National Hispana Leadership Institute - Celebrating 20 Years of Latina Leadership Search
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For Immediate Release: Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Contact: Cheryl Aguilar 703-527-6007;

Latina Students from Across the Country Selected to Partake in
National Summer Leadership Program in Washington, DC

(Washington, DC) Following a nationwide search for the National Hispana Leadership Institute’s 2010 class of the Latinas Learning to Lead Program, the 22 selected Latina college students arrive in Washington, DC on June 12 to participate held at The Catholic University of America campus until June 12-19.

Uniquely designed to develop the next generation of Latina leaders, the program combines leadership training with technical and practical experience through a comprehensive curriculum. The eight-day program includes session topics on public policy issues affecting the Latino community, career planning, effective communication and presentation skills, financial literacy, health and wellness and other professional and leadership development topics, including a Clifton Strengths finder session at Gallup University.

Latinas are grossly underrepresented in the ranks of students graduating from high school, college, and especially graduate schools. Approximately 12% of Hispanic women have four or more years of college compared to 28% of non-Hispanic women.

“Education is key to growing the next generation of Latina Leaders. While half of employed women in this country are in managerial and professional occupations, less than 4% of Latinas are in such positions,” said Cristina López, NHLI’s President. “The LLL program encourages young Latinas to complete their college education and provides tools to help them become 21st century professionals and change agents in their communities.

This year’s class is an outstanding group of young women from 14 states, 75% of them are first generation college goers. They represent various fields of study —from business to education, political science, language studies and more— and diverse community service and advocacy experiences —from immigration activists to engaged community volunteers to campus activism.

The 2010 Latinas Learning to Lead participants are: Ana Claudia Aguayo, Sprindale, AR (University of Arkansas); Miriam Armijo, Dallas, TX (Texas Christian University); Diandra E. Calderin, Miami, FL (Miami Dade College); Gabrielle Carbone, Tobyhanna, PA (King’s College); Columba Contreras, Santa Ana, CA (Santa Ana Community College; Maria Corona, Bellevue, WA (Western Washington University Bellingham); Jessica Fuentes, Hayward, CA (University of California); Cruz Olivia Gallegos, Parma, ID (University of Idaho); Karla Gomez, Napa, CA (Napa Valley College); Alexis Ariana Hermosillo, El Mirage, AZ (Arizona State University); Marisa Mendoza, Ontario, CA (Scripps College); Anna Victoria Muñoz, Mission, TX (University of Texas-Pan American); Sandra Nanita, Fair Lawn, NJ (Rutgers University); Candis Nikolic, Plano, IL (Northern Illinois University); Tessa Anne Otero, Phoenix, AZ (Loras College in Dubuque, IA); Carolina Andrea Palacios, Miami, FL (Miami Dade College); Sara Carmen Peña, Fort Collins, CO (University of Northern Colorado); Christina Perez-Camarillo, Woodburn, OR (Linfield College); Stephanie Nicole Rivera, Elizabeth NJ (University of Chicago); Jasmine Rosa, Port Charlotte, FL (University of Central Florida); Mirella Saldaña-Moreno, Falls Church, VA (George Mason University) and Lorena Tule, Dallas, TX (University of Texas at Austin).

To learn more about the 2010 class visit

This year’s program includes two innovative components, including a personal branding seminar facilitated by Verizon and a safety and self-efficacy component through the Ready, Safe, Drive program by Ford that has trained over 600 young women nationwide. “Ford is committed to supporting leadership and education initiatives in the Hispanic community,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. “We are proud to support the NHLI and are excited to be playing a role in helping these rising Latina leaders gain valuable tools for their future success,” he added.

Upon completing the program, graduates return to their communities and mentor two younger Latinas, and volunteer in a community project. In addition, the participants will be matched with a mentor from NHLI’s Executive Leadership Program alumnae, who include elected officials, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, executives at non-profits and powerful decision makers.

Latinas Learning to Lead fellows have the opportunity to reunite at NHLI’s 2010 Executive Leadership Training Conference and Mujer Awards in Miami, FL on November 4-5, a gathering of hundreds of Latina leaders from across the nation. To learn more and to register visit

Since 2001, NHLI has trained 198 Latinas from more than 150 colleges and universities from across the country. Latinas Learning to Lead participants have mentored more than 400 young Latinas. More than half (53%) of the graduates indicate mentoring three or more people. NHLI LLL graduates’ commitment to “paying it forward” goes beyond their mentorship. Approximately 70% of NHLI graduates volunteer at least monthly, significantly higher than the average volunteerism rate for Americans (27%).

The 2010 Latinas Learning to Lead Program was made possible through the support of NHLI sponsors: Ford, The Coca Cola Company, State Farm® Insurance Companies, Microsoft, ExxonMobil, BBVA Compass, Verizon and McDonalds.


The National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI) is a national leadership development organization focused on Latina leaders. For more than 20 years, NHLI has developed hundreds of Latina leaders who have gone on to become elected officials, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, executives at non-profits and powerful decision makers. Founded in 1987 to address the disparity of representation of Latinas in leadership, NHLI’s mission is to develop Hispanas as ethical leaders through training, professional development, relationship building, and community activism.