In 2009, NHLI created the Rising Star Awards to recognize Latina leaders under 30 for their accomplishments. The 2011 Rising Stars will be honored at the Rising Stars Breakfast to be held at the Executive Leadership Training Conference and Mujer Awards on November 4, 2011.
Ms. Elisa is a first generation Chicana born and raised in El Monte, a small, mainly Latino community east of Downtown Los Angeles. Throughout her childhood Ms. Perez's parents taught her that acquiring an education was the key to happiness and if she was wanted to be someone in life, it had to be done right. As a child in several bilingual education programs, she struggled to learn the basics of a language that seemed so common to everyone else. Through her hard work and dedication, Ms. Perez was able to excel throughout her primary and secondary schooling and earned a full academic scholarship to Georgetown University in Washington, DC. As an undergraduate student who was socially conscious of the achievement gap within the Latino community, she envisioned herself as an advocate of change from within; Ms. Perez wants to help people. It was after this realization that she started working with the District of Columbia Public Schools system and accepted her calling in the classroom. Ms. Perez currently resides in El Monte, California.
Ivet was born in Southern California, raised in El Paso, Texas, and relocated to Las Vegas, NV with her family in 1999. Ivet comes from a proud Mexican family. With youth being the center of importance in the work of Mrs. Santiago, she has experience working with children and youth in different capacities. She was previously the Program Manager for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Leadership Education for the Advancement of Diverse Student Success (L.E.A.D.S.S), a community based education and service program initiative to increase the number of underrepresented, low income, and diverse youth to graduate high school and pursue higher education.
Before joining UNLV, Ivet served as the Luz Community Development Coalition, AmeriCorps Program Director, a national service program which supports a broad range of local service organizations that engage thousands of Americans in intensive service to meet critical community needs. In her capacity as director, she managed, trained, and placed over 50 members at numerous local non-profit organizations.
Currently, she is the Executive Director for Nevada Child Seekers, a non-profit organization where we advocate for and engage in prevention, identification and location efforts on behalf of missing and exploited children.
She is a key founder of Kappa Delta Chi sorority at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; making it the first community service Latina sorority in the state and on campus. She was recently awarded during the 2011 National Convention, the “Rising Professional of the Year” award.
Ivet has also been an active member of the Latin Chamber of Commerce for many years. In 2008, she was appointed to direct the annual Latin@ Youth Leadership Conference, a six day full immersion leadership summer program which takes every year at UNLV. Ivet also serves as a commissioner for the Nevada State Juvenile Justice Commission.
A proud UNLV alumnus, Ivet holds her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services Counseling and a Masters degree in Social Work. She is also a very proud mother of a 20 month old baby girl, Isabelle “Izzy” Santiago.