Maria Alfaro-Lopez is Chief of the Forfeiture Division
of the Wayne County Prosecutors Office in Detroit, Michigan. Ms. Alfaro-Lopez
received her law degree from Arizona State University and her BA from Michigan
State University. Her community and nonprofit activities have revolved around
issues of education, urban sprawl, community policing, housing and the Latino
community. She currently serves on the board of directors of Holy Redeemer School,
Housing and Community Development Corporation of Wayne County, Southwest Services
Group, Southwest Detroit Subzone Community Policing Board and the faith-based
organization known as M.O.S.E.S. (Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength).
Dolores Arce-Kaptain is Director of Program Alianzas,
a collaborative effort between University of Missouri Outreach and Extension,
University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) and the UMKC Institute for Human Development.
Ms. Arce-Kaptain received her BA from UMKC and has been Director of Alianzas since
June 2001 Ms.Arce-Kaptain currently serves on one of eight state Subcommittees
on Extension Diversity, Coalition of Hispanic Organizations Education Committee,
University Outreach and Extension Community Connection Committee. She is a member
of the National Council of La Raza, MANA de Kansas City and the Maternal and Child
Health Coalition of Greater Kansas City.
Maria Anna Castro is a Financial Aid Counselor for the
Metropolitan State College of Denver. She earned her BA in Speech Communication
and is currently a candidate for a Masters degree in Management from Regis University.
Ms. Castro was the founding president of the first Latina sorority, Pi Lambda
Chi at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is passionate and committed
to the success of our youths future. She volunteers her time with the La
Raza Youth Leadership Conference, Chic Chicana, Denver Boy Scouts, Colorado Women's
Cancer Control Initiative and mentors incoming freshmen to Metro State College.
She is also a member of the NSHMBA and is currently serving as the President
of the Latino Faculty & Staff Association at Metro State College. Denver
Mayor Wellington Webb has recognized her contributions as a leader to the community.
Guadalupe Contreras is a Hispanic Program Specialist
within the Diversity Development Department for the U.S. Postal Service. She engages
in special projects and activities aimed at increasing the number of Hispanics
and women for both entry and management positions within the agency. She has recruited
and mentored Latinos in an effort to assist and motivate them to help them achieve
their employment and educational goals and aspirations. She received her Bachelor
of Arts degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, with a dual major
in Chicano Studies and Social Sciences. She also holds a Certificate in Paralegal
Studies from California State University, Hayward.
Maria Theresa Diaz-Urbino is the President and Founder of Hispanic Strategic Consultants, Inc., serving
business and government agencies in the Central Florida area. She received her
MPA from the University of Central Florida (UCF). Mrs. Diaz-Urbino currently develops
and maintains Orlando en Español, one of the first comprehensive municipal
web sites in Spanish. She also volunteers as a Spanish teacher and has mentored
students. She has been a municipal representative at the Hispanic Chamber of Central
Florida, has served in the Performance Evaluation Committee for the Citrus Council
of Girl Scouts and is a founding cabinet advisor of the Hispanic American Student
Association at UCF.
Ingrid Duran is the President
and CEO of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute whose mission is to develop
the next generation of Latino leaders. Ms. Duran received her BS in Management
from Park College. Ms. Duran serves as a Presidential Appointee on the Presidents
Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and on the Minority Veterans Advisory Board. She
is also a member of the Executive Advisory Board of the Harvard Journal of Hispanic
Policy. Duran is affiliated with numerous organizations including: MANA: A National
Latina Organization, Women in Military Service Memorial Organization, Congressional
Hispanic Staff Association (past President) and the Congressional Marine Corps
Norma J. Garcia is the Executive Director of Parent
Institute of Quality Education, which serves seven Southern California communities,
reaching 30,000 Latino parents. The goal is to prepare parents to engage the American
public school system as advocates for their children. Ms. Garcia is currently
working in collaboration with the Los Angeles School District (the second largest
school district in the nation). Ms. Garcia has been Executive Director for Parents
Institute for Quality Education for the past four years.
Dr. Mercedes D. Hernandez is the Director of the Meltzer
Psychological Service Center in the Department of Psychology and a Research Scientist
in the School of Public Health of The George Washington University. She teaches
and provides supervision to graduate students in the clinical psychology program
and conducts research on resilience in Latino adolescents. Dr. Hernandez works
with public school districts in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and has
been active in her community promoting educational opportunities and providing
information on mental health issues to Latino youth.
Maria C. Mari, CPA, CMA, is a Professor at the School
of Business of Miami-Dade Community College as well as the Coordinator of the
Business Administration Honors Academy, a learning community made up of an elite
group of business students that undertake a rigorous academic program. Ms. Mari
was honored with the distinguished Carlos Arboleya Endowed Teach Chair for her
excellence in the classroom and her commitment to students. Ms. Mari advises the
Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. As a practicing certified public
accountant, specializing in forensic accounting, Maria Mari also maintains a private
accounting practice. She is currently Secretary on the Executive Board of Teachers
of Accounting at Two Year Colleges.
Annette Martinez, CLU, ChFC, is the Assistant Vice President,
Diversity at State Farm®s corporate headquarters in Bloomington, Illinois.
She began her career with State Farm® in 1988 in the Life/Health Division. In June
2000, she was named California Human Resources Manager. A 1986 graduate of the
University of Northern Colorado with a BA in Biological Sciences, she earned her
Chartered Life Underwriting (CLU) designation in 1995 and became a Chartered Financial
Consultant in 1997.
Before joining the staff of the Dallas Concilio in 1999, Cecilia
McKay was a community volunteer at the Concilio. A graduate of Bernard M.
Baruch College and Fordham University, she is a past President of the Hispanic
Womens Network of Texas, Dallas Chapter and the Womens Center of Dallas.
She founded the Breast Health Alliance of North Texas, whose mission is to increase
the early detection of breast cancer. Cecilia also formed the Genesis Womens
Shelter Hispanic Outreach Advisory Committee. She is the President-elect for the
Hispanic 50, a network of Hispanic women leaders. She is on the Board of the Girl
Scouts, American Red Cross, March of Dimes, and the University of Dallas.
Patricia Mendoza is the Midwest Regional Counsel of
the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), a national organization
that uses the law, community education and advocacy to protect the civil rights
of Latinos in the US. She helps develop effective strategies in the areas of employment,
political access, education, immigrant rights and public resource equity. She
earned her B.A. at DePaul University in Chicago and her J.D. at DePaul University
College of Law. She is a member of the DePaul University College of Law Advisory
Council, board member of the Young Womens Leadership Charter School of Chicago
and the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum. She is a member of the Illinois Governors
Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes.
Giovanna Negretti is the Executive Director of ¿Oiste?,
the first and only Latino political organization in Massachusetts that promotes
the principles and practice of democracy and advance the political, social and
economic standing of Latinos by impacting public policy through civic education,
voter mobilization, legislative lobbying and electoral training. Sher serves as
the President of the National Congress of Puerto Rican Rights, Massachusetts Chapter,
Regional Coordinator of the National Boricua Human Rights Network and active member
of Escena Latina, the only Latino theatre troupe in Boston. Ms. Negretti received
her BFA from Emerson College.
In 1986, Mary Lou Olivarez-Mason became the first female
Executive Director of the Michigan Commission of Spanish Speaking Affairs, that
develops policies and a plan of action to serve, be an advocate for and represent
the needs of the Hispanic communities within Michigan. Throughout her career,
she has had an unrelenting commitment to justice and civil rights. Ms. Mason received
a Nursing Degree from Saginaw School of Nursing and an Honorary Doctorate Degree
from Great Lakes College. She currently serves on the Greater Lansing Cesar Chavez
Commission. She was also instrumental in assisting Lansing Community College in
building the first and only community college in Mexico, located in Guadalajara,
Daisy Ortiz-Cirihal has had a successful marketing career
at Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan. She received her MBA from the University
of Texas at Austin. She serves as the Marketing Chair and Board member of the
National Society of Hispanic MBAs and serves in various roles on the Advisory
Boards of the Hispanic Network Group of Ford Motor Company, Wayne State University,
Chicano-Boricua Studies and the Mexicantown Hispanic Association. She is Founder
and President of the Detroit Chamber of Hispanic MBAs and volunteesr for
Junior Achievement. She has been recognized as one of the Next Generation
of Minority Business Leaders in Minority MBA Magazine.
Sonia Plata serves as the Director of Capacity Building at the New Detroit-The Coalition,
the nations first urban coalition of leaders representing business, labor,
media, community-based and civil rights organizations, education, health and religious
institutions to address the social and community ills. She holds a BA in Elementary
Education from the University of Michigan. She currently serves as the Board Chair
for Latino Family Services, a human service organization. She is active on the
Board of the Community Advisory Board of the Center for Chicano/Boricua Studies
at Wayne State University and Leadership Detroit Selection Committee for the Detroit
Regional Chamber of Commerce. Sonia is a co-founder of Women, Owning, Mentoring,
Encouraging and Networking (WOMEN) United.
Milagros Rivas is a Senior Manager for the Gandara Mental
Health Center, the third largest non-profit organization headed by Hispanics in
Massachusetts. She received a Masters degree from the University of Massachusetts.
She is currently the Chairperson of the WMASS Substance Abuse Providers Association,
which represents 30+ vendors funded by the Department of Public Health, a Trustee
of the Community United Way, Board Member of the Springfield Urban League and
serves other local, regional and statewide Boards.
Sandra Salazar-Thompson is the co-founder of the Latina
Leadership Network of Northern California. She received her law degree from Hastings
College of the Law in San Francisco and her undergraduate degree from the University
of California, Berkeley. She is employed by the Governors Office of Planning
and Research where she specializes in environmental justice. She is a volunteer
with the Chicano/Latino Youth Leadership project, which serves youth on a statewide
basis in California. She considers her mentoring of her own children one of her
most significant contributions to Latina leadership.
Carmen Iris Sierra has a B.S. in Management/Human Resources
from Central Connecticut State University and a M.S. in Public Administration
from the University of Hartford. She is the Executive Director of the Connecticut
Association for Spanish Action, Inc. (C.A.U.S.A.), the largest coalition of Latino
community-based organizations. She is Vice Chair and Commissioner for the Hartford
Economic Development Commission, Board Member of Connecticut Workforce Development
Board, and former member of Catholic Family Services. Ms. Sierra is Founder and
President of the Latin American Students Organization and the Vice President of
the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women.
Josie S. Talamantez is the Assistant Chief of Grant
Program for the California Arts Council, a state agency where she oversees five
separate programs: Multicultural Arts Development, Traditional Folk Arts, Artists
in Residence, Artists Fellowship and the State-Local Partnership (community development
effort for local arts agencies). She is a founding and contributing member of
Chicano Park in San Diego, the only open air museum in the Americas. She is a
member of the Royal Chicano Air Force, aka Rebel Chicano Art Front, and sits on
the Board of the Capital Area Indian Resources and the Board of Community Heritage