National Hispana Leadership Institute - Celebrating 20 Years of Latina Leadership Search
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NHLI Latina Empowerment Conferences

State Farm Insurance Companies

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Thanks to the
Latina Empowerment Conference's Sponsors

Denver, Colorado

Friday, June 4, 2010 | 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Grand Hyatt Denver, 1750 Welton Street, Denver, CO 80202-3999.

Cost per person
(Now – May 28)
$40 (May 29 – Onsite)

Individuals register here

(Group Rate)
for 4 registrations

Groups register here

Both rates include breakfast and lunch

Space is limited. Register today and help us spread the word to other leaders like you.

AARP is the co-sponsor of the Denver Latina Empowerment Conference. 


8:00 am Registration & Networking Breakfast
9:00 Welcome Remarks from Sponsors
9:20 Overview of Latinas in the US and NHLI
9:50 Seven Demands of Leadership (Gallup Org.)
11:15 Break
11:30 Practical Genius
12:45 pm Lunch & Panel –
Latinas Sharing their Secrets of Success

Concurrent Workshops

Managing Your Money and Building Wealth by State Farm Insurance Companies
Recession Proofing Your Finances by AARP

3:45 Closing Remarks
4:00 Event Ends

Speakers & Presenters

Zulma X. Barrios, Senior Advisor, Gallup University
Toti Cadavid, Founder, Xcelente Marketing and Public Relations
Luella Chavez D’Angelo, President, Western Union Foundation
Olga Garcia (NHLI 00 Executive Leadership Program graduate) Diversity Manager, Human Resources, MillerCoors  
Maria Guajardo, Ph.D., (NHLI 90 Executive Leadership Program graduate), Mayor's Office for Education and Children, City and County of Denver
Blanca Kerschen, Agent, State Farm Insurance Companies
Cristina López
, President, National Hispana Leadership Institute
Gina Rudan, President, Genuine Insights
Julie C. Rodriguez (NHLI 10 Executive Leadership Program fellow) Director of Development at Colorado State University-Pueblo
Veronica Schlagel, Agent, State Farm Insurance Companies

Zulma Barrios Zulma X. Barrios is a native of El Salvador. She is the Senior Advisor for Gallup University whose efforts are dedicated towards a better understanding of Multiculturalism as it relates to Insurance Companies and community-based non-profit organizations. Zulma worked in the International insurance arena for 27 years, earning many awards of excellence. Sheholds the distinction of being the first woman General Manager for the Mutual of Omaha Companies. She is a certified Registered Health Underwriter. In January 1994, Zulma was recruited by the Gallup Organization. As Vice President of Women and Diversity Leadership for Gallup University, she helped individuals develop their leadership talents for the benefit of their companies, organizations, and communities. In 2005, her role with the Office of the Governor of the State of Nebraska was to assist in the development of Latino leadership. She sits on several national boards, and was instrumental in the creation of the National African-American Women’s Leadership Institute and the Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute.
Toti Cadavid

Toti Cadavid, a native of Colombia and founder of Xcelente Marketing and Public Relations, is a communications strategist with far-reaching experience in both domestic and international arenas.  Toti has extensive expertise in marketing, public relations, and market expansion into U.S. Hispanic markets.  Through the initiation, development, and execution of many in-depth projects, Toti has proven herself as a leader in multicultural communications with extensive expertise in the design and implementation of fully integrated statewide, national, and global marketing and public relations efforts as well as in multicultural and Hispanic marketing trainings.
At Xcelente, Toti works closely with her clients and her agency’s team in the development and deployment of innovative, Hispanic-focused communication strategies.  These strategies incorporate social, ethnic, and cultural nuances into all marketing, branding, public relations, community outreach, public information, and advertising initiatives, resulting in increased consumer response and awareness of the client’s products and services amongst targeted Latino groups.  Toti also manages the agency’s creative team in the production and implementation of client campaigns while ensuring that ongoing strategies are aligned with and successfully support client business objectives.  Her leadership and guidance have provided clients such as Starz Encore Group, Cox Communications, FasTracks, City of Commerce City, CDOT, Charter Communications, First Data Corporation, Metropolitan State College, Solera National Bank, The Denver Preschool Program, Elitch Gardens and others, with ways to effectively communicate with and market their products and services to Hispanic consumers. 

Since moving to the U.S. in 1990, Toti has held leadership positions in a number of local and national community and civic organizations including the Junior League of Denver, the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, Hispanics in Technology and Telecommunications Association, the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Mi Casa Resource Center for Women, the Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau, the Denver Metro Convention and Visitor’s Bureau’s Multicultural Tourism Task Force, the Minority Advisory Council of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, the advisory board for the Leadership for Community Change project, the Leadership Council of Escuela de Guadalupe, and the Community College of Denver Foundation.  In addition, Toti was appointed by Mayor Hickenlooper to his Denver Early Childhood Council and to his Latino Commission. 

Toti currently sits on the boards of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, the Colorado Health Foundation, and Junior Achievement.  Toti was recognized in 2005 as one of the nation’s Top Latina Business Entrepreneurs by Hispanic Magazine, as one of the 11 finalists for the Colorado Rockies Adult Leadership Award, and byThe Denver Business Journal as one of the “Top Forty Under 40” business leaders in Colorado.  In 2006, Toti received the Businesswoman of the Year award by the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and her business, Xcelente, received the Minority Small Business Champion Award by the Small Business Administration.  The Girl Scouts Mile Hi Council also recognized Toti as a Woman of Distinction in 2007.

Toti holds a bachelor’s degree in International Business, masters’ degrees in Marketing and Management, and a Certificate in Entrepreneurship, all from the University of Colorado.  In addition, Toti is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government Executive Management Program, the 2004 Leadership Program of the Rockies, the 2005 Leadership Denver program, the 2005 National Hispana Leadership Institute, and the 2005 Dartmouth University Tuck Minority Business Executive Program.

Toti, her husband Luis Colón, and their children live in Lone Tree, Colorado.

Luella Chavez D'Angelo

Luella Chavez D’Angelo was hired in December of 2000 to serve as the inaugural director of the First Data Western Union Foundation.  Today, Luella is the President of the Western Union Foundation, a global leader in money transfer services, offering the ability to send money to more than 379,000 Western Union Agent locations in over 200 countries and territories. In collaboration with Western Union employees, clients and Western Union Agents, the Foundation partners with non-profit organizations through its signature program, Our World, Our Family®, which facilitates global economic opportunities by helping Diaspora families stay connected, overcome barriers and realize their dreams. By harnessing the company’s vast global network and resources, the Foundation places special emphasis on creating pathways to opportunities, supporting education and cultural inclusion for migrants and their families, creating pathways to greater economic opportunities for migrant entrepreneurs and fostering hope in the developing world by creating a new dialogue on global remittance policy.

Before joining the Foundation, Mrs. D’Angelo was the Director of Marketing for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  During her six-year tenure at the Museum, Mrs. D’Angelo was responsible for managing the advertising, promotions, market research, government relations, media relations, community relations and corporate sponsorship departments of the museum.  During her tenure, her efforts resulted in one of the museum’s highest annual attendance.  Previously, Mrs. D’Angelo was the Director of Marketing for the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. 

Subsequent to working in the museum field, she was Vice President of Institutional Development for the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center.  In this capacity, she was responsible for marketing, government and alumni relations for the University of  New Mexico School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Nursing, as well as the University of New Mexico Hospital and Children’s Hospital of New Mexico.

Mrs. D’Angelo holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing Management and a master’s in Business Administration, with an emphasis on Finance, from the University of New Mexico. She was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  She is a businesswoman who is a role model for balancing work and family.  She is married, has 3 children, and has lived in Denver, Colorado since 1995.

Maria Guajardo Olga Garcia, (NHLI 00 Executive Leadership Program graduate) Diversity Manager, Human Resources, MillerCoors
Maria Guajardo

Maria Guajardo, Ph.D., (NHLI 90 Executive Leadership Program graduate) is the executive director of the Mayor’s Office for Education and Children in Denver, Colorado.  Her leadership initiated and launched the Denver Preschool Program, the nationally recognized 5 By 5 Project, after-school programs citywide and summits on Multiple Pathways to Graduation. She oversees operations from Head Start to providing high school students an even start to postsecondary education. 

A licensed child psychologist, in 2005 she received a congressional commendation for her contributions to Latino education. In 2008 she co-chaired the Democratic National Convention Committee’s Education Initiative and in 2010 launched Denver’s Youth Agenda.

She serves as a board member to The Children’s Hospital and The Denver Foundation. She also serves as a trustee to the University of Denver.  Maria was inducted into the prestigious Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 2010. A daughter of migrant parents, she currently has a son enrolled in Denver Public Schools. María is an author, a mother, a community volunteer, and a national speaker.

Gina Amaro Rudan

Blanca Kerschen was born in Medellín, Columbia. She is the ninth of ten children.  She graduated from high school at Our Lady of Providence Catholic School and from college at EAFIT University in Medellín, Columbia. After college she worked as the manager of an insurance sales office, supervising 27 sales associates, giving them technical and commercial support, and motivated them to achieve sales goals.

She then worked as a salesperson in the office of Alonso Mejia and Company where she achieved several personal and professional goals. To gain experience in another field of business, she accepted a position as operations manager of a chain of fast food restaurants in Columbia. She was in charge of 357 employees that she trained in customer service and quality control.

In 1997 she moved to Fort Collins, Colorado where she studied English at Colorado State University.  She began her State Farm career in 2007 as a staff member for a State Farm agent building his book of business in the Hispanic market. She went on to open her own State Farm agency in July of 2009, by opening a new market agency.  In her first nine months as an agent, her agency has grown to 820 active policies and in her fourth month she joined State Farm’s “Century Club” by writing more than 100 policies in one month. This year, her agency has ranked #1 in total auto policies sold in Colorado and 15th in the Great Western Zone.

Blanca puts all her energy into a sale and also into giving excellent service to customers who have put their trust in State Farm and her.

Julie C. Rodriguez

Julie C. Rodriguez, Director of Development at Colorado State University-Pueblo has expertise in fundraising and non-profit management. In her role at CSU-Pueblo, she is responsible for planning, implementing and administering capital, comprehensive, and mini-campaigns for the University as well as managing the private scholarship awarding and solicitation process.

 Prior to CSU-Pueblo, Julie worked as a contractor for the Xcel Energy Foundation where she assisted with grant making and foundation operations.  In 2007-2008 she served as the director of public programs for the 2008 Democratic National Convention where she was responsible for program development and outreach for the DNC.  As a fundraising, marketing and events management professional, Julie has worked for the City of Denver where she developed and managed city-wide cultural initiatives including One Book, One Denver and Doors Open Denver.  She has served as director of annual giving at Colorado School of Mines, director of development at Mile High Montessori Early Learning Centers and assistant director of student activities at Metropolitan State College of Denver.

Additionally, Julie has served on numerous community and non-profit boards, is a founding board member of the Latina Chamber and 2003 participant and current board chairwoman of the Circle of Latina Leadership. Julie was appointed by Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper in 2005 to serve on the Denver Public Library Commission.  She is a recipient of the 2008 Forty Under 40 Award by the Denver Business Journal and received the Outstanding Alumni Award from Metropolitan State College of Denver in 2007.

Julie is currently a 2010 National Hispana Leadership Institute Fellow.
Gina Amaro Rudan

Gina Amaro Rudan is a high-impact speaker, trainer and strategist with a passion to inspire genius. Gina recently left her corporate cocoon to blossom as an entrepreneur and as a result of moving from vision to venture was recently awarded the 2009 March of Dimes Woman Living to the Fullest Award.

Gina has held executive positions at Fortune 500 companies including Avon Products and PR Newswire, where she responsible for spearheading multicultural and international marketing efforts. A native New Yorker, Gina graduated with a bachelor's degree in English Literature from Binghamton University and is a National Urban Fellow holding a Master's degree in Public Administration from Baruch College in New York City.

She has been a guest lecturer and keynote a speaker for numerous organizations including: Booz Allen Hamilton, BET, Fannie Mae, InterPublic Group, Merck, The Stern School of Business at New York University, and for the Endeavor Organization. Gina is a founding board member of the Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership, a women's leadership academy in New York. 

Veronica Schlagel

Veronica Schlagel has been an agent for State Farm Insurance for 10 years in Commerce City, Colo.  She and her office staff are bilingual.

Veronica was born in Loveland, Colo., but both of her parents are from Mexico and her first language was Spanish. She graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in International Trade and Relations with an emphasis on Latin America.  She was the first person in her family to attend and graduate from college.

Veronica is very involved in the community and is a member of Commerce City Business & Professional Association, highly involved with Community Enterprise in Commerce City and involved with Junior Achievement. She is a member, Eucharistic Minister and lector at St. John the Baptist Church in Johnstown, Colo.

Veronica became a State Farm Agent to help and educate the Latino community on the need for insurance and how the finance industry works.  She states that growing up she witnessed how people in the finance industry would take advantage of her parents due to their lack of English comprehension. She believes that everyone should be treated fairly and equally.  

Meeting with clients to discuss their needs and dreams and helping them reach their goals is what she enjoys most.

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