Aarón Enrique Almada is a purpose-driven professional with over 15 years of progressive experience across a broad range of business consulting, strategy and program design, project management, and diverse community relations functions.
Almada is part of the Community Impact & Investment team within Capital One’s External Affairs division, and in his role as a CSR strategist helps lead the enterprise’s Racial Equity & Social Justice impact strategy design and partnerships. Almada was originally brought to Capital One in 2016 to build the community investment and engagement strategy across the national Capital One Café footprint. During the four- and half-year period, Almada managed investments across 30 diverse markets, implemented community-based strategies to meet Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulatory obligations, strategically leveraged key partnerships that supported hyperlocal
business development, and forged nearly 100 partnerships that continue to provide significant reputational lift for the enterprise. Almada was also the chief designer of the Retail Bank’s National Signature Partnership with Dress for Success focusing on the economic independence and empowerment of women at the time of the transition into his current role, the partnership’s reach touched down in 20 Capital One markets. Previous to his current role, Almada also led the enterprise’s largest philanthropic portfolio, focused on financial well-being initiatives that help
individuals manage debt and build credit.
Almada is heavily active in Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) efforts at Capital One, serving as the Greater Washington Chapter Lead for the ¡HOLA! Hispanic Business Resource Group, an active member of the OutFront LGBTQ+ Business Resource Group, as well as leading several cross-functional projects focused on national operational excellence of BRGs.
Prior to joining Capital One, Almada held several roles at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) including fundraising and program management functions.
Born in Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, México and raised in Tucson, Arizona—Almada earned an M.S. in Mexican American Studies, Critical Education & Migration and a B.A. in Political Science both from The University of Arizona. He currently resides in Washington, D.C.
Adolfo Aguirre is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion practitioner whose mission has been to cultivate supportive and inclusive work environments for all team members, guests and partners. In his current role as Inclusion and Diversity Partner at Darden Restaurants, he helps advance workplace diversity strengthen cultures of inclusion for over 180,000 team members across eight restaurant brands through DEI data analysis and inclusive leadership training and practices,. Adolfo spent most of his childhood in Venezuela, before moving to Miami, FL. He now resides in central Florida with his family with his wife Greisy and children Abril, Fabi and JJ.
Ana Agostini has more than 20 years of experience in healthcare IT and is currently the Administrative Director of IT Services over the IT PMO, Service Desk, and Identity and Access Management teams at Memorial Healthcare System. Ana started her career at Accenture as a healthcare consultant and has implemented electronic health records, identity access management, and service management systems that have transformed organizations. Ana is a Chemical Engineer by trade. She received her MS in Industrial Engineering, focused on project management, from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. She has also been part of the SFLHIMSS Board of Directors for 4 years, is a certified PMP, ITIL V3, and holds three Epic certifications. Ana is Venezuelan and speaks Spanish and English.
Angeles Valenciano serves as chief executive officer of the National Diversity Council (NDC), becoming the first female CEO of this major nonprofit. In this role, she will continue to advance the NDC’s mission of fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace. She will also focus on strengthening partnerships with businesses, academia and the community at large.
Ms. Valenciano is a seasoned strategist with more than 20 years of experience in human resources, primarily focused on diversity, organizational change, and development. She was previously president of the Healthcare Diversity Council and executive vice president of the NDC. In the latter role, she oversaw the growth of several national markets, including California, Colorado and Arizona. In addition, she also served as vice president of business development for the Texas Diversity Council (TXDC), one of the NDC state councils.
Ms. Valenciano was the TXDC’s first executive director with responsibility over operations and policy implementation as adopted by the Board of Directors. She directed the agendas of the regional diversity council’s advisory boards in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston. Under her leadership, the annual Women in Leadership Symposium was created and is now a national and global event held in more than twelve states and several countries including England, Mexico, Canada and most recently United Arab Emirates.
Formerly, Ms. Valenciano was the director of diversity and inclusion for 84 Lumber Company. She provided leadership and direction for the infrastructure, design, formulation, implementation and execution of the organization’s overall diversity strategy, which included external communications, public relations, and community engagement. She was also responsible for ensuring the efficacy of these business practices, processes, and procedures. Ms. Valenciano’s role was carried out in the company’s business expansion into Mexico and Canada.
As an assistant vice president and officer at JPMorgan, she served in the capacity of leadership development consultant in Credit Card Services and Organizational Development, and consultant to Customer Services’ clients. Ms. Valenciano also managed the strategic direction and execution of organizational-wide development processes as well as diversity programs and initiatives. She served as subject matter expert on global diversity, overseeing the company’s initiatives in various countries.
Active in charitable and civic affairs, Ms. Valenciano is a graduate of the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de San Luis Potosí located in the City of San Luis Potosí in Mexico with a degree in business and computer information systems. She holds a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) Certificate from University of Villanova. She has completed various leadership and professional development programs across the country and abroad.
Ms. Valenciano is fluent in English and Spanish. She serves on the board of the Science, Engineering and Technology at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX. She is a strong advocate and chairs several committees for people with disabilities in the workplace. She is a proud ally to the LGBT community and is active with several chambers of commerce across the country. Ms. Valenciano lives in San Antonio, TX, with her sons.
Anthony Reyes is the Chief Audit Officer for Black Knight, Inc. (NYSE:BKI), a premier provider of integrated software, data and analytics to the mortgage industry. As the leader of the Internal Audit Department, he is responsible for establishing and managing the processes that bring a systematic and disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of the organization’s governance, risk management, and internal control environments. Anthony supports Black Knight’s Internal Audit function by developing and executing the company’s internal audit plan. He has a direct reporting relationship to the Audit Committee of Black Knight’s Board of Directors, and regularly communicates audit results to its members.
Before joining Black Knight, Anthony served in a similar capacity as the Chief Audit Executive for Pinnacle West Capital Corporation, where he set strategy and led its Audit Services operations. He is also experienced in internal audit solutions, enterprise risk services and IT audit controls – particularly in the area of security controls. Anthony earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and holds a Master of Accountancy degree from the University of Southern California.
Brian J. Fitzpatrick serves as Head of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (“DEI”) at Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA), a Tampa-based online higher education provider with close to 15,000 students nationally and nearly 2,000 employees. As part of UMA’s Corporate Strategy team, Brian founded UMA’s DEI Council. This cross-departmental team, in concert with a new full-time Director, has been tasked with delivering foundational events, communications, and awareness around a broad range of topics.
Through these collaborative efforts, Brian successfully launched a mentorship program to identify and elevate talent will have established three employee resource groups by this summer (for women, Black professionals, and LGBTQ+), and extended UMA’s presence into the broader Tampa Bay community. For example, UMA is partnering with both the Hillsborough County chapter of the NAACP and the county’s public schools in structuring a pilot program to engage with at-risk young women preparing for secondary school.
Brian serves as Vice Chair of the Florida Diversity Council’s Board of Directors and was a 2020 “Business of Pride” honoree as awarded by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. He received his undergraduate degree from New York University and has an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Brian has worked extensively abroad, and is particularly attuned to, and interested in, cross-cultural and intersectional inclusivity as it relates to team formation and productivity.
Brian is also a passionate champion of wildlife conservation. He actively supports the Kenya-based Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, where he has adopted an orphan elephant, as well as the Painted Dog Conservation Project out of Zimbabwe.
Dr. Chris Wilkie currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer at SHPE, a nonprofit member organization devoted to closing the gap between Hispanics and STEM.
Always listening and learning, Chris is committed to making diversity and inclusion more than just this year's buzzwords. He readily leverages the knowledge, opportunities, and support he’s been given to catapult exceptional organizations, like SHPE, to their rightful place as a nationally renowned and respected organization of change-makers.
Chris has spent his 20+ year career serving nonprofits with various missions and audiences, including multilingual, multicultural, socioeconomically challenged and isolated, underrepresented, victims of family violence, and those who struggle with substance abuse and/or mental health.
These broad experiences have made him highly skilled at implementing transformational strategies, while growing annual budgets, improving operational processes, building top-tier teams, and raising more than $100 million to support worthy organizations.
At the age of 29, Chris was a recipient of a 40Under40 Award by the Fort Worth Business Press as one of the top 40 young leaders in the Fort Worth community.
David has been with GreenPath Financial Wellness for 15 years and oversees the entire client-facing world of the workforce — from the team that handles the very first call a client makes, to the people that advise and support clients as they work to meet their financial goals. David also oversees the Quality Assurance team. This team ensures that our team members are providing our clients with a world-class financial wellness experience.
As the son of immigrants who had to work extremely hard to make ends meet, David knows first-hand the importance of financial literacy, access to opportunities and seeing possibilities. He is especially driven to connect with people who have limited access to the tools they need to be financially healthy.
David is a graduate of the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center of Touro College in New York, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Michigan State University where he was a student manager for the Men’s Basketball team, under Coach Tom Izzo.
Dr. Mike Flores assumed the role of chancellor of the Alamo Colleges District on Oct. 1, 2018, after unanimous vote by the Alamo Colleges District Board of Trustees. With more than 20 years of service to the Alamo Colleges District, Dr. Flores possesses the distinction of being the ninth appointed chancellor and the first Hispanic chancellor in the district’s history.
Flores’ vision for the Alamo Colleges District –eliminating poverty through education – is based on his personal experience as a child of migrant farmworkers who pursued education to gain economic and social mobility. Through his leadership, the Alamo Colleges District has launched AlamoPROMISE, a tuition-free college program for graduating high school students in Bexar County and one of the most significant initiatives implemented in the region. The program has secured over $16 million* in governmental and philanthropic support to fund education for nearly
10,000 AlamoPROMISE scholars.
As a leader, Flores supports empowering students for success through high-impact teaching and learning practices, including academic advising, early access to college through high school programs and experiential learning opportunities through apprenticeships, internships, and volunteer experiences. Aligned with the vision for eliminating poverty, Flores has supported the launch of Student Advocacy Centers at each of the district’s five colleges and reduced tuition for students enrolled fully online.
During his first year as chancellor, Dr. Flores led the Alamo Colleges District and its five colleges in celebrating the recognition as the only community college system in the nation to be awarded the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest Presidential honor for performance excellence through innovation, improvement and visionary leadership.
Other achievements during Flores’ leadership as chancellor include: Palo Alto College named Rising Star by the Aspen Prize for Community College
Excellence (2019) Ellucian Impact Award for using technology to enhance student experience (2020) San Antonio College named winner of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence (2021) and the American Association of Community Colleges Award of Excellence for Student Success (2022).
He is nationally known as a former coach for Achieving the Dream and as a fellow for the American Council on Education, Aspen Pahara Institute, and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.
He conducted postgraduate studies at the Harvard University Institute for Educational Management and is in demand as a speaker at national higher education conferences. Flores was also awarded the Ohtli Award, one of the most prestigious awards given by the Mexican government, acknowledging his work to educate and empower Mexican and Mexican-American students
Flores has worked with numerous community-based organizations in San Antonio, Houston, and Chicago. He also serves as a board member for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, UP Partnership, United Way San Antonio, Achieving the Dream, College Board’s Community College Advisory Panel, and the World Affairs Council.
Flores was born in Del Rio, Texas, and is a graduate of Holmes High School in San Antonio’s Northside Independent School District. He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at Austin, a master’s in Political Science from Illinois State University, and a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
He lives in central San Antonio with his wife Martha, a talented creative director and entrepreneur, and their daughters, Mara Zoe and Mia Ximena.
Dr. Nanette Vega currently serves as the inaugural Assistant Dean and Assistant Professor for the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She is a founding member of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement. Prior to her current position, Dr. Vega served as Director of Diversity for the Office of Faculty Affairs. She also served as Assistant Dean of Students and Director of the Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education and has held other positions at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. Vega actively serves as a national consultant and holds leadership roles in various professional organizations including serving as a board member for the Miami Dade Chamber of Commerce-
Leadership Miami, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Alumni Board and NASPA Foundation Board. Vega served as the national Chair for the ACPA Latinx/a/o Network and has held various leadership roles in ACPA. In addition, Vega served as board member of NASPA’s. Latinx/a/o Knowledge Community and NASPA FL, ACPA National Conference Leadership and
Planning Team, and faculty for the NASPA NUFP institute and Escaleras Latinx/a/o professional institute. Vega has received several honors and has been recognized nationally for her work in HealthCare Career Equity, Restorative Practices, Student Affairs, and Racial Justice. Vega received the 2021 ACPA Diamond Honoree Award, Insight into Diversity-Diversity Visionary Award, NASPA FL Administrator of the Year, Iron Arrow-Highest Honor attained at the University of Miami, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award, and the ACPA Coalition for Multicultural Affairs Outstanding Contribution to Multicultural Education Award.
Vega earned her Doctor of Education and Master of Arts from the University of Miami. Her Bachelor of Arts was completed at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She also earned a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from the School of International and Labor Relations at Cornell University.
Elijah Jones (he/him) is a licensed independent social worker, licensed independent chemical dependency counselor, and certified diversity professional. He received his undergraduate and graduate degree in social work from the University of Toledo and is currently a PhD candidate in educational psychology at the same institute.
He is the Director of Health Equity and Clinical Resources for the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities (Columbus, Ohio). In this role he provides support and leadership around health equity issues for Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Boards throughout Ohio. Prior to this role he was the Manager of Treatment Services for the Mental Health & Recovery Services Board of Lucas County where he actively monitored over 14 million dollars in mental health and substance use disorder treatment services and was an advisory board member for the Lucas County Trauma Informed Care Coalition. He was a mayor appointment chair for the Social Justice Committee of the City of Toledo’s Human Relations Commission. A social work leader, he has served as the Region 1 Director for the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, teaching college level social work courses, and training future social workers. In 2021 he was a recipient of Toledo’s 20 Under 40 Leadership Award and in 2020 he was awarded the Diamante Adult Leadership Ward by the Latino Alliance of Northwest Ohio.
An inclusive leader, educator, and solutionist, Elijah is committed to social justice and developing strategies to solve complex problems.
He currently works for the Mental Health & Recovery Services Board of Lucas County as the Manager of Treatment Services where he works directly with the contracted treatment providers. He serves on the advisory board for the Lucas County Trauma Informed Care Coalition and has worked with a small group to lead efforts on making Lucas County a more trauma informed community. He also serves as co-chair for the Social Justice Committee under the Human Relations Commission for the City of Toledo and is the Region 1 Director for NASW Ohio. His experience includes psychiatric crises for youth and adults,substance use disorder treatment, and integrated care. He has served as an adjunct instructor for social work at the University of Toledo and St. Louis University and continues to supervise social work students in field placements.
An inclusive leader, educator, and solutionist, Elijah is committed to social justice and developing
strategies to solve complex problems.
Enna is an Award-Winning Change Champion who has over 30 years in multiple industries with expertise
in Leadership, Technology and Transformation Management. Currently, Enna is the Head of the Quality
Assurance team at IDEMIA, an augmented identity security organization. She is a Coach and Mentor and
has a huge passion for Diversity and Inclusion, talent engagement and community organizations. The
March edition of Hispanic Executive magazine featured Enna as one of the 2021 Leading Latinas. In
March 2021, Enna received the Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering (E.L.I.T.E.) Award
from NSBE Boston Professionals. Dr. Lynn Wooten, President of Simmons University appointed Enna as
the Presidential Adviser for Alumni Engagement. In addition, Enna has joined the Greater Boston
Chamber of Commerce Women’s Advisory Board and the ALPFA National Board of Directors. Enna is
one of 92 Hispanics featured in the first edition book Hispanic Stars Rising: A New Face of Power. The
Multicultural Symposium Series Black History Empowerment Recognition Breakfast recognized Enna as
one of the Black and Brown Innovators of Action Honorees in March 2020. In 2019, the National Diversity
Council selected Enna as one of the 2019 National Latino Leader Award winners and she received a
Citation from MA Governor Charlie Baker on Leadership and Excellence.
Eric has over 20 years of experience consulting, coaching, and developing leaders across multiple industries. He has coached leaders, teams, and individual contributors towards amazing results, by helping them meet or exceed their goals using coaching and Industrial and Organizational Psychology methods and resources. Eric brings leadership, business, and analytics expertise that has aided his ability to successfully design and implement methods and structures to support organizations and leaders as they focus on optimizing talent structures, driving organizational objectives, and elevating leaders to make an impact resulting in approved attrition, engagement, and performance.
Eric has expertise in leading the entire life cycle of talent including identification, hiring, on-boarding, talent development, accelerating talent, knowledge transfer and retention. His methodical approach, paired with his results driven mindset has helped leaders and organizations thrive. These include:
- Designed and implemented processes and structure to reduce negative attrition and increase overall engagement
- Coached multiple individuals (ICs and Managers) resulting in promotions or stretch assignments.
- Instrumental in the development of multiple high performing teams
- Designed and implemented new dashboards to reduce cycle time and provide actionable metrics on staffing
Eric is a published author “the Introvert Ninja”, a children’s book that utilizes his Introvert H.E.A.R. Model, which provides support and tools for parents to help their child flex styles successfully. He has been a guest on numerous podcasts, workshops, and conferences, speaking about leadership development, onboarding, knowledge management, change management, Situational Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, Critical Conversations, Influence without Authority, and leadership branding.
Erick Garcia, MHA, is a multifaceted leader with a diverse background in healthcare administration, human resources and equity, inclusion & diversity consulting. With over 5 years’ experience working on equity and inclusion strategies for large matrixed organizations spanning multiple states, Erick has been able to create and foster an inclusive culture, move the needle on health disparities, and create sustainable foundations for equity programs at all levels.
Joining Mayo Clinic in 2021, Erick has the pleasure of serving as Equity, Inclusion & Diversity Advisor for the Arizona site and shields where he supports leadership, physicians, scientists, nursing, as well as allied health staff. As EID Advisor, Erick focuses on creating a culture that fosters inclusion and belonging through education programs, media management, mentorship and sponsorship programs, community outreach, and social media initiatives. Through this role, Erick strives to ensure every employee can bring their authentic self to work no matter their race, culture, background, beliefs, or expressions.
As a young professional, Erick received his B.S. in Kinesiology from Arizona State University and an M.S. in Health Care Administration from Grand Canyon University. In addition to his role, he is a proud father of a three-year-old girl and husband to an emergency department Nurse. As experienced leader in equity, inclusion, and diversity, he is a servant leader, courageous, and not afraid to challenge the status quo to encourage a different way of thinking.
As the Senior Director of Customer Insights for H-E-B, Erika leads a team charged with helping
guide the development of H-E-B's strategic vision and operational efforts by providing customer insights to change the business, gain share and establish a preference for the company.
Erika grew up as a migrant in the Rio Grande Valley, earned a Masters in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School, a B.A. in Plan II Liberal Arts, and a second Bachelor's degree in Science in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin. In 2020, she earned an Executive degree in Behavioral Economics from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Erika was the 2018 Chairwoman of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, having served on its Executive Board for six years. A former board member of Say Si Youth Arts, The San Antonio Economic Development Foundation and SACRD.org, she now sits on the Girls Scouts of Southwest Texas Board, the Methodist Healthcare Ministries Board, and Las Casas Foundation, and is part of the advisory Board for iEmpower, the Latina Power Network, and the SA League of Women Voters. Erika was also the 2019 San Antonio Business Journal’s Woman of the Year, 2019 Governor’s Yellow Rose of Texas honoree, the 2016 H-E-B David Ashworth Community Service Corporate Winner and the 2021 H-E-B Linda D. Jimenez Diversity and Inclusion Corporate Awardee. Her proudest honor, however, was receiving the 2010 Association of Migrant Educators of Texas’ Migrant Alumni Award.
As a co-founder and 2015/2016 Chair of the Latina Leadership Institute and, much of Erika's
passion revolves around efforts to help improve quality of life among underserved populations
through girls & women empowerment, education, and literacy. In 2018, she launched the
Raising and Inspiring Successful Entrepreneurs (R.I.S.E.) program, a bilingual workbook aimed at helping elementary school-aged children develop entrepreneurial mindsets. Erika has led the
creation of multiple education and women’s economic development white papers with Rai$ing
Texas and the SABER Institute. In 2022, she has also been appointed as a regional Panelist for
the prestigious White House Fellows Program, to include more Latina points of view in National
Civics programming. Erika and her husband, San Antonio Mayor, Ron Nirenberg, have one son
Esteban Vidal is a Community Engagement Advocate for the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, specializing in Latinx communications, outreach, and development.
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Esteban started his professional career connecting local and international audiences for advertising agencies such as Young & Rubicam and BBDO. He produced communications and branding strategies for fields like banking, automotive, spirits, non-profit organizations, and retail.
After more than eight years developing markets and positioning brands, he shifted his efforts to the non-profit sector accepting the role of Regional Developing Director, Bilingual for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – ALSAC. In 2018, Esteban transferred to Tampa, FL where he led the creation and strategy implementation to involve the Hispanic/Latinx community with the hospital’s life-saving mission. He oversaw the production of yearly fundraising events such as walk/runs, bilingual radiothons, galas and golf tournaments collaborations, to name a few. Esteban also worked alongside the marketing and media teams to execute branding plans for Central/North Florida, Puerto Rico and more than 20 countries with St. Jude Global.
Now carrying the vision and community practices for the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, Esteban is paving the way for Hispanics to experience equity and growth in Pinellas County.
He has expertise in marketing, advertising, communications, strategy, community development and non-profit fundraising.
Esteban enjoys truly spending time with his wife Gabriela, his son Esteban Daniel and furry daughter, Lula Beatriz.
Gavin Villareal is the Partner in Charge of the Austin office of Baker Botts L.L.P. and the Austin office Litigation Department Chair. He represents clients in a wide variety of complex business-related disputes in state and federal trial and appellate courts. He has significant first-chair experience litigating claims alleging professional negligence, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty, and financial services fraud, as well as claims involving state and federal constitutional and preemption issues.
Mr. Villareal won a landmark U.S. Supreme Court victory as lead counsel in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, 139 S. Ct. 2356 (2019). The case overturned almost half a century of precedent interpreting Exemption 4 to the Freedom of Information Act. Commentators described the case as “one of the most important business-related cases on the Supreme Court's docket” in the 2018-19 term.
Mr. Villareal has held leadership positions in numerous professional and community organizations. He is an Elected Member of the American Law Institute, a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, and he has held leadership roles with the Austin Bar Foundation, the Austin Bar Association, the Austin Young Lawyers Association, the Hispanic Bar Association of Austin, the HBAA Charitable Foundation, the Mexican-American Bar Association of Texas, Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas, the Mexic-Arte Museum and the Harvard Club of Austin. He currently serves on the board of Austin PBS and is a member of the President's Council of Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
J. Manny Santiago is the inaugural Executive Director of the Washington State LGBTQ Commission, having been appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to his cabinet in 2019. Originally from the mountains of Puerto Rico, Manny graduated with a degree in Sociology from the University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez Campus. He studied theology, obtaining a Master in Divinity at the Andover Newton Theological School in Massachusetts, and studied Public Administration at the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce. Manny serves on various committees and workgroups on religion, Latinx identity, sexual and gender identity, and immigrants’ rights at the national and international level. He is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum– Tacoma/Pierce County and serves his community as a member of the board of directors of Tacoma Community House, and Waves Ahead – SAGE Puerto Rico, as well as the board of trustees for the Tacoma Art Museum. His writings have been featured in several books and professional journals, as well as in The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and many other national media. He currently lives in Tacoma with his husband and enjoys cooking, oil painting, traveling, hiking, and reading works by Latina women writers.
José Gomez is a cybersecurity expert, diversity champion, and entrepreneur. At Imperva, a global cybersecurity company, he is a Sales Engineering Manager. In this role, he leads a team that designs security solutions for large enterprise customers in the United States. For more than 20 years, Gomez has helped organizations navigate the challenges of protecting applications and data in cloud, hybrid, and on-premises environments.
He is a founding member of the Imperva Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) Council. As a co-chair, Gomez helps influence and execute programs that aim to provide an inclusive and respectful environment where employees feel welcomed and valued. In addition, he owns and operates three restaurants with his family in California.
Outside of work, Gomez is a fitness enthusiast and a former fitness model and competitive bodybuilder. He competed in NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” in 2021 under the name, the “Bow Tie Ninja”. Following his appearance on the television series, he now volunteers as a coach to other participants. Aside from this, he is a master scuba diver and volunteers his time cleaning up rubbish from the floor of a local river.
Gomez graduated as valedictorian from Heald College in San Jose, California with a degree in electrical engineering.
Karina was born in Argentina where she studied Accounting at the University of Buenos Aires. She moved to the U.S. 20 years ago and now lives with her husband and three daughters in Boca Raton, FL. Karina worked for Brookdale Senior Living as their Lifestyles Director for 9 years and for the Muscular Dystrophy Association as their Associate Executive Director for nearly 10 years where she developed, led and executed many fundraising and educational events including the MDA Summer Camp. She also worked very closely with the MDA multidisciplinary clinic team at the University of Miami and has advocated for patients and caregivers to educate and raise awareness about muscular dystrophy especially in the Hispanic communities. Karina joined PTC Therapeutics as their Patient Engagement Liaison for the Southeast Region in June 2021 and her role is to educate and empower patients and families in the rare disease communities.
Ligia Noemi Cushman M.A. is the daughter of immigrants from La Republica Dominicana, one of eight children, and mother of one son through adoption. In her award-winning book, Heard: How Loss Led Us to Love, Ligia gives a glimpse into the night her son was born, and the many hard lessons she and her husband faced along the way. In 2020, Ligia’s blog was listed by Healthline Parenthood is one of the best adoption blogs of 2020. As the National Child Welfare Consultant with AdoptUSKids, Ligia helps States, Tribes and Territories build the capacity to care for children and families in ways that bring equity to child welfare and strengthen our communities.
In 2019, Ligia completed the Minority Development Leadership Program through AdoptUSKids and learned what it meant to be a transformational leader. She also learned that her Afro-Latina voice mattered. That program catapulted Ligia to begin to address racial equity in the child welfare system. Ligia’s ongoing mission is to equip multiracial families with the resources they need to thrive in a world that often wants to put us in a box. She strives to have authentic conversations about how the differences in class, culture, and race impact adoption in today's world.
As a blogger, social worker, and influencer Ligia frequently speaks on transracial adoption, racial reconciliation, and her Afro-Latinx experiences. Believing that equity can be achieved for all is what drives her work. To learn more about Ligia check out her website at ligiacushman.com
Lissette Gonzalez was born in Nicaragua. In [YEAR], she and her family immigrated to the United States. She has more than 20 years of experience in retail operations and supply chain roles, most recently serving as Senior Vice President of Global Supply Chain for Bloomin’ Brands, one of the world’s largest casual dining companies with more than 1,450 restaurants around the world. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing the company’s global supply chain, including planning, sourcing, food safety, and logistics strategies for domestic and international markets. Previously, Lissette served as Vice President with oversight for the Global Procurement and Planning & Forecasting areas. Her leadership helped enhance demand-based forecasting at Bloomin’ Brands, creating a more efficient and agile supply chain. Prior to joining Bloomin’ Brands, Lissette held various leadership roles at Office Depot, where she had increasing levels of responsibility within the company’s supply chain function and retail operations. Lissette serves on the board of trustees at Carrollwood Day School. She is also an executive sponsor for the Bloomin’ Brands Black Employee Resource Group and is a council member of The Alliance for Hospitality Equity and Diversity (AHED), led by the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University. She holds both a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and a master’s degree in engineering management from Florida International University.
Lorna Hernandez is the Vice-President of Human Resources for Ricoh Latin America, a division of Ricoh Company, Ltd. Ricoh is a global technology company that has been transforming the way people work for more than 80 years. Under its corporate tagline – imagine. change. – Ricoh continues to empower companies and individuals with services and technologies that inspire innovation, enhance sustainability and boost business growth. These include document management systems, IT services, production print solutions, digital cameras, and industrial systems. Headquartered in Tokyo, Ricoh Group operates in over 190 countries.
Ms. Hernandez manages the HR departments of 13 countries where she provides strategic guidance on talent acquisition and retention, performance evaluation, professional development, compensation and training. Her human resource strategies attract and retain top level candidates, which contributes to the company’s achievement of its overall financial and strategic goals.
Hernandez is committed to structuring and cultivating a learning organization that drives the business forward and ensures a sustainable operation. She successfully applies out-of-the-box thinking to find creative, cost-effective solutions that work.
Her success is attributed to supportive leadership, strategic partnerships, and investing in people development strategies that grow and attract Ricoh’s talent. She is also an advocate for diversity and inclusion inside and outside the organization. Currently a member of Ricoh’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Council.
Ms. Hernandez earned a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Management from the University of Puerto Rico. She is a certified Professional in Human Resources and an active member of Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM).
Ms. Hernandez generously gives of her time and talents in supporting several community and environmental initiatives.
Louis A. Quiñones, Jr. currently serves as Chief of the Orange County Corrections Department in Orlando, Florida. He is the first Hispanic Chief of Corrections in Orange County and the first Chief to have worked his way up to the top spot after starting as a correctional officer.
He began his career in 1987 as a Detention Deputy with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. In 1989, he joined Orange County Corrections as a Correctional Officer. He was promoted through the ranks to Lieutenant and in 2010, he joined Osceola County Corrections as a Captain. He went on to become Deputy Chief, Assistant Jail Administrator at the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office in San Antonio, Texas. In 2017, he became Deputy Chief at Orange County Corrections and in 2018, he was appointed Chief of the Orange County Corrections Department.
Chief Quiñones’ credentials include a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice Administration from Columbia College, and a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership from Mountain State University. Chief Quiñones is a Certified Corrections Executive (CCE), Certified Jail Manager (CJM), Certified Public Manager (CPM), and a Certified National Auditor with the American Correctional Association (ACA). He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Jail Association and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Additionally, he is on the Governance Board for the Central Florida Informational Exchange, the Governing Board for the Central Receiving Center, the Public Safety Coordinating Council, and the Orange County Domestic Violence Commission.
Luis M. Martínez-Alicea earned a bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Sacred Heart of Puerto Rico and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Ana G. Méndez University, Orlando. Luis also obtained The DiversityFIRST™ Certification by the National Diversity Council, which makes him a certified diversity professional to create and lead highly successful diversity, inclusion and equitable strategies for organizational excellence and a competitive edge in today's global marketplace.
Martinez founded Starlight Productions, a Puerto Rico-based nonprofit organization that encouraged talented kids and youth to develop their artistic abilities through training and musical theater performances. Luis led media and public relations efforts, helped increase awareness in the community on the organization’s mission and goals, created partnerships with corporations and government agencies and organized fundraising events and promotional initiatives.
In 2000, Martinez relocated to Orlando to enhance his professional career and pursue a master’s degree in business.
Subsequently, Martinez worked at El Nuevo Dia newspaper as a marketing coordinator and reporter. Afterward, he served five years as director of marketing & recruitment at Ana G. Mendez University, Metro Orlando Campus, where he implemented student recruitment and marketing strategies to create strong community bonds with the Hispanic/Latino adult population, increase corporate branding and diversify the student population in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity.
In January 2012, Luis was pleased to be appointed by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer to establish the city's Office of Multicultural Affairs to enhance the engagement of the Hispanic, multicultural and LGBTQ+ communities with the municipality. Under his role, Luis makes recommendations to the Mayor in the implementation of city policies, advocacy and initiatives that foster diversity, inclusion and equity. He also serves as the Mayor's spokesperson to Hispanic/multicultural media, manages international relations and Spanish communications, as well as coordinates cultural events and creates community outreach strategies to keep residents, newcomers and businesses from different cultural backgrounds and walks of life informed about the city services and programs. In addition, he maintains ongoing relationships with multiethnic chambers of commerce, professional associations and consulates.
Dra. Luz D. Randolph is the Associate Vice Provost at Louisiana State University. She is responsible for coordination of strategic planning and foundation work for the LSU Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion to ensure the development and implementation of programs and services that foster a campus community committed to diversity and inclusion.
Previously, she served as the Executive Director of Development at St. Petersburg College Foundation where she was responsible for the college-wide fundraising efforts at St. Petersburg College. Since her arrival in January 2020, she has guided the fundraising efforts surrounding the recently established Helios Titan Achievement Program (H-TAP) which received an initial funding of $85,000 and upon completion received a final gift of $1.3M dollar from Helios Education Foundation, the Social Justice Institute Microgrant awarded by the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee, the SPC Emergency Fund among other initiatives. Prior to her role at SPC, she served as Assistant Director of Development, Diversity Initiatives. Her primary focus was to assist in cultivating relationships between USF constituents and the Tampa Bay community that will enhance the university’s diverse students’ experiences. Since her arrival successfully fundraised over $3.5 million for diversity initiatives and assisted in the development and implementation of the Black Leadership Network which aims to provide financial and mentoring support to African American students at the University of South Florida. Before coming to USF, Luz served as Director of the Candidate Empowerment Center(CEC) at Florida A&M University. In this role her team increased FAMU’s College of Education’s Teacher Certification passage rate by 75%. She also served as Assistant Director of the Department of Multicultural Student Affairs at the University of Miami where she coordinated services and programs that challenged, motivated, and supported ethnically diverse students in their development at the University of Miami and seek to bring issues of diversity and multiculturalism to the foreground of campus conversation. She is a double alumna from the University of South Florida with a B.A in Interpersonal Communication and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction – College Student Affairs. She completed her Doctor of Education in Higher Education and Leadership Administration degree from Nova Southeastern University. Her dissertation focused on the experience of Latinas in Latina sororities at a predominantly White institution and the impact on their academic persistence. Since, she has presented on topics relating to Latinas and their college experience, philanthropy and diversity, and gender issues and sexual orientation. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Hispanic Services Council and was a member of the Board of Directors at MacDonald Training Center.
Hello I am Manuel Torres. I have 6 years of experience in Quality Control, from diverse industries inclusive of oil, candy and pharmaceutical. Currently I work at PTC Therapeutics as an Associate Scientist helping create their GxP Quality Control Lab. I come from Integra Life Sciences, where I held the position of Quality Control Chemist II. At Integra, I conducted testing on artificial skin and other biomedical products. I have previously worked at ExxonMobil performing physical characterization testing on catalyst and Promotion in Motion performing QC testing on candy. I was born and raised in Newark, NJ while my family is from Puerto Rico. I received my Bachelor’s in chemistry from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ.
Meet Mariana, an award-winning international photographer. She owns, KISMIS INK, an international award-winning photography studio based in Tampa, Florida. Mariana's beautiful work has been featured in Bridal Guide Magazine, Inside Weddings Magazine, The Knot, and The Huffington Post to name a few.
As a daughter of Cuban immigrants, Mariana embraces all cultures while proudly sharing her story of immigration, triumph, and love. This is evident in who she calls “her people”. She warns all her potential clients with the same message “I will hug you when we meet!” Her work speaks of her passion and unique way of experiencing life, and that’s what makes her stand out most of all.
In the creative industry, as a photographer/business owner, Mariana is always looking for opportunities to share the beauty and power in embracing diversity and our cultural influences. This passion has shaped her creative work and business over the last decade. Mariana has had the honor of documenting multicultural love stories around the world in a way that is unique to her background and life experiences, while using her platforms to inspire others beyond their comfort zones.
Martin Stier is the Global Head of People Organization for HP’s Global Business Units, Global Functions and Technical Organizations. His team of People Partners supports over 24,000 employees located around the world, from the Personal Systems business, Imaging, Printing & Solutions business, Incubation businesses, Corporate Strategy, CTO and HP Labs, Digital and Transformation, Finance, Marketing, People Organization, Legal Affairs and Corporate Affairs organizations.
Martin and his team are responsible to drive the overall people strategy for these organizations, including defining the long-term workforce plan, facilitating organizational change and transformations, fostering the HP Way culture, driving our diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, attracting, and developing talent, and increasing overall employee engagement.
Prior to this role and for almost 6 years, Martin supported the $20B Printing business and partnered with the President of HP’s Imaging, Printing & Solutions Business, and his leadership team.
Martin is a trusted business advisor, executive coach, and HR strategist with more than 20 years of experience spanning country, regional and global roles, who has lived and worked in Argentina, Brazil, and the US. He was the first Latino to join the HR Leadership Team of HP Inc. 2015, reporting to the company’s Chief People Officer.
Since 2015, Martin has been partnered with C-Level executives, including the President of Americas Region, the Chief Marketing Officer and most recently, the President of the Printing Business. He is an active advocate, mentor and coach of women, people of color, LGBT and other minorities and an executive sponsor of HP’s employee resource groups committed to create a workplace of belonging and inclusion and where employees could bring their best self to work.
Martin joined HP Inc. in 2009 (formerly known as Hewlett-Packard Company) as the HR Leader for subsidiaries in Latin America, including HP Brazil in 2013. In 2015, he moved back to the US to lead the Americas HR team, the company’s separation and creation of HP Inc.
Martin joined HP from the Deutsche Post-DHL Group where he served as the HR Leader for Latin America. His tenure included the historic and multi-billion-dollar merger of global logistics providers DHL, Danzas, Exel, Airborne into DPWN-DHL. Prior to HP and DHL, Martin worked for The Clorox Company for four years in various HR roles.
Martin earned a bachelor's degree in Business Administration at Universidad de Buenos Aires and a postgraduate degree in Human Resources at Universidad de San Andres.
Martin resides in Miami, Florida with his wife Vicky and their children, Geronimo and Nina.
Mayra Lebron-Lopez is the Global HR VP at CAI and through consistent example, she is setting the precedence for leadership excellence, compassionate character, and a renowned reputation both in and out of the office.
Within the walls of CAI, Mayra exudes passion for an inclusive workplace, specifically for multicultural women. She has instituted diverse platforms, technologies, and courses that offer enterprise-wide L&D opportunities such as Unconscious Bias and Emotional Intelligence trainings. As one of the sponsors of CAI’s employee resource group (ERG), Women of CAI, she uses her influence to cultivate an affinity within the group to recruit more members and retain current ones.
But it’s her community support that really sets her apart. After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017, the island was deprived of electricity, clean running water, and food. Having sustained significant flood damage to her own home, she put her needs on the backburner to help her neighbors and her employees.
At the time, Mayra was the HR Lead for Bayer’s Crop Science division where there were 700 employees in her facility. Forty-seven of them lost everything in the storm. Without hesitating, Mayra mobilized her US connections to gather the essential items. For 30 consecutive days during lunch,
Mayra would take the company pick-up truck and collect 500 warm meals to deliver back to her colleagues.
Mercedes Sellek is a veteran transactional attorney concentrating her practice in complex real estate acquisitions, sales, and financing. She represents institutional and private clients in all phases of the acquisition or disposition of commercial, residential and industrial real property. Mercedes assists clients with due diligence support- including environmental and zoning related reviews, title analysis, and development related matters. Additionally, she represents clients in drafting and reviewing leases for both landlord and tenant, commercial or residential. Mercedes is fluent in Spanish and represents Latin American and European clients with U.S. in-bound transactions- acquisitions and sales, both on the commercial and residential levels, as well as the structuring and corporate formation aspects related to the acquisitions. Mercedes represents institutional clients with commercial lending for various types of projects- real estate or asset based, and represents both lenders and borrowers in loan work-outs and distressed business transactions, including the disposition of REO special assets. She frequently serves as local counsel for out of state attorneys and clients assisting in the review of purchase and sale agreements, leases and loan documentation to conform the documentation to local customs and practice. She provides litigation support in connection with commercial foreclosures and disposition of real property assets the representation of bankruptcy trustees in connection with the rehabilitation and disposition of real estate bankruptcy assets and the representation of private clients in connection with public/private joint ventures.
As an EID practitioner, Monica has worked extensively within Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
(DEI) spaces over the last 15 years. Including Wisconsin K-12 urban classrooms, Higher
Education, and various Equity Committees and Boards such as the Minnesota Association Of
Professional Employees DEI committee (MAPE EDIC), Minnesota Association of Community
Corrections Act Counties (MACCAC), the Ramsey Corrections Advisory Board (CAB), and as the chair of the Volunteers In Corrections (VIC) board. In 2021 Monica was awarded the
Torchbearer Award from the American Civil Liberties Union Minnesota.
Monica has a bachelor’s degree in Education from Carroll University, a master’s degree in
Education with a focus on Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-
Milwaukee and is a Certified Diversity Professional (CDP) through the University of Minnesota.
Monica is an Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Advisor at the Mayo Clinic, advising the Research
shield, the Education shield, the Health System, and Shared Services.
Noel J. Cárdenas is the Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Memorial Hermann Southeast and Pearland Hospitals in Houston, TX. A combat veteran who served more than 30 years with the Texas National Guard and the United States Army, he retired at the rank of Colonel. While on active duty, he served in multiple healthcare leadership positions, including Battalion and Hospital Command. Two Legion of Merits and three Bronze stars are among his numerous recognitions.
Cárdenas has over 35 years of healthcare leadership experience and is board certified in healthcare management through the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). He has served as the Army Regent for the ACHE, a Board Member for the National Forum for Latino Healthcare Executives and was elected to serve a three-year term on the Board of Governors of the ACHE. He is notably the only Latino member on the Board.
Passionate about mentorship and coaching, Cárdenas credits two mentors – both senior Latino healthcare executives - for their encouragement and support during key moments in his career. Aware that Latinos, nationally, make up only a small percentage of senior healthcare executives, Cárdenas hopes his work as a mentor will help inspire others to move into these leadership positions.
Married for 32 years, Cárdenas and his wife, Cristi, reside in Houston. They have three children: Andrew, a Physical Therapist in Frisco, TX Kristian, a student of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University and Noah, a Project Engineer with the Hanover Company in Charlotte, NC.
Nury Castillo Crawford is the director of academic support for the largest school district in the state of Georgia. She is an award winning author, and with a vision to change the narrative of who an immigrant is via books, she launched 1010 Publishing. Nury is a pioneer and leader in education, she launched and leads the district’s first mentoring
program for Latino students whose main focus is to close the graduation gap and provide additional strategies to support equity in student achievement. In this program she not only focuses on the empowerment of the students in the program, but also the parents.
She is a graduate of Florida A&M University where she earned both her B.S. and M.S. degrees. Additionally she is certified in both ESL and Gifted education. Nury has been an education leader for over 20 years and is an advocate for bilingual and bicultural representation along with equity and representation in both the classroom and leadership in schools. Her passion is ensuring every student feels seen, respected, and validated. She leads, collaborates, and supports leaders and aspiring leaders in education via her leadership role as president in the state organization, Georgia Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents.
Nury's most recent initiative is opening a small bookstore. THE little BOOK SPOT-a multilingual bookstore, in metro Atlanta, where the Latino community is growing. Nury has been recognized for her work through many awards, from national educator of the year in 2019 and consecutively made the list for 50 Most Influential Latinos for 3 years in Georgia. Nury has been featured in many multi-media outlets, both nationally and local news reach, and both in English & Spanish.
Chosen as one of the Top Latina Leaders 2021 by the National Diversity Council, Pilar Ortiz is a bilingual motivational speaker and mindset and communication coach, who has trained and impacted thousands of leaders in more than 50 countries around the world.
As a speaker, she delivers her keynote, workshops and training on Public Speaking, Executive Presence, Communicating with Confidence, etc. As a coach, she helps hundreds of executives, professional speakers and entrepreneurs to build confidence and enhance their strengths to succeed to their fullest potential in front of a live audience, a microphone or a camera. As a spokesperson she becomes the video ambassador of your brand.
Pilar has 25 years of broadcasting experience and is the creator of the Speak Easy™ System, the Influence Accelerator programs. She is an active member of the National Speakers Association (NSA) and author of two books: Reinventing Yourself and Genius in the bottle.
Follow us: Instagram: @PilarOrtizTV Twitter: @HabloEspanol
Judge Rosie Speedlin Gonzalez was born in Brownsville, Texas to parents who instilled in her a love for both her culture and country. From them Rosie learned the importance of service to her community and the value of people in her life.
She graduated from St. Mary’s University with her law degree in 2001, then practiced law for 16 years, becoming the only lawyer in South Texas to be certified as a Child Welfare Specialist by the National Association of Counsel for Children. In her law career, she represented hundreds of foster children in the CPS system. She mentored several new attorneys, who went on to develop successful law careers. The judge had a solo practice, where she committed to hard work and service to her clients. Rosie loves the law this passion led her to running for judge in 2018 of County Court 13 a misdemeanor domestic violence court in Bexar County.
After a successful & victorious campaign, she took the bench in January 2019 as the presiding judge of Bexar County Court at Law No. 13. She ran with the following initiatives: 1) to create a drug court/ domestic violence specialty program that addresses the core issues that bring offenders into the courtroom 2) to collaborate with
UTSA’s Counseling Department to set up a therapeutic support for the victims of domestic violence. During the 2019 Texas Legislative Session, she co-authored HB 3529 which was sponsored by State Rep. Roland Gutierrez and Senator Jose Menendez. HB 3529 was signed into law by Gov. Abbott and mandates that a Specialty Drug Court be implemented within Bexar County Court at Law No. 13’s Domestic Violence Docket. Judge Speedlin Gonzalez recognizes the lack of resources in the community of San Antonio for our most vulnerable citizens. Further, she is aware that the most dangerous places in our city can exist in the home. She has dedicated her time on the bench to addressing the needs for an ever-increasing problem in our city.
In 2021, the Texas Diversity Council honored Rosie with the LGBTQ+ Individual Leadership Award. In 2020, she was chosen as the recipient of the Alice Wright Franzke Feminist Award for outstanding work done and will continue to do that promotes the ideals of peace, empowerment, cooperation, equality and respect of all persons. Over the past two and half years, she was been honored as the PIONEER AWARD recipient by Bexar County Commissioners, awarded the POLITICAL ICON award by the PRIDE Center and was nominated for induction in the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame. She is an assistant professor at St. Mary’s University Law School where she co teaches the Child Welfare Law Seminar with tenured professor Ana Novoa, and teaches the Child Abuse & Domestic Violence Class at UTSA Downtown campus as a guest lecturer. Additionally, she is a featured writer for LA PRENSA TEXAS and is the author of their MANGUERA MEMORIES column and a frequent guest speaker on the1Radio podcast hosted by Ms. Neka Cleaver.
Judge Speedlin Gonzalez devoted her career as an attorney to obtaining fairness and justice for the disenfranchised and the voiceless. She was and continues to be committed to ensuring that women have a seat at the policy making table of their respective communities of origin. She has received the Adele Advocate for the Poor Award, has been inducted into the Order of Barristers and INNS of Court, and is a recipient of the Presidential National Leadership Award. She is a past Commissioner on the Hispanic National Bar Association’s Commission on the Status of Latinas in the Legal Profession, past Chairperson of the Hispanic Issues Section of the State Bar of Texas and Past President of both the MABA San Antonio Chapter and MABA Texas, and served on multiple non-profit and educational boards. She has been recognized for her community work and leadership by various organizations and associations and previously consulted women seeking political/public office.
Corporate US operations, where her primary goal is to develop solutions that enhance the colleague and client experience for MMA's Private Client division. Roxy is also a founding member of MMA's National Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion council. Her passion for DE&I comes from being a member of the LGBT+ community, and during a time in her life not having felt like she could be herself fully, personally or at work. Working for an organization like MMA has allowed her to use her voice to make a difference, helping to create an inclusive culture that encourages all to bring their whole selves to work. In the community, Roxy leads as Chair of the Miami based nonprofit organization YES Institue, whose mission is to prevent suicide and ensure the healthy development of all youth through powerful communication and education on gender and orientation. Being a part of this organization and in the community has added to her purpose of inclusivity for all.
Roxy obtained her BS in Psychology from Carlos Albizu University and MBA from Florida International University. In her personal life she is an avid traveler, seeker of adventure, and self proclaimed foodie!
Santiago Villegas is Co-Founder and CEO of 1903 Public Relations. His award-winning PR strategies have motivated multimillion-dollar investments. Before helping to create 1903 Public Relations, Santiago Villegas amassed experience from a wide variety of different industries including machine learning, cybersecurity, augmented reality, renewable energy, automation, ag tech, and environmental conservation.
Since founding the agency, Santiago has won gold in the 2019 Bulldog Award for PR Up and Comer, as well as a 2020 Stevie Award in the Communications Professional of the Year category. Santiago is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine, a Forbes Business Council member, and recently made the Forbes Next 1000 list.
Born in Mexico, raised in a rural town in central California and the son of field laborers, Santiago has passionately pursued advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in business media. He works to elevate non-traditional founders, usually those creating disruptive technologies, into the spotlight to create a representative/accurate view of the innovators pushing industries forward.
Sofia Anthony joined the National Diversity Council’s team in 2011 as the Coordinator for the Florida Diversity Council (i.e., FLDC). The FLDC grew and developed significantly under her leadership and continues to gain momentum. In 2012, Sofia was promoted to the Senior Coordinator position and was given the Tri-State Diversity Council (i.e., TSDC) to grow and develop. In 2013, Sofia became the first Regional Manager for the National Diversity Council (i.e., NDC) and in 2015, she became the first training and development lead as the Manager of Training, Development, and Regional Operations. The state diversity councils that primarily fall within her region include Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey, and New York. Sofia works very closely with multiple teams of Board members who oversee diversity councils throughout the NDC.
As the Assistant Vice President, Sofia Anthony strives to ensure that Coordinators, Senior Coordinators, and other staff members receive the proper support they need to fulfill the NDC’s mission, vision, and goals to the best of their abilities. Not only does Sofia assist with training and development, recruitment and selection, and operational management, but she also helps with business development as well. Some of Sofia’s key contributions to the NDC include formalizing on-boarding and training documentation and processes for new employees developing, communicating, and launching a 360 performance appraisal process establishing metrics and developing feedback surveys to obtain valuable data for evaluation and improvement purposes conducting the organization’s first training needs analysis to identify Coordinator¹s primary training needs creating an online database of sample email templates for external communication purposes and raising over $250,000 in new corporate partnership dollars since joining the Council, amongst others.
Sofia Anthony graduated magna cum laude from Brown University, where she obtained a B.A. in Anthropology and Ethnic Studies. While working for the NDC, Sofia obtained an M.S. in Human Resource Management from Nova Southeastern University in 2013 and in 2014 obtained her PHR and SHRM-CP credentials. Sofia was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, yet spent the majority of her life in Tampa, Florida. She has always had a deep passion for diversity and inclusion efforts, and feels incredibly fortunate to have found a job that allows her to fulfill her passion each and every day.
Susan Baida is Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) with UPMC, a $24 billion healthcare system of 92,000+ employees and 40+ hospitals. A healthcare professional with 30+ years of experience in DEI, global marketing, entrepreneurship, and creating social impact. As a leader of a 12-person team, she collaborates with the Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Talent Management Officer in overarching strategic planning, initiative development and implementation of strategies to advance the Diversity & Inclusion Agenda. Prior to joining UPMC, Susan co-founded a healthcare technology venture, eCareDiary, focused on patient care coordination and resources for family caregivers of aging adults. She held executive roles with Fortune 500 companies including Avon, Estee Lauder Companies and Starwood Hotels leading global expansion and launching culturally relevant products and services. An adaptable, results-driven leader providing vision, strategy, and operational execution, she possesses a successful track record of developing, implementing health equity strategies, utilizing data-driven performance measures that meet organizational objectives.
Susan graduated from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, holds certifications in Diversity Leadership and Strategic Human Resources Business Partnership, and completed executive leadership training at Vassar College. She serves on the Board of Directors of the National Healthcare Diversity Council, Casa San Jose, Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Women’s Alliance and Pine Richland Anti-Racism Coalition. For 8 years, she was an appointed Director of Manhattan Community Board, an advisory board to the New York City Mayor’s office, and served as its Chair of Human Services advocating on behalf of underserved constituents. Susan is first generation to Ecuadorian and Korean immigrant parents and is fluent in Spanish. Her family includes 11-year-old twin sons, a 14-year-old daughter, her mother, and their beloved beagle.
Teodoro Anderson Diaz, Vice President of Outpatient Behavioral Health at the Federally Qualified Health Centers operated by Wheeler Clinic as of 2019. He oversees behavioral health services across the lifespan at the centers located in Bristol, Hartford, New Britain, Plainville and Waterbury. Experience includes more than 20 years working in inpatient, outpatient, and community-based settings. He received a Master’s in Social Work, and a Master’s in Human Services Administration from Springfield College. He resides in Hartford, CT.
Vanessa Nazario was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Trenton, NJ. She has worked in the field of Community Development, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for over 25 years. Her career began at MECHA, a Hispanic based nonprofit organization providing home ownership training and counseling to low-to-moderate income families. She later joined PNC Bank where she worked and had the honor of working in several roles over the course of her 20 year career within the Community Development Banking Department. In early 2017, she transitioned into a new role with RWJ University Hospital, which is part of RWJ Barnabas Health System, as Director of Diversity and Inclusion where she was responsible for diversity and inclusion and healthcare equity initiatives. She managed several key programs that helped transform the culture into an inclusive environment for both staff and patients. Vanessa also launched the Hospital’s first Diversity Council and provided oversight for the seven Business Resource Groups. She was also a key leader in the development and launch of the PROUD Gender Medical Center Program: a comprehensive medical program serving the needs of the LGBTQ+ community. In early 2021, she joined Memorial Healthcare System in Hollywood, FL as Director of DEI and to lead the System’s diversity, health equity, and inclusion strategy and Language Interpretation Services. In June 2022, she was promoted to Corporate Director, Chief Diversity Officer. In addition, she is leading the System’s inaugural health equity strategy.
Vanessa serves on several committees: Florida Diversity Council’s Education Committee Human Resources Association of Broward County’s (HRABC) DEI Committee serves as a Student Mentor for Rider University’s Women in Leadership Council HISPA’s South Florida Advisory Council ARC of Broward’s Business Advisory Council. Vanessa has spoken at numerous conferences on topics such as: diversity, inclusion health equity community development diverse women in leadership. Vanessa received her MBA from Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ and also has a Masters in Science degree from Southern New Hampshire University. She completed a Non Profit Management Certificate from Seton Hall University and is certified as a Diversity Executive (CDE) from the Institute for Diversity Certification. She is currently completing an Executive Leadership program at Cornell University.
Victor Verastegui is Vice President and Head of Operations for New York Life Direct in Tampa Florida. He is responsible for managing Call Center, Claims, Policy Administration, and Underwriting functions, leading over 500 professionals that serve two million direct-to-consumer policyholders. He has held several leadership positions in his 25-year career including operations, service, marketing, sales, and wealth management but attributes his success to time spent in working directly with customers. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin.
Victor is an advocate for minority causes leveraging his personal experiences growing up in South Texas to help NYL engage underserved communities. He is a business advisor for the Latino Employee Resources group, a member of the NYL Supplier Diversity Advisory Committee, and is a sponsor for a partnership with Year Up to provide underserved youths with professional training and job experiences. He is committed to professional development through mentoring and coaching as part of NYL’s mentorship program.
Under Victor’s leadership, NYL Direct received several industry awards from the International Quality and Productivity Center (IQPC) and the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) including Call Center of the Year, Best Strategic Value to the Organization, and Best in Class Call Center. He was recently named as a 2022 Latino Leaders Worth Watching by Profiles in Diversity Journal.
Dr. Warren Leichtle-Chalklen advances cultural competency, diversity, equity, and inclusion outcomes at CHRISTUS Health. He leads language access services as well as the execution of system-wide diversity and inclusion educational and operational strategies. Within his broad scope of responsibilities, Dr. Leichtle-Chalklen achieves patient, associate, and organizational transformation through the integration of data, technology, and high impact learning experiences. His team increases patient access and improves patient experience through coordinating language access equipment, providing Qualified Bilingual Staff training, and harnessing language data to inform strategic decisions. Concerning diversity and inclusion, Dr. Leichtle-Chalklen serves as an instructor, resource, and subject matter expert to ministries throughout the system. He designs high quality, cost-effective learning solutions by collaborating with system-wide, clinical, non-clinical, and leadership teams, community partners and other experts.
Dr. Leichtle-Chalklen began his career as an urban schoolteacher in South Africa where he witnessed the impact of inequity on educational outcomes. He pursued a Master’s degree in Public Administration focusing on education policy and a PhD in Urban Education from Texas A&M University with a focus on curriculum and instruction. Dr. Leichtle-Chalklen has authored three book chapters and published peer reviewed articles on topics such as racial equity, pre-service teacher education, and technology-based learning. Upon graduation, Dr. Leichtle-Chalklen moved to New York City where he trained teachers how to use data to advocate for equity in their classrooms while working for an education nonprofit organization. He was also responsible for supporting the diversity and inclusion training and development program for internal staff members.
Dr. Leichtle-Chalklen has a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Texas A&M University as well as a certificate in Advancing Racial Equity in the Workplace from Harvard University.
Yazmin Castellano works as a consultant for the Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD-USF) serving middle/high school children and young adults. Her primary goals are to raise awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) among the Hispanic/Latino/LatinX community and CARD-USF services to Hispanic families and professionals. Yazmin reaches out to the Hispanic community and professionals by participating as a guest speaker on several conferences such as The Family Café, CARD Statewide conference, Elevatus Training among others. Yazmin also uses media to reach out to the Hispanic families via TV doing interviews with Telemundo Tampa, Univisión Tampa, Orlando and Ft. Myers, Rumba (iHeart Media) and International TV & Radio.
Yazmin provides trainings on mental health, suicide, anxiety, challenging behaviors, sleep, feeding, and safety. Yazmin works collaboratively with Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA) as a board member of the Health Services Advisory Committee. Yazmin is part of the Safety Kids Committee in Polk county where she has started to raise awareness about the importance of having and providing safety information in Spanish. She is also a part of the Diversity Committee at USF (CBCS).
Before joining CARD, Yazmin worked in the fields of mental health, education and case management. Her experience includes working in school settings, residential programs and clinical settings for individuals with behavioral, emotional and psychiatric disorders. Yazmin also performed duties as director for community-based programs. Yazmin uses that expertise to train families and professionals.
Yazmin has a B.A. in Clinical Psychology from Sacred Heart University, PR and an M.A in School Psychology from Interamerican University, PR.
In her free time, Yazmin enjoys spending time with her family, dance, read, journaling and meditate.