National Hispana Leadership Institute - Celebrating 27 Years of Latina Leadership Search
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NHLI  2009 Executive Leadership Training Conference & Mujer Awards

Speakers - Friday

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Dr. Jo Ann Piña

Dr. Jo Ann Piña is one of the most acclaimed experts in cross-cultural communication and a leading authority on executive presence and influence. As the daughter of a migrant worker, she’s learned what it takes to be successful in our multicultural business world. Dr. Jo works with leaders to improve their influence and persuasion with their multicultural customers and co-workers. She also assists multicultural leaders increase their executive presence. Dr. Jo has delivered seminars internationally including leaders in Japan and Mexico.

Bridging communication gaps between cultures so that the message resonates positively with its recipients is vital to effectively manage a company’s talent. To help retain diverse leaders and employees, Dr. Jo helps bust through the blocks that keeps leadership cadres barren of people of color and leaders ineffective in motivating co-workers from other cultures.

Dr. Jo is a former professor and counselor at Montgomery College and corporate trainer for Anthony Robbins. Dr. Jo is currently on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and is the lead facilitator for its leadership Development program. Her most popular programs at JHU are those which instill insight, confidence and executive presence in leaders particularly skills in public speaking, persuasion and influence. As a certified Myers-Briggs facilitator, an executive communication coach and cultural facilitator, Dr. Jo has coached numerous leaders to speak more powerfully and increase their influence and persuasion across cultures.

Her new book, Getting Across…Your Message, Your Ideas, Your Meaning, presents 15 ways you can communicate with Hispanic customers and co-workers. It gives you the answers you need and brilliantly bridges the gap between Latinos and mainstream Anglo Americans. A new book on Asian Pacific-American communication styles, tentatively titled Out of the Bamboo Box, is due out this Fall. It compares Asian Pacific-American communication styles in the workplace with those from major contrast cultures in the United States—African, Anglo, Hispanic and Native Americans. Her website is

Patricia Madrid

Patricia Madrid won her first campaign in 1978 when she became the first woman elected to sit as a district court judge in New Mexico. In 1998, she became the first woman elected Attorney General of the State of New Mexico. She was re-elected in 2002. In 2005, Madrid became the chairperson of the Conference of Western Attorneys General, which focuses on energy, environment and Indian gaming issues. Among her notable achievements as Attorney General, she stablished a Capital Litigation Unit to provide assistance to district attorneys statewide prosecuting violent crimes and death penalty cases; introduced New Mexico’s first state-level Crime Victim’s Services Unit; established the Violence Against Women unit, which received a grant for over $560,000 to provide training for first responders to domestic violence incidents in rural New Mexico; established the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force; convicted a number of individuals for the illegal dumping of rendering plant waste near irrigation ditches in violation of the state’s Water Quality Act, and helped found the Endangered Species Act Work Group, which brings together farmers and municipalities, federal, state and environmental interests. She currently works as a consulting attorney on national issues confronting State Attorneys General.

After graduating from the University of New Mexico with a B.A. double major in English and Philosophy, she received her juris doctorate from UNM. In 2005, she completed Women of Power: Leadership in the New World at the John F. Kennedy School of Government in Harvard University, Her awards and recognitions include the Hispanic National Bar Association Latina Lawyer of the Year, Mothers Against Drunk Driving Annual Award for Elected Officials, New Mexico’s Commission on the Status of Women Trailblazer Award, Capital Business and Professional Women of Santa Fe Woman of the Year in Government Award, Animal Protection of New Mexico 2004 Milagro Executive Director’s Award and was recognized by New Mexico Business Weekly three times as a “New Mexico Power Broker.”

Mary Herrera, New Mexico Secretary of State

Mary Herrera, Secretary of State, has been a public servant for over 35 years. As New Mexico Secretary of State, she is the second highest ranking Hispanic elected official in the country, second only to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Madame Secretary Herrera is one of only two state-wide elected Hispanic women and is the highest ranking state elected Hispanic woman in the United States. Madame Secretary Herrera is second in line (after the Lieutenant Governor) to succeed the Office of Governor. Madame Secretary Herrera worked her way up the ranks of Bernalillo County Government from a clerk typist in 1974 to assistant comptroller in 1989. From 1996 to December 2000, she served the county as Director of Human Resources. She retired and was elected in November 2000 as Bernalillo County Clerk and was re-elected in November 2004. Madame Secretary administered and was responsible for elections in New Mexico’s largest county, Bernalillo County, that has over 370,000 registered voters.

After graduating from West Mesa High School in 1974, she went on to receive her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Business Administration from the College of Santa Fe. When invited to give the commencement speech to the 2007 graduating class, Madame Secretary was presented with an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from the College of Santa Fe. Additionally, she received a Certificate of Program Administration for Senior Executives from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Certificates in Labor, Employment, and Benefits Law from the Institute for Applied Management, and continues to receive certifications from the state of New Mexico in Election School, and the Credit Union League. In 2007, Madame Secretary was selected as a recipient to the prestigious Henry Toll Fellowship Program (Council of State Governments), consisting of the top 40 emerging state leaders representing all three branches of government for her leadership ability.

A native of Albuquerque, Madame Secretary is active in numerous organizations and serves on several boards at both the national and state level. She serves on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), appointed to the EAC by the Governor’s Association, issuing voluntary guidelines to various states regarding election issues. In addition, she serves on the Standards Board of the EAC. Madame Secretary served on the New Mexico Election Task Force, also working with election issues affecting New Mexico. She is a Board Member and President of the National Association of Latino Elected & Appointed Officials (NALEO). She is a Board Member of the Rio Grande Credit Union, and is an Associate Member of the Fraternal Order of Police. In her capacity as Secretary of State she is a member of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), serves on the Public Employees Retirement Board (PERA), State Commission of Public Records, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. State Commission.

Madame Secretary Herrera works closely with New Mexico’s 33 county clerks and enjoys a positive working relationship with them. She has gained the respect of all parties and is known throughout the state for her honesty, integrity, work ethic, and commitment to serving the public. Madame Secretary Herrera has two children, Nathan and Monique.

Dr. Lisa Cacari Stone

Dr. Lisa Cacari Stone is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Family and Community Medicine and Senior Research Fellow with the Robert Wood Johnson Center (RWFJ) for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. Her studies along the New Mexico-Mexican border and in state and national policy making processes have focused on the role of health and social policies in moderating health equity in the U.S. Currently, Dr. Cacari Stone is the principal investigator in a pilot project funded by the RWJF Center for Health Policy – “the demographic significance of immigrant growth to new and emerging and traditional gateway counties across the U.S. and the policy responses of county governments and their localities to those changes and the implications concerning access to health care.” She is also co-investigator with Dr. Howard Waitzkin on another RWJF Center study examining the role of counties as the fundamental units of health access for low income, racial/ethnic communities, and medically underserved populations in the U.S. Additionally, Dr. Cacari Stone serves as principal investigator for the Border Center of Excellence grant which is a consortium of researchers and providers in Texas, Arizona and California in developing a strategic plan for increasing the health care delivery and research workforce along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Dr. Cacari Stone is trusted for her work in “moving knowledge to action for health equity” among government administrators, elected officials, community based organizations, coalitions and foundations including the New Mexico Executive and Legislative Health, Human Services and Educational Committees; New Mexico Governors’ Women’s Advisory Council; Con Alma Health Foundation; New Mexico Border Health Association; and the Dona Ana County Health and Human Services Alliance.

Gary Pelletier

Gary Pelletier is the Director and Team Leader for Pfizer Helpful Answers, a family of programs to help people without prescription coverage save on many Pfizer medicines, no matter their age or income. Prior to joining Pfizer in May 2005, Gary was the Director of Strategy & Communications at Whatman, Inc. (part of GE Healthcare), a leading global supplier of filtration devices for the pharmaceutical industry. In his role at Whatman, Gary established a global marketing and communications department for the company to improve customer focus and outreach.

Gary also previously served as a Project Leader with The Boston Consulting Group where he helped develop business strategies and marketing plans for clients across numerous industries, including healthcare and pharmaceuticals. He also has extensive experience in advertising, having held senior account management positions at Saatchi & Saatchi and Ogilvy & Mather.

Gary received an M.B.A. from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business where he also earned a Certificate in Public Management, and holds a B.A. from Brandeis University.

Nanci Luna Jiménez

Nanci Luna Jiménez, founder and president of Luna Jiménez Seminars & Associates (LJS), is recognized regionally, nationally, and internationally for her highly effective and insightful training, inclusive facilitation, and dynamic speaking with groups of diverse ages, industries, and cultural backgrounds. Following her passion, she designs and delivers unique programs that encourage individuals in their process of personal transformation, releasing individual initiative to create a more just and equitable workplace and world. She has led hundreds of programs, and she has custom-designed and facilitated hundreds of meetings, retreats, and events—large and small—including complex events with international groups and multiple languages. In addition, she has presented scores of memorable keynote speeches.

Nanci is a Certified Professional Facilitator© and has trained extensively in methodologies developed by both the Institute for Cultural Affairs, an international organization that provides training and facilitation in participatory group leadership processes for sustained organizational and social change, and United to End Racism (UER), an international organization dedicated to the global elimination of racism. She has also been trained by Marshall Rosenberg in Non-Violent Communication and Jim Rough in Dynamic Facilitation. Through these skills, Nanci expertly assists organizations in realizing the changes they envision by facilitating group consensus, planning, and implementation.

In 2001 she attended the United Nations World Conference against Racism Non-Governmental Forum in Durban, South Africa as a delegate with UER. In 1995 she served as an international observer for the Haitian presidential elections. She was a Ford Foundation Fellow and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and received her B.A. cum laude from Yale University. She also attended the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras and completed El Programa Interdiciplinario de la Mujer at the Colegio de México in Mexico City.

Of Puerto Rican and Chicana heritage, Nanci was born in Detroit, Michigan, and raised in Detroit and Tucson, Arizona. With a commitment to unleashing women’s voices on a global scale, for four years she chaired the Board of Directors for World Pulse, an organization dedicated to empowering women’s voices around the world. She now lives with her partner in Portland, Oregon, and enjoys yoga, weight training, marathons and triathlons, knitting, and time near the water—ideally with friends and family. She graduated in 2006 from NHLI’s Executive Leadership Program. Her website is

Ana Toro

Ana Toro, an 18-year Hispanic public relations veteran, is part of Fleishman-Hillard’s national Hispanic division, FH Hispania® and co-chair of FH’s Multicultural practice group, one of the firm’s 27 global practices. She supports the CDC’s National Diabetes Education Program’s Hispanic/Latino and Asian American/Pacific Islander outreach, Epilepsy Foundation, Bayer, and Genentech accounts. Through her career, she has developed communication programs and campaigns for clients such as: American Red Cross, Anheuser-Busch, Chrysler Corporation, Kimberly-Clark, Coors Brewing Company, Davis Cup, Toyota, Shell Corporation and Volvo Car Corporation. Ana has also supported marketing communication programs for Merck, Sharp & Dohme, GlaxoSmithkline, Pfizer Corporation and Merial Central America & Caribbean.

She is experienced in legislative affairs and government relations, overseeing for over six months a national crisis affecting all regulated health professions in Puerto Rico. Moving to Georgia in 2002, Ana joined the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as Director of Public Affairs and Development where she managed the 2003 Legislative Agenda and Committee, orchestrated the organization’s 2004 Hispanic Caucus Breakfast, Hispanic Day at the Capitol, and represented the organization as spokesperson in various state and national events.

Ana served as president of the Puerto Rico Public Relations Association (ARPPR), leading the organization to an international level among Latin America and the Caribbean. She has received five Excel Awards by the ARPPR in recognition to her performance in: Electronic Media and Press Programs, Public Relations Campaign, Poster, Bulletins, and Special Publications categories. She is a member of the Latin American Association of Georgia’s 2007-08 Compañeros Giving Campaign Committee and of GALEO (Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials). She also sits on the Marketing Committee of the Latina Initiative for Girls Incorporated of Greater Atlanta. She has been part of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs Board of Directors (2006), the Public Relations Society of America/GA Chapter’s Diversity Special Interest Group, which she co-chaired for two years (2004-2005); and the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce.

Ana has a Bachelor’s degree in media writing and a Master’s degree in public relations from the University of the Sacred Heart in Puerto Rico. She is an active member of the Public Relations Society of America and its Multicultural Section. She is also Accredited in Public Relations, a voluntary certification in the industry that demonstrates the highest ethical standards and professionalism in the field.

Iveliesse Malavé

Iveliesse Malavé is a vice president in the Miami/Latin America office of Fleishman-Hillard. She is also a member of FH Hispania, Fleishman-Hillard’s national Hispanic communications practice. She joined Fleishman-Hillard in 2005 to work in the California Region, bringing with her ten years of experience planning, implementing, and evaluating communications campaigns aimed towards ethnic audiences, specializing in B-to-C. Her client roster includes top consumer brands such as Target, CoverGirl, Pantene and Head & Shoulders. In addition, she has performed extensive work in the area of food and agribusiness, representing clients such as The California Raisins Marketing Board. Before Fleishman-Hillard, Iveliesse directed Hispanic communications for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, leading public awareness campaigns for U.S. State and Federal governments including “Proteja la Salud de su Familia con Confianza”—the first national outreach campaign aimed to increase the number of Hispanic children enrolled in the state’s Childrens’ Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In addition, her agency experience in Washington, D.C., includes managing public affairs campaigns such as “Vacúnalo a Tiempo, Todo el Tiempo”—one of the most effective national immunization campaigns for Hispanic children in the U.S.—developed by the CDC. She also led Euro RSCG Magnet Latino, where she developed and managed nationwide Hispanic campaigns for Splenda®, Lactaid® and large U.S. government agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Under her leadership, the Lactaid campaign, “Que Bien Te Cae,” received more than five industry awards, including PR Week’s 2004 Multicultural Marketing Campaign of the Year.

Before Euro Magnet, Iveliesse worked in New York City at The Bravo Group--the oldest Hispanic agency in the U.S.--managing an array of public relations accounts for Fortune 500 clients ranging from leading food companies such as Kraft Foods, Inc. and McDonald’s, to large pharmaceutical companies, including GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio State University. In addition, she has received various awards including the U.S. Surgeon General’s Certificate of Appreciation, among others, in the fields of public affairs and community service. She was born and raised in Caguas, Puerto Rico, where she wrote numerous articles for El Nuevo Día — the largest daily newspaper on the island.

Marieli Colón-Padilla

Marieli Colón-Padilla is a member of Fleishman-Hillard’s Hispanic issues and marketing communications practice, FH Hispania®, based in Washington, D.C. She brings broad public relations experience in consumer, corporate, Hispanic, social marketing, and public affairs. Before joining Fleishman-Hillard, Marieli was Director, Alliances, Affordability & Access, at Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America. She has more than a decade of expertise in reaching Latino consumers marketing efforts for the nonprofit sector, bilingual and mono-lingual education for Latinos on social and welfare issues, and bilingual media relations.

Besides being an NHLI alumna of the Executive Leadership Program Class of 2006, she has completed a Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program from the Center for Public & Nonprofit Leadership, Georgetown Public Policy Institute at Georgetown University; a Leadership Development Program for Minority Managers Certificate at the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education of the Johns Hopkins University; Leadership Development Program, Center for Creative Leadership Institute, Lisbon, Portugal; Leadership for the 21st Century: Effective Change Through Public Policy and Management Executive Certificate Program, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; and most recently was accepted to the Executive Education Program of Corporate and Civic Governance at the Harvard Business School (HBS) in Boston, Mass. She obtained her B.A., magna cum laude, in business administration marketing management from the Turabo University in Puerto Rico.

Marieli currently serves on the boards of Dialogue on Diversity, Girls Scouts of the Nations Capital; Girl Scouts Women’s Advisory Board; the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute; and the Commission to End Health Care Disparities established which leadership is provided by the American Medical Association, the National Medical Association, and the National Hispanic Medical Association. In addition, she also serves on several business advisory boards including the National Puerto Rican Coalition; the National Hispanic Health Foundation; the Cuban American National Council; and the National Hispanic Council on Aging, among others. Marieli is the Vice Chair of NHLI’s Board of Directors.

Dr. Gloria Coronado

Dr. Gloria Coronado is an Assistant Member of the Cancer Prevention Program at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington. She received her training at both Stanford University and the University of Washington. Dr. Coronado’s research focuses mainly on interventions to promote health among Hispanic populations. She is a co-investigator on three research projects that take place in the Yakima Valley; one that examines how children of farm workers are exposed to pesticides, a second that aims to improve cancer screening practices, and a third that aims to improve diabetes prevention and self-management practices. She has mentored several undergraduate and graduate students locally and leads a cancer research training program for undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students from New Mexico State University. For the past four years, she has served on the board of CASA Latina and Planned Parenthood of Western Washington.

Cecelia Espenoza

The Honorable Cecelia Espenoza was the second Latina admitted to the bar in the state of Utah in 1982. She is currently a Senior Associate General Counsel at the Department of Justice (DOJ), on a detail to the Audit Liaison Group, with responsibility for coordinating DOJ responses to OIG and GAO Audits. She has over 26 years of experience in immigration law including service as a Board Member on the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Office of the General Counsel at the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). An active member of her Arlington, Virginia community, she serves as President for the Arlington County Council of PTAs, board member of the Arlington Committee of 100, the AAUW Arlington Branch and an Advisory Board member for Latinas Leading Tomorrow (LLT). For her active engagement in the community she has received the Presidential Volunteer award. She received an Honors Bachelor of Arts degree in 1979 and a Juris Doctorate, both from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and is a member of the Utah, Colorado and Texas State bars. She is a 2006 graduate of Leadership Arlington, and a 2003 alumna of NHLI Executive Leaership Program.

Marie-Elena Reyes

Marie-Elena Reyes is Coordinator for the Instituto de Agua y Cultura: Water Institute for the Northern Rio Grande at the University of New Mexico-Taos. Marie-Elena is also the President and Founder of the Frida Kahlo Institute for Women at the Borderlands (FKI) a non-profit dedicated to research, programs, and advocacy for the education of women of the Borderlands. Marie-Elena serves as an expert for the Engineering Equity Extension Service —an NSF grant to the National Academy of Engineering, providing consulting on gender research, faculty and staff development with respect to best practices in gender equitable engineering education. Marie-Elena has been selected to serve on the Math and Science Advisory Council for New Mexico as an alternate.

Marie-Elena served as a Assistant Research Scientist with the Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW) for five years at the University of Arizona developing programs to increase the participation of women from underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) while researching methods for infusing science education with gender and multicultural perspectives. Additional projects included Frontera Grrls@ Clubs project (funded by American Association of University Women), which created computer clubs for middle-school girls in Latino, American Indian, and African American communities, the National Science Foundation Futurebound Program (website: a recruitment and retention program for women of color in science and engineering fields, transferring from Pima Community College to the University of Arizona, and Girls in the SYSTEM (Sustaining Youth in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) an NSF-funded project that brought science, technology, engineering, and math activities to girls in grades 3‑8, especially underserved and economically underprivileged in Tucson, Arizona, in collaboration with the Sahuaro Council of Girl Scouts.

Marie-Elena’s areas of expertise include recruitment and retention of girls and women of color in STEM throughout the educational pathway K-20, transition for women from community college to university in STEM, community-based engineering design for retention of women in engineering, mentoring and leadership programs for women of color in STEM, and outreach STEM programs. She is an alumna of NHLI’s Class of 2003 Executive Leadership Program.

Maria A. Reyes

Maria Reyes is the Associate Dean for Occupational Education at Estrella Mountain Community College (Estrella Mountain). Maria is the Co-founder and CEO of a consulting firm in Arizona. Maria serves on the Engineering Pathways Taskforce for the AZ STEM Initiative, a statewide effort to bring STEM programs to underserved areas and expand outreach. Maria also serves as the Chairwoman for Hispanic Women’s Conference, the largest national conference for Latina professionals. Maria is also the program director for the Hermanas: Diseña Tu Futuro conference for middle school and high school young women to increase the number of Latinas who pursue engineering as a career.

Reyes established and served as the Director of the NASA Center for Success in Math & Science at Estrella Mountain, funded by NASA. Reyes also served as the Title V: Hispanic Serving Institution Department of Education Grant Director at Estrella Mountain from 2001 -2006. She subsequently co-authored the second Title V grant for Estrella Mountain that was awarded in the amount of $2.85 million over the period of 2008-2013. Reyes served in many roles and finally as the Director of Minority Engineering Programs at Arizona State University Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering from 1993-2001. While there she designed and implemented a successful student freshman engineering bridge program (from high school to university) that consistently retained students at a rate of 85-90% after three consecutive semesters.

Maria’s areas of expertise include recruitment and retention of underrepresented populations in STEM throughout the educational pathway K-20, transition for students from high school to community college to university in STEM career areas, community-based engineering design conferences for recruitment and retention of women in engineering, mentoring and leadership programs for women of color in STEM, and outreach STEM programs. She is an alumna of NHLI’s Class of 2003 Executive Leadership Program.

Dr. Sandra A. Rivera

Dr. Sandra A. Rivera serves as Assistant Director of U.S. International Trade Commission’s (USITC) Office of Economics where she implements strategic, fiscal and long range planning and hiring and other trade research projects focused on advising Congress and the Office of the United States Trade Representative on the impact of potential trade agreements. Her recent work includes “Understanding the Impact of NAFTA on U.S. Latino Employment: an economy wide analysis” (June 2009); “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: What is the impact of China’s WTO Accession on India’s Trade,” an IMF Working Paper (June 2005); book chapter (September 2008); and “What Is the Impact of China’s Growth on India: An Economy-wide Analysis” (June 2006). She has been an invited speaker on both international economics and leadership issues in dozens of conferences, colleges and universities, nationally and internationally in Santiago, Chile, Lubeck, Germany, and The Hague, Amsterdam. In 2008 alone, she has trained over 1100 Latino and African-American youth on public speaking. Dr. Rivera earned her Ph.D. in International Economics from University of Kentucky, M.A. from University of New Mexico and B.A. at William Smith College. Dr. Rivera is an alumna of the NHLI Executive Leadership Program, Class of 2001.

Lidia Soto-Harmon

Lidia Soto-Harmon, Deputy Executive Director of the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital, has expertise in outreach to diverse communities. The Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital serves over 82,000 members across eight counties in the Washington, DC metro area. In her role at the Girl Scouts, she oversees membership services, adult volunteer development, girl program, public relations, and regional integration. Lidia has brought many innovative programs to the Girl Scouts; she developed an annual conference that reaches young Latinas with the message of leadership called “Encuentro de Chicas Latinas de las Girl Scouts.” She also has helped develop a leadership conference for high school girls in the District of Columbia through a partnership with Howard University entitled “Your Turn to Lead.” Lidia serves as a Board Member for the Tahirih Justice Center, an organization that helps immigrant and refugee women seek protection from international human rights abuses. She is a 2000 graduate of NHLI’s Executive Leadership Program. Lidia grew up in Latin America and the United States. She earned her B.A. from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey and her Masters in Public Administration from George Mason University. Lidia is married and has two beautiful bilingual children.

Ana Maria Soto

Ana Maria Soto is the Executive Director of Latino Initiatives at National Louis University (NLU). She came to NLU from Columbia College Chicago, where she served as director of Latino cultural affairs. Previously, she held positions with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at the Smithsonian Institution. Ana Maria has been recognized in Chicago as an influential civic leader and graduated in 2004 from NHLI’s Executive Leadership Program. She holds a M.A. in Political Science from the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain and is studying for her MBA at NLU. “We must help form the education and business leaders of the future and leverage the huge potential of Chicago’s Latino youth. More and more Latinos are successful business owners and entrepreneurs. But frequently they achieve this without a strong education background,” she said.

Elizabeth A. (Liz) Montoya

President Barack Obama tapped Elizabeth A. (Liz) Montoya to be Chief of Staff for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Montoya has more than 20 years of executive experience, serving previously as Deputy Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Energy, as Associate Deputy Administrator for the Small Business Administration, and Associate Director of Presidential Personnel and Special Assistant to the President. Most recently, Liz served on the President’s transition team for the U.S. Department of Energy as a member of the Natural Resources and Energy work group.

Prior to accepting the OPM post, Liz was with Sealaska Corporation, where she served as senior advisor to the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer in the areas of human resources, corporate strategic planning and program development. Sealaska is an Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act Corporation which is owned by more than 17,500 tribal shareholders. During her tenure, she designed a human resources comprehensive review of Sealaska’s nine subsidiaries to affect a consistent human resources process throughout the organization.

Liz’s corporate experience began in 2001 with Resource Consultants, Inc., where she served as the Director of Federal Programs. Among her chief responsibilities were leading client outreach programs and coordinating business development. In 2005, Liz joined the Los Alamos Alliance, where she opened storefront offices in Los Alamos and Espanola, New Mexico, for Lockheed Martin and the team known as The Los Alamos Alliance to work with community leaders on wide-ranging issues affecting the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Her extensive federal government portfolio includes service as an Associate Deputy Administrator with the Small Business Administration, where she managed SBA’s Office of Human Resources, Chief Information Office and the Office of Administration. Liz also served as the White House Liaison for the Department of Transportation in the early 1990s; she served from 1994 to 1997 in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel as the Associate Director of Presidential Personnel and Special Assistant to the President. In 1997, she became Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary Federico Pena at the U.S. Department of Energy. From 1985 to 1993, she worked with the Los Alamos National Laboratory as a Senior Program Development Specialist. In 2005, Liz earned a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Liz is a graduate of NHLI’s Executive Leadership Program Class of 1992.

Elizabeth Eguía-García

Elizabeth Eguía-García is a Latina entrepreneur and owner of the Eguía-García Firm: Grants & Resource Development Consulting Services. The consulting firm exists to meet the growing needs for funding and resources especially in highly socio-economically distressed and underserved communities. A graduate of the NHLI’s Executive Leadershp Program Class of 2004, Elizabeth is a strategic multi-million dollar fundraiser, grant writer and a public relations professional. She possesses over 15 years of experience in working with non-profits, private and public schools, and institutions of higher education in order to advance their missions. She earned a B.A. in English and History with a minor in Communication Arts from Our Lady of the Lake University in 1994, and a M.A. in English/Communication Studies from St. Mary’s University in 1997. Elizabeth presented her Master’s thesis on how a Latina organization formed, “Hispanas Unidas: Organizational Development,” at the “Hijas Del Quinto Sol” Literary Conference co-sponsored by St. Mary’s University and the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in 1997.

Elizabeth recently co-founded, as Chair of the Board of Directors & Chief Executive Officer, Voz de Mujer, Inc., a non-profit organization which exists to empower, educate and encourage all women to aspire and embrace their dreams by fostering a healthy mind, body, heart & soul.

Alejandro Maya

In 1993 Alejandro Maya incorporated Maya Hispanic Communications, Inc. with DBA Video Wave Professional Video Productions, a company dedicated to cover social events such as anniversaries, weddings videos, and video depositions. Four years later in 1997, Sprocket Film and Video Production was created as a second DBA of Maya Hispanic Communications, Inc. with the vision to become one of the leading broadcast production and post-production facilities in San Antonio and the surrounding areas. Sprocket Productions is a full service video production team of professionals who turn out high quality, unique, and entertaining projects. From concept to delivery, projects shot on location or in studio, jobs with same day turnaround or in-depth long-form projects, our talented individuals always offer personalized and friendly service. Throughout the years, Sprocket Productions and Video Wave have grown into a full house production facility servicing thousand of clients from a very small local event to a nation wide production.

In addition, since 1999 to the present, Alejandro Maya and staff have been collaborating on various projects related to public health and safety, for clients such as the South Texas Health Research Center, University of Texas Research Center), Texas Diabetes Institute, and University Hospital System. Some of the campaigns we have worked on are “Buckle-up,” “Shared Dreams Youth Video,” “I Don’t,” an antismoking campaign, “Shared Dreams” re-edit version, “Asthma” video final edit, Poison Center Video with Nacho Estrada and Mr. YUK, “Talk it up” adolescent depression campaign,” Talk it up” parents video, and “Mia’s Story” a short film about adolescent depression and in 2007-2008 we produced for “Redes en Acción”—12 PSAs for a cancer prevention campaign and the Spanish version of the promo video for the American Cancer Society, and various TV and radio spots for banks such as the International Bank of Commerce, in Laredo Texas, American State Bank, Key Bank and First Bank. From October 2001 to the present, produced the “A Su Salud” TV segment, which airs every Tuesday during the News at 5:00pm on KWEX-TV Noticias 41. The staff is very familiar with the kind of production timelines, deadlines and procedures involved to produce these types of campaigns. They also produced a 30-minute TV magazine and website named San Antonio Luxury Living, that is now the home of over 40 vendors and airs on NBC the last Sunday of every month and since January 2009 Maya has produced Austin’s Luxury Living website.

Melissa L. Bradley-Burns

Melissa is a Senior Strategist for Green For All, a national organization dedicated to building an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. Her primary role is leading the Capital Access Program — working to provide human, social and financial capital to entrepreneurs and businesses in an effort to create, scale and sustain green jobs.

Melissa is Founder and former Managing Director of New Capitalist™, whose mission is to leverage human, financial and social capital to create economically profitable and sustainable individuals, businesses and communities. In this role, she facilitated over $20 million in private equity transactions for seed stage companies, generated an average of 20% return on behalf of investors, and created proprietary investment vehicles instrumental in capital sourcing for minority-owned firms. She is also the founder of Positive Impact™ — a collaborative initiative to promote diverse voices and visions within independent media launched at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. As part of this initiative Bradley authored “Introduction to Media Investing for the Creative and Investment Communities” - a practical step-by-step “how to” guide designed to give media makers detailed instructions on prospecting, receiving, managing and returning an investment.

Melissa is also Founder and President of Reentry Strategies Institute (RSI), the only national criminal justice intermediary explicitly focused on reentry. Through the provision of training, networking, and best practice, RSI is facilitating a national dialogue on reentry and generating human and financial support for formerly incarcerated persons and their local communities. She currently serves as an Advisor to Renewal 2 Investment Fund. She also holds board positions with Georgetown University Board of Governors, Social Venture Network (ex-officio), Green America (Chair), The Victory Fund, the Tides Network (Chair) and the Tides Foundation. Her prior work experience includes serving as Vice President at UBS in the Private Client Group and serving as a Financial Regulatory Affairs Fellow with the U.S. Department of Treasury.

She graduated from Georgetown University in 1989 with a B.S. degree in Finance from the School of Business, and a Master’s in Business Administration in Marketing from American University.

Roger Guzman

Roger Guzman is Senior Manager for Hispanic Markets for Wal-Mart. In this role he is responsible for the relations Wal-Mart has with over 30 Hispanic/Latino community organizations at the national and local level. Prior to Wal-Mart, Roger spent 18 years at State Farm® most recently as Staff Assistant in the PR/Marketing unit of Corporate Communications and External Relations. He also spent 12 years in Human Resources and two years in Claims—all with State Farm®. Roger was very active in the Hispanic community in Bloomington, Illinois, prior to his relocation to Bentonville. He was a board member of the Hispanic Outreach for Western Avenue Community Center, a board member of the local Girl’s Scouts council, a member of the University of Illinois Extension Office Advisory Board, and a member of the Hispanic Families Workgroup in the community. He currently sits on the board of Parents Step Ahead, a Dallas-based program established to recognize, educate, enable and empower parents to take a proactive role in the education and personal development of their children. Roger also taught Hispanic culture and basic Spanish for staff members of organizations who received funding from United Way in McLean County. Roger received his B.A. in English with a minor in Secondary Education from the University of Puerto Rico in Cayey, Puerto Rico. He is married and has two young adult sons attending college, and one teenager daughter attending high school.

Astrid Chirinos

Astrid Chirinos focuses on the Green Culture Shift, Talent Realignment and Green Marketing Strategy for Calor’s clients. She has been a multicultural strategist in marketing and workplace dynamics since 2001 as the president of Diverso Global Strategies, providing services to Fortune 500 companies and large organizations in Multicultural Marketing and Cross-Cultural Training. In 2005 Astrid started Afina Solutions focused on Multicultural Talent Development, and in 2008 partnered with Lisa Lee Morgan to start Calor after working together with a European Solar Energy developer establishing operations in the US.

Astrid has been in the USA since 1979 when she moved from Caracas, Venezuela, and has a degree in Environmental Visual Design from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. She has worked serving clients such as Glaxo Smith Kline, Lowe’s Home Improvement, AT&T, Wachovia Bank, TimeWarner Cable, The Arts and Science Council, US Department of Labor, Girl Scouts, Goodrich Corporation, The Urban League, Compass Group USA, among other large and medium size organizations. She is also a graduate from the Innovation Institute at the McColl Center for Visual Arts and from Leadership America, North Carolina

Among other local and statewide boards, Astrid serves in the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research, The Charlotte Mecklenburg Workforce Development, The Centralina Economic Development Commission, the Levine Museum of the New South, The Knight Foundation and has been the recipient of the 2009 NECA Practitioner of the Year, the Business Journal’s Catalyst of Diversity, the Business Woman of the Year from La Noticia, the Spirit of Charlotte and the Woman of Distinction awards.

Bianca Werthiem Ortiz

Originally from Nambé, north of Santa Fe, NM, Bianca started in New Mexico politics and community organizing in 1993 as a volunteer for her local political party. In 1994, Bianca had the honor of working for U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman in his successful re-election campaign. Continuing her interest for public policy and community organizing, she worked with the American Cancer Society as Director of Government Relations for New Mexico. She served in Governor Bill Richardson’s Administration as Director of Cabinet Affairs; she was the primary liaison between Governor Richardson and the entire cabinet. Bianca worked with the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management as a project manager for the Center for Economic Development before she joined Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chávez as his Legislative Affairs Representative and then becoming his Chief of Staff. Currently, Bianca serves as the State Director for U.S. Senator Tom Udall. Bianca has been married 15 years to John Wertheim. Her parents are Gilbert R. Ortiz and Emilie Barrone Ortiz who are great mentors and friends. Fall is Bianca’s favorite season, a time for Oklahoma Sooner football and roasting green chile.