National Hispana Leadership Institute - Celebrating 20 Years of Latina Leadership Search
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For Immediate Release: Thursday, September 17, 2009                           Contact: Cheryl Aguilar 703-527-6007, ext 16

The National Hispana Leadership Institute Honored Latinas in Public Service at Its
Annual Latina Leaders Breakfast

Honorees Included Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, Congresswomen and Presidential Appointees, and Nominees

(Washington, DC)  The National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI) along with over 150 distinguished leaders from the non-profit, government and corporate sectors, honored Latina Leaders making a difference through public service during NHLI's renowned Latina Leaders Breakfast, an annual event held in the nation's capital, which marks the beginning of the organization's Hispanic Heritage month celebration.

NHLI is the premier executive leadership organization preparing Latinas for positions of national and international influence, public policy impact and to contribute to the advancement of the Hispanic community.

The Latina Leaders Breakfast was started over 12 years ago to honor and celebrate Latina congressional representatives while expanding NHLI’s vision of Latinas as ethical leader. This year the scope was broadened to include Latinas in all three branches of government and honor more leaders impacting communities across the nation.

“2009 has been a historic year for Latinas.  More Hispanic women, including some of our honorees, are advancing to leadership positions and impacting public policy. NHLI celebrates these Latina Leaders and commends them for their exemplary leadership, and for moving issues important to our communities,” said Cristina López, NHLI’s President. 

This year’s honorees were Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis; Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Chair, Congressional Hispanic Caucus; Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (D-CA); Congresswoman Linda Sánchez (D-CA); Congresswoman Loretta Sánchez (D-CA); Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA); Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL); Cecilia Muñoz, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, the White House; Elizabeth (Liz) Montoya ( 92 NHLI alumna),Chief of Staff, U.S. Office of Personnel Management; Judy Canales (92 NHLI graduate), Administrator for Rural Business and Cooperative, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Lisa Pino (08 NHLI alumna), Deputy Administrator for Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; and Marisa Demeo (01 NHLI alumna), Magistrate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

“This is the first time in the history of our country that so many Latinas are in key positions making decisions that will not only impact the Latino community but all Americans. We are proud of all the honorees for everything they are doing for the country,” said Ingrid Duran, NHLI’s Board Chairwoman.

Sponsored by State Farm® Insurance Companies, Wal-Mart, Goya, PG&E, and Comcast, NHLI’s Latina Leaders Breakfast guests included: national Latino leaders: Dolores Huerta, Co-Founder of United Farm Workers; Rosa Rosales, National President of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Juan Andrade, President of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI); Guarione Diaz, President and CEO of the Cuban American National Council and Aida M. Alvarez, former Administrator of the US Small Business Administration, among others.

The Latina Leaders Breakfast is one of the major events of NHLI’s fourth and last week of the Executive Leadership Program (ELP), held in conjunction with the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the prestigious Center for Creative Leadership.

During the week of September 13-18, 2009, NHLI host its 22 ELP fellows, who are professional women in the public and private sectors with an outstanding record of community service and a desire to impact public policy at the local, state, and national level. 

The breakfast theme was service and community building, which are core components of NHLI leadership programs. In an effort to engage more Latinas in serving their communities, NHLI partnered with the White House’s United We Serve Campaign to promote volunteerism.

After completing the four-week intensive training component of the program – which spans nine months and is held in four different cities across the country – each participant (more than 600 to date) commits to implementing a leadership project in their community, and to mentoring at least two Latinas.

According to NHLI’s Impact Study:  Transforming Latina Leaders and Communities - a comprehensive assessment of NHLI leadership programs over the last twenty years, NHLI has had a significant impact on communities across the country through more than 500 alumnae Leadership Projects, directly reaching more than 35,000 Latinas and touching hundreds of thousands of lives. Alumnae have directly provided one-on-one mentorship to more than 5,000 Latinas.

Moreover, 74% of the ELP graduates stayed involved with their leadership projects well beyond their two-year commitment. Many of these projects have transformed into independent entities or 501(c) (3) organizations. Similarly, NHLI’s Latinas Learning to Lead graduates generate great impact in their communities; 73% of the fellows volunteer monthly, significantly higher than the average volunteerism rate for Americans (26.4%).

At the end of September, NHLI is launching an online seminar series to provide more training opportunities to community members across the nation. Additional leadership opportunities continue until November (5-6) with NHLI’s 2009 Executive Leadership Training Conference and Mujer Awards in Albuquerque, NM. To register and for more information about NHLI, visit