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MARCH / APRIL 2022
Such an honor! 100 Latinas Foreword by Lili Gil Valletta 14
Do not miss! 100 Latinas 2022 List 16
Jessica Bass Bolander From wanting to join the peace corps to Vice President 58
Marissa Solis A NFL success story 47
Janie Barrera A former nun with a financial education mission 48
L AT I N O S I N E N E R G Y Rick Perez The mastermind of recycling 65
Luis Castillo Story on renewable energy 67
New Column! Cigarden 71
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Publisher Jorge Ferraez
President and CEO Raul Ferraez
Administrative Director Lawrence Teodoro Editor Andrea Pina Andrea@latinoleaders.com Writters Bill Sarno Daniel Sanchez Torres Elsa Cavazos Joanne Rodrigues Luana Ferreira Business Development Manager Cristina Gonzalez email@example.com Art Director Fernando Izquierdo
100 Latinas IT IS ONE OF OUR FAVORITE EDITIONS. Period. It is enjoyable to research, edit and write - but more importantly, it is also one of the most impressive for the discoveries it brings. Every year, we feel overwhelmed to know all the new names and roles we didn’t know before. It is very satisfying to see more Latinas have positions of significant relevance and influence level. Technology, Communications, and Entertainment seem to benefit from the trend we’re perceiving. The Latina community should be very proud! Of course, we agree that it should be more. Still, while it is never enough, this group of One Hundred outstanding women should serve as an example and role model for many emerging leaders. Their stories and work are inspiring. We had the privilege to talk to some of them. You will find our 100 Latinas feature followed by a great collection of conversations, profiles, and interviews with some of these leaders. We’re also happy to present our feature on Latinos in Energy. A fascinating industry that is both vibrant and dynamic these days. Witnessing the contributions and roles of many Latinos and Latinas in the industry is also an enriching experience for us. As one of our interviewed leaders claims, “there are plenty of opportunities for Latinos in all avenues of this industry.” We’re portraying conversations with fellow Latinos in the business, research, distribution, and energy production. They are all commendable pioneers that deserve our admiration. We’re also delighted to introduce our new Editor of Latino Leaders Magazine, Andrea Pina. Andrea is our first Mexican-born editor, and we’re very proud of that. She comes with a lot of enthusiasm and professionalism to our team. Welcome, Andrea, and we look forward to keeping advancing our publication to higher altitudes with your work.
Editorial Art & Design Carlos Cuevas Luis Enrique González Moisés Cervantes Human Resources Manager Susana Sanchez Administration and Bookkeeping Claudia García Bejarano Executive Assistant to the Publishers Liliana Morales Digital Media & Design Manager Wendy Zacarias Events Coordinator Isabela Herrera For advertising inquiries, please call 214-206-9587 Latino Leaders: The National Magazine of the Successful American Latino (ISSN 1529-3998) is published seven times annually by Ferraez Publications of America Corp., 11300 N. Central Expressway, Suite 300, Dallas, TX, 75243, March/April 2022. 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
Jorge & Raul Ferraez Audited by Member of Reg. # 283/01
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MEMBER OF SRDS Latino Leaders The National Magazine of the Successful American Latino 11300 N. Central Expressway, Suite 300, Dallas, TX, 75243 Phone: 214-206-9587 / Fax: (214) 206-4970
It is such an honor to join the Latino Leaders team with such a special edition: 100 Latinas. As a female Latina, it is especially motivating to work on this issue, which celebrates female empowerment, leadership, and innovation. I am thrilled to have talked and heard the stories of so many women from such diverse backgrounds and industries— banking, retail, politics, NGOs, sports, media, start-ups, etc. I know that women are not going to stop; they are gaining leverage and soaring higher.
Congratulations to all! Keep on thriving and shining.
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THE CURIOSITY THAT LEADS TO A LIFETIME CAREER INTERVIEW WITH HENRY MONTEMAYOR, PRESIDENT OF TEJANO CONSTRUCTION, INC.
How was it growing up for you? HM: I grew up in a large family of eight kids, so we learned very early we all had to work to help out. One of my fondest memories was Christmas when we would go to Mexico every year for a week to visit my Grandparents.
Courtesy of Henry Montemayor
Luis E. González
What were your core family values? HM: Our core family values are to look out for others, spend time with family, and be responsible and honest. What let you into construction and creating Tejano Construction? HM: When I was young, it was common for me to have as many as three jobs. After high school, one of my jobs was at a gas station, and one of our regular customers was a union bricklayer. He asked me if I'd be interested in learning a trade? Of course, this piqued my curiosity, so I went in for an interview with Davis Masonry and got hired. I joined the union apprenticeship program, which meant working 8-hour days and going to school two nights a week. After one year, I was helping run jobs. It took me three years to become a journeyman bricklayer. Davis Masonry is where I met my business partner, Dwight Davis. He was the estimator. After working for Davis Masonry for 16 years, they closed the doors, and we all went our separate ways. Still, I knew I wanted to open my own business, so I reached out to Dwight Davis. We agreed to open Tejano Construction, Inc. in August 1994. We build commercial masonry construction. What has been your biggest challenge, and how did you face it? HM: My role was to oversee the job sites, which meant ensuring we had skilled, reliable help and producing a quality product – which wasn’t always easy.
WRITE AND SHARE #ConnectLL
Henry Montemayor, President Tejano Construction, Inc.
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We would hire guys, they would show FOLLOW US FOLLOW US up ready to work, and after a few days, LatinoLeadersMagazine @latinoleadersmag they would quit because the work was too hard. I knew if I found good help, I needed to hang onto them and hope that we kept enough work going to keep What advice would you give to young them busy. The main issue we’re facing professionals going into construction? today is the lack of workforce. HM: My suggestion is to learn a trade, which will allow you to work and What are your plans for Tejano Conlearn on the job instead of going to struction, Inc.? college for four years and graduating HM: We are getting older and closer to with a huge debt. The trade industry retirement. My partner Dwight Davis is hurting right now. Due to the lack retired last year, and I’m pushing reof workforce, we need high school tirement myself but not quite ready to graduates to go to trade schools and give it all up. I plan to downsize a little become an apprentice. In 3-4 years, in the size of jobs we’re doing but conyou're a journeyman making a decent tinue to build projects that will stand living and able to provide a good life the test of time. for your family.
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CREMA CREATIVE MEDIA
CREATIVITY BUILDING BUSINESS ENTREPRENEURSHIP INTERVIEW JOSE MANUEL ESPINOZA, OWNER CREMA CREATIVE MEDIA Courtesy of Jose Manuel Espinoza
Luis E. González
Mentors have been my parents, other artists, and professionals I have worked with in the past and currently work with. I see competition as an opportunity to learn and grow. Nature inspires me more than anything, light particularly. I spend most of my life searching for beautiful sunshine and trying to capture it. Light stops me in my tracks, makes me pull over, get out of the car, and try to capture it. Espinoza’s early paper sculptures.
Meet Jose Manuel, Manny, the mastermind behind Crema Creative Media.
What influence has your Hispanic background had in your life? JME: The relaxed, outgoing, and friendly Hispanic style has greatly influenced my ability to grow and expand my business opportunities and long-lasting relationships. The culture's vibrant colors and art history have significantly added to my creative influences.
Describe your childhood. What experi- How has your business evolved? What are ences growing up influenced who you some short- and long-term goals? are today? JME: Have you had any mentors in life? JME: Growing up in the southwest, in TucWho inspires you the most? son, AZ, its vibrancy and color was a sigMy business has evolved and reshaped nificant influence on me. I knew I would itself over the years, from strictly graphic be an artist when I grew up as a child. My design and paper sculptures at the beginchildhood was amazing. I am the youngning to now being about 50% graphic est of 4 with three sisters. We had loving, design and 50% photography. Short term Share any plans you have. How do you see hard-working parents with just enough goal is to continue to grow the photograyourself in 10 years? discipline to keep me on a straight path. phy side of my business. Crema Creative JME: I see myself owning my gallery in CarMedia is the design half, and Manny Espimel-by-the-Sea and capturing this beautiHow did your professional career start? noza is Photography. ful central coast where I live. What have been the most relevant milestones? JME: After finishing high school, I played some college baseball. When that was over, I knew I wanted to become an artist. I did not want to spend 4 or 5 years at a standard university studying things that I would not apply. I looked for a private design college, and luckily The Art Center of Tucson had just opened. I loved spending five days a week learning from working professionals in various artistic fields. So, I was off and running. MARCH / APRIL 2022 LATINO LEADERS 7
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LEADERS HUB WITH JOE
SALES FORCE EFFECTIVENESS THE ABILITY of sales professionals to be able to stay focused on the sales process, lead generation, assessing opportunities, identifying solutions, building sponsors, and closing qualified opportunities depends a lot on how well they use their talents, character strengths, and manage their emotions. Discover Your Sales Strengths (Warner Business Books, 2003), written by Benson Smith and Tony Rutigliano from Gallup, conducted research that shows that customer satisfaction and future recommendations are based on an emotional connection with the salesperson. Customers who like their salesperson are twelve times (12) more likely to continue to repurchase. Sales success comes from managing our emotions. The following list of emotional intelligence competencies are key for sales roles: 1. Empathy is recognizing, understanding, and appreciating how other people feel. Empathy involves being able to articulate your understanding of another’s perspective and behaving in a way that respects others’ feelings. There are three kinds of empathy: a. Cognitive empathy — understanding how the customer thinks about the problem. This means perceiving their mental models of the world. You’ve got to listen and ask the right questions. b. Emotional empathy — sensing how the other person feels about what you are saying and doing. Emotional empathy holds the key to rapport. It tells us, for instance, when a sales pitch is falling flat. c. Empathic concern — caring about helping the customer. Studies by companies of their star salespeople find that the most successful don’t just make a sale. They actively help the customer solve problems, becoming a consultant to them. 2. Assertiveness involves communicating feelings, beliefs, and thoughts openly, and defending personal rights and values in a socially acceptable, non-offensive, and non-destructive manner. Lack of Assertive-
ness might affect salespeople when closing deals. 3. Self-Awareness includes recognizing and understanding one’s own emotions. Salespeople who are aware of their own emotions, whether they are nervous or confident, how they project themselves, have a better chance of being able to adapt to the situation. 4. Optimism is an indicator of one’s positive attitude and outlook on life. It involves staying hopeful and resilient, despite occasional setbacks even when the customer says “No”. 5. Problem-Solving is the ability to solve problems where emotions are involved using emotions. Salespeople with high problem-solving skills can help a customer make an informed decision. 6. Reality Testing is the ability to remain objective by seeing things as they really are. The more accurately a salesperson reads the customer, the better able he or she should be to adjust tone and words to customer needs. 7. Impulse Control is the ability to resist or delay an impulse, drive, or temptation to act and involves avoiding rash behaviors and decision making. Salespeople tend to speak more and are not good at listening to the customer. They are very prone to discounting under pressure. High Emotional Intelligence sales reps are able to enjoy their own work, stay at the workplace longer, and sell more products or services to the people that really need them, thus stimulating customer loyalty and promoting the human values of the brand they represent. Focusing on sales metrics, sales pipeline management, and sales training is not enough. Sales Managers need to work with the entire salesperson’s mind, heart, and sales skills. If you are interested in aligning sales execution and creating a high-performance sales team, visit the AlliancesHub website to learn more about our “Sales Force Effectiveness” Program.
ABOUT JOE Joe Bacigalupo, MBA, MPEC, ACPEC is a Managing Partner and an Executive Advisor at AlliancesHub International, LLC. AlliancesHub offers Change Management and Strategy Consulting, Talent Optimization and Analytics, Leadership Development, and Executive/ Leadership Coaching services. www.allianceshub.com firstname.lastname@example.org 469-287-2086
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LATINO ART LEADERSHIP WHAT WE NEED TO LEARN FROM IT
WHY ARE YOU NOT GIVING UP? BECAUSE I WANT TO SEE WHAT IS MY THRESHOLD! Carlos Cuevas
Successful creators should be weighed on their own merits.
uccessful creators should be weighed on their own merits. Despite their variances in values and ways, these artists constantly collaborate to reach equality. In today’s art world, there is no such thing as fairness! When one side gets what they want exactly, the other can’t complain. Noting happens until the artist passes the threshold, where the works cease to be political and mediocre! With a distinctive approach to leadership, three Latino artists: Gabriela, Alessandra and Verny, are captivating the collectors’ attention. Wassily Kandinsky said, “Abstract means to separate something from something else.” Alessandra and Verny examine their expressive potential to create striking compositions with bold strokes in an “Outstanding Magical Figurative World.” While Gabriela, in a passionate way as an artist herself, alludes to the patron’s attention to the artists she represents with creative skills, evoking an instinctive emotional reaction.
their art. The second is to help collectors adjust their perspectives, focus on local talent, and become part of the network that supports artists whose work they get to know and admire.”
Alessandra Albin (Mexican-American) / Sculptor She is a fantastic figurative sculptor. Her work is the intersection where sensuality, mysticism, and excitement mingled in one glimpse of the human body, allowing the viewer’s imagination to fly. Her vocation can be summarized by not being a career but a decision to listen to her deepest self to become an artist. She considers the relationship between gesture and language nonverbal communication. “It’s a fragment. I don’t want complete pieces; I don’t like them. I have to leave things to the imagination and leave space so you can put your stuff in it. You don’t see the complete piece, but you complete it, not me. So, that is my fragment and your fragment. If we connect, that’s it. The magic is done.”
Gabriela Monterroso (Guatemalan-American) / Gallerist A unique curator and imaginary artist turned gallerist. She has built a unique space and a strong reputation as a maverick for emerging artists in the Houston art scene. Her strategic vision is sought-after by some of the most esteemed collectors in the region, with a reputation for showing works of merit. “I get my inspiration from teachers, curators and fellow artists involved in the process to make sure Monterroso Gallery could show and represent excellent. I have two main goals. The first one is to provide a great space for artists to show their artwork proudly. Most artists are thrilled their pieces could be part of a more in-depth cultural conversation, and Monterroso Gallery pro- Verny Sanchez (Venezuelan, Spanish-Amerivides not only the physical space to achieve can) / Multimedia that but a virtual connection to showcase He is a master of applying the interplay
between abstraction and figuration closely. The term abstract does not attempt to portray reality. His object of worship, the “human figurative rhetoric”; his aim, “minimalism”; and “abstraction,” his tool. “As a Latino artist, he believes all obstacles are in the same Latinos mind. There is a wrong preconception of the excessive defense of the race, a pattern of ego that incites the same Latinos to react to something that provokes us to believe that we are much better than others. When in reality, it is not a competitive system, but an act of symbolic integration.” These artists keep us guessing who gives us more to see, a rare example of perseverance and conviction. One that is not only entitled to admiration and respect but one that should serve as inspiration for how to cope without sociopolitical misfeeds and “stupid terminologies” against unfairness. These are Latinos suitable to break through several more thresholds.
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DE LA VEGA ON LEADERSHIP
LATINAS MAKING AN IMPACT Ralph de la Vega
IN MARCH 2022, the U.S. economy added 431,0001 jobs, with women making up 271,000 or 62.9%2 of those gains. In the same period, the number of Latinas employed rose by 148,0003 which represents 54.6% of the total gains by women. This is significant since Latinas represent only 18%4 of the women in the U.S. Although Latina employment levels are still down from their levels in March 2020, they are making a remarkable recovery. Latinas are driving disproportionate gains in employment and, in doing so, are making a positive impact on the U.S. economy. The Latinas highlighted in this issue are a great example of the fantastic talent and contributions this cohort represents. They are accomplished and articulate. They are educated and entrepreneurial. And they have demonstrated they have the grit to take on the toughest challenges we are facing today. To continue these positive trends, employers need to provide the support women need to succeed in the workplace and at home. These include flexible working hours, paid family leave, and mental health support. The future of work has been redefined with the pandemic. Hybrid work environments are the new normal, and women are essential to economic growth. In this environment, Latinas are positively impacting work and society in general.
THE LATINAS ARE A GREAT EXAMPLE OF THE FANTASTIC TALENT AND CONTRIBUTIONS THIS COHORT REPRESENTS.
Let’s recognize them and support them!
1 U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics Table B-1 2 U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics Table B-5 3 U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics Table A-3 4 Catalyst.org and U.S. Census Bureau
Ralph de la Vega is the former vice-chairman of AT&T Inc. He is the author of the best-selling book “Obstacles Welcome: Turn Adversity to Advantage in Business and Life.” He is also a LinkedIn Influencer, posting regularly on leadership and innovation.
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100 LATINAS INTRO
With great respect and admiration, we present the 100 Latinas for 2022. This list is a compilation of trailblazing women in their areas of expertise. Although they all work in different sectors and organizations, they are all equally relevant. We honor the inspirational stories of these 100 Latinas. We hope our readers enjoy reading their stories as much as we enjoyed putting together the list.
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100 LATINAS INTRODUCTION
LATINAS OF LEGACY:
FROM GAPS TO GAINS WITH “GANAS” While I often find myself navigating boards rooms and media screens as somewhat of a “business evangelist” sharing numbers to drive an inclusive bottom line, this foreword feels more personal than yet another business case. Lili Gil Valletta
Walter Johnson Jr.
THAT IS WHY when the editors of Latino Leaders asked me to write this foreword, my mind went in many directions. Should I focus, yet again, on the many gaps we have yet to fill as Latinas still earning $0.57 to the dollar versus our male-white counterparts. Or highlight the fact that less than 2% of public boards seats have one of us represented and less than 1% of executive ranks have a Latina leading. Or that while we, Latina-owned small businesses are the fastest-growing segment of the business community in the United States reporting a growth of more than 87% since 2007, according to the National Women's Business Council, yet get less than 2% of venture capital and angel funding. While embarrassing, these gaps represent the incredible gains we have yet to realize; just imagine what unlocking the full power of Latinas could return for all! And today, we honor the 100 Latinas listed here because they embody something much bigger than numbers and stats, they are a testament to what’s possible and the gains and ganas that makes us a force for impact and growth in all aspects of society and business. They are more than a title, they are daughters, sisters, mothers, and spouses who have dared to beat the odds to demonstrate that more than a “representation checkbox,” we are what society and businesses need to stay relevant, and competitive. So, as you read each name and reflect on what they do, I invite you to dig deeper and honor them as women of legacy. A legacy that uniquely represents
LILI GIL VALLETTA
CEO AND CO-FOUNDER CIEN+ GROUP
F. Izquierdo L ili Gil Valletta and late mother Diva Aurora Vargas de Gil, former executive at Ecopetrol, Colombian Oil Company.
our Hispanic spirit of progress and honors the tenacity and wisdom of our abuelas and ancestors. So today, I honor the women listed here because each of them inspires us all to be more and do more, while never ever forgetting where we come from. And as one of those women listed, I honor and elevate my late mother and grandmother, Diva and Maria Ignacia, who each were trailblazers in their fields and today give me the ganas to do what I do today.
“THEY EMBODY SOMETHING MUCH BIGGER THAN NUMBERS AND STATS, THEY ARE A TESTAMENT OF WHAT’S POSSIBLE AND THE GAINS AND GANAS THAT MAKES US A FORCE FOR IMPACT AND GROWTH” May these numbers and stories motivate us to keep pushing and pulling each other up further… faster! Because at the growth rate we represent in population size, buying power, and workforce growth, there is no other way for every board room and our nation to achieve its full potential without the power we, Latinas, represent. Sigamos adelante, con ganas!
GANAS: [sustantivo fememino] Deseo, apetito, voluntad Source: Real Academia Española Translation: desire, appetite, will
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100 LATINAS LIST
SVP, Enterprise Campus Management Bank of America
Natimil Abreu currently serves as SVP, Enterprise Campus Strategy Manager at Bank of America. She has been at Bank of America for over 6 years, she started her career there as VP, Finance Manager Consumer Deposit Products and then moved on to Employee Engagement & Inclusion Council Lead for Consumer Banking and Wealth Management. From 2017-2019 she was President of ALFPA (Association of Latino Professionals For America) for their Chapter in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her previous professional experience includes 10 years at Citi, including senior positions such as VP Global GT&O Controller. One interesting fact about Natimil is that from 2009 to 2014 she was Television Presenter at Magazine TV International. She went to Baruch College where she obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration, Finance and Investments. Natimil also holds an MS in Accounting from the same College.
CEO & Co-founder SUMA Wealth
Beatriz Acevedo has dedicated her career to creating opportunities to influence authentic depictions of Latinos in society. Beatriz began her career as a young radio and television host. Her work has earned her three Emmy Awards, an MTV Music Video Award, two Streamy Awards, and a Media Correspondent Award, among others. She was the co-founder and President of mitú, the leading digital media brand for young Latinos in the U.S. Under her leadership, she went on to raise $52M in funding. Beatriz is currently the President of her family’s foundation “Acevedo Foundation” For the past 30 years, the Foundation has been focused on elevating, educating, and empowering the next generation of Latino leaders. Her latest Fin-tech start-up Suma Wealth focuses on empowering Latinos via in-culture financial content, fintech products, and experiences to gain control of their economic power and build wealth.
"When times get tough, assume positive intent, focus on the problem - be gracious, resilient, empathetic and transparent - and your team will reach solutions faster. Leadership starts from within!"
Special Assistant to the President of the United States of America The White House
Alma Acosta has been in public service since 2013. Acosta currently serves as Special Assistant to the President in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, a role which she has held since 2022. Acosta formerly served as the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Executive Director between 2017 and 2022. Acosta’s multi-faceted role included communicating CHC positions and serving as the primary point of contact for Members of Congress, House and Senate Democratic Leadership offices, the Tri-Caucus, Democratic Caucus, Committee Staff Directors, and multiple stakeholder groups, including NALEO, UNIDOS, LULAC, MALDEF, SEIU, and the Leadership Conference to advance CHC priorities as well as organizing 10+ Congressional delegations. A few of the many successes under Acosta’s tenure include the introduction of the landmark Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA), the passage of the National Museum of the American Latino Act, and legislation to protect Dreamers, TPS-holders, and farm workers.
Host of NFL Total Access NFL Media
MJ Acosta-Ruiz is the host of NFL Total Access, NFL Network's signature show. MJ became the solo host of NFL Total Access in September of 2020, and in doing so became the first AfroLatina to host a show on NFL Network. Acosta-Ruiz joined NFL Network in September of 2018 as a Bay Area-based reporter covering the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders. Acosta-Ruiz joined NFL Network from NBC 7 and Telemundo 20 in San Diego where she covered the Chargers for three seasons as the lead sports anchor. Prior to joining NBC 7 and Telemundo, Acosta-Ruiz spent three years as a reporter for WPLG in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, covering sports, entertainment and breaking news. A former Miami Dolphins cheerleader and bilingual in English and Spanish, Acosta-Ruiz graduated from Barry University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications.
“The younger version of myself was brave and unrelenting. We tend to lose that as adults. In the face of adversity, I check in with my inner, tiny warrior. She reminds me of who I am!”
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100 LATINAS LIST
President & CEO Latino Corporate Directors Association
Esther Aguilera is President and CEO of the Latino Corporate Directors Association (LCDA). She is recognized as a social entrepreneur and turnaround specialist. She led the growth of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) for 11 years as its President & CEO. Previous positions also included serving as a principal at the Dewey Square Group, senior advisor to the Secretary of the US Department of Energy, executive and legislative director of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), and a policy analyst at the National Council of La Raza (now UnidosUS). She also writes on the subjects of board diversity and organizational effectiveness and is a guest columnist in numerous publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy from Occidental College, completed the Harvard Corporate Governance Executive Program in 2005, and completed leadership programs in Mexico and Spain.
Independent Board Director, Advisor PotlatchDeltic Corporation, Pollination, Traihead Capital
Anne Alonzo is a widely respected global food and agriculture leader and has forged a highly successful and diverse career in the public, notfor-profit and corporate sectors. Anne served as Senior VP and Chief Sustainability Officer at Corteva Agriscience and before she was President and CEO of the American Egg Board (AEB), the marketing arm of the U.S. egg industry. Before joining the AEB, Anne served at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Anne has also served top executive positions at Kraft Foods. While at Kraft Foods, she was selected as the first woman to Chair the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF). Prior to Kraft Foods, Anne contributed with National Foreign Trade Council; International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce; U.S. Embassy, Mexico City. In 2021, Anne joined the Board of Directors of PotlatcDeltic (PCH).
“To those who are given much; much is expected. I believe leaders—especially Latino Leaders--must work hard, be grateful and care and empower others who are watching and following.”
Carolina Alvarez-Mathies Executive Director Dallas Contemporary
Carolina Alvarez-Mathies is a Salvadoran, Dallas-based arts professional. She currently serves as Deputy Director at Dallas Contemporary, a leading arts institution that presents new and challenging ideas from regional, national and international artists. Throughout her career, Alvarez-Mathies has integrated her background in communications and business development to foster innovations for institutions to better engage the public with contemporary art. Prior to Dallas Contemporary, AlvarezMathies served as Director of External Affairs at the New York-based public arts non-profit Creative Time. Alvarez-Mathies is an alum of Texas Christian University. In 2021, just two years into her tenure in Dallas, Alvarez-Mathies was named by DCEO Magazine as one of the region’s most influential leaders.
“Stepping into the role of Executive Director at Dallas Contemporary helps nurture my own personal commitment to creating platforms that foster artistic innovation. My core aim is to engage diverse voices with the museum and art.”
Elizabeth Atlee SVP, Deputy General Counsel and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer CBRE
Elizabeth Atlee is Deputy General Counsel, Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer at CBRE. She provides leadership, oversight, and direction to ensure CBRE conducts business with the highest ethical standards and complies fully with all legal and regulatory obligations across the globe. She also oversees CBRE's Global Data Protection and Privacy Program. Additionally, Elizabeth is an executive sponsor of CBRE’s employee network group HOLA— Hispanics Organized to Leverage our Advantage—and is a member of CBRE’s Executive Inclusion Council. She also serves as Treasurer and board member of HOPE, Hispanas Organized for Political Equality. In 2021 she was recognized for the second year in a row as one of the 50 Most Powerful Latinas by the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA). She also received a Professional Achievement Award from the Mexican American Bar Foundation (MABF).
“Accept and learn from positive criticism and disregard negative chatter, it’s ok to ask for help. Most importantly, in all you do, be yourself, love and be true to yourself.”
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Chief Revenue & Growth Officer Callisto Media
Bernadette Aulestia currently serves as Chief Revenue & Growth Officer of Callisto Media, a technology and media company that is revolutionizing the way content is created by leveraging Big Data, AI, and lean economics to unearth the needs of mass niche audiences and create high-quality content at scale. Prior to this, Aulestia was President, Global Distribution at HBO. She is a global operating executive, independent board director, investor and advisor to public and private companies; specializing in scaled commercialization, international business development, content distribution, and cultural transformation. In 2021 Ms. Aulestia was elected to the Board of Directors of Nexstar Media Group. Bernadette has been honored as one of Fortune Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Latinas in Business, Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business, and the National Diversity Council’s Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Entertainment.
Elizabeth Barajas-Roman President and CEO Women's Funding Network
Elizabeth Barajas-Roman is the President & CEO of the Women’s Funding Network, the largest philanthropic network in the world devoted to gender equity and justice. Previously, she was CEO of the Solidago Foundation. For more than 20 years she has been a leader in progressive movements, including advocating at the national level for the health and rights of immigrant women and their families. She has also served as the CEO of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts. She is a member of the External Advisory Board for the University of Massachusetts-Boston Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, and the Massachusetts Treasurer appointed Elizabeth to serve on the state’s Economic Empowerment Trust Fund Board, and the statewide Advisory Board on Wage Equality. Elizabeth is a certified Project Manager Professional (PMP), a graduate of Oberlin College, and she received her master’s degree in international policy from Harvard University.
Deputy General Counsel The Walt Disney Company
Linda Bagley is Deputy General Counsel to Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution (DMED). Linda leads a global team of lawyers responsible for matters relating to Company priorities such as Disney's subscription streaming services, international media businesses and global advertising sales. Bagley began at Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) in 2001 as Senior Counsel and was promoted to Executive Counsel in 2003 and later to Vice President - Counsel. She has also held the role of Associate General Counsel, Distribution. Before joining WDIG, Bagley was an associate at Latham & Watkins. Previous to that, she was an associate at O’Melveny & Myers. Born and raised in California, Bagley is a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School and holds an A.B. in Economics, magna cum laude, from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges.
Global Chief Marketing & Communications Officer Publicis.Sapient
Teresa Barreira is Chief Marketing Officer at Publicis.Sapient. She is a senior leader with experience at consulting and technology firms including Deloitte, Accenture and IBM. She joined Publicis.Sapient from Deloitte Consulting, where she was Chief Marketing Officer, bringing over two decades of global, business-to-business marketing experience in the IT and professional services industries. Under her leadership, marketing-influenced revenue has more than tripled. She created an agile operating model focused on speed, data & innovation and built a multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural global team, that fosters diversity, equity and inclusion. Teresa is a proud Hispanic and native of Portugal who is focused on advancing DE&I in leadership and at all levels of the workplace.
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Sindy Benavides CEO LULAC
Managing Partner Supply Chain Capital
Sindy Marisol Benavides is currently Chief Executive Officer for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the oldest Hispanic civil rights organization in the country. She previously served as the Chief Operating Officer and National Director for Civic Engagement and Community Mobilization for LULAC, Vice President of Field & Political Operations for Voto Latino and as Northern Virginia Political Director for the 2012 Kaine for Virginia senatorial campaign. She has also been National Director of Community Outreach for the Democratic National Committee, and Latino Liaison and Director of Gubernatorial Appointments for Governor Timothy M. Kaine. Sindy is a Honduran-American immigrant who has experienced the American dream, and now devotes her career to public service, ensuring that countless young people, women, and immigrants have the same opportunity.
Noramay Cadena is a Founding Partner at Supply Change Capital, an early-stage venture capital fund focused on the rise of the rest in food. Previously, she was a Managing Partner at MiLA Capital. More broadly in the venture community, Noramay is also a lead investor in Portfolia's Rising America Fund investing in Latinx, Black and LGBTQ founders, an advisory board member of the Homeboy Industries Ventures and Jobs Fund, and a founding board member of Latinx VC. Noramay was also appointed to the board of the Housing Authority Commission of Los Angeles (HACLA) by Mayor Eric Garcetti. In 2020, she was named one of 50 renowned women in robotics and one of the top 100 influential Latinas in the United States. Noramay is a Kauffman Fellow and holds an MBA, a Master’s in Engineering Systems and a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering – all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
"Being a leader doesn’t have to be at someone else’s expense. It is not defined by being reactive and against someone or something, but is most defined by being for something and empowering others."
"The muscle memory you build when you bet on your intelligence and creativity uncovers profound opportunities to buck the status quo in the halls, conference rooms, and sectors most void of diversity and equity of access."
Journalist / News Anchor Univision Network
Ilia Calderón is an Emmy Awardwinning journalist, the co-anchor of Univision’s flagship evening newscast Noticiero Univision, and the co-host of Univision’s primetime newsmagazine Aquí y Ahora. She is the first Afro-Latina to anchor a national weekday evening newscast for a major Hispanic broadcast network in the United States, having previously co-anchored three other news desks for Univision and two for Telemundo. llia Calderón was born in the coastal region of Choco, Colombia, to an Afro-Colombian family. After studying at the Pontifical Bolivarian University, she began her journalism career in 1994 as a local anchor in Colombia’s second-largest city, Medellín, and later became the first Afro-Latina to host a national news program in Colombia. Calderón moved to Florida in 2001.
Founder Fashion Launchpad
Sandra Campos is Founder to Fashion Launchpad, which is an education platform providing accessibility to next-gen skills training for women and people of color. She is an internationally recognized retail CEO and entrepreneur who has built global lifestyle brands and has been instrumental in turnarounds, digital innovation, cultural marketing, and international expansion. As the former CEO of Diane Von Furstenberg, Sandra is known to be an innovator whose focus o the implementation of Omni-channel, unified commerce strategies enhance the consumer experience and make a significant impact. Prior to DVF, Sandra led Iconic international brands such as Juicy Couture, Bebe, and BCBG. She is a frequent keynote speaker, regular contributor for CNBC, on topics ranging from female empowerment, retail innovation, leadership, and diversity in the workplace.
"The best leaders empower their teams by continually providing resources and training opportunities that allow professionals to work cross-functionally and keep up with rapid changes in technology and business."
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Lori Castillo Martinez
Executive Vice President and Chief Equality Officer Salesforce
Lori Castillo Martinez currently is Executive Vice President and Chief Equality Officer at Salesforce. In this role, she leads the company’s global equality efforts, including equality strategy and programs. Previously, Lori served as the interim Chief Equality Officer and Head of Global Employee Relations and Equality — a role uniquely designed as a way to accelerate and integrate people and equality initiatives at Salesforce. Under Lori’s leadership, the company has continued to increase representation and create a more inclusive culture through equityfocused processes and programs. Key milestones include launching and scaling the Warmline (an employee advocacy program for Black, Latinx, Indigenous, LGBTQ+ and Women employees), introducing new inclusive talent processes informed by equality data, and creating the new Equality business partner team to deepen expertise and drive change.
Julie Chavez Rodriguez
Director White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
Julie Chavez is an American political rights activist and current director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. From 2008 to 2016, Rodriguez served in the Obama administration, initially working for the United States Secretary of the Interior and later in the White House Office of Public Engagement. She was appointed state director for Senator Kamala Harris in 2016. She later served on the Kamala Harris 2020 presidential campaign from 2017 to 2019. In 2020, Rodriguez was hired by the Joe Biden 2020 presidential campaign as senior advisor for Latino outreach. Rodriguez was appointed to be the director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs by President Joe Biden and took office on January 20, 2021. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California-Berkeley.
“When you get to the top, don’t forget to leave a ladder down. Collectively we have the power – and responsibility – to continue supporting the Latinx community, bringing others up with us.”
VP, Latin Industry Lead Billboard
Global President of Vaccines Pfizer
Leila Cobo currently works at Billboard as VP, Latin Industry Lead. Leila is also a classical pianist and successful novelist and biographer. She is considered one of the world’s leading experts in Latin music and under her tenure, Billboard has expanded its coverage of Latin Music to unprecedented levels both on its print and digital platforms. Leila's expertise in the Latin music industry has been translated into multiple books. Her most recent, "Decoding Despacito: An Oral History of Latin Music" was published in English and Spanish and has been featured in the New York Times and several magazines. Leila has also published two award-winning novels. Cobo was honored with the TJ Martell Foundation's Trailblazer Award in 2019, she was named a “Leading Latin Lady” by the Latin Grammys in 2017, among other awards. Leila is regularly sought-out as a speaker and writer in the music industry.
Nanette Cocero is Global President of Vaccines at Pfizer. She oversees an international business and is responsible for the development and delivery of innovative vaccines that address serious and life-threatening conditions, helping to protect communities around the world. Nanette and her team also partner with governments, civic organizations, and others in the biopharmaceutical industry to accelerate global public health progress. She is Chair of the International Federation of Pharmaceuticals and Manufacturers Association (IFPMA) Vaccine CEO Steering Committee, advocating for policies and practices that will enable greater access and affordability to vaccines in low and middle-income countries. Prior to her current position, Nanette was Regional President, Emerging Markets, for Pfizer’s Innovative Health business. During her 15+ year tenure at Pfizer, Nanette has held numerous leadership positions.
"Surround yourself with passionate, committed people, and empower them. Advocate for yourself and your ideals. Work hard; there really are no shortcuts."
"I consider it a great honor and an important responsibility to help nurture the next generation of Latino leaders. You have so much to offer, your voice matters – and the world is listening!"
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Chief Operating Officer - Google Consumer Hardware Google
Ana Corrales is the Chief Operating Officer for Google’s Consumer Hardware & Services business. As COO, Ana leads the development process for Google hardware products -- the Pixel 6 with Google’s custom silicon, Google Tensor, Pixel Buds, Nest speakers, displays and cameras, Fitbit smartwatches and trackers and more -- and manages getting those products into the hands of customers. Ana also drives the end-to-end IT efforts and customer experience work across the Google Hardware business. Prior to Google, Ana served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer at Nest. She also served as Senior Vice President of Product Operations at Cisco Systems. Ana has been recognized by Forbes as one of the 50 Most Powerful Latinas in Business, and as one of the most powerful Latinas by the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA).
Vice President of IT Oracle NetSuite
Katty Coulson is Vice President of IT for Oracle NetSuite. She is a leader with extensive experience collaborating with sales, service delivery organizations, and external customers. Before joining Oracle, Katty was regional CIO for the Americas at Cisco Systems, responsible for driving a regional strategy enabling business and IT alignment to increase growth opportunities and productivity. She has a special interest in promoting STEM education and women in leadership and technology. She has been named to several awards lists, including the HITEC 100 in 2020 and the HITEC Top 50 Influential Hispanic Leaders in Latin America/Ibero-America in 2017 and 2018. Katty has a bachelor’s degree in International Business from ITESM. In 2017 she took the General Management Program (GMP) at Harvard Business School (HBS).
"Believe in yourself, work hard, and surround yourself with people that inspire you to do better. Also have fun and give back!"
Stacie M. de Armas
Senior Vice President, Diverse Intelligence & Initiatives Nielsen
Stacie M. de Armas is Senior Vice President, Diverse Intelligence & Initiatives for Nielsen. She is responsible for Transforming and repositioning Nielsen’s diverse insights expertise for clients, partners, policymakers, the public, and community advocates. As well as driving innovative thinking about diverse communities through the development and commercialization of products that support diverse insights and industry diversity initiatives. Her experience at Nielsen goes 9 years back, when she first joined as Vice President, Community Alliances & Consumer Engagement. Stacie has more than 23 years of communications and media experience developing and activating brand marketing campaigns. She was named one of Latina Style Magazine's Top Latina Executives, and one of Imagen Foundation's Most Powerful and Influential Latinos in Entertainment in 2017, 2018 & 2019.
Owner and Manager Cafe Con Libros
Kalima DeSuze is the owner and manager of Café con Libros, an intersectional Feminist community bookstore and coffee shop located in Brooklyn, NY. Her book recommendations have become a reference to anyone interested in the subject. Kalima is an Afro-Latinx feminist, social worker, activist, teacher, veteran, and mother. At the age of 18, she joined the United States Army. As a leader in non-profit management and a small business owner, she uses an intersectional framework to both understand individual and organizational problems and generate holistic solutions. Kalima has a master’s degree in Social Work from Hunter College in Manhattan. She also holds another master’s degree in Non-Profit/ Public/Organizational Management from Baruch College in New York.
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Partner at PwC’s Asset Management (New York) PwC
Elizabeth Diep is a Trust Solutions Partner with PwC’s asset and wealth management practice, specializing in Alternative Investments. She is a recognized leader with a 22-year track record serving many of the firm’s most complex alternative investment clients.Her experience ranges from serving start-up managers to serving large global managers. Diep is also active in many nonprofit organizations and has served as a Board Member for the Pace University Lubin School of Business Alumni Board, the New York State Society of CPA’s Career Opportunities in the Accounting Profession, for the NY Chapter for the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (“ALPFA”) and as a National Board of Director of ALPFA. Liz currently serves as a Trustee for the PwC Foundation. Liz earned her undergraduate degree in Accounting with a minor in Latin American Studies from Pace University.
EVP, Managing Partner Horizon Media
Karina Dobarro currently serves as EVP, Managing Partner for Horizon Media. She joined Horizon Media in 2014 to launch the Multicultural practice. She leverages her extensive knowledge of the U.S. multicultural market to develop comprehensive marketing strategies for Horizon clients. Her former professional experience includes Managing Director at Mindshare; Senior Partner, Account Director at MEC; and Associate Media Director at Vidal Partnership. In addition to being Horizon’s international lead and member of Local Planet, the only independent media agency network in the world, she is responsible for supporting Horizon's clients with their global marketing needs. She is a member of Horizon's Diversity & Inclusion Council where she facilitates agency events and partnership initiatives to help the advancement of inclusion and diversity efforts within the agency.
“Don't be afraid to be the first or the only. Be curious, be brave and above all, be yourself!”
“I am proud that through my work, I’ve helped advance marketing and advocacy by bringing cultural awareness and insights for brands to authentically connect with the influential Hispanic consumer.”
Alicia Enciso is an accomplished professional with more than 30 years of experience with multinational Fortune 100 Companies in Consumer Goods and Foods. As Chief Marketing Officer for Nestlé USA, she is a transformational International senior business leader and advisor with a strong track record in building highperforming brands and innovation pipelines, creating growth strategies, and leading digital transformation and e-commerce for business broadening. Her experience includes successfully directing large, complex businesses to accelerate top-line and bottom-line growth with P&L responsibility of up to $2 billion. She is recognized as one of the Most Influential Latinos and received the award of Latino Marketer of the Year by the Hispanic Marketing Council. She is passionate about the role of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. She is also passionate about evolving technologies participating in the Google 21 Marketing Advisory Council.
Lidia Fonseca is Executive Vice President, Chief Digital and Technology Officer at Pfizer, responsible for enterprise-wide digital, data and technology strategy, products and solutions, as well as Learning and Development and Business Process Excellence. In her prior role, Lidia was the Senior Vice President and CIO at Quest Diagnostics. In 2020, Lidia joined Fast Company's Impact Council and Pfizer was named one of Fast Company magazine’s 100 Best Workplaces for Innovators. She was on ALPFA's 2020 and 2021 list of the 50 Most Powerful Latinas and named 2020 Healthcare Influencer and 2019 Healthcare Transformer by Medical, Marketing and Media. She received Forbes' 2017 CIO Innovation Award. Lidia is a member of the Board of Directors of Tegna, Inc. She also was a board member of Q2 Solutions, a joint venture between Quest Diagnostics and IQVIA from 2016 to 2018.
Chief Marketing Officer Nestle USA
“Mindset matters. It can positively influence everything from creative risk-taking to how you approach feedback. Your inner power to turn challenges into opportunities is limitless for both personal and business growth.”
Chief Digital and Technology Officer, Executive Vice President Pfizer
"I believe in setting a bold, inspiring vision that tackles our biggest challenges and positively impacts the world, surrounding myself with the best people and empowering them to get it done."
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CEO and Investment Committee Member Boston Impact Initiative
Betty Francisco is an entrepreneur, business executive, attorney and community leader. She recently served as General Counsel at Compass Working Capital. Betty is a dedicated community leader who has been involved with a number of non-profit and civic leadership organizations. She is co-founder of Latina Circle, a Boston-based network that is advancing Latina leaders into positions of power and influence and which recently launched Amplify Latinx to increase Latino civic engagement and political representation. She is also an investor with Pipeline Angels, a network of women investors creating capital for women social entrepreneurs. She is also a member of the Advisory Council for The Capital Network, Project 99 and Bentley University’s School of Arts and Sciences. Betty obtained her JD and MBA from Northeastern University and her BA in History from Bard College.
Chief of Staff to CEO State Street
Yvonne Garcia serves as Chief of Staff to Chairman and CEO, Global Head of Internal Communications, and Head of Global CEO Experience Program for State Stree. She is a Fortune 500 C-suite executive with more than 25 years of experience leading business strategy, client engagement, operations management, executive leadership oversight, and marketing and communications, both domestically and globally. Yvonne is also an active leader in local and national communities. Before State Street, Yvonne served as Vice President for Bank of America’s China Construction Bank Strategic Assistance Program. In that role, Yvonne and her team created and implemented over five new Wealth Management Centers throughout China. Yvonne holds an MBA from Boston University in Finance and Marketing and a BA from SUNY Albany and is a Six Sigma Black Belt.
"Although traditional accomplishments are measured by titles and awards, I believe true success is an indication of your impact on your community, the organizations you join, and how you make people feel."
VP, North America Communications Nike
Vanessa Garcia-Brito is VP, North America Communications at Nike. She leads a diverse team focused on inspiring, engaging and connecting the world through sport & effectively communicating the company’s purpose to all stakeholders. Prior to this role, Vanessa was Nike’s VP of Global Communications, Purpose. Her career at Nike began in 2013 as Senior Director, Partnerships & Strategic Communications. Before Vanessa held at number of executive roles at Mars, Inc., including positions such as Head of Corporate Citizenship & Community Engagement. She began her career as an attorney in Washington, D.C., where she focused her practice in the areas of Technology and International Law. Vanessa holds a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and a JD from George Washington University Law School.
Lili Gil Valletta
CEO and Co-Founder CIEN+ AND CULTURINTEL
Lili Gil Valletta is an award-winning entrepreneur, Cultural Intelligence® expert, and television business commentator known for her ability to activate the power of data and culture as a business advantage. She is the Co-founder of Cien+ and Culturintel, globally recognized as leaders in A.I.-powered research, strategy consulting, and marketing solutions to successfully drive inclusive growth and impact with diverse market segments. She shares a unique story and perspective as an immigrant from Colombia and former corporate executive-turned-entrepreneur. She is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, TED speaker, weekly television contributor seen on Fox Business and CNN, and a sought-after expert advising the C-suite of Fortune 500 companies.
“Money or title won’t give you satisfaction. This is why I believe in the power of purposeful profits as a higher calling that enables you to do well while doing good.”
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Laura I. Gomez
Founder, Angel Investor, Advocate Proyecto Solace
Laura I. Gomez is Executive Director of Proyecto Solace. A mental health initiative, a community of Latinx peoples investing in our emotional and mental safe spaces for themselves, communities, and collective healing. She is also an angel investor and helps underrepresented founders with product and GTM (GoTo-Market) strategies for their impact and vision. She started her professional career at the age of 17 when she had her first software engineering internship at Hewlett-Packard. Since then, she has worked in small startups and big tech companies alike - most notably YouTube and Twitter. Throughout her career, she has been recognized by numerous publications such as WIRED, Harper's Bazaar, New York Times, and others. She was also recognized by The Antiracist Research and Policy Center and The Frederick Douglass Foundation in 2019.
Lina González-Granados Conductor Los Angeles Opera
Lina Gonzalez-Granados is a Colombian-American distinguished young conductor of symphonic and operatic repertoire. Her spirited interpretations have earned her international recognition, most recently as the recipient of the 2021 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, the Third Prize and ECHO Special Award of La Maestra Competition, and the 2020 and 2021 Solti Foundation US Career Assistance Award. Lina was the winner of the Fourth Chicago Symphony Orchestra Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition, and became the new Solti Conducting Apprentice under the guidance of Maestro Riccardo Muti, beginning in February 2020 and continuing through June 2022. She is currently the Conducting Fellow of the Philadelphia Orchestra and has held the same position in the Seattle Symphony. In 2022 she will become Resident Conductor of Los Angeles Opera.
VP North America Product Merchandising Nike
Blanca Gonzalez currently serves as VP, NA Product Merchandising at Nike. She is an industry trailblazer who brings over two decades of senior leadership experience in Merchandising, Brand, and General Management. She started working at the age of 19 across various corporate roles in the fashion and retail industry. In 2002, she got hired by NIKE, Inc. in Los Angeles. Since, Blanca has held several leadership roles at Nike, always leading with a focus on people. Blanca left the company briefly in 2021 to lead the global merchandising strategy for Lululemon. Following that moment, she returned to NIKE to continue her leadership journey. Blanca’s love for apparel and footwear runs deep. She is a champion for community broadly and a culture of belonging, both inside and outside of the brand. Blanca is well-known for her passion for team building and mentorship.
Vice Chair PwC, Trust Solutions
Natasha Granholm is Vice Chair, Trust Solutions at PWC. She leverages her experience and relationships to help partners drive the Firm’s strategy and the delivery of services. Using leading-edge tech, Natasha helps teams boost data accuracy and transparency, enable growth and solve the most difficult problems. In her 25+ years’ experience, she has served as a Market Tax Leader, Financial Services Tax Leader and the Digitization Strategy and Execution Leader for the US AWM Tax Practice, advising on private equity, risk, regulation and policy issues. Natasha brings passion as a speaker on tax, technicals, DE&I and leadership. Using her example to help others in their drive to persist, letting ability succeed. She is Executive Board Member to the organization Bottom Line, which helps first generation students from low income communities get education.
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Global Head of Business Marketing TikTok
Sofia Hernandez is Global Head of Business Marketing for TikTok. She's responsible for building innovative marketing solutions that help brands become TikTok fluent and engage with their communities through powerful and creative storytelling. Prior to TikTok, Sofia was the Chief Client Officer at consumer insights platform Suzy where she was responsible for driving revenue retention and growth, informing the product roadmap, and ensuring the entire company was rooted in a ‘customer first’ approach. With over 18 years leading some of the most iconic global marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 companies including P&G, J&J, Netflix and Spotify. In 2021, she was appointed to Suzy’s Board of Directors. Sofia recognizes her role as part of the 1% of Latina Executives in Tech and is committed to fostering inclusion in the tech industry by incorporating DEI into everything she touches.
"I’m passionate about building spaces where people feel they can bring their whole self to the table. I always say 'don’t ever make yourself small, because someone thinks you’re too big.'"
Lina Hidalgo County Judge Harris County
Judge Lina Hidalgo is the head of Harris County’s governing body, the Harris County Commissioners Court, which oversees a $5 billion budget in a county of almost 5 million residents. During times of emergency, Lina is also Harris County’s Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. In that capacity, she has steered the community through several natural and man-made disasters. Lina believes that county investments should prioritize evidence-based programs, that the county should be accessible and responsive to community needs, and that programs should be forward-thinking, creative, and proactive. Lina believes that the region will remain competitive only through proactive and creative leadership on issues like transportation, flood control, criminal justice reform, and education. She is committed to ensuring that the Harris County government is transparent, accessible, and accountable to every resident.
Jessica Herrera - Flanigan
Vice President, Public Policy & Philanthropy, Americas Twitter
Jessica Herrera-Flanigan currently serves as Vice President, Public Policy & Philanthropy, Americas at Twitter. Before Twitter, she was the Executive Vice President, Government & Corporate Affairs, Univision and President of the Univision Foundation. She also worked as a partner with the strategic consulting firm Monument Policy Group. She was the first Latina to head up a Congressional Committee, serving as the Staff Director & General Counsel of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security. She also spent several years at the Justice Department as a cybercrime prosecutor and taught criminal and cybersecurity classes at various universities. She currently serves as the Chairwoman of the Center for SafeSport and also sits on the Boards of the Peabody Awards, Twitter Foundation, Hispanic Federation, and Regis University. She is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School.
“I believe in 'The Emperor's New Clothes' leadership style. That is, throwing out ideas for honest criticism in hopes that my team feels comfortable and confident to share their creativity without worry.”
President Futuro Media Group
Maria Hinojosa is the President of Futuro Media Group, a company creating multimedia content for and about the new American mainstream. Maria’s nearly 30-year career as an awardwinning journalist includes reporting for PBS, CBS, WNBC, CNN, NPR, and anchoring the Emmy Award winning talk show from WGBH Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One. She is the author of two books and has won dozens of awards, including four Emmys, the John Chancellor Award, the Studs Terkel Community Media Award, two Robert F. Kennedy Awards, and many more. She has been honored with her own day in October by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and has been recognized by People En Español as one of the 25 most powerful Latina women. In 2019, she was named the inaugural Distinguished Journalist in Residence at her alma mater, Barnard College.
"A friend once labeled me a Queen of Never Giving up. It was a label I took on with glee. I love to be an example for other Latinas professionally. But it’s also abt how we live our lives personally, too. There has to be gratitude, joy and humility. That’s a good leader!"
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Megan Hogan is Chief Diversity Officer of Goldman Sachs. She is responsible for the firm’s global diversity and inclusion strategy, with a focus on driving progress towards our aspirational goals, further enhancing the firm’s position as an employer of choice for diverse professionals and evolving our approach to client engagement. Megan also serves as Chief Operating Officer of the Global Inclusion and Diversity Committee (GIDC). She joined Goldman Sachs in 2014, her previous experiences include positions at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and MFY Legal Services, Inc. Megan has played a critical role in some of the firm’s most important inclusion and diversity initiatives, including the announcement of our firmwide aspirational goals, the launch of the Neurodiversity Hiring Initiative, and the firm’s commitment to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Francis A. Hondal is president of Loyalty and Engagement Services at Mastercard and a member of the company's management committee. With over 25 years of experience in consumer marketing, finance and management. Francis has spent her career in the payments and financial services industries. Prior to her current role, she served as Mastercard's EVP of credit and loyalty solutions overseeing all aspects of product strategy and development globally. Before joining Mastercard in 2011, she launched a business development and marketing service firm after an 18-year career at American Express. Francis is a first generation Cuban-American and has been named amongst Fortune's Top 50 Most Powerful Latina Women in corporate America; ranking #19 in 2018 and #15 in 2017. She has a Bachelor Degree in Finance and International Business and an MBA from Florida International University (FIU).
Chief Diversity Officer Goldman Sachs
President, Loyalty & Engagement Mastercard
“Just be You! Embrace your unique skills, experience, and style. Pursue opportunities that harness your strengths and connect with your values and passions!”
Crystal Johnson is the IBM Managing Director for State Farm Insurance, with responsibility for leading and delivering successful outcomes for the client organization, achieving overall business objectives, client satisfaction, and managing talent. She also co-chairs IBM’s Hispanic Executive Council focusing on driving eminence, talent attraction and career development. Johnson is also the Senior Location Executive for Bloomington, Illinois, responsible for delivering IBM-wide communications to local office employees and representing IBM at all levels of government in the region. Before the role with State Farm, Crystal was engaged in various IBM capacities with the AT&T Integrated Account. Crystal is passionate about developing talent and guiding the next generation of leaders— especially young women — to find their true paths.
Ivonne Kinser is the Vice President of Marketing and Innovation for Avocados From Mexico. She leads a highperformance team and the innovation agenda that placed Avocados From Mexico in the Fast Company 2021 list of Most Innovative Companies in the world, and the top one in the branding category. Through the span of her 20-year+ marketing career, Ivonne has played leadership roles in multiple corporations representing multi-billion brands, as well as in top advertising agencies such as Lintas, McCann Erickson Worldwide and The Richards Group, working with well-known brands in almost every category. In 2014, she joined Avocados From Mexico as the Head of Digital Marketing.
Managing Director for State Farm Insurance IBM
“I’ve learned being true to myself and aligning to my personal values has proven to be a key part of being a successful leader.”
Vice President Marketing and Innovation Avocados from Mexico
“One of the most empowering beliefs is that each of us have an unlimited potential to transfom the present to leave behind us a better world. My constant drive from innovation comes from that place.”
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Maria Teresa Kumar President & CEO Voto Latino
Maria Teresa Kumar President & CEO for Voto Latino. The organization was designed to encourage and empower younger generations of Latinx voters and advocate for inclusive political participation. Using media and technology as a central tool, Voto Latino creates innovative digital campaigns and programming to increase voter registration and civic engagement in Latinx communities. In 2014, María Teresa launched the VL Innovators Challenge which granted up to $500,000 to technological projects that proposed innovative ways to help the Latinx community. Kumar is also a recognized media commentator, speaker, and writer for national publications, and her work has been profiled on HBO’s Celebrity Habla and PBS’s Undergraduates. Additionally, Kumar serves on the boards of the Latino Leaders Network, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and EMILY’s List.
SVP, HCM, Head of Hispanic / Latinx Talent Engagement and DEI Strategy Goldman Sachs
Cindy Lone currently serves as SVP, HCM, Head of Hispanic / Latinx Talent Engagement and DEI Strategy at Goldman Sachs. She is passionate about connecting people, ideas, and information and adding value by using data and resources to distill a complex problem into a simple, effective story. She has built and managed multimillion-dollar budgets, collaborated across diverse stakeholders, solved complex problems through innovative and design thinking, drove operational efficiencies and process improvement, affected decision-making using data and metrics, and most importantly, successfully built/led/managed diverse teams globally. More recently, Cindy is focused on developing new processes and building tech-driven, innovative strategies to create financial and operating efficiency in multiple businesses.
Field Vice President McDonald's USA
Ofelia Kumpf is U.S. Vice President of the McDonald’s Long Beach Field Office. She leads the company’s $5 billion operating business spanning Southern California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, and West Texas. Ofelia first joined McDonald’s in 1992 as a manager trainee in the U.S. and later in Latin America. She received the U.S. Velocity Award for 2018 and 2017 for her key leadership in the creation of the consumer-focused, Success Acceleration Plan. For the past five years, the Association for Latino Professionals for America and Fortune has included her on the list of the 50 Most Powerful Latinas as a “Corporate Trailblazer.” She currently serves as the McDonald’s GWLN U.S. Chair. She is a director member of the Latino Corporate Directors Association and serves on the board of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California and Southern California Public Radio.
Diane E. Lopez
Vice President & General Counsel Harvard University
Diana Lopez is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Mount Holyoke College, she received her J.D. from Columbia University Law School, where she was an editor of A Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual, a publication of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. Following graduation she joined O'Melveny & Myers where she remained for eight years, concentrating her practice in commercial litigation. At Harvard, she assists the University on a variety of commercial transactions, with a focus on ways the University can protect and manage its intellectual property assets. She advises on health care, privacy, and student affairs issues, concerns involving the use of human subjects and animals in research, and issues involving third-party access to research data. She is a former Trustee and Treasurer of the Institute of Contemporary Art/ Boston.
"Gratitude is the most successful method to amplify abundance and expand your life."
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Head of Global Business Solutions: SpanishSpeaking South America TikTok
Tatiana Lopez is Head of Global Business Solutions: Spanish-Speaking South America at TikTok. She is a senior executive with an entrepreneurial mindset, and extensive experience in developing the vision, culture and regional development strategy for technology enabled growth companies. Recognized for bringing new energy, inspiring innovation and pushing the boundaries of creativity across all of her areas of expertise. Prior to joining TikTok in 2021, Tatiana had been at Facebook for more than 11 years. She has a history of collaborating and influencing cross-functional executives in both the creation and capture of substantial shareholder value by identifying and directing business development strategies, partnership opportunities, channel growth and marketplace expansion on a global scale.
Anna M. Alvarado Chief Legal Officer Texas Capital Bank
Anna M. Alvarado is responsible for supervising and coordinating all legal services for the company, serving as key legal advisor to the Board of Directors, acting as primary liaison with bank regulators. Alvarado joined Texas Capital in October 2021, bringing more than 10 years of broad-based expertise in leading business and legal advisory services, including scalability, expansion, and integration. Previously, she served as the global General Counsel for FirstCash. Alvarado holds Bachelor of Arts and master’s in business administration degrees from Bentley University in Massachusetts and a law degree from SMU Dedman School of Law. She was voted Top Corporate Attorney in 2017 and 2018 by Fort Worth, The City's Magazine. Alvarado currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors and the Finance and Strategy Committees of the non-profit ACH Child and Family Services.
"Being a leader means painting a picture of the future, courage to do what needs to be done, intestinal fortitude to do what’s hard, humility to know when you need help, capacity which inspires confidence and an environment for those around you to succeed, and genuine warmth and regard for people."
Chief Operating Officer Cisco
Maria Martinez currently serves as Chief Operating Officer at Cisco. She is responsible for the company's operations and transformation. Maria oversees Cisco’s Strategy Execution, Customer Success, Renewals, Customer & Partner Experience, Security & Trust, Supply Chain, IT, Services, and Transformation functions. Before Cisco, Maria served as President, Customer Success at Salesforce, where she was responsible for the onboarding, adoption, and growth of the global customer base. She has held executive positions at industry giants such as Microsoft, Motorola, and AT&T and served as the CEO of IoT startup, Embrace Networks. Maria proudly serves on the Board of Directors for McKesson, Cue Health, and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation. Martinez has received several distinctions for her leadership, most recently being named as a Technology Visionary on ALPFA’s list of 50 Most Powerful Latinas.
“Transformational Leadership demands that you engage your heart, your mind, and your soul in all you do. When you are people and purpose driven, anything is possible.”
Jacqueline Martinez Garcel
CEO Latino Community Foundation
Jacqueline Martinez Garcel is the CEO of the Latino Community Foundation. Jacqueline recently served as Vice President of the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth). Before joining NYSHealth, Jacqueline served as Executive Director for the Northern Manhattan Community Voices Collaborative (Community Voices). Jacqueline has served as an NIH fellow for the Merida Department of Public Health in Yucatan, Mexico. She was appointed as an adjunct professor at the New York University Global Institute of Public Health and the Social Science Department of the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Jacqueline is a former Board Member of the Institute for Civic Leadership, NAMI-NYC Metro, and Grantmakers in Health. She also served as a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Roundtable for Population Health. Jacqueline has published extensively on issues related to health equity, vulnerable populations and community health workers.
"Leadership is seeing what is yet to be and creating a path towards it. Yet, our most important responsibility is to lift others to higher ground, so they too see the vision and seek to attain it for themselves."
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Rocio Medina van Nierop Co-founder & CEO Latinas in Tech
Rocio Medina van Nierop is Cofounder and Executive Director of Latinas in Tech, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering and connecting Latinas in the Technology Industry. Rocio was previously the Director of Product Marketing at Prezi where she spent several years launching Prezi's products nationally and internationally. Before her role in Product Marketing, she was General Manager of Prezi Latin America. Rocio has been an advocate for tech inclusion, participating in multiple boards of charitable organizations that push forward the participation of underrepresented minorities. Besides Latinas in Tech, Rocio has co-founded Silicon Valley Day - a conference that brings the best minds of Silicon Valley to multiple cities and countries in Latin America, helped start Red Global de Talentos Mexicanos in San Francisco, as well as the EXATEC alumni group in San Francisco.
Anchor & Correspondent MSNBC
Beatris Mendez Gandica Senior Program Manager Microsoft
Beatris Mendez is from San Cristobal, Venezuela. She is an engineer working as a Program Manager at Microsoft. In this role, she manages the daily operations of the usage billing pipeline for Azure Data services. Beatris' has a passion for giving back to the community. In 2018 she started a nonprofit organization, Nuevo Foundation, where she works to prepare underrepresented students to become tomorrow’s leaders. Nuevo Foundation’s mission is to inspire kids to be curious, confident, and courageous by discovering the world of STEM. To date, the nonprofit has taught more than 10,600 students about computer science and STEM education across thirtyone countries and Puerto Rico. In 2017, Beatris was selected as one of the 10 TechnoLochicas for the campaign. In 2019, Beatris was awarded the HACR Young Hispanic Corporate Achievers’ 40 under 40 award.
Global Head of Advancing Hispanics & Latinos JPMorgan Chase
Alicia Menendez is a journalist and multimedia storyteller. She was born and raised in New Jersey, named “Broadcast Journalism’s New Gladiator” by Elle Magazine, “Ms. Millennial” by The Washington Post, and a “Content Queen” by Marie Claire, Alicia has quickly become a force in American media. Alicia joined Fusion TV in 2013, as the host of a nightly news and pop culture show. In its first year on air, Alicia Menendez Tonight was honored with a Gracie Award for “Outstanding Talk Show.” She is also the author of “The Likeability Trap” and host of the “Latina to Latina” podcast. Menendez joined MSNBC in October 2019. Menendez anchors MSNBC’s “American Voices with Alicia Menendez” Saturday and Sunday nights. Before joining the network, she served as a correspondent on PBS and formerly hosted a nightly news and pop culture show on Fusion called “Alicia Menendez Tonight.”
Silvana Montenegro is Global Head of Advancing Hispanics & Latinos for JPMorgan Chase & Co. This leadership role provides a unified vision and strategy to advance the unique priorities of the Hispanic and Latino communities, aligning with the firm's path forward commitment to racial and social equity. Silvana has 24 years of experience in the firm, including different leadership roles in the U.S. and Latin America, as well as a proven reputation for empowering leadership teams and individuals to reach their potential. Prior to her current role, Silvana was the Head of Talent, Diversity & Inclusion, Commercial Banking at JPMorgan Chase. Silvana is a Brazilian national and US citizen and speaks fluent Portuguese, Spanish and English. She received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil.
"I'm just trying to let every little kid who is growing up in a place like Union City, NJ know that their life and their experiences matter."
“The economic future of the Hispanic community relies on our ability to tell our whole story. When we embrace our history and lean into our strengths, we can explore more opportunities to build a stronger economic foundation for future generations.”
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Chief Executive Officer AgTools Inc.
Martha Montoya is CEO to Agtools. Agtools is a worldwide SaaS platform gathering real-time government and institutional data of over 500 specialty crops and commodities. Martha has over 28 years of worldwide food/agricultural and supply chain experience. Her experience includes traveling while setting up production lines and delivering projects on over 4 continents - dealing with small and industrial-size stakeholders or suppliers, government entities, and sophisticated buyers. Martha has been appointed to the Board of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Institute of Food Technologists, and Department of Commerce Export Council, as well as served on other boards. She also launched Los Kitos, a comic strip and licensing edutainment company that ran successfully for over 15 years. Martha comes from an educational/entrepreneurial environment in Colombia.
Jess Morales Rocketto Chief of Moonshot Strategies Equis Research
Jess Morales Rocketto is Chief of Moonshot Strategies at Equis Research. Equis Research is a resource for leaders in the Latinx community who have ideas with the potential to create a more active Latino electorate but haven't yet found the support they need to launch or reach scale, especially in the areas of data, research, and communication. Previously she was the Director of Civic Engagement for the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Executive Director of Care in Action. She was also the Co-Chair of the Families Belong Together Coalition. Jess is an alumna of Hillary for America, the AFL-CIO, Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee, Rebuild the Dream, and the New Organizing Institute. In 2019, Jess was honored in the first TIME 100 Next, a list of rising stars who are shaping the future.
"Momentum is what you build through experience, persistence and discipline. Once you acquire it, use experience, persistence and discipline!"
Patricia Mota is CEO of Hispanic Alliance of Career Enhancement (HACE). Its mission is to positively impact the American workplace by cultivating the pipeline of Latinx/a/os talent and providing insight, access and support to their careers. She started her career at HACE as the Director of Membership Outreach and as the Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives. When she was asked to step in as the interim CEO in 2014, her mission was clear. Approximately 1 year after accepting the interim CEO opportunity, she was the likely choice as she identified with the members, learned from colleagues, was creative at the turn-around and assumed the role as CEO. Patricia continues to serve her community, through her participation on nonprofit boards and committees. Patricia is also a certified coach and Insights Discovery© licensed practitioner, and a proud Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow.
Ileana Musa leads two related businesses at Morgan Stanley—as CoHead of International Wealth Management, and Head of International Banking & Lending. Musa joined Morgan Stanley in 2017 as part of the firm’s strategic focus on international high-net-worth clients. She brings an appropriately worldly perspective to the role, as she was born in Cuba, lived in Spain briefly during her childhood, and then moved to Miami, where she is currently based. She’s also involved in several nonprofit and professional organizations devoted to education, the arts, and Latinx issues. Including ALFPA, the Association of Latino Professionals For America, which recently honored her as one of its Most Powerful Latinas for the fourth year in a row. In addition, she was named to the 2019 Morgan Stanley MAKERS class.
President and CEO Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement
"Leadership is striking the right balance of self-awareness, and the active application of your skills and abilities to both your career and your community. "
Co-Head of International Wealth Management and Head of International Banking & Lending Morgan Stanley
“Take personal risks, never hesitate to ask. Use your influence to serve not take and remember the one caveat: Never fail to embrace the unknown while never forgetting who you are.”
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Global Head of Equity & Impact Spotify
Gaby Natale is a 3-time Daytime EMMY winner, HarperCollins bestselling author, and speaker. She is the host and executive producer of the TV show SuperLatina which airs nationally through an agreement with PBS (VME). She also serves as the President of AGANARmedia, a marketing agency that has created campaigns for F500 clients. In 2019 Gaby founded WelcomeAll Beauty, the first DIY hair extension line with a focus on women's productivity. Natale was named one of the 25 Most Influential Latinas by People magazine in 2018. She has her online fan base, with over 250K followers on Social Media and 52+ million views on Youtube. In her executive role at AGANARmedia, Gaby leads a team that works collaboratively on offline, online, OOH marketing, public relations, content development, product launches, and talent management projects.
Elizabeth Nieto joined Spotify in March 2021 as Global Head of Equity & Impact, where she’s responsible for Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging, Social Impact and Sustainability. Before her current position, she was Amazon’s Global Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Before this Elizabeth held roles within MetLife, Marsh and Citigroup. She has an array of experience in managing global and regional organizations. Born and raised in Argentina, Elizabeth is committed to her work in non-profit organizations that support access to developmental opportunities for young underserved talent and teenagers at risk, as a board member of The Opportunity Network, All Stars Project and A Fair Shake for Youth. In 2018, Crain’s NY inducted Elizabeth into the Notable Women in Finance list. In 2019 and 2020, ALPFA has recognized her as one of the Top 50 Latinas in the U.S.
“Whether it is working as motivational speaker, entrepreneur, author or journalist my mission is the same: to break barriers. Because every time we choose to PIONEER we move the world forward.”
"Everyday I appreciate where I came from, and intentionally design the path where I am going, challenging myself to lift others as I travel."
Director Community Outreach Southwest Airlines
Laura Nieto is Director of Community Outreach at Southwest Airlines. With an outstanding career of over 22 years at the airline, Laura is currently leading the Community Outreach team responsible for: overseeing local market engagement strategy for 100+ destinations to leverage strategic investments and relationships with 500+ community partners; driving Citizenship efforts to position Southwest as a socially responsible corporation; cultivating a culture of volunteerism through unique programming to engage employees in their local communities; managing the Southwest Foundation, Employee Catastrophic Assistance Charity, and scholarship fund. She first joined Southwest in 1999 and has been escalating ever since. Laura holds a B.A. in Public Relations, Advertising and Applied Communications from Texas Tech University.
Co-founder & General Partner True Beauty Ventures
Cristina Nuñez is Co-founder and General Partner at True Beauty Ventures. She has 14 years of consumer product experience; she is a Brand investor and leader with a passion for building and growing emerging and entrepreneurial businesses into enduring brands. She spent the first part of her career at private equity firms such as Tengram Capital Partners and L Catterton, as well as UBS Investment Bank. Cristina has spent the last 7 years working in various leadership, operating and strategic consulting positions at beauty and wellness brands such as Clark's Botanicals, Laura Geller Beauty, No BS Skin Care, and Equinox. True Beauty Ventures provides a dedicated focus on finding, partnering with, and scaling emerging and early growth stage brands exclusively in beauty, personal care, and wellness. Cristina graduated Magna Cum Laude from Duke University with a BA with Highest Distinction in Public Policy.
“Leadership is balancing both head and heart. It’s having an evolving mindset that advances over time, continually learning and understanding unique perspectives. And, it’s the heart for others to see in them what they do not see in themselves, igniting their passion to realize their full potential.”
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U.S. Representative (New York's 14th District)
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) was born in the Parkchester neighborhood of The Bronx, her mother lived in Puerto Rico and worked throughout her childhood as a domestic worker. Alexandria’s father was a second-generation Bronxite, who ran a small business in The Bronx. Alexandria attended Boston University and graduated with degrees in Economics and International Relations. During this time she also had the opportunity to intern in the office of the late Senator Ted Kennedy. Her role in Senator Kennedy’s office provided a firsthand view of the difficult times families had when separated by ICE. During the 2016 presidential election, Alexandria worked as a volunteer organizer for Bernie Sanders in the South Bronx. In June 2018, Alexandria’s campaign shocked the political establishment, when she defeated incumbent Joe Crowley. In January 2021, Rep. AOC was sworn in for her second term in Congress
Independent Board Director Core Scientific, Latino Community Foundation
Stacie Olivares is a board director, Chief Investment Officer, and adviser to founders, funders, and policy makers on financial security, decentralized finance (DeFi), ESG, and DEI. She advances economic progress and equity through leadership and innovation in finance, technology, policy, and media. Stacie serves on the corporate boards of Core Scientific, Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA), and Mission Advancement Corp, the nonprofit boards of the Latino Community Foundation and Hispanic Heritage Foundation, and other advisory boards. President Biden nominated Stacie to the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. From 2019 until 2022, she served as California Governor Gavin Newsom's appointee to the board of administration of CalPERS, the largest public pension fund in the United States with $500 billion in assets that provides healthcare benefits for its 2 million members.
"In the wise and loving words of my abuelita, Rebecca Perez, 'No one can take what is in your mind.' We are the growers of our ideas, the innovators of our impact, and our most important investors."
Elizabeth Oliver-Farrow President & CEO The Oliver Group, Inc.
Elizabeth Oliver-Farrow is an experienced former CEO, public company Board Director, Federal government contractor, and current non-profit board member with a 30+ year background in leading board governance, public affairs, management consulting, strategic partnerships, DEI and ESG initiatives. She has held Board, Committee, and contracting roles at Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Comcast Advisory Boards, the U.S. General Services Administration, U.S. Departments of Labor, DoD, and the EPA among others. She is the owner and former President/CEO of The Oliver Group, Inc., a public and government relations consulting firm in DC, providing corporate and government clients with strategic, brand marketing, and communication services. Currently, Elizabeth is Chair of the Latino Corporate Directors Association (LCDA).
Managing Director, Global Co-Head of Strategic Initiatives and Execution Marcus by Goldman Sachs
Tanya Olmedo is Managing Director, Global Co-Head of Strategic Initiatives and Execution at Marcus by Goldman Sachs. She started her career at Goldman Sachs in 2018 as Vice President, then moving on to Global Co-Head of Strategic Initiatives and Execution at Marcus by Goldman Sachs. Previously she held different consulting and financial services positions. From 2014 to 2018 she was Director of Advisory Services at KPMG. Prior, she held 2 different positions at American Express: Manager, ICFR Optimization Team and then Manager, Office Governance and Consumer Practices. Her professional career started in 2005 when she joined Deloitte as Senior Associate Consultant. Tanya obtained a Bachelor of Science, Accounting from Binghamton University School of Management.
“Successful leaders inspire individuals to take ownership of the collective performance and strategic vision of the team. There is no leader without a team.”
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Chair-elect of Sidley’s Management Committee Sidley
Yvette Ostolaza is chair-elect of Sidley’s Management Committee. She is also a member of the firm’s Executive Committee, global co-leader of the Litigation practice and former managing partner of the Dallas office. Yvette is highly experienced in providing on-point guidance to boards and senior level executives during periods of corporate turbulence. Chambers 2021 Crisis & Risk Management recognized Yvette as a leader of the firm’s Band 1 Nationwide USA Crisis Management practice and as one of a very small number of notable practitioners nationwide in the area of crisis management. Yvette’s litigation work and ability to solve her clients’ most difficult litigation problems has garnered her numerous accolades and recognitions, including 2021 Band 1 Chambers USA recognition and Benchmark Litigation 2021 and 2022 National Commercial Litigation Star.
Global Vice President and General Manager, Jordan Women's Nike
Andrea Perez is a modern, fearless, digitally-driven, and globally savvy business leader with over 15 years of experience representing consumer brands in the world. Her current role is as Global Vice President and General Manager for Jordan Women’s. She lives for opportunities to deliver game-changing, digital, and physical global marketing programs that deepen consumer connections, accelerate revenue, and drive brand growth. She is originally from Mexico, where she started working for Nike back in 2003. Some of her professional highlights include delivering Nike’s highly successful World Cup 2014 and 2015 events, and more recently the successful launch of Brand Jordan Women's line. Andrea has a degree from ITESM for Marketing and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. She is fluent in English, and Spanish and is currently learning Portuguese.
Vice President, Hispanic/Latino Audience Strategy AARP
Yvette Peña is Vice President, Hispanic/ Latino Audience Strategy – Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at AARP. She leads the strategic development of the brand campaigns targeting the Spanish and English preferred and bilingual segments, resulting in significant brand awareness increases. Yvette champions innovation by leveraging digital, social and mobile platforms to drive engagements with the 50+ Latinos and their families. She is responsible for building partnerships with advocacy organizations to drive AARP’s social impact agenda; as well as the development and management of programs for the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Yvette currently serves as AARP’s national voice on nationwide efforts, inclusive of Spanish language media channels, communications, media briefings and satellite media tours, and has been the national Latina voice and face of AARP during Covid-19 pandemic.
Sister Norma Pimentel
Executive Director Catholic Charities of Rio Grande Valley
Sister Norma Pimentel is Executive Director and a licensed professional counselor for Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. She is a religious sister of the Missionaries of Jesus, providing oversight of the different ministries and programs in the areas of emergency assistance, housing assistance, counseling, pregnancy care, and humanitarian aid. Sister Pimentel chairs the local Emergency Food and Shelter Program that distributes federal funds to local agencies assisting the area’s poor. She also leads efforts in the community that responds to emergency needs and provides relief in times of disaster and crisis. Due to the Migrant Protection Protocols/ Remain in Mexico Policy, asylum seekers are forced to wait in Matamoros, Mexico for their court hearing. Sister Pimentel continues to work with multiple NGOs to respond to the needs of the families.
"In each encounter with another we have an opportunity to accompany the most vulnerable and help restore their dignity. In doing so we touch the face of Jesus crucified in those suffering and mistreated by others."
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Maryanne Piña Frodsham
CEO Career Management Partners
Maryanne Piña Frodsham is CEO and majority owner of Career Management Partners (CMP). She is responsible for the overall direction and all operations of the firm. CMP has the distinction of being the only woman and minority-owned business that supports the full talent lifecycle with a national footprint, and services many notable clients such as John Deere, Fujitsu, Raytheon, and Borden Dairy. Before CMP, Maryanne served ten years in public education and higher education - developing content and innovative solutions for students, educators, and the community. Maryanne is a doctoral candidate at Texas A&M University–Commerce with a focus in educational leadership. She co-authored the book Don’t Dread Monday: Your Guide to Career Success. Maryanne serves as a Board member for The Concilio, and as an advisory board member for Hero’s for Children, and for the SMU Latino Leadership Initiative.
Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer PepsiCo
Grace Puma is Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of PepsiCo, where she leads global operations, global procurement, employee health & safety, global security, and holistic cost management. She is a seasoned executive experienced in transforming organizations into globally-connected, locally wired business functions that drive performance. Grace joined PepsiCo in 2010 as Chief Procurement Officer. Before joining PepsiCo, Grace was Chief Procurement Officer at United Airlines and held a variety of senior leadership positions in global procurement at Kraft Foods. Grace holds a B.A. in Business Administration and Economics from Illinois Benedictine University. She is a current board member of Organon & Co., and holds an advisory board role for the U.S. Latina/Latino Entrepreneur Program at Columbia University.
"Lead with head and heart! Plus, it’s important to challenge the status quo, being innovative and forward thinking with the ability to adapt because – 'it’s not the strongest or most intelligent of species that survives, it’s the one that adapts to change.'”
Co-founder & President Justice for Migrant Women / The Latinx House
Monica Ramirez is Co-founder/ President of The Latinx House and Justice for Migrant Women. She is a long-time advocate, organizer, social entrepreneur and attorney fighting to eliminate gender-based violence and secure gender equity. For over two decades, she has fought for the civil and human rights of women, children, workers, Latinos and immigrants. In addition, she co-founded Alianza Nacional de Campesinos and served as President of their Board until 2018. In her capacity as Alianza's Board President, Mónica wrote the letter that was published in TIME magazine from farmworker women to women in the entertainment industry. Mónica is recognized as a thought leader and prominent voice in the Latinx community awarded numerous times for her work. Mónica is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago, The Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law, and Harvard Kennedy School.
Global Vice President Sustaintability Marketing & Solutions SAP
Thamara Ramirez-Walker is Global Vice President Sustainability Marketing & Solutions for SAP. She has a combined experience of 16 years of work at SAP and SAP Customer Experience. She took office of her current position at the beginning of 2022, previously she served as Diversity, Equality & Inclusion Employee Resource Lead, Global Diversity& Inclusion Office. Her professional Career started in 2001 at American Express as Graduate Inter of Customer Information Management. She then moved on to Scholastic for over 3 years, where she held different Marketing Manager positions. During her time in SAP Thamara has been highly praised for her D&I commitment, she has served as a D&I thought leader, influencer, and spokesperson internally & externally to inspire others to think innovatively about diversity.
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President and CEO Latino Victory Project
Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer Realogy Holdings Corporation
Nathalie Rayes is president and CEO for Latino Victory Project. She is a Latina leader with more than 20 years of experience in leadership, local government, and national politics. Throughout her career, she has made it her mission to uplift and support Latinas in the United States. Nathalie’s dedication has been driven through her work as a board member in national organizations such as Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Hispanic Federation, and Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE), focused on addressing issues affecting the Latino community, including access to sexual and reproductive health. Previously, she was vice president of public affairs for Grupo Salinas. In 2012, El Diario La Prensa presented her the “Mujeres Destacadas” award. In 2021, People en Español named Nathalie as one of the magazine’s 25 most powerful Latinas in the United States.
Tanya Reu-Narvaez is chief people officer for Realogy. Promoted to this role in January 2021, Reu is responsible for all aspects of the enterprise talent strategy, including talent acquisition, talent management and development, and all aspects of the employee experience, including diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), engagement, and total Rewards for the company. Tanya has served Realogy for 18 years in various senior positions. She has led diversity & inclusion efforts for the RBG and RFG business units and is a founding member of Realogy’s Diversity & Inclusion Council. Reu has received numerous accolades throughout her career, including NAHREP’s inaugural Ernest J. Reyes Founders Award. She has also been included in the Top 20 Women of Influence in Housing list published by HousingWire and was named a Woman Worth Watching by the Profiles in Diversity Journal.
Elena V. Rios
Elena Rios serves as President & CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA), representing 50,000 Hispanic physicians in the United States. The mission of the organization is to improve the health of Hispanics. Elena also serves as President of NHMA’s National Hispanic Health Foundation to direct educational and research activities. Rios has lectured, published articles and has received several leadership awards. She earned her BA in Human Biology/Public Administration at Stanford University in 1977, MSPH at the UCLA School of Public Health in 1980, MD at the UCLA School of Medicine in 1987, and completed her Internal Medicine residency at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose and the White Memorial Medical Center in East Los Angeles in 1990, and her NRSA Primary Care Research Fellowship at UCLA Division of General Internal Medicine in 1992.
Miriam Rivera is CEO, Co-founder and Managing Director of Ulu Ventures, an early seed-stage venture fund in Silicon Valley focused on IT startups. Before Ulu Ventures, Miriam was vice president/deputy general counsel at Google, which she joined in 2001 as the second attorney. Prior, Miriam worked for Ariba as counsel, after having co-founded angel and then venture-backed Outcome Software, she also worked as a strategy consultant for Accenture and as an associate at the law firm of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. Miriam is the co-founder, former co-president and on the board of Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs an “open source network” of Stanford alumni investors and entrepreneurs. She is also on the Launch with GS Advisory Council, an initiative by Goldman Sachs to reduce the investment gap for Black and LatinX founders while driving returns. Miriam graduated from Stanford University.
President & CEO National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA)
CEO & Managing Director Ulu Ventures
“Given the devastating impact of COVID-19, I will continue to promote accurate information to Latinos, mentoring to premed students, scholarships to medical students, and leadership and clinical research training for Latino doctors.”
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Senior Vice President, Documentary Programming HBO
Sara Rodriguez is Senior Vice President, Documentary programming at HBO. In her role, she is responsible for overseeing the development and production of documentary films. Before joining the programming team at HBO in 2018, Rodriguez spent four years at VICE Media, where she was most recently SVP, Global Video. Rodriguez also led the launch of new digital channels and premium documentary series for third-party platforms. Joining VICE from ABC, Rodriguez helped start Lincoln Square Productions and served as Executive Producer for specials and non-scripted series for networks including VH1, HGTV, Lifetime, Travel Channel, National Geographic and ABC Network. Prior to joining ABC, Rodriguez spent 12 years at CBS News where she produced documentary specials on breaking news and hourlong programs for the long running 48 Hours broadcast.
Claudia Romo Edelman Founder We Are All Human
Claudia Romo Edelman is a Mexican-Swiss diplomat. She is a Global Mobilization Expert and a Latina Social Entrepreneur, a Marketer for social causes, an advocate and catalyst for change. She is the Founder of the We Are All Human Foundation, the Hispanic Star, and Global GoalsCast. She has more than 25 years of experience leading marketing and advocacy for global organizations including UNICEF, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations, and the World Economic Forum. She has launched hundreds of successful campaigns and initiatives including the SDG Lions, Product (RED), and the Sustainable Development Goals. She speaks 6 languages. Claudia is an inspiring speaker and media contributor; and an activist for equity, diversity, and inclusion.
"This is our time. Latinos believe in the American Dream. We succeed when we act as a strong, unified community, when we support each other and lift each other up."
Vice President, Head of Diversity and Inclusion Endeavor
Giselle Ruiz currently serves as Vice President, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Endeavor. Her career spans both national and global organizations in the public and private sectors including K-12 & Higher Education, Non-Profit, Tech, and a decade in the Entertainment & Media industry. She has developed and executed engagement, outreach, recruitment, hiring, growth & promotion, and retention strategies. She has led talent acquisition and DEI at top companies and organizations including NBC Universal, The Walt Disney Company, Creative Artists Agency, Google, Facebook, and TikTok. Gisselle holds a bachelor’s degree from Clark University in Urban Development and Social Change and a master’s degree in Policy, Planning, & Administration from Boston University. Giselle is a proud first-generation transnational bilingual Afro-Latina with a deep connection to her Dominican heritage.
Cindy Salas Murphy CEO WithHealth, Inc
Cindy Salas Murphy is the Founder and CEO of WithHealth, a San Diegobased digital precision care, telehealth company that is committed to delivering on the promise of precision care by dramatically changing the healthcare experience to improve employee health and employer outcomes. Cindy has more than 20 years of experience leading transformation in healthcare for hospitals, medical groups and as an entrepreneur with a successful exit. Her outcomes include growth of a start-up to more than $1B under management, improved patient safety, quality, service and growth, while also reducing cost and optimizing productivity levels. Her passions include precision health, improving access to care, destigmatizing mental health, and eliminating health disparities. She holds a Master’s in Public Health from San Diego State University and a Bachelor in Science from Mount St. Mary’s University.
"I am committed to building and leading a diverse and inclusive culture of safety, compliance, trust and transparency to deliver a personalized and affordable healthcare experience."
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Maria S. Salinas
President & CEO Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
Vice President, CIO Family Care & NBU PGVentures (Procter & Gamble)
Maria S. Salinas is the President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. It is the largest business association in Los Angeles County representing member companies and serving the interests of more than 235,000 businesses across the Los Angeles region. Ms. Salinas took the helm of the organization in August of 2018 and became the first woman and Latina to lead the Chamber in its 132-year history. Maria is an appointee to Governor Gavin Newsom’s Commission on the Future of Work and named to his Business and Jobs Recovery Task Force. She was appointed to the US Chamber of Commerce’s Committee of 100, a distinction reserved for the top 100 Chambers across the country. She serves on the Board of Directors of The Music Center, Pacific Council, UnidosUS and Southern California Leadership Network among others.
Julieta Schuster is the Vice President, CIO Family Care & NBU at P&G Ventures (Procter & Gamble). She is an IT executive with multinational experience for over 19 years at Procter & Gamble. Her international experience with Procter & Gamble covers working in Latin America (Venezuela), Canada (Toronto), Germany (Frankfurt), and the United States (Cincinnati, OH). Julieta also serves as an IT sponsor for the Hispanic Community at P&G and plays a critical executive role in the Corporate Hispanic Leadership Team and the IT Women Leadership Team. Julieta holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Universidad Simon Bolivar, Caracas, Venezuela. She is also PMP certified since May 2005. In 2021 she was recognized as one of the Top 100 most influential Hispanics in IT/Technology by the Hispanics in IT Executive Council (HITEC).
"A better future awaits when we take courageous steps to be our best self, when we are comfortable with the uncomfortable and by shining a light on the road we’ve traveled to break glass ceilings so others may follow."
“Be your authentic self, lead with courage and passion, keep learning, genuinely care about people daily for equality and inclusion to become real, and most importantly, enjoy what you do.”
SVP Global Brand and Consumer Marketing NFL
Marissa Solis is SVP Global Brand & Consumer Marketing at the NFL. She is a magnetic business leader with an exemplary 20-year history of building dynamic brands, launching transformative innovation, and inspiring high-performance teams. Marissa joined the company in 2018 before she occupied leading positions at several PepsiCo companies for 16 years and led PepsiCo’s Hispanic Business Unit as General Manager from 2017 to 2019. She has also held different positions at Deloitte and Procter & Gamble. Her role at the NFL is key for the marketing and penetration into the Hispanic market. Marissa can operate well in ambiguity and navigate through various matrixed environments. Influences internally and externally across several cross-functional stakeholders, senior leadership, and key customer decision-makers. She believes in an action-oriented with a bias toward delivering results in new and creative ways.
Associate Justice United States Supreme Court
Sonia Sotomayor currently serves as Associate Justice in the United States Supreme Court. In 1979, she earned a J.D. from Yale Law School where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. She served as Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office from 1979–1984. She then litigated international commercial matters in New York City at Pavia & Harcourt, where she served as an associate and then partner from 1984–1992. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated her to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and she served in that role from 1992–1998. She served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1998–2009. President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 26, 2009, and she assumed this role August 8, 2009.
“I am incredibly fortunate to be in a position of influence and I believe it is my duty as a leader to elevate those around me who otherwise would not be seen or heard. Servant leadership is a privilege and a responsibility to remove barriers so others can thrive. Incredible leaders removed barriers so I could succeed and now it is my turn to do the same.”
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Raquel Tamez is the first Chief Inclusion and Engagement Officer at Charles River Associates (CRA). In addition to strengthening CRA’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), she leads the firm’s collaborative DE&I efforts globally. From 2017 to 2021, Raquel had served as CEO of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), an organization committed to empowering Hispanics in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).Before joining SHPE, she served as Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel of SourceAmerica, a national nonprofit that creates employment opportunities for persons with significant disabilities. Raquel began her career as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Labor, after which she served in several strategic, high-impact roles in both private practice and the corporate sphere.
Theresa Torres is Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. She serves a key member of the HR Leadership Team tasked with developing, implementing and continuously advancing FRBNY’s DE&I programs, and responsible for the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion Annual Report to the US Congress. She comes from Diversity Best Practices (A Working Mother Media Company) where she was the Senior Director, Global Membership Relationship Services. Before that she Theresa the President of ALPFA, a non-profit board focused on the development of LatinX leadership. She has worked extensively in the Inclusion and Diversity space at several highly matrixed fortune 100 companies. Theresa also has experience as an entrepreneur. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Concordia College on Organizational Behavior.
Chief Inclusion & Engagement Officer Charles River Associates
Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Federal Reserve Bank of New York
“Throughout my life, I’ve been on a mission to empower the underserved and voiceless. Now, I’m working hard to ensure that Hispanics are fully represented on campus, in the workplace and in all centers of power.”
CEO and Chairman Pinnacle Group
Nina Vaca is Chairman and CEO of Pinnacle Group, a Latina-owned global workforce solutions provider named the fastest-growing woman-owned company in the country twice in the last six years. The workforce solutions industry has recognized Nina repeatedly as a leader in the industry, including her in the Global Power 150 – Women in Staffing list every year in the list’s six-year history. In addition to her work with Pinnacle, Nina is one of the few Latinas in the nation serving on the boards of publicly-traded companies and also serves as a civic leader and philanthropist, working relentlessly to expand opportunities for minorities and women in business. In 2019 became a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is a recipient of the coveted Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, the Goldman Sachs Most Intriguing Entrepreneur award.
Executive President Latino Donor Collaborative
Ana Valdez is a high-level executive and thought leader, combining experience in politics, corporate and media. She joined Latino Donor Collaborative with a life-long passion to empower the Latino community. Ana is the co-founder of Valdez Productions Inc. The company creates media content, and Ana consults on marketing, media, and political strategy as she is considered an expert in what we call the New American Mainstream audience and consumer. Her company’s clients include business, non-profit and political organizations nationwide. An American Latina born and raised in Mexico City, Ana has a business degree from Tecnologico de Monterrey (ITESM), and a Master’s in International Relations from Instituto Ortega y Gasset in Madrid, Spain. Before moving to Los Angeles, Valdez worked and studied in Mexico, the United States, Spain, and Switzerland.
“To me, leadership means being of service and of value to those around me. By bringing out the best in others and leveraging our diverse strengths, we can create a truly powerful impact together.”
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Founding Partner & Managing Director SV LATAM Capital
Consuelo Valverde is a serial entrepreneur turned VC. Her drive is to produce great financial returns while being a growing force for good in the world. She is the Founder and Managing Partner of SV LATAM Capital, an early-stage VC firm investing in science and technology-enabled startups to transform societies, the environment, and health on a global scale, with a unique focus on Latin America. Consuelo founded her first tech company at the age of 21, followed shortly by an IT training center. Her first angel investment provided 3,500% in capital gains. She is an electrical engineer with two master’s degrees in science and graduate work in genomic medicine. She was granted an O-1 Visa - for “Aliens with Exceptional Abilities” by the US government, and the "Distinguished Engineer" award from the IEEE in Mexico among other awards.
Vice President, Strategic Engagement & Initiatives Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility
Yai Vargas is VP, Strategic Engagement and Initiatives. Yai leads the development and execution of HACR’s DEI training programs and specializes in multicultural marketing and consulting. HACR‘s mission is to advance the inclusion of Hispanics in Corporate America at a level commensurate with our economic contributions. She has a background in multicultural marketing strategy and communications. She has led programming for Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and focus on developing innovative, dynamic and hands-on development workshops for the betterment of a diverse & evolving workforce. She also founded The Latinista, a national network for professional Latinas and Women of Color invested in skills development and career mobility. Today the Latinista offers a series of skill-building, activity driven sessions, specifically designed to help identify and sharpen career and business acumen required to achieve professional goals.
“My mission as a Latina professional and community builder has aways been to leverage my authenticity, language and culture as a catalyst for my career and helping other women advance.”
Director of Partnerships, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) CareMax, Inc.
Carolina Veira leads the Strategic Partnerships, DE&I and Corporate Social Responsibility areas where she is responsible for developing initiatives that connect local and national partners, as well as government agencies to CareMax, Inc. She creates spaces where we can provide support to patients and staff while strengthening CareMax’s internal commitment to DE&I. Veira is part of The Hispanic Star Alliance where they work to change the perception of Hispanics in the United States. As a finance executive, she has developed financial strategies and looked for competitive opportunities that positively impact the bottom line of organizations. Carolina has received the Hispanic Woman of Distinction 2021 by Latina Style Inc. & University of Miami. On the philanthropic side, she volunteers with several organizations, including We Are All Human where Carolina serves as Hispanic Star Leader & Ambassador.
"Authentic leadership is about connecting different teammates, partners, stakeholders around a shared mission to create real impact. It is about influence, purpose and passion that create long-lasting relationships and tangible results."
Elisa Villanueva Beard CEO Teach for America
Elisa Villanueva Beard is currently CEO at Teach For America. Her journey with Teach For America started as a 1998 corps member in Phoenix. She joined the staff in 2001 to lead the organization’s work in her hometown in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Four years later, she became Chief Operating Officer. In 2015, Elisa became the sole chief executive officer of Teach For America, after serving as co-CEO alongside Matthew Kramer for two years. Today, under her leadership, Teach For America impacts hundreds of thousands of students each year in nearly 2,500 schools across the country. Elisa holds a B.A. in sociology from DePauw University. She sits on the boards of the Holdsworth Center and Leadership for Educational Equity.
"Leadership is a collective act. It’s a choice to lock arms with others, act boldly, and ask hard questions to reach greater impact together."
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Maria B. Winans
Ana Villegas is Chief Marketing Officer at National Instruments (NI). She is responsible for the management of all global marketing teams. Her focus is on promoting the strength of NI’s technology to cultivate growth across key industries, elevating the importance of tests in bringing world-changing technologies to market. Before joining NI, she served in marketing leadership roles at Dell. Ana is a thought leader and frequent speaker on B2B digital and omnichannel marketing, and she is on the board of Latinitas, a non-profit focused on empowering girls to innovate through media and technology. Ana received an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, a master’s in finance and project management from the Universidad Pacifico in Lima, Peru, and a Master’s in marketing and a Bachelor’s in Engineering from the Universidad Catolica in Lima, Peru.
Maria B. Winans is the Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl. She is a recognized expert in data-driven marketing, brand engagement and proactive demand generation. Maria came to Kyndryl after a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as CMO for IBM Americas where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. A native of Santiago, Chile, Maria has served as co-chair of IBM's Hispanic Executive Council, and has been awarded the ASPIRA Association’s Corporate Leadership Award and named one of the "Top 10 Corporate Latina Executives of the Year" by LATINA Style. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, she is the proud mother of two children. Maria is also a certified instructor in Kickboxing, TRX and Russian Kettlebells, and teaches fitness classes in her personal time.
Chief Marketing Officer NI (National Instruments)
Chief Marketing Officer Kyndryl
“Diversity is the key to growth, and as leaders, we must learn from others. Diversity of thought and experience leads new ideas and unlocks new destinations, so we must practice diversity in the way we lead every day.”
Rachel C. Ybarra
Founder Embrace Any Future
Rachel C. Ybarra is Founder of Embrace Any Future, a professional development and content creation company focused on economic empowerment to help close the wealth gap for women and the Hispanic community. After a twenty-eight career as a progressive financial and operational leader, Rachel retired as a corporate frontrunner from AT&T to begin a new second career as an entrepreneur. Her career at AT&T started 1996 as Controller, and finally came to an end with her retirement in 2021 as Assistant Vice President – State Strategic Planning. Her professional experience includes allocating strategic, technological, human capital, and economic resources for a multi-million-dollar business unit to align with the future. She is a Board Member of DFW Hispanic 100, which catalyzes increased participation of Hispanic Women in employment, procurement and social issues.
Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer Verizon
Magda Yrizarry is the Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for Verizon. She is tasked with developing strategies and programs that infuse greater equity to ensure that all employees have equal access and opportunity to advance and thrive in their careers. Core to her role as Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Magda helps to ensure Verizon’s DEI strategies care for all four stakeholders. Magda was previously responsible for Verizon's HR compliance. She has also held numerous positions in external affairs, including executive director for public policy and strategic alliances, managing national outreach efforts across multicultural, LGBTQ, older adults and people with disabilities. Magda also served as director of operations for the Verizon Foundation.
"Leadership is a revealing experience of courage, curiosity, and compassion. It is the highest form of a relationship we have with one another, with society, and with our ethical values."
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LATINAS IN DOCUMENTARY PROGRAMMING
THE TALENT BEHIND THE SCREEN Courtesy of HBO
A conversation with Sara Rodriguez, Senior Vice President, Documentary Programming at HBO
was mutual, and I started at HBO in 2018. Prior to that, I spent four years at Vice Media as SVP of Global Video. While there, I led the creative strategy, development and production of thousands of pieces of video including digital documentaries and premium series for third party platforms, as well as social video. I began my career at CBS News and over the years have worked across every evolution of non-fiction video storytelling. What was given to you in terms of advice or mentorship that pushed you to where you are today? SR: I would say that your reputation travels with you. People may not remember the details of a project they worked on with you, but they will remember the experience and how they were treated. What do you consider to be your career highlights? SR: One of my career highlights was seeing the release of an innocent man from prison because of the reporting I had been a part of at CBS News. Also, interviewing Oprah at her house. I wouldn’t have dreamed of putting that one on a bucket list, but I was lucky it happened. I would also say that the documentaries we shepherd at HBO are so rich and varied that working across each project feels like a gift.
How did you arrive at this position at HBO? SR: People have asked if I was recruited at HBO, but my future here actually started with an email. I was connected to Lisa Heller, who co-heads HBO Documentary Programming, over email through a mutual friend whom I asked to introduce us. We then had one of those coffee meetings that could have gone on for hours. Following that I met Nancy Abraham, who is the other co-head and fell in love with the dynamic between the two and their vision for the future of docs. Luckily our chemistry
What role do you see Latinos playing for HBO’s future, and media in general? How important is this segment for your industry? SR: Along with Asian Americans, we are part of the fastest growing population in the US. So, if we want to have a future audience, it’s a good idea to prioritize our representation. What are the main challenges in the media industry and how do you tackle them? SR: I think the industry is waking up to the fact that excluding different voices isn't a smart business decision. When storytelling comes from an authentic POV, an audience can tell and will show up in a big way.
“AN INCLUSIVE CULTURE DOESN’T COME WITHOUT BEING INTENTIONAL.” How does an inclusive culture fuel a career like yours? SR: An inclusive culture doesn’t come without being intentional. It’s about paying attention to the people in the room and really asking yourself whose POV are you missing. There is still a long way to go in that respect but today there are more people of color in leadership positions than when I was starting out which means we are starting to have decision-making power to change things. What are your most important work and professional values and what is the philosophy you lead your teams with? SR: Hard work and empathy aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s important for people to feel comfortable coming to work as their full selves and no matter what stage you are in your career, your voice is needed. If you have an idea, it’s crucial to speak up. What is the main lesson you have learned so far? SR: No one is going to give you something you don’t ask for. Another lesson would be that it’s critical to continue to learn new skills especially as technology evolves at a rapid pace. That’s a big one because the only thing promised to us in the media business is change.
WRITE AND SHARE #ConnectLL
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LATINAS IN NEUROLOGY
I CAN FEEL YOUR PAIN DR. FRANCHESCA FIORITO
Franchesca Fiorito spearheading the Headache Medicine Field in Puerto Rico.
HEADACHE CENTER IN PUERTO RICO Andrea Pina
Karina Margary Photography
"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." Harper Lee, How to Kill a Mockingbird.
AS A DOCTOR, having to treat an unknown diagnosis can be a challenge, that was not the case for Franchesca Fiorito. She suffered from headaches since late adolescence, but her headaches became worse during her medical school years. "Stress and poor sleep were both a trigger for me, and during medical school and residency training, these were unavoidable triggers. I was officially diagnosed with migraine at the age of 27, this is when I understood how relevant of disease it was." Medicine came as no surprise to Fiorito, as even in her early school years she was a science-oriented person. She graduated from the University of Puerto School of Medicine in 2010 but knew in her heart she wanted to do more. "I was fascinated with the human brain. I had great mentors who pushed me to do more, as I always enjoyed research and learning. I felt there was not enough emphasis on headache medicine in Puerto Rico, and I wanted to contribute." It was 2014 when she completed her residency in neurology at Boston University Medical Center. She then proceeded to undergo a fellowship which was completed in 2015 in the field of headache and facial pain at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. And from there, she has been spearheading the Headache Medicine Field back in Puerto Rico. “I was born and raised in New York until the age of 10, but then moved to Puerto Rico given that my mother is Puerto Rican. I have always loved Puerto Rico so much; I knew I wanted to return to the island and give back to my people and increase awareness for such a disabling disease like migraine." Her return to Puerto Rico was not easy, it was a whole different environment. "I had to start a practice from scratch, even medical insurance practices were different." Being a woman in a male-dominated field was challenging, but she worked closely with the community of neurologists
FIORITO HAS BEEN WORKING HARD TO RAISE AWARENESS OF THE DISEASE, MOTIVATE NEW GENERATIONS TO GO INTO THIS UNDERSEEN FIELD, AND ADVANCE FEMALE PHYSICIANS. to make her dream a reality. "I have been practicing medicine in Puerto Rico for six and a half years, and for the first six years of that time, I was the only fellowship-trained board-certified headache specialist." Fiorito is grateful for the tremendous scientific advances made to help patients manage migraine pain. “The tools now available have made a huge difference in alleviating so much suffering that results from this neurological disease,” says Fiorito. She adds that the latest advances in treatment block a neuropeptide, CGRP, which is known to be one of the underlying causes of migraine disorder. For example, Nurtec ODT (rimegepant) is the first and only treatment that can both stop a migraine attack and prevent them as well. Fiorito has been working hard to raise awareness of the disease, motivate new generations to go into this underseen field, and advance female physicians. She is currently working with the American Migraine Foundation to help underprivileged communities gain access to headache medicine. In Puerto Rico, she has worked to help create a curriculum in headache medicine for neurology residents at the University of Puerto Rico. In the future, Fiorito aspires to establish a migraine foundation locally. The strength and drive she displays at her age are inspirational and originated from her upbringing and personal struggles. "My mother is my role model. She is someone, who despite her limitations [a disease that is disabling her sight] continues to care for others. She has always taught me to keep going." As she continues her professional journey, she wants to continue her advocacy for the well-being of others. "It gives me purpose to help others live better lives," she emphasizes.
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100 LATINAS LATINAS AT NFL
THE WOMAN BEHIND THE BRAND: MARISSA SOLIS Elsa Cavazos F. Izquierdo
Courtesy of Marissa Solis
MEXICAN-BORN Marissa Solis is the head of the Global Brand and Consumer Marketing for the National Football League. But her road to success was rooted in her early beginnings. Solis grew up in Harlingen, located in the Rio Grande Valley and her parents worked in restaurants. It was vital for her to give back to her Latino community, and the sentiment remained with her. Solis attended Georgetown, where initially, she wanted to become a foreign service ambassador. But one professor told her to make a name for herself and network. So far, it has worked for her. Going to such a prestigious school had her attend class with classmates who came with more privilege. But Solis never felt intimidated. She just wanted to change the world. "I was just a little girl from the Valley with nothing. I didn't find that challenging or intimidating. It just really gave me a lot of energy. I loved every minute of being in Georgetown, it opened the world to me," she said. After graduating, Solis went on to work for Procter & Gamble. Her focus was Puerto Rico and Central America, and she learned how to problem solve, a skill that would become beneficial to her even today. She was only 20 when she started her job at the company. "Being there on your own teaches you to be self-sufficient, to look at every challenge differently. And you just kind of go, overcome and keep going," Solis said of moving away from her family for the job. Later on, she worked for a political firm in Austin. Solis realized when working for a Texas governor campaign it was difficult to be a Latina woman in a world of men. "Nobody cared about what I thought or what I had to say because I had no power. That was a big moment in learning. It opened my eyes to many challenges that Latinos in this country face or, quite frankly, any minority. Women of color specifically face this challenge… we have so much to give. Yet, we're kept in the dark. We're obscure. People don't see us. People don't hear us," she said. From that experience, it became her mission to create a community of women for her and for others to thrive and feel comfortable. Solis stressed you need passion and desire to stay motivated. “If somebody said to me ‘you are not important or your contributions don’t matter’, that just fueled me more to succeed. Because I know my contributions do matter. And I know the contributions of my Latino community matter as well” As years went by, she worked for companies such as Frito-Lay and PepsiCo, where her skills as a marketer sharpened. For Solis, the key to being a good marketer is to evoke emotions and feelings in others and appeal to people's human side.
IT OPENED MY EYES TO MANY CHALLENGES THAT LATINOS IN THIS COUNTRY FACE OR, QUITE FRANKLY, ANY MINORITY, SPECIFICALLY WOMEN BECAUSE WOMEN OF COLOR HAVE SO MUCH TO GIVE.
Marissa believes that being adaptable leads to success.
"You've got to tap into humanity's diverse nature and be authentic, telling real stories, not made up," she said. "When we start to tell those stories and being open to learning and being vulnerable, everything completely changes because people see the authenticity. And they get inspired by that," Solis said. Solis was not expecting it when the NFL came into her life. She received a call and got offered the job. Football had always been part of her life, so there was a lot of excitement to join. More than anything, Solis said she felt she could be a catalyst for more diversity and inclusion. ". I just had a sense that maybe I belong there to accelerate the embracing of diversity and engage with all fans of the sport.," Solis said. Among everything she has learned, she emphasized that being adaptable and open to change is what leads to success. "You have to be a lifelong learner to succeed, especially in marketing, because things change so fast. You have to change along with the world around you," she said. MARCH / APRIL 2022 LATINO LEADERS 47
LATINAS IN FUNDING
“LEARN FROM OUR ELDERS, MAKE WHAT YOU LEARNED YOUR OWN, AND HAVE THE ENERGY AND THE ‘GANAS’ TO TELL OTHERS AND TEACH OTHERS.”
A FORMER NUN WITH A FINANCIAL EDUCATION MISSION JANIE BARRERA Johanna Hoyos
Carlos Javier Sanchez
Janie is a sixth-generation Texan. Her family settled on the east side of the Rio Grande River, Mexico. As history and territory lines evolved - they became U.S. citizens. “We never crossed the border. The border crossed us,” she says. FOR 20 YEARS, her parents started and owned a Mexican restaurant called “La Mexicana” in Corpus Christi. At age 14, she had her first job as a waitress at the family’s restaurant. She had the opportunity to work with all types of people. A core value instilled by her parents is always to treat everybody the same. That courtesy and respect have earned Janie several relationships up to this day. Her parents put her through catholic school from first grade to high school with hard work and sacrifice. The nuns taught her about social justice, and she identified deeply with her religious upbringing. Hence, Janie graduated from high school in 1973 and entered the convent that summer. While in the congregation, Janie ran the Telecommunications Center for the Diocese of Corpus Christi. She helped build the first nonprofit radio station in the city. The center grew from three employees to twenty-eight
employees. The Bishop wanted to ensure expansion and decided to hire someone else “who could do the job.” He believed Janie lacked the business experience, so she decided to get her MBA from the University of the Incarnate Word. Even then, gender income inequality was already a reality. All the sisters got paid $6,000 a year; it didn’t matter what they did at the convent, while the new male employee got paid $50,000 to do Janie’s job. That was the turning point to something grand for Barrera. After completing the MBA, she left the convent where she was a sister for 15 years. Making her career pivot to her first job with the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) – as the Air Force marketing director. In the meantime, she searched for a way to combine her social justice and nonprofit experience with social enterprise and to assist people in finding financial stability. This interest arose because of a personal reason. After 20 years with the restaurant, her parents ended up with nothing for retirement: no pension, only money from social security. Her mother with an 8thgrade education and her father with a 4th-grade education, finance illiterate, resulting in Janie seeing a gap in society. Additionally, her family never spoke about the stock market, financials, and the way to manage money. That is what drove Janie in the financial direction. She started in 1994 as the first Accion Texas employee with Accion International’s help, an organization focused on microlending efforts around the world. After 20 years working at Accion Texas, Janie rebranded Accion Texas into LiftFund to be able to expand its services and reach. LiftFund started in San Antonio and is now lending in 15 States. LiftFund has over 100 employees and has disbursed over 420 Million dollars to business owners in underserved communities. Those owners are 82 % BIPOC (black, indigenous, or people of color), 67 % are low-moderate income individuals, 40 % are women, 25% are startups, and 6 % are veterans. The entrepreneurs LiftFund works with are individuals who do not know how to navigate the financial system or are not qualified under the terms and regulations of the banks. The average loan size is $25,000, and the repayment rate is 96%. What still gives her the utmost excitement about the work is providing a lifetime skill. “Give a person a fish, and they eat for a day. Teach them to fish, and you feed them for a lifetime. At LiftFund, we help people buy the pond where they fish, and now, they have an asset to leave for the next generation,” she tells all her employees and team members. Janie believes that they are not only providing funding, resources, and guidance to help entrepreneurs, but they are also allowing entrepreneurs to leave a legacy for generations to come.
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LATINAS IN AGRICULTURE & SUSTAINABILITY
DIFFERENT NEEDED TO VOICES SHINE LIGHT ON SUSTAINABILITY, AGRICULTURE, AND THE ENVIRONMENT. INTERVIEW WITH
INDEPENDENT BOARD DIRECTOR Johanna Hoyos
Courtesy of Anne Alonzo
LEAVING BEHIND A LEGACY Anne wants to be remembered as a Latina voice for the sustainability, agriculture, and environment sector. She wants to continue leading and shining a light on the mentioned sectors. As well as making sure different voices (i.e., women, Latino/ as) are heard at the board table, encouraging a diverse perspective.
SEEK OUT and Take Opportunities: Anne L. Alonzo was born on the south side of Chicago, has a mother from Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico, and a father from Texas of Mexican descent. Anne and her two brothers grew up with solid values: always do your best in all you do, be kind to others, be good citizens, be respectful, and follow old-world traditions with family. Growing up in a modest family with hardworking parents pursuing the American dream imprinted perseverance, which led to success as a well-recognized and respected global leader in the food and agriculture sector. Her career trajectory grew by seeking and taking opportunities as they presented. She has experience at four government agencies and three fortune 500 companies and led a not-for-profit organization. Anne is an accomplished Latina fluent in Spanish who has extensive international experience. She has been in Saudia Arabia, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and numerous other countries, helping U.S. companies gain market access and penetrate additional markets. She also lived and worked in Mexico City as a U.S. diplomat. Her specific areas of expertise are diverse, including food and agriculture, trade policy and promotion, marketing, regulatory, sustainability, environmental, social, and governance (ESG), equity, diversity, and inclusion (D&I). Her first job out of law school was as an attorney being a regulator with the Environmental Protection Agency. Here the mission was to protect human health and the environment. The experience started to shape her world views; Anne wanted to advocate for the conservation and preservation of the environment and human health. She likes to say that she began this focus decades ago when sustainability and the atmosphere were not as ‘cool.’ Alonzo says, “Career tracks are not always linear. Mine was not straightforward rather more of a zig-zag along a consistent path.” Throughout her career, Alonzo has served in various senior leadership roles. One highlight in her professional career was when she was appointed President & CEO of the American
Her love for our home, Earth, is deeply rooted.
“TO ALL LATINAS, PERSEVERE, MOVE FORWARD, BE GRATEFUL, BE PATIENT AND BE PREPARED.” Egg Board. She was leading the marketing arm of the $9B U.S. egg industry. Most recently, Anne served as a Senior Vice President of External Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer at Corteva Agriscience. She set the strategy and led the global External Affairs function in this dual role. Along this fruitful career path has been widely recognized for her community leadership and championship of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I). Alonzo is very thankful for her mentors, who saw her potential and were there to help her career propel forward. Her love for our home, Earth, is deeply rooted. Anne presently serves as an Independent Board Director at PotlatchDeltic, a leading timberland real estate investment trust with geographically diverse, high-quality, productive wood products sourced from their sustainably managed forests. Anne also serves as a Senior Advisor to Pollination, a global climate change and investment advisory firm, and as an Advisor to Trail Head Capital, a social impact investment firm. In terms of the future, she recently pivoted from operating roles to advisory and strategic roles. She believes the right time to do it is now in her career, leveraging 30+ years as a professional and experience. She hopes to add another company board role and nonprofit organization this year. Anne is at a point in her career where she is excited to build a portfolio of different exciting positions to which she can contribute and add value. As a mentor, she provides objective guidance to size up her mentees’ careers. It’s important to her to work with younger Latina women for advancement, empowerment, change, and a better future – for a more diverse and inclusive environment. Quite often, in the organizations she has worked for, she was the senior-most Latina in the organization – that must change! Anne would like to see more Latinos advance in their organizations, including leadership positions at the C Suite and board room levels. Her legacy is to open the door for other Latinas and Latinos to evolve and move forward at organizations in the government and private sector. She hopes to be remembered as having a positive voice of inclusion - always speaking up and helping others move their careers forward. MARCH / APRIL 2022 LATINO LEADERS 49
100 LATINAS JPMORGAN CHASE
LET US REFRAME THE STORIES TOLD ABOUT LATINOS
She defines the key to success in two words: patience and resilience.
SILVANA MONTENEGRO GLOBAL HEAD OF ADVANCING HISPANICS & LATINOS AT JPMORGAN CHASE
According to the Census Bureau, the Latino community is the fastest-growing group in the United States and currently represents 18.7 percent of the country's population. By 2060, this number will increase by nearly 30 percent and Latinos will become an even more significant part of the workforce. Therefore, companies in the U.S. are concentrating their efforts to become more diverse and inclusive. Luana Ferreira
Lucy Kennedy Photography
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IN 2021, JPMorgan Chase launched Advancing Hispanics & Latinos (AHL), a DEI organization designed to promote the growth and success of Hispanic and Latino communities across the globe. As the Global Head of Advancing Hispanics & Latinos at JPMorgan Chase, Silvana Montenegro’s work focuses on strengthening the community’s economic foundation in four key areas: careers and skills, financial health and wealth creation, business growth and entrepreneurship and community development. JPMorgan Chase has announced it will invest $30 billion by the end of 2025 to drive an inclusive recovery, support employees, and break down systemic barriers. Through this effort, JPMorgan Chase brings together the firm’s business, philanthropy, policy and data expertise to drive inclusive growth and help close the racial wealth gap among Black, Hispanic and Latino communities. Silvana Montenegro was born in São Paulo, Brazil, where she studied Psychology at the University of São Paulo, which is considered the best university in Latin America*. At home, she learned values and developed traits that would define her career: the desire to be in an international environment, the importance of education, and the value of lifting others. Her father loved traveling and would take the family on immersive-cultural vacations in Europe and Argentina. While her mother would motivate her to study, her grandmother, a social activist, would take her to the communities to see her work. At university, she saw an advertisement from JPMorgan Chase saying they were looking for human resources intern. "I did not know what Human Resources was, but I saw the words 'Chase' and 'international,' and here I go. I applied, long history short, I got the internship, flash forward 25 years and here I am in the position that I have now", Silvana says. Montenegro moved to the United States after getting a position in New York. It didn't take long until she was labeled a minority, and she felt puzzled. She grew up in a country where she was perceived as white, went to good schools, and lived in a good neighborhood. "It was very confusing to me because I was like 'I am not a minority,' but of course, I had an accent, I am a foreigner… When I felt in my skin what it is to be labeled a minority, that was when I could emphasize more the struggles that I saw on a very systemic level, but also in small aspects like, inside the employee group", she explains. The Brazilian spent two years trying to fit in and even considered hiring a speaking coach to help her lose the accent. A mentor made Silvana change her mind after saying she was "different and very effective". It was the moment she realized she didn't have to hide her differences but embrace them – and she wanted other Latinas to realize that. "What makes us changing agents are our differences because we can feel things differently, and we all need different angles to really drive our business results, etc.", she says.
SHE BELIEVES THAT THE SUCCESS OF A LATINA HELPS TO ELEVATE THE WHOLE COMMUNITY. Silvanas's position often demands that she speaks up her mind. Although it is not always something easy, she is aware that having a voice and being a decision-maker gives her the chance to uplift other Latinas, the most satisfying thing about her job. Her priorities for JPMorgan Chase at the moment are increasing diversity on an internal level and creating an inclusive environment, something that also benefits the business. This is a recent mentality shared by many companies that have noticed that inclusion and equity are essential to retaining their talents and increasing their commitment to the company. "If I have to try to fit in, to be honest, as a business, we are underperforming," Montenegro says. "Today, we have 270 thousand employees and if 30% of them are trying to fit in, I am wasting money. From that standpoint, it is a missed opportunity for companies to have these employees without inclusion". As of December of 2021, 20% of the firm’s global workforce self-identified as Latino and Hispanic. Silvana also highlights the importance of investing in talent pools, as developing people will help companies improve their business and client support. It also benefits the community — if people have more access to education and capital, it reflects directly in the economy and those talents will trigger policy changes at different levels. She also hopes to reframe the narrative around Latinos, a community that is still facing huge barriers. "We are using the expertise of JPMorgan Chase to bring tools to the community to start from the basics: How do I save money; How do I build my credit; Why should I bank; How do I buy my house", she explains. "Right now, the biggest barrier is the lack of knowledge and fear". Having financial autonomy will help the Latino community to grow their business and create more successful cases. According to Montenegro, there is an extra challenge for Latinas. Women often demand too much from themselves and it can keep them from achieving more in the workplace. "It is ok to ask for help, show up when you are not perfect, speak when you don't have the right answers, and make mistakes", adds Silvana. She defines the key to success in two words: patience and resilience. "We don't achieve anything in five minutes, and we can't do anything until we understand where we are", she says. She believes that the success of a Latina helps to elevate the whole community. In her words, "when we get to any milestone, it is huge. We are so proud about bringing our *Source: US News community with us and lifting others, that when we get to a milestone is not only for one but for all of us". MARCH / APRIL 2022 LATINO LEADERS 51
LATINAS IN MARKETING
SILVIA DAVILA: THE MASTERMIND BEHIND SELLING EVERYTHING Luisana Rodríguez F. Izquierdo
SILVIA DAVILA is a dedicated Latina corporate woman who is naturally curious and seeks out challenging situations to learn. Marketing is her professional home and place to flourish. She’s the current regional president of Latin America of Danone, which operates in 120 countries where its products are available and has more than 100,000 employees around the globe. Davila cherishes her origins as a Mexican woman, although her life has not been sugarcoated. “I was born and raised in Mexico City. My mother had to work full-time because she was the main source of income for me and my two siblings after my father passed away when I was seven years old. Therefore, she was not only my provider but also my source of pride and purpose”, she reminisces. Silvia has always enjoyed selling, which is why she was baking cookies in her hometown and marketing them as a young girl. Davila grew her income during the summer by working in her mother’s friend’s store in San Antonio, TX, and was able to purchase her first car. “I started to work while attending university for a BS in Marketing. I graduated with honors thanks to carefully planning my schedule.” When she was young, Silvia also worked at McDonald’s, where she started making burgers. She swiftly grew and took care of customers, arranged events, and assisted in the operational side of Marketing. She contributed to the launch of four new stores while completing her major. Silvia deeply cherishes this opportunity, “I always mention McDonald’s as my first job because it gave me a lot of leadership opportunities at a very young age.” 52 LATINO LEADERS MARCH / APRIL 2022
After getting her BS, she traveled around Europe for a few months before coming back to Mexico to join P&G, her “dream workplace,” as she calls it. She was there for almost 12 years. Even though she was eager and curious about the world, P&G had specific characteristics that made her stay there. “I was promoted as a Marketing Director at age 28. I was growing and appreciating everything that P&G was giving me. That was my marketing school for brand building and strategy”, says Silvia. When at P&G, she got assigned to reside in Caracas, Venezuela, during a time where political difficulties highly affected how people lived. She left the country — as a pregnant woman— after a two-month-long national strike. She had two options: stay in Venezuela and have her child there, or go to Mexico and leave the job. She chose the latest. “If it were for me, I would’ve been there [at P&G] forever!” She faced a new complex scenario where the following work-related steps were not as straightforward as planned. However, life gave her a year to spend as a Strategic Marketing Planning professor at the ITESM’s MBA program, where she could share her knowledge. Silvia discovered how much she enjoyed operations during this brief period, so she accepted a position as a Marketing Director at Mars - where her main strength, brand strategy, could enrich. Eventually, she got a General
“EVERYTHING IS UP TO CONVERSATION! DIVERSITY, SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, AND SUSTAINABILITY ARE FEATURES THAT BOTH MARKETS AND COMPANIES SHOULD HAVE.”
Manager position in Belgium, where she faced challenges not seen before. She had to surround herself with people with different abilities and learn from them. Despite the unknown, Silvia thrived. She still felt compelled to keep up with her professional development. A chance presented itself at Danone, her current employer, where she is the LATAM region’s chief of strategy and execution. When asked about how it feels to be a Latina corporate woman, the interviewee emphasizes the value of belonging to a group. As a result, Davila is a Young Presidents Organization (YPO) member. Her peers help her find a sense of self-validation and give her continuous updates on current business trends. As for her thoughts on today’s marketing challenges, Silvia says: “everything is up to conversation! Diversity, social responsibility, and sustainability are features that both markets and companies should have.” Silvia represents a real-life example of turning adversities into opportunities for improvement while transcending gender and cultural barriers with optimism. MARCH / APRIL 2022 LATINO LEADERS 53
100 LATINAS LATINAS AT NIKE
LATINA FORCE AT NIKE MEET THREE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN BEHIND THE BRAND: VANESSA, BLANCA AND ANDREA. How did you arrive at this position at Nike? VGB: Growing up, I wanted to be a human rights lawyer and an astronaut. Let’s just say, I’ve always dreamt of reaching for the stars! Working at Nike has given me the opportunity to turn those dreams into a reality through a role I didn’t even know existed when I was growing up. Simply put, my personal values align with Nike’s values. Sport is a transformative agent of positive change in the world, and from my very first role to my current role as the head of NA Communications, it’s a privilege to help bring the best of sport to people and more people into sport. What was given to you in terms of advice or mentorship that pushed you to where you are today? VGB: I have a sign in my office that says, “It can be done.” It was given to me by a mentor who encouraged me to always stay in a mindset of possibilities. It’s a reminder to take the time to understand your motivations, your values and your priorities – and how much you care about achieving them. If you are willing to play the long game and care more than anyone else about your goals, then it can be done. She who cares more – and is willing to do the work – wins.
What role do you see Latinos playing for Nike's future? How important is this segment for your industry? VGB: If you want to be a leader in any industry, then Latinos are a critical part of your future. Our talented community is present everywhere – innovation, tech, design, culture, sport, media, and beyond. For Nike specifically, there is no better match; Nike and the Latino community – we’re soul mates: we’re obsessed with sport, we’re committed to our communities and our families, we’re resilient and evolving, and multidimensional as well as What do you consider to be your career highlights? diverse. We want to be at the forefront of the VGB: Throughout my career journey, I’ve future, leading and shaping it. often been the first Latina and it’s been important for me to do it in a way that creates How does an inclusive culture fuel a career like yours? space for others to join me. I’ll embrace being the first, but I don’t want to ever be the last. VGB: Representation and voice matters. It’s It’s one of the reasons that I train for my job important to have a seat at the proverbial talike an endurance athlete – I’m committed ble and to have the opportunity to share your to going the distance. I’m confident that my thoughts, where your experience, talent and holistic approach to mental, physical and skills are valued and respected. We don’t just spiritual well-being have helped me push need to be seen; we also need to be heard. A forward in my personal and professional life. culture of inclusion creates that space, supMy proudest legacy today and always is my ports your growth and empowers you. team and the teammates I’ve been fortunate to work with. I always say there is a lifetime What are your most important work and professional values and what is the philosophy you membership for anyone on my teams and lead your teams with? I love that we’re growing the community of caring, talented and driven people – I know VGB: I have a people-first, lead with love apI’m better for knowing them and I’m confi- proach to leadership. I have found this to be transformational and fulfilling both persondent that they’re shaping a better future.
VANESSA GARCIA-BRITO VP OF NORTH AMERICA COMMUNICATIONS AT NIKE
ally and professionally. There are no regrets when we prioritize people. I also firmly believe we need to bring in and create space for varying experiences and diverse talent – in all of their dimensions. It makes us stronger collectively and individually. What is the main lesson you have learned so far? VGB: Being a Latina woman is a super power.
BLANCA GONZALEZ VP NORTH AMERICA PRODUCT MERCHANDISING AT NIKE
How did you arrive at this position at Nike? BG: From a young age, I was naturally drawn to the world of fashion and apparel. Arriving at Nike more than 20 years ago not only presented the opportunity to tap into my interests, but also be part of a purpose-driven company that consistently exhibits a commitment to community and equitable access to sport. What was given to you in terms of advice or mentorship that pushed you to where you are today? BG: My biggest mentor has been my sister. As the first two people in our family to go to
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college, we made a pact very early on to not let circumstances or other people’s expectations define or limit our opportunities. Also, over the course of my career, I’ve met and been inspired by some many incredible women who have charted a path for themselves while creating space for others to grow. What do you consider to be your career highlights? BG: As a Latina and someone who has seen first-hand the impact that equitable access to sport can have on youth, I would say leading Nike Los Angeles as the city won its bid for the 2028 Olympics was a true highlight. As a mother of 3 young children, I recognize the power of investing in the next generation of athletes. Being part of a brand that empowers, inspires and fosters opportunities for youth to reach their full potential, I cannot think of anything more rewarding. Another highlight that stands out is my time with Nike de Mexico. Not only was it personally and professionally fulfilling, but it allowed me to mentor young female talent. What role do you see Latinos playing for Nike's future? How important is this segment for your industry? BG: The Latino cohort is a crucial part of Nike’s business and the future of the US economy and at Nike, we exist to serve athletes. In order to do so, you need to truly understand them. So. for Merchandising and really, any part of our industry, I think having diverse perspectives at the table that are representative of the consumers we serve- is critical. How does an inclusive culture fuel a career like yours? BG: I think the key is having both an inclusive and equitable culture. Also, over the years, I’ve learned the incredible value of diversity, and that by being vulnerable and creating space for others to do the same, all voices can be heard.
being authentic and seeking places and teams that embrace me for who I am, by allowing me to bring my most authentic self to work. I am so proud of my heritage, and I feel a sense of responsibility to help create avenues for a bright future for young Latinas at Nike and across the industry.
ANDREA PEREZ GLOBAL VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER FOR JORDAN BRAND WOMEN’S AT NIKE
How did you arrive at this position at Nike? AP: Working at Nike was always a goal of mine. Over the last 20 years, I have had a very diverse career. I got my start at Nike working as an admin in Mexico. Nike is a big company, with three different brands, a variety of different functional areas, and offices all over the world. I’m proof that you can have a robust and diverse career here.
What was given to you in terms of advice or mentorship that pushed you to where you are today? AP: Receiving feedback on performance is crucial throughout your career. Someone I admired and respected told me the way I was building my team wasn’t the best. Through them, I learned that sharing a vision and being a motivator goes much further and empowers teams to get things What are your most important work and profes- done. It was painful to hear, but it provided me sional values and what is the philosophy you with a baseline to be a better leader. lead your teams with? BG: I think a leadership approach that is What do you consider to be your career highlights? grounded in courage and empathy is imperative to both your success and the success of AP: I had the chance to lead the team during World Cup ’15 when I was Head of Soccer for the teams you manage. North America. The amount of enthusiasm, What is the main lesson you have learned so far? exposure, and partnerships around World Cup BG: Above all else, I’ve learned the value of was very meaningful for us because it created a
bridge between women and soccer culture that we hadn’t experienced before. Starting Jordan Women’s division has been a career highlight. I am especially proud of our Women’s Collective – connecting Jordan Brand to a group of leaders, from diverse backgrounds, different areas of influence, who are ready to change the world. The Women’s Collective creates an opportunity for women to learn from women. What role do you see Latinos playing for Nike's future? How important is this segment for your industry? AP: We love sport, but we also influence culture, music, fashion and art. We are key to shaping the future we want to create in this country. It is important for us to be very proud of who we are, what we represent, and the perspective we bring to the table. We must also remember that Latinos are still the majority minority. We need to remember to bring people along with us. For some of us, it was a difficult ride to get to where we are, so let’s make sure to pave the road and invite others in. How does an inclusive culture fuel a career like yours? AP: We’ve come a long way from being a brand for runners, run by a group of runners. We continue to expand and further foster a culture of inclusion. It’s important to have different types of people with different perspectives. Our differences are what help us to better solve problems, come together, and make things better for our world and future. What are your most important work and professional values and what is the philosophy you lead your teams with? AP: It is crucial for us to be putting the consumer at the center of all that we do. We must ask ourselves if we are doing and acting in the best interest of the consumer at every step. It’s also about finding the purpose in what we do. It goes beyond just selling shoes. For me, it is a culture of inclusivity and elevating Women’s sport. What is the main lesson you have learned so far? AP: Sport teaches you key skills in leadership. It shows you how to be resilient and helps you work toward short-term and long-term goals. It teaches you how to receive feedback. You learn how good it feels to win while teaching you that you can’t win them all. MARCH / APRIL 2022 LATINO LEADERS 55
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LATINAS IN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY
A PASSION FOR REDUCING BARRIERS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
INTERVIEW WITH JACQUELINE GOMEZ, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE HISPANIC AMERICAN CONSTRUCTION ASSOCIATION (HACIA) Andrea Pina Carlos Cuevas
Eugenia “Nia” Matzaris
Jacqueline Gomez is the first female Executive Director of the Hispanic American Construction Association (HACIA). In the past year, she has developed the Mujeres de HACIA leadership program for women in construction and championed legislation to support minority and women-owned businesses. Today, she is a fully empowered Latina working in a male-dominated industry. However, her journey has not always been an easy one. AS A DAUGHTER of immigrants, Jacqueline's parents took a leap of faith and came to the United States looking for a brighter future for their family. Both factory workers would start their day at the crack of dawn. "I remember sometimes going to bed with my clothes on for the next morning. 'Mija, I'm trying to give you a few more minutes to sleep' my mom would say." It was her father who decided to give her a taste of the real world. "The day he took me to the factory was life-changing. I noticed how tirelessly the men and women worked. My dad made it a point to express what could be my future if I didn't pursue higher education. It is one of the memories that changed my
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perspective on life. Being hardworking and having a strong work ethic were core values of my family. 'Work smarter, not harder' is what he would always tell me." Jacqueline decided to attend the University of Illinois to study finance. Fearlessly, she went on to pursue her master's in business administration at National Louis University. From there it has been a career of growth, success, and empowerment. From her early professional years, she has shined because of her skills and her willingness to go above and beyond. She fondly remembers her first boss, a Latina professional who inspired her. It was partly because of her that she fell in love with working to reduce the obstacles and barriers for small, minority, and women-owned businesses. Since 2003 she has developed and enforced policies that create pathways for these businesses to enter contracting with the government. It was also during her early career that she struggled with using her Hispanic background to her advantage or for her professional advancement. "When I was a finalist in employment positions, I wanted the reason to be for my skills and experience, not because I was a minority woman. Looking back now, I'm grateful for the opportunities and it demonstrates the importance to be intentional about diversity and inclusion." Now that has changed, as she spearheads new generations of Hispanic women to speak up and encourages them to find the right balance of empowerment between being Hispanic and being female. "We need to stop thinking people are doing us a favor when we are selected for a role and shift our mindset to the reality of the matter, which is we are doing them a favor because of our tremendous experience and work ethic - were brought up having to work twice as hard and it shows in our work product." Jacqueline is a skilled connector, providing solutions and creating ways to spearhead and support the legislation. All qualities that led her to her current position. Since 2021 she has been leading HACIA into the future and there is still much she wants to accomplish for the organization.
Her long and short-term goals include: FEMALE EMPOWERMENT ADVICE "First, give yourself grace. You are doing your best. Second, surround yourself with good people and a strong support system. Lastly, never give up and follow your instinct." – Jacqueline Gomez
WHAT IS HACIA? • The Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA) is a construction advocacy and membership organization working to ensure the equitable participation of its members in the construction industry. Since 1979, HACIA has been a prominent voice for diversity and inclusion practices in the construction industry. With a track record of advancing policies, connecting individuals and businesses, and developing programming in support of this goal. HACIA is a trusted partner in the community and a recognized leader in the industry.
•Expand HACIA's influence beyond Chicago •Increase their membership •Focus on private sector partnerships •Connect and mentor women in the construction sector •Develop outreach program for high school students As for her personal goals, she says "Wherever I go, I want to make a positive impact. I want to continue advocating for small businesses to succeed assisting them with the resources they need." As a working mom, she is also raising two little girls. "I want to be an excellent role model for them. It is not easy balancing a professional life and being a mom, but as women, we have the strength and perseverance to achieve anything we want in life. That's what I want them to learn." We are excited to see what the future brings for Jacqueline, as she will undoubtedly continue to thrive!
VALUES FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS: • Allow yourself to speak up • There is always room for negotiation • Having good foundational values is crucial
Jacqueline Gomez has just celebrated her first anniversary at HACIA. WRITE AND SHARE #ConnectLL
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JESSICA LOURDES BASS BOLANDER
VICE PRESIDENT LOCKTON DUNNING SERIES (LOCKTON COMPANIES)
"AS FEMALE EXECUTIVES, WE ALSO HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF FINDING MENTEES. WE NEED TO HELP KEEP THE FUTURE GENERATIONS IN THE WORKFORCE. WE ALL DO BETTER WHEN WOMEN ARE IN BUSINESS."
FROM WANTING TO JOIN THE PEACE CORPS TO VICE PRESIDENT AT LOCKTON Andrea Pina
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Jessica Lourdes Bass Bolander comes from a family with grandparents who moved from Mexico to San Antonio, TX in search of a better future for their upcoming generations. Jessica did not only take the opportunity for a better future, she excelled at it. SHE REMEMBERS growing up in San Antonio and being constantly reminded of the importance of hard work and good education. Her abuelito would say "a good education is going to be what makes you successful." At some point in her life, Jess felt the urge to do something that positively impacted the world, "I wanted to do good, so I got the idea of joining the Peace Corps." But she remembers her family saying, "we did not come from Mexico for you to do that, go study, and then you will change the world." Jessica went to Westminster College in Missouri where she did a BA in Political Science and Spanish. The latter is very important to her, as she has always profoundly identified herself as being Latina. As she went into college, her Latinism was constantly in question. "I was constantly annoyed, as people would question my Hispanic heritage because of the way I looked, and I did not like that. I am a Mexican Latina and I will always be proud of that." Hard work has always been a part of Jess's life, always eager to do something. She got her first job at the age of 14, waitressing over the summer. "I have always been very good at sales, constantly doing more to get more." At the end of her senior year, Jess applied for a sales position in AETNA. She got the position and relocated to Miami. This was very exciting for a girl just out of college, a dream job in a dream location! She ended up spending 7 years in Florida, where she met her husband, and started a life together. Then came the offer for a position at UnitedHealth Group as Vice President of National Accounts. "I remember moving to Dallas and everyone would just assume we were relocated because of my husband's job. It was a time when women in the workplace were not as popular as it is now." Even though working moms were still on the rise, Jessica has always been motivated by female role models and Mentors. "I couldn't have done it without female mentoring in my life. First my background of strong women. Then the moms I looked up to, seeing they could be successful and still be good mothers. I am very thankful for all the support I have gotten. Now I want to help the next generation go further." After 6 years working at UnitedHealth Group, and having Lockton as a client, in 2018 she leaped forward and started in her current position. It has been a very good experience but also a challenging one, as COVID hit everyone. "The pandemic was especially hard on all DFW businesses. We were trying to keep people safe, but businesses open."
As for the future, one of her goals is to develop more attractive employee plans that will support her clients, especially with the current talent crisis that businesses are facing. Her professional goals include becoming a Partner at the company. She will also continue to help advance women in the workplace. More importantly, she wants to keep teaching her kids the importance of working hard and being able to achieve their dreams.
FEMALE EMPOWERMENT ADVICE
01 One of the struggles Jessica faces is finding the right balance between motherhood and her professional career.
"Find a mentor, someone you want to be like. Make the time in your schedule to meet with that person and learn from them on how to advance your professional career."
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WOMEN IN BANKING
“Whatever the circumstances, you have it within you. Life expands to the measure of your courage. Just do it” – Anna Alvarado
TEXAS CAPITAL BANK’S AMBITIOUS ADDITION A success story almost always has an inspiring background. Anna M. Alvarado, daughter of Mexican migrant workers, a central California native, is Texas Capital Bank’s newest Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary. Elsa Cavazos
Courtesy of Texas Capital Bank
SURPRISING PEOPLE ALWAYS BRINGS GOOD OUTCOMES.
“MY PARENTS MET working the fields in the San Joaquin Valley,” says Alvarado. “That’s where I was born, in government-sponsored housing, and I lived there until I was about 13 years old. My first job was picking grapes.” For the first 12 years, Alvarado had a dual Mexican-American education and traveled between central California and Mexico. Her family’s core values come from that personal experience. She learned firsthand that hard work and loyalty help many people achieve their goals. “You help your family no matter what; we’re loyal no matter what,” she said. As Alvarado grew up, she noticed her environment – activists surrounded her. It was then when a characteristic trait began to develop: her ambition. “I wanted to do more, see more, learn more,” she says. “Because of that awakening, in school, I would always pay attention to the classmates or teachers that I admired and try to mimic what they did.” That ambition is still part of Anna Alvarado’s personality. It has been perfected and molded over time. She has learned to use it as leverage and propeller. “I didn’t know anything else beyond what was in front of me, but I hated picking grapes,” Alvarado says. “I was sure there was more to life than that. I just didn’t know how to get there.” Learning from others was her main objective, and it allowed her to follow the advice and look for growth opportunities. Opportunities that led her to where she is today. One of these opportunities was the Upward Bound program, which Alvarado says was a positive experience that changed her life. “That’s where I learned about working in an office, and they provided all these vouchers to apply to college,” she says. “That curiosity of wanting to learn from people I admired also led me to discover Bentley University, get a scholarship and do well there.” Alvarado went to school in Massachusetts mainly because she wanted to experience new territory. She went back to California years later to work as an accountant. After, Anna realized it was time for her to pursue her goal of being a lawyer. So, she moved to Texas in 2004 to attend Southern Methodist University and never looked back. She was juggling motherhood and a second degree — not an easy task. “I just powered through, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It was a blur, but I knew it was temporary. I think I averaged about four hours of sleep for three years,” Alvarado shared. Alvarado has learned that most things she sets her mind to aren’t easy, but she gravitates toward a challenge. She had great women mentors who helped her surround herself with positivity early on when she started working. But she has been underestimated as well, “I’ve learned not to take it personally but rather learn from it. Surprising people always brings good outcomes.” However, her current role is her most significant professional challenge. “For a couple of reasons. Number one, coming into this new banking industry that I didn’t have any experience in before. Which is fine; we all learn. The second challenge is the ambitious strategic goals and mission, and we’re all working hard. I always remind myself never to shy away from hard work. It’s up to me to not let people down and hope to exceed people’s expectations,” she said. As for the future, Anna has plans to continue developing an efficient and effective legal department that excels at achieving the bank’s goals. She also has promised herself to “make more time for fun. I will work on nurturing what is important and finding the right balance between work and my time”.
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LATINAS IN LITERATURE
WOMEN OF COLOR ARE THE FUTURE OF THE WORKPLACE DEEPA PURUSHOTHAMAN Luana Ferreira
THE UNITED STATES has been experiencing an increase in women's representation at all levels in corporations. However, a closer look at the numbers reveals that Women of Color (WOC) are still underrepresented in leadership – they are only 4 percent of C-leaders, according to the Women in the Workplace report from McKinsey. Deepa Purushothaman is no stranger to the feeling of being the only woman of color in the room. In 2008, she became the first Indian female partner at Deloitte, a firm with over a hundred thousand employees. "I always had this interesting way to navigate a corporate structure as a woman of color," she said. Purushothaman's had a successful career at Deloitte for two decades, but she was aware that as a WOC, she faced specific issues that other women were experiencing as well – and she wanted them to be heard. She recently released the book The First, the Few, the Only: How Women of Color Can Redefine Power in Corporate America, where she interviewed 500 WOC in the corporate environment. The idea for the book came after Purushothaman started having one-to-one meetings with WOC, which soon became dinners with a larger number of women. Most of the people interviewed for the book reported that they just felt free to be themselves and express their individualities after getting to a senior level. Before making their way to leading positions, WOC often feel pressure to present themselves in a certain way. Some Latinas "would not wear bright colors and hired speaking coaches to learn how to manage their excitement when talking," Purushothaman says. According to the author, many women were editing themselves to be perceived as professionals in corporations. Purushothaman also highlights that WOC are diverse amongst themselves, as this definition includes Latinas, Black women and Asian women. This diversity makes a difference in the workplace, as the American working population is becoming more and more diverse. This plurality makes placing WOC in leading positions valuable for companies. "My belief is that in order to manage a more diverse working force, you need leaders that are more diverse, fluent in different languages and understand that people have differences," Purushothaman adds. "I believe that women of color are well-positioned in that situation to lead on those cases."
Don’t miss out on the 500 amazing stories portrayed.
PURUSHOTHAMAN IS STILL WORKING ON CREATING A PLACE WHERE WOMEN CAN SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES IN THE WORKPLACE. The author also reveals that many women in leading positions feel alone and she hopes the book makes them understand that many others face the same issues in the workplace. "I think there is freedom and liberation that comes from that," she says. Purushothaman is still working on creating a place where women can share their experiences in the workplace. Beyond the book, she is the co-founder of nFormation, a company for women of color by women of color. The author believes that there is no way back and companies are now urging to make those changes, but they often don't know how since changing corporate culture isn't a simple process. For example, they often keep following outdated methods, hiring and promoting people based on static criteria. "If we look at the same criteria over and over, we get the same leaders, but if we can actually value the eclectic experience of women of color, companies would be more profitable." MARCH / APRIL 2022 LATINO LEADERS 61
A DECADE OF WINNING
The Queen of Spanish Language Edutainment Programming celebrates the tenth anniversary of her award-winning national TV show. She is grateful for the prestigious recognitions received from leaders all over the country for her dedication to the Latino Community.
JACKELINE CACHO CELEBRATES A DECADE OF LATINO TRIUMPHS
JACKELINE CACHO has never been afraid of challenges. After being a news anchor and national correspondent for two of the most prominent Spanish TV Networks in the country, she decided to become a pioneer in edutainment programming. Jackeline created a positive and inspirational TV show that portrays the real stories of Latinos in America. This former Peruvian beauty has proven that positive programming is needed in Spanish programming. “Now more than ever, we need to see how our community leaves a legacy in America. After a difficult pandemic, we are reinventing ourselves and continue working hard with hope and faith. We have to recognize that we are the present and the future of this amazing country, our country. We need to tell our stories to inspire the next generations of Latinos-americanos”, says Jackeline. “My goal was to work at Univision one day. After three years, I was there opening the first-weekend newscast for the network in San Antonio, Texas”, she explains. Working at Univision gave her a perspective of the Latinos community’s needs. She wanted to make a difference through her work. “I was always a positive journalist, and I wanted to talk about stories that meant something to my community.” Among her most remarkable works at Univision are a unique series about foster care and the trafficking of women on the border. She describes it as “different issues that sometimes news does not want to talk about– but I was very passionate about it.” Jackeline also wanted her work to feature Latinos differently and inspire the community. The journalist could not relate to the stories that portrayed Latinos primarily as drug dealers and criminals. “That is not who we are. We are hard-working people who come here for the loved ones and give our families the best.” Her motivation was to create Jackeline
JACKELINE BELIEVES IN THE POWER OF THE LATINO COMMUNITY AND SAYS THAT RECOGNIZING THEIR HERITAGE IS CRUCIAL TO UNDERSTANDING WHERE THEY WANT TO BE.
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Cacho Presenta Triunfo Latino, an independent program featuring inspirational stories of Latinos in different areas. The show is celebrating its 10th anniversary, but back then, many people said the project would not work because “positivity doesn’t sell.” Triunfo Latino became a pioneer in this television segment and opened doors for other people to do similar things. In 2018 Jackeline was invited by the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) to be the master of ceremonies (MC) and special guest in New York City at the inauguration of the Spotlight Initiative - a global multi-year partnership between the EU and UN to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030. Now Jackeline is getting ready for Dubai and where she will represent Latinas at The First Ladies Forum & Economic Development Summit. She will release the Global Initiative: “Despierta tu poder mujer – Awakening Your Power Woman.” Cacho believes that women can eradicate depression, anxiety, and panic attacks by awakening inner power and empowering their purpose as females. Jackeline doesn’t have plans to slow down in the coming years. To celebrate the 10th an-
Jackeline speaking at the United niversary of Triunfo Latino, she is launching a podcast. The 01 Nations at the launch of Spotlight journalist is also working to present this year her bestselling Initiative book “Mi Mochila Emocional “(in English, My Emotional Backpack) during Hispanic Heritage Month. Of course, television is also in her plans, as she plans to produce more series about Latinos. She wants Latinos to have the chance to see productions in Spanish that were filmed in the US and not in other countries. “We are the largest growing community in the United States, and that comes with many necessities’.’ Jackeline and her production company, with the support of her husband and business partner Mexican director and producer Thene Muciño, have plans to continue producing educational series and docuseries. Very much like the first one they did in 2018 “Un día con Alzheimer’s- Los recuerdos que se han ido”. Which has been the first documentary in Spanish about Alzheimer’s produced in the US with cases and studies about Latinos and Alzheimer’s in America in this decade – it has 2 Emmy nominations. Jackeline believes in the power of the Latino community and says that recognizing their heritage is crucial to understanding where they want to be. “I always follow my mother’s saying: if you know where you came from, you will know where you go. If you come from a dysfunctional and poor family, you have to accept that, earn it and move on with your actions in life, but if you live in denial - then it is a problem”. “We are like a plant. We have to continue growing and have WRITE AND SHARE more arms”, Jackeline adds. #ConnectLL
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LATINOS IN ENERGY 2
For nine years in a row, Latino Leaders has featured a special section with the most relevant leaders in the Energy sector. Through conversations, profiles, and interviews, we have been covering the leaders' strategic vision in an industry that is vital for our everyday life and community. Thanks to Energy, the world keeps moving, and our technology keeps working for our daily needs. The following stories are just a small showcase of our community's talent.
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LATINOS IN ENERGY RECYCLING
THE MASTERMIND OF RECYCLING INTERVIEW RICK PEREZ, CEO OF AVANGARD INNOVATIVE Luana Ferreira
Courtesy of Avangard Innovative & Rick Perez
ESG has become a top priority for organizations worldwide in the past few years. For companies, investments in sustainability are essential not only because they take account of the impact they have on the environment. According to a McKinsey Quarterly report, investing in ESG creates value for the organizations and helps them to attract investors.
RICK PEREZ has been ahead of the game for nearly three decades. He is the founder and CEO of Avangard Innovative, the largest recycler in the American continent. The company uses technology to drive sustainability, offering full-service waste management and recycling optimization solutions at all levels of the process in 11 countries and has over one thousand employees. However, when he decided to create the company, it wasn't easy to convince others that they could make more money by investing in ESG. "When we did this, nobody cared," Perez says. But what does it mean? Avangard Innovative looks at everything "behind the scenes," including pallets, cardboard, metal, aluminum, organics, and plastics. "So basically what we are trying to do is a waste diversion, and we make sure that we capture everything that could get back into the system. Our goal is to have zero waste eventually," he explains. The company has defined important new directions focused on mechanical recycling of plastic film and chemical recycling of more rigid plastics to achieve its zero waste goals. Earlier this year, Avangard Innovative announced a joint venture with Honeywell, responsible for supplying a chemical recycling system and technology that will transform plastic waste into recycled polymer feedstock.
Avangard Innovative MARCH / APRIL 2022 LATINO LEADERS 65
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LATINOS IN ENERGY RECYCLING
This product can be used to create new plastics, reducing the use of fossil materials to develop new plastics. The process is called UpCycle Process Technology, and Avangard Innovative will be the first company in the United States to use it. The production is estimated to start in 2023. The technology will also expand the amount and types of plastic Avangard Innovative can recycle. The company can already process LDPE and LLDPE film, but the UpCycle Process Technology will allow the company to work with lower quality films, packing, and polystyrene materials. The operations will be concentrated on its complex in Waller, Texas, and can recycle 30,000 metric tons of plastic per year. Perez is familiar with the feeling of being a pioneer in the industry. While most companies are focused on the final consumer, he looks at the inefficiencies behind different sectors, which helped him escalate his business. "Nobody ever cared about the back of a store and where all those commodities recyclables would go," he explains. That is how he created Natura, a program that helps companies push more recyclables into the circular economy. Avangard Innovative has also developed Sustain, a technology that uses artificial intelligence to look inside dumpsters. "We have a network of over 20,000 sites that feed our network in different countries to make sure that we capture all the recyclables." The work of Avangard Innovative is crucial to avoiding materials such as plastic film or rigid plastic ends in landfills, rivers, and oceans. "You are truly creating a circular economy versus your traditional linear economy," he adds. As a leader of one of the largest recycling companies globally, Perez is aware of his impact as a leader. "Being a Latino impactful leader means helping those around you find purpose and achieve growth, especially if they are Hispanic or Latino, to level set the playing field. That can be personal or professional and can create a massive, unstoppable movement," he says. Perez's passion for recycling predates Avangard Innovative. It all started with a landfill covered with PET bottles Rick saw in Mexico back in the 1990s. After seeing that, he kept thinking that "there has to be something I can do with this." The 22-year-old college student had to figure out how to bring those PET
bottles to the United States. "I knew how to cross the border and the paperwork I had to do. But I had no idea how to compact it, sell it, and what to do with it," he says. Obstacles and new scenarios were not a stop for Perez. He learned how the business worked, sold despite his young age, and thrived in a new market. With hard work and focus, he became one of the largest PET recyclers in the world. After nearly three decades in this business, Rick is still ambitious, and his new goal is to have zero waste. "We believe that is a possibility. And that's truly my personal belief, and my legacy behind it is how can we get to the point that nothing is going to a landfill we can't capture."
“BEING A LATINO IMPACTFUL LEADER MEANS HELPING THOSE AROUND YOU FIND PURPOSE AND ACHIEVE GROWTH, ESPECIALLY IF THEY ARE HISPANIC OR LATINO, TO LEVEL SET THE PLAYING FIELD.”
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LATINO IN ENERGY RENEWABLE ENERGY
LATINOS TRAILBLAZING IN RENEWABLE ENERGY LUIS CASTILLO CTO FOR ENERGY ROYALTY PARTNERS
RENEWABLE ENERGY is the fastest-growing energy source in the United States. According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, it increased 42% between 2010 and 2020, and the demand will keep growing in the coming years. Renewable energy will boost some segments of the economy and also change the country's landscape in particular areas. The wind industry is now responsible for hiring more than 110 thousand people in the country and the demand will increase in the coming years. "Today, there are four million acres associated with wind turbines installations in the US. To achieve the goal to cut greenhouse emissions in half by 2030, it is estimated that the land mass required to host the buildout of the necessary renewable energy infrastructure will be approximately fortyseven million acres," explains Luis Castillo, Chief Technology Officer at Energy Royalty Partners, an investment company focused on acquiring and managing energy royalties. Energy Royalty Partners is based in Texas, a strategic location for the business. Castillo explains that wind is one of the cheapest sources of energy, and in the last seven years, Texas has saved approximately $6 billion on electricity costs by using wind energy. MARCH / APRIL 2022 LATINO LEADERS 67
LATINO IN ENERGY RENEWABLE ENERGY
"THAT ONLY COMES WITH DISCIPLINE. IF YOU REALLY WANT TO LEARN IT, YOU CAN"
Luis and two partners founded Energy Royalty Partners in 2019, where he is responsible for the technological vision and the overall execution of the company strategy. He has more than ten years of experience working in the energy industry, and he is no stranger to navigating through different areas in a business, including finance, land, legal and administrative tasks. The journey that led Castillo to become an entrepreneur in renewable energy started in South America. He was born in Colombia but moved to Venezuela when he was six-year-old, where his father worked in the oil and gas industry. He decided to follow in his father's steps and study Geophysical Engineering at college. In the last year, he decided to do a one-year exchange program at the University of Oklahoma, which would be defining for his career. When the political crisis in Venezuela started, he decided to start a Master's in Science at Oklahoma University. Luis found a part-time job as an oil and gas operator in a small firm where he had to wear multiple hats. "I got exposure to the whole supply chain. Sometimes you're making the copies, cleaning the office, but then you're exposed to the legal aspect, to the finances, accounting and, of course, technical, which was the main role I was covering," he says.
Energy Royalty Partners is based in Texas, a strategic location for the business.
After that, Castillo was hired by a family office, where he developed other skills. They wanted to invest in diverse assets, and energy was one of them. "They hired me because of my background in oil and gas and also the ability to integrate data science tools into it. I was able to help them grow the family energy portfolio. Initially, we invested up to $50 million, and we were able to multiply that investment by approximately 3X," he says. "I was the only Latino working for that North American company. For me, it was very interesting that somebody that came from Venezuela was able to sit at the same table with the CEOs from several Texas companies." While most scientists are detail-oriented in a specific task, Castillo has learned to have a macro vision of a business– something crucial for entrepreneurs. "That only comes with discipline. If you really want to learn it, you can", he says. For creating Energy Royalty Partners, Luis teamed up with people with skills he lacked. While he is very technical, one of his partners is an attorney and the third one has been working with energy for several years. "You need to be a good team player and trust your partners," says Castillo. Learn more about Energy Royal Partners and its current Fund offering:
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LATINOS IN ENERGY VISTRA CORP.
GABE CASTRO: EXCLUSIVE WITH GABE CASTRO, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF VISTRA'S US RETAIL BUSINESS MARKETS
FROM THE TENNIS COURTS TO ENERGY EXPERT Luisiana Rodriguez
Matt Redden with Vitae Photography
AS A CHILD of Mexican-American parents, Castro is eager to share his perspective on the energy industry and his journey. “I grew up in San Antonio, and my dad —who was very big on education because he didn’t have the opportunity to go to college. Both of my parents stressed education, work and family – all while striving to enjoy life. Competition was a central theme in our family, so I played a lot of sports, mainly tennis. I didn’t know at the time, but that was my key to college.” Castro attended St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, to study for a BBA in Finance in the 90s. “It was my chance to get to know people from different backgrounds, it was really a good place for me. I got to play tennis all 4 years and it was a great opportunity.” After graduation, Castro started work with an energy company, learning how gas is traded, transported, and consumed. “I was able to work in Mexico for about 2 years, I was excited to travel and be part of the culture. At the time we were selling financial solutions to big companies and industrials. When I came back to Texas, the deregulated electricity market, which gives consumers the ability to choose their electricity provider, was especially attractive.”
Gabe Castro is the Senior Vice President of Vistra's US Retail Business Markets and an executive board member of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). He’s an adventurous and competitive person who enjoys playing sports, traveling with his family and being outside.
AS A LATINO, CASTRO SAYS THERE’S AN OPEN WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITIES PRESENTED FOR ALL. “WHETHER IT’S ENGINEERING, SALES, MARKETING, OR COMMUNICATIONS, THERE IS A ROLE FOR SOMEONE TO FIT IN THE ENERGY INDUSTRY BECAUSE OF THE SPEED IN WHICH IT IS EVOLVING.” After his time in Mexico, Castro returned to the U.S. to work at Vistra, which is a leading integrated retail electricity and power generation company, based in Irving. When asked about the link between natural gas and electric power, Gabe MARCH / APRIL 2022 LATINO LEADERS 69
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points out that they have a strong correlation since they’re now remarkably intertwined. In his current role, leading Vistra’s U.S. Retail Business Markets, he’s focused on developing customer solutions, saying every day presents a unique challenge – perfect for someone fueled by competition. “Years ago, if somebody asked you if you wanted a camera on your phone you would think ‘why would I want that?’ But now you can’t imagine a phone without a camera. I think it’s a similar story with power. Thanks to the emerging options available, we offer much more than a basic service that keeps the lights on.” In June, 28 years will have passed since his beginnings at Vistra and Castro reminisces about his career with contentment. Through all of it, he says he’s constantly raised his hand for an extra project and pushed himself to get better. “The people that I’ve worked with have been exceptionally bright but also exceptionally kind.”
WRITE AND SHARE #ConnectLL
As a Latino, Castro says there’s an open window of opportunities presented for all. “Whether it’s engineering, sales, marketing, or communications, there is a role for someone to fit in the energy industry because of the speed in which it is evolving.” Castro says Vistra works to create the next generation of employees who want to do more and want to do it right. With regards to the future, Gabe visualizes a world with greener solutions as the economy goes electric. “We are in an energy-centric environment that is changing rapidly, with all eyes focused on solutions that are both sustainable and economical. ” Not everybody needs a phone, Castro emphasizes, but everybody does need power. From delivering innovative solutions to his customers at Vistra to his personal passion for increasing what’s possible for minority companies at the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), Gabe Castro shares this conversation about leadership and growth as an experienced Latino-background professional in one of the country’s star energy companies. All of this while still playing tennis as a hobby. 70 LATINO LEADERS MARCH / APRIL 2022
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CIGARDEN CLUB BY FRANCISCO ARIAS
CIGAR REVIEW PADRON 1964 ANNIVERSARY SERIES TORPEDO NATURAL (6.5”X 52) What a better way to start writing this column than with the opportunity to share a tasting review of the 2021 Cigar of the Year according to one of the top industry publishers: The Padron 1964 Anniversary Series Natural, made with sun grown Cuban seed tobaccos from Nicaragua. This puro was released in 1994 as a commemoration to their 30th anniversary. THIS IS A BEAUTIFUL box pressed cigar, and Padron has this distinctive artisan handmade touch that makes their cigars stand apart from the rest,
perfect with no effort and the ash becomes dark gray. Overall, the burn was even from start to finish with black belt burn line that denotes a perfect combustion, and a V-cut provided sufficient •Wrapper: Nicaragua smoke for this 52” ring size. Regarding the combustion, this puro lasted for 75 •Binder: Nicaragua minutes, in my opinion it is fast for a 6.5” inch long and its strength varies starting •Filler: Nicaragua with feels of a medium but make no mistake, this blend is strong, qualifying as a •Price: $17.80 9.5 in a 1-10 scale. The drink of choice for this tasting was Glenfiddich Grand Pre light cold draw: In other words, Cru, 23 years single malt scotch whisky, the flavors and aromas that we perceived cuvee cask finish. right out of the box were: black tea, pepper, spices and prune. First Third: Aromas and flavors in the realm of: woody, raspberry and roasted peanuts. The retro hale was a little bit pungent first, so I decided to wait one inch of burn for the combustion to settle. The draw was nice and easy as with all Padron’s, and the ash was white. Second Third: Aromas and flavors in the realm of citrus peel, woody, toasty, and dark chocolate. The retro hale improved dramatically, as well as with the draw, that was perfect, the ash turned into yellow gray during this second third Final Third: Now we are tasting hints of nutty, bread, cocoa and caramel. The retro hale becomes magnificent! At this point I’m getting worried that I’m about to finish the puro and I just can’t have enough of it! The draw continues to be
Padron 1964 Anniversary Torpedo Natural 6.5”x 52
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LATINO LEADERS CELLAR BY: JORGE FERRAEZ
WHAT HAVE I BEEN DRINKING LATELY? Jorge Ferráez
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Moisés Cervantes Luis E. González
San Giusto A Rentennano Chianti Classico A2017 ($30) of Burgundy, I usuHEN OPENING BOTTLE Wow! Sangiovese with aally booster Fruity, wantshot! to taste it balanced, by itself first. Usually delicate succulent with medium tannins, vanilla,their licorice, and cherand flowery fruity notes and perfumed ethery notes. Ample, round, sophisticated, andisdelicious! Youdifficult to appreciate real character sometimes want this Chianti to match perfectly with your weekday from the beginning. It takes time and depending on the pasta dinner. A well-established acidity couple the and revealing itself; temperature the winewill will startwith evolving acidic notes from tomatoes. Also, I love the lighter redChevillon-Chezeaux color like this harmonic Domaine NuVieilles Vignes 2015 with violet and and the strikingits-Saint-Georges notes of cassis. rose petal notes and a silky textured approach. It was mediSaint Julien Chateau Leoville 2006in ($164) um bodied andPoyferre very ample sweet and spiced aromas and a An absolutely fantastic a delicate and baldelicateBordeaux balance. with A beautiful wine. anced structure. It is full of fruit with an excellent harmony of ripe red fruit, spice, licorice, and fruit jam notes emerge an early dinner with pastawith andanItalian charcuterie and from the glass as•On it evolves. Medium to full-bodied cheeseofI decided to aromas. open this cellared everlasting symphony flavors and This wine isBarolo from Marchesi Barolo,I have Coste de ARose 2011 I got from Eataly in Chicaone of the bestdi Bordeaux tried! fantastic experigo.toKind of and expensive (more than ence, just listening music a plain baguette with$75) ham but revealing fantastic bright fruit and aromatic nuances of dark cherry and plum. and mustard! Wow! Its medium bodied with hints of cherry, ripe strawberry and “Legacy” licorice brings brightness toNapa the mouth with every sip. Marita’s Vineyard 2016 Coombsville, Valley ($300) Ample, complex and succulent. I was one told that Barolos should be drank with several yearsthis of cellaring, but I definThis wine is a pure and fantastic expression of fruit from itively in couldn’t resist to thisAone wonderful sub-region Napa: Coombsville. cult with wine,only 10 years of age! those that you can only get from their website (https:// •This one was brough thewith table on a Sunday with a Paelwww.maritasvineyard.com). Elegant, classy,tosilky powValenciana! I hardly can drinking Ribera del Duero erful but velvetylatannins. Refined structure andavoid complexiwith with Paella; the saffron, and chicken are a ty. A beautiful wine blueberry, cherrymorcillas, pie, violet,chorizos and widehints. variety of flavors that a Ribeño would usually some herby forestry Amazing! Pureand fruitspices expression. marry them very well. For this Dominio de Cair. Cruz del Pendon. Ribera del DueroVineyard, 2014 ($56) was an excellent Williams Selyem Zinfandel 2016 Bacigalupi example with aCounty full bodied Russian River Valley, Sonoma ($80)with ripe blue and black fruit. Licplum and wildand berry notes evaporate from the glass as Jamy Muscular orice, wine with complexity dark/blue fruit youbalanced, swirl.it isexuberant, definitively sophisticated and ample explosion. Long, andcomplex, very fruity. in isaromas. Always a great Great wine! This one of those wines thatoption. I picked randomly from one of my favorite wine shops. I’m not partic•Beautiful with fruity and mellow aromas, this ularly enthusiastic about Zins,and but round I have changed my mind Chardonnay from Napa was a real treat before after trying this sophisticated one. Let’s have more! dinner showing vanilla, some caramel and guava accents with pineapple andSpätlese sweet apple notes. With a medium to Joh. Jos. Prüm Zetlinger Sonnenuhr 2019 ($45) full bodied AMICI Charles Heintz Vineyard What a delicious wine here! structure The perfectthis Riesling from the 2019 Chardonnay ($56) isaroma a really nice wine to sip around. Mosel region. After a not unpleasant Gasoline from After pulling it nice fromcitric the fridge, I always wait 7 to 10 minutes the glass, it graciously develops and honeydew start drinking I pour notes, with freshand andI flowery flavors ofwhen apricot, whitewhites. pear, Too cold (less than 50 degrees) makes wine with hideasome of its aromas. Too warm and grapefruit. Light but ample in aromas, pale-yel(above 64 degrees)I enjoyed it loses it with brisksome and brightness, becoming low look and a beautiful roundness. acidic andquite dull.a gourmet experience. creamy and hardtoo cheese - it was 72 LEADERS MARCH/ DECEMBER / APRIL 2022 40 LATINO LATINO LEADERS NOVEMBER 2021
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