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For Immediate Release: Friday, January 29, 2010     
Contact: Cheryl Aguilar 703-527-6007;

Twenty-Two Latina Leaders from Across the Nation
Selected to Participate in Award-Winning Leadership Program that Builds on Their Strengths and Promotes Social Responsibility and Community Involvement

The National Hispana Leadership Institute 2010 Executive Leadership Program Set to Begin in February

(Washington, DC) The National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI) selected twenty-two Latina leaders from the public and private sectors to participate in its prestigious Executive Leadership Program. The Class of 2010 will kick-off in San Juan Bautista, California February 22.

NHLI is the premier executive leadership organization preparing Latinas for positions of national and international influence, public policy impact and to contribute to the advancement of the Hispanic community. Its mission is to develop Hispanas as ethical leaders through training, professional development, relationship building and community activism.

Going on its 23rd year, the Executive Leadership Program is held in conjunction with the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Center for Creative Leadership, and consists of a four-week training curriculum that spans nine months and is implemented in four cities. The intensive learning experience provides training in cross-cultural communication, strategic management, public policy, and leadership skills building. In addition, each participant mentors two young Latinas and completes a leadership project in her community.

This is a highly competitive program. Every year, a national recruitment effort solicits applications from mid-career Latina leaders from the public and private sectors. Only twenty-two women are selected.

Each participant was selected for her outstanding community service record, professional and personal accomplishments, passion to make a difference in her community and commitment to pay it forward. “The 2010 fellows exemplify exceptional leadership and the positive contributions Latinas are making to our communities,” said Cristina López, NHLI’s President. “The Executive Leadership Program will build on the strengths of each leader and promote social responsibility and stronger attention to the needs of the broader Hispanic community,” added López.

The 2010 fellows are: (click on each fellow’s name to learn more about them)

  • Helen Arteaga, Director, Urban Health Plan, Inc, (East Elmhurst, NY)
  • Michelle Azel Belaire, Senior Manager Public Affairs & Government Relations, Walmart (Miami, FL)
  • Marcela Bailey, Division Vice President, Sony Entertainment (Covina, CA)
  • Ana Maria Camargo, Director, Case Associates (Boston, MA)
  • Vanessa Cardenas, Director for Ethnic Media, Center for American Progress (Washington, DC)
  • Gloria Contreras Edin, Attorney (Inver Grove Heights, MN)
  • Edna Figueroa, Senior Product Manager, Fannie Mae (Boyds, MD)
  • Sol Flores, Executive Director, La Casa Norte (Chicago, IL)
  • Aurelia Flores, Senior Counsel, Science Applications International Corporation (San Diego, CA
  • Leticia Lara, Regional Manager, ZERO TO THREE (Pasadena, CA)
  • Rosalia Miller, Founder & Board Chair, The Latino Student Fund (Washington, DC)
  • Laura Nieto, Senior Manager, Corporate Community Affairs, Southwest Airlines (Sugar Land, TX)
  • Lisette Nieves, Executive Director, Year Up (Brooklyn, NY)
  • Sylvia Orozco, Professor, Miami Dade College (Miami, FL)
  • Jodi Valenciano Perry, Senior Investigator/Mediator/Arbitrator, City of Fort Worth (Fort Worth, TX)
  • Deborah Quiñones, Public Health Representative, New York State Department of Health (New York, NY)
  • Ana Rosa Rizo, Mayor, City of Maywood (Maywood, CA)
  • Rosa Maria Robles, Auditor, Dept. of Conservation (Chula Vista, CA)
  • Julie Rodriguez, Development Director, Colorado State University-Pueblo (Pueblo, CO)
  • Rebecca Saldaña, Community Liaison, U.S. Congressman Jim McDermott (Seattle, WA)
  • Gina Weber, Regional Senior Policy Advisor, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Dallas, TX)
  • Rosemary Ybarra-Hernandez, CEO/Founder, AGUILA Youth Leadership Institute (Phoenix, AZ)

The 2010 Fellows join a network of nearly 500 distinguished Hispanic women who have graduated from the national Executive Leadership Program. Applications for the 2011 Executive Leadership Program will be available at in April. To receive the latest updates click here to join NHLI’s mailing list.

The program is organized as follows:

Week I: Understanding Yourself and Others focuses on learning about leadership strengths and areas for development, cross cultural communication, conflict resolution, team building and the development of support networks, and setting development goals.  Held at San Juan Bautista, California in February.

Week II: Effective Change Through Public Policy and Management focuses on public management, negotiation skills, and strategic management through a case study approach.  Held in April at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Week III: Leadership Development Program is conducted at the Center for Creative Leadership (the top corporate executive leadership institute in the country), and combines lectures, group exercises, assessment questionnaires and individual feedback sessions to provide participants with information about their leadership, behavioral and decision-making styles.

Week IV: Impacting Decision Makers and National Policy participants explore the legislative process and national policy issues and engage in meetings with Congressional representatives and national leaders. The session takes place in Washington, DC in September and closes with a Latina Leaders breakfast honoring Hispanic women in public service and a graduation ceremony.

According to NHLI’s Impact Study: Transforming Latina Leaders and Communities — a comprehensive assessment of NHLI leadership programs over the last twenty years — NHLI has had a significant impact on communities across the country through more than 500 alumnae Leadership Projects, directly reaching more than 35,000 Latinas and touching hundreds of thousands of lives. Alumnae have directly provided one-on-one mentorship to more than 5,000 Latinas. 

In addition to the Executive Leadership Program, NHLI offers the Latinas Learning to Lead program for young Latinas (17-22 years) enrolled in college, five regional Latina Empowerment Conferences in various cities, an annual Executive Leadership Training Conference and Mujer Awards (Miami, FL November 4-5), and online training seminars. In 2010, NHLI will launch ALL IN (Advancing Latina Leaders in Nonprofits) a new program which seeks to cultivate, promote and sustain emerging leaders, Latinas 24-34 years of age who work in the nonprofit sector.


For questions about the program contact Evelyn Garcia Morales, Program Manager, at 703-527-6007 or

For media inquiries contact Cheryl Aguilar, Communications Manager, at 703-527-6007 or