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Andrea Alarcón
President, Los Angeles Board of Public Works

Commissioner Andrea Alarcón currently serves as the President of the Los Angeles Board of Public Works, the only full-time non-elected policy-making body. As the second Latina to hold this position, she serves jointly as general manager of the Department of Public Works, the city’s third largest municipal agency. The department is responsible for the construction and renovation of infrastructure ranging from design of public buildings, to graffiti removal, to the maintenance of sidewalks, and bridges. Ms. Alarcón serves as the Liaison Commissioner for the Bureau of Sanitation protecting public health. With her guidance, these essential Sanitation programs deliver a triple bottom line of economic, environmental and social benefits for the City of Los Angeles. She is an avid activist, dating back to 2001, as the Executive Director of, then, the largest transitional home for victims of domestic violence in the United States. She created the Anti-Gang Violence Initiative. Ms. Alarcón has received awards from the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Board of Education, the Latina Lawyers Bar Association, United States Congress, and the United States Department of Justice. She received a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University with a double major in American Government and Literature, with a minor in Theology. She also received a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration from Georgetown University and later earned her Juris Doctorate Degree from Loyola Law School. Ms. Alarcón’s pride, joy and greatest accomplishment is her 10 year old daughter Cheyenne. Together, they live in the San Fernando Valley.

Midy Aponte
Founder, The Sánchez Ricardo Agency

Midy Aponte is a bicultural communications expert in executing multi-faceted campaigns, coalition-building efforts and media relations for non-profit organizations, businesses and government agencies. In 2009, she founded The Sánchez Ricardo Agency, a nonpartisan communications firm in Washington, DC that provides counsel in areas of digital media and multicultural public relations. Previously, Ms. Aponte served as a Vice President at the Walker Marchant Group, a public affairs management firm where she represented Fortune 500 companies, spearheading media relations strategies. Her background includes a rich history in social justice, advocacy and youth empowerment. While at GolinHarris, a public relations firm, Ms. Aponte designed social marketing movements and authored educational curriculum for numerous state health departments on grassroots methods to educate teens on youth smoking prevention. A first generation Cuban American, Ms. Aponte’s passion is giving back to the Hispanic community. She frequently speaks before youth audiences, including the Girl Scouts’ Encuentros de Chicas Latinas and College Bound. She was recently nominated for an “Entrepreneurial Spirit Award” from the Women’s Information Network (WIN) for their 2010 Women of Achievement Awards and was featured in Hispanic Executive Magazine as a “Mover and Shaker.” Ms. Aponte is a graduate of Florida International University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications and a 2011 alumna of the National Hispana Leadership Institute. She currently lives in Washington, DC.

Lisa D. Baca-Sigala
Executive Director, CA Latino Caucus Institute

Ms. Lisa D. Baca-Sigala is a native of Los Angeles. Ms. Baca-Sigala has served as the Executive Director for the CA Latino Caucus Institute (CLCI), since its founding in 2002.  In 2008, she was elected as Chief Information Officer for the City of Los Angeles Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council for the 2008-2010 terms. Ms. Baca-Sigala is also a member of the Echo Park Chamber of Commerce, Echo Park Library Community Group and works to support community and public awareness events. Appointed by Mayor James Hahn, she served the Los Angeles City El Pueblo Monument Authority Commission from 2002-2005. She began her professional career as a Field Deputy to Senator Art Torres in the early 1980s and has worked within the Latino Community of southern California and the southwest for over 25 years.  In 1988, Ms. Baca-Sigala graduated from California State University Los Angeles with a double major Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Public Administration. She is a 1997 graduate of the National Hispana Leadership Institute. Married to Jose Sigala, she is the mother of three daughters, Gabriella 21, and 11 year-old twins, Jennifer Sonia and Jacqueline Sophia.

Gale Britton
Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion of Agency Distribution
The Prudential Insurance Company of America

Ms. Gale Britton is presently the Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion of Agency Distribution at The Prudential Insurance Company of America. In this role, she has responsibility for the development, communication and coordination of Agency Distribution’s diversity and inclusion strategy. She took on this role in June of 2011. Prior to this role, she was the Vice President, Recruiting and Selection responsible for all aspects of the hiring processes, of both new and experienced insurance sales professionals. Ms. Britton joined Prudential in 1998 as vice president in Human Resources, responsible for executive sourcing. Prior to joining Prudential, she was the Director of Employee Relations at Ogden Service Corporation. She has over twenty years of industry experience including twelve years at R.H Macy & Co., Inc. and six at Bloomingdale’s Department Stores. Ms. Britton graduated Magna Cum Laude from the State University of New York at Buffalo with a degree in Communications. An avid reader she belongs to a Book Club based in her town; is a member of the Board of Trustees for both Partners for Women and Justice and Wynona’s House.  

Ignace L. Conic, SPHR
Vice President, Diversity, Corporate Human Resources
The Prudential Insurance Company of Americ

Ms. Ignace L. Conic is vice president of Diversity. In this role, Ms. Conic manages the integration of diversity into business and human resource processes. She develops strategies, tools, and interventions to leverage diversity, ensuring this work is an integral part of business planning and implementation. Previously, Ms. Conic held a variety of positions with Prudential, including employment interviewing, college recruiting, minority outreach and human resource consulting.  She was the HR Director for the Retirement Services Business and had responsibility for HR functions in Scranton, PA, Florham Park and Newark, NJ. Before joining Prudential in 1988, Ms. Conic held the position of training director at the Paterson Adult Learning Center in Paterson, NJ.  She also served as Director of Training at Preakness Hospital in Wayne, NJ. She is involved in a variety of civic and religious organizations and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Paterson Technology Group, a non-profit that educates minorities and disadvantaged youth in technology, finance and business literacy.  Ms. Conic is a 2001 graduate of Leadership New Jersey and is an active member of the graduate organization. She has a BA degree in Psychology from Douglass College, Rutgers University, and an MS degree in Human Resource Management from Upsala College.  Ms. Conic is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management and is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resource Management (SPHR). She also holds certification in Life Skills Education through Columbia University.

Nancy De Los Santos

Ms. Nancy De Los Santos was born and raised in Chicago, the daughter of Mexican American parents who moved to the big city from Texas. This “Chicana from Chicago” grew up on the city’s south side, known for its stockyards, steel mills, and tough politics. She has enjoyed working with the written word since her 4th grade composition, “What My Mother Means To Me,” became her early springboard to working in television and film. Ms. De Los Santos received her degree in Radio, Television, and Film from the University of Texas at Austin. She holds a graduate in Communications degree from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. She is the Associate Producer on the feature films Selena starring Jennifer Lopez and Edward James Olmos, and My Family Mi Familia, starring Jimmy Smits. She’s one of the writers on this year’s Love, Loss, and What I Wore, a theatre production by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron. The play received the 2010 Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience. Ms. De Los Santos’ documentary work includes co-writer and co-producer of the award-winning documentary The Bronze Screen: 100 Years of the Latino Image in Hollywood Cinema that aired on HBO, and Lalo Guerrero: The Original Chicano, for Public Television. Lalo Guerrero won the 2007 Imagen Award for Best Documentary.

Penelope (Penny) Delgadillo
Senior Product Manager, Microsoft

Ms. Penelope (Penny) Delgadillo is a Senior Product Manager with Microsoft on the Office 365 marketing team, cloud-based email and collaboration services.  She is a six year Microsoft veteran, having held a variety of roles in product and partner strategy worldwide.  Prior to Microsoft, she worked in a variety of start-ups and has 10 plus years experience in technology and channel marketing.  Ms. Delgadillo holds a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from University of California at Los Angeles.

Sol A. Flores
Founding Executive Director, La Casa Norte

Sol A. Flores became the founding Executive Director of La Casa Norte (LCN) in 2002. The organization is a grass roots, community based organization located in Humboldt Park with a focus on helping those who are homeless or precariously housed. Since its inception 8 years ago, LCN has positively contributed to thousands of households, providing them with counseling, advocacy and supportive housing, prevention services, job training and placement. Under Ms. Flores’ leadership, LCN has become a nationally recognized organization providing critically needed services to homeless and at-risk youth and families. She won the inaugural Red Ruby Slipper Award in 2006. Given by Mayor Dailey, the award demonstrates Ms. Flores’ leadership in her efforts to support the Chicago Plan to End Homelessness. In 2008, she was awarded the Aflac Hispanic Business Person of the Year for Impact & Civic Responsibility. In 2010, Ms. Flores received an Emerging Leaders Fellowship Award from the Chicago Community Trust and also completed the National Hispana Leadership Institute Executive Training Program. She has received additional training through various institutes. Ms. Flores is currently a member of the 2011 Leadership Greater Chicago class. Prior to working with La Casa Norte, she was with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Ms. Flores was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois.

Edith González Duarte
Community Executive, United Way

Edith González Duarte was born in the state of Michoacán, Mexico. At the age of five, she and her mother moved to California. In 2009, she completed the NHLI Executive program. Ms. González Duarte received her B.A. in International Affairs: Diplomacy, Law, and Organization with minors in Latin American Studies and Spanish from the University of Nevada, Reno in December of 2010. She has studied abroad in Italy, South Korea and Chile. Upon her return from her travels and her graduation, Ms. González Duarte worked for the Perkins Company as a Legislative Lobbyist in the State of Nevada. Today, she is working for United Way as a Community Executive in Reno, Nevada. Currently, Ms. González Duarte is also enrolled and working towards her master’s degree in Political Science at the University of Nevada, Reno. She enjoys spending time with her family and traveling and hopes to receive her doctorate in Political Science and teach at the University level in the future.

Dineen E. Garcia
Vice President, Diversity Strategies
Macy’s, Inc.

Ms. Dineen Garcia is Vice President of Diversity Strategies at Macy’s, Inc responsible for diversity efforts and sustaining relationships with Latino organizations across the country. Ms. Garcia rejoined Macy’s Diversity Team after a 3 year hiatus as a stay-at-home mom to 5 year old twins. She was an accomplished attorney barred to practice in New York and Florida before State and Federal Courts. She began her career as a Prosecutor in New York’s Brooklyn Family Court, prosecuting Juveniles for Felony and Misdemeanor crimes. Ms. Garcia then transferred to the General Litigation Division of the NYC Law Department representing the City of New York in Employment Discrimination and other civil matters.  One of the highlights of her career was appearing in court before now U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Ms. Garcia also worked at Gay & Hardaway, where she represented Fortune 500 Companies in employment discrimination cases. She then moved in-house with Macy’s Law Department, responsible for legal matters arising in the Divisions Rich’s/Lazarus/Goldsmith’s, Macy’s Florida and Burdines. She also handled matters in Macy’s first and only Puerto Rico store. At 33, Ms. Garcia left the Macy’s Law Department and took the legal helm at PACO Group (Project Management Consulting Company) as their VP/General Counsel. Ms. Garcia earned her Law Degree from New York Law School in 1993 and her B.A. from C.W. Post/Long Island University in 1989, with a major in Communication Arts & Spanish.  She lives in Miami with her husband and 2 children. She has been a Board Member of Aspira of Florida, and is involved with several non-profits. Ms. Garcia is of Puerto Rican descent and a native New Yorker. 

Claudia Galvan
Vice President of Career Guidance, Society of Women Engineers

Ms. Claudia Galvan successfully led several versions of Microsoft Online Services including Hotmail, Bing and MSN in up to 48 languages and 160 plus markets, since coming to Microsoft almost 5 years ago. She is currently driving strategic Engineering Excellence initiatives focused on Acquisitions, Distributed Development and Engineering best practices. Previously, she was the Corporate Product Manager for Globalization strategy for Adobe, responsible for setting up the product’s languages and markets. Ms. Galvan moved to this position after several years of developing Globalization and Electronic Software Delivery technologies for all Adobe products. She was the National Language Support manager for the Tools Division at Oracle where she set processes to achieve simultaneous releases and driving early versions of Unicode into the Oracle Tools products. She has a Master’s degree in Program and Project Management from Golden Gate University and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Anahuac University in Mexico City. Ms. Galvan was the 2008 recipient of the Leadership award in her organization and the 2009 recipient of the Microsoft Women Empowerment award. She is currently VP of Career Guidance at the Society of Women Engineers in Silicon Valley.

Edith González Duarte
Community Executive, United Way

Ms. Edith Gonzalez Duarte received the University System of Higher Education Board of Regents’ Scholarship Award in 2008. She is a 2009 National Hispana Leadership Institute Latinas Learning to Lead alumna.  Ms. Gonzalez Duarte received her B.A. in International Affairs: Diplomacy, Law, and Organization with minors in Latin American Studies and Spanish from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2010. She has studied abroad at prestigious universities in Chile, South Korea and Italy. In Chile, she was given the opportunity to work at the Pablo Neruda foundation. Upon her return from her travels and graduation, Ms. Gonzalez Duarte worked for The Perkins Company as a Legislative Lobbyist in the State of Nevada. The Perkins Company represented over a dozen clients during the contentious 76th session of the Nevada Legislature. During the interim she consults for The Perkins Company and is also employed as Community Executive for the United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra, a non-profit.  Ms. Gonzalez Duarte has been a guest lecturer in college courses in the areas of public policy and Nevada Politics. Currently, she is also enrolled and working towards her master’s degree in political science at the University of Nevada, Reno. She hopes to earn a doctorate in political science. Ms. Gonzalez Duarte was born in the state of Michoacán, Mexico and was raised in California.

Ana Maria Gonzalez Wood, CFP, CLU, ChFC
Financial Planner, The Prudential Insurance Company of America

Ms. Ana Maria Gonzalez Wood is a Financial Planner with The Prudential Insurance Company of America’s Greater Texas Agency. She provides financial services to the affluent and professional markets for estate planning, retirement income and other needs. Ms. Gonzalez Wood joined Prudential as an agent in 1994. She has consistently qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table and served as a member of the Field Advisory Council, which develops marketing programs. She is a frequent presenter for women and minority leadership forums, including the 2009 Hispana Leadership Summit, the EWomen Network 2010 International Conference and Business Expo. She practiced as an estate attorney at Fulbright and Jaworski, LLP, where she co-authored speeches and articles for business continuation, charitable planning and post mortem estates. Ms. Gonzalez Wood was a CPA with KPMG Peat Marwick before attending law school. She earned a BBA in Accounting and Finance from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, summa cum laude and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Biddle School of Law, cum laude. She earned professional designations from the American College, the CFP from the Certified Financial Board of Standards, Inc. She is a member of the Planned Giving Council of Houston, the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning, the Society of Financial Service Professionals, and Women in Insurance and Financial Services. In addition, she is passionate about philanthropy and in lending her skills to various nonprofit organizations.  She is a member of the Junior League, and serves on the board of The Women’s Resource of Greater Houston among others. She is a member of the St. Agnes Academy Alumnae Club of Houston and is President of Saint Mary’s College Alumnae Club of Houston. Her passion is to educate people about charitable legacy giving. Ms. Gonzalez Wood resides in Houston with her husband, John, daughter, Carolina and son, William.

Eric V. Ibarra
Executive Director, Las Fotos Project

Eric V. Ibarra is a Los Angeles-based photographer. He began exploring the art of photography by documenting his family trips using his mother’s analogue camera. Now an avid traveler, Mr. Ibarra details his journeys throughout Central and South America using digital, 35mm film, and Polaroid. His favorite trips include a semester in San Jose, Costa Rica, an 8-day exploration of Guatemala, a 3-week stay at a convent in Guanajuato, Mexico, and a family trip to visit relatives in Bogota, Colombia. Mr. Ibarra’s passion for travel combined with his passion for photography and helping others led him to create Las Fotos Project, a nonprofit organization which empowers Latina youth through photography.

Chef LaLa

Chef LaLa is an accomplished chef, author, certified nutritionist, and motivational speaker. She is an entrepreneur operating a catering company, launching a line of sauces and marinades, designing house wares, and developing a bilingual lifestyle television show. She has devoted her life to her family and her son Maddox, and educating communities on how to enjoy traditional, but healthy cuisine. LaLa developed her love of food in her family’s Mexican restaurants, and attended the famous LeCordon Bleu Culinary School. She has been a guest on the Today Show, Discovery Health National Body Challenge, National Univision, and National Telemundo. LaLa’s first book “Latin Lover Lite” sold out its first printing. She has written two other books expanding on creating ethnic cuisine with less fat, and helping children grow up healthy. With interest in the obesity and diabetes, LaLa has supported multicultural health education through her work with such organizations as The American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, NBA Fit, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Para Los Niños, Step Up Network Mentoring program, Susan G. Komen Foundation, First 5 California, amongst others. LaLa has received numerous awards for community service. These include being a Joselin Institute of Health Latino Initiatives at Harvard Medical School 2011-12 honoree, American Diabetes Association 2011 Community Spirit Award, the 2008 National Association of Women Business Owners Inspiration Award, and the Macy’s Community Star Award in 2007. LaLa is making people’s lives healthier and happier, one meal at a time.

Laura Lopez Cano
Artist and Life and Business Coach

Laura Lopez Cano is a widely acclaimed artist. Her images invoke powerful manifestations of womanhood, culture and heritage. She also focuses on the reinterpretation of Latino/Hispanic Folk Art. Ms. Lopez Cano’s work has been featured in countless galleries, private exhibits and fine arts shows throughout the country. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of Texas at El Paso, and studied fashion illustration at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. Ms. Lopez Cano has taught college-level classes in the U.S. and in Mexico. She volunteers at several community organizations and has served on the board of many non-profit organizations including Multicultural Education & Counseling through the Arts, Casa Marianella and Hispanic Scholarship Consortium. Ms. Lopez Cano supports numerous charitable organizations including MANA, Hispanic Women’s Corporation, Hispanic Women Network of Texas, NHLI, among others. Recently, she was selected by Office of Governor Rick Perry Governmental Appointments to serve on a committee called Campus Distinction Designation Fine Art Criteria Committee. In 2005, Ms. Lopez Cano’s art was selected for the Center for Disease Control’s National HIV/Aids Partnership Awareness Campaign, which was unveiled at the United Nations on World Aids Day. In 2006, she graduated from several leadership training programs including National Latina Leadership Institute and Las Comadres Texas Public Policy and Candidate Training Program. Currently, she is training as a life and business coach, and has developed her own unique art coaching workshops. Her website is

Nanci Luna Jiménez
Founder, Luna Jiménez Seminars & Associate.

Ms. Nanci Luna Jiménez is recognized regionally, nationally, and internationally for her highly effective and insightful training. Her techniques combine inclusive facilitation, and dynamic speaking with groups of diverse ages, industries, and cultural backgrounds. Following her passion, Ms. Jiménez founded Luna Jiménez Seminars & Associates to deliver unique programs that aid individuals in their processes of personal transformation in order to create an equitable workplace and world. Her unique approach to diversity, inclusion and social justice creates the kind of environment necessary for people to take a fresh approach to create change in their personal lives and workplaces. Ms. Jiménez trained extensively with Cross-Cultural Communication specialist Lillian Roybal Rose and United to End Racism (UER), an international organization dedicated to the global elimination of racism. As a Certified Professional Facilitator©, she uses methodologies developed by the Institute for Cultural Affairs (ICA), which provide training in group leadership processes for sustained organizational and social change. Ms. Jiménez expertly assists organizations in realizing their visions by facilitating group consensus, planning, and implementation. In 2006, she completed the NHLI Executive Leadership Program and went to the Center for Creative Leadership in Brussels, Belgium as a NHLI Fellow. She was born in Detroit, and is of Puerto Rican and Chicana descent. Ms. Jiménez recently returned to Portland, Oregon from studying Bomba dancing and drumming in her father’s homeland of Puerto Rico. She is also writing her first book, Everyone is Good (Even YOU!): A Transformational Guide to Social Justice, due out in 2012.

Diana Mendoza
Youth Development Director, Instituto del Progreso Latino

Diana Stefany Mendoza has eight years of experience working within the private, public and nonprofit sector in Chicago, Washington, DC, and New York City. Ms. Mendoza serves as Youth Development Director at Instituto del Progreso Latino where she oversees afterschool programming for youth in the neighborhoods of Chicago. She began her nonprofit work at Vida/SIDA, where she created a health curriculum focusing on the socioeconomic and cultural barriers that exist for Latinas within the health care system. She began her policy career in 2004 as Public Policy Fellow with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in Washington, DC. Ms. Mendoza worked for U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis, and as a Policy Analyst with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund. Ms. Mendoza later joined The Ferguson Group, the largest representative of local governments, as the first Latina lobbyist within the firm. She earned a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the City University of New York Bernard M. Baruch College and was awarded the Philip J. Rutledge Capstone Award for her thesis. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in Legal Studies and Women Studies. Ms. Mendoza is an alumna of the inaugurating NHLI Advancing Latina Leaders In Nonprofit (ALL IN) Class of 2010.

Carmen Mercado
Chairwoman, NAHREP

Ms. Carmen Mercado is the President of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. Prior to her election to chair she served in numerous leadership roles on the NAHREP national board and executive committee, including vice president. Her path to these executive roles began in 2004 as co-founder of the New York City NAHREP chapter. She is a Long Island, New York-based Education & Diversity Manager with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage which is owned by NRT, LLC the nation’s largest residential Real Estate Brokerage Company. Ms. Mercado trains real estate agents and drives leadership development. She has been involved in her company’s Management Assessment Program for sales associates transitioning into managerial roles. Previously, she was a Branch Manager where she recruited agents for her office and managed daily operations. Ms. Mercado is also an active member of the Realogy Diversity and Inclusion Council. She was recently featured by Housing Wire as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in the Housing Economy. A passionate advocate for underserved homebuyers, she has helped educate local Latinos about homeownership by delivering seminars in liaison with local nonprofits. Ms. Mercado is a member of the Public Policy Committee, the Equal Opportunity and Multi-Cultural Diversity Committee and a Board Member for The National Association of Realtors.  She is a sought out speaker for many organizations such as Bloomberg on Demand, Noticias NY, New Jersey Association of Realtors, Conexion Financiera, and Housing Wire.

Beatriz Mieses-Hernandez
Development Director,
Dominican Women’s Development Center

Beatriz Mieses-Hernandez is the Development Director of the Dominican Women’s Development Center, a gender-based organization in Northern Manhattan. In the last two years, Ms. Mieses-Hernandez has developed winning proposals, bringing $3.7 million dollars in annual revenue and nearly doubling the organization’s operational budget. She has dedicated her life to ending gender discrimination and supporting the Latino community. As an Intensive Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Case Manager for Safe Horizon, Ms. Mieses-Hernandez was a liaison between crime victims and community resources. She also successfully coordinated advocacy campaigns and actively engaged hundreds of parents through the Columbia University Head Start. Ms. Mieses-Hernandez migrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic in 1995. Her first job was at a factory in Newark, NJ where she worked during the day while studying English at Essex County College at night. Ms. Mieses-Hernandez graduated magna cum laude in 2003 from York College. She received several academic recognitions for her hard work, such as the National Honor Society in Psychology (Psi Chi) award, the Academic Achievement Award in Psychology, and the York College Honor Society for the Liberal Arts. She completed her Master’s in Public Policy and Administration at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in 2008. She also completed the NHLI Executive Leadershp Program in 2010. Ms. Mieses-Hernandez has now created her own coaching and consulting service, helping individuals and organizations achieve their fullest potential.

Vanessa Montañez
Business Development Manager, JPM Chase

Ms. Vanessa Montañez has been in residential lending for the last seventeen years and has worked for major companies including Countrywide Home Loans, Wells Fargo and Bank of America.  For the last twelve years, she has been managing loan officers, sales managers, and processors. She provided classes with California Association of Realtors (CAR).  Ms. Montañez works for JPM Chase as a Business Development Manager in the Los Angeles and Orange County Areas for Multi-Cultural and Affordable Lending Division. She currently serves as a National Board Member for NAHREP (National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals) and also serves as Chair for Millennium Community Enterprise and sit on the Board of Directors. She is also a proud member of NLBWA Los Angeles Chapter, and was on the Board for Pepperdine University Hispanic Council.  Ms. Montañez believes in educating her clients in the American Dream of Home Ownership and is active with non-profits and community outreach. She was recently nominated for the 2009 and 2011 Business Woman of the year award for the National Latina Business Woman Association for her commitment to finance and insurance. She holds a bachelors degree and graduated with honors in Business Administration.  She is enrolled at Pepperdine University for her MBA. Ms. Montañez was born and raised in Los Angeles, and is a local resident to Pasadena, CA. 

Laura S. Nieto
Senior Manager of Community Affairs & Grassroots, Southwest Airlines

Ms. Laura S. Nieto serves as Senior Manager of Community Affairs & Grassroots at Southwest Airlines.  Ms. Nieto has a passion for outreach to diverse audiences, forming a powerful team of Community Affairs & Grassroots Managers.  She develops strategic relationships with various audiences including the Hispanic, African-American, Asian, Women, and GLBT communities. Their work ensures that Southwest Airlines is a trusted partner in its communities and confirms its commitment to causes that matter most to its customers. She has championed the company’s multicultural initiatives among internal workgroups and external customers. Under her leadership, the airline has been recognized as a leader and outstanding corporate citizen due to its Hispanic marketing efforts and numerous awards for Corporate Commitment, Community Outreach, and Diversity & Inclusion. Ms. Nieto actively mentors women and Latinas ensuring they have the resources to succeed within the company. She is a member of the company’s Diversity Council and an alumna of the company-wide Culture Committee, a select group of employees whose goal is to enrich the special Southwest Spirit and Culture that makes Southwest Airlines unique. She is a 2010 alumna of the National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI) Executive Leadership Program, serves on the corporate advisory board for the Texas Diversity Council, and teaches pre-school bible study at her church. A Texas native, Nieto graduated from Texas Tech University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations.  She currently resides in Dallas, Texas with her husband Ruben and 5-year old daughter, Anna Sobeida.

Lisette Nieves
Visiting Professor of Public Policy and Administration, Brooklyn College

Lisette Nieves was appointed the Belle Zeller Distinguished Visiting Professor in Public Policy at the City University of New York, and also the Social Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Blue Ridge Foundation, a leading nonprofit incubator. Most recently, Ms. Nieves served as the founding Executive Director for Year Up NY, a leading workforce and education program for disconnected young adults, where she took the site from a $250,000 seed grant to a $7 million operation in five years. Prior to that position, Ms. Nieves served as Chief of Staff at the Department of Youth and Community Development for the City of New York, Director of Grants Management and Compliance at the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, and Senior Program Officer for the Corporation for National Service. Throughout her career, she has also served as a consultant to nonprofit organizations in strategic planning, program development and management. She is the Vice-Chair of New York City’s Panel for Education Policy, a trustee of the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System, a member of the Year Up National Board, a board member for the Fund of the City of New York, and a member of the Woodrow Wilson School Advisory Council. She was the winner of a 2008 Robin Hood Hero Award and a 2011 El Diario Mujeres Destacada Award. She is a 2010 alum of the National Hispana Leadership Institute. Ms. Nieves received her M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, her B.A. in political science and philosophy from Brooklyn College, and was a Rhodes Scholar and Truman Scholar.

Alex Ornelas
Yoga Instructor

Ms. Alex Ornelas started teaching yoga July 2009, after practicing for 3 ½ years. She knew she wanted to teach yoga after her first year of practicing because she was so inspired by how the teachers motivated people to love themselves. Ms. Ornelas has found that yoga helps her become one with herself as the practice centers around breathing to move through the class. The postures are a tool to help move into stillness and once one can find peace in a difficult posture the pose can yield great benefits. Yoga helps find balance, strength and flexibility and a quiet mind. Many people find it is very helpful in relieving stress. Ms. Ornelas enjoys the feeling she gets after completing the class and enjoys the pure serenity and stillness. She practices all types of yoga, but Bikram Yoga will always be her favorite, in which she has been certified by the Bikram Yoga College of India. The hot room allows for safer stretching and the heat causes profuse sweating which aids in removal of toxins from the body. Outside of her classes, Ms. Ornelas loves movies and considers herself an avid gamer. She is also an exceptional chef which was the career she once considered before deciding to become a yoga instructor.

Jodi Perry
President, DFW Strategic Group

Jodi Perry is the President of DFW Strategic Group and an equal opportunity subject mediator with over 25 years of experience resolving business disputes, family conflicts, community complaints, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), workplace and housing charges of discrimination, multi-party mediations and police complaints. After 30 years as a public servant, Ms. Perry retired and created a business group offering risk mitigation services for companies and organizations in the areas of EEO law, human relations and resource policies, investigations and training. She is a political consultant who coaches candidates and numerous Latina mentees. Ms. Perry is the founder of the Texas LULAC Commission for Women, Tejano Democrats of North Texas and editor of Fort Worth’s first bilingual newspaper. Ms. Perry also helped found the Hispanic Women’s Network of North Texas. She continues to offer free mediation training to high school and college students in her dream of helping foster ethical and influential Latino leaders. Ms. Perry is a former bilingual teacher, a 2010 NHLI alum and a Harvard’s JFK School of Government Executive Education graduate. Holding such high positions as the first Latina Assistant to the City Manager, she was also inducted into the City of Fort Worth’s Hall of Fame by the Commission for Women for her volunteer work. Ms. Perry was nationally recognized as Texas LULAC Woman of the Year and received congressional recognition for her advocacy and professional civil rights work.

Dulce Quintero
Director of Operations, La Casa Norte

Ms. Dulce Quintero is a Mexican-born daughter of migrant farm workers whom reside in Chicago. Ms. Quintero is the Director of Operations and Manager of the Homeless Youth Drop-in Program at La Casa Norte, a community- based organization located in Chicago, whose mission is to serve youth and families who are confronting homelessness. She has been a service provider and advocate for homeless/street-based clients, specifically youth of the Lesbian, Gay, and Transgender communities of Chicago. Ms. Quintero’s recent accomplishments include the development and implementation of the Solid Ground Supportive housing project, which is nationally recognized and award-winning program. Her innovative leadership fosters LGBTQ inclusion policies and anti-violence practice to meet the needs of youth accessing services at La Casa Norte.  Ms. Quintero has been at the forefront of the LGBTQ movement and is currently a board member of Orgullo en Accion, which hosts Chicago’s first and only Latino LGBTQ Pride event taking place annually.  She holds Bachelor’s in Psychology and Spanish from University of California Davis and is a trainer in Harm Reduction practice, organizational development, and trauma informed youth work. In 2009, Ms. Quintero was selected and completed a non-profit leadership academy with The Center for Leadership Innovation.

Cynthia Ruiz
Deputy Executive Director of External Relations, Port of Los Angeles

Ms. Cynthia Ruiz serves as Deputy Executive Director of External Relations for the Port of Los Angeles.  She provides external relations support to Port senior management and the Harbor Commissioners regarding legislative policy, communications and economic opportunities that require Port and City of Los Angeles collaboration. Previously, Ms., Ruiz was President of the City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works, ensuring that the Department delivered projects on time and on budget.  The five-member board is the City’s only full-time policymaking board, tasked with overseeing the activities of the City’s third-largest municipal agency and its employees.  Ms. Ruiz also served on the City’s Emergency Operations Board and was the lead Commissioner for the City’s Bureau of Sanitation. She served on the LA-32 Neighborhood Council. Ms. Ruiz is also credited with founding, and currently chairing Keep Los Angeles Beautiful (KLAB), a local affiliate of Keep America Beautiful.  She was the recipient of the Keep America Beautiful 2007 “Recognition Award” and the 2008 President’s Circle Award. Prior to working for the City of Los Angeles, Ms. Ruiz worked as a rehabilitation counselor, and a mediator for the State of California Rehabilitation Bureau. She has extensive business experience overseeing the budget at the Board of Public Works. She is a graduate of California State University, Los Angeles, where she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Counseling.

Marisa Schor
Zumba Instructor

Native from Argentina, Ms. Marisa Schor has always been enthusiastic about exercise. She relocated to Israel as a little girl with her family.  After fulfilling her duty in the Israeli Air Force, she moved to San Francisco to begin her higher education, completing a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism Management. Before long, she got involved with the SPINNING® program as a certified instructor. Ms. Schor moved to Los Angeles and completed her Master’s in Business with emphasis in Nonprofit Administration. She soon began training in Salsa, Cha Cha Cha, Merengue, Samba, and Bachata. After being introduced to ZUMBA® during a seminar, she knew she wanted to teach, and got licensed about 2 years ago. It is the perfect combination of Latin dance and fitness, in a party-like atmosphere. She belongs to the Zumba Instructors’ Network, participates in the annual Zumba Instructor’s Convention and continues to find resources to expand her fitness and health education. She knows four languages and is passionate about the diverse cultures that Zumba brings together. She feels blessed to be helping people get into great shape, all while having a blast. She is certified as a Group Exercise Instructor from the American Fitness and Aerobics Association (AFAA), and in CPR/AED from the American Heart Association. Ms. Schor can be seen in the “Exhilarate” ZUMBA Fitness® DVD series, released in April 2011.


Darlene Slaughter
Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Fannie Mae.

Darlene R. Slaughter is Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for Fannie Mae. She is responsible for developing and supporting a diverse and inclusive workforce that integrates employees’ talents, perspectives, and experiences. Darlene leads the development, implementation, management, monitoring, and evaluation of corporate policies and programs as they relate to diversity and inclusion at the company. She also ensures awareness of diversity and inclusion concepts and their integration across the organization through employee resource groups and supplier diversity initiatives, by educating and partnering with our lenders, and by continuing to build the company’s diversity learning strategy.
During her 15-year career at Fannie Mae, Darlene has served in other HR roles, including HR Talent Team Manager and Senior Trainer. Prior to her tenure at Fannie Mae, she worked at AT&T communications in several roles, including process manager and quality consultant.
Darlene received a Master of Science in Human Resource Management/Organizational Development from American University and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Howard University.

Vicki S. Smith
Senior manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, Nissan North America, Inc.

Ms. Vicki Smith is Senior Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility at Nissan North America, where she is responsible for assuring that Nissan achieves steps its commitment to become a sustainable and socially responsible company. She collaborates with environmental teams in the company, interacts with interdisciplinary teams on CSR initiatives, represents Nissan externally and manages relationships with external partners. She serves as the executive director of the Nissan Foundation. In her 25 year career with Nissan, she has been responsible for corporate communications on behalf of its U.S. Manufacturing operations and Southeast Region. In 2005, she completed a three-year Foreign Service assignment at Nissan’s global headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. For the past four years, she has served as executive speechwriter for global executives, including Nissan’s CEO. Prior to joining Nissan, Ms. Smith worked at Dye, Van Mol, Lawrence & Ericson Public Relations in Nashville, Tennessee, as head of the copywriting department. Ms. Smith serves as the chairman of the board of the American Red Cross in Williamson County and as co-chair of the Steering Committee for Leadership Brentwood.  She is a member of the Nashville Symphony Council and serves on the Executive Committee of the Nashville Business Breakfast.  She is an alumna of the Leadership Brentwood Class of 2010, has a bachelor’s degree in English from David Lipscomb University in Nashville, and a master’s in Business Administration from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Bea Olvera Stotzer
CEO, New Capital

Ms. Beatriz Olvera Stotzer is CEO of NEWCapital, LLC, a real estate development firm in Los Angeles.  Ms. Stotzer’s passion is finding economic solutions for poverty’s worst victims, women and children. Ms. Stotzer is one of the founders, and current Board President, of New Economics for Women (NEW), a Los Angeles non-profit agency for housing and economic development. NEW has been recognized as one of 10 exceptional community development corporations in the nation by the Fannie Mae Foundation; the only Latina organization to be so recognized. NEW also won the Fannie Mae Maxwell Award of Excellence under the Most Successful Public/Private Partnership category, and the Charles E. Edson National Award in the Urban/Metro category from the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition.  In 2000, Fannie Mae named Stotzer one of six national James A. Johnson Community Fellows for providing decent, affordable housing in urban neighborhoods. Ms. Stotzer currently serves as Chair of the Commission for the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, Chair of National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders, and is Vice Chair on the Board of the Women’s Policy Inc. She was a recipient of the 2006 Leading Boldly Award in recognition of her work on behalf of families. Ms. Stotzer is a founding board member of Inner City Arts, California Women’s Law Center and HOPE (Hispanas Organized for Political Equality). She serves on the Southern California Goodwill Industries Board and had the honor of serving on President Bill Clinton’s Council on Sustainable Development. Ms. Stotzer is a graduate of the prestigious CORO Public Affairs Leadership Program and was awarded the coveted Crystal Eagle for her contributions to the community and the “impact she has made to the public good.” She holds a master’s degree Political Science from California State University of Northridge and is a graduate of the Harvard University Senior Executive Program.  Ms. Stotzer also graduated from the National Hispana Leadership Institute fellowship in 1998. She currently resides in Sherman Oaks with her husband Samuel and has two sons.

Eileen Torres
President, Eileen Torres Productions

Eileen Torres is president of Eileen Torres Productions, which educates through entertainment. Her specialties are multimedia presentations, keynote speeches and dance instruction. She regularly teaches and creates programs for diverse audiences for The Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institution and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. In 1998, Ms. Torres decided to build a business based upon her passion for salsa, and obtained such prominent clients as National Geographic Society, Starbucks Coffee Company, and the Washington Nationals. In 1978, she joined The National Chicano Dance Theater in Denver, Colorado. In 1985, Ms. Torres founded and choreographed for the group, Salseros Unlimited. She has served as ethnic dance instructor at the Duke Ellington School for the Arts, and choreographed for LPG (Latin Performing Group). Ms. Torres received the First Annual Jose Ruiz Lifetime Achievement Award for promoting salsa, thus fostering understanding of Latino culture. She was a recipient of the Anna Maria Arias Memorial Business Fund Award, the Andy Award for her work at the World Salsa Congress in Puerto Rico, and in 2010 the Somos Award. Ms. Torres received an Associate Producer credit for the salsa short film MANO and is currently producing REPRESENT, the feature follow up to MANO. She has worked with the National Council of La Raza, Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR), the Smithsonian Latino Center, and Latino Sports Venture. She is a 1991 alum of National Hispana Leadership Institute and has advised the National Hispanic Corporate Council. Ms. Torres programs weekly Latino entertainment at Artisphere in Arlington, Virginia. Her articles have been published in such magazines as Latina Style, Latin Beat, and LATIN VIBES.

Assemblywoman Norma Torres
California State Assembly

Assemblywoman Norma Torres is serving her second term in the California State Assembly, and because of her leadership skills she was selected as the chair of the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development. Assemblywoman Torres is also the chair of the Select Committee on 911 Services. Her priorities include solving the budget problem, stopping foreclosures and stabilizing our housing market. Torres was a bilingual 911 dispatcher for more than 18 years, inspiring her to organize a grassroots coalition, hiring bilingual operators for every work shift, and was an instructor for the Los Angeles Police Department. She was elected to Pomona’s City Council and went on to serve as Mayor of the City of Pomona. She passed the state’s first ordinance preventing convicted sex offenders from living near Pomona’s schools, businesses or together in large group homes. In November 2008, Ms. Torres was elected to the State Assembly and represents the 61st District. As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development, Torres has authored legislation to build affordable housing, put unemployed construction workers back to work, improve housing for veterans and conditions in mobile home parks. She will continue her work as Chair to identify opportunities to leverage California’s limited resources to reduce homelessness, create a permanent source of funding for the construction of affordable housing. She believes in protecting public safety by introducing tough laws against sex offenders and providing 911 dispatchers with tools so they can give callers the best service. Assemblywoman Torres lives in Pomona with her husband Louis and their sons Robert and Matthew. Her son Christopher is currently serving on active duty in the United States Air Force.

Elizabeth Torres
Macy’s Presenter

Ms. Elizabeth Torres is a wardrobe stylist based in Hollywood where she is quickly becoming one of the most recognized names in fashion. Some of her clients include national networks such as Telemundo and Univision. Born into a family of creative artists, Ms. Torres learned her love for fashion from her mother, a small town dressmaker and sewing professor. Today, she is the lead stylist for television shows such as mun2, Reventon, and Lanzate on Univision. She has styled household names like Yarel Ramos, Crash Barrera, Stephanie Bradford, and Gretta Monahan. Among being a stylist on morning news style segments on FOX, KTLA and Univision Ms. Torres has also styled personalities for red carpet events like the Latin Billboard Awards and the Daytime Emmy Awards. In addition, she collaborates on fashion events like the NewPort Film Festival, Billabong Design for Humanity, Latina Style Business Series, Sketchers, Guess and many other charity events. Along with these commercial projects, Ms. Torres can be seen doing on camera and radio fashion segments.

Nora E. Vargas
Vice President of Community Engagement, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest

Ms. Nora E. Vargas is a dynamic leader with broad experience in non-profit management, government and politics. Ms. Vargas serves as Vice President of Community Engagement for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, responsible for the implementation of plans for the Agency’s Community Engagement Department. Ms. Vargas was the founding director of the City of Los Angeles Office of Immigrant Rights advocating policy concerns for immigrants and refugees.  She served as an aide to U. S. Representative Bob Filner of San Diego, was a Schedule “C” Presidential Appointee to the United States Selective Service in the Clinton administration and has directed successful campaigns at all levels. She was a member of the Clinton-Gore re-election campaign team in 1996. Committed to community service, Ms. Vargas currently serves on the boards of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE), the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) and MANA de San Diego, and as a Commissioner for the City of Chula Vista, Resource Conservation Commission. Ms. Vargas received her B.A. in Politics from the University of San Francisco and completed graduate work in Public Administration and Latin American Studies at San Diego State University and Women’s Studies at Claremont Graduate University. Fluent in Spanish and English, Ms. Vargas is a sought-after speaker around the nation. She received the “Women Who Make a Difference” Award from State Senator Joe Dunn, the John F. Kennedy, Jr. Award for Outstanding Public Service from the California Democratic Party, and San Diego Metropolitan’s 10th Annual 40 Under 40 Awards.  A native of the San Diego-Tijuana Border Region, she is happy to call it her home.

Ani Victoriano
Manager of Financial Services, The Prudential Insurance Company of America

Ms. Ani Victoriano began her career at Prudential 13 years ago as an agent. She has been a manager for the past 6 years. As a Manager of Financial Services, she is responsible for recruiting and developing Financial Professional Associates. Ms. Victoriano is a Board Member of Special Olympics and belongs to Women in Financial Services. She lives and works in beautiful Coral Gables, Florida.