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

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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.

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."

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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."

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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."

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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."

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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."

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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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