National Hispana Leadership Institute - Celebrating 20 Years of Latina Leadership Search
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2010 ELP fellows during California and Harvard weeks.

Executive Leadership Program

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Meet the 2011 Fellows

NHLI is proud to announce the 2011 class of the Executive Leadership Program Fellows who will start their nine-month leadership journey next February in San Juan Bautista.

Congratulations to the new class!


Alma Anguiano

Alma Lorena Anguiano, Walnut Creek, CA
HR Director, McDonald's USA LLC, Walnut Creek, CA

Alma Lorena Anguiano is Director of Human Resources for McDonald’s USA. McDonald’s is one of the leading global food service retailers with more than 30,000 local restaurants. Alma represents the Pacific Sierra Region in Northern California where she is responsible for orchestrating clear alignment between people and national business strategies. She serves as an HR Business leader for Regional Franchisees and is responsible for the development and execution of Talent Management.

Since beginning her career as a crew member in 1992, Alma worked her way through different functions and levels of the company. Her most recent role was that of Human Resources Manager for McDonald’s West Division. As an integral member of the Division’s leadership team, she assisted and contributed to the alignment and integration of division wide people strategies.

Alma currently co-chairs the McDonald’s National Hispanic Employee Business Network. She is a coach and mentor to many McDonald’s employees. She is credited with helping re-energize the Hispanic Career Development program designed to enable Hispanic employees to enhance their strengths, learn new skills and understand the actions needed to advance their careers. Alma has also taken a leadership role with the McDonald’s Hispanic Education Initiative where she helps facilitate and present college education workshops at high schools across the country. The bilingual college workshops feature presentations by college experts designed to provide Hispanic students and parents with essential information to engage, excite, and motivate them to consider college a viable option.

Alma was born in Mexico and is the oldest of six siblings. She is the first of her family to graduate from college. Alma received her Bachelor degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and a certification in Human Resources Studies from Cornell University. Alma balances her workload by reading, hiking and spending time with family.

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Midy Aponte

Midy Aponte, Washington, DC
President/CEO, The Sanchez Ricardo Agency, Washington, DC

As a bicultural communications strategist with 12 years in the industry, Midy Aponte is a sought-after expert in conceptualizing and 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 expert counsel in the areas of digital media and multicultural public relations.

Prior to founding Sánchez Ricardo, Midy served as a Vice President at the Walker Marchant Group, a public affairs and issues management firm in Washington. Here she represented Fortune 500 companies and multinational corporations, spearheading media relations and issues management strategies.

Midy’s background includes a rich history in social justice, advocacy and youth empowerment. While at GolinHarris, an international public relations firm and member of Interpublic Group, Midy designed social marketing movements and authored educational curriculum for nearly a dozen state health departments on grassroots methods to educate and mobilize teens to become activists for youth smoking prevention. This included collaborating with the American Legacy Foundation, creators of the national truth® campaign and adult cessation program, Become An Ex™.

A first generation Cuban American, Midy’s passion remains giving back to the Hispanic community. She frequently speaks before youth audiences, including the Girl Scouts’ Encuentros de Chicas Latinas and College Bound, an academic mentoring program in the District of Columbia. Midy 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.” Midy is a graduate of Florida International University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications and lives in Washington, DC.

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America Baez

America Baez, Chicago, IL
Talent Acquisition and Diversity Consultant, Chicago, IL

America Baez is a recognized leader in multicultural Talent Acquisition, Human Resources and Project Management. She has enhanced the diversity footprint for several Fortune 500 leading organizations, including Accenture, Comcast, PepsiAmericas, U.S. Cellular, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois and others.

America has held numerous board positions including National Director and Chicago Chapter President at the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA). Last year, she was recognized with the prestigious NSHMBA 2010 Brillante Award for Member Services Excellence for her dedication and contributions to raising NSHMBA’s national profile. America's efforts led to strengthening corporate relations, developing best-in-class organizational governance, improving the educational pipeline and increasing Hispanic representation on corporate boards. In addition, she has also provided strategic leadership and vision to educational, professional and community organizations including the Roosevelt University’s Heller College of Business Administration, National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR), and El Instituto del Progreso Latino (National Council of La Raza (NCLR) 2009 Affiliate of the Year).

America is a passionate advocate for education, professional development and career advancement. She leverages her social capital and extensive network for the advancement of diverse groups. Her work has been featured in theChicago Tribune, Chicago Examiner, Café Media, and Hispanic MBA Magazine.

America received a B.S. in Business and Information Systems from Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas (Mexico) and an MBA in International Trade from Texas A&M International University. She also holds a Certification of Director Professionalism from the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD). Currently residing in Chicago, America enjoys traveling, running and as a personal accomplishment, completed a half-marathon.

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Bella A. Castillo

Bella A. Castillo, Villa Park, CA
President and CEO, American Leadership Academy Inc., La Mirada, CA

Bella Castillo, MBA, is co-founder and CEO of the American Leadership Academy (ALA), a 501(c)(3) private nonprofit that prepares low-income high school students for college. Bella’s business leadership skills and passion for higher education resulted in the creation of a unique college readiness model that is premised on the development of 21st century education skills. Bella’s ALA model has enabled more than 200 young leaders to live their dream and pursue postsecondary education at prestigious universities throughout the nation. Many of these students are now first generation college students whose immigrant experience mirror her own.

Bella has achieved distinction within her community for her commitment to advancing educational opportunities for youth. Consequently, Bella has been awarded Certificates of Recognition from United States Senator Dianne Feinstein, US Senator Barbara Boxer, US Congressional Member Lucille Roybal-Allard, California State Senator Gil Cedillo, California State Assembly Speaker John Perez, L.A. City Council Member Jose Huizar, and L.A. Unified School Board President Monica Garcia. Furthermore, Bella was bestowed the St. John Bosco Spirit Award by the Salesian Boys and Girls Club for her inspirational leadership to our youth. She continues her commitment to our youth and Latina empowerment through her involvement with Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE).

Bella and her mother emigrated from Guatemala and settled in Los Angeles, California. Bella was the first in her family to attend college. She holds a baccalaureate degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California and a Master's degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University. During her graduate education, Bella was the recipient of the David Lizarrga Fellowship Award, National Hispanic Scholarship and the National Association of Hispanic Business Fellowship Award.

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Ruth Noemí Colón

Ruth Noemí Colón, White Plains, NY
Acting Secretary of State, New York State Department of State, New York, NY

Ruth Noemí Colón is Acting Secretary of State, having been appointed by Governor David Paterson on Sept. 1, 2010. Ruth joined the Department of State in 2007 and has served in a number of positions within the agency, most recently as Special Counsel, where she advised Secretary of State Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez on strategic planning and a wide range of policy and legal issues.

During her tenure at DOS, Ruth has supervised the Administrative Law Judge Unit, and now as Acting Secretary of State will serve as the final arbitrator of decisions pertaining to licensing disputes involving the agency’s thousands of licensees. She has managed the agency appointment processes, in which she identified vacancies and candidates for all boards and commissions, including the NYS Real Estate Board, the Committee on Open Government and the Amistad Commission. She has also served as Executive Director of the New York State Athletic Commission and Director of Public Affairs.

Ruth has more than 20 years experience working in government on policy and communications issues. Prior to joining the Department of State, Ruth served as the Deputy Director for Communications at the New York City Housing Authority and acted as a liaison to the New York City Mayor’s Office on issues concerning the Latino community. She has also served in a number of senior positions within the Puerto Rican government and has been admitted to practice law in New York, Connecticut and Washington, D.C.

A resident of White Plains, Ruth is a member of the Westchester Women’s Bar Association and serves on the board of the Puerto Rican Bar Association. In 2008 she was named one of 50 Outstanding Latinas in New York by El Diario-La Prensa — the city’s largest and oldest Spanish-language newspaper.

Ruth is a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico and the Pace Law School,

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Judy Davidds-Wright

Judy Davidds-Wright, Anaheim, CA
Director of Community Partnerships, GreenDot Public Schools, Los Angeles, CA

Judy Davidds-Wright serves as Director of Community Partnerships for Green Dot Public Charter Schools, a nonprofit renowned for leading the charge to transform public education in Los Angeles and beyond so that all children receive the education they need to be successful in college, leadership, and life. Judy has single-handedly created strategic partnerships to bring Green Dot its first comprehensive school-linked wellness center, a seven million dollar project that will serve more than two thousand students, their families and the community of Watts. Judy’s determination to secure sustainable support programs for Green Dot’s students and families resulted in her developing the “Vision for College” program that provides free vision exams and glasses to low-income, uninsured students; and “Animo Parents” a 9-month program that educates, engages and empowers parents to be more proactive in their children’s education.

Judy’s life experiences and 20 year career in the public and private sectors have uniquely prepared her for serving and representing those who most need her advocacy and passion. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) and is a graduate of HOPE’s 2002 Leadership Institute. She is also a former Board Director of the National Latina Business Women’s Association.

Judy earned her B.S. degree in Criminal Justice from California State University Los Angeles and is a graduate of the Protocol School of Washington, where she was certified as a Corporate Etiquette and International Protocol Consultant. Judy resides in Anaheim Hills with her husband and two young daughters.

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Georgina Fabian

Georgina Fabian, Chicago, IL
President, The International Business Law Group, LLC, Chicago, IL

Georgina Fabian is the President and Founding Member of The International Business Law Group, LLC (, an international full-service law firm. Georgina has counseled Mexican and U.S. not-for-profits and governmental entities in international matters and participated in several community mediations as a volunteer mediator. She also actively participates in national and international associations involving alternative dispute resolution. Georgina is well known for creating long-term sustainable solutions while leading complex commercial cases and transactions amid cross-cultural dynamics, especially those involving the Hispanic community.

Georgina’s experience practicing law at large law-firms in several United States jurisdictions and in Mexico gives her a unique cross-cultural awareness, business judgment, and procedural perspective that eases communication barriers and promotes cultural understanding between individuals, not-for-profits and governmental entities throughout the world. She has worked in litigation and arbitration for firms including Mayer Brown, LLP, Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP, and Basham, Ringe Y Correra, S.C.

Georgina regularly publishes articles on international dispute resolution topics. She also frequently participates as a speaker in continuing legal education and industry forums on dispute resolution for both English and Spanish speaking audiences.

Georgina received her JD from Escuela Libre de Derecho in Mexico City, Mexico and her Master of Comparative Jurisprudence (LLM equivalent) from New York University. She was born in Mexico, where she has been authorized to practice law since 1995. She is also admitted to practice in New York State, Illinois, as well as in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

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Claudia Granados

Claudia P. Granados, Newark, NJ
Senior Advisor, City of Newark, Mayor Cory A. Booker, Newark, NJ

Claudia P. Granados is a Senior Advisor for the City of Newark in Mayor Cory A. Booker’s office and is responsible for setting city labor public policy, bargaining city contracts for public sector employees and building relationships with local, state and national labor unions. She was instrumental in making the City of Newark the state’s first municipality to pass legislation requiring City Government contractors to pay their employees a living wage.

Prior to joining the Mayor’s staff in 2007, Claudia served several posts in various roles of the Service Employees International Union( S.E.I.U) , including Interim Executive Director of the N.J. State Council, Deputy Political Director for Local 32BJ, and Political Operations Manager for the S.E.I.U, in Washington, D.C. She played a key role in re-organizing the Outreach Department of the S.E.I.U., 1199 Benefit Fund in New York, where she was responsible for developing and implementing systems to better service the 400 thousand working and retired health care industry workers, as well as coordinating staff development and training.

Claudia began her career in politics with the California Democratic Party’s California Coordinated Campaign, Victory 2000 & 2002, where she held the position of Campaign Comptroller—the youngest person to have such charge. She moved to be Finance Deputy Director where she was responsible for big donor and State Party convention duties. She has since played a key role in many political campaigns, such as serving as the Deputy Campaign Manager for Los Angeles Councilmember Mike Feuer’s bid for City Attorney and Generalist Campaign Coordinator for L.A.’s Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Mayoral Bid.

Claudia is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. She was selected as a Fellow to represent the U.S. in the National Democratic Institute’s Latin America & the Caribbean Program in Washington, D.C. Originally from El Salvador, her family immigrated to San Jose, California due to the Civil War. Raised in San Jose, she currently resides in Newark, New Jersey.

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Lucia Jennings

Lucia Moraes Jennings, Atlanta, GA
Demand Planning Manager, The Coca-Cola Company, Atlanta, GA

Lucia Jennings has been working for The Coca-Cola Company for almost 18 years where she held a variety of positions including her most current position of Demand Planning Manager for Sparkling beverages with Coca-Cola North America. Prior to her current role, Lucia was a Demand Planning Manager for Evian, Senior Buyer with the Atlanta Beverage Base Plant, and Purchasing Coordinator with Flavor Ingredient Supply.

Lucia is a native of Brazil and during her 30 years of residence in Atlanta, she has been extremely active in the Brazilian American community. In 1987, in an effort to promote Brazilian culture in Atlanta as well as bring together an increasingly large Brazilian immigrant community, she founded the Brazilian American Society. Also in pursuit of these goals, from 1987 through 1996 she promoted events such as Carnaval parties, Brazilian holidays and special events. In 1996, she founded the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce. She has been on the board of directors of this organization and also has served as President, Secretary and Treasurer. She is currently the President.

Lucia has been featured in several publications, radio and television shows as a leader of the Brazilian community in Atlanta. Her advice has shaped the way small Brazilian businesses do business in Georgia. In 2005, she launched the Brazil-Georgia Business Resource Book to guide Brazilian-American Companies to do business. Under Lucia’s leadership, the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia grew to become one of the most active bi-national chambers in Atlanta. She has been instrumental in bringing to Georgia foreign dignitaries from the former president of Brazil, Honorable Fernando Henrique Cardoso, to Brazilian Ambassadors to the United States and Brazilian Ministers to speak at the Chamber’s events.

In 2007, Atlanta Magazine named Lucia as one of the “World Class Fifty-Five of the Most Influential Foreign-Born Atlantans.”

Lucia holds a Master of Business Administration from Oglethorpe University.

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Denise Jovanovich

Denise Jovanovich, Lincoln, NE
Assistant Zone Marketing Manager, State Farm®, Lincoln, NE

Denise Jovanovich, CPCU ChFC, has been an Assistant Zone Marketing Manager for State Farm® Insurance Companies since August 2008. In this position, she has developed marketing activity reporting to evaluate marketing program effectiveness, complete correlation analysis, and generate marketing impact analysis. Her work has been leveraged to further differentiate marketing programs offered to the field.

Denise started her State Farm® career at State Farm®’s Corporate Headquarters in Marketing as a Marketing Database Analyst in 2001 and has continued in progress. In 2003, she became a Marketing Analyst working with Life Event Marketing and Marketing to Women. In 2005, she assumed an analyst role in Corporate Human Resources in the Enterprise Recruiting & Retention division supporting Enterprise initiatives around diversity and inclusion and employee recruiting. In 2006, Denise was selected for a Zone Marketing Analyst role in State Farm®’s Charlottesville Operation Center in Virginia, where she worked on various marketing and strategic growth initiatives.

Denise graduated from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, IL, with a Bachelors in Agriculture and earned a Master's in Business Administration from Illinois State University. She completed the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter designation (CPCU) in 2007 and the Chartered Financial Consultant designation (ChFC) in 2008. She is currently pursuing her Chartered Life Underwriter designation as a means to continue to grow in her professional role.

Denise has a passion for running and martial arts. She and her husband, Brad Jovanovich, are actively involved with their children Alec, Elyse, and Kyla.

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Patricia Lally

Patricia Lally, Seattle, WA
Assistant U.S. Attorney, Dept. of Justice, Seattle, WA

Patricia (Carrasco) Lally is an Assistant United States Attorney in Seattle, Washington, where she prosecutes federal crimes. Before joining the U.S. Attorney's Office, Patricia was an associate at the national law firm of Perkins Coie, where she participated in a number of complex civil litigation cases.

Patricia is currently President of the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington where she has served as a director since 2007. A mentor to both Seattle University and the University of Washington law school students, in 2011, Patricia will begin her term as President of the bar association's Scholarship Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising funds for law school students.

In 2009, she was appointed to the Washington State Minority and Justice Commission where she served until December 2010. Patricia has been a long-serving member of the UW School of Law Ambassador Club, a group committed to the recruitment of students of color.

Patricia received her Bachelors from California State University, Long Beach, and for over ten years, practiced as a Certified Public Accountant in California and Washington. In 1995, she entered the University of Washington, School of Law, and earned her law degree in 1998. While in law school, she won a Perkins Coie Fellowship, earned a seat on the Moot Court Honor Board and won several Moot Court competitions.

Patricia was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and is the fourth child of Mexican-American parents who themselves never had the advantage of higher education. As the first generation to attend college, Patricia understands that education is the "great equalizer." Passionate about education, she is committed to programs and efforts designed to confront the Latino high school drop-out rate and to ensure that Latino youth receive the best educational opportunities.

In her spare time, Patricia enjoys photography, tennis and cooking for family and friends. A novice runner, Patricia completed the 2010 New York City 26.2 Mile Marathon crossing five bridges and five boroughs. Patricia is blessed with two grown children, their wonderful spouses and two grandchildren.

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Madeline LaSalle

Madeline LaSalle, Arlington, VA
Minority Achievement Coordinator, Arlington Public Schools, Arlington, VA

Madeline La Salle, LCSW, is the Minority Achievement Coordinator and HILT Counselor at Gunston Middle School in Arlington Public Schools (APS) in VA. In this role, she is responsible for the academic, social and emotional wellbeing of minority children. Her ultimate goal is to eliminate the achievement gap and to facilitate transitions for newly arrived students to the United States. Madeline is a member of APS system’s Council for Cultural Competence and provides trainings to teachers and other staff on the impact of race on academic success and the need to create culturally responsive classrooms for students in order for them to thrive.

Prior to moving to Arlington County, Madeline worked as the Director for Social Services at Boriken Health Center of the East Harlem Council for Human Services. She was responsible for the oversight of the clinic’s social service programs which included a citywide Asthma Initiative, the HIV/AIDS department, the OB/GYN health program and the geriatric services program.

Madeline’s contributions to her community include being the co-founder of Latinas Leading Tomorrow (LLT), a mentoring and leadership after-school program for Latina students ages 11 to 18. LLT began as a local Arlington, VA program, but has now expanded into the Northern Virginia area and the state of Texas with 13 school chapters. Madeline is the national manager for this program and finds that empowering young Latinas is her passion. Every year, Madeline is responsible for the organization of the Annual Latina Power Conference, a setting for young Latinas to explore opportunities and engage in meaningful conversations about their future. Due to overwhelming success of LLT, she recently began a Latino Boys program with the focus on leadership skills development and gang prevention.

Madeline received her Bachelor of Arts and Master's of Social Work from Hunter College in New York City. She is a bilingual/bicultural Clinical Social Worker and diversity trainer. She enjoys everything multicultural and is an ardent advocate for her Latino community.

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Nidia Malone

Nidia (Fernandez) Malone, Collegeville, PA
Product Source Management Manager, Merck & Co., Inc., West Point, PA

Nidia (Fernandez) Malone is Product Source Management Manager for Merck & Co., Inc. — a global healthcare leader focused on prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, consumer care and animal health products. Nidia has over 20 years of experience in diverse areas of the pharmaceutical industry including supply chain, quality, process development of vaccines and pharmaceuticals and cancer research.

Nidia is dedicated to developing future leaders and contributing to her community. She co-leads the Merck Hispanic Employee Resource Group (MHO). In this role, she has focused on restructuring the program to provide Latinos at Merck a greater platform for development through mentorship and training at all levels of the corporation. In her spare time, Nidia volunteers teaching English as a second language, mentoring high school students for SAT preparation and tutoring middle school students in their science and math studies. Nidia previously chaired the Merck Mentoring Program, which provides mentorship to minority students in middle school and teaches them to give back to the community. She is also a telementor and supports high school students in their projects.

Nidia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Rosemont College and a Master's of Business Administration from Eastern University in Pennsylvania. She lives in Pennsylvania and enjoys spending time with her husband, Christopher Malone, her family and her dogs. Nidia also enjoys reading, gardening, and physical activities such as walking, running, skiing, traveling, hiking, snorkeling, and horseback riding.

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Christine Marquez-Hudson

Christine Marquez-Hudson, Denver, CO,
CEO, Mi Casa Resource Center, Denver, CO

Christine Marquez-Hudson is currently the CEO/Executive Director of Mi Casa Resource Center in Denver, Colorado. As CEO, Christine has been responsible for doubling the 34-year-old organization’s budget and participation rates in just 2 ½ years. Upon joining the organization in 2008, Christine led a comprehensive strategic planning process that made Mi Casa a Colorado leader in sector-focused job training, business development for Latino-owned businesses and career- and business-infused youth/family development programs. Today, Mi Casa enjoys regular media attention, a diverse funding base and excellent participant outcomes.

Previously, Christine served as Director of Consulting and Capacity Building at JVA Consulting, the largest consulting firm specializing in the nonprofit sector in the Rocky Mountain Region. Working with hundreds of Colorado organizations as a consultant, trainer and facilitator, Christine specialized in organizational development, strategic planning, governance issues and resource development. Christine’s career additionally includes working for three foundations as a program officer, researcher and capacity builder. She is also a past-chair of the Board of Trustees at Escuela de Guadalupe where her son is in fifth grade.

Christine was selected by the Colorado-based Bonfils-Stanton Foundation as a 2009 Livingston Fellow, providing funding for her leadership development over the next two years. Christine is also Secretary for the Denver Latino Commission, a member of the Colorado Nonprofit Association’s Nonprofit Advisory Committee and a member of the Hispanic Chamber Public Policy Committee. She received her Masters of Nonprofit Management from Regis University, where she was also a Colorado Trust Fellow and her Bachelors, cum laude, in Political Science from UCLA. Christine is fully bilingual in Spanish and English and lived in Costa Rica for many years working as a teacher.

She is married to Andrew Hudson, a prominent PR Consultant and owner of the website, Andrew Hudson’s Jobs List. They have a 10-year-old son, Pascal, and a one-year-old daughter, Julia Nicole.

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Roymi Membiela

Roymi V. Membiela, Coral Gables, FL
Corporate VP Marketing & Public Relations, Baptist Health South Florida, Coral Gables, FL

Roymi V. Membiela is the Corporate Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for Baptist Health South Florida, the largest not-for-profit healthcare organization in its region. She is responsible for the strategic implementation of integrated marketing communications for the organization, internally and externally, as well as the immersion of the organization in digital marketing, leading all other healthcare organizations in South Florida in this field.

Her career path includes 17 years of success as a senior executive of Knight Ridder's The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, two national award-winning newspapers. While at the Herald, she was responsible for multiple advertising, marketing and new business development initiatives. Roymi also managed the newspaper's business expansion to Latin America and the conceptualization of one of the nation’s leading Spanish language publications – El Nuevo Herald.

Born in Cuba and of Spanish-Lebanese ancestry, Roymi is a passionate advocate for ethnic, cultural and lifestyle diversity. She serves on the Board of Directors of several community organizations, including the Health Foundation of South Florida; Community Habilitation Center; and the Miami-Dade County Hispanic Affairs Advisory Board. Roymi is the past Chair of the City of Miami Beach's Community Relations Board, and past Vice Chair of the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority.

She is a recipient of several awards including the 2010 Hispanic Women of Distinction Award and has received recognition from the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as a Corporate Hispanic Business Advocate and by VISTA Magazine’s 1997 VISTA Achievement Award for Hispanic Women.

Roymi earned a Master of Science in Leadership from Nova Southeastern University in 2009, and a Bachelor of Professional Studies - Marketing degree from Barry University in 1986, and was inducted in the school’s Alumni Hall of Fame in 1995. She holds an active State of Florida Real Estate Sales License, and is accredited as a Certified County Court Mediator by the State of Florida Supreme Court.

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Olivia Mendoza

Olivia Mendoza, Lakewood, CO
Executive Director, Colorado Latino Forum, Denver, CO

Olivia Mendoza is the Executive Director of the Colorado Latino Forum. The Colorado Latino Forum serves to increase the political, social, educational and economic strength of Latinas and Latinos in Colorado. In her work, Olivia strives to provide opportunities for Latino/as to run for elected or appointed office as well as to work in partnership with elected officials regarding policy issues that impact the Latino community. Colorado is currently ranked ninth in the country for the number of eligible voters who are Latino, and the opportunity to unify the voice of the community is critical. Olivia’s experiences growing up as an immigrant daughter laid the foundation for her belief that the voice of Latinos is crucial to the public policy debates in our country.

Prior to her current work, Olivia spent thirteen years in the nonprofit sector to advance the educational opportunities for young Latinos y Latinas, including serving as the Development Director at the Latin American Educational Foundation.

Committed to social change, Olivia also mentors young women, through her volunteer work with Florence Crittenton Services, a school for teen mothers, and through a one-on-one mentoring relationship. She hopes to pass on the strong belief that education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty.

Olivia holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Drake University, and a Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Colorado, Denver. She currently resides in the Denver metro area with her husband and two children.

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Esmeralda Mora

Esmeralda T. Mora, Pasadena, CA
LA Urban Teacher Residency Field Director, Center For Collaborative Education, Los Angeles, CA

Esmeralda T. Mora currently serves as Field Director for Los Angeles Urban Teacher Residency Program, an innovative teacher preparation program that offers a year-long practicum residency to aspiring teachers. Under the partnership of CSULA and the Center for Collaborative Education, Esmeralda supports LAUTR’s aspiring teachers to view themselves as agents of change while they learn to merge theory and practice.

Seeing education as the only effective tool to break the cycle of poverty and provide opportunity to underserved children, Esmeralda has dedicated her life to eradicate disadvantageous teaching practices for children of color. To her, the education gap is the social justice cause of our generation.

Esmeralda has been a Literacy and Leadership Partner at UCLA, Center X; Teaching and Learning Specialist at Los Angeles Educational Partnership; Program Quality-Review Coach at the Achievement Council in Los Angeles; Regional Program Manager of Leadership and Outreach, Migrant Education, for the San Joaquin County Office of Education; and a high school teacher and advisor. She was a foreign language appointee for Task Force 2000 and a certified at risk specialist at the National At Risk Youth Conference. A member of the National Teachers and California Teachers Associations, she has been a contributor to Para Todos Magazine.

Esmeralda comes from humble beginnings. She is a child of farm workers and understands the struggles and challenges that her community faces. She received a Spanish language teaching credential from Chapman University and a Bachelor's in English Literature/Communications from California State University, Bakersfield.

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Maria Luisa Ramos

Maria Luisa Ramos, Phoenix, AZ
Director, American Dream Academy, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ

Maria Luisa Ramos is the Director of the American Dream Academy, a program developed by the Center for Community Development and Civil Rights at Arizona State University. Founded in 2005 by internationally recognized civil rights leader, Raul Yzaguirre, the Center for Community Development and Civil Rights builds bridges between the university and the community as catalysts for transformation. The American Dream Academy partners with underserved schools and districts to train parents to become advocates of their children by promoting education. Maria Luisa is responsible for the start up, management, administration, marketing, and communities relations of the academic program.

Maria Luisa has held administrative positions in both business enterprises and nonprofit organizations and is an active member of her community. Previously, she worked as a Project Administrator for Shimizu America Corporation, supporting projects in United States and Latin America. In Phoenix, she worked with individuals and their families at Valle del Sol as part of the nationally recognized Tiempo de Oro program, which provides community-based, culturally appropriate prevention and treatment services for Latinos, ages 65 and older, with mental health needs. Maria Luisa is a veteran of the United States Army with an honorable discharge.

Maria Luisa was recognized in 2009 as one of the top12 Latino Leaders in the United States by Miller Coors and as one of the 40 under 40 leaders in Arizona by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Maria Luisa is a bilingual community development professional with nonprofit experience and is a graduate of the Hispanic Leadership Institute. She holds a Bachelor's of Science in Liberal Arts from the University of the State of New York, a Master of Business Administration and Masters of Science in Leadership.

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Lissette Resto

Lissette Resto, Staten Island, NY
Director of Professional Development and Training, Episcopal Social Services, New York, NY

Lissette Resto, LCSW, is the Director of Training and Professional Development at Episcopal Social Services (ESS) in NYC. Since 1831, ESS has served New York City’s most vulnerable residents annually through a broad range of programs in human services, including foster care and adoption, family preservation, early childhood education, after-school programs and group homes for developmentally disabled adults. ESS serves over 5,000 New Yorkers each year.

In her current role, Lissette manages agency-wide training initiatives, analyzes performance trends, galvanizes resources and establishes strategic partnerships to advance the culture of learning at ESS. Through her leadership, Lissette is helping to change the agency culture to one where collaborative relationships among a diverse community of learners blossom, promising practices are shared, excellence is promoted and there is investment in professional development.

Lissette has over 15 years of professional experience and expertise in nonprofit management, program development and training. She is also passionate about advancing and strengthening the Latina community. She is the founding Executive Director of Hermanas SOL (Supporting Opportunities for Latinas), an intergenerational network that empowered Latinas to achieve personal and professional growth within a culturally relevant framework. Prior to joining ESS, Lissette was actively involved in championing the movement of afterschool education, ensuring the well being of inner city youth through quality services and professionalizing a field of practice known as Youth Development. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of The Red Hook Initiative, a grassroots organization in Brooklyn committed to creating change from within.

Lissette earned her Bachelor of Arts from Adelphi University and her Master's of Social Work from Hunter College and is a New York State Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Lissette is the proud mother of two adolescent girls.

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Aida Schaefer

Aida H. Schaefer, Inver Grove Heights, MN
Senior Finance Manager, Best Buy Co Inc, Richfield, MN

Aida Higuerey Schaefer, CFA, is a Senior Finance Manager for Best Buy Co., a Fortune 500 company and the leading retailer of consumer electronics. Combining her strengths with those of her business partners, Aida is entrusted to provide financial and strategic advice to the Human Resources organization at a company with over 160,000 employees worldwide. She adds value through data-driven decision-making and the infusion of financial acumen into decision-making processes, and by constructively challenging the status quo. She is also actively involved in the finance recruiting team, spearheading MBA recruiting efforts with the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (“NSHMBA”).

Aida is a critical-thinking, analytical and business savvy financial strategist with 14 year of hands-on progressive experience in finance. Prior to Best Buy, she held various roles in treasury and financial planning & analysis at Northwest Airlines. Her responsibilities encompassed budgeting, forecasting, asset finance, revolving credit facilities, tax-exempt bond financings, compliance, due diligence, insurance, corporate risk management and cultivation of global relationships with bankers, brokers and insurance underwriters. She is an empowering results-oriented team leader recognized for achieving value added outcomes.

Aida is also active in her community. She volunteers on the board of a local nonprofit, DARTS, serving the needs of seniors to keep them active and connected to their communities. She previously served on NSHMBA’s local chapter board. In 2010, Aida was honored by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota with its “20 On The Rise Award.”

Aida earned a Master's of Business Administration from Yale and a Bachelors from Tufts University with a major in International Relations and a minor in French, which included a year at l’Institut d’Études Politiques (Sciences Pos) in Paris, France. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and their three amazing, rambunctious, joyful children.

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Lourdes Tinajero

Lourdes Tinajero, Washington, DC
Program Manager and Analyst, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC

Lourdes Tinajero serves as a Program Manager and Analyst at the U.S. Government Printing Office, a legislative branch agency of the Federal government. Her primary duties focus on the design, development, and management of program initiatives including one which provides leadership and management development training.

Prior to her current position, Lourdes served as the Director of Legislative Policy and Government Relations for the Cuban American National Council. She also designed and led numerous partnership development initiatives while serving as the Manager of the Minority and Women Supplier Development Program at Coors Brewing Company, Executive Director of the New Mexico Minority Supplier Development Council, Special Assistant to the President of the Community College of Denver, Special Assistant to the Branch Chief of Partnerships at the U.S. Census Bureau, and Special Assistant at the U.S. Department of Energy. She has also served as a consultant to the Smithsonian Institution, Harvard University, AARP, Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility, National Council of La Raza, National Hispanic Corporate Council and Jewish Family and Children’s Service.

Lourdes is the author of various publications concerning education, science, the arts and culture, philanthropy and coalition building. She is also the recipient of several recognitions including Executive Director of the Year Award and Council of the Year Award (National Minority Supplier Development Council); Program of the Year Award (Dallas-Fort Worth Federal Executive Board); Hispanic Employment Program Manager of the Year Award (HEPM Council); Rising Star Award (Colorado Alliance of Business); and Certificates of Appreciation from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy and City of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Lourdes has a Master of Public Administration degree from the Pennsylvania State University where she served as a Public Service Fellow. She is a graduate of the Presidential Management Fellowship Program.

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Ana M. Valdez

Ana M. Valdez, Arlington, VA
Executive Director, Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility, Washington, DC

Ana M. Valdez currently serves as the executive director of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR), a coalition of some of the largest and most influential national Hispanic organizations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Ana comes to HACR with nearly 20 years of corporate experience, as well as a track record of engagement, achievement and success with numerous not-for-profits, grassroots and community-based organizations.

Prior to joining the HACR team, Ana led teams and initiatives in the areas of Engineering, Marketing, Change Management, Merger Integration and Organizational Development at Fortune 500 companies such as: General Electric, H&R Block and Sprint Nextel.

Ana has also held leadership roles in a variety of community-based organizations as a volunteer and board member for LatinoKC (a philanthropic giving circle), the SkillBuilders Fund (a foundational institution) and Latino Leadership Institute-KC. Ana was also instrumental in the creation of the Kansas City chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) and served as its founding president. She was most recently recognized as a 2010 Top 100 under 50 Diverse Executive Leaders by DiversityMBA Magazine.

Ana holds a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) in Management and Organizational Development from Avila University and a Bachelors in Business Administration (BBA) in Marketing and Finance from Rockhurst University, Kansas City, MO.


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