Executive Leadership Program
Graduates of the Institute
Class of 2001
Ida Colón, currently serves as Counsel to ING-Aetna
Financial services, a leading tax-deferred retirement plan
provider. Ms. Colón received her law degree from Western New
England College School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree
from Clark University. She has been Counsel to ING-Aetna Financial
Services for approximately three years. Ms. Colón currently
serves as advocate for abused and neglected children through
Lawyer for Children America, on the advisory board of a neighborhood
renovation project and as big sister to two incredible Latina
teenagers. She has been very active in her community working
as a volunteer for many local non-profit organizations.
Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez is the President of
the Hispanic Federation. Established in 1990, it is a network
of 70 Latino health and human service agencies that serve
more than two million Latinos annually. Under her leadership,
the Hispanic Federation played an important role in the region
to provide disaster relief to the victims of the floods and
hurricanes that affected Latin America and the Caribbean.
She is a member of the Board of Regents for New York State.
She is the City Council representative for the Bronx on the
New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board. She also serves
on the board of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity; the Amber
Charter School, the Medical and Health Research Association,
the NYPD Board of Visitors, the Joint Federation Partnership,
and NY Women 2001. She has an MPA from New York University
Wagner School of Public Service, and a certificate from the
Columbia University School of Non-Profit Management.
Marisa J. Demeo is the Regional Counsel of the Mexican American
Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) D.C. Office. MALDEF
is a national nonprofit organization that protects and promotes
the civil rights of Latinos living in the United States. She
received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University
and her law degree from New York University School of Law.
Ms. Demeo currently serves on the Board of the Alliance for
Justice, an organization focusing on judicial nominations
and a variety of issues affecting non-profits. She has been
active in the District of Columbia Bar, voluntary bar associations,
and local non-profits.
Eliza Guzman-Vela is president of a her own training and consulting
company that assists non-profit agencies in the Midwest. Ms.
Guzman-Vela received her Bachelors of General Studies Degree
from Indiana University and her Law Degree from Southern Illinois
University in Carbondale. She is currently working on her
Masters Degree in Public Affairs from Indiana University.
She serves as treasurer for the Latino Historical Society
and a volunteer for La Casa of Northwest Indiana. She also
received two state appointments from the Governor of Indiana.
Flavia Hernández is the School Based Budget Officer
and Education Liaison for the Chicago Public Schools Office
of Management and Budget. Prior to this appointment she held
the position of Early Childhood Programs Officer and is a
former Principal of two Chicago Public Schools. She received
her Master of Science in Education from Chicago State University
and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Mundelein College in Bilingual-Bicultural
Studies and Psychology, both in Chicago. Ms. Hernández
has been an active member in her community and has served
on numerous advisory boards, task forces and committees. She
is currently a Board Member of the Mexican Fine Arts Center
Museum. She is among the founders and past president of the
Network of Hispanic Administrators in Education (NHAE) and
has served as Vice-President of the Mexican Administrators
in Education (MAE) both in Chicago, Illinois.
Leticia Lopez is Program Director of "Leaders in Progress,"
an intensive mentorship program for multi-ethnic teen women
from low-income households in Seattle, Washington. Ms. Lopez
developed this program for the YWCA of Seattle/King County/Snohomish
County. In 1999, it was awarded a "Golden Apple,"
a public television award that recognizes "excellence
and innovation" in education. Ms. Lopez has also been
very active in the theatre community, both as an actor, director,
and as a facilitator of Augusto Boal's "theatre of the
oppressed (T.O.)." She holds a B.A. in Theatre from Whitman
College. Theatre of the Oppressed is activist and interactive
theater for non-actors. Through various exercises and productions
it uses drama to break through conflict and, ultimately, to
transform individuals and communities. Ms. Lopez has practiced
"T.O." in both community and corporate settings
for the past five years.
Bertha Martinez is President of BAM Consulting, Ltd., a firm
that focuses on recruiting, training and consulting human
resource development and diversity issues. Ms. Martinez retired
after 30 years with Ameritech Services an SBC Communications
Co. in her extensive telecommunications career. She developed
human resources and strong supervisory skills. Ms. Martinez
currently serves as an honorary member of the Ameritech Hispanic
Advisory panel and University of Illinois minority engineering
recruitment and retention. She has been very active in her
community working as a volunteer for local non-profit organization.
Stephanie Maya is a health educator for the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention"s National Center for Chronic
Disease Prevention and Health Promotion"s Office on Smoking
and Health. She received both her Master of Heath Administration
and Master of Public Health in Community Medicine at the University
of Washington, Seattle. She is a Certified Health Education
Specialist and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications
at UCLA. She has served as a consultant to the National Hispanic
Leadership Cancer Initiative and other National Cancer Institute
Projects. She is a Fellow in the Anti-Defamation League"s
New Leaders Program which focuses on monitoring and combating
hate crimes against all ethnic groups and is also a Leadership
Fellow in the Arnovitz Institute at her Synagogue and volunteers
to feed the homeless and visit patients at Children"s
Jazmin Miranda-Smith is Executive Director of the New Hampshire
Minority Health Coalition identifying populations in the state
with barriers to accessing appropriate health care while advocating
for adequate and appropriate services and empowering those
populations to be active participants in their own health
care. She received her Master"s Degree in Adult and Occupational
Education from the University of New Hampshire and has been
Executive Director for the past year and a half. Ms. Miranda-Smith
was the first Latina to serve on the Board of Health in Manchester,
NH. She currently serves on numerous boards of directors,
which include Lamprey Health Care, Department of Health and
Human Services, YWCA, YMCA, Diversity Task Force, New England
Coalition for Health Equity, and also serves on the Steering
Committee for the New England Regional Minority Health Committee.
She is known for her dedication to and for the minority communities.
Elizabeth Ortiz currently is the Director of the Affirmative
Action and Diversity Resources Program at Northern Illinois
University (NIU). She received her B.S. degree in Business
Administration from Calumet College of St. Joseph"s,
a M.S. in Adult Continuing Education from NIU and is finishing
the requirements for an Ed.D at NIU. Prior to joining NIU,
she was the Director of Hispanic Programs at Chicago State
University. Her community service includes serving on community
and professional boards, developing programs, which emphasize
multiculturalism, and recruitment and retention initiatives
for diverse student and workforce populations. She serves
on the Board of the Illinois Association for Hispanic State
Employees (IAHSE) and is the Interim President of the Illinois
Council on Latinos in Higher Education (ILACHE).
Sandra Pizarro is the Chief of Staff for Assemblymember Manny
Diaz in the California State Legislature. She graduated from
Santa Clara University School of Law, co-founded the East
San Jose Community Law Center and ran for the California State
Assembly in March 2000. Ms. Pizarro currently serves on the
Board for the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project, which
offers a week-long summer leadership training conference for
140 10th and 11th graders. She has been very active in her
community working as a volunteer for many other local non-profits.
Linda Rivera, Special Emphasis Program Manager for the Bureau
of Reclamation"s Lower Colorado Region, is very involved
with community based organizations that undertake special
projects and activities aimed at increasing the number of
Hispanics within thƒ federal workforce. Currently, she is
the President of the Southern Nevada Hispanic Employment Program
Council and serves on several committees that assist Hispanic
students pursuing education goals.
Dr. Sandra Rivera is an International Economist in the Research
Division, Office of Economics of the U.S. International Trade
Commission. Rivera earned her Ph.D. in International Economics
from the University of Kentucky and her BA from William Smith
College. She served as Deputy Director for Free Trade Area
of the Americas (FTAA) at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative,
and as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. Dr.
Rivera currently serves as VP for the William Smith Alumnae
Council, VP for the HWS Afro-Latino Alumni Association and
Secretary on her church's Board, Iglesia San Jose. Her mentoring
work focuses on motivating Latinos to achieve higher educational
levels and professional advancement.
LTC Maribel A. Rodriguez serves as the Dept. of Defense Action
Agent for the NATO Council on Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological
(NBC) Defense working Groups. LTC Rodriguez leads the US Delegation
technical sub-group meetings and directs international research
and development collaboration programs. She has served in
the US Army for the past 23 years. LTC Rodriguez currently
serves as Vice-President of the National Association of Hispanic
Federal Executives (NAHFE) Scholarship Foundation; she has
been very active in the military and her community working
as a volunteer to enhance educational achievement and advancement
Nadine Romero, is the Owner and Principal Hydrogeologist of
Ground Water Science Services, LLC, an environmental consulting
firm specializing in ground water investigations and assessment
of hydrologic systems for contamination, ground water availability
and recovery in Olympia, WA. She received her A.B. in Geology
from Mount Holyoke College and her M.S. in Geology from Michigan
State University. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees
for Central Washington University and is very active in the
community providing talks on global and local water resources,
human interactions with water, being a mentor scientist and
role model for girls and people of color.
Maria L. Rubio is a partner in the law firm of Leesfield,
Leighton, Rubio & Mahfood, with offices in Miami and Key
West Florida. She specializes in the areas of medical malpractice,
unfair insurance claims practices and bad faith, maritime,
nursing home, professional malpractice, and product liability.
Ms. Rubio received a Masters in Public Administration from
Florida International University and she received her Juris
Doctor degree, cum laude, from the University of Miami, where
she won Regional First Place in the American Bar Association
Client Counseling Competition. Ms. Rubio is an active lecturer
and writer on numerous topics such as medical malpractice,
insurance claims, product safety, and trial and litigation
skills. Ms. Rubio is a member of the American Board of Trial
Advocates, the Eugene P. Spellman American Inn of Court, and
Million Dollar Advocates Forum. She is a former Board Member
of the Academy of Trial Lawyers and has served the Academy
by Chairing the CLE Committee, Co-Chairing the Insurance Task
Force, and serving as a FLAG Trustee.
Silvia Stradi is Associate Vice President for Critical Care
and Emergency Services at Cedars Medical Center in Miami,
Florida. A Registered Nurse, Ms. Stradi received her Master
of Science Degree In Nursing Administration from Barry University.
She has been Associate Vice President for the past four years.
Ms. Stradi has been active in her community through service
In the United Way of Dade County, participating in various
community events targeting schools and youth.
Mary Lou Tullos is a special education teacher at Gutierrez
Middle School in Harlingen, Texas. Ms. Tullos received her
M.S. from Texas A&I University. Ms. Tullos has been a
teacher for the past 28 years, and for 25 years, she has been
teaching special education students. Ms. Tullos has been very
active in her school district and community, working and coaching
Special Olympic students both on the local and state level
area games. She is also currently caring for her elderly parents
and is an advocate for the elderly in her community. Ms. Tullos
was selected as the recipient of the 1999 NHLI
National Mujer Award for her contribution to the Hispanic
Educationally Challenged population in her community. Ms.
Tullos" motto is, "A glimmer of hope is a glow of
Magda Yrizarry is Director of Community Affairs at Verizon Communications.
In this capacity, she is responsible for stakeholder relations, philanthropy,
and corporate volunteerism. Ms. Yrizarry received her B.S. from Cornell University
and is currently a candidate for a Master"s Degree in Regional Planning from Cornell
University. She is the Chairperson of Aspira of New York, a Latino youth leadership
development program; Secretary of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce; and serves
on numerous other Boards including the Aspira National Association, 100 Hispanic
Women, and the Brooklyn Children"s Museum. She is also very active in her local
church where she teaches a girls" Christian leadership development curriculum.