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Message from NHLI President Cristina Lopez

About the President

Cristina LopezCristina López is President of the National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI), the premier non-profit organization dedicated to developing Latina ethical leaders through training, professional development, relationship building and community activism.
Under Cristina Lopez’s leadership, NHLI has grown its programs and organizational capacity to provide more leadership development training to Latinas across the country. As a result of this expansion – which includes webinars, revamped regional training conferences, an expanded annual conference, and the launching of a new program to train the next generation of leaders in the nonprofit sector – the number of Latinas participating in NHLI programs every year has doubled.

Cristina has a long history of working with women and immigrant-led groups, farm workers and people living with HIV/AIDS; and a personal commitment to advancing communities of color. Over the last two decades, she has worked in the non-profit sector, designing, implementing and evaluating health, education, and leadership development programs, and has provided extensive policy analysis, with special emphasis on Latinos. In addition, she has advised scores of organizations, companies, and the White House on recruitment strategies for Latinas.

Moreover, Cristina has international organizational development and nonprofit experience. Fully bilingual and bicultural, she has worked in Latin America on implementation and evaluation of education, health, and human trafficking programs, and has assisted NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) with strategic planning and Board development. A 2009 participant of the Progressive Women’s Voices Program, she is a nationally recognized speaker on Latinas, leadership, diversity, and other issues affecting the Hispanic community.

Cristina’s commitment to developing and empowering ethical and values-centered leaders has produced telling results. She has mentored scores of young people of color over the years, and trained thousands of individuals to be more effective leaders and agents of change in their communities. She is a firm believer in leadership development that is rooted in community values and works tireless to develop the voice and power of Latinas committed to social justice and community impact.

Cristina is an involved community activist and volunteer. She currently sits on the Board of the Hispanic Association for Corporate Responsibility (HACR) an organization that advances the inclusion of Hispanics in Corporate America and promotes corporate responsibility; and of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) an organization that brings together Hispanic leaders to establish policy priorities that address, and raise public awareness of, the major issues affecting the Latino community and the nation. She also serves on the Board of Action Aid International USA, an organization that advocates reforms in US foreign and economic policies to fight poverty in the Global South, and on the National Urban Fellows’ Leadership Advisory Council. She has served on many other Boards, among them AYUDA, an organization serving low-income immigrants in the Washington, D.C. area, especially victims of human trafficking and domestic violence; the New Door Fund Advisory Committee at the Washington Area Women’s Foundation; and the National Minority Aids Council.

Prior to joining the National Hispana Leadership Institute, Cristina served as Deputy Executive Director of the Center for Community Change (CCC), a national social justice organization that focuses on strengthening, connecting, and mobilizing grassroots groups and leaders to enhance their leadership, voice and power. While at the Center and because of her extensive work on attaining rights for immigrants in the U.S., she became a sought after spokesperson on the immigrant rights movement.

Cristina was also Vice President of MOSAICA, a multicultural non-profit organization that provides organizational development assistance to other non-profits in the U.S. and internationally; and Vice President for Institutional Development at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), where she managed four program areas: health, education, elderly, and leadership development.

Of Cuban heritage, Cristina was born in Colombia, S.A. and raised in Florida. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of South Florida in Tampa, and a Master’s in Social Foundations of Education from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

About the President