October 2020

Jose Carrillo

Líder del Mes Octubre

Jose Carrillo is a proud graduate from the California State University of Los Angeles. He graduated with a Bachelor's of Arts in Communications, with an emphasis in Social Change. Since graduating, Jose has strived diligently to demonstrate that CSULA graduates can exceed their circumstances. Jose has pursued a career in computer science, landing a consultant position with USC. However, his true passion lies in his project company, Oxelotl Creative.

Oxelotl Creative specializes in graphic design, website management, and marketing. Jose has worked with other small businesses, like Miranda Ink in Santa Ana and Kidz Drip Boutique in La Habra, developing graphics, boosting engagement, designing logos, and maintaining their websites. He hopes that this step forward with USC will propel him to new heights and serve as a foundation for his future endeavors.

March 2020

Paolo Riveros

Líder del Mes Marzo

Paolo_Riveros.pngPaolo Riveros is a transgender activist and visual storyteller born in Lima, Peru. He arrived in California at the age of 15 with hopes of pursuing higher education. While he worked towards his Associate’s Degree in Arts from Pasadena City College, his passion for photography sparked in him the need to tell stories.

With minimal knowledge but with great desire, he started his career as a nightlife photographer for various alternative scenes throughout the city of Los Angeles, and later discovered his interest in documentary photography. Since then, he has formed a body of work at the intersection of immigrant and transgender issues which deeply impact the way he sees the world.

In 2018, he was selected from a pool of 200+ applicants to become a Post-Production Fellow with Brave New Films. Throughout the one year fellowship, he developed his skills as video editor, camera operator, director and producer while creating content that is inspirational and engaging.

As he continues to write stories with light, he hopes that his work serves as a tool to uplift voices of marginalized communities and constant calls to action.

Learn more about Paolo's remarkable journey and check out his portfolio

January 2020

Helen Romero Shaw

Líder del Mes Enero

Helen_Romero_Shaw.pngNewly elected Interim President of United Latinx Fund, Helen Romero Shaw has been with the organization since its inception, nearly 30 years! As Public Affairs Manager for the Southern California Gas Company, Helen is responsible for the management of Public Affairs and Government Relations functions for thirteen cities in the West San Gabriel Valley.

Prior to joining SoCalGas, Helen was an Agency Relations/Planning Associate with the Los Angeles United Way. Helen is a graduate of California State University, Northridge and received a Certificate in Management Effectiveness from the USC School of Business.

Helen currently serves as the President of the Alhambra Chamber Board of Directors, immediate past president of the Asian Youth Center Board of Directors and also serves on the boards of the East Los Angeles College Foundation, the San Gabriel Valley Public Affairs Network and the Rosemead Chamber of Commerce.

In addition, Helen is also a county commissioner, appointed by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, where she serves as First Vice President of the Commission that oversees programs for older adults, with particular emphasis on multi-cultural and low income seniors.

November 2019

Diego Sepúlveda

Líder del Mes Noviembre

Diego_Sepulveda_ULF_Leader_November.pngDiego Sepúlveda currently serves as the California Deputy Organizing Director for the Warren for President Campaign. As a lifelong advocate for justice, he has worked tirelessly advocating for the LGBTQ community, immigrant rights, worker justice, environmental justice, and college affordability and accessibility.

Sepúlveda has been presented a Scroll by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and named a “40 under 40” leader by the Empowerment Congress, founded by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

In addition, Sepúlveda also serves as Civil Service Commissioner in the City of Huntington Park, President of the UCLA First Generation Alumni Network, and Coordinator of the Southeast LA Coalition. He is an alumnus of the LGBTQ Victory Institute Fellowship, Coca Cola's NextGen LGBTQ Leaders' Initiative, Equality California Institute, and the Young Elected Official Network's Front Line Leaders Academy.

 October 2019

Francesca Vega

Líderes Latinx (Latinx Heritage Month)

Francesca_Vega_Latinx_Heritage_Month_2019.pngFrancesca Vega began her appointment as Vice Chancellor of Community & Government Relations at the University of California, San Francisco, on August 26, 2019. Reporting directly to UCSF’s Chancellor and leading a team of Community & Government Relations professionals, Francesca facilitates the university’s interactions with local, state and federal governments, as well as its relationship with the business community, neighboring communities and various other stakeholder entities.

Prior to beginning her appointment at UCSF, Francesca was active in the political and public policy arenas for the last 15 years in Sacramento and Los Angeles. Education and access to higher education are Francesca's priority issues as a means of empowering historically impoverished communities. Strengthening the educational pipeline through access to affordable educational opportunities has been a critical aspect of Francesca's personal interests and professional work in the legislature and in public higher education. Having worked in various political campaigns over the years, Francesca is a skilled advocate and coalition builder.

Prior to working at UCSF, Francesca served as Vice President of Government and Community Relations at Cal State Northridge, and served as an Assistant Director of State Government Relations at UCLA. She began her professional career in the California State Assembly in 2001 and relocated to Los Angeles from Sacramento in 2005 to work with the late Assemblymember Marco Firebaugh. Francesca graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in government and a minor in sociology from California State University, Sacramento.

Francesca is currently a board member of the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project, and was previously a board member of various other civic organizations in the Southern California region including the Child Development Institute, Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed), the Valley Industry & Commerce Association (VICA), where she served as Co-Chair of the Education Committee, and the 33rd California Congressional District Leadership Council. Born and raised in Yuba City, California, Francesca now considers San Francisco her home.

September 2019

Alejandra Velázquez

Líderes Latinx (Latinx Heritage Month)

Alejandra_Velazquez_Latinx_Heritage_Month_2019.pngAlejandra Velázquez is a first generation American born and raised in East Los Angeles, and a proud graduate of Garfield High School. She earned a B.A. in History from Yale University and a J.D. from UCLA School of Law’s David J. Espstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy.

Velázquez has more than fifteen years of experience in public policy, advocacy, coalition building, and multicultural and multilingual outreach. As Director of Public Affairs at Oportun, she oversees public policy, advocacy efforts and grassroots partnerships. Velázquez started her professional career as a field deputy for CA Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez.

In addition to serving on the United Latinx Fund Board of Directors, Velázquez also serves on the boards of Inner-City Law Center and Uncommon Good. She is an alumna of the Marshall Memorial Fellowship and the HOPE Leadership Institute.

September 2019

Marlon Morales

Líderes Latinx (Latinx Heritage Month)

Marlon_Morales_Latinx_Heritage_Month_2019.pngIn honor of Hispanic Heritage month, ULF highlights one of our newest board members, Marlon Morales. Born in El Salvador and raised in Los Angeles, Marlon is an exceptional leader in the philanthropic and healthcare sectors, and a thoughtful visionary and humanitarian.

Marlon’s fundraising portfolio includes more than a decade at Liberty Hill raising more than $15 million in revenue to support social equity causes throughout Southern California before crossing over to healthcare. He currently manages international client relations at Growing Generations, a globally distinguished and trailblazing full-service surrogacy and egg donation agency. The company is building and growing families in the United States and more than 50 countries worldwide.

In his first years at Growing Generations, Marlon was engaged in sales, client development and project managed a special initiative to expand the company in Latin America. About to celebrate five years with the company, Marlon is focused on VIP client services in the company’s USA surrogacy program.

Marlon is also strong advocate of inclusion across industries. He’s been instrumental in building awareness and raising support for causes like the Regiment of the Black and Tans, San Gabriel Valley Consortium on Homelessness, and the Christopher Street West Association which produces LA Pride.

Marlon studied Chemistry at Glendale Community College and Cultural Anthropology from UCLA, and for a while, taught Community Economic Development at Los Angeles Trade Technical College.

Please help us acknowledge Marlon—a true fighter for equity and justice and a pillar in the Latinx community.

September 2019

Laura Barrera

Líderes Latinx (Latinx Heritage Month)

Laura_Barrera_Latinx_Heritage_Month_2019__hi-res_final_.pngLB Consulting’s Principal, Laura Barrera, is a public and government relations expert with more than 23 years of experience. Ms. Barrera has worked for many high profiled elected officials including California State Controller John Chiang, State Senator Ricardo Lara, State Assembly Member Marco A. Firebaugh, Los Angeles Councilmember Jose Huizar, and consulted on projects impacting real-estate development, construction, education, census, social services, environmental and transportation.

She has also worked with multiple corporations, municipalities, counties, school districts, nonprofit organizations and in multiple states on project and stakeholder engagement. She has a vast network of relationships with local, state, and federal elected officials, corporations, community leaders and is astute in strategic coalition building.

Ms. Barrera earned a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from California State University, Humboldt, where she graduated with honors and was awarded the prestigious David Kalb Award for Excellence in Government Leadership.  She also studied at Guangxi University in China.  Her extensive community involvement includes serving on several nonprofit, private boards and volunteering with the East Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club, East Los Angeles Advisory Committee, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Girls Today, Women Tomorrow, and Hispanas Organized for Political Equality.

August 2019

Alma Martinez

Líder del Mes Agosto

Alma_Martinez_ULF_Leader_of_the_Month.pngAlma K. Martinez is the recently hired City Manager for the City of El Monte—a city where 65% of the population is Latinx. Now holding the top executive position at City Hall, she’s the first Latina City Manager for a major municipality in Los Angeles County! Additionally, Martinez was recently elected to the ULF Board of Directors.

Before her tenure at the City of El Monte, Martinez served as the City Manager for the City of Lynwood. Prior to joining the City of Lynwood, she was the Assistant City Manager for the City of Compton. Martinez was the first Latina to serve in this capacity. One of Martinez’s accomplishments in Compton included the lead economic incentive negotiations for UPS which will yield: over 70 million dollars of investment with a close to 1 million dollars of tax revenues per year; and over 300 union jobs which includes 50 positions for Compton residents.

Martinez brings over a decade of experience in building private-public relationships. In the private sector, as the Vice President for a major development firm, Martinez researched and identified new development opportunities throughout the Country by working with local government municipalities and consultants. She managed development projects from conceptual design through project execution; including entitlements, zoning, permitting, environmental impact reports, pre-construction and construction activities.

Martinez is well-versed in the utilization of various financing tools; including New Market Tax Credits (NMTC), a Federal Program designed to spur revitalization efforts in low-income and impoverished communities across the United States. Of special note, the NMTC Program provides tax credit incentives to investors for equity investments through certified Community Development Entities, which invest in low-income communities. Martinez participated in financial transactions involving the financial deal structuring for various projects and the deployment of NMTCs.

Before joining the private sector, Martinez ran the day-to-day operations of the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office-Dispute Resolution Program where she trained mediators, conducted and supervised thousands of mediations and negotiations for both the private and public sector. During her work at the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, Martinez worked as a Community Outreach Coordinator for the Code Enforcement Unit where she created strategic outreach plans to promote code enforcement activities including unit prosecutions and housing assistance programs.

Martinez is a graduate of UCLA where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, with a minor in Political Science. For her graduate studies, she attended the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs where she earned a Master Degree in Urban Planning.

March 2019

Mari Riddle

Líder del Mes Marzo

Mari_Riddle_ULF.pngIn May 2017, Mari Riddle assumed the Executive Director position of Grand Performances, a nationally recognized 30+ year performing arts organization located in California Plaza, the only DTLA office building complex with an onsite performing arts venue and visual arts facility.

Grand Performances mission is to inspire community, celebrate diversity, and unite Los Angeles through free access to global performing arts. Mari is leading this organization through a program expansion bringing performances to communities across Los Angeles County as well as at LAX.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Grand Performances presents Chile’s Pascuala Ilabaca y Fauna for her Los Angeles premier on March 30th. Mari has the rare distinction of having performed twice at Grand Performances before assuming her role as Executive Director.

In her 29 years of public and non-profit experience, Mari has focused her work primarily on low-income communities, especially women, immigrants and people of color. Her areas of expertise include Community Economic Development (15 years in this sector including Executive Director of Coalition for Women’s Economic Development and of TELACU Community Capital, and Los Angeles Regional Director of Pacific Community Ventures, all CDFIs) and Adult Education/Literacy (as President/CEO of Centro Latino for Literacy she received the 2014 James Irvine Leadership Award in recognition of her work in bringing thousands of non-literate Spanish speakers online).

As a performer Mari co-founded two music groups, toured North America and recorded four albums. As an arts organization administrator, she was the Executive Director of the First Traditional Latin American Music Festival in Los Angeles and the 2nd Executive Director of the Friends of the Levitt Pavilion, MacArthur Park.

Mari holds an MA in Urban Planning from UCLA and a BA in Latin American Studies from Brown University.

February 2019

Oscar Delgado

Líder del Mes Febrero

ULF_Oscar_Delgado.pngOscar Delgado is currently a member of the LA84 Foundation, which is the Legacy of the 1984 Olympics and serves as Vice President of Partnerships and Events. The LA84 Foundation is a nationally recognized leader in support of youth sport programs and advocates for the important role sports participation plays in positive youth development. The foundation supports hundreds of non- profit youth sports organizations throughout Southern California annually, trains coaches, commissions research, convenes conferences and maintains the world’s premier Olympic and sports library collection.

His professional career started at the Los Angeles Dodgers as a member of the Media Relations Department. He then transitioned to being a member of the revenue generating ticket sales department where he began as an inside sales representative and rose to being a senior account executive. Delgado would transition one more time while at the Dodgers and joined the Community Relations Department where he took the role of Senior Manager of Neighborhood & Government Affairs. In addition to his work at the Los Angeles Dodgers, Oscar has been a guest lecturer specializing in Sports Management at ESPOL University in Guayaquil Ecuador. He is an active member of the PBS SOCAL Advisory Council, the Indiana University Alumni Association and the American Cancer Society.

The Los Angeles native was an NCAA division I athlete in springboard and platform diving and competed in the 2000 and 2004 World Cup of diving. He was also a member of the championship team that won the 2004 US Nationals Diving team title. Oscar received a bachelor of science in Marketing and Spanish from the University of Wyoming and a Master of Science in Kinesiology and Sports Marketing from Indiana University.


December 2018

John Echeveste

Líder del Mes Deciembre

John_Echeveste.pngJohn Echeveste joined LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes as CEO in September, 2014. LA Plaza is the country’s only museum dedicated to the history, art and culture of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. Established in 2011 in two historic buildings in downtown Los Angeles, LA Plaza operates as part of the County of Los Angeles and is a Smithsonian affiliate.

Echeveste was previously a partner with VPE Public Relations in South Pasadena, California, for more than 25 years. In that capacity, he helped develop public relations programs for major national accounts such as McDonald’s, AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Disneyland, Southern California Edison, Televisa Foundation, Target Stores, DirecTV, Nestlé, Museum of Latin America Art, California Science Center and others. 

He also serves on the boards of the Los Angeles County Library Foundation, California State University Fullerton College of Communications Advisory Board, LA Music & Art School and has previously chaired the boards and led development campaigns for the Wall Las Memorias, East LA YMCA, the Hispanic Public Relations Association, the Public Relations Global Network and others.

Echeveste is a graduate of California State University Fullerton with a BA in Communications and holds professional certificates from USC.

November 2018

Anthony Duarte

Líder del Mes Noviembre

Anthony_Duarte_Noviembre.pngAnthony Duarte was sworn in to the Board of Education to the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District on August 9, 2012 and was elected to a full term in November 2013. The Hacienda La Puente Unified School District is the largest school district in the San Gabriel Valley and one of the largest suburban school districts in the state of California.

A product of the Hacienda-La Puente Unified School District himself, Duarte later went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from Loyola Marymount University.

In 2009, Duarte joined the district staff of Rep. Judy Chu where he handled education, labor, and small business issues.  In September of 2015, Duarte accepted a position as CEO of the Regional Chamber of Commerce – San Gabriel Valley.  The RCCSGV provides advocacy, education, and networking resources for a better business environment in the San Gabriel Valley.  He is also the current Advisory Council Co-Chair for the Los Angeles County Business Federation. BizFed is a massive, diverse grassroots alliance that unites and amplifies the voice of business.

Duarte is the former Chair of the La Puente Planning Commission and previously served on the City’s Education Commission. He sits on the Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Club of the West San Gabriel Valley, working with young people from disadvantaged economic, social and family circumstances throughout the San Gabriel Valley. He is also currently serving on the Board of Trustees of the La Puente Valley ROP.  LPVROP is a collaborative 21st Century College and Career readiness education program serving Bassett Unified School District, Hacienda La Puente Unified School District, and Rowland Unified School District.

October 2018

Elia Sanchez

Líderes Latinx (Latinx Heritage Month)

Elia_Sanchez.pngCommunity Engagement expert Elia Sanchez most recently served as the Director of Internships and Mentor Programs at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. In her role, Sanchez established strategic partnerships across the entertainment industry to secure internships, job shadowing and mentoring opportunities that prepare students for leadership roles and success in the film, television and interactive media communities.

Prior to joining USC, Sanchez was Director of Community Integration at 21st Century Fox. While at Fox, she headed all strategic community integration efforts. She developed, managed and funded strategic community partnerships, while cultivating relationships with industry tastemakers and key community & political leaders, nonprofit organizations and elite education institutions.

During her tenure, Sanchez engaged communities of color at strategic community events nationwide to cultivate increased brand awareness for all the 21st Century Fox entertainment businesses including Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Deportes, Fox Sports, FX, Fox Searchlight, Fox Film, Fox Home Entertainment, Fox Animation, National Geographic, and National Geographic Mundo. She engaged communities around shows such as Empire, Gotham, American Idol, The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story and films such as The Birth of a Nation, Peanuts the Movie, The Book of Life and Rio 1 & 2 to name a few.

Today, Sanchez consults with several organizations including Corral Consulting, The San Gabriel Valley Consortium on Homelessness, United Latinx Fund, Allied Integrated Marketing and Boca Juniors Los Angeles. She also serves on the Hispanic Scholarship Fund LA Advisory Board and volunteers at a number of entertainment industry events geared towards advocating for diversity and inclusion practices.

Sanchez’s professional recognitions include being featured by Latino Leaders Magazine as a “Club Leader of the Future,” in 2012; Honored by the City of LA Department of Water and Power, 2012 and Honored by President Obama’s President’s Committee for the Arts & Humanities, 2013.

Sanchez graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and received her Master of Communication Management from the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

October 2018

Denise Campos

Líderes Latinx (Latinx Heritage Month)

Denise_Campos.pngDenise Campos has over 15 years of professional experience in public affairs, community outreach and government relations.

Campos works at Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) as a Public Affairs Manager covering 14 cities in the Southeast Los Angeles region. SoCalGas is the nation’s largest natural gas distribution company, serving 21.1 million customers across 12 counties.

Campos’ career in public service spanned a decade, working for Los Angeles City Council Members Ruth Galanter and Jose Huizar, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, LAUSD School Board Member Tamar Galatzan, and the Commission for Children, Youth and Their Families.

Campos was appointed by the Senator Pro-Tem to the California State Architects Board (2014-2018), and Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti appointed her to the El Pueblo Historical Monument Authority Commission (2015-present). Campos is a graduate of the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) Leadership Institute, the Southern California Leadership Network’s Leadership LA, and the Environmental Leadership Academy at Cal State San Marcos Temecula campus.

Campos is currently on the boards of the Los Angeles Trade-Tech College Foundation, Lynwood Partners Educational Foundation, Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA, and the following Chamber of Commerce boards: Boyle Heights, Hawthorne, Huntington Park, and Montebello.  

Campos received a bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Mexican-American Studies from San Diego State University.

Campos attended LAUSD public schools in the community of Eagle Rock. Her parents immigrated to the United States from Mexico and she is the first in her family to graduate from college.

October 2018

Roberto Martinez

Líderes Latinx (Latinx Heritage Month)

Roberto_Martinez.pngRoberto Martinez is a Google National Speaker and Digital Coach. He works as a community liaison for Google where he educates and assist SMB owners on how to leverage Google tools and services. In his role he has worked with various city, state, and federal elected and appointed officials bringing Google tools to their respective regions.

Martinez also has a digital marketing agency with experience working with global Fortune 500 companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Cisco, Hitachi, Hyatt, and McDonald’s.

Prior to entering the private sector, Martinez worked for the Canadian Foreign Service as well as the U.S. State Department where he focused on foreign direct investment and political engagement. He was a 2017 U.S. - Spain Young Leaders Fellow, a 2013 Canadian Leadership Orientation Fellow and is also a Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Leadership Program alumni and holds an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management and a B.A. from UCLA.

October 2018

Lupe De La Cruz III

Líderes Latinx (Latinx Heritage Month)

Lupe_De_La_Cruz_III.pngAs Senior Director of Government Affairs for PEPSICO, Lupe De La Cruz manages political and public policy activities for 19 states in the western region of the United States. In its global portfolio of food and beverage brands, PepsiCo has 22 different brands that generate more than $1 billion each in annual retail sales. With net revenues of over $65 billion, PepsiCo’s main businesses also make hundreds of other enjoyable foods and beverages that are respected household names throughout the world.

Lupe represents PEPSICO’s diverse convenient food and beverages portfolio with policy makers and community leaders and directs PEPSICO’s community engagement in those states.  With a cross divisional team, Lupe supports PEPSICO’s national initiatives in the Latino community.  He joined PEPSICO in 2005 and is most proud of his role in fostering relationships with the communities he works in. 

Lupe’s interest in government affairs began working on several political and issue campaigns; a product of following his father to many political events and rallies as a youth.   His passion for public policy issues was cemented while working in the office of Congressman Esteban E. Torres and later as Advocacy Director of the AARP California State office.  While at AARP, with a cadre of volunteer activist and dedicated professional staff, he developed legislative strategies that led to the enactment of over a dozen consumer protection bills ranging in policy areas from healthcare and financial privacy to home owner protections and long-term care.

Born in Fresno, California, he grew up in the Greater Los Angeles area. Lupe graduated from UCLA with a degree in Political Science.  As an undergraduate he served as a reserve deputy with the County of Los Angeles Juvenile Probation Department.  He ran a literacy program in the juvenile probation camps and later managed caseloads in the Gang Alternative and Prevention Program.

Currently, Lupe serves on the Board of Directors of LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, which celebrates and cultivates an appreciation for the enduring and evolving influence of Mexican and Mexican-American culture, with a specific focus upon the unique Mexican-American experience in Los Angeles and Southern California.  He also serves as Board Secretary for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, and on the Board of theDream.US and the Getty House Foundation.

October 2018

Susan Rubio

Líderes Latinx (Latinx Heritage Month)

Susan_Rubio.pngSusan Rubio is an educator, a Baldwin Park City Councilwoman and candidate for the Senate District 22, which covers southern and eastern parts of the San Gabriel Valley.

Born in Juarez, Mexico, Rubio has been a councilwoman for the last nine years and a public school teacher in Monrovia for 17 years. As a community leader, Rubio has mentored dozens of young women, helped create a domestic violence advocacy program, and pushed for tougher environmental protections. She also fought alongside businesses owners and residents against a development proposal and successfully saved hundreds of homes and jobs.

Rubio is running because she believes the lack of women and Latina representation in the California Legislature is shutting out minority voices that need to be heard. Her years of experience and her personal story have given her a unique understanding for how to tackle the problems that face California and the country. 

October 2018

Marcel Rodarte

Líderes Latinx (Latinx Heritage Month)

Marcel_Rodarte.pngMarcel Rodarte grew up in Norwalk, CA and attended Ramona and Moffitt Elementary schools before going on to graduate from Norwalk High School in 1990.

Rodarte enlisted in the U.S. Navy while still in high school and served for four years as an Aviation Electronics Technician on F/A-18 aircraft from 1990 – 1994. Rodarte then enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Reserve where he served from 1994 – 2011. He retired with 21 years of total service in December 2011 with the rank of Senior Master Sergeant (E-8).

His military service took him to every continent in the world including numerous deployments in support of regional conflicts, humanitarian relief efforts, and the War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. His last deployment was a six-month tour to Germany to support surge operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rodarte began his professional career as a federal employee in 1997. During his federal service, he worked for the Department of the Navy, Department of the Air Force, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland Security, where he worked as an electronics technician, quality assurance specialist, program manager, and a mission support supervisor.

Elected to the Norwalk City Council in March 2011, Rodarte went on to serve as the city’s mayor from March 2014 through March 2015.

In 2016, Rodarte became the third Executive Director of the California Contract Cities Association. The CCCA is the second largest local government association in California and serves 76-member cities and more than 7.5 million residents in Los Angeles County and beyond.

Rodarte is also the proud father of a twelve-year old daughter and firmly believes in family while inspiring and empowering today’s youth.

September 2018

Denise Díaz

Líderes Latinx (Latinx Heritage Month)

Humbled and excited for the opportunity to serve the residents of South Gate, Denise Díaz was elected to the South Gate City Council on April 11, 2017, to serve her first four-year term. Her willingness to serve the community is instilled by her family's exemplary values of service to others, equality, justice and faith.


In addition, Díaz is also the current Director of the non-profit, ‘Institute for the Attention of Immigrants’, originating from the State of Jalisco, Mexico, where she provides a wide range of services to Mexican nationals throughout the United States. In this role she develops and coordinates community engagement and leadership training for the immigrant community. Some of the projects Díaz has worked on include; “Familias Sin Fronteras” Families Without Borders, a family reunification program for those who haven’t been able to see their parents in over ten years due to their legal status. Denise is passionate about empowering individuals to be their own best advocate and believes that civic engagement is key to a thriving community.

September 2018

Cesar Zaldivar-Motts

Líderes Latinx (Latinx Heritage Month)

Cesar_Motts.pngCesar Zaldivar-Motts has been the Executive Director of the Southeast Community Development Corporation (SCDC) for the past ten years.The SCDC is a non-profit community and economic development organization focused on serving the residents of Southeast Los Angeles County.

In addition, Cesar also serves on the Board of Directors of the Rio Vista YMCA, Southeast Salvation Army, Rio Hondo Boys and Girls Club, HP Police Activity League, and Human Service Association. He graduated from the University of Missouri, Kansas City with a Masters of Public Administration and has 22 years of non-profit management experience.

September 2018

Jessica Ancona

Líderes Latinx (Latinx Heritage Month)

Jessica Ancona

Jessica Ancona is a proud, lifelong resident of the City of El Monte and a daughter of hardworking immigrants from Mexico. Jessica was born and raised in this great city of El Monte, and has dedicated her adult life to public service as an educator and elected official.

Jessica attended public schools in El Monte, and graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles. While attending UCLA, Ancona was challenged by one of her professors who insisted that she use her education and experiences to be a sound voice and a positive influence in her local community by running for local office.  In addition to obtaining her bachelor’s degree from UCLA, she has earned a Teaching Credential and Master’s in Education from Azusa Pacific University and an Administrative Services Credential from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Jessica is currently a middle school principal in the city of Rosemead. Prior to becoming a school administrator she was a high school teacher for 10 years. During her tenure as a teacher, Jessica took on several additional leadership roles as the Foreign Language Department Chair, Cheer advisor for 4 years with over 40 students in her program and as a Varsity Softball coach.  For the past two decades, Jessica has been an advocate for our children, their education and quality of life.

In 2013, Jessica was first elected to the El Monte City School District Governing Board, where she is currently serving as Vice-President and served as the President in 2016 and 2017. Jessica also serves as a Delegate Assembly Member for the California School Boards Association (CSBA) with 300 other members from throughout the State of California. She was elected to serve on CSBA by local school boards within Region 23. CSBA’s Delegate Assembly plays a critical role in bridging local districts, county offices, the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Delegates ensure that the association reflects the interests of school districts and county offices of education throughout the state.

As an elected El Monte City School District Governing Board Member for five years, Jessica supported building state of the art facilities; re-implemented music programs for all students; opened the Jeff Seymour Family Center housing over 30 community service providers for our families; and maintained a fiscally sound budget.

Jessica is a proud mother to her son and daughter, both who have attended local public schools in El Monte, one entering his first year of college. Her mother and father still live in the City of El Monte along with many of her family members.

J.M. Longoria

Influencer Profile

JM_Longoria.jpgActor/Writer/Producer J.M. Longoria is an Imagen Award-nominated actor for his leading role as Enrique Salazar in the award-winning telenovela/online series Sin Vergüenza.  The series won the Imagen Award in 2014 for its first season as "Best Online Series: Informative or Educational" and just released its third season worldwide on January 8th, 2018.

JM is best known for his breakthrough supporting role in Sony Pictures’ feature film Miracles From Heaven, starring Jennifer Garner, Queen Latifah, Eugenio Derbez and directed by Patricia Riggen. Some of his other notable credits include co-starring roles in the ABC sitcoms, “The Real O’Neals”, starring Noah Galvin, Martha Plimpton, and Jay R. Ferguson, “Don’t Trust The B— in Apartment 23”, starring Krysten Ritter, Dreama Walker, and James Van Der Beek, and in the FOX sitcom, “Mulaney”, starring John Mulaney, Nasim Pedrad, and Martin Short.

As a producer JM will soon be releasing the reality docu-series "Bushido Battleground" which following 40 MMA fighters from around the world, profiling the sacrifices they make for their careers. The show is executive produced by Robert Rodriguez.

Melinna Bobadilla

Influencer Profile

Melinna_Bobadilla.jpegMelinna Bobadilla is an actor, educator, voice over artist, and the co-host of Tamarindo Podcast - Latinx voices at the intersection of politics & pop culture serving comedic & critical interventions. Melinna holds an M.A. in Theater & Education from New York University, a BA from UC Berkeley in Ethnic Studies & Mass Communications and is passionate about the intersection of social justice and media/arts while focused on equity race & gender representation.

Most recently, you may have seen her portraying the tough Pachuca ‘Bertha’ in the historic revival of Luis Valdez’s Zoot Suit at the Mark Taper Forum opposite Oscar nominee Demian Bichir. You can also see her work as the lead in the comedic thriller We Know Where You Live, currently on the film festival circuit and also as Lidia in the buzzworthy MACRO digital media series GENTEfied, executive produced by and starring America Ferrera, which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

In addition to being an on-camera artist, Melinna is proud to have honed her skills as a seasoned stage actor, after having performed in theaters across LA, the SF Bay area, New York City and abroad in Spain, India, and Cuba- but her creative roots stem as an ensemble member of Luis Valdez’s renowned company El Teatro Campesino. She is also a multidisciplinary teaching artist, lecturer and consultant, focusing on Theater of the Oppressed, Theater for organizing, diversity & inclusion  and educational theater curriculum and has taught in the non-profit sector (MALDEF), public schools, arts institutions (Center Theatre Group, Coburn School) universities (USC, NYU, LMU, UofM, etc) and international conferences (Cuban Hip Hop Symposium (Havana), Unitinere  (Madrid, Spain), Jana Sanskriti (Kolkata, India).

You can hear her voice on multiple national radio/TV spots as well as hit dubbed novelas (she was the voice of young Celia Cruz for Telemundo’s Celia)  Call her if you want to talk about Intersectional Feminism, Selena,  Representation of Latinxs in TV/Film, or Salsa recipes. Born & raised in Los Angeles y orgullosatente bilingue!

IG @MelinnaBobadila

Ana Sheila Victorino

Salón Series Speaker Profile

Ana_Victorino.pngAna Sheila Victorino is an experienced technology professional committed to to increasing access and exposure to resources for underserved communities.

Ana Sheila was most recently the product manager for cyber security leader Symantec where she managed all mobile and desktop platforms for their VPN consumer product and launched their cross-platform product in over 18 countries. She was formerly a product manager for a social fashion e-commerce startup Little Black Bag where she was one of the first 3 employees and defined the original user experience and grew the user base to over 100,000 monthly users.

Her tech trajectory has also included working for notable companies like travel search engine, running operations for a startup incubator run by Facebook, and as a tech consultant advising Latin American tech startups entering the US market.

Beyond her day job, she is passionate about working on endeavors that help, motivate, and allow others to be their best selves personally and professionally. As a senior tech advisor for LOFT, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation workforce initiative, she leads workshops and ‘charlas’ on topics like product management, software development methodologies, but also on topics such as well as health and wellness and personal life hacks. One of Ana Sheila’s proudest achievement was co-founding LAtinas, a public service and leadership development program that targets and trains high school aged Latinas from low income areas in Los Angeles.

Ana Sheila received her BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management where she was the VP of Diversity and Inclusion for the student body and also served on the board for the Latino Management Association, and the LGBTQ association. She currently continues to serve on the board of ALMA, the Latino Alumni organization for UCLA Anderson. Originally from Mexico City, she has a passion for romance languages and is a deeply committed sport, fitness and is a clean eating and primarily plant based enthusiast.

Tony Moraga

Salón Series Speaker Profile

Tony_Moraga.jpgTony Moraga is the Manager of Social Impact for BBVA Compass and leads the bank’s efforts for a portfolio of national and global corporate social responsibility programs such as BBVA Momentum, Opportunity Fellows Program, the Center for Financial Education and diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Previously, he served for four years as the bank's local champion for lending, investments and services for community development efforts in Southern California. He managed certain initiatives for low- to moderate-income communities, such as financial education, charitable contributions, employee engagement and disaster responsiveness.

Prior to his role at BBVA Compass, Tony managed various non-profit organizations focused on economic development and asset-building to support the LGBT community. His expertise is in organizational development, business strategy and access to capital ranging from micro-lending to venture funding. Having run both local and national organizations, he has accumulated a wealth of experience in community development, entrepreneurship and social impact.

Moraga currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Youth Business Alliance in Los Angeles, as a member of the Board of Directors of Casa Familiar in San Diego, and as a member of the Loan Appeals Committee of the Adelante Fund in San Francisco. Additionally, he is a member of Southern California Grantmakers, the Funders Alliance of San Bernardino & Riverside Counties and was named a 2016 Next Generation Latino Philanthropy Fellow from Hispanics in Philanthropy. Previously, he has served on the Board of Directors of HIP Housing and Kitchen Table Advisors in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area.

Nancy C. Mejía

Salón Series Speaker Profile

Nancy_Mejia.jpgNancy C. Mejía is currently the Writer & Story Editor of Vida on the Starz Network. The writer/director was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. In 2014 she was awarded the Latino Film Fund Seed Grant and 2015 Latino Screenwriting Project Fellowship, a lab organized with consulting support from the Sundance Institute. Her short, Mateo, about a Latino teen’s fraught relationship with his abusive father, aired on El Rey Network in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month; and her dramatic screenplay Jennifer’s Tigers, a coming-of-age story following an interracial lesbian couple in the American South in the mid-20th century, was selected as part of NALIP 2015 Diverse Women in Media Residency Lab and a 2014 quarter finalist for the Academy Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting. She is first-generation Salvadoran-American and endeavors to explore and share authentic portrayals of diverse, overlooked communities.

Vivian Romero

Salón Series Moderator Profile

Vivian_Romero.JPGAs a Member of the Montebello City Council and past Mayor and Vice Mayor of her city, Vivian Romero has been a tenacious leader in protecting and improving the quality of life for every constituent.

Vivian is the first openly LGBTQ Councilmember of Montebello, and likewise was Montebello’s first openly LGBTQ Mayor. She is delighted to inspire others, as she has been inspired, to break historic barriers and pave the way for change and opportunity.  

Transcendent issues tackled by the Councilmember in her governmental efforts and charitable enterprises include homelessness, anti-bullying, domestic violence, defending and advancing reproductive rights, environmentalism, public safety and gun violence, economic revitalization and job creation, support for labor, affordable health care and access for all to free, high-quality education. Major initiatives she’s been a key part of have included addressing homelessness through the San Gabriel Riverbed Task Force, clean air through the Advanced Clean Trucks Now Plan, infrastructural projects, jobs and improvements along the Pomona SR-60 Freeway corridor through CalTrans Rehabilitation, renovation of the City of Montebello Veterans Memorial and Constitution Bicentennial Monument, and making Montebello Downtown Plaza Senior Villas (affordable senior housing) ADA compliant.

Always a Democrat, Vivian was elected in 2013 as a first-time candidate and has proved to be a distinguished champion for the city and communities she represents.  Council Member Romero has also been a strong advocate for all cities and unincorporated areas throughout the 32nd State Senate District, having been President of the Independent Cities Association, comprised of 42 cities in Southern California.  In addition, Vivian is L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis’ appointed Alternate on the Metrolink Southern California Regional Rail Authority Board of Directors, and Chair of L.A. Metro’s San Gabriel Valley Service Council.

Vivian lives in Montebello with Shannan Calland, her partner of 16 years.  They belong to Christian Assembly and Evergreen Baptist Churches. A lifelong local resident and daughter of a World War II veteran of the United States Navy, Vivian attended Montebello schools before studying at the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music.  She then embarked on a 20 year career as a music industry professional, including creating and producing the theme song for the Emmy and Golden Globe winning television show “The Shield.” As a successful entrepreneur and small business owner, she has been a significant job creator and has also been an eloquent spokesperson for the arts and their place in our society and our schools.  

Bamby Salcedo

Salón Series Speaker Profile

Bamby_Salcedo.JPGBamby Salcedo is currently the Executive Director of the [email protected] Coalition, where she works to advocate for the specific needs of the Trans [email protected] community that reside in the U.S.A. and works to plan strategies that improve quality of life.

Previously she dedicated eight years working as the Health Education and HIV Prevention Services Coordinator at Children's Hospital Los Angeles - the nation’s largest and most experienced clinical program - providing multidisciplinary healthcare and services to trans youth.

Her remarkable and wide-ranging activist work has brought voice and visibility to not only the trans community, but also to the multiple overlapping communities and issues that her life has touched including migration, HIV, youth, LGBT, incarceration and [email protected] communities. Through her instinctive leadership, she has birthed several organizations that created community where there was none, and advocate for the rights, dignity, and humanity for those who have been without a voice.

Bamby’s work as a collaborator and a connector through a variety of organizations reflects her skills in crossing various borders and boundaries and working in the intersection of multiple communities as well as the intersections of multiple issues. Bamby has served and participated in many local, national and international organizations and planning groups. This work mediates intersections of race, gender, sexuality, age, social class, HIV+ status, immigration status and more.

Bamby has participated as an inspiring keynote speaker in numerous state and national conferences, universities and organizations as well as a workshop leader and panel member.

Her powerful, sobering and inspiring speeches and her warm, down-to-earth presence have provided emotional grounding and perspective for diverse gatherings. She speaks from the heart, as one who has been able to transcend many of her own issues, to truly drop ways of being and coping that no longer served her, issues that have derailed and paralyzed countless lives.  Her words and experience evoke both tears and laughter, sobriety and inspiration.

Her activist public speaking has ranged from testifying to governmental bodies, human rights and social justice organizations, universities and colleges and national and international conferences and featured speaker in various demonstrations and rallies. Bamby speaks to diverse audiences on many topics and intersecting issues.  Bamby has spoken about transgender-related issues, social justice, healthcare, social services, incarceration, immigration and detention as well as professional and economic development for trans people. In 2012, Bamby has been invited to participate in several panels at the White House including in 2012 for Women and Girls National HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and in 2015, Transgender Women of Color and Violence and LGBTQ People of Color Summit. Bamby has also participated as the Opening Plenary Speaker at several conferences, including The 2015 National HIV Prevention Conference, The United States Conference on AIDS in 2009 and 2012. She has participated as facilitator with The PanAmerican Health Organization while developing the Blue Print on how to provide competent health care services for trans people as well as health care for LGBT people and Human Rights in Latin America and The Caribbean. Bamby also has participated in The People of Color Conference as a plenary speaker and the Civil Liberties and Public Policy for reproductive justice conference among other.

Javier Angulo

Salón Series Speaker Profile

Javier_Angulo.jpgJavier Angulo has responsibility for Walmart’s national community and associate engagement strategy with the focus on reinforcing Walmart’s position as the most valued retailer in the community.  Javier was previously responsible for Walmart’s regional and state business growth strategy, legislative and policy affairs, stakeholder outreach, and regional philanthropy in Central/Southern California, Nevada, New Mexico and Hawaii.

Javier has over ten years of experience working in the non-profit and political sectors.  He began his career in Washington, D.C. as a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Fellow and served as a constituent liaison for the Senate Democratic Steering and Coordination Committee.  He returned to California to join the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) where he served as Director of Development. He then joined the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) to direct their national civic engagement programs.  

Prior to joining Walmart, Javier served as a senior associate for Progressive Strategy Partners where he managed political and educational campaigns for local and statewide candidates, ballot initiatives, and public and non-governmental organizations.

Javier is currently Chairman of the LA Plaza de Cultura Y Artes in Los Angeles. He is also a member of the US Conference of Mayors Business Council.  Other current board memberships include: American Red Cross of Los Angeles, Southern California Leadership Network, Valley Industrial and Commerce Association (VICA),  and Adventist White Memorial Hospital Foundation. Javier also co-founded HONOR PAC, a political action committee dedicated to electing Latino LGBT candidates. He served as a mayoral appointee to the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Review Commission and the Los Angeles East Area Planning Commission where he served as President.

Javier earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California Santa Barbara and resides in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles with his partner Ryan and his two doggies Canela and Kobi.


Felicia Escobar Carrillo

Líderes del Mes Febrero

felicia_carrillo.pngFelicia is a seasoned policymaker and coalition-builder with over a decade of experience in the government and nonprofit sectors. From 2009 to 2017, she served as Special Assistant to the President for Immigration Policy.  In this role, Felicia developed President Obama’s immigration policy agenda. 
Among her proudest achievements, Felicia led the White House Task Force on New Americans to expand immigrant and refugee integration efforts at all levels of government, played a key role in implementing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy that provided relief to 800,000 undocumented youth, and managed the Administration’s efforts to pass bipartisan Senate immigration reform legislation in 2013.
Prior to this, Felicia worked in the U.S. Senate for U.S. Senator Ken Salazar during the comprehensive immigration reform debates of 2006 and 2007 and for Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle.  She started her career at the National Council of La Raza advocating for Latinos in the Texas State Legislature.  
Currently, Felicia is the Principal Consultant for the L.A. Justice Fund, a public-private partnership that seeks to increase access to legal services for immigrants in removal proceedings. She is also a Welcoming America Fellow and member of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration.

Helen Hernandez

Salón Series Speaker Profile

Helen is the Founder of The Imagen Foundation and Executive Producer of the Imagen Awards. Over the last 32 years, the Imagen Foundation has honored such entertainment industry professionals such as Placido Domingo, George Lopez, Andy Garcia, Kenny Ortega, Cristina Saralegui, Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, John Leguizamo, Edward James Olmos, Jimmy Smits, Rita Moreno, Jennifer Lopez and Hector Elizondo.  Under her leadership, the Imagen Awards have become one of the most prestigious awards in the entertainment industry and have often been referred to as the “Latino Golden Globes.” These awards exemplify the best of what Hollywood can produce in portraying the image of Latinos and Latino culture. For the last few years, the Imagen Awards have aired on local PBS stations nationally.Helen_Hernandez.jpg

Prior to establishing the Imagen Foundation, Ms. Hernandez was the Vice President of Public Affairs for Embassy Communications (presently Sony Pictures Entertainment). Acting as this major television production company’s local and national liaison, she was most instrumental in developing and supervising various corporate programs that enhanced the company’s reputation in the national community for socially and culturally sensitive programming.

In 1981, Helen was awarded a Fellowship to study Labor History from the National Endowment for the Humanities at City University of New York; presented with a Congressional commendation which was read into the Congressional Record for her work in the entertainment industry by then Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis in 2004; named by The Hollywood Reporter as one of the 25 most influential Latinos in Hollywood; was profiled in Hispanic Executive Magazine in early 2014; and in 2012 she was recognized by the LAPD Hollenbeck PAL with the Humanitarian Award. Most recently, Helen received the 2016 Woman of the Year Award from Los Angeles County First District Supervisor, Hilda Solis.

In addition, Helen is the CEO of the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA), which represents travel media and destination marketing organizations in the United States, Mexico and Canada. NATJA is the 2nd largest association in the United States that represents travel writers, photographers, bloggers, radio and television personalities and is known for creating a community of influencers in the travel media industry.

She is a member of the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) Board of Directors; Los Angeles County Arts Commission; Presidents Council, California State University, Los Angeles; and member, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Helen formerly served on the boards of the national PBS; the Dolores Huerta Foundation; the National Association for the Hispanic Elderly; and Workplace Hollywood.

Helen is married to Bennett Root and has three children: Michelle Ruedy in Simi Valley, CA; Rick Bielke in Washington, D.C. and Jacqueline Lebesnerais in Paris, France as well as seven grandchildren. Helen was raised in Azusa, California and was the oldest daughter out of 12 children.

Lizette Carbajal

Salón Series Speaker Profile

What previous professional experiences were the most helpful in achieving your current career position?

Lizette_Carbajal.JPG"Every experience has provided me the opportunity to learn and grow both personally and professionally. Over the years I have learned that to demonstrate value, I have to look beyond my own function and learn the operation. To really understand how the business works, cross-functional priorities and importance of cultivating relationships with colleagues so we can come together as a team to implement solid strategies. Every professional experience has also afforded me the opportunity to develop long-standing relationships and friendships that have often served as a gut-check throughout my career."

— BIO —

Lizette Carbajal is the Vice President of Community Relations at Telemundo 52 Los Angeles, Telemundo’s West Coast flagship television station, serving the Spanish-speaking community in the Los Angeles market. Lizette spearheads the station’s community relations initiatives to foster awareness about the issues of importance to viewers and continue Telemundo 52’s commitment to inform, empower and enrich the lives of the Hispanic communities it serves.

Lizette has nearly two decades of experience as a skilled communications practitioner, seasoned strategist and respected community relations executive implementing local, regional and national stakeholder engagement and outreach programs for Fortune 500 companies.

Prior to joining Telemundo 52, Lizette was the Manager of Community Education & Outreach at SoCalGas, the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility, serving 20.3 million consumers through 5.7 million meters in more than 500 communities. In her role at SoCalGas, she defined a public outreach model and successfully led a team to implement strategies to prepare customers and communities of SoCalGas’ largest capital investment initiatives such as Advanced Meter and the Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan. Lizette joined SoCalGas in 2006 and held positions implementing marketing and communication programs for both internal and external audiences.

Prior to her tenure at SoCalGas, Lizette worked at Conexión PR, a public relations agency based in Santa Monica, CA, where she managed nationwide public relations campaigns targeting the U.S. Hispanic market for clients within the fashion, finance, public service, and automotive industries.

Lizette is a Southern California native and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Community College District Foundation, Woodcraft Rangers, and LA Plaza Cultura y Artes.

Jennie Carreón

Salón Series Speaker Profile

What’s the one thing you are doing in your personal life that has benefitted your professional career?


"I shut down my phone from 5:30 pm – 8:00pm on weekdays to give my eight year old daughter quality time. After she goes to bed at 8:00pm, I log back on and prepare for the following work day. This has allowed me to balance longer work days and motherhood. It has also allowed my team to structure my days more efficiently so that it supports a healthy work life balance. During times that I need to travel or attend evening events, the forever “motherly guilt” is not as prominent. I have learned to take care of myself in order for me to continue to take care of others."

— BIO —

From Government advocacy to non-profit health care systems and educational programs for high-risk families to clean air coalitions and social justice movements; there is no one more passionate about our community than Jennie Carreón.

Jennie is the AVP for Strategic Partnerships and Foundation Management for AltaMed which delivers more than 930,000 annual patient visits through its 47 sites in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. She is also the Founder and Executive Director of AltaMed’s PAC and oversees fundraising and the endorsement process for Elected Officials in all levels of office for the State of California.

Working closely with AltaMed’s CEO and SVP, Jennie actively participates in multiple phases of interaction with Foundations, Fortune 500 companies, professional organizations, trade groups, and any other entity which has an impact on the demand for quality health care. She also builds and implements strategies to achieve AltaMed’s Foundation priorities and represents the company to promote eliminating disparities in healthcare access in underserved communities.

Prior to joining AltaMed, Jennie served as Senior Advisor to Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa. In this position she served as a liaison to environmental officials and business groups; as well as local, state, and national elected officials and oversaw the largest open space Park initiative in the County. Jennie has also been active in numerous statewide and local political campaigns, and in 2005 Jennie worked as East Side Field Director for the historic Villaraigosa for Mayor Campaign which produced record voter registration and turnout in low-income communities.

Jennie was also on Governor Daviss team of International Relations and worked under the Secretary of Foreign Affairs with an emphasis in Latin America. Her strong ties with Labor and being a daughter of Farm Workers motivated her to work on a State Wide Arbitration Campaign with the United Farm Workers of America. Along with UFW President Arturo Rodriguez and Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee Dolores Huerta, Jennie helped to organize a 150-mile, 10-day march from the San Joaquin Valley to Sacramento that resulted in Governor Gray Davis signing the historic Labor Arbitration Legislation.

Jennie was recently appointed by Senate President Pro Temp Kevin de Leon to The Health Professions Education Foundation whose mission is to encourage and support medical professionals to practice in Californias medically underserved communities. Jennie studied International Relations in 15 different countries around the world and when she isn’t busy with her philanthropic efforts, she enjoys spending time with her 8-year-old daughter, Isabela, on the soccer field.

Avygail Sanchez

Salón Series Speaker Profile

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a career in your field?Avygail_Sanchez.png

"Each career journey through life is different. Here is what I have learned about finding your way into a career:
  • Connect. Don’t be afraid to reach out and connect with someone in your field of interest whether it is at your school, within you network, or someone who touches your network.
  • Learn.  With information at our fingertips via our smart phones, we can easily search for trends, news, projects, and people in any industry. Take time to learn about your field of interest.
  • Show Up and Do The Work. It is not enough to be somewhere, be present and show up as the person you envision yourself to be. When presented with a task, do the work—finish what you start.
  • Ask Questions. Asking the right questions and getting the right answer go hand-in-hand. Whatever you are curious about, just ask. You will be surprised at where questions can lead you.
  • Be Confident. Even when you are scared or nervous, be confident and trust the decision you made."

— BIO —

Avygail Sanchez was born in Los Angeles, California and raised in the City of Huntington Park. She attended Francisco Bravo, M.D. Medical Magnet Senior High School in the community of Boyle

Heights in Los Angeles. She graduated in 1997.

In July 2014, Avygail joined Parsons where she serves as Policy & Community Engagement Manager. Sanchez works from the Parsons’ world headquarters located in Pasadena, California and has nearly 15 years of community and business development experience within the Los Angeles area.

During her industry tenure, Avygail has worked for two other major A/E firms helping to develop business plans and strategic development. She earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles and earned her Master’s in Urban Planning from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs in 2004. While studying at UCLA, Sanchez served as Field Deputy for former Los Angeles City Councilmember and Mayor Antonio R. Villraigosa. Avygail also served on the transition team for LA City Councilmember Jose Huizar in 2005.

Avygail formerly served on the Board of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS), Los Angeles Chapter Board as Chair of the Professional Development Committee. Currently, she serves as a Member of the Mobility 21 Advisory Council; member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce; Member of the Mayor’s Business Council to the U.S. Conference of Mayors; and Board Member of the Pasadena/Sierra Madre YMCA.

Her Policy & Community Engagement efforts are focused throughout the Southern California area with an emphasis on Los Angeles-based agencies such as the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, and LAWA, to name a few. She is a Riordan Leadership Institute Fellow and 2015 graduate of Leadership L.A., Southern California Leadership Network (SCLN) programs and an active member of the Latina Golfers Association (LGA).

Recently, Avygail convened Los Angeles County-based transportation agencies for the launch of the Small Business Partnership Program (SBP) creating a collaborative space to promote, connect, mentor, and grow local small businesses. 

Susan Trigueros

Salón Series Speaker Profile

Susan_Trigueros_2_(3).jpgWhat’s the one thing you are doing in your personal life that has benefitted your professional career?

"The one thing I’ve done in my personal life that has benefitted my career most is being engaged in the community.  Giving back has provided me so many opportunities and rewards.  I’ve served on numerous nonprofit boards including leading a few; participated in countless committees and helped elect thoughtful leaders. This involvement has expanded by professional network, created strong friendships, honed my leadership skills, developed skills I didn’t realize I had or needed and most importantly helped me grow as an individual and professional."

— BIO —

Susan Trigueros is a highly skilled Public Relations professional with twenty years experience in corporate, governmental, community, and media relations.  She joined the Southern California Gas Company in 1982.  Prior to her current position in External Affairs, Susan held several positions within the company’s Accounting and Human Resources departments.  In her position as Regional Public Affairs Manager for Southern California Gas Company, she is responsible for Public Affairs and local community giving strategies in the Los Angeles County area.  Susan manages a professional staff of seven.

Susan attended the University of Southern California where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting.  Susan also serves in a number of leadership positions.  She currently serves on the Central City Association Executive Committee, HOPE Champion Advisory Council, and CSULA College of Economic & Business Advisory Board, is Board Chair of the USC-Latino Alumni Association, Co-Chair of the USC Unruh School of Politics Ambassador program and is a Board member of BizFed, Latinas Lead California, Future Ports, and USC Board of Governors.  Susan has received numerous legislative certificates of recognition for her community and advocacy work.  In 2002 Susan was honored by Women’s Enews as one of the “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” for her work in civic participation, in 2004 she received the HOPE PAC leadership award, in 2007 she received the Corporate Award from Girls Today Women Tomorrow mentoring program, in 2009 she received a USC Widney Alumni House Volunteer Award, in 2012 she received the East Los Angeles Community Youth Center Corporate Award, in 2013 she received the Latina of Influence award from Hispanic Lifestyle and the Women of Influence award from ProAmerica Bank, in 2015 she received Latina Empowerment Mentoring Program Corporate Leader award and ELLAS Leadership award, in 2016 Susan received the USC LAA Legacy Award and in 2017 received the Hermandad Nacional Mexicana Corporate Leadership Award and the Gardena Chamber Outstanding Women’s Award.

Susan received certificates of completion from the Southern California Leadership Network, HOPE Leadership Institute, UCSD Manager’s Toolkit Leadership program, Leadership in Action, USC Executive Development Building Effective Teams and San Marcos Environmental Leadership programs.

Susan resides in Walnut with her husband Mario.  They have seven children and five grandchildren.  She is passionate about social justice issues, supporting leadership development and higher education. Susan most enjoys mentoring youth and young professionals helping them achieve their full potential.

Olga López

Salón Series Speaker Profile

What previous professional experiences were the most helpful in achieving your current career position?

Olga_Lopez.jpg"As the Manager of Special Events at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO),  I worked on behalf of the most prominent city, state and federal elected officials throughout the U.S.  During those years, I recall the environment being both robust and rigorous, which provided a solid foundation in the world of business, and a professionalism that would grow to serve a range of people, as well as a variety of needs.  However, it is my time here as the Senior Outreach Representative in the Diversity & Economic Opportunity Department at Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro LA), where I feel I have truly been able to attain the furthest reach in my career.  In this position, I have the privilege to serve by showing small business owners the way to possibilities, in giving them the opportunity to access the American Dream not only for themselves, but for their families."

— BIO —

Olga López was born in Tijuana, Mexico and at the age of 9 years old her parents relocated to the diverse metropolis that is Los Angeles.   She is the oldest of four children.  

Ms. López has dedicated her professional career to public service.  Over the last 22 years, she has worked in local government and the nation’s leading nonprofit organization that facilitates the full participation of Latinos in the American political process, from citizenship to public service.

Most recently, Ms. López has served the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority for over 13 years.  Today, she serves as Senior Representative in the Strategic Business and Construction Career Services unit within the Diversity & Economic Opportunity Department (DEOD).  As a spokesperson for DEOD, she is responsible for hosting and participating in numerous outreach events where she aims to increase awareness of contract opportunities available through Metro.  At these events, small business owners learn about vendor requirements, the certification process, contract opportunities, engage in networking with other small business owners and large contractors, and develop relationships with Metro.

The Small Business Workshop Series, How to do Business with Metro workshops, Meet the Buyers and Project Managers Program, and the Meet the Primes events are just a few of the programs that Ms. López is responsible for.  

Ms. Lopez, however, began her career at Metro in Construction Relations.  As the Construction Relations Manager leading the public outreach, stakeholder communication and construction impact mitigation programs on three major capital projects, she was the face of the project and maintained the quality control of public information related to construction activities.

Ms. López holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and is a recipient of Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s, 2015 “Mujer Del Año” Award for Women Making a Difference.

Jarrett Barrios

Líderes del Mes Diciembre


Jarrett Barrios serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region. He leads a team of talented humanitarians providing care and comfort to those afflicted by disasters, serving veterans and members of the Armed Forces, and assisting refugees and their families.  Over his first two years, he has led the design of the Region’s effort to build resilience in Los Angeles’ most vulnerable communities against disasters ranging from home fires to earthquakes. This work builds on his prior role as the chief executive of the Massachusetts Red Cross where, for his transformational leadership, he was awarded the American Red Cross Presidential Award for Excellence in 2014.

Barrios is an honors graduate from Harvard College (AB ’90-’91) and Georgetown Law (’95), practiced law at the Boston firm of Hill & Barlow, then began public service in 1999 as a Massachusetts State Representative for four years, then as a State Senator for five years. In the House, he authored a broad range of legislation from a law to improve emergency room services for immigrants to the creation of a state low-income housing tax credit. In the Senate, he chaired the Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee and was the Vice Chair of the Health Care Committee.

As a state senator, Barrios led the first comprehensive rewrite of the state fire code in the wake of the Station Nightclub fire, authored the nation’s strongest “buffer zone” legislation to protect women’s health centers, led the passage of a statewide assault weapons ban and gang-prevention legislation, as well as authoring foreclosure prevention bills, consumer data privacy legislation, and laws to protect victims of domestic violence. During this period, he was a Senate leader in the effort to protect marriage equality for gay and lesbian families in the Commonwealth and helped found the Massachusetts statewide Latino political group, Oíste. Upon leaving the legislature, he served as the president and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation in Boston and of GLAAD in New York and Los Angeles.

Outside of Red Cross, he currently serves as a supervisorial appointee to the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission, as a board member of the Los Angeles BizFed Institute, as well as the boards of the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company and the Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc. Along the way, he has lectured on transnational gang violence in El Salvador, represented the United States in a delegation to Australia with the American Council of Young Political Leaders, counted hanging chads in the disputed presidential election of 2000, toured Mexico to train university students on American political process on behalf of the State Department, studied the public health systems and lectured on US health reform in Brazil as an Eisenhower Fellow. He recently participated in the inaugural cohort of the Presidio Institute’s Cross Sector Leadership Fellows in partnership with the White House Office on Social Innovation. He speaks Spanish and is proficient in Portuguese, and for twenty years, has engaged in licensed humanitarian efforts in Cuba.

Barrios has two children, Javier, 23, and Nathaniel, 18.

Fernando Vasquez

Líderes del Mes Noviembre

Fernando Vasquez was first elected to the Downey City Council in November 2010 to serve the citizens of the Fourth District. He was elected Mayor by a unanimous vote in November 2013, becoming one of the youngest council members to hold that position. In 2014, he was re-elected to serve four more years on the Downey City Council.

2015_Fernando_Vasquez_headshot_color.jpgMayor Vasquez has championed the causes he promised to address when campaigning in 2010. He has led the charge to bring the City into the 21st century by bringing forth new technology and open government initiatives to make government more transparent and accountable. He supported public safety services, a healthier and active City through the Stay Healthy Downey initiative, enhanced streets, parks and sidewalks, helped create thousands of jobs, and revived downtown by initiating numerous events, public art and new businesses.

A respected public policy speaker, Mayor Vasquez has presented at forums and seminars involving the Urban Land Institute, Forecast LA, Workforce Investment Healthcare Policy, COMCE de Occidente, A.C. (Latin American trade association), and other industry groups. He has been a guest lecturer at USC, Loyola Marymount University, University of California, San Diego, Universidad de Guadalajara and other academic institutions. He is a board member of Gateway Cities Council of Governments (COG), I-5 Freeway Consortium Cities Joint Powers Authority, Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, Independent Cities Risk Management Authority (ICRMA- Alternate), Los Angeles City Selection Committee, Avanti Hospitals, Los Angeles County Medical Association Latino Advisory Committee and Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (CALL). He is also a member of the National Association of Latino Elected Appointed Officials (NALEO) and the Downey Kiwanis.

In 2011, Mayor Vasquez founded and launched Primawaste, a medical waste management company. Today, Primawaste offers a variety of medical services throughout the western United States and is one of the fastest growing minority owned businesses in its industry. In 2015, he co-founded Mi Cielo Restaurant and Rooftop Lounge, an upscale fine dining restaurant in Downtown Downey. Mayor Vasquez holds a Master’s Degree in City Planning from San Diego State University and a Bachelor’s Degree from UC Riverside. He is married to Donna B. Vasquez, who is a partner with the Law Offices of Musick Peeler & Garrett.

Mayor Vasquez was raised in the City of Downey and is fluent in English and Spanish. He is the son of immigrant parents who came from a small town near Tepatitlan, Jalisco, Mexico. 

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