in dialogue on how we as Latinos can continue to have a lasting impact on the world around us. But this month, I celebrate the first time I have taken part in the planning, research, Post-It note making and execution of producing the list for our 101 most influential Latinos. The list has become a yearly aggregate of individuals who excel in the fields of politics, nonprofits, government, health and science, sports and entertainment. Each of the individuals are handpicked for their impact not only in their own field but also in our society. This year, we are proud that you also played a role in helping us pick the 101st Latino, securing Gloria Estefan as our Readers’ Choice. We at Latino Leaders Magazine value your input and know that without you, this would not be possible.
Connecting Leaders, Inspiring the Future
Publisher Jorge Ferraez
President and CEO Raul Ferraez
Editor-in-Chief: Esther Perez firstname.lastname@example.org Director of Journalism: Mariana Gutierrez email@example.com National Director of Events: Yol-Itzma Aguirre firstname.lastname@example.org Administrative Director: Cathy Marie Lopez email@example.com Circulation Manager and Editorial Assistant: Carlos Anchondo firstname.lastname@example.org Art Director: Fernando Izquierdo email@example.com Editorial Art & Design: Rodrigo Valderrama Carlos Cuevas Luis Enrique González Human Resources Manager: Susana Sanchez Administration and Bookkeeping: Claudia García Bejarano Executive Assistant to the Publishers: Liliana Morales Circulation System Manager: Andrea Luna For advertising inquiries, please call 214-206-4966
Last month, we kicked off our first Twitter to the Editor, and we are excited about making that a regular part of our online outreach. As a publication, we are always excited to hear your thoughts, questions and concerns about how we are doing. Every first Monday of the month, we will encourage our Twitter to the Editor, but feel free to respond on any day because your feedback will help us to better connect leaders and inspire the future.
Latino Leaders: The National Magazine of the Successful American Latino (ISSN 15293998) is published seven times annually by Ferraez Publications of America Corp., 15443 Knoll Trail, Suite 210, 75248 Dallas, TX, USA, July / August 2014. 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.
Member of The National Association of Hispanic Publications
Esther Marie Perez Editor In Chief
6 • July / August 2014
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MEMBER OF SRDS 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
a conversation with the publisher
Michelin Star Chef: Carlos Gaytan
In one of the most inspiring stories I have heard lately, I was deeply moved by Carlos Gaytan in a recent visit to his Chicago restaurant, Mexique. Carlos immigrated from Guerrero, Mexico, 20 years ago and has spent most of his life working in the restaurant and services industry: “I did a little bit of everything from washing dishes to assisting chefs, and I learned everything I could. Then, one day, I realized that my dream was to cook, so I knew I had to excel in what I was doing in order to do it.” So he started doing his job as good as he could, even his colleagues were teasing him; “but I didn’t care and concentrated on learning. One day, someone crossed my path and offered me an old kitchen from a dismantled restaurant, and I said: this is my opportunity!” Without knowing about business, without money to invest but with a lot of faith and hard work, he put everything he had at stake in order to open his own place. As we sat near a window in his restaurant, I could see his eyes tearing up: “Those were times of sacrifices – one meal a day for me and my family – and work, a lot of work for my recipes and my dishes.” He opened with what he had, chairs with holes, old clothing and used furniture, but he also opened with something new: “Duck in tamarind sauce, goat cheese fondue, lamb, carne asada – and it was a hit! I took the classic, traditional ingredients from the Mexican cuisine, eliminated the beans and tortillas and redesigned the dishes using the French philosophy of the Haute cuisine, working openly with balances, textures, flavors, spices and visual presentation.” The results were dishes like Lamb chops with Berenjena and Chile de Arbol. But the way up is hard, and the growing pains started. Suddenly, he faced complications in the business, “I’m not a businessman. I don’t know about managing or business administration. I cook! That’s what I’m good for.” On a Sunday afternoon, with his wife and two children, he decided that he was going to shut down, debt was growing, and sales were not enough. “I told my wife, ‘This is it, I will go back to work as a chef with someone else. If by the end of the week things don’t get better, we’re shuting down on Friday.’ But miracles happen. I’m a very faithful man. On Monday, someone told me Michelin granted us one star! I couldn’t believe it! The ultimate distinction for a chef! By Tuesday, it appeared in the papers; by Wednesday’s dinner, we were sold out; and by Friday night, it was so successful we couldn’t handle any more reservations for the weekend. … We decided to stay!” Today, Mexique is one of the few finest Mexican restaurants with the concept of Haute cuisine. “One of my new dishes is a cochinita pibil, but I puree all the different ingredients and serve it over a tostada with pickled red onion marmalade.” Gaytan’s dream of elevating the complexity of the Mexican cuisine has taken him to be finalist at on the TV show “Top Chef” and a growing number of clients that come and dine at Mexique, a small, catchy restaurant in a Mexican neighborhood in Chicago.
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Vice president and healthcare practice leader for Mexico and Central America at HKS STORY BY: Natalie Holtz Contributed photo
n Trinidad and Tobago, the twin island country off the northern edge of South America, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar told Dulce Torres-Ruiz, "I want you to build a hospital our country has never seen before." Conversations with world leaders led her to working on location in countries like Bulgaria and China designing hospitals. This is the life of 34-year-old Dulce Torres-Ruiz, a star architect for one of the world's top 10 architectural firms who is as likable as she is successful. Growing up in Mexico City, Dulce's father worked as an accountant and professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), while her mother was a stay-at-home mom. "My two brothers and I were very fortunate. From an early age, our parents introduced us to arts and sports. I took organ and keyboard classes, did gymnastics and swimming and even took painting lessons. We were fortunate to be exposed to all sorts of different activities." After high school, Dulce went on to study architecture at UNAM, where she graduated Suma Cum Laude. Dulce was also awarded the Gabino Barreda Medal, which is given to the student who graduates with the best academic performance in his or her generation. Dulce's generation consisted of 1,000 architecture students. When she finished school, Dulce almost immediately began working for HKS, one of the world's leading architectural firms, in Mexico City. Soon after, Dulce was invited to the HKS headquarters in Dallas where she now serves as Vice President and Healthcare Practice Leader for Mexico and Central America. "Ninety percent of my practice has been outside of the United States," Dulce explains. "Honduras, Peru, Chile, Costa Rica, Panama … a lot of the countries I work in are Third World countries. Being
able to design in these countries is a wonderful opportunity to return to my culture, or the world that I come from, some of the good I received from it." Dulce's accomplishments and accolades speak for the success she has achieved. In 2010, HKS honored her as the Outstanding Project Architect of the year for her achievements and contributions towards architectural excellence. In 2013, she was recognized by AIA Latinos in Architecture as an exemplar of design talent in the Dallas Area. In 2014, BD+C honored her as one of the “40 under 40.” She's won first place at international architecture and city planning contests in France and Japan. The icing on the cake is that, as her name suggests, Dulce also has a very kind and generous spirit. When you look at a person like Dulce, someone so inspiring and hardworking, it causes you to look at your own life and recommit to your own dreams. And Dulce, who recently finished her first triathlon and whose bucket list includes seeing an Aurora Borealis in Alaska, believes fervently in the beauty of dreams. "My dreams are what keep me going," she says. "They give me opportunities to do better, learn new things and take myself to places I've never been before. My parents raised me in a way to know that I can accomplish whatever I want if I work for it. I think that's shaped how I live. I fight for my dreams and live for my challenges." When asked if she has any advice for young Latinos, especially those facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles, she encouraged them to persevere and have faith in themselves. "We are our own limitation," she says. "If you think you are incapable of doing something, you will be incapable. But if you think you can do it, you will do it. But we have to work hard and believe in ourselves. We can be our own best friends or our own worst enemies."
Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community BY: Linda Rutherford Vice president of communication and outreach
GETTIN G TO KN OW Dulce Torres -Ruiz
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t Southwest, we are in the business of connecting People to what’s important in their lives. Often, the important moments that happen during those connections include a special place — somewhere that has meaning, that brings people together, that creates a sense of belonging and a sense of community. On Monday, April 1 at Travis Park in San Antonio, Southwest Airlines President, Chairman, and CEO Gary Kelly announced a multi-year commitment to Project for
Public Spaces (PPS) to create the Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community program. Through this new program, Southwest will work with PPS —the pioneering nonprofit behind Placemaking — and collaborate with local community partners in cities across the country to bring new life to their public spaces. The historic Travis Park was the setting for the third pilot project (Detroit, Michigan, and Providence, Rhode Island, were two others) and includes amenities such as a game kiosk and dog park as well as programming, including yoga and Zumba classes. More than
40 Southwest employees were on hand to volunteer with opening-day festivities. At Southwest, we have always put people first in the decisions we make about our business. We believe that public places are truly the hearts of local communities – the communities where our people call home and where our Customers love to visit. We look forward to connecting our Customers and Employees with places they love for years to come. To learn more about the Heart of the Community program, Placemaking and PPS, visit: pps.org/heart-of-the-community.
LATINOS PAVE THE WAY FOR SUCCESS through financial planning
As Latinos grow in influence at various levels throughout our society, there is a growing need for education on financial security. To meet that need, these Latinos are willing to take on the responsibility of engaging with their community, giving individuals more options for financial planning, embracing new methods to incorporate culture and language in outreach, and helping Latinos become an even more effective group. Not only does financial education encourage the stability of Latinosâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; futures, but it also promotes awareness in a new generation. These Latinos are proud to represent their culture and advocate for a new future as they guide our community to making sound financial decisions that will have an impact that can change the outcome of many generations to come. 18 â&#x20AC;˘ July / August 2014
Teaching risks and rewards Bellaria Jimenez is passionate about finan-
cial education, with the thought that an educated client will understand why they need to invest in their future. Jimenez, managing director of MetLife Solutions Group, was first interested in financial services — Wall Street to be more exact — in college. “Driving to class everyday, the only radio station I was able to get was an AM station, so I was forced to listen to financial shows,” she said. “At first, it was torture, but one day, it was interesting, and I wanted to learn more about stocks and bonds.” She went to a job fair in New York City and ended up with a job on Wall Street. Eleven years ago, she made the move to MetLife, seeking an opportunity to help clients in all aspects of their lives. It was also a diverse company that not only had a value proposition for women but also an emphasis on working with the Latino market. In addition, it gave her the ability to explore a management role. Her passion for financial education happened by accident. “I realized going to appointments and sitting down with the client, I was going through the things I was trained to do, but when meeting with Latino prospects, they also had so many questions,” Jimenez said. “Finances were so foreign to them. Many had the foundation of saving money under the mattress — that was how we were brought up.”
.“Finances were so foreign to them. Many had the foundation of saving money under the mattress — that was how we were brought up.” One by one, she began creating educational tools and tips that turned into workshops and seminars, nonprofits and school talks, anyone who could gather individuals that could benefit. 20 • July / August 2014
Story by Christine
As managing director for MetLife Solutions Group, Jimenez has more than 17 years of experience and leads a team of 35 managers and 230 sales representatives. In 2009, Jimenez established Women of Wealth, an organization that provides internal networking and encourages professional development and education in the business world. The group has become a resource for females in the financial planning field and a liaison with other initiatives and organizations within the community. Because of the success of the group, the idea will be replicated throughout the country with other MetLife offices. Jimenez’s influence has not gone without recognition. Because of her passion for the Hispanic community, she has received the 2005 Hispanic Corporate Achiever of the Year, and her commitment to financial literacy in Newark, New Jersey, lead to the opportunity of ringing the bell on Wall Street in April 2010. Outside of her career goals, Jimenez shows her dedication to the community by serving as a member of the board of directors of La Casa de Don Pedro, the largest Latino-based organization in the Newark focusing on empowerment and self-sufficiency for Hispanics.
Her foundation is teaching individuals why they need to save, where they need to do so and how. Most people have the best intentions of saving money; however, fear often takes over, she said. “I like to ask a lot of questions, and from that, the products they need start to align with that,” Jimenez said. “If speaking Spanish is their first language, they might be intimidated to ask questions, and it is very complicated to listen sometimes to terminology in English.” One of the things she is adamant about getting through to clients is risk, especially because people are living longer after they retire. By understanding the risks and rewards for each action, they can have enough money saved. Education applies to insurance as well, being an important part of protecting assets and income of individuals, she said. Because Latino families oftentimes encompass two or three generations in one household, there may be two family members who are the breadwinners. It goes back to a fear, she said, that if the family entrusts money to an individual, an outsider may run off with it. The second half of that fear reinforces that if something happens to the breadwinner, the family will become financially destitute. “There are so many products that address risk tolerances, so that isn’t an excuse anymore,” Jimenez added.
Leading through language A native of Argentina, Fabian Gonzalez joined Voya Financial, then ING, in 2007. He has been in the financial services industry for 24 years and leads all the multicultural solutions for Voya’s Hispanic and Asian markets, including individual life insurance, benefits, leadership and support. Voya is in the process of rebranding itself to evolve into a new company, something Gonzalez said started more than two years ago to test and identify the right name and brand. “We went through more than 5,200 names and concepts,” he said. “We chose ‘Voya’ because the name reflects momentum and opportunity. It also is close to ‘voyage,’ which reminds us that our future is more than our original destination but is like a journey to financial empowerment and having a positive experience along the way.”
“More education is needed within the Hispanic community regarding the advantages of taxdeferred growth potential and tax-free supplemental income of life insurance.” Much of the rebranding in the U.S. took place in May, and later this year, the company will be doing more of that in its retirement solutions and insurances entities, Gonzalez said.
Story by Christine
“Last year, we revealed the new brand in advance of our IPO. We did this so we could begin trading on the NYSE using our new VOYA ticker symbol.” More important that the overall rebranding is the vision to be “America’s retirement company,” he said, working to secure a financial future for individuals, families, and institutions through the company’s new Voya brand. Voya Financial services 13 million people with a business centered on solving business strategies, he said, with retirement being the foundation of the company’s mission and vision. “We are ready to help Americans build a secure future and be retirement ready,” Gonzalez said. Voya does so through a mix of different services: helping people with asset accumulation and protection; retirement income supported by Voya’s platform in every stage and income level; institutional and individual retirement plans; individual life insurance; and new disciplines from help with a specific problem to investments, he said. “Our ability to help clients through multiple channels allows them to pull everything together to create an integrated financial picture,” Gonzalez said. As the Hispanic community continues to grow, Gonzalez stresses the importance of translating that same vision of a secure financial future by providing solutions through Voya, but that can only be done through awareness and education. “There is a general lack of understanding, particularly among Hispanics, about the benefits of life insurance products, such as the Income Tax-free Death Benefit, whereby the recipient of the life insurance payout is not taxed as they would be if they received a portion of the insured’s estate or income. More education is needed within the Hispanic community regarding the advantages of tax-deferred growth potential and tax-free supplemental income of life insurance.” To have a successful relationship with the Hispanic community, Voya is not only dedicated to education but also to using the language and culture to reach others. Though many financial services simply translate materials into Spanish, Voya sets itself apart by using
marketing, services and resources to directly connect with Latinos. Another method of connection is a simplification of products through the company’s online use. As both younger and older generations flock toward online experience, Voya Financial desires to meet them there with the options to learn more about the assessment and purchase of life insurance.
“Retirement readiness is the biggest challenge that Americans face, and even more so with the Hispanic community,” “We want to help customers choose an approach that protects and grows the assets they have accumulated over a working lifetime and protects their family in case something happened to them.” With the incorporation of technology, however, Voya still focuses on daily interaction with others, encouraging individuals to prepare for their future through employee volunteerism, employee giving and Voya Foundation matching programs in addition to its network of local distribution partners. Using these methods, financial advisors, many of whom are bilingual, are able to meet Hispanics and help support their needs of security. “When I am talking to people in our community, I am always asking them ‘When was the last time the retirement age was changed,’” he said. “It was established at 65 in 1935. At that time, people only lived to their 50s or early 60s, but with advances in health care, all Americans are living longer than ever.”
Gonzalez also asks people if they want to be a grandfather to their grandkids or their kids’ child. If it is the former, then he tells them they need to think more seriously about retirement. “Right now, the Hispanic population is 52 or 53 million,” he added. “By 2050, that number will be close to 80 million. That rapid growth presents a pressing need for retirement within that community.” As a result, Voya is continuing to support the Hispanic community through its network of distributors and financial advisors — those who actually work and lead the community. “Retirement readiness is the biggest challenge that Americans face, and even more so with the Hispanic community,” Gonzalez said. “We want them to work close with the advisors who know what they are going through because they are living in the same community.”
With more than 20 years of experience in the financial world, Fabian Gonzalez has developed more than 100 Spanish-language marketing materials that focus on the needs of the Hispanic community through the use of culture and language. His understanding of the Latino community is what set him apart as the driving force for the ING 2012 launch of the Retirement Research Institute multicultural study, which was designed to analyze behavioral patterns of different cultures and how that related to retirement plan.
On the border Rolando Guerra Edinburg, Texas
Guerra is a former teacher and coach who now runs a financial planning business in south Texas. His goal is to help Hispanic educators with their retirement readiness by offering advice on saving for retirement through their employer-sponsored 403(b) and 457 retirement plans. Guerra is affiliated with Voya Financial’s broker-dealer, ING Financial Partners.
Latino Leaders Voya Financial Profiles / ING Financial Partners Distributors
What do you do in your work? I’ve been advising educators on retirement planning since 2000, when I retired from my first career as an educator and football coach. I primarily focus on helping K-12 and higher education employees to save for retirement through 403(b) and 457 plans. I started out in the financial planning business 14 years ago on my own, essentially working out of the back of my car. Since then, my business has flourished, in part because there is a strong need for greater retirement saving and planning among educators. Now, my business includes a staff of 24 people (including two of my sons!) and we have an office right next to the school where I used to teach. We are in my hometown of Edinburg, Texas, which is about 30 miles north of the Mexican border. Not surprisingly, about 95% of the people I help with retirement planning are Hispanic.
To what do you attribute the growth of your business? There is a tremendous need for greater retirement planning among Hispanics, especially in South Texas. The concept of saving for retirement on your own is foreign to many of the teachers I help. My team spends weeks visiting local school districts, talking to employees and educating them on how and why they need to prepare and save for retirement. We’ve probably helped around 4,000 employees retire over the last couple of years alone. Our main goal is to educate teachers on the importance of saving and the danger of relying solely on a pension and Social Security. The focus of our work is to teach people rather than simply sell. We teach employees that saving in a 403(b) or 457 is a powerful way to prepare for retirement, giving them more control over their money now and in the future.
What do you think is the biggest retirement challenge for Hispanics? As a group, we are way behind on saving for retirement. Hispanics want their children to be successful. They invest in sending them to college but sometimes don’t think also about saving money for their own retirement. In helping to send kids to college, parents with limited, if any, savings end up in debt right as they near retirement. In addition, most Hispanics have only employer-provided life and disability insurance, which is generally not enough to replace their income.
Given this situation, what do you think helps inspire Hispanics to save for retirement? Much of the financial planning business comes down to trust and individual relationships. People want to sit down face to face and look someone in the eye, especially when it comes to major financial decisions such as retirement. This is one reason why I bought an office building right next to the school where I used to teach. Clients come into the office and review their accounts, sitting across the table from a professional who is focused on helping them. Hispanics want and need the education around retirement planning, which is where my background as a coach and teacher helps. In addition, my business builds trust by giving back to the community, sponsoring scholarships and local community events. We also benefit from our connection to a well-known and trusted company in Voya Financial, one of the largest retirement plan providers in the country, which rebranded from ING U.S. this year. Our strong presence in the local community and affiliation with Voya Financial helps build trust within the community.
Always Accessible Guillermo Miculitzki Miami, Florida
Miculitzki has been in the financial planning business for over 20 years in southern Florida helping the Hispanic community with its life insurance and estate planning needs. Guerra is affiliated with Voya Financial’s broker-dealer, ING Financial Partners. Tell me about your work. I am originally from Argentina and have lived in southern Florida for nearly 30 years, currently in Miami. My financial planning practice is focused on helping the Hispanic community in southern Florida with its estate planning and life insurance needs. South Florida is a magnet for people from South and Central America, particularly Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela. My clients are primarily wealthy Hispanics who relocate or retire to the Miami area because they see more opportunity here than they do in their home countries. As a result of the opportunity in this market and my passion for this business, I have been one of the top producers for Voya Financial in the last few years. I have achieved this position through years of hard work and by taking the time to build trusting relationships. My clients become a part of my extended family; most have my cell number and know I am available for them when they need me. While I have achieved success, I believe that the best is yet to come. This is a life motto that I live by.
Most Americans are underinsured. Do you find that to be true for Hispanics as well? There is no question that Hispanic people are underinsured. Life insurance and all its benefits are new ideas for many Hispanics, so I first help clients understand what life insurance can do for them. Once they understand the benefits, they are usually eager to move the process forward. They don’t want to leave their family uninsured or put their estate at risk financially. Hispanics are very family oriented, so the purpose of life insurance appeals to this market once they understand the products and trust the process.
What works well to help Hispanics understand the value of life insurance? Family is central in the Hispanic culture, so it is key to help them understand how life insurance benefits their family. Knowing this, I try to make sure family members, especially a spouse, are included in the life insurance purchase process from the beginning. Typically, I find that spouses are interested in life insurance for each other because they realize how financially insecure the family could be without each other’s incomes. They want to feel secure about their children’s future and how they’ll be cared for in case of a spouse’s death. For Hispanics with greater wealth, protecting and preserving assets through life insurance can be a great tool for retirement and estate planning.
What life insurance products or solutions appeal particularly to Hispanics? Florida is a unique market with many transplants from Latin America. There is a large middle market and high concentration of wealthy Hispanics. In the more wealthy markets, Hispanics are interested in protection and cash accumulation products. They want the insurance protection along with the ability to accumulate assets for retirement or college planning. The middle market can also benefit from the cash accumulation potential of life insurance, but this market typically finds the death benefit protection aspect to be essential.
Are there differences in how first generation Hispanics approach life insurance versus second generation and beyond? Yes, there are real differences in how first generation Hispanics view life insurance. Many first generation Hispanics do not look as positively upon life insurance as generations who are more acclimated to life here. They have a healthy dose of skepticism until they learn what life insurance is and about its value and benefits. For those in the second generation, there is greater awareness and interest in insurance. Second generation Hispanics better understand life insurance’s role in family protection, while wealthy Hispanics are more likely to understand and take advantage of life insurance’s tax planning and preservation features.
President and CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 26 â&#x20AC;˘ July / August 2014
Breaking the cycle
As president and CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Javier Palomarez has risen above his circumstances to unite Latinos for economic change.
Story by Esther Photo by
Perez Andrew Buckley
“Take a look at the little names. In the future, they will be big.” Little did the author of those words typed above the list of the Wall Street Journal’s Student Achievement Award know how prophetic they would be. In 1986, Javier Palomarez’s name graced that list, and since then, he has become associated with some of the highestranking individuals in the country. With his steely blue suit and slicked-back hair, Palomarez is the visual icon of the corporate world he represents. As president and CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, his life would seem to be a series of climbing the corporate ladder to build his name, but behind the title lies a man whose priorities lie much deeper. Born the youngest of 10 children to parents from Matamoros, Mexico, Palomarez grew up in the Rio Grande Valley and was a spirited young man who embraced life, the outdoors and, most of all, his mother. Raised by a single mother since he was 6-year-old, Palomarez learned strength, honor and dedication from his mother, a welleducated woman from the governor’s family in Matamoros. Though trained in accounting and financial management in Mexico, her education and skill set were not accepted after moving to America. Finding herself the primary breadwinner of the family, she sacrificed her skills and took on menial work to provide for her children. Palomarez’s now-leathered hands tell of his introduction to hard work, which began during the summers of his childhood in which he worked alongside his mother, brothers and sisters as migrant farm workers. He was molded by the difficulty of toiling in a field from sunup to sundown, picking crops by hand throughout South Texas and the Midwest and returning to a small, one-room shack with the underlying the first house he ever set foot in that had A/C. The sadness and shame smells of the butane stove and an outhouse for he initially felt gave way to a greater respect for his mother, who took a bathroom. But that hardship as a young child on the hard work to give her children a chance at a better life. etched memories he would never forget about the But that all changed one day. lifestyle that others may never be able to escape. Palomarez’s life was interrupted the moment his older brother pulled him Upon returning for the rest out of the middle of his junior high math class. of the year, his mother took on Words blurred, and he ran. The USHCC is dedicated to not only housekeeping to bring in a steady He crashed through the doors of his school with promoting Hispanic business but also to income. As a rambunctious, one goal in mind: He had to get back to her. partnerships that will enhance the country as risk-loving teen who enjoyed As he neared, he saw his mother on a stretcher a whole while showing members opportunities football and the rodeo, Palomarez as paramedics carried her into an ambulance, and that would otherwise not be available to them. In Jan. 2014, the USHCC joined with the U.S. entered the house he and his when the doors closed and the ambulance drove Commerce Department in the “Look South” mother were about to clean, and away, Palomarez sprinted down the road. He had initiative, which focuses on helping American a sobering feeling flooded his to follow. As his breathing became heavier so did businesses collaborate with 11 Latin American thoughts as he realized that it was his feet, and he fell in the middle of the road. To 28 • July / August 2014
markets to connect Hispanic entrepreneurs with goals that stretch beyond borders.
Her words took hold of him and shaped his pursuit of knowledge, driving him to attain his GED and graduate from the University of Texas-Pan American with a finance degree. “It was the influence of my mother who always told me that education was the way.” Palomarez explained that over the course of his life, education was freedom. Though others may attempt to “take anything away from you, they can’t take away your knowledge, your experiences, your ethics.” After graduation, Palomarez began his career at Allstate, where he worked to bring to life the industry’s first fully integrated sales, marketing and service campaigns for Spanish speakers. Seeing
“You can either break the cycle of adversity or be broken by it. And I decided that I needed to break that cycle. At that point, I realized that my life was not my own. It was paid for by the sacrifices of the people that came before me, especially my mother. “ this day, the pain still returns to that knee he struck on the concrete. Palomarez’s mother died of a sudden heart attack, but all that she stood for –her dignity, strength and grace – resonated long after she was gone. Palomarez looked at his life and saw that he needed to become so much more. Despite the challenges that loomed before him, Palomarez refused to succumb to mediocrity. “You can either break the cycle of adversity or be broken by it. And I decided that I needed to break that cycle. At that point, I realized that my life was not my own. It was paid for by the sacrifices of the people that came before me, especially my mother.” His mother would often reinforce the need to pursue education in the quiet moments the two of them shared. Her love for each of her children shone through the snippets of time she sought out to share with them. Remembering the evenings he would brush his mother’s hair and the questions she asked him about his future, Palomarez knew he had to honor her memory by making something out of his life.
the growth and influence of Latinos throughout the country, Palomarez knew that there was a vast need for Hispanics to not only understand the industry, but also to work and thrive in it as well, and he manned the frontlines to make that happen. Because of his marketing ingenuity, he was recruited by Sprint, where he eventually became assistant vice president for marketing and public relations, and later was sought after to become vice president of multicultural marketing at ING Financial. Demonstrating his business savvy, his leadership and his unrelenting pursuit of his goals, Palomarez became a man who could see no end to his own success. But Palomarez wanted something deeper. latinoleaders.com
“… my job has been to tell the president, to tell the secretary of commerce, to tell the secretary of the treasury, to Congress and everybody else that will listen that our community is actually contributing to the economic prosperity, and that we are the American Dream incarnate.”
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The decision to revamp his life came with high risk. When Palomarez first agreed to join the USHCC, the organization was in debt, but since then, it has grown 619 percent, he says, attributing his achievement to funneling every waking moment into the organization with the goal of creating change. His staff even has a popular saying to translate Palomarez’s dedication: “Javier doesn’t sleep. He waits.” “There’s absolutely nothing unique or exceptional about me. … I don’t have any special skill or any particular ability, but I have the will to do things. Oftentimes, if you are willing to persevere, you can overcome insurmountable odds,” Palomarez says. The dream of uniting Latinos through a chamber of commerce could only become a reality through the cooperation of dedicated individuals at the USHCC and the decision to bring to light the need for Latinos as business owners. “There was a real void when it comes to changing the dialogue and talking about our community as the job makers, not the job takers – as those who are actually leading the economic recovery of our country.” Palomarez has not only seen Latinos rise as a major buying power in the United States but also as the future for American business. “If you believe, and I think everyone should, that two-thirds of all jobs in America are created by small companies, then it stands to reason that Hispanicowned companies are actively involved in that job creation. Yet no one ever talks about that. And so my job has been to tell the president, to tell the secretary of commerce, to tell the secretary of the treasury, to Congress and everybody else that will listen that our community is actually contributing to the economic prosperity, and that we are the American Dream incarnate. “Our 3.2 million Hispanic-owned firms collectively contribute over $468 billion to the American economy and growing. That’s what we do.” As Hispanics continue to grow, Palomarez says that our culture has the opportunity to bring other communities together. “While we are very proud to advocate on behalf of businessmen and businesswomen who happen to be of Hispanic descent, and proudly so, we never forget that we are first and foremost American businesses. Every tax bill we pay, every job we create, every product we manufacture and every service we provide goes to benefit our American economy. “We have an accountability to do something with our experiences, with our talents, with our exposure. It’s important to live and be proud of your culture, but when you’re really doing it right, you live beyond your culture. … You engage others with your culture. They grow, and you grow. It’s never done in an apologetic fashion nor a boastful fashion.” Seeing Latinos command the business world, Palomarez stands on the verge of a new corporate America, one that has been infused with Hispanics who have, during his lifetime, helped bring the economy back on its feet with their rise in business. “Our credo at the USHCC, is that from many, we are one. Today, I am that one. Tomorrow, it will be someone else, but while I’m here, I’m giving it everything I’ve got because that’s my responsibility.” As president of the USHCC, Palomarez has become one of the many who have risen above the challenges of poverty and language barriers. With his
“We have an accountability to do something with our experiences, with our talents, with our exposure. It’s important to live and be proud of your culture, but when you’re really doing it right, you live beyond your culture.” bootstraps mentality and goals to unite others, he has never forgotten the words that resound through the years from the one who helped shape him into the leader he has become. “One thing that my mother taught me is ‘never measure wealth in dollars.’ We live in a society in which people spend too much time obsessing about how much we make, where we live, who we wear, and what we drive. And, in my opinion, that’s not what life is about. None of that has been fulfilling to me. You should measure your life in the number of people you love. You should measure it in the number of times you laugh and the people you’ve touched. That’s one thing I hope that my sons remember of me.” latinoleaders.com
101 The List of the Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community
Behind the cover
azzamoart, one of Mexico’s contemporary artists, is the genius behind this year’s cover for the 101 Most Influential Latinos. The visual expert defines himself and his work as a perfect combination of three concepts closest to his heart – jazz, amor and arte. It is with that same spirit that he created “Orchestra of Leaders,” using oils over fabric, the visual inspiration for the talent evidenced throughout the pages of this edition. “In the foreground, an orchestra director is shown in front of a symphonic formation of figures, men and women who work and carry out their professional and personal duties with great passion and excellence – doctors, teachers, laborers, scientists, lawyers, businessman, artists, athletes, students as well as many others – coming together in the collective or common creation that is life, the same life that always requires those references and leaders that guide the orchestra in work and with joy.”
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Jazzamoart is represented in the USA by the Oscar Roman gallery in Mexico City Jazzamoart’s “Orchestra of Leaders” was painted using oils over fabric.
The List of the Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community With our seventh edition, we celebrate exemplary individuals who represent the pinnacle of those in our society who have not only risen to the top of their fields but have also dedicated their lives to contributing to culture, education and the success of future generations. We are proud to list the achievements of those who have pushed beyond the boundaries of their fields and of the expectations placed on them to become legacies. These inspirational individuals have not only discovered the key to success but have also begun to pass that along to a future generation. With each year, the list matures, and this year, we are proud to give you a deeper insight to our leaders by showing the Latin American countries and cultures represented, the online impact they have, their origins and their education. It is also with utmost pride that we introduce the 101 most influential Latinos of 2014 as demonstrated by their excellence in government, activism, finance, business, health, science, arts and entertainment and the athletics arena.
101 The List of the Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community
Linda G. Alvarado
Frederick P. Aguirre
President and CEO Alvarado Construction
Judge, Superior Court of Orange County
Director of the US Office of Personnel Management
Without mentioning the typical obstacles every businessperson has to overcome to succeed, Linda G. Alvarado had a whole different set of problems early on; she was a woman. Now that the company has reeled in multimillion-dollar revenues, gone are the days where Alvarado signed her name as “L. Alvarado” to avoid the business community judging her skill based on her gender. She has earned various awards along the way and has continued to lead the company to expand into new markets such as convention center construction.
Since his appointment in 2002 by former governor Gray Davis, Frederick P. Aguirre has served as judge for the Superior Court of Orange County. The grandson of Mexican immigrants, Aguirre grew up in southern California and would graduate on a full scholarship from UCLA Law School. A former president of LULAC and the Orange County Hispanic Bar Association, Aguirre is also the co-author of Undaunted Courage: Mexican-American Patriots of World War II, a book about Latinos in American military history.
1976: Founded Alvarado Construction 1992: Became first Latino to own a major league baseball team (Colorado Rockies) 2003: Inducted in the National Women’s Hall of Fame
1974: Aguirre passed the California state bar 1999: Became president of Latino Advocates for Education Inc. 2008: Founded the Superior Court’s Leadership Academy
Archuleta started her long career of public service as a school teacher in Denver before leaving to work as an aide to then-Denver mayor Federico Pena, according to the Office of Personnel Management’s website. As Pena moved up, so did Archuleta, who became his chief of staff and served as a senior policy advisor in the Office of the Secretary. Archuleta was appointed by President Barack Obama to lead the OPM in 2013. The agency is responsible for finding government workers who are innovative and diverse in background. She is the 10th director of OPM and the first Latina to head the federal agency, according to the Office of Personnel Management.
Emilio Azcarraga Jean
Jaime Herrera Beutler
President, CEO and chairman of the Board of Directors of Grupo Televisa S.A.B.
Congressman California’s 34th District
Congresswoman Washington’s 3rd District
After the death of his father, Emilio Azcarraga Milmo, Emilio Azcarraga Jean took over as CEO of Grupo Televisa at age 29. Fifteen years later, Azcarraga Jean continues to serve as CEO, where Grupo Televisa benefited significantly from the 2013 reform conducted by the Mexican congress of the telecommunications industry. Azcarraga is a member of the boards of Univision, Grupo Financiero Banamex and the Mexican Council of Businessmen.
United States Congressman Xavier Becerra has had over two decades of influence as a congressman. Currently, he is the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and is a member of the Committee on Ways and Means. In recent news, Becerra has spoken out about his concern about United States troops in Iraq but stays committed to backing President Obama’s ideals to prevent “further chaos.”
Jaime Herrera Beutler is one of the youngest women to serve in the House of Representatives and is the first Latina to represent Washington state. By working as a legislative aide in Washington, D.C., Herrera Beutler later became a state representative before being elected to congress. She recently introduced the Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act of 2014, which would help families with children who have complex medical needs obtain cost-effective care through Medicaid.
1997: He became the CEO of Grupo Televisa 2011: Became president of Endeavor Mexico and served for 2 years 2012: Received the MIPCOM Personality of the Year Award
1992: First elected the House of Representatives 1997-98: Served as chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
1993-1997: Chief of Staff for U.S. Department of Transportation 2009-11: Chief of Staff for U.S. Department of Labor 2011-13: National Political Director of Obama for America campaign 2013: Director of U.S. Office of Personnel Management
2005-07: Worked in Washington, D.C., as a senior legislative aide for Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers 2007: Appointed to serve as a state representative to Washington’s 18th Legislative District 2010: Elected to United States Congress
101 The List of the Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community
Eduardo Bhatia Current president of the Senate of Puerto Rico and senate president of the National Hispanic Caucus of Hispanic State Legislators
The NHCSL aims to represent the interests of Hispanic state legislators, according to its website. Bhatia has also served as the former executive direct of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Adminstration and a Fulbight scholar. 1996-2000: First term as senator 2005-08: Executive director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs 2008: Started second term as senator
Ronald BlackburnMoreno Chief executive officer and president of ASPIRA Association
Blackburn-Moreno has been at the helm of ASPIRA since 1994. The organization creates education and leadership programs for Latino youth engagement, according to Politic365.com. He has consulted in primary education, school curriculums as well as engineering, fundraising and organizational development. Blackburn-Moreno is also an advisor to the National Science Foundation, department of education, Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
1994: Became president and CEO of the ASPIRA Association
George P. Bush Politician
Hailing from a long line of Texas politicians and former presidents, Bush has worked to promote the Hispanic Republican vote in the state and the country. Bush is the grandson of President George H.W. Bush, son of former Governor Jeb Bush and nephew of President George W. Bush. Bush was born in Houston and received his undergraduate degree from Rice University, and later he earned a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law. Bush worked on his uncle’s presidential campaign, has been a corporate attorney and recently founded an investment firm in Fort Worth. Bush has also served in the Middle East as an officer in the U.S. military. Bush co-founded the Hispanic Republicans of Texas and bases much of his campaign on maintaining conservative values. 1988: Spoke at 1988 Republican National Convention at the age of 12 2000 and 2004: Campaigned for presidential campaigns for his uncle, George W. Bush 2007: Joined U.S. military 2014: Started campaign for Texas Land Commissioner
President and Owner, Cabrera Capital Markets Inc.
First Baseman Detroit Tigers
Congressman Texas’ 20th District
Ranked number 88 of the 100 most powerful Chicagoans by Chicago Magazine, Martin Cabrera remains a fixture in the Chicago business scene. Cabrera recently founded a second investment management firm, Cabrera Capital Partners LLC, a hedge fund that offers strategies to maintain client assets. Cabrera serves as a board member of various institutions, including the Museum of Science and Industry, the New America Alliance, the Erikson Institute and more. 2007: Honored by the U.S. Department of Commerce with the Minority Business Advocate of the Year Award 2010: Received the Maestro Award for Leadership from Latino Leaders Magazine 2013: Served just a short four months as the reformer of the United Neighborhood Organization
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Detroit Tigers First Baseman Miguel Cabrera has a long and storied career history. Although a groin injury could’ve halted his 2013 season, he walked away with his second consecutive league MVP award. Recently, in recovery from surgery, he hit two home runs for the American League in his eighth All-Star Game appearance. 1999: Signed as an amateur free agent to the Florida Marlins 2003: Debuted in first game at age 20 2008: Signed with Detroit Tigers and has since become a back-to-back league MVP in 2012 and 2013
As one of two twin brothers who are politicians, Joaquin Castro’s influence becomes more widespread each year. In recent news, Castro has introduced the Global Development Lab Act that would help poverty-stricken families rebuild by providing them with research-based work. Castro has even been rumored to be a potential running mate to the next democratic presidential nominee. 2012: Elected to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives 2013: Chosen as co-president for the House freshman Democrats and named Assistant Whip for House Democrats
101 The List of the Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community
Julian Castro Secretary of Housing and Development
Castro was first elected to mayor of San Antonio in 2009, and holds the distinction of the youngest mayor of a Top 50 American city. Re-elected to a third term last year, the 39-year-old has focused his tenure on enhancing the city of San Antonio through expanding education efforts, new energy projects and bringing in well-paying jobs in modern industries. Four years ago, Castro was named one of World Economic Forum’s list of Young Global Leaders. In 2001, he was voted the youngest city councilman in San Antonio history. Recently confirmed as the Housing and Development Secretary under the Obama administration, the possibilities for Castro are endless. 2000: Graduated from Harvard Law School 2001-05: Youngest member to be elected to San Antonio City Council 2009: Elected mayor of San Antonio 2014: Confirmed as Secretary of Housing and Development
Francisco G. Cigarroa Former UT Chancellor, Surgeon
A third-generation physician, Francisco G. Cigarroa graduated from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas in 1983. In February 2014, after five years of service as chancellor of the UT System, Cigarroa resigned to return to transplant surgery. Cigarroa is the first Latino to ever lead a major university system in the United States. When his replacement is found, Cigarroa will become head of the pediatric transplant team at the UT-Health Science Center at San Antonio. 1995: Joined the faculty of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio 2003: Cigarroa was to serve on the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science by President George W. Bush 2011: Cigarroa was awarded the Massachusetts General Hospital Trustees’ Medal
Executive vice president of the AFL-CIO.
Chavez-Thompson was the first person to hold the post of executive vice president, as well as the first Latina to hold a position in one of the federation’s three highest offices, according to the website. She started her work in unions in her hometown of Lubbock, Texas, and went on to hold various positions with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in San Antonio. In her current position, Chavez-Thompson represents as a member of the board for a number of national organizations centered on worker justice, women’s policy and issues that affect Hispanics. She was elected president of ORIT, the American Regional Organization of Workers, a branch of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.
Being the founder, chairman, CEO and president of a multibillion-dollar company was a platform that defined Marcelo Claure’s work with wireless distribution. But as of August 11, Claure assumed a new role as the CEO of Sprint. He also finds time to serve on the Florida International University Board of Trustees and own the Club Bolivar soccer team. Under Claure’s leadership, Brightstar became the largest Hispanic-owned business in the United States with businesses on six continents. 1997: Founded Brighstar corporation in Florida 2001: Named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2007-12: Brightstar named the largest Hispanicowned business in the United States
1967: Secretary on the staff of the Construction Laborer’s Local 1253 in Lubbock, Texas 1995: Elected executive vice president of the AFL-CIO 2008-2012: First president of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas
Henry Cisneros Co-chairman of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission and Immigration Task Force
With a long career in community-building, Cisneros has ranged anywhere from mayor to housing developer to TV corporate owner. He was appointed to Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1992 and worked to revitalize several of the country’s public housing developments with new policies, which helped grow the home ownership rate in the country. Cisneros was also president and chief executive officer of Univision Communications and continues to serve on its board. He has served as the president of the National League of Cities, deputy chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and Habitat for Humanity International. 1975-81: City council member for San Antonio 1981-89: Mayor of San Antonio 1993-97: Served as 10th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Cesar Conde Executive Vice President of NBC Universal
After departing Univision in 2013, where he had served as president since 2009, Cesar Conde joined the team at NBC, as an executive vice president. Through Conde’s leadership, Univision saw its portfolio expand from three to 14 cable and broadcast networks. Despite his extensive experience with the Spanish-language market, Conde will not be overseeing Telemundo during his time at NBC and instead will focus on strategic priorities and business development. 2002: Became a White House Fellow, under former Secretary of State Colin Powell 2009: Married wife and Univision news anchor Pamela Silva Conde 2012: Appointed to the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Excellence in Education
101 The List of the Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community
Maria ContrerasSweet Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet
Contreras-Sweet has the distinction of being the first Hispanic woman to hold a state cabinet post in California, according to the SBA website. There, she managed several departments, a billion-dollar budget and more than 42,000 employees as the Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing. She was at the helm of the creation of two health care-related departments in California and in the state’s securing of a multibillion-dollar housing bond. 1989: Founding president of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality 1999-2003: Cabinet Secretary of California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency 2001-05: Youngest member to be elected to San Antonio City Council 2014: Appointed 24th Administrator of the SBA
Alfonso Cuaron Director, Screenwriter, Producer, Editor
After breaking into the American film market with A Little Princess and Great Expectations, Cuaron delivered the Oscar-winning Y Tu Mama Tambien. Cuaron is widely known for his ability to direct a wide variety of genres, and made his mark on the fantasy genre with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. In 2014 Cuaron became the first Latino and Mexican to win the Academy Award for Best Director, and he won a Golden Globe for Best Director, both for the blockbuster Gravity. 1992: Directed Love in the Time of Hysteria 1993: Began work on the noir TV serie s Fallen Angels 2006: Directed Children of Men
United States Senator Texas
Congressman Texas’ 28th District
Before becoming a U.S. senator, Ted Cruz was one of Texas’ best lawyers, defending a plethora of constitutional rights before a judge. That same expertise of defense has led senator Cruz to continue to make waves as a strong voice for the conservative ideals on immigration reform and is now working towards preventing the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program.
Before his election as a congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives, Henry Cuellar had his share of government positions such as serving as a Texas state representative and as the Texas secretary of state. Now with a much wider audience, Cuellar is able to propose changes such as the Helping Unaccompanied Minors and Alleviating National Emergency, or HUMANE, Act to help protect unaccompanied minor children in the U.S. and give them the right to lawful chances of remaining in the country as immigrants.
2004-09: Taught U.S. Supreme Court Litigation as an adjunct professor of Law at the University of Texas School of Law 2012: Elected to the U.S. Senate
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1987: Began serving as a Texas state representative 2005: Elected to Congress 2008: Elected Mr. South Texas “for his significant contributions to the economic growth of Laredo and South Texas” 2009: Authored the Southern Border Security Taskforce Act of 2009 which appeared in the Comprehensive
101 The List of the Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community
Castulo de la Rocha
Benicio del Toro
Ralph de la Vega
AltaMed Health Services Corporation
Actor, Film Producer
President and chief executive officer of AT&T Mobility
After immigrating to the United States as a young man, Castulo de la Rocha became involved in law and the civil rights movements of the 1960s. However, his life took a turn one day when he was inspired by the needs of people waiting in line at a free clinic in Los Angeles, which led him to develop AltaMed. Today, Altamed, under de la Rocha’s leadership, continues to provide quality, accessible health care to minorities and people of all walks of life, and the corporation has earned upwards of $200 million in revenue.
Widely known for his acclaimed performances in 1995’s The Usual Suspects and 2000’s Traffic , Benicio del Toro’s most recent projects include the films Guardians of the Galaxy, Inherent Vice and Paradise Lost . The third Puerto Rican to win an Academy Award, del Toro is selective in the roles that he chooses and is sought after for his trademark mysterious persona on camera. In 2008, del Toro won the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for work on the biopic Che .
Adversity to Advantage in Business and Life.
1977: Began working with AltaMed 1992: Awarded the U.S. Surgeon General’s Gold Medallion for Public Health in 1992 2006-present: AltaMed ranks number 1 one Hispanic Business Magazine’s Top 25 Non-Profit list under his leadership
1979: Moved from Puerto Rico to Pennsylvania 2009: Received a Goya Award for his work in Che 2011: Acquired Spanish citizenship
1974: Started career at BellSouth 2004: Chief operating officer of Cingular Wireless 2007: President and CEO of AT&T Mobility
Paul J. Diaz
Chief executive officer of Kindred Healthcare
Producer, Entertainment Executive, Entrepreneur
Singer, Actress, Entrepreneur
Recently named on the Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare magazine, Diaz has made his mark on the industry since he joined Kindred 10 years ago, according to Kindred’s website. Diaz, who is also an attorney, has been in the health care industry since the early 1990s when he worked at Allegis Health Services. Diaz has also worked Mariner Health Group and PMC Pharmacy Services. Diaz is a member of the Business Roundtable, an organization that aims to play an active role in public policy, according to its website.
Founder of Maya Entertainment, Moctesuma Esparza is also the CEO of Maya Cinemas, which is an American theater chain that caters to a Latino market. Esparza, who has worked with stars such as Jennifer Lopez, Jimmy Smits, Martin Sheen, Halle Berry and Robert Redford, focuses many of his films on Latino narratives or themes central to Latinos. The Academy Award, Emmy and Clio Award winner remains one of the most prolific filmmakers in the industry.
With more than 100 million records sold worldwide and seven Grammy awards to her name, Gloria Estefan is an icon in the music industry and is widely regarded as the queen of Latin music. She boasts a career spanning almost 40 years, with her most recent album,The Standards, reaching the number 20 spot on the Billboard 200. Estefan was recognized at the “Power of Love Event for Keep Memory Alive” in April 2014 alongside her husband Emilio Estefan.
1960s: Participated in the Chicano Movement 1973: Received his M.F.A. from UCLA 2005: Opened up the first multiplex in the Maya Cinemas chain
1978: Gloria married husband Emilio 1993: She released the album Mi Tierra, her first Spanish language album 2009: She and Emilio bought minor ownership of the Miami Dolphins
1984: Graduated from American University in Washington 2002: Chief operating officer and president for Kindred Healthcare 2004: CEO and president for Kindred Healthcare
A Cuban native, de la Vega has been in the top spot at AT&T Mobility since 2007 and has since helped the company move leaps and bounds as a cellphone and Internet provider as well as broken ground in new areas, according to the company’s website. De la Vega started his career in telephones at BellSouth in 1974 and served as BellSouth Latin America before joining Cingular Wireless in 2004 as COO. De la Vega is the author of Obstacles Welcome: Turn
101 The List of the Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community
America Ferrera Actress
Since her feature film debut in 2002 with Real Women Have Curves, the Ugly Betty actress has cemented a name for herself in the entertainment industry. Ferrera, born in Los Angeles to Honduran immigrants, has starred in films such as The Sisterhood
of the Traveling Pants, Under the Same Moon and Cesar Chavez. In addition to her work on the silver screen, Ferrera is also politically active, advocating for immigration reform and encouraging Latinos to vote.
Antonio Flores President, Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities (HACU)
In his 18th year as president of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), Antonio Flores stands steadfast in his command of the organization that represents over 400 colleges that serve the largest concentrations of Hispanic higher education students in the U.S. Flores, among other goals, works to combat the inadequate number of Latinos in STEM careers and to increase the representation of Latinos in both the federal and civilian workforce.
Julio Frenk Dean of the Faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health and T&G
Angelopoulos Professor of Public Health and International Development, Frenk served as the Minister of Health of Mexico from 2000-06, according to Harvard’s website. He worked to introduce a program of national health insurance, known as Seguro Popular, which expanded Mexican access to health care for many uninsured citizens. He is the founding director-general of the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico and joined the World Health Organization in 1998 as executive director in charge of evidence and information for policy. 1984-87: Founding director of the Centre of Public Health Research, Ministry of Health of Mexico 1987-92: Director-general of the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico 2000-06: Minister of Health of Mexico 2009: Became Dean of the Faculty and T&G Angelopoulos Professor of Public Health and International Development at the Harvard School of Public Health
2006: Cast in the lead role on the hit show Ugly Betty 2011: Made her London stage debut in the musical Chicago as Roxie Hart 2013: Graduated from University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in international relations
1996: Became the third president and CEO of the HACU 2009: Flores was featured by Univision Network in an Orgullo Hispano capsule 2011: Celebrated the silver anniversary of the HACU
Charles P. Garcia
Juliet V. Garcia
Mayor, City of Los Angeles, CA
CEO Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting International
President of UT Brownsville
With a family of four generations of Angelenos, it is clear that Garcetti’s roots in LA run deep. Only a year after his election as mayor of the United States’ second largest city, Garcetti styles himself as LA’s “modern” mayor who can guide the city into its future. In his 2014 State of the City address, Garcetti called for “new solutions” based on the four cornerstones of a well-run government, a strong economy, a high quality of life and a commitment to public safety. 1992: Graduated from Columbia University as a John Jay Scholar 2001: First elected to the Los Angeles city council 2007: Publicly endorsed Barack Obama’s presidential campaign
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Whether traveling for speaking engagements, sitting on corporate boards or becoming a CEO at yet another company, Charles Garcia’s influence dips into many pools. After founding Garcia Trujillo, a merchant banking firm that focuses on the Hispanic market, Garcia recently accepted a new venture to become the CEO of ALPFA International, the “largest Latino association for business professionals and students.” With his new position on the forefront, Garcia will be working to continue increasing opportunities for Latino leadership. 1988: Selected by President Ronald Reagan to serve as one of the White House Fellows 1997: Founded Sterling Financial Group 2009: Assumed position as CEO at Garcia Trujillo
Garcia, the first Latina to serve as a university president in the U.S., was president of Texas Southmost College from 1986 to 1992 and forged a relationship between the two schools when she transitioned to UT Brownsville. The partnership was designed to facilitate a seamless transition from community college to a four-year institution. In April 2014, Forbes named Garcia as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders, a testament to her belief in the meaningful contribution Latinos can offer.
1986: Became President of Texas Southmost College 2008: Selected to be a part of President Obama’s first transition team 2014: Will depart UT Brownsville in August to serve as head of the new UT Institute of the Americas
101 The List of the Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community
Juan Gonzalez Moreno
Mayor of Long Beach, CA
Chairman and CEO Gruma S.A.B. de CV
Congressman Illinois’ 4th District
After claiming more than 52 percent of the vote, Robert Garcia became the youngest person to be elected mayor of Long Beach in June 2014. Simultaneously, he also became the first openly gay and the first Latino to take that office. Garcia, a Cal State—Long Beach grad, who immigrated from Peru to the U.S. when he was 5 years old, is the first member of his family to graduate from college. Garcia replaces Mayor Bob Foster, who had occupied the post since 2006.
For his work as head of the world’s leading provider of corn and flour tortillas, Juan Gonzalez Moreno was honored with the Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2013 by the Association of Mexican Entrepreneurs in the United States in May 2014. As Gruma celebrated its recent 65th anniversary in June 2014, the company continues to grow under Gonzalez Moreno’s guidance and serves as a model of environmental sustainability and a technological innovator.
In his eleventh term, Luis Gutierrez is becoming more and more effective in his efforts as a congressman, especially in the likes of immigration reform. Since election, Gutierrez has not only pushed for quicker legislation to deal with the country’s immigration issues but he has also spearheaded programs to help immigrants become proficient in English, help immigrant children in the education system and inspired other Democrats to join the fight.
2007: Founded the Long Beach Post 2009: Elected to Long Beach City Council 2012: Elected as vice mayor by the City Council
2012: Became president of Gruma S.A.B. 2013: Ranked 20th in the “100 most important businessmen in Mexico” by Expansion magazine
1992: Began his first term in office 2010: Helped guide the passage of the Development Relief and Education Act for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act) 2011: Appointed to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence by Nancy Pelosi
Congressman Texas’ 15th District
President, chief executive officer and chairman of Inter-Con Security Systems
Longtime businessman, Hernandez has been at Inter-Con since 1984. Inter-Con was founded by Enrique Hernandez, Sr., his father. In the last three decades, Hernandez has been non-executive chairman of Nordstrom Inc., director of McDonald’s Corporation, Chevron Corporation and Wells Fargo & Company, according to BusinessWeek.com. Hernandez attended Harvard and received a bachelor’s in government and economics. 1977: Bachelor’s degree in government and economics from Harvard 1986: Elected president and CEO of Inter-Con 1993: Appointed to Los Angeles Police Commission as president 1996: Elected director of McDonald’s Corporation 1997: Elected director of Nordstrom Inc. 2003: Elected director of Wells Fargo & Company
Serving his ninth term, congressman Ruben Hinojosa is an advocate for equal rights, education and housing development. One of his biggest achievements includes reducing the unemployment rate in 2008, and he is now a key figure in the immigration reform talks, inspiring newly elected Democrats to roll up their sleeves and get to work on solving this controversial issue. 1996: Elected to Congress, currently serving ninth term 2007: Appointed as chairman of the Subcommittee on Higher Education 2012: Elected as chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
Fresh off the release of his 10th studio album, Sex and Love, in March 2014, Enrique Iglesias continues his music career as one of the greatest crossover artists in the mainstream market. Iglesias, whose most recent album features talent from Pitbull, Flo Rida, Jennifer Lopez, Yandel, Romeo Santos and more, crafted Sex and Love in his characteristic bilingual style. With 24 No.1 hits atop the Billboard Hot 100, Iglesias is also a gifted songwriter, producer and actor. 2000: He performed at the Super Bowl XXXIV halftime show with Christina Aguilera, Phil Collins and Toni Braxton 2003: Had a small part in the film Once Upon a Time in Mexico 2007: He guest starred on the comedy Two and a Half Men
101 The List of the Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community
Maria Teresa Kumar CEO/President Voto Latino
An Emmy-nominated MSNBC contributor, Maria Teresa Kumar’s influence goes past sharing articles and corresponding with a viewing audience. Since co-founding Voto Latino in 2004, she has become a leader who incites conversation on one of the country’s hottest issues: enhancing the Latino vote. As head of the organization, she has formed a strategy to strengthen the Latino presence in elections and was recently named one of the 10 Most Powerful Women in Washington by Elle. 2004: Founded Voto Latino with Rosario Dawson 2010: Pushed to get American Latinos to fill out the 2010 census via a bilingual iPhone app 2013: Named one of the 10 Most Powerful Women in Washington by Elle Magazine
Mario Longhi President and chief executive officer of United States Steel Corporation
Longhi, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, had a long career as an engineer in the metals industry in South America, according to the U.S. Steel website. From 1982-2005, Longhi worked for Alcoa Inc., in Brazil, the U.S. and Switzerland, in various positions including president and CEO. The businessman then worked at Gerdau Ameristeel Corporation for five years. Longhi joined U.S. Steel as executive vice president and chief operating officer and was appointed and elected president and CEO a year later in June 2013. 1982-2005: Worked for Alcoah Inc., in Brazil eventually as president and CEO 2005-11: President and CEO at Gerdau Ameristeel Corporation 2012: Joined U.S. Steel as executive vice president and CEO 2013: Elected president and CEO at U.S. Steel
Actress, Executive Producer
Singer, Actress, Business Owner, Fashion Designer
After wrapping up a second successful season of the popular series Devious Maids, for which Longoria serves as an executive producer, the former Desperate Housewives starlet shows no sign of slowing down. In addition to starring alongside Ed Harris in feature film Frontera, Longoria has also exercised her political chops, initiating the Latino Victory Project in May 2014. It is an effort designed to help Latinos win local, state and federal elections and to spur activism in the Latino community. 2001: Started as Isabella Brana on
The Young and the Restless 2003: Cast as Gabrielle Solis on ABC’s Desperate Housewives 2008: Opened her restaurant Beso in Hollywood
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With a career spanning over 20 years, Lopez continues to dazzle audiences and reaffirm her status as one of the industry’s hottest talents. Lopez became the chief creative officer of cable network NuvoTV in May 2013 and founded Viva Movil that same month. Lopez also serves as executive producer of the ABC Family series The Fosters and as a returning judge on American Idol. In June 2014, Lopez released her eighth studio album, A.K.A., via Capitol Records. 1997: Starred in the biopic of Selena Quintanilla’s life 2000: Wore the plunging green Versace dress to the Grammy Awards 2013: Starred in the crime thriller Parker with Jason Stratham
101 The List of the Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community
Filemon Lopez Senior vice president of strategic operations for Comcast Cable
Lopez is at the forefront of Comcast’s Hispanic diversity efforts, according to the University of St. Thomas’ website. Lopez also serves as an advisor and strategist, and is involved with the cable company’s Corporate Diversity Organization. Considered a major Hispanic leader in South Florida, Lopez has been recognized by several organizations for his efforts in diversifying cable TV. Lopez has been in the industry since the late 1980s. 1990-2000: Worked at Comcast as senior vice president of sales 2004-11: Selected as one of “Most Important Hispanics in Technology and Business” by Hispanic Engineer and Information Technology Magazine 2012: Became senior vice president of strategic operations for Comcast
Monica Lozano Publisher of La Opinion and CEO of ImpreMedia
Monica Lozano first joined La Opinion, founded by her grandfather, in 1985 as managing editor. In her almost 30 years at the newspaper Lozano has expanded its distribution and developed content across multiple platforms. As CEO of ImpreMedia, Lozano also oversees El Diario La Prensa in New York. Lozano serves on a variety of boards, namely as chairwoman of the U.S. Hispanic Media Inc. Board and as a board member of The Rockefeller Foundation. La Opinion has been a leading Spanish-language newspaper for more than two decades. 1990: She became publisher of El Eco del Valle 2000: First joined the board of the Walt Disney Company 2005: Ended a three-year term as director of the Tenet Healthcare Corporation
Simon J. Lopez
CEO of Fox International Channels
President of the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement
Hernan Lopez is currently in the second year of his contract with 21st Century Fox, a contract that lasts through 2016. As CEO of Fox International Channels (FIC), Lopez oversees around 350 channels, reaching an estimated 1.6 billion subscribers. With revenue of approximately $3 billion FIC operates primarily outside of the U.S. but is witnessing an expansion of Spanish language TV in the States. Despite all the expansion, Lopez never wants progress to diminish the quality of the content produced.
After nearly 12 years at the National Council of La Raza developing career mobility programs and creating better employment strategies for Hispanics, Simon Lopez became president of HACE in February 2013 to lead the nonprofit’s network of over 40,000 working professionals. Lopez, an alumnus of the University of New Mexico, also oversees HACE’s expanding El Futuro program, a development project for high school students designed to guide them to college admittance and onto meaningful future careers.
1997: First joined the team at Fox 2000: Named general manager of the Fox International Channel 2009: Lopez set up the Fox Hispanic Media Group
1996: Graduated from the University of New Mexico 2013: HACE received a gift of $55,000 from Wal-Mart to aid the El Futuro program 2014: Participated in Hispanic Executive’s Uniting Powerful Leaders Dinner Series in July
Co-founder and Senior Managing Director of LM Capital Group LLC
Alongside John Chalker, Luis Maizel created LM Capital Group LLC in 1989 with the goal of administering fixed income management services to the institutional investor. Maizel is also co-founder and chairman of the Hispanic National Mortgage Association Board, which works to overcome the obstacles many Latinos face when seeking home ownership. Maizel is also a faculty member at Harvard Business School and a board member of the HSBC Private Bank Board of Directors. 1971: Graduated from The National University of Mexico with a degree in industrial engineering 1974: Graduated from Harvard Business School as a Baker Scholar 1984: Ended four-year tenure as president at Industrias Kuick, S.A. and Blount Agroindustras, S.A.
Governor of New Mexico
As the first Latina governor in the United States and the current governor of a state rife with the immigration debate, Martinez sits poised to be the next darling of the Republican Party. Martinez, who was admittedly once a Democrat, now takes a conservative stance on issues such as taxes, welfare, gun rights and the death penalty. Her team has been careful to craft the governor as a no-nonsense yet amiable politician willing and able to work across party lines. 1986: Graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law 2010: State bar of New Mexico named Martinez “Prosecutor of the Year” 2011: Sworn into office as governor of New Mexico
101 The List of the Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community
Chairman of the Board MasTec
Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security
In 1994, Jorge Mas became the CEO of his family-owned and operated business, changing its name to MasTec, a company that is now a leader in the infrastructure contracting industry. With a background in business administration, Mas’ expertise in the industry has led him to appear on numerous networks such as NBC and FOX. To complete his leadership circle, Mas also lends his time to helping promote the idea of a “free and democratic Cuba,” his native country.
Prior to this position, Mayorkas served as the Director of the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which operates the largest immigration system in the world, according to the government website. Mayorkas has been active in politics since 1989 when he served as the assistant US Attorney for the Central District of California. He has served as U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, becoming the youngest one to be appointed to the position at the time. Mayorkas is a University of California-Berkeley graduate and received a law degree from Loyola. He has been recognized by the National Law Journal as one of the “50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America.”
President of NBC Universal International TV Distribution and Universal Networks International
1994: Publicly traded Burnup & Sims acquired Church & Tower (owned and operated by Mas’ father) and Mas became CEO and changed the name to MasTec 1997: MasTec went public on the New York Stock Exchange 1998: First Hispanic-owned firm to reach the $1 billion revenue mark
Managing 15 offices around the world, Belinda Menendez oversees channels and distribution for NBC Universal International’s television business and ensures that quality content is delivered to more than 180 locations worldwide. Ranked No. 38 on the The Hollywood Reporter’s 2013 Women in Entertainment 100, Menendez was at the helm when NBC Universal International TV forged a deal with HBO Latin America to bring NBC Universal’s feature films to Latin America and the Caribbean, starting in 2015.
2009-13: Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services 2013: Appointed as 6th U.S. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security
2001: Joined Universal Television Distribution as Co-President, Universal Television Distribution 2008: Cover story for the summer edition of Inside Latino Entertainment & Media 2011: Assumed her current role as President of NBC Universal International TV Distribution and Universal Networks International
J. Mario Molina
United States Senator New Jersey
President and CEO Molina Healthcare
National president at the League of United Latin American Citizen (LULAC)
Since becoming involved in politics at the early age of 19, Robert Menendez has had the best interests of the people at heart and as a senator for New Jersey, his influence and ranking is what gets things done for New Jerseyans. While in the Senate, he fights for funding to help the state’s infrastructure and economic stature while sitting on committees such as Senate Committees on Finance and Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.
In 1996, J. Mario Molina succeeded his father as the president and CEO of the family business, Molina Healthcare. After working his way up through the company and in his career in medicine, Molina has been able to successfully transition the company to be one of the top providers of minority health care in the country, which is especially noteworthy during the age of the Affordable Care Act.
1993: Became the third-highest ranking democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives 2006: Sworn into the Senate 2009: Appointed as Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee 2012: Ran for and won election to retain his seat in the Senate
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1991: Began serving as medical director for Molina Healthcare 1994: Served as vice president 1996: Succeeded his father, Dr. C. David Mollina, as president and CEO of Molina Healthcare 2005: Named one of TIME Magazine’s 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America
Moran was elected in 2010 and this past summer she began a fourth term as president after more than 30 years with the organization, according to LULAC’s website. The San Antonio native serves on the board of the LULAC National Educational Services Centers and is the co-founder of the LNESC San Antonio Center. Moran is the third woman to hold her position. She serves on civic boards, including the Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior, the American Bar Association-Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities and is chair of the board of directors of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility. 1996-2000: First term as senator 2005-08: Executive director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs 2010: Elected national president of LULAC
101 The List of the Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community
President and chief executive officer of the National Council of La Raza
Congresswoman California’s 32nd District
President, University of Texas at El Paso
A Kansas City native, Murguia began her political career in Washington, D.C., as legislative counsel to a Kansas councilwoman. Her career took her through the White House as deputy assistant to President Clinton as well as other roles in the 1990s. Murguia joined NCLR in 2005 and has sought to enhance the impact of Latinos in politics since. A few of the areas Murguia has brought to the Latino forefront have been education, health care, immigration, civil rights, economic issues and race and ethnic relations. She is on the board of directors of the American Heart Association and the Partnership for a Healthier America, and is on the executive committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and is a board chair for the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility.
Beginning her political career more than two decades ago, Grace Napolitano has become one of the most well-known women to serve in the government. While remaining a servant to her constituents, Napolitano has often spoken out on national issues; stating that she fears the cost and impact of U.S. troops in Iraq and she advocates for the safety of unaccompanied immigrant children who are in the country.
As UT El Paso celebrates its centennial this year, Natalicio observes 26 years as president of the university. Natalicio, who first began her career at UTEP as a professor of linguistics, has always maintained that the university’s student body should reflect El Paso’s inhabitants. With research grants rising above $80 million, Natalicio remains conscious of the need to keep UTEP an affordable institution, steering the school’s enrollment above 23,000 students.
1989: Elected to serve as mayor of Norwalk, California 1999: Began serving in Congress 2012: Won re-election in California’s 32nd District
1988: Became President of UTEP 1994: Nominated to the National Science Board by President Clinton, where she served five terms 1999: Inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame
1994-2000: Worked as deputy assistant to President Bill Clinton 2001-04: Executive vice chancellor for university relations at The University of Kansas 2005: Became president of NCLR
Ruben Navarette Jr.
Nationally Syndicated News Contributor/Author
President and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition
Managing Partner of Nogales Investors
Since the early 1990s, Ruben Navarette Jr. has been contributing to various news outlets as a writer and correspondent. His articles usually cover topics related to government, politics, social reform and American nationalism. Recently, his work has incited conversations regarding the analyzing of the border crisis and what it means for America’s future as immigration reform becomes even more of a hot topic for citizens and politicians alike. 1990: Began freelance writing career after graduating from Harvard 1993: Published his book, “A Darker Shade of Crimson: Odyssey of a Harvard Chicano” 2002/2003: Dallas Observer named him “Best Columnist in a Daily Newspaper”
For almost 20 years, Alex Nogales has served as president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition. He has labored to guarantee more anchor and reporter positions for Latino personnel, has worked to rectify the shortage of Latino employment available in English-language television and has continued to foster careers for Latinos in the entertainment industry. A co-founder of the NHMC back in 1986, Nogales continues to fight to end media bias against the Latino population. 1995: Protested against the “Howard Stern” radio show after Stern’s comments about Selena Quintanilla 2000: A key player in the signing of the Memoranda of Understanding with NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX 2014: The NHMC launched the Latino Experts Program in late June
Former president of Univision, Luis Nogales currently serves as a managing partner at Nogales Investors, which he founded in 2001. Nogales, a graduate of San Diego State University and Stanford University Law School, led Nogales Partners, a private equity investment company, as president prior to the creation of Nogales Investors. Nogales sits on the boards of KB Home, Edison International, Cedars-Sinai, The Getty Trust, Arbitron Inc. and the National Association of Investment Companies. 1969: Became Stanford’s first assistant to the president for Mexican American Affairs 1972: Appointed as a White House fellow under President Richard Nixon 1984: Became CEO of United Press International
101 The List of the Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community
Broadcast journalist, producer, Chairman of Starfish Media Group
Director of the Johnson Space Center
In her most recent documentary-style report, Soledad O’Brien examines post-traumatic stress disorder in soldiers. The special, entitled The War Comes Home, premiered August 12th and is the latest production of MediaStorm and the Starfish Media Group, of which O’Brien is chairman. O’Brien continues to work as a news anchor, appearing on CNN, HBO and Al Jazeera America. O’Brien also serves alongside of husband Brad Raymond with their foundation, which aims to empower young women and inspire them to attend college. 2003: Started at CNN to co-anchor America Morning with Miles O’Brien 2012: O’Brien began to anchor Starting Point in January 2013: On March 29th, O’Brien completed her final day at CNN as anchor
As the first Hispanic female astronaut with NASA, Ochoa, a Los Angeles native, has logged more than 950 hours in space. She was selected by NASA for active astronaut duty in 1991, according to Biography. com. She has been a part of four space flights in her time at NASA. Ochoa received a master’s degree from Stanford University and holds a doctorate in electrical engineering. Ochoa has served as Assistant for Space Station to the Chief of the Astronaut Office, lead spacecraft communicator and director of flight crew operations at Johnson Space Center in Houston. Ochoa has received four Space Flight Medals, the Outstanding Leadership Medal and Exceptional Service Medal. Ochoa is also an accomplished classical flautist. 1981-85: Student at Stanford University 1993: Became first Hispanic woman to go to space on the shuttle Discovery 2013: Became first Hispanic and second female director of the Johnson Space Center
Designated Hitter and First Baseman Boston Red Sox
President and chief executive officer of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
A nine-time All Star, Red Sox First Baseman and Designated Hitter David Ortiz has become a symbol of unity and hope for the city of Boston. Following the bombing of the Boston Marathon in april 2013, Ortiz led the Red Sox to win its eighth World Series title. Ortiz has recently signed a one-year contract extension that can potentially lead to him staying with the Red Sox until 2017. 1997: Debuted with the Minnesota Twins at age 21 2003: Signed with Boston Red Sox 2006: Set the Red Sox single season record for home runs 2013: Was a key factor to the Red Sox’s World Series win
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More than 3 million Hispanic-owned businesses are promoted by the national chamber, according to USHCC’s website. At the helm, Palomarez has appeared on several media outlets and publications. He has also spoken at Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Palomarez is a member of the National Advisory Council on Minority Business at the Department, as well as the FCC Federal Advisory Committee on Diversity and Comcast’s diversity advisory council. 1986: Received Wall Street Journal Student Achievement Award 2009: Became CEO of USHCC 2013: Appointed to the National Advisory Council on Minority Business by the Department of Commerce.
Latino nationalities represented by our leaders: Mexican • Cuban • Puerto Rican Colombian • Dominican Peruvian • Spanish • Salvadorian Venezuelan • Bolivian • Honduran Panamanian • Brazilian • Argentinian Costa Rican • Ecuadorian
101 The List of the Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community
Chairman and chief executive officer of Express Scripts
Senior Advisor, Vestar Capital Partners, Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Former U.S. Secretary of Energy
President/ CEO Sun Holdings Inc.
Paz started at Express Scripts in 1998 before becoming president in 2003. Two years later, he was named CEO and in 2006, he was named chairman of the board, according to the company’s website. Paz also serves on the board of directors for Honeywell Inc. Prior to Express Scripts, Paz worked for GenAmerica and served as chairman of Aristotle Holding. Paz is also a certified accountant and serves as deputy chair of Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. 1998: Started at Express Scripts 2003: Named president of Express Scripts 2006: Named CEO of Express Scripts
After becoming the first Hispanic mayor of Denver and advising then Governor Bill Clinton, Pena was tapped by the president and became U.S. Secretary of Transportation. Pena served in this capacity from 1993 to 1997 before transitioning to become U.S. Secretary of Energy. Pena has been with Vestar Capital Partners, a global private equity firm, since 1998 and is a board member of Wells Fargo, Sonic Corporation and the Toyota North American Diversity Board. 1979: Elected to the Colorado House of Representatives 1983: First elected as Mayor of Denver, CO 1993: Helped bring the Colorado Rockies to Denver
Jorge M. Perez
Chairman and CEO The Related Group
U.S. Secretary of Labor
Since making his first business ventures on the affordable housing market in South Florida, Jorge M. Perez has revolutionized the luxury real estate industry with the Related Group. Now, as the fourthlargest Hispanic-owned company in the United States, The Related Group’s owner has a new state-of-the-art museum of his namesake in Miami because of his heavy influence in the development of the city. 1979: Founded The Related Companies with Stephen M. Ross 2005: Named one of TIME Magazine’s Top 25 Hispanics in the United States 2007: Launched the first Related International project, Icon Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta
Hailing from a long line of political figures, Perez was sworn in as the secretary of labor last summer. A New York native, Perez is the son of Dominicanborn parents. Prior to this position, Perez was assistant attorney general for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Justice. He was secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation and a member of the Montgomery County Council, according to the department of labor website. Perez received his degree from Brown University and law degree from Harvard. He is also a law professor. 2007-09: Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation 2009-13: Assistant U.S. Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division 2013: Sworn in as 26th U.S. Secretary of Labor
Guillermo Perales started Sun Holdings Inc. in 1997 after purchasing his first restaurant with the assistance of a small business loan. Since then, the company has grown to be the largest minority employer in the United States and only keeps growing. Under his leadership, the company’s revenue has skyrocketed upwards of $300 million, and it has recently branched out to purchase T-Mobile stores, adding to their already heavy portfolio of franchises. Perales has also stepped out onto the restaurant scene, owning and operating significant percentages of Burger King, Golden Corral, CiCi’s, Popeye’s and Arby’s. 1997: Obtained a Small Business Administration loan and opened his first franchise 2008: Awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young 2013: Sun Holdings named largest minority employer in the United States.
Pitbull (Armando Christian Perez) Singer/Rapper
Known internationally by the moniker Pitbull, the Latin Grammy winning rapper most recently appeared in the opening ceremonies of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Pitbull, born in Miami to Cuban expatriates, first stole the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 101 in 2011 for his hit “Give Me Everything,” and has continued to churn out hits ever since. He has recently been the featured artist on singles “Dark Horse,” “Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You),” “Papi,” and “Bumpy Ride.” 2001: Signed to Luke Records by Julian Boothe 2011: Featured on Jennifer Lopez’s hit “On the Floor” 2014: It was announced that he would received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
101 The List of the Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community
J. Paul Raines
Right fielder Los Angeles Dodgers
Chief executive officer of GameStop
Journalist, Author, Anchor Univision
At only 23, Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder, Yasiel Puig, has been no stranger to the spotlight in the past year. After debuting with 44 hits in his first month, a media firestorm has followed this young player and will be sure to not let up for years to come. Be on the lookout for the Cuban who some say could become one of the “best ever” in the sport of baseball.
Raines spent nearly two years as chief operating officer of the game-sales company until being promoted in June 2010, according to GameStop’s website. Prior to that, Raines worked for Home Depot in various executive and managerial positions. Raines graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in industrial engineering.
2012: Signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers as an amateur free agent 2013: Debuted in first game at age 22, exceeded rookie limits 2014: Made first All-Star Game appearance
2010: CEO of GameStop 2008: Chief operating officer of GameStop 2007: Executive vice president of U.S. stores for The Home Depot
With eight Emmy Awards under his belt, Jorge Ramos is arguably the most accomplished and recognizable Latino journalist working in America today. Ramos is the co-anchor for Noticiero Univision, the host of Al Punto and the host of Fusion’s America with Jorge Ramos. Ramos is well known for his perseverant, dogged yet eloquent style and is particularly known to confront those in power on issues such as gun rights, immigration reform and poverty.
Josue “Joe” Robles Jr.
Executive vice president and chief operating officer of 7-Eleven
President and CEO of United Services Automobile Association
President and chief executive officer of Automatic Data Processing
Leading one of the world’s largest convenience store chains, Rebelez has grown the company from little more than 6,000 stores to more than 10,000 in seven years, according to 7-Eleven.com. With a resume that includes ExxonMobil and Thornton Oil Corporation, Rebelez continues to work for the convenience store’s expansion in North America. He received a degree in engineering and an MBA from the University of Houston after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
According to the corporation’s website, the Puerto Rico native joined the U.S. army in 1966 and served for 28 years before retiring with a high rank of major general in 1994. It was then that Robles became special assistant to the chairman and continued to climb the ladder over the next 13 years. In 2007, he became president and CEO of USAA, a major American financial service company headquartered in San Antonio. Robles also serves as chairman for several Texas organizations and charities.
After earning a bachelor of arts degree and MBA from Harvard, Rodriguez spent time as president of ADP’s various business platforms including Small Business Services, TotalSource and retirement services after joining the company in 1999, according to the payroll services company’s website. Rodriguez became president and CEO in 2011.
1988: Graduated from West Point 2001: Became manager for ExxonMobil and Thornton Oil Corporation 2009: Promoted to executive vice president and COO of 7-Eleven
1994: Retired from the Army after 28 years at the rank of major general 1994: Became special assistant to the chairman of USAA 2007: Became CEO and president of USAA
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1983: Left Mexico on a student visa for Los Angeles 2002: Founded Despierta Leyendo 2008: Became a United States citizen at age 50
1999: Started at ADP through Vincam acquisition 2000-07: Served as president of TotalSource, Employer Services of ADP 2011: President and chief operating officer of ADP
101 The List of the Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community
Marcos A. Rodriguez
Anthony D. Romero
Chairman and CEO of Palladium Equity Partners
Executive Director American Civil Liberties Union
In April 2014, Palladium Equity Partners closed its most recent private equity fund at $1.14 billion dollars, well exceeding the initial target goal of $800 million. Rodriguez founded Palladium Equity Partners in 1997 and since then it has developed as one of the largest and most successful Latino-owned investment firms in the United States. Rodriguez is an active board member of The Robert Toigo Foundation, the New America Alliance and the Board of Trustees of New York-Presbyterian.
San Antonio native Robert Rodriguez only continues to diversify himself, building on successes such as the Spy Kids series and blockbusters Sin City, The Faculty and Machete. In December 2013 Rodriguez launched his own cable TV channel, El Rey, an English language channel that largely caters to a Latino audience. The channel, a collaboration with Univision, features the scripted series Matador and the upcoming professional wrestling program Lucha: Uprising.
As the first Latino and openly gay executive director of “the nation’s premier defender of liberty and freedom,” Anthony D. Romero has continued to break ground and influence public change since taking the position in 2001. In 2005, Romero was named one of TIME Magazine’s Most Influential Hispanics in America, and in 2007, he published a book with co-author Dina Temple-Raston that analyzes the conflict between civil liberty and freedom in America.
1961: Left Cuba as a 6-year-old for the United States 1989: Joined the firm Joseph Littlejohn & Levy (JLL) 1997: Founded Palladium Equity Partners
1996: Directed From Dusk Till Dawn 2005: Co-directed Sin City 2010: Directed Machete
Congresswoman Florida’s 27th District
United States Senator Florida
Executive vice president and chief operating officer for Wal-Mart U.S.
With an award record too long to list, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has made history since being elected as the first woman to serve in U.S. Congress in 1989. With humble beginnings as a Cuban refugee, Ros-Lehtinen began working as a teacher in the Miami-Dade area. With education at the forefront, she continues to support efforts to increase financial aid availability for students and seeks to increase the quality of education in South Florida.
As the son of Cuban immigrant parents, Marco Rubio’s earliest memories remain the valuable lessons he learned at home regarding hard work and family values. Today, as a United States Senator, Rubio grounds his ideals in those same values to represent the state of Florida. While his actions are usually along the lines of preserving American nationalism and classic structure, Rubio recently introduced the Dynamic Payment Act, a bill that would allow college graduates in debt to pay back their loans by automatically withdrawing a percentage of their income.
1982: Elected to Florida State House of Representatives 1986: Elected to the Florida State Senate, becoming the first Latino woman to be elected in the Senate or House of Representatives 1989: Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, the first Hispanic woman to serve in United States Congress
2000-08: Served in the Florida House of Representatives 2010: Elected to the United States Senate 2014: Made statements that suggest he may partake in a 2016 presidential candidacy
2001: Took position at ACLU 2005: Named on of TIME Magazine’s most influential Hispanics in America 2010: Involved in passing of the federal Fair Sentencing Act 2014: Leading talks that new evidence of government spying will be forthcoming
Ruiz earned a Retail Management degree from Santa Clara University and began her career at Wal-Mart in 1992 as a store management trainee, according to the company’s website. In 2006, Ruiz was promoted to vice president and regional manager in the Texas and New Mexico region. She then spent two years as the head of Wal-Mart’s human resources organization, Walmart People. Promoted to executive vice president and CEO in 2012, Ruiz is currently responsible for more than 4,000 Wal-Marts in the U.S. Ruiz has been recognized as a passionate mentor and leader by several Hispanic and Anglo publications, including Fortune magazine. 1992: Started at Wal-Mart as store management trainee 2006: Promoted to VP and regional manager in Texas and New Mexico region 2012: Became executive VP and CEO
101 The List of the Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community
U.S. Representative for California and a physician
Actress, Model, Dancer
Congresswoman California’s 38th District
A graduate of UCLA and Harvard’s medical school, Ruiz also received a degree in public policy to advance a career outside of the medical industry. Ruiz holds the distinction of being the first Latino to hold three graduate degrees from Harvard. In addition to being an emergency room doctor, senior associate dean for the University of California’s school of medicine, Ruiz has started numerous mentorship programs for young health professionals and also the Coachella Valley Healthcare Initiative. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 and currently serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and represents California’s 36th district.
A graduate of the ECOS Espacio de Danza Academy, Zoe Saldana broke into the film industry in 2000 with Center Stage, where she played headstrong bailarina Eva. Since then, Saldana has shown her acting prowess in movies like Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Avatar, Colombiana and 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. It appears as though there is nothing Saldana cannot conquer, including the upcoming September cover of Women’s Health UK, where Saldana poses nude.
As the first Latina in history to serve on the House Committee on Ways and Means, Linda Sanchez’s influence has stretched in the record books. Sanchez’s main points of legislation are efforts to keep standards in line so that U.S. citizens can have faith in their government and working to ensure that workers are safe on the job. Sanchez works to provide resources to those in need in her district.
1990: Graduated magna cum laude from UCLA 2010: Founded the Coachella Valley Healthcare Initiative 2013: Elected to U.S. House of Representatives representing Coachella Valley 2014: The NHMC launched the Latino Experts Program in late June
1987: Moved to the Dominican Republic after the death of her father 2012: Won an ALMA Award for Favorite Movie Actress in a Drama/Adventure 2013: Married Italian artist Marco Perego
2003-13: Represented California’s 39th Congressional District 2005: Appointed as Assistant Minority Whip 2006: Helped lead the Congressional investigation into the Bush Administration’s firing of nine U.S. Attorneys 2009: Introduced the “Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act,” H.R. 1966, a bill that would criminalize the use of electronic communications if “the intent is to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person.” (wikepedia.com)
Robert E. Sanchez
Congresswoman California’s 46th District
President, chairman of the board and chief operating officer of Ryder System Inc.
Governor of Nevada
Currently serving her ninth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Loretta Sanchez is the secondhighest ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee. Sanchez’s influence is most recognizable in the efforts to change and reform issues regarding national security, immigration and the military. Sanchez has just introduced the Human Trafficking Detection Act, which would require Department of Homeland Security agents to pass training to be able to identify victims and potential victims of human trafficking so the appropriate lawful measures can be taken to ensure their safety. 1997: Began congressional career, now on ninth term in U.S. House of Representatives 2011: Introduced a bill United States Department of Homeland Security to issue rules governing searches and seizures of the laptops, cellphones and other electronic devices of American citizens returning to the U.S. from abroad. 50 • July / August 2014
Sanchez has been employed with Ryder for more than 20 years and has served in several senior executive leadership positions for the transportation and supply chain management solutions company, according to Ryder’s website. Before Ryder, Sanchez worked as an engineer at Florida Power & Light and as a controls engineer at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft. Sanchez has been recognized for his involvement with the Hispanic community on more than one occasion, including the Young Hispanic Leadership Award in 2002. 1993: Joined Ryder 2003: Became a member of Ryder’s executive leadership team
Currently running for his second term as governor, Sandoval boasts an approval rating that is regularly above 60 percent. Sandoval, the first Latino governor in the United States, was first elected to his position in 2010 with over 53 percent of the vote. Sandoval recently announced the addition of over 600,000 private sector jobs to the Nevada economy, while appearing to dismiss rumors that he will run against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in 2016. 1998: Appointed to serve as a member of the Nevada Gaming Commission 1999: Opened his own law firm in Reno 2009: Announced he was running for governor after resigning as judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada
101 The List of the Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community
Shakira Singer, record producer, songwriter
After returning as a judge for the sixth season of NBC’s The Voice, the Barranquilla songstress released her 10th self-titled studio album in March 2014. Shakira, who first entered the English language market in 2001, preceded her recent album with the release of the hit song “Can’t Remember to Forget You,” a collaboration with Rihanna. Shakira delivered yet another FIFA World Cup anthem with the single “La La La (Brazil 2014),” which she performed at the closing ceremonies. 2009: Performed with Usher and Stevie Wonder at the Inauguration of President Obama 2010: Began her own beauty line, entitled “S by Shakira” 2013: Gave birth to her son Milan
U.S. Supreme Court justice
Chairman of CBS Entertainment
Sotomayor made history in 2009 when she became the first Latina to be nominated to the highest court in the country. A Bronx, NY, native and a Yale Law School graduate, Sotomayor started as a U.S. District Court Judge in the early 1990s before being elevated to the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals later that decade, according to Biography.com. Before becoming a judge herself, Sotomayor worked as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan. She received her undergraduate degree from Princeton and was also editor of the Yale Law Journal.
After 10 successful years of leadership as president of CBS Entertainment, New York native Nina Tassler has been promoted to chairman of CBS Entertainment. Tassler was responsible for bringing television hits Undercover Boss, Elementary, How I Met Your Mother, The Good Wife as well as hit comedy series The Big Bang Theory to air. With a contract that extends her time at CBS through 2017, Tassler remains the highest profile Latina executive in a television network.
1979: Graduated from Yale Law School, where she was editor of the Yale Law Journal 1991: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York; nominated by President H.W. Bush 1998: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; nominated by President Bill Clinton 2009: Became 111th justice, first Hispanic justice and third female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; nominated by President Barack Obama
1997: 1984: Moved with her husband, Jerry Levine, to Los Angeles 2011: Honored by Women in Film with the Lucy Award 2013: Launched CBS’s Limited Series and Live Event Programming unit
Mayor, City of Providence, RI
President/Founder National Museum of Mexican Art
Chairman, Trujillo Group Investments LLC
With three years of service as mayor of Providence under his belt, Angel Taveras is seeking to become the next governor of Rhode Island. Taveras, a Harvard and Georgetown Law graduate, is a committed proponent of public education and adequately preparing Providence students for higher education. If elected governor, Taveras looks to continue revitalizing the Rhode Island economy, to serve as a champion for middle class families, to secure proper wages and more. 1988: Graduated from Classical High School 2007: He appointed as an associate judge on the Providence Housing Court 2011: Assumed office as mayor of Providence
In 1982, Carlos Tortolero, then a long-standing educator in the Chicago Public School System, founded the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum (later named the National Museum of Mexican Art) when he saw a lack of representation of a culture he knew to be less-than duly understood by the general population. Since then, the museum has become an epicenter of Mexican culture and education, regularly hosting a wide range of artists and their work. Tortolero continues to use the museum as an asset to create opportunities of showcasing the vibrancy and richness of Mexican culture. 1982: Opened the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum in Chicago 1987: Opened the museum’s current location, in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood 2006: Led museum to adopt the name “National Museum of Mexican Art” because of broadening influence
Born to Mexican immigrants in Wyoming, Sol Trujillo has a career of over 30 years experience in the business field. Trujillo, renown for his tenure as CEO of the Telstra Corporation, has served as chairman of Trujillo Group Investments since 2003. Trujillo sits on several corporate boards, including Target, Promerica Bank, Weather Investments and China’s Silk Road Technologies. In February 2013, Trujillo was honored by the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute with the National Hispanic Hero Award. 1999: Received the Ronald H. Brown Corporate Bridge Builder Award from President Clinton 2001: Joined the Board of Orange SA 2009: Left Telstra and returned to the United States
101 The List of the Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community
Chairman and CEO Pinnacle Technical Resources
President and CEO Hispanic Scholarship Fund
Director of Hispanic media at the White House
Nina Vaca is a force to be reckoned with. Whether running the company she founded in 1996, serving on the boards of Kohl’s and Comerica Bank or lending her time to the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, she is everywhere. Vaca’s entrepreneurial spirit has become her strongest asset, and she shows no signs of slowing down. Recently appointed to the inaugural Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, Vaca’s influence is now more widespread than ever.
Prior to joining HSF, Fidel Vargas worked in private equity asset management, often managing the fund of minority-owned businesses. While winning numerous awards and accepting many honors in his current position at the HSF, he has continued to keep the goal of the organization at the forefront. Recently, he has been involved with the conversation on revisions to allow immigrant students who are lawfully present in the U.S. obtain scholarships through eligible programs with the U.S. Department of Education.
1996: Founded Pinnacle Technical Resources 2005: Named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2010: Named Chairman of the Board of Directors of the USHCC 2014: Appointed to the inaugural Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship
1992: Became Mayor of Baldwin Park, California at age 23, becoming one of the nation’s youngest mayors in history 2006: Became Partner at Centinela Capital Partners 2013: Assumed current role at HSF
Prior to the White House, Vargas worked with the National Immigration Forum in the media and communications department. Her skills include managing strategic communication, branding and effective breakthroughs to the Hispanic community. Her position made her the face of the Forum and she was a commentator on many Spanish language networks. She has also worked at the National Immigration Law Center, the Washington Office of Latin America and the International Rescue Committee. Vargas is at the forefront of putting immigration reform and issues Latinos care about in the American political agenda.
First Hispanic woman appointed to U.S. Court of Appeals
The Colombian native continues to draw laughs as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on Modern Family, for which she was recently nominated for a Golden Globe award. Vergara, who was ranked by Forbes as the 32nd most powerful woman in the world in 2014, also appeared in the 2014 films Chef and the remake Wild Card. Currently filming Don’t Mess with Texas, set to release in 2015, Vergara continues to cast an enchanting spell over both Latino and American audiences.
As the first member of her family to graduate from college, Wardlaw went on to attend UCLA law school where she served on the law review and as a teaching and research assistant, according to JustTheBeginningFoundation.org. She started as a clerk in the Central District of California before she entered a private law. In 1995, she was nominated by President Clinton to the U.S. District Court for her district in California and was later nominated to the U.S. State Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
1989: Appeared in a Pepsi commercial as a 17 year-old, her first performance appearance 1992: Gave birth to son Manolo 2008: She ranked No. 62 on Maxim’s Hot 100 list
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1976: Graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA 1992: Elected delegate from the California’s 27th Congressional District to the 1992 Democratic National Convention 1998: Appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit; nominated by President Bill Clinton
2008-13: Communications Director of National Immigration Forum 2010: Truman partner at Truman National Security Project 2013: Director of Hispanic Media for The White House
Leaders who are active on Twitter:
Club LEADERS of the Future
June 12, 2014 Cafe Spaggia
Story BY Christina Zambon photos by aj Kane
On Thursday, June 12th, a diverse group of young Latino professionals gathered at Café Spaggia on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. That evening, 20 Latinos – all rising leaders in the community – came together for a night of mingling, a three-course dinner, and roundtable conversation. At the table, Jorge Ferraez led an energetic discussion, asserting, “We need more leaders, more financial advisors, more politicians, in our community.” This group of people was brought together to encourage discussion and facilitate ideas of making the community better. He asked for their ideas. Daniel Maldonado chipped in: “Mentoring is key. It’s way different from sitting in a classroom. That one on one is key.” He went on, “There’s no one mentoring them, guiding them, so what do they resort to? They resort to the streets. So mentoring them is key.”
Edgar Ramirez shared his thoughts on the future of the Latino community in Chicago.
Agreement resounded. “A lot of us get caught up in our career, and we don’t give back. We have to remind them that it’s cool to be smart. It’s cool to be the guy working hard.” Rather than focusing on clothes and cars, “Focus on the school, focus on your career. All that stuff will come.” Adolfo Hernandez asserted, “When I talk about Latinos being the future, I mean it in a very real way. If we don’t educate our children, we’ll be in huge trouble.”
At the dinner, Antonio Favela described passing the bar and received a round of applause from the group.
Daniel agreed, insisting: “Invest your time into the community and the next generation. You can’t just do your 9 to 5 and then go home.”
these sponsors have made this night possible:
Northwestern Mutual; Member of the Zoning Board of Melrose Park. Shore Consulting, executive search firm based on Mexico City and Madrid.
“Proud to serve only Latino-made wines in our events,” Jorge Ferraez
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Sales Operations Manager at Aon Corporation and Professor at DeVry University
Agent at New York Life
Born and raised in Chicago of Puerto Rican and Guatemalan descent, Debbie attributes her drive, passion and determination as the keys to her success. She recently completed her 16-year anniversary at Aon, spending 11 years in accounting and finance and five years in operations. She’s on the board of NSHMBA (National Society of Hispanic MBAs) and also serves as co-chairwoman for Aon’s Chicago Latino Business Resource Group. At age 19, she became a single mom. With no brothers or sisters and a mother who passed away when her daughter was 2, she faced an uphill battle to achieve her dreams in life.
Paola Meinzer Multicultural Initiatives Manager at H&R Block
Born and raised in Colombia, Paola came to the U.S. almost 14 years ago, “with a luggage full of dreams” and with a lot of work and perseverance she achieved the American dream. She supports and belongs to different organizations that are involved with helping Latinos and the immigrant community and leads the Multicultural Initiative at H&R Block. She says the secret to her success has been following what she’s naturally good at. “I’ve always been in fields I’m comfortable in and in areas that I’m good at, so I’ve been able to grow in the roles that I’ve had,” she states. This is what she loves to do – in 10 years, her hope is to continue being an advocate for the community, helping immigrants who want to achieve the American dream.
Born and raised in Venezuela, Oney moved back and forth between there and Chicago, attending high school in Florida. Though he says he’s lived everywhere, he affirms that Chicago is his favorite city, and he plans to stay forever. His dad, former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, kept his family moving around. In 2004, Oney moved to Chicago for good to attend UIC and says this is where he plans to stay. Following in his dad’s footsteps, he played for the minor leagues for four years. A year ago, he joined New York Life as an agent as he pursues a career in finance. He says the main thing that drives him to do well is to keep his family proud in Chicago. In his free time, he likes going to the movies and playing recreational baseball.
Omar Sotomayor Noel Senior Creative Copywriter for Lápiz Leo Burnett
“It’s just about hard work, as you all know. It’s about hard work and dedication.” Omar grew up in Peru during a difficult time of internal war, where there was “no water, no light, sometimes no bread.” His parents pushed him to become a lawyer, so he went to college, where they thought he was studying law, but he was really studying communications. With limited options of finding a job he wanted, he went to Spain to study advertising, and when he returned to Peru, he built a digital agency from the ground up. With two gold medals from Cannes (which has never happened in the history of the organization), Omar asserts that it doesn’t matter where you are from; you can create great work.
Daniel Maldonado President and Founder of ULEED
Born and raised in the Logan Square/ Humboldt Park area of Chicago by a father who was involved in community organizing and local politics, Daniel began his involvement with local politics when he was 10 years old. After high school, life took a turn when he became a father at the age of 18. Daniel states his mindset changed dramatically, and suddenly, the most important thing was “what I needed to do be a good father.” After a year and a half of an online school, upon transferring to North Park University, he found out that his college was unacredited, now, he dedicates himself to fighting a lack of knowledge. His passion for helping people progress and grow led him to founding United Latinos for Empowerment, Education & Development (ULEED).
Abigail Vega National Producer of Latina/o Theatre Commons
A military kid who mainly grew up in San Antonio, Texas, Abigail joined Teatro Luna upon moving to Chicago and has grown to become producer, writer, actor and director. With plans underway to open an ensemble in Los Angeles called Teatro Luna West, she currently splits her time between Chicago and L.A. This June, she has also been named producer of Latina/o Theatre Commons and will promote events and advocacy around the country. Abigail says that her goal is to create a space for artists and community members, to allow them to study the arts, to give them training, to give them a voice and to tell them that their stories matter. “A year ago today, I could’ve never imagined being in this place. I hope to be able to say that every year.”
Club LEADERS of the Future Ernesto Gamboa Advisory Engineer/ Regional Portfolio Manager of Crown Packaging Technology LLC
Ernesto grew up in Stone Park, a suburb of Chicago. Though his dad never went to school, his father was always naturally good at math and often tinkered around the house and on cars. Ernesto was inspired by his dad’s work ethic. He was a waiter for his whole life and worked multiple jobs. No matter what the position, Ernesto’s father showed happiness every time Ernesto was successful, and he wanted to continue making his father proud. With eight years of experience at Crown Packaging Technology and a recent promotion to regional portfolio manager, he dedicates his free time to the community, mentoring college students and inspiring other Latinos who want to become engineers.
Publisher Jorge Ferraez was once again proud to showcase a wine selection from all Latino-owned vineyards.
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Edgar Ramirez President and CEO of Chicago Commons
Born in Mexico, Edgar moved to Chicago at the age of 4 days old and grew up in Albany Park. Raised by a mom who was actively involved in her church and community, Edgar became involved in community work early on. His mom encouraged education, not only in her words but also in her actions. After completing a degree in political science from DePaul, he became a community organizer in Pilsen and Little Village. Realizing that this was his calling and passion, he went on to earn a master’s degree in social administration from the University of Chicago. Since graduating he joined Chicago Commons, where he now serves as CEO. Edgar believes, “If we can make it, we have to help others make it.”
Adolfo Hernandez Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement
Growing up in Little Village, Adolfo fell naturally into Chicago politics. During 10 years a variety of community organizing around the city – from gang intervention in Logan Square to health organizing in Latino and African American communities – Adolfo learned the composition of city government. He was selected to be a part of Rahm Emmanuel’s administration, in which he worked on protected bike lanes and the launch of Divvy, Chicago’s bike sharing program. However, his true passion remains in helping immigrants succeed and after being appointed as deputy director of the Mayor’s Office of New Americans, he’s been able to directly contribute to making Chicago “America’s most immigrant-friendly city.”
Antonio Favela Attorney
Born and raised in Melrose Park, Antonio always dreamed of becoming a lawyer, but life gave him a detour. After college, he spent five years working, seeing the world and planning until he finally embarked on his dream and enrolled in law school in his late twenties. Recently graduated, he decided to go for it and also ran for state representative while studying for the bar exam. With “ a lot of time, effort and sleepless nights,” he passed the bar, and he says he plans to run again in two years for state representative. His secret to success: “Resolve, and not giving up … I’ve stumbled a lot; sometimes things seem impossible, but you just have to throw yourself out there and do it. He attributes his drive from his father and says, “Everything I do is because I see my dad and how proud he is of me.”
Joanna Aguirre e-Business Mobile Consultant at Allstate Corporate
Joanna studied journalism and public relations in college. Upon graduating, she joined the White Sox Public Relations team, first as an intern, and was then hired on the community relations team, where she worked full time for three years, assisting in giving grants throughout the city. Her thirst for learning and conquering new challenges led her to recently accept a position at Allstate Corporate. She says she enjoys learning new things constantly, but with a passion for philanthropy and a degree in Latina(o) studies, she hopes to work supporting women and a global cause, working with young people of color and urban youth and making a larger impact.
Marketing Director at Wintrust Financial
Regional president at AT&T Hacemos
Born and raised in Chicago of Mexican parents and growing up in a Jewish neighborhood, Susana became accustomed with diversity early on. After college, she worked at an ad agency for a year, but in 2002, she started her career at Wintrust, where she’s been for 12 years. She now runs outreach and diverse markets, bridging the gaps between the banks and key community groups. Her goal in outreach with Wintrust is to make them the bank of choice for Latinos, Asians, Indians and African-Americans. She says she loves the pressure and results from marketing. “You see the results. If you fail, you see it. If you succeed, you see it, too.” Raised by her dad to be a strong woman, her goal is to lead her own marketing team someday.
Born to a Serbian father and Mexican mother in Chicago, Marko learned firsthand the importance of hard work. With no easy handouts, his parents struggled early on in his life, working hard to earn everything. Marko says that while education was looked upon favorably in his family, it was never promoted or encouraged. Regardless, he ended up being the first in his family to graduate from college, and moved into a managing position as a result. Marko uses his experience to motivate employees and students to do the same. To further pursue his passion for inspiring other Latinos, he heads Hacemos, and through his leadership, he has generated $34,000 in scholarships and doubled chapters in the U.S.
Wealth Advisor at John M Davila & Associates LLC
Vice President at Ramirez & Company Inc.
Promotional Director at Teleton Mexico
After graduating from Illinois State University in 1994, John got an internship with the Chicago Cubs and moved to Chicago. For seven years, he worked for the Chicago Cubs in community relations and marketing. In 2001, he decided to make a career move to finances, and started at Northwestern Mutual. After learning the ropes there, gaining experience and getting licensed, he left in 2008 and became an independent financial advisor, starting his own firm, John M Davila & Associates LLC. In 10 years, he hopes to make the firm a generational firm, bringing members of the family into it, for long-term growth and development. A chairman of the Latino Advisory Board of St. Jude, John plans to eventually start a charitable foundation and give back.
Ramón was born in the Dominican Republic. When Ramón was young, his father moved the family to Florida to achieve his dream of becoming a physician. From his parents, Ramón learned the importance of education and hard work. With these principles in mind, he strived to become a well-rounded person. With a liberal arts degree he studied art, music, math and science, and then continued on to earn an MBA in both finance and international business. Since completing grad school, Ramón has had an ongoing career in investment banking, helping governments in the Southeast and Midwest finance their community’s infrastructure projects. Ramón has also been particularly interested in supporting higher education in the Hispanic community.
Was the special guest of Publisher Jorge Ferraez. As a transplatform journalist, Luisa added her insight on how social media impacts cultural similarities and differences of Latinos on separate sides of the border.
Club LEADERS of the Future
June 26, 2014 Hibiscus
Story BY Esther Perez photos by Emilia Gaston
On June 26, 2014, twenty-two young leaders gathered in Uptown Dallas to discuss the success they have achieved and the impact that Latinos have as they give back to the community at the Hibiscus restaurant. The third-generation of the Dallas Club Leaders networked and shared their passions, which centered on diversity, community service and culture.
Jennifer DeLa Torre said she takes the most pride in her role as mother, also serving as a Girl Scout troop leader in her spare time.
Alejandra Arango Director of National Media and Blogger Relations at Aio Wireless
With a focus on global communications, Arango is passionate about connecting individuals. Born and raised in Miami with a Columbian heritage, she is dedicated to engaging individuals of different backgrounds as they “learn from the experiences of others … As a millennial, as a multicultural and as the face of this country, I want to make sure that I’m a part of that conversation.” Her inclusive viewpoint focuses on bringing others, despite, age, education or cultural background together to make a difference.
these sponsors have made this night possible:
58 • July / August 2014
Sales Director of Southwest/ West Region at AT&T
Growing up as a young, at-risk child in South Bronx, New York, Gonzalez realizes the importance of giving others like himself a way out of that lifestyle. Starting in sales, Gonzalez realized that he had a knack for communicating with others, and now sees the necessity for speaking out and encouraging others to be “a better version of themselves.” Now as an AT&T Aspire mentor, he credits his own mentors for the reason he has a greater perspective on life. “Those moments of mentorship showed me that there is more to life than the vicious circle that happens in the inner city.”
Ana I. Rodriguez
Brandi Amara Skyy
Special Assistant to the president at University of North Dallas at Dallas
Managing Director of Sales & Operations at Action Metals Recyclers
Drag Artist, Writer and Editor at GAG Magazine
Born and raised in Dallas as a first-generation Latina, Rodriguez is a strong advocate for higher education. Currently the youngest member to serve on a university cabinet in Texas, her motivation is to ready Latino students through mentoring and advising, which leads them to pursue a degree in higher education so that they are more equipped for leadership. “There is definitely a need to have kids in private schools, in senior roles, in corporate roles, but if they’re not educated, they won’t be ready.”
As part of a family operation, Grinstein’s company is proud to provide quality recycling and jobs to the community. Grinstein graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and has attained joy and experience working with people in the scrap metal industry.
As a cisgender female who performs gay, male drag, Skyy founded GAG Magazine the self-proclaimed “gay, drag version of Vogue.” Born and raised as an only child in Corpus Christi, her professional and personal decisions have given her the passion to help others, specifically the youth in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender community, and inspire them to find points of intersection to connect with their surroundings and their own passions.
Brenda Mora Account Manager for Professional Services at Aerotek
Leaders Junny Barahona (far right) and Brandi Amara Skyy (second from right) listen to opening remarks as entrees are passed.
Growing up in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, Mora found Dallas to be a place with greater opportunities in her field. As one of the first bilingual employees of the Plano office at Aerotek, which focuses on business development, she realized that there were limited expectations and opportunities placed on Hispanics in business in the area around her. But as she quickly moved up in the company, she decided to mentor other Latinos following the business career path. Now, seven years later, her office is now one-third Latino, and she is proud to join Latinos around the nation in making small businesses thrive with diversity.
Club LEADERS of the Future Clemente JaquezHerrera Architect - AIA, NCARB, LEED AP Designer with RTKL
Born in Chihuaha, Chihuahua, Mexico, Clemente Jaquez is an architect at RTKL Associates in Dallas Tx and focuses on designing Healthcare facilities. After watching his dad build things as a child, he developed an appreciation for the built environment that soon grew into true passion after realizing how architecture can impact social issues. Clemente is dedicated to preserving cultural relevancy and constantly seeks opportunities to improve communities through the combination of cultural heritage and architecture as he builds and designs houses around the world. “Ultimately, architects have a social responsibility. Our goal as designers is to enhance the human experience through architecture.”
Damian M. Rivera President of National Account Services at Emmitt Smith Realty Partners
Born in Washington, D.C, but raised in Puerto Rico and Costa Rica, Rivera spent a lot of time traveling as the son of an undercover U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent. Rivera’s interaction with many different kinds of people sparked a passion for youth mentorship, focusing on high school students. “I’m really passionate about giving back.” As part Emmitt Smith Enterprises, which launched last August, Rivera sees Smith, a recipient of a Congressional Horizon Award for community service, as a mentor, and he plans to continue working in the community and focus on raising his three daughters.
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David R. Cavazos III
Chief of Staff at AT&T
Architect Vice President Healthcare Practice Leader for Mexico and Central America at HKS
Cavazos, who grew up in the projects of South Phoenix, knows what it’s like to rise above his circumstances and become a leader. As a manager at AT&T for 18 years, he has been instrumental in the development and implementation of numerous high profile projects and business initiatives resulting in improved customer service, associate satisfaction and business processes, Cavazos has also played an important role in training and further developing associates at all levels of experience. “I’m living proof that you can do something different with your life if you want to,” Cavazos says, and his goal is to eventually become a leader of a nonprofit that directly combats drug addiction, specifically among the Latino community.
As a native of Mexico City, Mexico, Torres started working for HKS in 2004, and she has specialized in health care, which has taken her all over the world, including Peru, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Chile and Argentina. “Designing hospitals is so very unique because you have to serve so many people from the administrators to the nurses, physicians, maintenance, staff and the patient. So you have to have a passion for problem solving,” she says. Her motivation is seeing the impact that her hospitals have once the project is complete. “That’s what I live for.”
Miguel Friedrich (right) and Raul Santillan (center) listen as Eduardo Marquez (left) spoke about his membership in AEM.
Jennifer DeLa Torre
Foreign Associate At Haynes and Boone LLP
Executive Director of Workforce Diversity at AT&T
Having just moved to the U.S. two years ago, Eduardo is the newest Latino of the group. After going to law school and graduating with a master’s degree from Georgetown University Law Center, Marquez says he has always had a passion for the economically challenged through his visits to his hometown in Mexico. “I want to be the best lawyer that I can, but I also want to return to the community.” With his involvement in the Asociación de Empresarios Mexicanos, Marquez focuses on helping bilingual, urban youth pursue their education.
From El Paso, Texas, DeLa Torre’s career shifted from an interest in accounting to development of employees through programs focused on education, networking and mentoring to create future leaders within the organization, which she is able to do at AT&T on a global, every day basis. She takes pride in her work and her role of being a mom. “I do a lot of mentoring through AT&T, but I have to balance my life right now for [my daughters] being the ages that they are, 4 and 7. A big part of my life revolves around making sure they can achieve everything they want in life.”
Dulce Torres works to serve Third World countries by designing hospitals that best assist their needs.
Julian Puga Jr.
Vice President of the Texas Market at Comerica Bank
Financial Representative at Northwestern Mutual
Beauty Sales & Education Manager at IbeautyDallas
Born in Durango, Mexico, Efren moved to Dallas and has a passion for helping others who may need financial aid, just as others were there for his family. “Everybody needs an opportunity to expand their horizons.” As part of the Comerica Bank team, Avalos is dedicated to helping individuals through 24-hour mobile service, investment options and providing loans to assist in making Latinos’ dreams become a reality.
As a first-generation Latino in the U.S., Puga was able to take hold of many opportunities that were presented to him because his parents focused on the value of education. After graduating from Saint Louis University, Puga stresses the value of planning for a new generation of Latinos to become educated leaders. “I want to help other families achieve what I was able to do through financial planning.” As he strives to be the first Hispanic alumni on the board of directors for his high school, he says that showing Latinos in leadership demonstrates more about educated Hispanics than numbers on diversity.
As a beauty trainer and educator for luxury hair care brands in markets such as Sephora, Neiman Marcus, Dillard’s, Nordstrom and more, Barahona’s passion is to encourage Latinas as they move forward in their careers. “It’s a tough world. It’s a man’s world out there. … We need to inspire women to grow, to be that woman who can not only handle being a mom and parent but also to be a leader in the community as we grow and excel.”
Club LEADERS of the Future Martha Palacios
Michelle V. Alonzo
Communications Manager at Big Thought
Vice President of Marketing, Growth, & Development at TPN
Immigration Attorney at Chabez & Valko LLP
“I like to say that I was manufactured in El Salvador, assembled in Costa Rica and imported to the United States. I’ve always been an immigrant.” Because of the war in El Salvador, Palacios’ family moved to Costa Rica when she was 4 years old, and as entrepreneurs and owners of a clothing store they placed a great deal of importance on the education their children received. After graduating from Costa Rica University, Palacios earned a job as a PR professional and moved to the U.S. 5 years later. After working for PR companies that managed clients such as IBM to Delta Airlines, Palacios realized that her passion lie with nonprofit companies.and she now works for educational promoter Big Thought.
As a third generation Latino raised by his grandmother, much of his inspiration came from teachers and coaches in his semi-professional hockey career. After being offered a job at Google that he turned down, he started a multicultural marketing business. In the future, he plans to focus on starting a nonprofit that encourages fathers to be involved in their children’s lives.
Dallas native, Alonzo graduated from Saint Mary’s business school in San Antionio to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become an accountant. Three years later, she found herself volunteering in Austin translating for immigration and litigation attorneys to talk about safety and regulation in the workplace when she realized that none of the attorneys were Latino. Seeing the need for Latinos to have a voice, specifically in their own language, Alonzo went to law school to become that voice. As a first-generation American, she says that her goal is to focus on the immediate needs of immigrants as they go through the immigration process.
Miguel Friedrich Vice President Sals & Marketing at nTact
Johnnie Walker Master of Whisky talked club leaders through a special tasting.
62 • July / August 2014
With Spanish, German and Mexican ancestry, Friedrich has a passion of traveling the world to find your identity, the heritage that defines you and the importance of cultures. As an international businessman and son of a diplomat, Friedrich says no matter what country he would find himself in – Germany, Mexico or the U.S. – his father instilled the three most important values a person can attain: humility, honesty and honor. As a father himself, Friedrich has taken that to heart and continues to pass that on to his own children.
Brandi Amara Skyy spoke about finding the strength to be your own person and said that, “it’s okay to be that unicorn amidst a stream of horses.”
Ricardo Ortiz President & CEO of Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Born and raised on the El Paso-Juarez border, Ortiz graduated from the University of Texas – El Paso and decided to go on to law school, which led him to a job with an established law firm in Dallas, Texas. After getting involved in the community in Dallas, Ortiz realized that his passion lie in establishing connection, access and impact with Latinos.
Partner at 44 Farms
Strategic Alliances Event Manager at Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau
Residential Mortgage Loan Originator at AmeriPro Funding
With a passion in business, family, creativity, culture and faith, Salazar encourages others to remember that life’s challenges come and go, along with fame and wealth, but he says the biggest success is to remain true to your faith. “As Hispanic leaders, don’t forget the spiritual aspects of who we are because we are a very successful people.”
Born and raised in Dallas in a Mexican-American middle class family with five children, Santillan has grown up with a passion for family because of his father’s dedication to sending money to relatives across the border to help with their financial needs. Rather than focusing on temporary accumulation of possessions, his parents “taught us that the most important thing in the world is your name,” he says, which shapes much of his compassion for others. With selfproclaimed passions in family, education and tequila, Santillan continues to work toward his dream of becoming the founder and CEO of his own company.
With more than a decade of experience in the financing industry, Robert Nuñez is a Sr. Mortgage Banker recognized for his effectiveness and dedication to securing highly competitive home mortgages for his residential clients and investors. He has been at AmeriPro Funding since 2012 as a Residential Mortgage Loan Originator. Nuñez distinguishes himself by taking a comprehensive approach to ensure he identifies the best loan solution for each client. Nuñez’s business philosophy, first-class service and willingness to work hard for every client is why he is sought after by realtors and builders throughout Texas.
What Jorge Ferraez
is Drinking www.twitter.com/JFerraez_Latino
passion becomes art
ne of my favorite wines for the summer is the Pine ridge Chenin Blanc viognier ($12) which is fairly available all over. What I like is that it has the freshness you expect in a white simple wine to sip on summer afternoons by the pool, and still has certain citric and fruity personality that make it enjoyable. Recently, I came to know the vineyard manager for Pine Ridge, Gustavo aviña, from Michoacan, Mexico, who came to work in California when he was 22 and has been working for Pine Ridge for 9 years. “Twenty years ago, I was working on the field, but that wasn’t my idea of dream work. It’s hard, so I started working for a vineyard management company and lead a team to do that same job, but in the meantime, I learned a lot.” Still unsatisfied, he attended school and worked his way up when the opportunity with Pine Ridge came. “I wanted to know everything from how to eliminate plague, plant treatments, management of vineyards and everything about it. But it was my expertise in pest control that got me here. Now, I overlook 11 properties, with many different types of vineyards and varietals and I’m responsible for producing the best fruit you can get.” Gustavo is an example of passion and dedication for what he does, producing the same quality of fruit, every year for the wines of Pine Ridge: “but I have my own techniques: We never touch the grape more than 15 times; we balance the size of the fruit at the vine; we trim, leaving only the right amount of fruit; we remove small leafs for air circulation but leave the big ones for sun protection; we control irrigation and so on for I need to grow the best fruit suitable for the kind of wine we want.” It sounds like an art, and it certainly is. Gustavo wants to keep learning and specializing on pesticides before retiring from Pine Ridge. Later on, Michael Beaulac, general manager and winemaker at Pine Ridge, said, “Gustavo is a great guy and the best (vineyard manager)…I can have”.
Gustavo Aviña Vineyard manager 64 • July / August 2014
Chateau Cabrieres Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1998 (wine tasting with friends) region: Chateneuf-du-Pape (Rohne) varietal: Grenache (mainly) Price: $85 aromas: wood, vanilla flavors: Mocha, ripe fruit, peppery impression: Sweet tanins structure: Balanced, impressive Drink with: Elaborate food why i loved this wine? Has a lot of personality my rating: 95 pts.
michael mondavi family “animo” (sent by the winery for analysis) region: Napa Valley varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon, Price: $55 aromas: Chocolate, cherry, toast flavors: Vanilla, mushroom, dark fruit impression: Silky, delicious structure: Balanced, concentrated Drink with: Big, juicy steak why i loved this wine? It has the classic, delicious Cabernet notes my rating: 92 pts.
ferrari-Carano fume Blanc 2013 (sent by the winery for analysis) region: Sonoma County varietal: Sauvignon Blanc Price: $18 aromas: Flowers, grapefruit, guava flavors: Tropical fruit, cardamom, kiwi impression: Flowery and fresh structure: Round Drink with: Seafood, shrimp cocktail why i loved this wine? The accents of guava fruit are delicious my rating: 91 pts.
North North offere Natio
through fiNaNCial plaNNiNg
Story by Amanda Photos by LA
Maribel Benitez-Zisch advocates for Latino financial independence through education and information
hen Maribel Benitez-Zisch worked as a pharmaceutical sales representative, she saw cancer patients whose families weren’t prepared for the financial strain of unexpected sickness. She wanted to make a difference for families. After seven years in the pharmaceutical industry, she gave up her sales job and, in 2007, took a position with Northwestern Mutual, helping people achieve financial security. “The industry just made a lot of sense, and Northwestern Mutual understood my passion,” she said. “My passion comes from educating people about their finances because we don’t always think about what happens if someone gets seriously sick.” Benitez-Zisch, who is Cuban-American, believes many people in the Latino community haven’t been exposed to the kind of financial planning that she brings to her clients. “We live in a country
with all kinds of people, and they don’t always understand how to build wealth, wealth for generations to come.” She saw the risk in her own family as her father worked hard and managed to earn millions, only to later lose that money. He didn’t plan well enough for the future, Benitez-Zisch said. “He did it all on his own,” she said. “He’s 70 and working today. He taught me the greatest reward is when you put yourself out there. He taught me about trust. He taught me about taking risks – things I use today.” But Benitez-Zisch’s experience growing up led her to be much more disciplined about her finances. But Benitez-Zisch learned something else from her parents: the value of family. “There’s a balance to being a working mother,” she said. “How do I make sure I’m there for my kids and able to create something for myself? At the end of the day, being a wife and mom are the most important.”
Benitez-Zisch and her husband, Phil, have two children, an 11-year-old son, Everett, and an 8-year-old daughter, Lailah. “It’s about showing my kids that you can be successful, but you don’t have to compromise your values,” she said. “You don’t have to compromise what’s important, so I make sure to have time with my family and take vacations with them. “I hope what they’re learning is that if you’re disciplined and work hard, you can have both,” she added. “You can be a great parent and build something for yourself. That comes from being Cuban —that family is the most important thing. I’m hoping that we’re teaching them that.” In addition to working with her clients, Benitez-Zisch trains new, young representatives. It’s a chance to diversify the business, she said. “We need more people in the Latin community in this industry,” she said. “We need them to go back and teach their families how it works and really how to make the most out of money; so they can provide a legacy and a sense of independence.” “All that’s not going to change unless we educate each other,” she said. For a culture that values hard work and family, financial planning is a perfect fit, she said. “I know legacy is important to Latin people,” she said. “I really wish more Latin people would see that we need more Latinos to educate other Latin people on how to save and how to pass down wealth. … If you care about people, you can make a difference in this business.”
“I know legacy is important to Latin people,” she said. “I really wish more Latin people would see that we need more Latinos to educate other Latin people on how to save and how to pass down wealth. … If you care about people, you can make a difference in this business.”
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“You’re only different because of the quality of who you are. Employers are dying to find people with hard work ethic and integrity, and that they will hold onto.”
For Benitez-Zisch, becoming a successful financial advisor was about not letting businessmen keep her from understanding her worth. “Don’t think of yourself as a Latino trying to break into this industry,” she said. “Think of yourself as a human being who has a lot to bring. “I never thought of other people being able to dictate my future. No one else can keep you from where you want to be. Don’t think of yourself as different,” she said. “You’re only different because of the quality of who you are. Employers are dying to find people with hard work ethic and integrity, and that they will hold onto.”
Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (NM) (life and disability insurance, annuities) and its subsidiaries. Maribel Benitez Zisch is an Insurance Agent of NM and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI, (long-term care insurance) a subsidiary of NM, and a Registered Representative and Investment Advisor Representative of Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS) (securities), a subsidiary of NM, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser and member FINRA (www.finra. org) and SIPC (www.sipc.org). CA License: #0F55285
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Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (NM) and its subsidiaries. Securities offered through Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, subsidiary of NM, member FINRA and SIPC. Wealth management programs offered through Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company®, Milwaukee, WI, subsidiary of NM, limited purpose federal savings bank. NCAA is a trademark of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. (0213)