National Hispana Leadership Institute - Celebrating 27 Years of Latina Leadership Search
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Maria Hinojosa Profile
Chair's Award
Maria Hinojosa

For 25 years, Maria Hinojosa has helped tell America’s untold stories and brought to light unsung heroes in America and abroad. In April 2010, Hinojosa launched The Futuro Media Group with the mission to produce multi-platform, community-based journalism that respects and celebrates the cultural richness of the American Experience. She is the anchor and managing editor of her own long-running weekly NPR show, Latino USA, anchor of the Emmy Award winning talk show Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One from WGBH/La Plaza, Contributing Correspondent for Frontline and Need to Know on PBS, and weekly King Features Syndicate contributor. Prior to launching The Futuro Media Group, Hinojosa was a Senior Correspondent for NOW on PBS, the CNN Urban Affairs correspondent for 8 years, a reporter for NPR, and producer for CBS Radio.  She has written two books, including her motherhood memoir: Raising Raul: Adventures Raising Myself and My Son. Hinojosa has won top honors in American journalism including two Emmy’s, the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Reporting on the Disadvantaged, the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Overseas Press Club for best documentary for her groundbreaking Child Brides: Stolen Lives, and the Ruben Salazar Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Council of La Raza.   In 2009, Hinojosa was honored with an AWRT Gracie Award for Individual Achievement as Best TV Correspondent. In 2011 she’s received honors from the New York Women’s Foundation, Hispanics in Philanthropy, and The Opportunity Agenda.




lucille roybal picture
Legislative Award
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard maintains a busy schedule out of her offices in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, CA. She represents the 34th Congressional District and is the first Mexican-American woman elected to Congress. Congresswoman Roybal-Allard has remained committed to expanding opportunities for her district and working families. She aims to increase access to health care, create affordable housing, modernize public schools, reduce high Hispanic drop-out rates, preserve Social Security and Medicare, and stimulate economic growth to create new jobs. She is the first Latina in U.S. history to be appointed to the Appropriations Committee. Congresswoman Roybal-Allard serves on two influential subcommittees: the Subcommittee on Homeland Security and the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, where she oversees funding of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Education. Congresswoman Roybal-Allard also served as chair of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation in 1997 and 1998. In this position, she became the first woman, first Latina and first Member to achieve this role through election rather than seniority. Later, she went on to become the first female Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Congresswoman Roybal-Allard's time in Washington, D.C. centers around her committees and key bills pending before Congress. When in Los Angeles, the congresswoman spends her time meeting with residents and community leaders to discuss improving the quality of life in her district. Congresswoman Roybal-Allard urges her constituents to obtain federal grant money through her Grants Notification Program, which has helped to bring millions of federal dollars to the district. Congresswoman Roybal-Allard also encourages college-bound students to check out her Student Information Program, which provides students with college scholarship, financial aid, internship, and fellowship information. Congresswoman Roybal-Allard enjoys every aspect of her job, but she especially enjoys hearing from residents of the district and serving them.


Maria Contreras Picture
National Award
Maria Contreras Sweet

Ms. Maria Contreras-Sweet is the founding chairwoman of Promérica Bank, the first Latino-owned business bank in California in over 35 years.   In 2006, Ms. Contreras-Sweet became one of the first Latinas in the country to found a publicly-traded company.  Prior, she served for five years as the Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing Agency for the State of California.  She served as the Chair of the Census 2000 Decennial State Campaign.  During California’s energy crisis, the governor appointed Ms. Contreras-Sweet to the restructured Independent System Operator board of directors.   She chaired the Finance Committee of the state’s electrical power grid, helping to stabilize a highly volatile energy market. Prior to her state cabinet post, Ms. Contreras-Sweet served on the Board of Blue Cross of California and equity partner of the 7UP/RC Bottling Company.  She is a Founding Director of The California Endowment, a U.S. Senate appointee to the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission, a member of the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard University, the International Women’s Forum, the Children’s Hospital board, the Advisory Board for PepsiCo and Frito-Lay Company, and on the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, to name a few.  Ms. Contreras-Sweet is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Spirit of California from the California State Legislature, Entrepreneur of the Year from the U.S. Hispanic Congressional Caucus.  She has been featured on the covers of magazines and is a highly sought-after speaker in the areas of infrastructure investment, finance. Ms. Contreras-Sweet has led delegations to Europe and Latin America to address infrastructure issues.  She is married to Ray Sweet and they have three children. 


Gloria Molina Picture
Regional Award
Gloria Molina

Ms. Gloria Molina became the first Latina elected to the Los Angeles County board of Supervisors in February, 1991. Her accomplishments represent the growing formidability of the Latino electorate and the determination of voters to elect a leader who understood their needs. During Ms. Molina’s tenure as county supervisor, she has brought to fruition major endeavors that improve Los Angeles County residents’ quality-of-life. Ms. Molina served in the Carter White House and the San Francisco Department of Health and Human Services. She was elected to the California State Assembly in 1982 and the Los Angeles City Council in 1987. Both times, she was the first Latina to earn this honor. Her leadership in the 1980s against the construction of a state prison in East Los Angeles is legendary, and it solidified her reputation as a fighter and groundbreaker. Named as one of the Democratic Party’s “10 Rising Stars” by TIME magazine in 1996, Ms. Molina served as one of four vice chairs of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) from 1996 through 2004. During the 2000 Presidential Election, Molina was one of 15 top women leaders nationwide to be named as a possible vice-presidential candidate by the White House Project. Molina currently resides in the Mount Washington neighborhood of the City of Los Angeles with her husband, Ron Martinez. They have one daughter, Valentina. Ms. Molina divides her time between her family, her position as county supervisor, and her love for quilting for which she has received recognition for original pieces she created.


Lillian Roybale Picture
Regional Award
Lillian Roybal Rose

Ms. Lillian Roybal Rose teaches her nationally acclaimed cross cultural leadership awareness seminars to academic, corporate, civic, and community groups, implementing powerful learning frameworks for long-term, effective cooperation and communication. Her style is dynamic, personable, and sensitive. Ms. Roybal Rose’s extensive experience and exceptional skills help fuel mutual respect among people of all backgrounds, helping them reclaim pride in their roots through the exploration of shared experiences. Her unique high-impact seminars are known for supporting and releasing creativity, productivity, and efficiency among people working together. Ms. Roybal Rose is an educator and consultant in the area of cross-cultural communication. She is Latina and grew up in East Los Angeles. Ms. Roybal Rose received her B.A. in sociology from California State University, Los Angeles and her M.S. in education from the University of Southern California. She has also trained at the Stanford Institute for Intercultural Communication, and completed the Healing the Heart of Diversity.