Latino Leaders March - April 2023

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MARCH - APRIL 2023 Vol. 24 No. 2 LATINAS 2023 edition


• Cover story: Meet Ileana Musa - page 14

• Latinas 2023: Foreword by Maria Lensing - page 15

• Latinas 2023 List: congratulations to all - page 16

• Rising Stars 2023: our future generation talent - page 52

• Latinos in Energy: meet who is changing the industry - page 55


Dear readers, this edition holds a special place in my heart, as it was the first edition I worked on a year ago when I joined Latino Leaders. It marks the beginning of a journey of discovery, where I have met so many talented and inspirational Latinos.

Latinas 2023 doesn’t fall short of expectations; we have curated 100 extraordinary women who daily demonstrate that female power is a powerful driver of change and innovation. We also have 25 rising stars who follow the path of success and will continue thriving in the coming years.

As for the Energy subsection, we proudly present a list that has grown over the last year. There is still much to do, but hopefully, this continues to set a path of visibility for Latino talent -which is very much needed in the Energy industry.

Congratulations to all!


@latinoleadersmag FOLLOW US @LatinoLeadersUS FOLLOW US 2 LATINO LEADERS MARCH / APRIL 2023


MARCH AND APRIL is always a celebration of Latinas! One of our most celebrated editions is always full of rising stars, recognized leaders and over all fantastic stories of work, talent, leadership, passion and commitment. It is a true pleasure to oversee the edition and work close to the interviews and profiles.

As a publisher, we have learnt a lot from female leadership over the years. Not only we recognize it is a more complicated path for leaders to flourish and emerge but is also a longer one requiring more sacrifice. However, on the positive side, we always see Latinas in leadership positions happier than men. We get the impression they enjoy their roles and responsibilities to the fullest.

We salute here to all women, Latinas and leaders that are showing the immense possibilities they have with their example and model.

Also, in this edition is the Latinos in Energy feature. An industry with tremendous relevance and repercussions in our lives, our politics and our environment. We cannot think of another industry with this level of influence in our everyday lives related to our future. And yes, there are some great examples of Latinos in leading positions. Either driving research, technology, operations, or administration, all these stories of talented and committed leaders are amazing. We hope you enjoy them.

Jorge & Raul Ferraez

Publisher Jorge Ferraez President and CEO Raul Ferraez

Administrative Director

Lawrence Teodoro

Editor Andrea Pina


Bill Sarno

Daniel Sanchez Torres

Elsa Cavazos

Joanne Rodrigues

Luana Ferreira

Business Development Manager

Cristina Villaseñor

Art Director

Fernando Izquierdo

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

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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 2023. 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.

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1. How was growing up for you?

MA: I am the proud daughter of a father who left Cuba seeking political asylum and a mother seeking to escape the poverty she faced in Mexico. Although my parents came here for a better future, as immigrants with little capital, they were cycled into immediate poverty. Growing up, we lived in an apartment that was next to two unfenced commercial trash cans. In school, my identity was labeled with words such as ‘at-risk, English language learner, economically disadvantaged, and minority.’

Despite the trash cans, despite the labels, and despite always eating off brand cereals with no toy as the prize – my story is one that went from poverty to prosperity because of access to high-quality education and a family and community that loved and supported me. Growing up was filled with hours of spending time with my family and community, sharing what we had with one another and finding joy in each other’s presence.

I grew up in one of Austin's most impoverished communities yet graduated from Saint Edward's University with a Business Administration degree focused on Finance and a Master of Education degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education focused on organizational leadership and community advocacy.

I have been able to reach some of my wildest dreams, get out of generational poverty because I had access to a high-quality education and a circle of support that worked together to ensure that poverty would not define her future.

2. What were your core family values?

MA: God, community, education, hard work. In general, making this world a better place.

3. What led you into your current business?

MA: After shifting my career from business to education, I had the opportunity to work alongside parents when I supported the opening of four schools serving over 1,800 students. When I would speak with the parents, especially the moms, it made me think of my mother and how much she valued education and always wanted the best for me. In my interactions with the parents of the students we served, I learned that many of them came from similar backgrounds. It really made me want to be part of the conversation that ensures that families, regardless of their socioeconomic status, immigration status, familial make-up, have the tools and resources to monitor, advocate and champion their children’s dreams.

4. What has been your biggest challenge, and how did you face it?

MA: Funding. Funding. Funding. The reality is that as a Latina founder, I fall in the statistic of self-funding my work and there hasn’t been a lot of access to capital for working capital. Recently, in my new relationship with Comerica Bank, I have really appreciated the time they have taken to learn about my unique challenges as a business owner and figure out how to support me with financial vehicles they offer.

5. What are your short- and long-term goals in your current position?

MA: Short term goals include crushing all our goals in our strategic plan, which include launching a family engagement coaching program for principals to support them with building meaningful relationships with their educators, families, and students. Long-term goals include taking our vision internationally, especially to Latin America.

6. What advice would you give to the new generation of Latina professionals?

MA: You were created for a purpose, and we need you to live out your dreams so that our community and world can benefit from your gifts and talents.

Lauren Herrmann F. Izquierdo





WHEN TATIANA Chamorro came from Nicaragua to the United States , she had her mind set on executing one goal: completing her degree and starting a business. Growing up, she had access to opportunities that few immigrants receive before leaving their home country. With sufficient preparation, she brought many of her experiences that would ultimately help her achieve the new, prosperous life she sought. Not to mention, she's always had the support of her family to carry her across the finish line.

"I grew up in a very tight-knit family," Tatiana says. "We would have family gatherings on Sundays. As a Hispanic family, we unconsciously tried to build a close relationship. And apart from having a godly path in life, honesty, and transparency are my family’s core values.”

Tatiana's parents were exemplary figures. Her mother had a post-graduate degree , and her father had an MBA and had been building his own business, which was a constant reminder that she came from an entrepreneurial family. Ever since she was a teenager, Tatiana's father would have her sit in on some of his board meetings to give her scope of the business world. And by age 16, she was conducting presentations and speeches in front of board meetings. .

"My dad has been a big influence," Tatiana says. "I always felt like I needed to pursue business because I was looking up to what he taught me. I feel comfortable being in a room full of men, because I was taught that you make your own place."

To be well-rounded family members, the Chamorros were encouraged to have a complete education that they could use to lead them to bigger things. During high school, Tatiana was perplexed by traditional schooling methods that were far too monotonous. However, she was always aware of her innate

creativity and wouldn't let challenging subjects interfere with her potential. She eventually graduated with a bachelor's and master's degree, both with a 4.0 GPA.

"I have always been very creative and good at art," Tatiana said. "I realized early in my career that you could turn visual communications into a business, so I started freelancing. I began building brands that elevated business owners. That’s when she learned that by combining the right fonts, colors, and messaging, you can create strong brands that differentiate from competitors. "

Today, Tatiana is the CEO of Hite Digital Dallas, a franchise of Hite Digital, offering brand design and marketing services since 2020. She is also the founder of Creative a division of Hite Digital’s Corporate office and an INC 5000 company with a team of over 200 and serving 22 locations across the United States. She is passionate about helping people, businesses, and brands overcome growth barriers with strategic solutions, so they can reach their desired success.

"Right now, I'm in a transition," Tatiana said. "My franchise will merge with corporate, and I'm joining the board at Hite Digital. It's fascinating because I did not see the business growing so quickly; it's only been three years since we started. In the next decade, I see myself opening a startup for females that want to begin their businesses."

Her most significant challenge to date was launching her business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, through that experience, she learned to become fearless. Mothering two kids was an additional obstacle, but with her husband's help, she could accomplish anything. .

"I remember starting the business right after finishing my master's, and I did my first pitches in the living room with my daughter. It was challenging to maneuver all of that, but a big part of the process is that we're scared because we don't know where to start. I would say don't be afraid and do it. That's the first step. And then you start figuring everything else out."

She is passionate about helping people, businesses, and brands overcome growth barriers with strategic solutions, so they can reach their desired success.
Alan Benitez Courtesy of Tatiana Chamorro Carlos Cuevas



Dialogue with the founder of Latino Career Assessment™

1. What is the lesson you learned from your family while growing up?

MPF: As the daughter of Mexican immigrants, my family taught me the importance of hard work, determination and service. From a young age, I watched my parents put in long hours at their jobs, but they also prioritized our family and serving others. They instilled a strong work ethic in me, emphasizing that anything worth having requires effort and dedication. I carried this lesson with me into my own pursuits, whether it was in my education, career and now being an entrepreneur.

2. What were the core values during your upbringing and how do you live them now?

MPF: Faith, love and aspiration! My parents always emphasized that if I wanted something in life, I had to go after it myself. These values have stuck with me, I have this innate belief that I am in control of my own destiny, and that success is not given, but earned through living a purposeful, faithful life and a willingness to take risks. This mindset has led me to many opportunities and now I have a responsibility to act on Faith, show more love and to never stop aspiring to be able to support those around me.

3. Along the path of your career, what has been the biggest challenge?

MPF: What on Earth am I here for? Navigating the twists and turns of a career can prove to be challenging enough, but when you're trying to align your path with your purpose and values, the journey can become even more difficult. This has been my personal experience along my career path. As someone who places great emphasis on living and working in accordance with my core values, discovering my true purpose in my professional life has been a journey of selfdiscovery and tenacity. However, despite the trials that come with this alignment, I have found that the reward of feeling fulfilled and living with integrity without giving up my identity or values overrules any obstacle that comes my way.

4. How do you plan help elevate the next generation of Latina talent?

MPF: The future for Latina talent is bright, and it's up to us to take it to the next level! It's not enough to simply provide opportunities - we must actively elevate and empower the next generation of Latina leaders. As a community, we have the power to challenge traditional norms and create new pathways for success. By cultivating a supportive environment that values diversity and fosters innovation, we can ensure that Latina voices are heard loud and clear in every industry. This is why I founded the Latino Career Assessment™, providing insights and development to every Latino who wants to take control of their career and have career progression. However, to understand people’s successes, we need to know and understand what caused their internal drivers. Like


Malcolm Gladwell, I too believe that we do owe something to parentage and patronage - “The people who stand before kings may look like they did it all by themselves. But in fact, they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn, work hard, and make sense of the world in ways others can’t. It makes a difference where and when we grew up. The culture we belong to and the legacies passed down by our forebears shape the patterns of our achievements in ways we cannot begin to imagine.”

5. If you were to give some advice to your younger self, what would that be?

MPF: Challenge orthodoxies! Breaking free from the norm and challenging orthodoxies can be scary but also a thrilling journey of discovery. It takes courage to think outside the box and challenge the status quo, but the rewards are endless. We can create change and push boundaries by speaking up, taking initiative and paving the way for growth and progress. Embracing the challenge of breaking free from social constructs can lead us to unexpected destinations and valuable insights, ultimately shaping a better future for ourselves and those around us.




Chicago, The National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, NM and The Wittliff Collections in San Marcos, TX.

Yet, Rodriguez’ work has a universal appeal. It grabs the attention of those of us who want to share a positive human experience that reaches across cultural sensibilities.

There is a mistaken and inconsistent dystopian preconception of the term “education” in new generations shedding values. Young parents, ignore that education is not only a lukewarm lesson of matt or local history at school, and that the teacher is supposed to instill respect and manners to the pupils. A constant socially overlook element of the term is that culture and traditions equals “education”, and that has to be “breastfed”.

That, what in fact, originates on what our ancestors endured in their pilgrimage and infuse deeply in our core. Through his work, I met Rodriguez, and got surprisingly mesmerized by his fascinating straightforward governance, in finding a way to reconnect and rediscover his identity and rehabilitated respect for our culture. In "Mi Sangre", his recently published photography book, Rodriguez brings to life his own México Deepness in a visual documentation in a series of personal journeys to retrace his Mexican heritage.

An aesthetic approach to the culture and popular iconography, both as they exist in México and as the way they are re-imagined by Mexican Americans. “The

images also re-interpret some of the symbols associated with being “mexicano” through iconography and the cultural construction of “mexicanidad.”

In "Mi Sangre", Rodriguez explores parts of the United States where Mexican Americans have built community for generations, that predate the drawing of the US/Mexico border. Places where they have left their mark and have become part of the country's DNA.

"Mi Sangre" series have been acquired by The Museum of Fine Arts of Houston, The San Antonio Museum of Art, La Plaza de Cultura y Artes in Los Angeles, The National Museum of Mexican Art in



• There's nothing purer and more inquisitive than how children view the world; and I hope through my work people are reminded of what it was like viewing life through the lenses of a child. I want viewers to feel ok to let their inner kid roar, and ignore the ugly perception humanity, or worldly issues has caused. Be drawn back into the little things a kid would notice, but an adult would go unseen, such as the little bugs under a leaf, or the way the ocean sparkles in the sun.

• I’m interested in the optical, emotive, and tactile qualities of color and its potential for materializing the infinite, transcendental and phenomenological. Using layered, semi-transparent mylar and glowing plexiglass, my mixed-media paintings embody luminosity and feature an abstracted chain-link fence motif. Through this abstraction, I subvert assumptions about migration and borders, collapsing binaries and reaching beyond physical barriers to excavate hidden dimensions of migration. The result is a psychedelic realm that transforms the fence into a portal to a liberated interiority, consciously un-colonizable.

FRANCISCO DONOSO 02 Francisco Donoso 01 Ariel Harris


ENERGY is an essential resource. It fuels the economy by powering our homes, businesses, and critical services like transportation, communications, and healthcare. Energy will play a crucial role in shaping our world, and its availability and sustainability will be critical in determining the future of our planet.

One of the most significant challenges facing us today is reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. We need to transition to cleaner, more sustainable sources of energy over time. Energy sources like solar, wind, and hydroelectric are abundant and emissions-free and will not only benefit the environment but also create new opportunities for economic growth and job creation.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that renewable generation will

supply 44% of U.S. electricity by 2050. This compares to 21.5% at the end of 2022. The EIA projects that solar and wind will represent 51% and 31% of renewable energy generation by 2050, respectively. U.S. fossil fuel generation is expected to decline to 44% by 2050, with nuclear making up 12%.

Making the critical transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources will require leaders with a vision of a more sustainable future. One where renewable and fossil fuels co-exist but where investments in technologies will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels over time.

The pages of this issue highlight Latino Leaders making a difference in the energy sector. These leaders will create a more prosperous and sustainable future for all.

Our future is in good hands!

Ralph de laVega is the former vice-chairman ofAT&T Inc. He is the author of the best-selling book“ObstaclesWelcome: TurnAdversity toAdvantage in Business and Life.”He is also a LinkedIn Influencer,posting regularly on leadership and innovation.




our Latino community in our organization

A conversation with CPS Energy

What is CPS Energy’s strategy to increase their Latino representation numbers in their employee base?

RDG: I’m honored to be the first Latino leader to serve as President & CEO of CPS Energy. We are proud of our current workforce that demographically reflects the diversity of our community. We have an ongoing commitment to strengthen our minority recruitment practices and are collaborating with city and county workforce development organizations. Our collaboration also includes educational partnerships with schools focused on STEM education to help provide career pathways for minority students interested in science and technology fields. We continue to strive for inclusion in our hiring practices and employee engagement.

CPS Energy has served the Greater San Antonio community for more than 160 years and has been owned by the City of San Antonio since 1946. In the late 1980s, we began focusing on diversity.

The CPS Energy senior leadership team is among the most diverse in our community and in the utility industry. Our five-member Board of Trustees also reflects the community we serve. Our current Board Chair Janie Martinez Gonzalez is a San Antonio minority business owner who also strives to provide leadership in our community.

We appreciate all partnerships to help continue the growth of our Latino workforce. This effort starts with having key conversations with partners to help us stay aligned in our goals to provide education, training, and career opportunities for minorities.

From a leadership standpoint, why is it important to increase the influence of Latinos in the Energy industry?

RDG: I say this often and it is an important point; at the end of the day representation matters. I’ve been part of organizations that were not diverse and didn’t reflect the communities they served. I started to question my own opportunities for advancement when I didn’t see many leaders that looked like me. Becoming CEO was never in my career path, but now

I see the immense value in the Latino perspective and story we have to tell. We all know the energy industry is rapidly evolving and it takes all our diverse cultural experiences to bring forth a fresh perspective or innovative approach to overcoming challenges.

What role do you want to play in the advancement of the new generation of Latino professionals?

RDG: I am very fortunate. Looking back there were many people I consider mentors who took the time to invest in me and I am paying it forward. In my efforts to mentor others, I have candid conversations about developing career goals and what it takes to be an effective leader. I enjoy sharing my career journey with local executive training programs, leadership classes, and minority associations. I hope to inspire and empower other Latinos. My advice is to understand the path might not always be easy but if you work hard and maintain relationships, it will pay off.

Janie Martinez Gonzalez

What are the main challenges you’ve faced early in your career and as a female business owner?

JMG: I was still in college when I founded Webhead; a quarter century later, I am CEO of one of the few Latina-led tech companies. Webhead is an anomaly, succeeding against all odds.

It officially started when I was a junior at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Although I’d found the confidence to pursue my dreams, I would still have to face systemic racism. I persisted when potential investors, partners, bankers, and others refused to believe in my ability to start an internet company. Instead, I relied on minority leadership programs, microlenders, minority business centers, and my blend of passion and tenacity.

What professional experience shaped you the most?

JMG: My background and my experiences as a Latina influence whom we hire, how we grow, and what projects we bring in. I spend time mentoring others and serving on the boards and advisory groups of many companies and organizations. I am first Hispanic woman to represent the largest, most diverse quadrant of San Antonio as a trustee of CPS Energy. I also helped hire its first Hispanic CEO, Rudy Garza. Today I serve as the Chairman of the Board and the Innovation and Resilience Committee focused on clean energy, wind, and solar generation, energy efficiency, grid modernization, and electrification areas where people of color and women are vastly underrepresented.

If you were to move forward in time, what would you want your legacy to be?

JMG: I’d love to be remembered as someone who created a technology community that female CEO, entrepreneurs, and minority leaders, can see themselves belonging to, driving innovation, and pioneering in the industry. I want to inspire women and my daughter to see themselves transforming a community through the power of technology. To recognize how important, it is for aspiring leaders to believe they are essential to advancing and propelling generations to come.

Vincent McDonald F. Izquierdo



1. What was your childhood like? What were your family’s core values?

IM : My childhood was challenging but inspiring. For the first decade after leaving Cuba, we focused on reuniting with my father, who had to stay behind. Learning as a little girl that this dream would not become a reality was despairing, but I was blessed with a strong, resourceful mother. She role-modeled the way to focus on what we could control: a good education, a work ethic and not allowing adversity to keep us from dreaming big. She kept us moving forward. Looking back, my mother was relentless in helping us envision a brighter future.

Values helped guide us, but equally important values—resilience, risk-taking, and courage—urged me to use my influence for the greater good. Not for show, but quietly when no one was watching, except maybe for the person in need.

You are not a leader based on your role, your position or title. You can lead from anywhere, in any capacity. Many leaders model those who led them. This develops the way we think about leadership. In my case, servant leadership has been core to my journey. Expectations around transparency and inclusion have constructed the way to lead. It continues to evolve.


The core is that they work together, bringing the right people, technology, and expertise together for their clients. They lead with exceptional ideas, prioritize diversity and inclusion, and find meaningful ways to give back—all to contribute to a future that benefits their clients and communities.

Morgan Stanley’s, Managing Director, Head of International Banking & Lending Airlines Jose Musa Luis E. González

2. What made you steer your professional career into the banking industry?

IM: First was the decision to leave home to embark upon a new journey in NYC and pursue a career on Wall Street. Culturally, we had strong norms that conflicted while pursuing my passion. Over the years, I have learned how to see to my family's needs while accepting positions of influence and leadership. There are trade-offs. Even when it’s imperfect, individuals may pursue a successful career while nurturing and caring for a family.

The majority of my roles in private banking and private wealth management did not exist when I stepped into them. We employed new strategies, built new teams, and made something from scratch. This was exhilarating because we created the space to disrupt and succeed, eventually. The stakes were higher because folks were hesitant, as they should be, at first. We all know how change is not easy. I can cite several times in my career when I leaned into the unknown, rather than stick to the familiar even if it meant I had to accept setbacks along the way.

3. What challenges have you overcome throughout your career?

IM: Pivoting from an individual contributor to a leader of a large business made me realize that I cannot do everything myself. This was my experience when I stepped into my first national role. It forced me to allow runway for others to do more, key for creating capacity to think bigger and focus. One of my sponsors suggested I create margins in my schedule for unencumbered thinking time. This is very difficult. Delegating meant giving others the chance to learn to be effective when I thought I could do better in half the time. That’s OK because over time everyone, including me, benefited in palpable ways. Having capacity to build relationships, gain insights and continue to upskill is what allows us to drive broader impact. Magic happens when those you’ve trusted step up. They shine and widen the ways to lead. This is how to manifest a virtuous circle of leadership.

4. What plans do you have for the future? Both personally and professionally.

IM: Spending time with our daughter Bella is at the core of our personal journey. Last year we changed to homeschooling which afforded us more family time. Traveling has provided us ever-more enriching experiences. My husband and I hope it will steer to leading in her own role someday. We’ve just returned from attending her cousin’s basic-training graduation at Parris Island, SC. He is now a proud Marine! Learning about Charleston and Latinos’ impact in military today (as well as in the past) were life-changing for her.

I have the privilege to lead a very dynamic business at Morgan Stanley. My team and I have broadened opportunities for minorities there, including my co-chair role in leading the Hispanic-Latino network. Two years ago, we launched an internship program with Florida International University. Our mission was to attract diverse talent to wealth management. To see the impact of this work on the lives of diverse students is inspiring.

Looking toward the future, I would like to join the board of trustees to one of my alumna universities, while continuing my board journey by serving on private and eventually public boards. I also continue to enjoy my directorship in the Girl Scouts of the USA, a movement with over 1 million strong, to build girls of courage, confidence, and character to make the world a better place. On a personal level, I appreciate getting to experience through Bella’s Girl Scout journey.

5. What do you think are the main challenges for the new generation of Latinas?

IM: The next generation of Latinas will enjoy the benefits from a cohort of Latina entrepreneurs and professionals. We are on a path to share the best practices, openly, to serve subsequent waves of professional Latinas.

Next-Gen Hispanic/Latinas are thriving. They are attaining education levels higher than any previous generation in the United States. However, obtaining a degree doesn’t guarantee a solid job, professional success, nor higher incomes. Latinas may not have the inner workings of networks required to advocate for them. Mentorships, networking groups, professional organizations like Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA), Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) and employee resource groups can make a difference. By starting early in building professional relationships, Latinas can set out towards greater opportunities.

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WHEN Latino Leaders asked me to write this foreword, I couldn’t wait to celebrate these amazing trailblazers with powerful professional achievements who just happen to be Latinas. They have come into their own power, and it is a beautiful thing to see and experience.

We are living through economic and political times that require all of us to transform, deepen and broaden our definition of power. For years, the idea of women in power was not easily reconciled, even though there has been a wide acknowledgment of women’s influence throughout human history. However, the challenges from the pandemic expanded our need for leaders who possess key skills in empathy, communication, issues management, and collaboration. These “soft skills” have become critical for success during these tumultuous times.

The good news for us is that these skills are inherent characteristics of women. So the real celebration for the list you are about to read is that Latina women have learned to tap into the strengths that are critical for advancement in today’s environment. In welcoming our Latinidad, we have found a real differentiator in the marketplace. We no longer have to leave behind being mothers or daughters, distance ourselves from our heritage, or mute aspects of ourselves that didn’t fit a mold or stereotype. These Latina leaders from different industries and backgrounds are showing us that with courage, strength, and conviction, we all can become power players in our current times unlike anyone out there today.

Empowered by our core values of faith, family, and hard work, our roots in respect and humbleness have transformed and evolved into a superpower of grit, passion, and empathy. The Latina leaders moving the country forward are the ones who have learned to harness their strengths to create the biggest impact. We are moving

Adelante, and moving all those around us forward as well. This is truly something to celebrate!

The other thing I wanted to recognize about these women is the journey that took them here. I know behind the pictures of strength and conviction, there are stories of hardship, of dreamers, of successes against the odds. As one honored to be on this list, I can tell you that the journey is what continues to make the hard work worth every scar and bruise. And more than that, we have moved Adelante of our own biases.

Growing up a Latina woman, my vision of strength and power was someone who was always put together, never showing weakness, being hard, and standing on your own. And for many years, we were alone, the only ones at many tables. No more.

The best part of this list is that I see names of Latina power players who I know for a fact are investing in others. We come together, we show vulnerability, we own our concerns and fears, and we empower each other. My parting message to the Latina leaders reading this is simple: There is real strength in not being strong. In my hometown, a group of us Latina leaders invests in a dinner every quarter where we share, challenge, and support each other. It has now become a treasured time of growth and enablement allowing us to tap into our power with the strength that only unity can bring. And by becoming more courageous, emboldened, and supported, we can move the agendas of our respective industries forward.

So to all the women on this list, congratulations! Please continue to break glass ceilings, start new paths, lead with all of you, and more importantly, be there for each other. We become power players when we empower each other to succeed. And when we make it our passion to deliver impact while moving others forward, then we move together Adelante.

When you hear the word “power player,” I hope you think of people who know how to own their mindset, overcome adversity and become ultimate achievers. The Latina power players in this list are all that – and so much more!
Maria Teresa Lensing Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, Technology Team Walgreens Boots Alliance

Natimil Abreu

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.

Alma Acosta

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.

Beatriz Acevedo 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.

Acosta is the president and CEO of CARCON Industries and Construction and the founder and CEO of Southwestern Testing Laboratories (STL) Engineers. She is a celebrated 30-year business veteran, entrepreneur, nationally recognized speaker, philanthropist and mother. Acosta has held board-level positions with some of Texas’ most successful corporations. She also serves on the board of directors of Vistra Corp., Magnolia Oil & Gas and Veritex Holdings, Inc. She is a member of the National Women Energy Directors Network, the International Women’s Forum and a sustaining member of the Junior League of Dallas. In 2022, Acosta was inducted into the Junior Achievement of Dallas Business Hall of Fame.

2023 LIST

Maria Elisa Acosta Corporate Counsel

Amazon Studios

Maria Elisa is a Venezuelan attorney with a strong in-house experience in the entertainment industry. She was trained at Venezuela's top law firm and graduated with an LL.M. from Berkeley Law (Boalt Hall). Her current focus is on original productions, program acquisitions, and copyright/trademark issues. Previously she was Counsel at WarnerMedia.

MJ Acosta-Ruiz

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.

“There’s always been a need for more representation, especially when it comes to intersectionality in our communities. My goal is to break the door off the hinges for those who come next.”

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.



Valeria is first in her family to graduate from college and enter professional spaces in the US and in her native Argentina. She is the creator of the mindset transformation and behavior change movement, Rising Together. Valeria is a speaker, entrepreneurship coach, and award-winning author of the book Uncolonized Latinas: Transforming Our Mindsets And Rising Together. Before launching her book and movement, Valeria worked more than 20 years in brand management, business development, and finance in leading companies across 7 countries, including Procter & Gamble, Citibank, Reckitt Benckiser and PriceWaterhouse Coopers.

“As we set ourselves free from ancestral mindsets of inadequacy, scarcity, and excessive modesty, and start trusting in the power of our voices and diversity, the sky is the limit for us Latinas”


Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer & Corporate Secretary

Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. & 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.

Carolina Alvarez-Mathies

Executive Director

Dallas Contemporary

Carolina Alvarez-Mathies is a Salvadoran, Dallas-based arts professional. She currently serves as Executive 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.

Elizabeth Atlee

SVP, Deputy General Counsel and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer


Ana Marie Argilagos is President and CEO of Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP), a vast network of donors building, funding, and fueling Latino power across the Americas. Argilagos guides HIP with a bold vision: to usher in a new generation of democratized philanthropy that is for, by, and about the Latinx community. Before joining HIP, Argilagos was a Senior Advisor at the Ford Foundation and a Senior Program Officer at the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

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).

"Be inclusive and empowering. People like to be given the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities, so if you give them the authority and support, they usually pleasantly surprise you!"

Ana Marie Argilagos President and CEO Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP)

Bernadette Aulestia

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.

"Always remember that regardless of title, position or achievements; everyone is someone else’s inspiration."

Linda Bagley

Deputy General Counsel

The Walt Disney Company

Linda Bagley is Deputy General Counsel to The Walt Disney Company. Linda leads the global legal teams supporting Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer and International segment, comprised of Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu, Ad Sales, Technology, Affiliate Sales and other non-Parks businesses.s. 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.

Nancy Avila


Nancy Avila is Executive Vice President and Chief Information and Technology Officer for McKesson Corporation. As a member of the Executive Operating Team, Nancy leads McKesson’s technology initiatives, cybersecurity and guides the company’s overall technology strategy. Nancy joined McKesson in 2020. Prior to McKesson, Nancy was Chief Information Officer at Johnson Controls, where she was responsible for information technology, cybersecurity and analytics. She also held roles with increasing responsibility during her 22-year career at Abbott, where she served as their VP and CIO of Global Business Services.

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.


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.

Benito is a portfolio manager with 20 years of experience in managing family office investments. She began her career as an entrepreneur, co-founding a start-up in South America, The Oasis Institute, which she successfully exited before becoming a professional investor. She has worked in various capacities in wealth management, from hedge fund analyst to investment strategist for ultra-high net worth individuals, managing $1B in assets. Sylvia holds her CFA Charter and is trained in family governance and systems.

Natalie Boden is founder & president of BODEN. Named one of PRWeek's Top 40 under 40, and recipient of PRWeek’s 2020 Hall of Femme award, the 2017 ColorComm Circle Award and the 2017 PR News Game Changer award, Natalie has succeeded in building Boden into an award-winning communications agency and winner of PR News’ Best Places to Work. Her thought leadership guides the agency and helps companies including Target, McDonald's, Delta Dental and United Healthcare continue to drive conversation, build community and inspire cultural leadership. An advocate of empowering the next generation of communications leaders, Natalie is a big proponent of investing in the growth of talent and in giving back to communities in need.

Sandra Campos is a Board Member, 3x CEO, 2x entrepreneur, and advisor. Throughout her career, she has built global lifestyle brands and has been instrumental in turnarounds, digital transformations, innovative marketing campaigns, and international expansion. As a technology-focused operator, she recently joined the board of Fabric, a modular and headless commerce solution, Big Lots retailer on the NYSE, and led a SaaS based supply chain solutions company that focused on modernizing a retailer’s back end tech stack. Her retail career has included C-Suite roles as the former CEO of Diane Von Furstenberg, President of a portfolio of $1bn contemporary brands including Juicy Couture, Bebe, BCBG.and Herve Leger, and President of O Oscar (an Oscar de la Renta division).

“Mentors speak to you. Coaches speak with you. Sponsors speak about you. We need all of those in our careers and need to BE those for our communities.”

Natalie Boden Founder & CEO Boden Agency Sylvia Benito Chief Investment Officer Justice Partners Sandra Campos Founder Fashion Launchpad

Camila is an international business and marketing leader with over 20 years of experience in the tech and professional services industry. Her areas of expertise include brand strategy, portfolio creation, new business development, talent acquisition, consultative selling and relationship management. Through a combination of passion for excellence and leadership skills, Camila thrives on tackling complex challenges and developing and executing strategic initiatives to drive increased productivity, profitability and customer satisfaction. She is also president of Women in Technology Miami Council, which is dedicated to uniting & supporting women from different nationalities and technological backgrounds to advance & succeed in tech.

who you are

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 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.

Cobo is a Fulbright scholar from Cali, Colombia, Leila Cobo is Billboard's Chief Content Officer for Latin and Español. 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.

"Embrace your heritage and culture. Be proud of
– and share it with the world. Believing in yourself and who you've become es tu superpoder."



Chief Operating Officer - Google Consumer Hardware


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).

Katty Coulson

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).

"When you believe, support, and enable in your team; the results will follow."

Stacie M. de Armas

Senior Vice President, Diverse Intelligence & Initiatives


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.

"Passionate advocacy promotes change, but data-driven insights ensure its success. Harnessing data can create a more inclusive, equitable media landscape for all communities. Let's use data to empower Latino voices and celebrate diverse perspectives."

Evelyn DeJesus

Executive Vice President

American Federation of Teachers (AFT)

Since 2019, Evelyn DeJesus has been the executive vice president of the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, the first Latino/a officer in the union’s 105year history. A skilled teacher and administrator, DeJesus is a forceful advocate for justice—undaunted and unafraid to speak truth to power. In December 2022, she was appointed by the Biden administration to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence and Economic Opportunity for Hispanics.


Diaz Healy is multicultural professional with almost 20 years of experience in communications, digital strategy, DE&I, employer brand, and global campaigns. She has served in corporate in-house roles, driving DEI efforts while leading robust employee resources teams and strategies to steer business initiatives, and have been responsible for digital and social media strategy including brand reputation and customer experience. On a humanistic side she is a passionate spokesperson for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which she has managed along the way of a successful career.

"You can only control how you react to what life throws at you, so take every opportunity and run with it!"

Elizabeth Diep

Partner at PwC’s Asset Management (New York)


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.

Karina Dobarro

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.

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.

Alicia Enciso Chief Marketing Officer Nestle USA

Enciso is a step-changer People-driven executive with more than18 years of experience in the field of: Retail, QSR, Franchising, Development, Franchise Management, Branding, Real Estate, Design & Construction. Always working for the Top Global Companies and best leaders in the retail and QSR marketplace, she has developed a winning mindset and second to non-high value solutions. Erika knows closely how to successfully perform in the Equity, Franchisor and Franchisee business model environments and how to create and consolidate high performance teams. Lately, she has been focusing on Franchise management, non-traditional development and strategic growth to define new venues to profitable business models.

“As an expansion leader my passion is to find, develop and partner with courageous visionaries and high-skilled professionals to, collectively, support the advancement of Mankind, one project at a time.”

Theresa A. Flores

CEO & Founder

FACT~ Flores Advocacy Change & Transformation

Theresa is a recognized leader in public affairs, legislative advocacy, and relationship management. Most recently, she was the senior manager of public affairs for Mary Kay Inc., where she develops and recommends policy positions that protect the company’s direct selling, product, and global trade interests, focusing on engagement with legislators, governments, and NGOs. She also serves as the public affairs advocacy liaison for the Americas. Previously she served as director of government affairs for Time Warner Cable and managed local, state, and federal regulatory and legislative initiatives.Theresa is a highly respected community thought leader and is a member of the Hispanic 100, the immediate past president of the State Government Affairs Council, and board member of The Family Place.

“I strive to be a transformational and servant leader. How can I not? I am an apologetic Latina and I want to inspire others to become the best versions of themselves."

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.

Michelle Freyre

Global Brand President, Clinique and Origins

The Estée Lauder Companies

Michelle is responsible for guiding the brand’s overall strategic vision, including innovation, product development and marketing, and all facets of consumer and digital engagement. She is a senior executive with 25 years of proven leadership and a strong track record of delivering industry-leading results and building highperforming, externally-focused organizations who are passionate about winning. Diverse and deep expertise in revenue acceleration, P&L management, brand building, channel strategy, manufacturing and compliance. Michelle is also passionate talent developer and champion for Diversity & Inclusion.


Hilda Galvan

Living legend Jones Day

Galvan is currently the partner-in-charge for Jones Day’s Dallas office, where her practice focuses on intellectual property litigation. In addition to being a fellow, she is currently serving as Chair of the Texas Women’s Foundation. Galva is a nationally recognized trial lawyer, has represented technology companies in intellectual property litigation in courts across the country for more than 25 years. She has served as lead counsel in the enforcement of patent portfolios as well as defense of infringement allegations. Her cases have involved various technologies, including electronics, software wireless communication, and semiconductor processes, among others. Galvan will be inducted into the 2023 Dallas Business Hall of Fame by Junior Achievement of Dallas. The JA of Dallas’ Business Hall of Fame is dedicated to commemorating the community’s most influential business leaders and their achievements.

Vanessa Garcia-Brito

VP, North America Communications


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.

Yvonne Garcia serves as Chief of Staff to State Street’s CEO, Ron O’Hanley, and recently as SVP and Global Head of Client Solutions for Investment Manager Services. 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.

"Never underestimate the power of seeing someone like you achieve great things. Once you know the power of your example, your potential and drive skyrockets."

Ericka Garza is a board member for IFA. Until February 2023 she was sident of Au Bon Pain, responsible for setting the strategic vision and all facets of the overall business. Prior to joining Au Bain Pain, she served as Executive Franchise Growth Leader for YUM Brands, Inc., the world’s largest restaurant company overseeing Pizza Hut’s domestic Traditional & Non- Traditional Franchising business. She has a tremendous passion and a proven track record of advocating equal opportunities within the industry. One of her top accomplishments was to be the founder of EmpowHER! Yum’s first Women in Franchising conference focused on leaders from franchisees across the U.S.

2023 LIST
Yvonne Garcia Chief of Staff to CEO State Street

Gil Valletta is a former corporate executive turned award-winning entrepreneur and a recognized television business contributor and speaker. She is the Co-Founder and CEO of Culture+ Group, a global research, strategy and cultural marketing family of companies listed by the Inc. 5000 as one of America's Fastest Growing Privately-owned companies. Her conglomerate works with the world's most iconic Fortune 500 corporations and brands that want to successfully understand and drive impact and business growth by tapping into diverse market segments. Lili is one of less than 1% of Latinas serving on a Fortune 500+ public board, as an independent director for the global youth retailer Zumiez and RCN Television.

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.

"It is important to have a vision of the now. Of what we can do now - for our communities, ourselves, and the change we want see in our lives.”

Jacqueline (Jackie) Gomez is the Executive Director of the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA) a construction advocacy and membership organization working to ensure the equitable participation of construction industry professionals. In this role, Jackie and her team advocate tirelessly for transformative and impactful policy and legislation that breaks down barriers of entry into the construction industry, promote the growth of the organization's members and provide free small business and workforce development training to diversify the future of the construction industry. Under Jackie’s leadership, HACIA is a recognized champion and industry leader for the growing and thriving minority construction community.

Blanca Gonzalez

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.

"Don't be afraid to challenge the status quo for a more inclusive and equitable place. My career goal is to improve the construction ecosystem for small and diverse businesses."
"In today's fast changing world, we have the unique superpower to not only bring our talent as Latina professionals but also our unique Cultural Intelligence® to drive societal impact and business growth."

Lina González-Granados

Resident conductor

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.

Sofia Hernandez

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.


- Flanigan

Jessica Herrera-Flanigan serves as Chair of the Board of the Center, which was launched as an independent non-profit organization by the U.S. Olympic Committee in 2016 and authorized by Congress in the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 as the nation’s safe sport organization. Previously she was 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 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.

Megan Hogan

Chief Diversity Officer

Goldman Sachs

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.

100 LATINAS 2023
Chair U.S. Center for SafeSport
"Lead by ideas. Be both the creator and consumer of ideas so your teams know they are trusted and empowered to inspire and motivate others."

Francis A. Hondal most recently served as 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).

Throughout my career I have drawn leadership inspirations from my parents. My style reflects a strong work ethic, authenticity, perseverance, collaboration, fun and laughter with faith and family at the core.

Crystal Johnson

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.

Ofelia Kumpf

Board Member

Frontier Airlines

Ofelia Kumpf was most recently U.S. Vice President of the McDonald’s Long Beach Field Office. She lead 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.


Karen Larrave

Wealth Management Advisor

Northwestern Mutual

Karin Larrave specializes in retirement income planning, and legacy/ philanthropic planning. Karin began her career with Northwestern Mutual in 2000. Karin is committed to constantly pursuing education and is always striving to learn and develop professionally as she continues to expand her industry knowledge. She is also a board member of the Parkland Foundation, Epilepsy Foundation, NTLAPA (North Texas Latin American Physician Association), and she is an advisory board member of the International Esperanza Project.

Maria Lensing

Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer

Walgreens Boots Alliance

Maria is head of Strategy and Transformation for the Technology team at Walgreens Boots Alliance. Previously she served at McKesson where she focused on empowering solutions through the capabilities of the technology platform. She drives technological and health modernization through large-scale transformative initiatives. Additionally, Maria is active in promoting minority inclusion in business, STEM education, and female empowerment programs. Maria has received vast recognition for her work including the 2021 Corporate CTO of the year by Tech Titans, 2021 HITEC 100 Award as one of the 100 most influential Hispanic leaders in technology, “2019 Woman in Business” award by the Dallas Business Journal.

Cindy Lone

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.

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.

2023 LIST

Paola Meinzer

VP of Business Development

Manning Silverman CPA's and T&B

Meinzer is a Colombian native who migrated to the United States over 20 years ago. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and is currently the VP of Business Development for Manning Silverman CPA's and T&B. Paola's personal passion and mission are to empower women and serve her community. She is the founder of “LEEN” and the Latina Executive Golf Organization (LEXGOLF) which promote and Engage women, especially Latinas, in golf activities to change the status quo.

"Every day is a gift, so pursuing your dreams is essential, but enjoying and embracing the journey is crucial, as it is our only reality."

Beatris Mendez Gandica

Senior Program Manager


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.

“Rewrite the rules of the world.”

Silvana Montenegro

Global Head of Advancing Hispanics & Latinos

JPMorgan Chase

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.

Martha Montoya

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.

“The strength of our communities resides in our collective power and resilience. Providing Hispanics and Latinos with access to opportunities and tools to succeed translates into a stronger future for all.”

“Ask yourself: what would my “abuelita”, “mi mami” or my “aunt” would have done if she found this obstacle? She becomes your guiding light and daily inspiration!”


Lynette Montoya

President & CEO

Latino Hotel Association

Lynette Montoya, CEO of the Latino Hotel Association (LHA) since 2015, is focused on providing Latino entrepreneurs industry resources, education and training, and networking opportunities to build wealth through hotel ownership and investment. Montoya has been actively involved in the hotel industry for more than 25 years, working as a hotel broker for properties throughout the United States. Montoya is the founder of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Santa Fe, New Mexico and served as its founding executive director. Lynette also has been an invited speaker at many hospitality colleges and universities as well as panelist and moderator.

Regina Montoya

CEO and Chairperson

Regina T. Montoya, PLLC

Regina Montoya is the CEO & Chairperson of Regina T. Montoya, PLLC and serves as the Executive Director of Tricolor Foundation. As a Harvard-trained attorney and nationally recognized as one of the top lawyers in the country, she was one of the first Latinas to earn partnership in a major U.S. corporate law firm. Regina is a former award-winning television commentator and was named a Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award recipient by The American Bar Association. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and is a Trustee Emerita.

"Leadership is all about giving back to the next generation through teaching, guidance and mentorship. I always want to be seen as a leader who uplifts."

Ileana Musa

Managing Director, Head of International Banking & Lending Morgan & Stanley

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. Musa leads two related businesses at Morgan Stanley—as Co-Head of International Wealth Management, and Head of International Banking & Lending. She’s also involved in several nonprofit and professional organizations devoted to education, the arts and Hispanic-Latino issues, including ALFPA, the Association of Latino Professionals For America, which recently honored her as one of its Most Powerful Latinas for the third year in a row.

Elizabeth Nieto

Global Head of Equity & Impact Spotify

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.

"Talent is distributed but opportunities are not, so as a leader I am always searching for ways to create new opportunities for the team members, even if those opportunities are not in my organization."

2023 LIST
"BELIEVE, BELIEVE, BELIEVE and Never Give up no matter what’s in the rear-view mirror."

Laura Nieto

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.

Cristina Nuñez

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.

In everything that you do, professionally or personally, always try to lead with integrity, empathy, and values. Reputation is your most valuable and vulnerable asset. It is gained in drops and lost in buckets.



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.

Tanya Olmedo

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.


Yvette Ostolaza Partner, Committee Chair Sidley

Yvette Ostolaza is is Sidley’s Management Committee Chair and an Executive Committee Member. 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.

“Everyone has superpowers — they are key to an individual’s success! Great leaders bring together different talents and experiences to produce exceptional results and a great culture.”

Andrea Perez

SVP Global Marketing - Product, Brand and Services

Sony Interactive Entertainment

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. She currently leads the strategy, architecture and positioning for the PlayStation brand and its porftolio of product, services and stores. 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.

Beatriz “Bea” Perez

SVP and Chief Communications, Sustainability & Strategic Partnerships Officer

The Coca-Cola Company

A seasoned executive with nearly 30 years’ experience at Coca-Cola, Perez leads a globally networked organization, which spearheads the company’s sustainability strategies, communications, and public relations, as well as the company’s retail, licensing, and attractions portfolio. Perez has held senior-level roles in branding, marketing, and operations. Perez is chair of The Coca-Cola Foundation and serves on the board of trustees of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Georgia Research Alliance, Georgia Historical Society, and the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. Bea is a public director for Primerica and W.W. Grainger, Inc.



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.

"Strength lies in fostering unity, innovation, and inclusion to drive sustainable growth."
"Be courageous to think outside the box and challenge the status quo, the rewards are endless!"

Grace Puma

Marie Quintero-Johnson



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.

Thamara Ramirez-Walker

Global Vice President Sustaintability Marketing & Solutions


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.

Vice President and Head of Corporate Development

The Coca-Cola Company

Marie D. Quintero-Johnson is vice president and head of corporate development for The Coca-Cola Company. She manages a team responsible for evaluating and executing all merger, acquisition and divestiture transactions globally, as well as overseeing competitive insights and corporate real estate.Since Quintero-Johnson was named to her current position in 2002, the company has completed more than $20 billion worth of transactions in more than 100 countries.

Amanda Renteria


Amanda is the CEO of Code for America (CfA), a non-profit, social impact organization that helped launch the civic tech ecosystem. Today, CfA partners with governments and communitybased organizations leveraging technology to create ‘a government by the people, for the people in the digital age’. Before Code for America, Amanda served as the Chief of Operations for one of the largest Justice Departments in the country.

"The future belongs to those who believe they can change it."


Tanya Reu-Narvaez serves as chief people officer for AnywhereSM. 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. She serves on the Anywhere Executive Committee and reports to Anywhere CEO Ryan Schneider. Reu has served Anywhere (formerly Realogy) for 18 years and prior to her role as chief people officer, was senior vice president of Human Resources for the Brokerage Group and Franchise Group business units.

New Product Introduction Program Manager Google

Reyes recently returned to technical work serving as Program Manager for New Product Introduction, Google Cloud with a focus on fostering innovation and workforce development into Google’s vast hardware fleet. Over her 25-year tenure in higher education, Reyes developed a diverse portfolio of public-private partnerships. Reyes has authored and served as a contributing writer for more than 20 academic publications with an emphasis on the social and cultural pedagogies of minoritized students in STEM.

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.


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.

2023 LIST

Roldán oversees all operations for the fourth largest region of the American Red Cross, including disaster response, health and safety training, community preparedness, and support for military service members, veterans and their families. Prior to joining Red Cross, Roldán served as the Executive Director of Erie Neighborhood House, strengthening low-income, primarily-Latino families through skillbuilding, access to critical resources, advocacy and collaborative action. She is the Board chair for Illinois Action for Children, a member of the national Board of UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza), and a Board member for Wintrust Wealth Management.

Claudia Romo Edelman

Founder We Are All Human

Claudia Romo Edelman is a MexicanSwiss 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.

"Hispanics are the drivers of America's prosperity, power and progress. Yesterday, today and tomorrow. America is made of stars, and we hispanics are one of them."

Gisselle Ruiz

ice President, Head of People & Culture MACRO

Giselle Ruiz currently serves as Vice President, Head of People & Culture at MACRO. 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 Diego-based 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.


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.

Rosa Santana Chief Executive Officer

The Santana Group

Santana is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Santana Group, a top-tier minority- and woman-owned group of companies whose transformational solutions differentiate industry-leading companies through more efficient, effective, and competitive service. Since its founding in 2002, the Santana Group today includes Integrated Human Capital, Workforce Management Mexico, Diversa, Oveana, and Forma Automotive. Santana has dedicated countless hours to empowering other minority- and womenentrepreneurs through mentoring and service in various organizations that are committed to fostering diversity and inclusion, such as the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), the Latino Business Action Network (LBAN), and the Women’s Business Council Southwest (WBCS).

Vice President, CIO Family Care & NBU

PGVentures (Procter & Gamble)

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).

Marissa Solis

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.

100 LATINAS 2023
"I believe anything is possible and it’s a matter of finding the way”

Sonia Sotomayor

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.

Raquel Tamez

Chief Inclusion & Engagement Officer Charles River Associates

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.

"In my role as an executive, I strive to motivate and support team members to disrupt and innovate. As a Latina Leader, I aspire to empower and uplift my Hispanic Community."

Theresa Torres

Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Federal Reserve Bank of New York

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.

Nina Vaca

Nina Vaca is founder and CEO of Pinnacle Group, the largest Latina-owned global workforce solutions provider. A leader in her industry, Nina was named one of the top five 50 Most Powerful Latinas by Fortune Magazine. She is among the few Latinas serving on the boards of public companies and advocates to increase diversity at the board level. Nina is also a civic leader and philanthropist, appointed by the White House as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship. She is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and has been inducted into the Minority Business Hall of Fame.

“A leader’s greatest impact is mentoring future generations. The seeds in a single apple are few, but the number of apples that come from a single seed can be infinite.”


Ana Valdez



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.

“Don’t regret failing, regret not trying.”

Catalina Vargas

SVP Global Supply Chain

Bristol Meyers Squibb

Catalina currently leads a team of more than 600 employees working to seamlessly plan and deliver medicines to patients in more than 50 countries around the world. Prior to her current role, Catalina was Chief of Staff to the CEO of BMS where she led important strategic enterprise-wide initiatives. Catalina has an exceptional record of building high performing and agile global teams.

“As a Latina leader, I pay it forward by helping the next generation of Latinos achieve their career aspirations, while making meaningful contributions to improving patient outcomes.”

Paula Vaz Ramos



As Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer for Kimberly-Clark, Paula S. Vaz Ramos has global responsibility for the company's enterprise strategy and the transformation initiatives designed to accelerate growth and value creation. Prior to joining Kimberly-Clark in 2021, Ramos was a partner at McKinsey & Company. Ramos led the firm's global consumer health practice and played pivotal roles in McKinsey's inclusion and diversity programs.

Katherine Vega Stultz


Ocelot Bio

Katherine Vega Stultz is a resultsdriven, entrepreneurial leader with a proven track record building world-class organizations. She brings diverse enterprise leadership experience to her role as CEO of Ocelot Bio with expertise that spans across the entire R&D lifecycle. Katherine has made her mark as a corporate leader at several leading global healthcare companies, growing high-performing teams and building brands that have generated over $1B in annual revenue.


Velasco Fortner has over 25 years of experience in community organizing, child advocacy, and Latino Leadership. Her focus on parental engagement has had a significant impact by improving the lives of low-income and immigrant families. As CEO of The Concilio, she has grown the organization from a $400k budget to 5.4M. She has received several awards including CEO of the Year in 2019 from the CNM Connect, the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce LA CIMA non-profit Leader Award in 2015. Florencia is a member of numerous boards and organizations. She is a former Marshall Memorial Fellow and a Leadership Dallas Alumni.

“I remember my dad telling me: ‘Mija, my goal as your father is to stand as tall as possible in the highest place and then put you on my shoulders so that you can see even further.’ Every parent wants that for their kids, and we try to make our child’s lives better than our own.”

Ana Villegas recently joined the executive team of AffiniPay. Before joining AffiniPay, she served in marketing leadership roles at NI (National Instruments) and 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.


Carla Vernon Chief Executive Officer The Honest

As the first Afro-Latina CEO of a U.S. publicly traded company, Vernón brings a new era of leadership that reflects the diversity of Honest’s consumers. In her role, Vernón will be laser focused on driving category growth, business innovation, and profitability to deliver the company’s core mission of inspiring everyone to love living consciously.Prior to joining Honest, Vernón served as the Vice President of Consumables Categories at, Inc. where she had P&L responsibility for Household Essentials, Wellness, Beauty, Baby, Food and Beverage categories on as well as responsibility for technology development for those categories.

Maria B. Winans Chief Marketing Officer


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.




FVF: First and foremost, I’m proud to be a Latina, representing my community in the nonprofit space. As a Latina, there are naturally some cultural barriers that I have had to overcome, and I know the importance of my efforts for the overall Hispanic community and the women who come after me. I work to think outside the box, be resourceful and break the molds to support other Latinas.

Part of my personal challenge has been people putting me into boxes – because of my education, my background, being Hispanic or being a woman. I remember having a conversation with another leader about our similar fundraising challenges, when I realized he was holding me to lower expectations as a result of my background. Rather than let this conversation bring me down, it instead fueled my desire to defy the stereotypes and work hand-in-hand with my teams in our fundraising efforts to benefit the communities we serve.

3. What are your goals for The Concilio from your leadership position?

1. Briefly summarize your experience as a Latina working in the non-for-profit sector.

FVF: I have been fortunate to have the experience throughout my career working with a variety of nonprofit groups. The jobs I have held, especially those right out of college have taught me valuable lessons, but one constant between all of my experiences is that I’ve always been given the opportunity to grow and reinvent myself.

Every opportunity – and every challenge – has played a significant role in preparing me for my work today. As a Latina woman and as a business professional, I strive to provide strong impact on the businesses I work with, and one of my biggest

goals is to ensure that I’m getting the job done right. I enter a workspace as a leader and look at it from a human perspective, and I do what is necessary to tackle the opportunity and get the job done.

At The Concilio, I’m able to work with a primarily Hispanic-focused organization for the first time in my career, and it has been such a valuable experience, particularly as a Latina working to serve other young women in the Hispanic community. I hope to be an inspiration to the women we work with now and in the future.

2. What are the main challenges you’ve faced during your career?

FVF: The Concilio has evolved as the Latino community has evolved in North Texas. Today, I think we’re at the cusp of greatness, as the North Texas community has truly begun to embrace the contributions and assets the Latino community has to offer.

That being said, my goal as the leader of this organization is to strengthen our team – staff, board and stakeholders – and encourage each of us to think about longterm, solutions-driven initiatives. It’s a big question: how do we bring an end to all of the disparities that the Latino community faces? But, I am proud of my team, and I know they have the passion and the drive to tackle this challenge to the betterment of our community – both the Latino community and the greater DFW community

Florencia Velasco Fortner, President and CEO of The Concilio
100 LATINAS 2023 FLORENCIA VELASCO FORTNER @latinoleadersmag FOLLOW US LatinoLeadersMagazine FOLLOW US @LatinoLeadersUS FOLLOW US FOLLOW US
Courtesy of The Concilio Luis E. González

we serve. Once we have accomplished this goal in the Metroplex, I hope we can be a model for the rest of the state – and eventually the nation.

4. What are the most common challenges that you see Latino families face?

FVF: Several decades ago, there was a big movement around assimilation. However, something we have found is that assimilation requires losing an old identity to embrace a new one. Latinos have such a rich community and culture – and we don’t want to erase that! Instead, we want to support Latinos integrate who they are into the U.S. and capitalize on the opportunities that are available.

There are many opportunities to help. For example, with the families we work with at The Concilio, I see an opportunity to improve parents’ involvement in their children’s education. With cultural differences – particularly for immigrant families – it can be difficult to integrate into the American system. There is a paradigm shift between the educational system and parental expectations in Latin America and here in the U.S. By recognizing this difference and working with our families to help better integrate them, we can provide greater opportunities for little ones in Latino families.

Additionally, the work in education and integration continues with older members of the families who have entered the workforce. Often, we work with individuals who don’t have the hard or soft skills necessary to thrive in the workforce. As a result, many of our families are piecing together jobs – working two or three places without strong options for health insurance or saving for retirement. Working with our families to combat these challenges can help them build generational wealth more than they could before.

5. With regards to your professional advancement, where do you see yourself going? FVF: I love what we’re doing and where we’re going at The Concilio. We understand what needs to be done and the families we need to help, and I’m able to look ahead and really consider how we can make a difference. In fact, I feel that I have a sense of urgency at this point in my career because the challenges our families face are those I am familiar with from personal experience. It’s important not just to consider the day-to-day work we do, but also the legacy we leave behind for the people that come after us –and this has been a top priority for me as I plan for the future.

This is why at The Concilio, our Young Latino Professionals (YLP) community is so important to me. Through the YLP, we have the opportunity to support other Latino professionals as they enter the workforce, providing mentorship and guidance to help them succeed. These are the future leaders of our community – and I am honored to be a part of their growth journey.

My goal is to inspire my team members, the people serving at The Concilio, and beyond – particularly the greater DFW community. If you feel inspired, I encourage you to visit our website at www.theconcilio. org to find out about our programs and become a volunteer or a donor if you are able.

6. What experience has shaped you the most?

FVF: Becoming a mother. I’ve always felt that I want to spend my life helping kids like me – young, Hispanic children who have several challenges to face, from language barriers to immigration challenges. I feel a strong moral obligation to help my community based on my own experience. There’s no doubt that my family wouldn’t have survived if it weren’t for the kindness of people in our lives – organizations, our faith community, teachers, friends or family – and I

want to provide that for other people.

But when I became a mother, I thought for the first time, “Wow – I have this other human being that is dependent on me. I want to build a better world for her.” I started to value the importance of being intentional and deliberate of how I was going to do that in the world, professionally and personally, and I became a better professional, wife and friend because of the experience of becoming a mother.

This is why I’m so passionate about working with parents through our programs at The Concilio. At the end of the day, we want the best for our children, and I believe that if we tap into parents’ interests – doing what’s best for their children – we can have a significant impact among the Latino community and beyond.

7. What would be your advice for future generations of Latino families?

FVF: Find your strength within. There are many people I speak with through our work at The Concilio who speak about this strength and how challenging it can be to maintain, particularly for the families that immigrate to this country or don’t have a formal education. They worry about not having the ability to succeed, and it’s a feeling I can relate to. But one thing I’ve learned is to never give up, no matter what.

Finding your inner strength can open doors for everyone. There might be barriers, but you can overcome them by marching ahead and knowing that you’re not alone.

As the leader of The Concilio, I see value in each individual person we serve because we believe they bring value to their families, to local communities and to our country. We’re investing in these communities because we know the significant value they bring. This is the essence of our work, and we are proud to serve the Latino community in DFW and beyond, now and for generations ahead.


1. Briefly summarize your experience as a Latinas rising in the corporate world.

TF: Latinas face various challenges in the corporate world, such as implicit bias, lack of representation in leadership positions, and the intersectionality of being a woman and a person of color. Despite these obstacles, I have been employed by organizations that work tirelessly to be inclusive and hire diverse employees. The work is nowhere near completion. And although Latinas have shown resilience and determination, it is crucial to acknowledge and address the systemic issues that hinder Latinas' progress in the corporate world and create more equitable opportunities for them to thrive.

2. What are the main challenges you’ve faced?

TF: Unequivocally the main challenge I faced was self-doubt. While imposter syndrome is not exclusive to any particular group, I found that I was susceptible and did not begin to address it until my early 30s. It took some time to recognize and challenge negative self-talk and to “un-normalize” this mindset. First by owning and understanding the Mexican cultural norms that I grew up with, that is, humility, blind obedience and more or less downplaying success and achievements was the first step to taking back and honoring my narrative. Second, over the years I have developed an invaluable “madrina” sisterhood, a dedicated group of women who support, challenge, empower and most importantly are candid with me. And finally, and with some work I embraced my courage, resilience and recognized and appreciated the unique value I brought and incorporated my ultural identity and experiences into everything I do.


Courtesy of Theresa Flores Carlos Cuevas

3. In your current role in Mary Kay, what are your main goals? What do you want to achieve in your position?

TF: I recently left Mary Kay Inc., after 14 ½ years. It has been an honor and a privilege to work for such a respected organization, where I developed and recommended policy positions that protected the company’s direct selling, product, and global trade interests, focusing on engagement with legislators, governments, and NGOs. I was fortunate to work alongside some of the most talented and dedicated individuals in the industry, and I am proud to have been part of such a supportive and collaborative team. I left Mary Kay with a deep sense of pride and accomplishment I left Mary Kay with a deep sense of pride and accomplishment, prepared to move into the next phase of my career

4.How would you describe your leadership style?

TF: Leadership styles and skills have advantages and disadvantages, and different styles may be more effective in different situations or with different types of teams. I like to adapt my leadership style to the needs of my team and the demands of their situation. I see my approach to be between a transformational and servant leadership. And more recently I’ve added what author’s Andrés T. Tapia and Dr. Robert Rodriguez call the Unapologetic Latinos, that is those who have fully embraced their LatinX identity and chosen not to hide it, even in the most non-LatinX of environments. I embrace and lean into my Latina/Chicana identity while acknowledging and pointing out institutional realities and barriers.

5. How do you see yourself in 10 years?

TF: I have already started that journey. As I transition away from corporate advocacy, my intention is to focus on addressing, advanc-

professional interactions. Celebrate your unique perspective and be willing to share your insights with others. And, keep learning and growing. Your career is a journey, and there will always be new challenges and opportunities for growth. Stay curious, continue learning, and be open to new experiences that can help you advance in your career.

ing, and advocating for impactful solutions for a more equitable community and society. As a matter of fact, I have created a consultancy, FACT ~ Flores Advocacy Change & Transformation. I plan to raise my voice to promote social and economic change at the local, state, and national levels.

6. What advice would you give to new generations of Latinas wanting to advance in their career.

TF: Embrace your identity, being a Latina can be an asset in your career. Embrace your cultural identity and use it as a strength in your



communications experiences ranging from public relations, brand marketing to diversity, equity and inclusion. I have worked for global PR agencies representing Fortune 500 companies, served in corporate roles and worked with nonprofit organization, both domestically and internationally.

2. What are the main professional challenges you’ve faced?

SDH: I don’t think I’ve faced professional challenges that were much different from anyone else working to get ahead in their career. I’ve always seen my background as an advantage in a professional setting. The experiences and perspectives I’ve brought to the table have enabled me to work with a variety of teams, in multiple industries, across several geographies from Latin America, Europe, Canada and Australia.

3. Health-wise, you have also faced difficulty dealing with Multiple Sclerosis? How have you dealt with the health condition?

SDH: I’d always been a healthy and active person. I’d spent the first 10 years of my career traveling internationally for work. In 2014, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis after I could barely walk on my wedding day. This came after years of suffering from severe fatigue and numbness in my feet and legs, which I blamed on a demanding career. Receiving the diagnose meant grieving who I thought I was…a confident, independent, successful professional, who could do it all.

It was overwhelming and scary but with a strong support system I knew I’d be okay. I had to find my new normal, but it didn’t happen overnight. I had to give myself time to process and find the tools and resources I needed. First it was by finding a treatment that best fit my disease, and then getting back to being the active, strong and fit person I’d been before through exercise.

5. How would you describe your leadership style?

SDH: I consider myself an empathetic and collaborative leader, who leads with my heart first. I strive to be the kind of leader that brings out the best in others. I tend to be people’s biggest cheerleader. It’s what I’m most passionate about.

6. How do you see yourself in 10 years?

SDH: It’s hard to say what life will look like a decade from now. I want my family and I to be healthy and I want to continue doing what I love. Having the opportunity to be creative, empower others and help organizations define what they stand and connect with audiences in meaningful way, is how I’d like to connect moving through the world. Whether that’s in a corporate role or as successful entrepreneur, we’ll see what happens.

7. What advice would you give to new generations of Latinas wanting to advance in their career.

1. Briefly summarize your experience as a Latinas rising in the corporate world.

SDH: My family immigrated to the U.S. when I was six years old from Lima, Peru. I have straddled two worlds and cultures most of my life and have learned to become a “chameleon” of sorts—always ready to adapt to the world around me. I have 20 years of strategic

4. How do you think MS has shaped who you are in the professional environment?

SDH: Having MS makes me work even harder to prove myself. That in itself can be a challenge, as MS is triggered by stress. I have to constantly juggle my own high standards with giving myself grace. I will never give up being the very best I can be.

SDH: Don’t be afraid to speak up. Raise your hand. Volunteer for that project. You won’t regret putting yourself out there and learning something new. Don’t wait around thinking others are going to hand you an opportunity. I’ve always lived by the motto that “life is what you make of it.” I got an MS diagnosis, I dealt with it and said, “I’m going to be the best damn thing that ever happened to MS.” I was laid off and I said, “I’m going to create the community and network I need to get through this right now.” You can only control how you react to what life throws at you, so take that and run with it.

Courtesy of Sandy Diaz Haley Carlos Cuevas

HER BUSINESS card reads President & CEO, two titles married together that symbolize leadership and success. But Katherine Vega Stultz, daughter of Ecuadorian immigrants, is most proud of another title that guides the type of leader she is: Latina.

“Being Latina is my identity,” says Katherine. “I see the world through a diverse kaleidoscope because Hispanic heritage is just that—we are rich in color and dimension. I believe we become stronger and more genuine leaders when we allow ourselves and others to share their multiple dimensions.”

Growing up in New Jersey, Katherine watched her parents cultivate new roots in the US by working hard to achieve better life opportunities. She points to their sacrifice as the foundation of her educational and career success. Inspired by their unique culture and special family connection, Katherine remembers too how her family taught her to embrace the “different” early in life. Perhaps this was the catalyst of an independent streak that drove Katherine toward engineering.

“One of my high school teachers said that I should [consider] engineering because I seemed more like a problem solver,” Katherine said. “I always [excelled] in math and science, but there was absolutely no background of engineers in my family.”

Also brewing inside Katherine was a passion for healthcare. Like many young people, it wasn’t until college that all of her skills and interests came together. While studying engineering at Cornell University, her strengths took shape and a vision for her future career came into focus. Opening the door to that future was the experience of a summer internship at a biotech company. And off she raced to the possibilities that lie ahead.

Katherine’s Latinx roots, which embodied the meaning of hard work and perseverance, combined with the qualities of integrity and humility gained from her parents, were formative in propelling her growth as a person and a professional early in her career.

“The first phase [of my career] was foundational for me, as it should be in anyone’s career,” Katherine said. “I grew in my leadership and stepped out of the comfort of my US-based job to become an EU-based general manager for [Celgene, a pharmaceutical company]. I relocated my family to Madrid, and I was accountable for the Spain and Portugal markets. It was the first time I was standing truly on two feet, managing all the



decisions, which gave me the confidence to continue building.”

After over 20 years of career-building experience, Katherine began leading a company herself: Ocelot Bio. It is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of innovative therapeutics designed to significantly improve outcomes for patients with end-stage liver disease; an area of huge unmet need that has become her dayto-day focus. In other words, Ocelot evaluates its potential medications or products and collects data that will allow them to make an informed decision to take the next steps in bringing an effective and safe medicine to patients in need.

Katherine takes her leadership role seriously especially when it comes to mentoring others. “I feel it’s a tremendous responsibility when one is in a position of influence,” Katherine said. “I try to have a mentoring call with someone on my calendar at least once a week. It's important because it keeps me fresh. It reminds me of the things that I am passionate about.”

Although this is her first CEO role and her days are full, she is already starting to plant the seeds of what the next chapter could look like. For the most part, she envisions herself serving on several biotech company boards, but also wants time to connect more with people in the Latino community. “As far as the future, I see myself providing perspective [on] board type of positions,” she stated. “As I plan forward for the eventualities of a different stage in my life, I'm excited for where that can go. I have this vision, at some point, connecting my Latin roots, Spanish-language, and addressing the challenges of disparity in healthcare for many communities. So perhaps some type of foundation or nonprofit work.”

Outside of the workplace, Katherine prioritizes time with her family: her husband and children. The importance of family is a critical value to her because she grew up with her extended family always present throughout most of her childhood. “I want to replicate that for my family, I have a demanding day job, but I am always present for my loved ones.”

Alan Benítez Courtesy of Ocelot Bio Carlos Cuevas


1.Briefly summarize your experience as a Latina writer.

VA: My journey as a writer and speaker benefits from decades of experience in corporate and entrepreneurial settings, and kicked off after I burned out in my corporate career and opened my heart to explore what else life could offer that felt meaningful and purposeful.

Throughout my professional life, I worked more than 20 years in corporate across 7 countries, and I led entrepreneurial programs and incubators for +5 years. In these quite different spaces, I observed a common thread: as Latina women, we are influenced by cultural messages that impact our mindset and behaviors, holding us back from reaching our highest potential (we show excessive modesty and feel uncomfortable talking about our success stories, we accept less money for the value our work brings, and we tend to not ask for the money and resources we need to succeed, among others.)

Because of these behaviors the systemic leadership, pay, and wealth gaps for Latinas get perpetuated. To help close these gaps, I wrote my book Uncolonized Latinas: Transforming Our Mindsets and Rising Together, expanded my speaking platform, and created talent development series for organizations. The book in itself resonated so much with our Latina women that it became the catalyst for the Rising Together movement, that is going to key cities in the US bringing mindset and behavior change content.

2. What are the main challenges you’ve faced during your career?

VA: My main challenge has been to be the first one in my family to access college and corporate spaces with absolutely no roadmap on how to navigate them. I learned by observing others and by experimenting (trial and error), but rarely by asking for help. I wanted to “hide” anything that could position me as disadvantaged compared to my peers, and I wanted to demonstrate I knew what I was doing, and that was very hard. It was lonely and created too much pressure in my life.

3. With regards to your professional advancement, where do you see yourself going? What are your long-term goals?

VA: My long-term goal is to keep living a life of purpose helping my Latino community grow and advance into spaces of professional fulfillment, influence, and wealth creation.

The essence of my work is to support Latinas break through culturally influenced mindsets and behaviors that hold them back, as well as to work with non-Latino C-suite and DEI leaders to support those Latinas in their unique needs. The form of my

work will probably change over time, as the market itself faces unprecedented changes. Right now it’s writing, speaking, and creating talent development series, in the future, it will take the form that best maximizes the impact of this work.

4. How would you describe the current environment for female Latina writers wanting to position themselves?

VA: The publishing industry is ripe for disruption. Less than 5% of all authors are Latinas, while we account for 10% of the US population, and will become 15% in 2060. While the opportunity is huge, right now our voices continue to be underrepresented, and our stories continue to be untold. This can be frustrating.

Add to this that a majority of decision makers in traditional publishers are non-Latino white individuals, and we have a huge blind spot right there.

Based on my own experience, if you are a Latina author you will need to be a lot more intentional than other authors in seeking for opportunities to make your work known, and a lot more resilient to keep going no matter how many doors remain closed for you at a given time.

Know in your heart that if you keep going, you will eventually break through.

5. What experience has shaped you the most?

VA: I was deeply touched throughout the process of interviewing Latina women for my book, particularly when it came to listening to the experiences of daughter of immigrants who had no choice other than to become a voice for their parents, navigating the system for them as “translators” of the language and the culture, and being thrown into experiences where their parents – the most important authority figures in their lives – were dismissed or mistreated while they had to translate it all word by word.

It does something to you deep inside when you live these events as a little child. Listening to their experiences invited me to appreciate that behind any negative association with these past events, so many in our community developed a voice and took a leadership role at a young age. My work helps them reconnect and bring back up those powerful virtues that we so much need right now in our workspaces and communities.

6. What would be your advice for future generations of writers?

VA: The world needs to hear your story and listen to your unique insights and views. Even when doors may not be opening fast enough for us Latina, we need to keep knocking on them understanding that we are breaking through centuries of systemic crystallizations and slow change.

And when you are about to give up, look back at your ancestors and know you stand on the shoulders of GIGANTES.

Courtesy of Valeria Aloe F. Izquierdo

1. Briefly summarize your experience as a Latina working in hospitality sector:

LM: I started my career as a residential real estate broker. I was a single mom at the time with two small children. I worked extremely hard trying to make deals come together. I was called to show homes to a person out of town looking for a high-end home in my area. I showed him and his wife, and his partner and his wife beautiful high-end homes. I worked hard to find them their perfect place to live. During this period, they called and decided to no longer pursue this move. I was extremely disappointed. I knew that they had started a hotel management company as they often talked about hotels, and they were looking to buy more hotels – all of this while I was driving them in my car. Later that week, I went to their office and asked them if I could sell them a hotel and asked them if they would teach me how to make that happen. Within a relatively fleeting period of time, I brought them the opportunity to purchase the St. Anthony hotel in San Antonio, TX for nearly 50 million dollars – this transaction came together, and it was my first hotel sale. It was then that I knew that I would sell hotels. It was a life-changing experience.

2. What are the main challenges you’ve faced during your career?

LM: When I walked in to my first hotel investment conference it was a sea of white men in gray suits. I also paid an astronomical



amount of money to attend plus hotel rooms and travel. I knew that the rest of my career was going to be much more difficult than the beginning of my career as I had many uphill challenges entering a primarily male dominated field. It is also not easy to sell a hotel, there are many challenges along the way including working extremely hard to get to an agreement and then the deal falling apart. It can be emotional as you look forward to getting to the end and then that happens. This business is not just for anyone. You must keep moving forward and not become discouraged and if you are discouraged you must shift and get back in the game.

3. What are your goals for LHA from your leadership position?

LM: My goal for LHA is to share information on hotel ownership with Latinos/Hispanics nationally and to provide the education needed to get to the point of ownership. Latinos/ Hispanics are entrepreneurs – we own businesses of every kind; we are motivated and work hard. Now is the time to create a higher level of generational wealth. The numbers of Latino/Hispanics in this country has grown substantially being the Nation’s primary population contributors. We contribute more than $2.1 Trillion in buying power. The goal is to overcome the barriers of hotel ownership by promoting Hispanic ownership, creating mentorship programs, find access to capital among other efforts to make this happen.

4. With regards to your professional advancement, where do you see yourself going?

LM: My professional advancement is achieving the goals of LHA by bringing more owners to the forefront of hotel ownership. To gather continued and more support to attain this goal. I will continue professional advancement in hotel investment knowledge.

5. What experience has shaped you the most?

LM: The experiences that have shaped me most have been all the “no’s” I have received. The people that would tell me, “That is just a pie in the sky goal.” These no’s and discouragement of my goals have made me who I am today. When I look at my career as a woman, it has not been easy. There have been many obstacles, many discouragements, many failed attempts, and many commissions not paid. These obstacles and setbacks make me more determined to reach my goals and help everyone along the way to achieve their goals.

Courtesy of Latino Hotel Association Carlos Cuevas



1. What advice would you give to Latinas advancing in the corporate world?

LN: Look for opportunities to contribute in ways that align with your own values and strengths to make meaningful connections and contributions to the business. Use your voice to share your successes and express interest in advancement, learn a new skill, or take on a new role. As you grow, success may not look like the path you envisioned but be open to change! Dream big and live in the moment. I’m reminded of a quote I saw on a plaque just before experiencing my first sky dive over the Las Vegas desert. It said, “The biggest risks in life are those not taken.” In your pursuit, open your heart and your mind and have the courage to jump.

2. What does leadership mean to you?

LN: I believe good leaders are good learners. My leadership style encourages creative thinking, ownership of work, flexibility, and a fun-loving environment. At Southwest, we have a rich culture that embraces individuality, a strong work ethic, a fun-loving attitude, and a lot of heart! A quote that has been top of mind recently is “we know change isn’t permanent, but change is.” Now, I always attribute it to the rock band Rush, but it was probably coined long before it made its way into their song lyrics. For me, this quote speaks to the importance of remaining nimble, seeing things from a different perspective, and being ready to learn. When you are open, you might be pleasantly surprised with the new opportunities that come your way!

3.What are your goals within your current position at Southwest Airlines?

LN: As Director of Community Outreach, I oversee the Company’s strategic community investments, Employee volunteerism, foundation giving, and social impact initiatives. Throughout my 25-year career, I have developed strategic and innovative programming, championed multicultural initiatives, and established a broad-reaching community affairs platform. Simply put, my goal is to bring the Heart of Southwest Airlines to the diverse communities we serve by connecting people and championing communities.

4.What role do you want to play in the advancement of the next generation of Latina leaders?

LN: I believe it’s important to take a proactive role in sponsoring young professionals. While mentorship offers advice, supports professional development, and can help strategize on career opportunities, a sponsor seeks to promote someone to other leaders to help advance their career. Through meaningful connections, we all can lift others and support their career aspirations. It’s an honor for me to help develop and nurture the next generation of leaders.

5. What advice would you give your younger self?

LN: Be confident, bold, and adventurous. Take a chance on yourself and be open to opportunities that come your way- school away from home, an internship, a job in a new city or a trip to another country. There is a greater world around you waiting to be explored. Your experiences will shape thoughts and perspectives, they may even ignite a passion for purpose within you. Go. See. Do.

Laura Nieto, Director of Community Outreach, Southwest Airlines
100 LATINAS 2023


Growing up, Senior Executive Christina Kolbjornsen was instilled with two main values in life: family and education. It was her family dynamic that propelled her to be the Latina influencer she is today. Early on, she learned about the importance of giving back, helping others and influencing the next generation of leaders. She mentions how it was her upbringing that taught her about “supporting each other, being there for each other.”

From the beginning of her career to now, Kolbjornsen has always wanted to give back to the community in any way possible, whether through representation or realization. “What I enjoy the most is really being a voice and an advocate for the Latino community,” Kolbjornsen said.

Kolbjornsen views her diversity as her superpower. Her passion for change and advocacy began early on in her career. She recalls how the challenges she faced propelled her to set the framework for future generations. She always knew that being different was not always a bad thing, but rather a chance for her to be someone no one else was. She states that the challenges in her journey allowed her to see that often she was “either the first or one of the few or maybe one of the only in the room that look liked her.”

Yet throughout her journey, she always had one thing on her mind: Her diverse heritage. “I know that being at the table I get to represent our community, I get to represent all at the table and hopefully cracking some of the barriers for the next generation to come,” Kolbjornsen said.

Early on in her career, the Latina executive started off as a project manager for PricewaterhouseCoopers followed by two decades of professional consultancy in marketing and public relations, then moved on to a vice president role with Wells Fargo, before finally landing with NBC Universal Telemundo Enterprises as Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate and External Affairs. During her time with the company, she has been able to develop various partnerships and create community engagement with award winning programs such as “El Poder En Ti.”

Having a successful career would not be possible though without support of her team at Telemundo. It is their commitment and excellence that drive her to succeed.


• The Imagen Foundation, Most Influential Latino in Media

• The Hispanic Alliance for Career Advancement (HACE), top 40 Leaders “Sembrando el Futuro/Sowing the Future”

“I hire amazing talent and they deliver each and every day. Knowing I have the best talent allows me to be the leader that I am.”

One of the highlights of her career is leading Telemundo’s “Mujeres Imparables” initiative.” Mujeres Imparables highlights the stories and success of Latinas from all over the world. The motto is key, no matter where you are in life, everyone has a journey and that all starts with their story to tell. She explains that “by highlighting them and offering them tools and resources to help propel them to what’s next, we are also helping to inspire the next generation.”

For Kolbjornsen it is all about setting the path for the up and coming. Throughout her career her objective has been simple: lend a helping hand and be an advocate for those who may not have a voice. Her message is simple “I take it personally to help the next generation of those that I touch personally and professionally to help them get to their next stop in their journey.”

Lorenzo Almanza Courtesy of NBC F. Izquierdo


For this year, we have put together a list of 25 rising stars. These are Latinas who have demonstrated extraordinary drive, creativity, and talent. They represent the female leaders of the future as they keep advancing in their careers.

Keep watching them closely as they will continue to succeed and shine. Congratulations!

Naomi Adaniya Chief Data Officer Drug Enforcement Administration Olga Camargo CEO & Founder SHENIX® Margie Aguilar CEO Company Lead ISP Creative Flavia Campbell Member/Trademarks and Copyrights Practice Co-Chair Dickinson Wright Victoria Beckman Associate General CounselSecurity & Privacy Shopify
Emma Carrasco SVP of Corporate Affairs, NBCUniversal News Group NBCUniversal Gabriela Geron Director of Partnerships, Innovation, and Communications University of Miami Maritza & Maricela Huerta Co-Founders The Twins PR Cece Meadows CEO & Founder Prados Beauty Tatiana Chamorro Chief Executive Officer HITE Dallas Barbara Gomez-Aguinaga Associate Director, Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative Stanford University Michelle Linares Senior Manager Kaiser Permanente JoAnna Mendoza Executive Director Arizona Center for Economic Progress Mary Garcia Director, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Hagerty Maria Teresa Hernandez Head of Multicultural Marketplace, SVP Brand Partnerships Mirriad Amanda Lopez Global DE&I Business Partnering Adobe Elaine Montilla Chief Technology Officer Pearson









Aracely Muñoz Director, Corporate Partnerships Children's Health Christina Kolbjorsen ChristinaNBC NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises Giancarla Paredes Sr Manager, Talent Acquisition. Leader Emerging Talent and Diversity Dell Technologies Ivelisse Rodriguez Simon Managing Partner Avante Capital Partners Ivonne  Valdes  Chief Product Officer  Sorenson Luz Elena Rivers CEO Amera Solutions Fernanda Sampson-Gomez Founder & CEO Celzo
Sandra Velasquez CEO & Founder Nopalera


Tony Duran


Chief Information Officer

Prior to joining EQT, Tony ran PH6 Labs, a technology incubator he founded in 2018. Prior to that, he served as the Chief Information Officer at Rice Energy from January 2016 until November 2017. Tony also held various positions at National Oilwell Varco from May 2002 to August 2015, where he last held the role of Assistant Chief Information Officer.

Francisco Leon

California Resources Corporation

President and Chief Executive Officer

Francisco Leon was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of California Resources Corporation (CRC) in April 2023. Leon previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of CRC since August 2020. He joined CRC in 2014 during the spin-off from Occidental Petroleum as Vice President of Portfolio Management and Strategic Planning. In 2018, Leon was named Vice President of Corporate Development where he oversaw all acquisition and divestiture activities for the company.

Christopher Valdez

PureWest Energy

President and Chief Operating Officer

Chris was appointed to his current role in May 2021 after serving as President and COO of the predecessor company since october 2020. Previously, he served as President and CEO of Moddle Fork Energy Partners, a private equity backed Uinta Basin portfolio company that he co-founded.

Alexander J. Reyes


Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

Alexander J. Reyes has served in his current role since December 21, 2020. Reyes has a breadth of corporate legal and business expertise in the energy industry. He first joined CNX in 2006, and spent 14 years with the company, with responsibilities ranging from legal management of major transactions to leading the Company’s Land department.

2023 marks the 10th edition our magazine features Latinos in Energy. We have put together a list of Latinos spearheading the industry. Their footmark is incredibly relevant to the advancement of the industry, and most importantly, the inclusion of Latino talent to the corporate ranks.

Gabe Castro

TXU Energy

Vice President of Business Markets

Castro has more than 22 years of experience gained from working in multiple facets of the energy business. Additionally, he is also responsible for the strategic development and tactical implementation of customer retention and growth strategies throughout the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), as well as heading up the retail gas sales team.

Arcilia Acosta

Vistra Corp.

Board of Directors

Arcilia Acosta has served on the Board since 2020. Acosta has served as President and chief executive officer of CARCON Industries and Construction, a company specializing in commercial, institutional, and transportation construction, since 2000. Acosta is also President and controlling principal of Southwestern Testing Laboratories, a position she has held since 2003.

Pedro Pizarro

Edison International

President and Chief Executive Officer

Pizarro is president and chief executive officer of Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison (SCE). Pizarro served as president of SCE from October 2014 through May 2016, when he was elected president of Edison International. He was elected chief executive officer in October 2016. Previously, Pizarro was president of Edison Mission Energy (EME) and chaired its board of directors from 2011 until the sale of its assets to NRG Energy in April 2014.

Andrew S. Martinez

Southern California Edison

Vice President of Safety, Security and Business Resiliency

Martinez is vice president of Safety, Security and Business Resiliency at Southern California Edison (SCE), one of the largest electric utilities in the country. He is responsible for the company’s programs and activities focused on worker safety, corporate security and business resiliency, which are all key priorities for SCE. Martinez provides to safety leaders across the company the support, mentorship and quality programs needed to successfully achieve their work group safety goals.

Stephanie Zapata Moore

Vistra Corp.

Executive Vice President and General Counsel

Moore advises the company’s leadership team on legal, regulatory and corporate governance matters, in addition to overseeing the corporate secretary’s office and leading the company’s legal and compliance team. Prior to her current role, Moore served as vice president and general counsel of Luminant, a competitive power generation subsidiary of Vistra and its predecessor Energy Future Holdings.

JoAnn Chavez

DTE Energy

Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer

Chávez has responsibility for the management and strategic direction of DTE’s office of the general counsel and advises DTE’s board of directors and senior management on legal and related matters. Prior to joining DTE in 2007, Chávez served as an international tax partner for KPMG LLP with experience serving large multinational clients. Chávez is a strong advocate for young people and is the founder of the Michigan Hispanic Collaborative (MiHC).

Michael D. Montoya

Edison International

Vice President and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer

Montoya is the Vice President and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer of Edison. Prior to this, he served as the Assistant General Counsel of Southern California Edison; Manager of the Customer and Tariff section and the Resource Policy and Planning section of the law department of SCE, and he joined the SCE law department in 1992 as a staff attorney.

Antonio Fernandez


Vice President and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer

Fernández joined FirstEnergy in April 2021 after five years as chief compliance, NERC & privacy officer of Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), where he led PSEG’s ethics, compliance and privacy programs, advised senior management and the Board of Directors on the company’s compliance program. Before joining PSEG in 2016, he was global ombuds leader and executive counsel for GE Power.


Camilo Serna FirstEnergy Vice President Regulatory Affairs

Serna joined FirstEnergy in 2021. Serna most recently served as vice president of Regulatory Affairs for DTE Energy, where he developed and managed DTE Gas and DTE Electric's regulatory initiatives before the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) as well as the company's state and federal regulatory policy and strategy. Before joining DTE in 2016, Serna was vice president of Strategic Planning and Policy for Eversource Energy.

Maria Contreras-Sweet Sempra Energy Board of Directors

Contreras-Sweet served as the administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration and a member of President Obama’s cabinet. She was the founding executive chairwoman of ProAmerica Bank from 2006 to 2014. Contreras-Sweet was co-founder and managing partner of Fortius Holdings from 2003 to 2006. Prior to that, she served as the California cabinet secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency from 1999 to 2003.

David M. Velazquez Exelon Executive Vice President, Utility Operations

Velazquez is responsible for cross-utility operations across Exelon’s six local electric and natural gas companies -- Atlantic City Electric, BGE, ComEd, Delmarva Power, PECO and Pepco. Velazquez previously served as president and CEO of Pepco Holdings, (PHI), where he was responsible for the leadership and overall operational and financial performance of the business.

Art A. Garcia

American Electric Power

Board of Directors

Garcia’s qualifications to serve on the Board include his experience as a chief financial officer of a Fortune 500 transportation and supply chain management solutions company and his experience in public accounting. During his tenure at Ryder, he led the financial strategy of the company, including establishing a new business model and implementing plans to improve profitability. Garcia brings to the board strong leadership skills in addition to extensive knowledge in various areas.

Andres Conesa

Sempra Energy

Board of Directors

Andrés Conesa has been a director since February 2017. He has been the chief executive officer of Grupo Aeromexico since 2005. He was a member of the board of governors of the International Air Transport Association from 2008 until June 2018 and served as its chairman during the 2015 term. Conesa serves on Sempra's Audit and Executive committees and is chair of the Compensation and Talent Development Committee.


Senior Vice President, Audit Services Exelon Corporation

Diaz joined Exelon in 2001 and has since progressed through a variety of roles across Finance, including Accounting roles both at corporate and the operating companies and various roles as a member of the Treasury department. Since the Exelon-Constellation merger in 2012, Diaz has held several leadership positions within the finance organization, Diaz served as vice president of finance for Constellation.

Judith E. Talavera

American Electric Power

President and COO AEP Texas

Talavera is president and chief operating officer for AEP Texas, responsible for the company's operations in south and west Texas. Previously, she was director of Regulatory Services for AEP Texas since November 2008. Talavera began her career with AEP in 2000 as manager of Governmental Affairs for AEP Texas.Before joining AEP, Talavera worked in a number of legislative positions for former Texas State Sen. Mario Gallegos Jr.

Sara Martinez Tucker

American Electric Power

Board of Directors

Tucker’s qualifications to serve on the Board include her experience in governmental affairs as the Under Secretary of Education, her experience in human resources and customer service operations in the telecommunications industry and her experience as a public company director. Her leadership positions in government and education provide perspective on social responsibility and diversity.

David Diaz

Armando Pimentel

Florida Power & Light Company (FPL)/ NextEra Energy

President and Chief Executive Officer, Florida Power & Light Company

Pimentel is president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, Inc., and the largest investor-owned electric utility in the nation. He was appointed president and CEO in February 2023. Previously, Pimentel served as president and CEO of NextEra Energy Resources. Prior to joining NextEra Energy, hel was a partner at Deloitte & Touche.

Dennis Arriola


Board of Directors

Arriola served as the chief executive officer of Avangrid, Inc. from 2020 until 2022. He joined Avangrid from Sempra Energy, a publicly traded energy infrastructure company, where he served as executive vice president and group president, and chief sustainability officer. Throughout his career, Arriola has served in a broad range of leadership positions in gas and electric utilities as well as renewables.

Rafael G. Garza

Atmos Energy

Board of Directors

Garza has gained a strong understanding of global and domestic macroeconomics and capital market concepts through his more than 25 years of experience in managing and advising companies in a wide range of industries on corporate finance, investment, development and strategic matters. Garza has been a director of Atmos Energy since 2016.

Rudy Garza

CPS Energy

President and CEO

Garza is the President & Chief Executive Officer for CPS Energy, the nation’s largest municipally-owned electric and natural gas utility. Rudy has more than 25 years as a leader in the electric and natural gas utility industry and has served in both the public and private sectors over the course of his career. He is the first Hispanic leader to hold the position.

Helena Hernandez

Florida Power & Light Company (FPL)/ NextEra Energy

Vice President Smart Grid and Innovation

Hernandez has over 20 years of progressive managing experience in the energy and service industries. Talented leader with proven record of success in the areas of strategy, engineering, operations, and international business. Consistently recognized for delivering substantial value to Fortune 500 companies, improving operational efficiency and increasing profitability.

Jeff D. Martinez

Atmos Energy

President, Atmos Pipeline - Texas

Jeff Martinez was named president of Atmos Pipeline - Texas in 2020. Previously in 2018, Jeff was named vice president of customer service organization. Prior, Jeff served as vice president of operations in the Mid-Tex Division of Atmos Energy. In his 21 years with the Company, he has held positions in strategic management, engineering and operations.

Richard G. Medina

CPS Energy

EVP Energy Delivery Services

Medina is responsible for the safe, reliable and economical delivery of electrical power and natural gas to our customers. He oversees the Engineering, Planning, and Field Operation functions for Transmission, Substation and Distribution, along with System Operations, Customer Reliability and asset management programs associated with electric and natural gas delivery.

Richard Lujan

CPS Energy

Vice President, Gas Solutions

Lujan is responsible for Natural Gas delivery strategy. He oversees the design, construction and operation of our natural gas distribution and transmission systems with a strong focus on public safety, customer service, reliability and resiliency. Richard has been with CPS Energy for over 20 years and has served in a variety of positions in our energy delivery businesses including leadership roles.


Roberto Mendez


President of North America

Native Puerto Rican, team leader, and holder of vision. Duracell’s President of North America, Robert Mendez, has adopted a leadership approach that is centered on creating value and a winning culture for one of the most important companies in energy. Before Duracell, Bobby he held a number of financial roles including CFO for P&G Mexico, LA HQ Corporate Finance Associate Director, and Group Manager for Puerto Rico/Caribbean Finance.

Rick Peña


Senior Vice President, Mergers, Acquisitions and Integration

Peña leads Calpine’s merger and acquisition activities as well as the integration of acquired businesses. His accomplishments at Calpine have included negotiating acquisitions and divestitures of power plants that advanced the company’s strategic priorities of building scale in key competitive markets, as well as the acquisition of retail platforms that provide more direct channels to our power customers.

Raymond Palacios, Jr.

El Paso Electric Company

Board of Directors

Palacios has been a member of EPE’s Board since 2017. He is CEO of Bravo Chevrolet Cadillac in Las Cruces, New Mexico and Bravo Cadillac in El Paso, Texas. He previously served as Vice President of Perry Homes, based in Houston, Texas. Palacios has held various leadership positions in his industry and community. He has served on numerous dealer councils within the General Motor’s network.

Antonio Carrillo

NRG Energy

Board of Directors

Carrillo serves as Arcosa’s President and Chief Executive Officer, as well as a member of its Board of Directors. From April 2018 until November 2018, he served as the Senior Vice President and Group President of Construction, Energy, Marine, and Components of Trinity Industries, Inc. From 2012 to February 2018, Mr. Carrillo served as the Chief Executive Officer of Orbia Advance Corporation.

Patrick Apodaca

PNM Resources

Senior Vice President and General Counsel

Patrick joined the company in 2010. He is responsible for assuring the provision of high quality, efficient and effective legal services to all areas of the company. He also oversees corporate governance, human resources and environmental services.

Edward Escudero

El Paso Electric Company

Board of Directors

Escudero has been a member of EPE’s Board since 2013. He is President and CEO of High Desert Capital, LLC, a finance company that specializes in providing capital alternatives to small and mid-size companies. Previously, he served as Secretary and CFO of Petro Stopping Centers, LP.

Mauricio Gutierrez

NRG Energy

President and CEO

Mauricio joined NRG in 2004 and helped build it from a regional wholesale generation business into a national, Fortune 500 energy company. Previously he held the positions of Chief Operating Officer for five years and Executive Vice President of commercial operations overseeing all commodities trading. Mauricio has held several senior positions at energy merchant Dynegy and consulting firm DTP in Mexico City.

Liberty Power CEO

Hernandez is an Accomplished leader with a solid track record of performance in building an energy company after the implosion of Enron and subsequent layoffs. A well-respected businessman in the $300 Billion Retail Energy sector and in the Hispanic community, Hernandez founded Liberty Power in 2001.

David Hernandez


Daire is President of Liberty Power, the nation's fastest growing independently owned retail electricity supplier, and the only minority owned company of its type with a national presence. Prior to building Liberty Power, Daire served in management and leadership roles at General Electric and Nortel Networks.

Frances Vallejo

Coterra Energy Board of Directors

Vallejo joined the Coterra Board of Directors, following her tenure on the Cimarex Board of Directors which began in 2017. She is a former executive officer of ConocoPhillips, most recently serving as Vice President for Corporate Planning and Development from 2015 to 2016, after serving as Vice President and Treasurer from 2008 to 2015.

Aleida Rios

BP SVP Engineering

Aleida Rios is responsible for the development of over 2,500 engineers, and bp's global engineering centre. In this role, and as Chair of the Energy Institute’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, and via membership of The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers, she drives development of international engineering standards.

Dominguez oversees Constellation’s clean energy fleet of nuclear, wind, solar, hydroelectric and natural gas facilities in 19 states, and the nation's top competitive retail and commodities business, which provides electricity, natural gas and other energy-related products and services to two million residential, public sector and business customers nationwide, including more than three-fourths of the Fortune 100.

Andres Gluski


President and CEO

Andrés shaped AES’ culture as an inclusive, innovative workplace that empowers our people to take action toward a greener energy future. He established sustainability and corporate social responsibility goals, resulting in AES’ inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for North America and designation as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere® Institute since 2014.

Luis Castillo

Energy Royalty partners Asset Management

Chief Technology Officer

Castillo is responsible for the technological vision as well as the overall execution of the company strategy. He has an extensive history in the energy business, including working with private energy companies, investment banks, private equity firms, and private family offices providing technical analyses of energy assets both domestically and internationally.

Jeff Alvarez

Occidental Petroleum

President and General Manager - SeQuest

Jeff Alvarez is President and General ManagerSeQuest. Previously he served as Vice President of Investor Relations for Oxy. Jeff lead Oxy’s engagement with the investor community and industry analysts. This includes framing and communicating Oxy’s investment thesis, strategy, business goals, and overall financial and operational performance.



1. Briefly summarize your experience as a Latino rising in the energy sector.

FL: I was born in Mexico City and in my early teens, my family moved to Tijuana. I grew up in a border town atmosphere –I lived on the Mexico side and crossed the border to the US every day to go to school from sixth grade to college. Once I got to college, I would wake up each morning, cross the border to attend San Diego State University, stay until about mid-day and then return to Tijuana for additional afternoon sessions of classes. This discipline provided me with diverse academic exposure and opportunities, and an excellent global perspective. It was also during this time that I began my exposure to the energy industry and became interested in being part of an oil and natural gas company. I was intrigued by these products that were created by the earth thousands of years ago and have these incredible uses that enable our modern lives and contribute to the communities we live in. For example, most people associate oil with gasoline and diesel, but an oil barrel also produces jet fuel, asphalt, and many consumer products like sneakers, toys, eyewear and medicines, to name just a few.

Twenty years later, I was recently named Chief Executive Officer of California Resources Corporation (CRC), an independent energy and carbon management company committed to energy transition. I have been with CRC since 2014 and prior to being named CEO, I was the Chief Financial Officer of the company. My company serves Californians by responsibly producing ample, safe and reliable energy and actively promoting the conservation of water, habitat and energy as a responsible steward of our natural resources. CRC has some of the lowest carbon intensity production in the US, and we are focused on maximizing the value of our land, mineral and technical resources for the decarbonization of thirdparty industrial sources by developing carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects, such as Carbon TerraVault, and other emissions reducing projects such as our California Direct Air Capture (DAC) plus storage hub.

During my time in the energy industry, I have honed my areas of expertise in a multitude of disciplines, including Management, Capital Markets, Corporate Finance, Economic Evaluation, Domestic and International M&A Transactions and Strategic Planning. These skills are helping me navigate today’s energy landscape – to enhance safe and efficient energy production across our areas of operation and invest in low carbon initiatives that position CRC to lead the energy transition in California and beyond.

2. What are the main challenges you’ve faced?

FL: There have been many challenges along the way, but the most difficult was when the company filed for bankruptcy in 2020 due to a combination of low oil and gas prices, reduced demand due to COVID, and a large amount of debt from our spin-off in 2014. The bankruptcy process was particularly challenging as we had to restructure our business and eliminate a number of positions of hard-working people in California.

Courtesy of California Resources Corporation F. Izquierdo

Today the company is in great financial health, working every day to build a different kind of energy company providing the lowest carbon intensity oil and gas, helping California achieve its decarbonization goals and focusing on diversity in the workforce. Of note, CRC has a large Latino representation, with 27% of employees working oil field and corporate jobs throughout California.

3. In your new role as CEO of California Resources Corporation, what are your main goals?

FL: From a business perspective, my goals are to enhance CRC’s long-term value, deliver strong shareholder returns and maximize cash flow per share of the business. I also want to maintain our company’s high operational and safety standards that we have achieved over the years.

I am very excited about the future of CRC and look forward to working with exceptional colleagues and local business and community partners to make a positive impact where we all live and work. We already do this by having high standards for safe operations and environmental responsibility and providing great, high-quality careers for members of our communities. We are also laser focused on investing in our carbon management business to benefit the environment, working families and all parts of our society.

4. How would you describe your leadership style?

FL: I believe many qualities are needed to make an organization successful, but embracing change, having a sense of ownership and being adaptive are at the core. In the last 20 years, there have been a lot of changes in the energy industry driven by economic peaks and valleys, the energy transition in the sector, and the decarbonization of local economies. Adapting proactively to changing landscapes, behaviors and markets is not just necessary, it is the right thing to do. By extension, this requires consistent stakeholder engagement – with my senior leadership team, company employees, and external stakeholders such as our local communities, investors, shareholders and regulators. I believe it is important to understand stakeholder needs and values to align company initiatives. Finally, my leadership style comes from a core belief that people matter. To get the best investors, we have to have a superior business, and our superior business relies upon the critical decisions made each day by our employees. When you invest in your people, everyone wins.

5. What advice would you give to new generations of Latinos wanting to advance in the energy industry.

FL: The energy industry provides excellent career opportunities for Latinos and people from different backgrounds and cultures. Looking back at my own journey in the energy sector, my advice for those looking to advance in this industry is: 1.) Be passionate and motivated; having meaning and purpose in your work will help you excel 2.) Embrace learning opportunities; continuous learning plays a critical role in generating new ideas and staying on top of the industry, and 3.) Adapt to change; the energy transition is creating a new era for the industry and industrial technologies for a more sustainable, reliable and affordable energy supply.

CRC’s operations in the San Joaquin Basin, California.



Recently I had the pleasure of visiting San Francisco, my favorite city, including its surroundings. It’s of big significance because that’s the place where everything started for me regarding my passion for cigars and tobacco.

My first cigar ritual was born right there. Every day, after work I would visit Telford’s Pipe & Cigar in Strawberry, right off highway 101, buy one cigar, and walk one block towards Richardson Bay, stand in front of that magnificent view, which you can’t never get enough of, and start walking along the water’s edge until I had enjoyed half of my cigar, and then head back. That was my time, and still is the best smoking time that I ever had. This time I went back to visit my good old friends at Telford’s, we had a nice conversation as always, but I came across something special that they had, a couple of rare and vintage boxes of 1985 H. Upmann and Don Diego cigars that belonged to the private reserve of the late Dr. Martin J. Lipton, that were maintained in the Alfred Dunhill humidors in San Francisco. I did not hesitate at all and acquired both boxes! Including harvesting, curing and fermentation, we are talking about 40-year-old tobacco!

So, what is like to smoke an (EMS) English market selection vintage cigar like this? We will find out next.

Country of origin: Dominican Republic Price: In an auction this cigar may go up to $300 dollars each

Pre light cold draw: Woody

Vitola: Lonsdale

Cutter: V-Cut

Smoking Time: 120 min

Draw: Good and cold

Lighter: Matches

Smoke: Light Brow

First Third: Flavors and aromas of toasted grains, sunflower seeds, and pine nuts. The retro hale comes with aromas of mahogany. Burning starts fast but settles down after the first inch.

Second Third: Liquor, cured tobacco and dark coffee. The burning is even and picture perfect.

Final Third: This is not a complex blend, the flavors and aromas are consistently the same, some people like that, some other don’t, I also notice a different combustion process, that may be because of the rolling process that seems to be the old school accordion, that we hardly if not ever see these days. It’s known that the accordion rolling method takes considerably more time, and it is not viable from a manufacturing standpoint that aims for larger volumes. That method isolates each leaf in a tiny area along the body, it took me two long hours to finish it, and I smoked every bit of it. So, what is like to smoke a 40-year-old cigar? Well, it was like traveling in a time machine. You light up the cigar, get your first draw, close your eyes and you are seated inside your DeLorean, and in no time, you are traveling back to 1985, you park your car in front of your grandparent’s home, and walk in… Back then everything was made from wood, stone, and cotton. Remember that mahogany leather smell from the living room? Café de olla smell from the kitchen fighting its way with the corn bread in the oven? I never smoked a cigar like this before, to be honest. And yes, the aging process has a lot to do with that itself, but also the soil or terroir was different back then, also the agricultural process as well as the weather were different in the 80’s. You must be an experienced cigar smoker to really value the flavors and aromas in such a vintage cigar because you can’t find that anywhere else these days.

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Delgadillo Cellars

Cabernet Sauvignon

2006 Napa Valley.

•What a beauty! A well matured wine perhaps at its peak displaying mature bright red and black fruit notes; cherry marmalade, plum, cocoa powder and licorice. The texture is what is really remarkable: silky and yet bold, showing balance and roundness. As it opens it reveals some vanilla and toasted espresso notes. Succulent and powerful with forest spices and dark fruit character. Delicious! Made by Latino winegrowers; Ignacio Delgadillo and family.

Mi Sueño Winery

Herrera “Selección Lorena” Red Wine 2018. .

•Big and bold showing a deep ruby red color. Dark chocolate, dried cherry, and vanilla on the nose. Silky and powerful with a balanced and ripe red and black fruit background. Long finish with a spiced, peppery, and perfumed palate. Delicious, voluptuous, and succulent! Made by Latino winemaker Rolando Herrera in dedication of his wife Lorena.

Ca’n Verdura

SUPERNOVA Negre 2020

Mantonegro, Binissalem-Mallorca D.O.

• Outstanding red wine from a region and varietal I’ve never tasted before. Ample and fruit succulent, showing a subtle minerality and saltiness. Pure dark fruit, vanilla, licorice, and cassis. Medium to full bodied with some citrus hints. Really nice wine. I opened this one on a chilly evening with friends and paella at the terrace and it was superb!

Domaine Huet Le Mont Vouvray 2020.

• Pale yellow with a nice approach of white fruit, flowery notes and vanilla notes. Some citrus peel and green apple with a spiced angle. Succulent, medium bodied and some hints of green mangoes and hay. Elegant, dry and well balanced, makes it approachable for almost anything. Really nice wine to drink with sushi, white fish or a lobster salad. I really like the accented pineapple, vanilla, flowery finish.

Cantina del Pino

Barbarseco 2017.

• Takes time to open, but after some time it starts to show fantastic red fruit notes with ripe berries, spice and earthy accents. Succulent, medium to full bodied with more red fruit notes and bold character. Rich, expressive and wide in fruity notes and berries. I like to sip Barbarescos while they are still around 5 to 10 years old. They still have that vibrancy and lucid fruitiness that make them just delicious!.

Domaines Lupier

“El Terroir” 2016 Garnacha Viñas Viejas. ($45)

• Takes time to open up, but it shows bright and mellow ripe red fruit since the beginning. Veggie and earthy notes give way to plum, beet and currant notes. Medium bodied with rounded balance and succulent hints of red berries and some mineral accents. Great wine to sip while cooking or preparing dinner. A Garnacha (Grenache) from Old Vines planted in the Navarra region. .

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