National Hispana Leadership Institute - Celebrating 27 Years of Latina Leadership Search
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2014 Presenters

Delia Garcia
Delia Garcia, ELP ‘07

Senior Liaison for the Latino American Community
National Education Association

Delia Garcia serves as the National Education Association Senior Liaison for the Latino American Community in the Office of Minority Community Organizing & Partnerships in the Center for Advocacy and Outreach at the national office in Washington DC. Delia joined the NEA-MCOP team from the Kansas House of Representatives, where she became the first Latina woman to be elected to the Kansas Legislature in 2004, at age 27, as the youngest female elected to the Kansas Legislature. She served six years with a passion for and track record of championing advances in higher education, small business, women issues, health access, labor, and diversity issues.  She has also worked on electoral campaigns since 1996, including presidential, congressional, gubernatorial, state senate and house, city council and school board races. In 2004, in the midst of her first campaign for the Kansas Legislature, Delia completed her Master’s Degree in Political Science from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.  In 2007, Delia graduated from the Harvard University Executive Leadership Program.  Ms. Garcia has received numerous recognitions and awards, including exhibited in the State of Kansas Historical Society Museum as the first Latina elected in Kansas, the recipient of the MALDEF National Public Service Award, and the National Latina Trailblazer in Government by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce & Latina Chamber of Commerce.

Laura Esquivel
Laura Esquivel

Commissioner, Maryland Civil Rights Commission
Esquivel Strategies

Laura M. Esquivel, M.A. M.P.A, is a seasoned political and legislative strategist with more than 20 years of experience working with and in local, state, and federal government, and the non-profit sector. Currently, Ms. Esquivel is a private strategic consultant for political and progressive issue campaigns. In 2012, Ms. Esquivel served as the Colorado Latino Vote Director for the Obama campaign where she managed successful outreach and educational efforts in the state of Colorado to increase support and meaningful participation of Latinos to re-elect the president. Colorado Latinos exceeded all other states in their margin of support for Obama, with 76% voting for the president compared with 23% support for Governor Romney. Prior to starting her own consulting practice, Esquivel was the Senior Vice President for Political and Public Affairs at the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute. After attending one week at Harvard through NHLI's ELP in 2009, she applied and was accepted to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Ms. Esquivel holds a master’s degree in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she expanded her civil rights work to include international human rights, and a master’s degree in political science from California State University, Los Angeles. Ms. Esquivel was appointed twice by Governor O’Malley to serve in Senate-confirmed positions. Currently she serves as a board member of the Maryland Civil Rights Commission. She is also a board member for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Rights (NLIRH.)

Lisa Ramirez
Lisa Ramirez, Ed.D., ELP ‘12

Director, Office of Migrant Education
US Department of Education

As the director of migrant education in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education, Dr. Lisa R. Ramirez brings a unique combination of personal and professional experiences to help improve the academic success of migrant students across the country. A daughter of migrant workers and a former migrant worker herself, Dr. Ramirez left the fields to serve in the United States Army Reserves. She financed much of her college education through the GI Bill and began her career as an educator in 1992, first as a middle and high school teacher in English and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in Texas, then serving as an assistant principal and principal. In 2004, Dr. Ramirez took on the challenge of opening the Lubbock Independent School District’s first charter campus, the Ramirez Charter School. She successfully led all aspects of the new school, from writing and evaluating grant applications, to selecting and training a new staff, to building an effective learning community for students and staff. Dr. Ramirez received her B.A., M.Ed., and Ed.D. degrees from Texas Tech University. She is an alumna of an Executive Leadership Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Dr. Ramirez enjoys cycling, hiking, and writing. She currently lives with her husband and two children in Alexandria, Virginia.

Annette Y. Harris
Annette Y. Harris
My life isn’t about getting places, it’s about showing up. Showing up and not just simply being present. Showing up as my best self no matter what. Showing up when opportunities, excitement and advancement are knocking—and being ready, willing and able to dive in.
It’s my life’s passion and what I’ve helped leaders and high potential professionals achieve through customized personal brand and image management assessments, planning and execution. Perfected over the last decade, my approach to showing up is not only about projecting but being the person you want to be, whether it’s in the boardroom or in the backyard, at the gala or the get-together.
I know what it means to “show up” and I know what it means to be a leader and climb the corporate ladder. I’ve managed national marketing programs and multi-million dollar proposals for major corporations including Deloitte & Touché. I’ve coached and trained mid-level professionals through seasonal executives and partners at Verizon Wireless, McGuire Woods LLP, and Capital Concierge. I earned an MBA, and later was certified by the leading accreditation organizations in my field, the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI) and the Protocol School of Washington (PSOW). I then studied under famed stylist Stacy London (of TLC hit television show What Not to Wear) and was hand selected to join her acclaimed Style for Hire network.
All of this has led me here, showing up for my diverse client base and bringing my passion, commitment, experience and direct knowledge to each and every one of them. Maybe it starts with wardrobe and grooming consultations or a full image update to get you looking and feeling like the confident professional you’re meant to be, then leads to best practices in personal branding, executive dialogue, behavior and high stakes situations, or even to helping you refine your goals, skill set and general performance—whatever you want to get from the cubicle to the corner office, I can and will deliver. Why?
Because I always ShowUp!


2013 Presenters

Marlene Pratt
Casa Latina co-founder Marlene Pratt
is an experienced interior designer with an architectural background. After studying architecture at New York City’s Pratt Institute, Marlene earned a degree in design from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She is a renovation expert and an interior designer with extensive on-air media experience in both English and Spanish language television, print and radio. Marlene has regularly appeared as a Home Economist/Home Improvement Expert on Fox, CBS, WB’s WPIX-TV and WNBC. She also co-hosted The Fix It Line, a home improvement series that aired on Discovery Channel. Marlene also appeared on a weekly home improvement/interior design segment on the Spanish language television network Telemundo. In addition, she served as a spokesperson for Georgia Pacific and traveled extensively to major Latino 6 markets around the country, appearing on local Spanish language television and radio stations to promote Georgia Pacific sponsored safety tips.

Juana Bordas
Dr. Helen Troncoso
received her Bachelors Degree from Rutgers University and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey. Always a beauty (and brain) queen, she is the current Ms. New York America 2012, and was Ms. New York Belleza Latina 2011, where she placed as 1st runner-up in the Ms. Belleza Latina International 2012 competition. She is currently in private practice, as Founder & CEO of Reinventing You, LLC, designing individual and corporate health and wellness programs. An advocate for women's health, she is especially passionate about bringing awareness to cervical cancer, serving as the 1st Vice President of the New York chapter of Tamika & Friends, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness on cervical cancer and it's link to the human papillomavirus (HPV).

The writing that started as hobby to record her memories as a titleholder, sparked a new passion, to inform, educate, and engage others on the many health disparities affecting the Latino community. In 2011, she was nominated for "Best Latino/a Health Blogger" by LATISM, the largest organization for Latinos in social media. Dr. Troncoso has served as an Ambassador for the, "Go Before You Show", prenatal care campaign by the Westchester County Department of Health & the Lower Hudson Valley Perinatal Network, and recorded a bilingual Public Service Announcement for WSKQ-FM La Mega 97.9. Helen has also been a freelance writer for the, and provided health tips for El Diario La Prensa NY, Fox News Latino, Impacto Latin News, and Helen is also the resident health expert for, a home and lifestyle online magazine and design service.


Juana Bordas
Juana Bordas
is president of Mestiza Leadership International and founding President of the National Hispana Leadership Institute. Juana was initiated into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, served as vice president of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership and a trustee of the International Leadership Association.  She is the author of “Salsa, Soul and Spirit – Leadership for a Multicultural Age”- awarded the 2008 International Latino Book Award for leadership. Her new book “The Power of Latino Leadership” has received compelling endorsements. Juana was named the 2009 Colorado Unique Woman of the Year by the Denver Post and the Colorado Women’s Foundation.


Ms. Rita Jaramillo has an impressive career in the public sector as well as an inspiring community service record. She served with the National Education Association where she focused on external partnerships and advocacy. In this capacity, Ms. Jaramillo assisted NEA in developing new partnerships and joint activities on behalf of its members. Prior to joining the NEA, she served for five terms as Chief of Staff to Congressman Rubén Hinojosa. Ms. Jaramillo served as the Congressman's senior advisor on policy matters. She oversaw the Congressman's committee assignments including Education and the Workforce, Financial Services and Banking, and Small Business, and the Education Taskforce of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Ms. Jaramillo also served in the Clinton Administration, Office of Presidential Personnel where she was responsible for identifying and recommending Latinos for senior level appointments. She has held senior management positions in the Departments of Interior, Agriculture, Treasury and the Corporation for National Service. A member of several civic and Latino organizations, Ms. Jaramillo has held such leadership positions as Vice Chair for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, National President of MANA, Chair of the National Latino Children's Institute, Vice Chair of the Hispanic Engineering Science Technology Initiative, member of the founding class of the National Hispana Leadership Institute, and Board Chair of the Center for Women Policy Studies. Ms. Jaramillo is the recipient of the National Council of La Raza and Harvard University Fellowship. She holds a B.A. in Bilingual Education and Mass Communications from New Mexico Highlands University, a M.A. in Education from Washington State University, and a M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Judith A. Canales has over twenty years of experience working at the national and local levels in federal and local government administration and nonprofit management.  Her expertise involves rural and urban development, housing, community development and economic development.  She is also experienced in U.S. - Mexico border public policy issues and development. Ms. Canales was appointed by President Bill Clinton as the Acting Associate Administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Business-Cooperative Service in Washington, D.C.  She served as the Deputy State Director for the USDA Rural Development Texas Office. In May 2009, Ms. Canales received her second presidential appointment when President Obama named her as the first Hispanic woman to serve as the Administrator for Rural Business and Cooperative Programs in the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development.  She served in this role from May 2009 to April 2012. In April 2012, Ms. Canales was re-appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  In this position, Ms. Canales manages program operations supporting Rural Development’s three main areas of investment: Business, Cooperatives, and Energy; Housing and Community Facilities; and Utilities. Ms. Canales was the first Executive Director of the International Hispanic Network, an organization of city managers and professionals.

Alicia Chavira-Prado received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, followed by a post-doctoral Fellowship at the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center.  She was a professor of cultural anthropology and Latino/a Studies, an ethnographic researcher and diversity consultant, and a university administrator in diversity and equity, before establishing Inclusive Works 4 All, a diversity and leadership training, coaching and consulting business.  Her academic career included faculty positions at De Paul University of Chicago and the University of Houston, a position as visiting Assistant Professor, Scholar and Research Fellow at the Julian Samora Research Institute at Michigan State University, and adjunct faculty teaching positions at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.  Dr. Chavira-Prado has designed and conducted hundreds of lectures, training workshops and keynote presentations on cultural difference, Inclusive Excellence and cultural competency.  Her presentations provide insights into the experience of being traditionally under-represented in higher education.  Her publications include the Latina/o and immigrant college experience, the importance of gender difference in Latina identity and experience, and the roles of Mexican women in family (im)migration and re-settlement.  Her consulting clients include the U.S. Census Bureau, Marshall University, and the Julian Samora Research Institute.   

2012 Presenters

Susan Lutz has worked in the field of aging for over twenty-five years at both the local level as a program director for home and community-based services and at the national level as a program developer. At AARP, Susan has shifted gears in her career to provide consumers with information and tools that will help them plan for a secure future. As a project advisor for AARP’s Education and Outreach Health Team, she is responsible for demystifying the areas of Medicare, Medicaid, caregiving and long-term care.  Susan has a master’s degree in social work and a certificate in gerontology from the University of Michigan. For the past 10 years, she has also been a long-distance caregiver for her father and mother.

Erin Scheithe, an expert in educational psychology, works in AARP’s Education and Outreach department, developing resources on financial security issues for the 50+ population. Erin obtained both a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Virginia. Prior to her work at AARP, Erin worked for the American Bankers Association and North Carolina Bankers Association, developing educational programs to teach children and parents about the basics of financial literacy. Through her work at ABA and NCBA, she also developed programs to encourage public schools to include financial literacy in their curricula.

Amy Slonim is currently the CDC-AARP Liaison functioning as a conduit for CDC and AARP to share data, information and resources and to work collaboratively on an array of health and prevention issues, activities and policies. From 1999 to 2007, Amy was Director of Programs and Senior Public Health Advisor at the Michigan Public Health Institute, acting as a special assistant to the Michigan Department of Community Health Chief Administrator for Public Health and providing administrative oversight to all MPHI Programs. Her previous positions have included Nutrition Specialist MSU Extension and MSU Cancer Center Director of Outreach; Project Manager Kellogg Company; Consultant to NCI for the Polyp Prevention Trial; and Policy Analyst for DHHS Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.  She received her PhD in nutrition from Michigan State University in 1982.



Penelope (Penny) Delgadillo

Penelope Delgadillo

Penelope (Penny) Delgadillo, is a Senior Product Manager with Microsoft on the Office 365 marketing team – cloud-based email and collaboration services.  She is a six year Microsoft veteran, having held a variety of roles in product and partner strategy worldwide.  Prior to Microsoft, Penny worked in a variety of start-ups and has 10+ years in technology and channel marketing.  Penny holds a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from University of California at Los Angeles.



2011 Presenters

Mike Kessler

Mike Kessler PictureMike Kessler is the Director of Human Resources on Fannie Mae, has twenty-two years of experience in the human resources profession. He joined Fannie Mae as a director within Human Resources in June of 2008 after a thirteen year career with the American Red Cross where he progressed to the position of Senior Director, Human Capital.  Mike's recent HR areas of accountability have included recruiting leadership, human resources policies and procedures, human capital performance metrics, equal employment opportunity, relocation services, legal compliance and immigration services. 

Prior to his tenure with the American Red Cross, Mike worked for Nestle Foods in human resources management and for the African Virtual University (World Bank) where he managed their Business and Technology satellite-based distance learning programs.

Mike has made contributions to the human resources profession through his affiliation with the Society for Human Resources Management and he is currently certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).   Mike received his M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University and B.B.A from James Madison University.

Helen Arteaga

Helen Arteaga PhotoHelen Arteaga is the director of Plaza del Sol Family Health Center, a division of Urban Health Plan, Inc. Helen grew up in Corona, Queens. Following the death of her community activist father, she set out to build a health center that would provide quality health care to the residents of her beloved Corona. Working with Our Lady of Sorrows Church and other community leaders, she sought out Paloma Hernandez, the president and CEO of Urban Health Plan, Inc. to make her dream a reality. Together, they opened Plaza del Sol Family Health Center in June of 2009.  In 2011, Plaza Del Sol provided care to more than 12,000 patients.
Helen has a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry from New York University and a Master's degree in Public Health from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She was a White House Fellow in 1998 during the Clinton Administration and completed a fellowship with the National Hispana Leadership Institute in September 2010. Helen is a member of Community Board #4 in Queens and serves on other boards including the Neighborhood Housing Board and Our Lady of Sorrows School. Recently she was one of 31 women selected by the New York City Commission on Women's Issues to be featured in "NYC Women: Make it Here, Make it Happen," a series highlighting women who made a difference in their communities.  She also received the Community Impact Award, Humanitarian Award and City of New York American Dreamer Award.
Helen is happily married to Victor Landaverde and is the proud mother of Victor Luis. She continues to reside in Corona, Queens.

Maribel Quiala

Quieda PictureMaribel Quiala, LCSW is a speaker, author and media expert well-known for her thought-provoking commentary on critical contemporary health issues.

She graduated from Seton Hall University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in both psychology and music and earned a Masters Degree in Social Work from Barry University. In 2009, Ms. Quiala graduated as a Fellow to the National Hispanic Leadership Institute Executive Leadership Program.

Bi-lingual in English and Spanish, Maribel is effective and persuasive as an advocate, spokesperson and conference presenter for culturally appropriate health care services.

Maribel's passion for reform is reflected in the belief that, "Regardless of socio-economic background, health perspectives are deeply influenced by family values and body and health issues that are most personal and intimate." She is an expert in children's mental health/psychiatric disorders, Latina health issues, and current healthcare practices. "Giving patients information is not enough", declares Quiala. "They must be educated in a comfortable, safe haven where they feel supported and understood. Only then will they be able to ask questions and integrate what they have learned as part of their every day life"

Aside from her private practice, she is the Southeast Regional Coordinator for the National Latina Health Network and Field Instructor for the Florida International University School of Social Work, Nova Southeastern University and Barry University. She is also the Director of Clinical Services for Ft. Lauderdale Hospital in Broward County. She has been recognized by Florida International University for outstanding service and support towards reducing health disparities in substance abuse and HIV/AIDS among Latinos. Mujers Dinamicas American Cancer Society honored her for her tireless work with women who have cancer and she was featured in El Nuevo Herald for her work with the Latino Community.

Ms. Quiala served as Director of National Hispanic Caregiving Outreach for the Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation, speaking and presenting on their behalf to Latino caregivers and professional groups. She provided direction on programs that were specifically designed for Latino families, and served on the team that created two Hispanic sites in San Antonio.

Maribel has appeared on local, regional and national television and radio shows, including CNN Latin America, Univision and Telemundo, providing professional insight on mental health issues and other critical health concerns among minority populations.
Ms. Quiala is actively involved in South Florida's Hispanic community, promoting educational activities for Hispanic women to empower their families and inform them on mental health issues. She is also a member of the City of Miami Beach Commission on Women's Issues.

Idalia P. Fernandez

Idalia P. Fernandez is a speaker/facilitator and president of Yaya Speaks ( She designs educational programs and workshops on a variety of topics centered around leadership, career, and conflict resolution. Idalia writes a weekly blog, Yaya Speaks, that is targeted to women.

Idalia has over twenty years of work experience in various areas and industries. Before she founded Yaya Speaks, Idalia was leading a nationally-recognized scholarship and youth development organization, the Hispanic College Fund (HCF), for ten years and was the organization’s president until 2009. Under her leadership the organization grew its annual scholarship awards from $150,000 to over $3.5 million.

Prior to joining HCF, Idalia managed financial systems at General Dynamics headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia. She held various positions of higher responsibility during her tenure even while the company experienced unprecedented downsizing and restructuring. Her experience expanded from running a desktop publishing team to budgeting, financial analysis, contract compliance and internal auditing.

Idalia’s most recent workshops include The Situation: An Interactive Workshop on Adaptability, Managing Through Conflict, and Preparing Your Non-For-Profit For The Next Level. Some of her clients include the NASA MUST Program, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the National Hispana Leadership Institute, Latinas Leading Tomorrow, and the National Hispanic Corporate Council.

Idalia serves as the Vice President on the board of the Latino Student Fund, a DC-based organization that supports Latino youth with scholarships, family support, and tutoring. In 2009, Idalia was appointed to the State Board of Virginia Community Colleges, a system of 23 colleges serving over 250,000 students. Idalia also serves on the board of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, an organization supporting innovative research and educational programs to empower people to make smart financial decisions.

Idalia loves the mix of her rich Latino heritage and influences from her Honduran mother, Cuban father, Puerto Rican stepfather and Spanish husband. She was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras and came to U.S. in 1976.  Idalia has an MBA from Averett University and a BA in Biology from Boston University. She is first person in her family to graduate from college.

Victoria Aguilar

victoria_aguilarVictoria Aguilar is the Founder and Managing Partner of The AR Group, an innovative and entrepreneurially focused legal, human resources, and compliance management firm headquartered in Greenwood Village, Colorado.   A believer in proactive and ethical risk management, Victoria founded the firm out of a desire to bring top-tier legal, HR, and compliance services, utilizing unique, highly competitive, and enticing pricing strategies to the small and middle market business sector.   As a woman and minority owned enterprise, the firm is 8(a) certified by the SBA, designated a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise by the State of Colorado and certified by the Rocky Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council as a Minority Business Enterprise, a designation acknowledged in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

Active in the Hispanic community, Victoria is a presenter on Human Resource, Legal, or Professional Development topics for The National Hispana Leadership Institute and sits on the Board of Directors for the Hispanic Chamber of Metro Denver.  Victoria is also actively involved with the Rocky Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council and was recently honored as a “Triumphant Woman” by Denver’s Excelsior Youth Center for serving as a strong role model.

Educationally, Victoria holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Boston College (Summa Cum Laude), where she was also awarded the distinction of “Scholar of the College.”  After BC, Victoria attended The University of Michigan Law School where she graduated in 1992.  Victoria is licensed to practice law in Colorado and Minnesota, is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), and is a member of the American Bar Association and The Society of Human Resource Managers.

Aurelia Flores

Aurelia FloresAfter becoming pregnant at 15 and while in an abusive relationship with her son's father, Aurelia Flores graduated from high school a year early and went immediately to college. She separated from the unhealthy relationship and went on to receive her law degree from Stanford Law School, and then was awarded a post-graduate Fulbright Fellowship to study in Mexico City. Aurelia undertook these challenges as a single mother, raising and supporting her son all the while. From these experiences came many valuable lessons.

Aurelia has been practicing corporate law for over ten years, first at a prominent law firm and then for a Fortune 500 company specializing in intellectual property. She lives in San Diego, California.

Aurelia Flores founded Powerful in 2007 as a company that gathers together Latina women to learn from and share with one another. The web space fosters "Latinas Re-Imagining Culture Together" by blending a mix of personal empowerment messages with community involvement and current, relevant information for the modern Latina woman.

Lisette Nieves

LisetteNievesLisette Nieves has been appointed the Belle Zeller Distinguished Visiting Professor in Public Policy at the City University of New York, Social Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Blue Ridge Foundation, a leading nonprofit incubator. Most recently, Lisette served as the founding Executive Director for Year Up NY, a leading workforce and education program for disconnected young adults, where she took the site from a $250,000 seed grant to a $7 million operation in five years.

Prior to that position, Lisette served as Chief of Staff at the Department of Youth and Community Development for the City of New York, Director of Grants Management and Compliance at the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, and Senior Program Officer for the Corporation for National Service.

Throughout her career, Lisette has also served as a consultant to nonprofit organizations in strategic planning, program development and management. She is the Vice-Chair of New York Cityís Panel for Education Policy, a trustee of the New York State Teachersí Retirement System, a member of the Year Up National Board, a board member for the Fund of the City of New York, and a member of the Woodrow Wilson School Advisory Council. She was the winner of a 2008 Robin Hood Hero Award and a 2011 El Diario Mujeres Destacada Award.

Lisette received her M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, her B.A. in political science and philosophy from Brooklyn College, and was a Rhodes Scholar and Truman Scholar.

Dr. Jo Ann Piña

Dr. Jo Ann PinaDr. Jo Ann Piña is one of the most acclaimed experts in cross-cultural communication in the country and a 1997 NHLI alumna.

In addition to being one of two Latina PhD in the National Speakers Association and one of the few women of Hispanic heritage to earn advanced degrees in psychology and counseling, Dr. Jo is the originator of the only values-based model for understanding cross-cultural communication and the creator of the CrossTalk Series.

2010 Presenters

Victoria Aguilar

Victoria AguilarVictoria Aguilar established The AR Group after more than 17 years of providing legal, human resource, and compliance counsel to Fortune 500 companies including GE, American Family Insurance, and US WEST. She also served as the VP of HR and General Counsel to a 2000+ union/non union employee construction firm with operations in four states, and managed HR and Legal for two high-tech start-up enterprises experiencing rapid growth.

Licensed to practice law in Colorado and Minnesota, Victoria is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), and is a member of the American Bar Association and The Society of Human Resource Managers.

As a result of these experiences, Victoria recognized the need in the middle market for sophisticated and strategic legal counsel, HR support, and compliance management. This recognition was in part borne out of her professional experience as well as out of her recognition of increased regulation and penalty enforcement by government agencies in conjunction with employee and contract management. A believer in proactive and ethical risk management, Victoria brings top-tier services, utilizing unique, highly competitive, and enticing pricing strategies to the middle market.

As an active member of the Hispanic community, Victoria sought and received certification for The AR Group as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise from the Colorado Department of Transportation (DBE Certificate # 6412), obtained certification as a Minority Business Enterprise through the Rocky Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council, and is the process of securing 8(a) and SDB certification through the Federal Government. In addition in 1996, Victoria was selected as one of twenty women from across the country to participate in the National Hispana Leadership Institute’s executive training which is focused on preparing Latinas as leaders in an effort to help break the ‘glass ceiling.’ Locally, she was saluted in 2008 by The Excelsior Youth Center at their Annual Gala Event as one of five “Triumphant Women” who have achieved success despite facing significant challenges in life. Victoria serves on the Board of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for Metro Denver.

Educationally, Victoria holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Boston College (Summa Cum Laude), where she was also awarded the distinction of “Scholar of the College.” After BC, Ms. Aguilar attended The University of Michigan Law School where she graduated in 1992.

Anna E. Cabral

Anna Cabral, a second-generation, Mexican-American, served as United States Treasurer from 2004-2009. As U.S. Treasurer, Cabral served as the Department’s spokesperson in efforts to provide financial guidance to families and increase financial literacy across the country, including home foreclosure prevention, and identity theft prevention. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, she helped to share tools and information with those affected, so they could rebuild and manage their financial well-being. She also helped create and launch a new Federal Commission on Financial Literacy, established by the White House, which brought both private and public leaders together to advance financial education and understanding in every segment of society, from the very young to our senior citizens.

Cabral learned the integral role that education plays for a successful life at a young age. She credits her high school math teacher for helping her understand the importance of investing in education by convincing her to pursue higher education and helping her find scholarship money to go to college. This sparked a lifetime interest in education that led to a Master's degree from Harvard University and most recently, a juris doctorate from George Mason University in 2008. Despite a heavy work schedule and numerous speaking engagements as U.S. Treasurer, she was inspired by her mother who returned to school at age 52 to get her diploma.

Cabral currently serves as Unit Chief for Stakeholder Communications within the External Relations Division of the Inter-American Development Bank. Her prior work experience includes serving as Executive Staff Director for the United States Senate Republican Conference Task Force on Hispanic Affairs, Deputy Staff Director for the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, President and CEO of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility and Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Latino Initiatives.

More recently, Cabral has taken on a new role as the Family Finance Ambassador for AARP, the world’s largest member organization for people 50 plus. Her mission is to provide advice on achieving financial security and a successful, well-rounded life. Additionally, in-culture Spanish outreach will offer tips on saving and other financial guidance especially designed for Latinos 50 plus and their families.

Andrés Castillo

Andrés Castillo is responsible for developing and executing national and state level consumer-focused campaigns for AARP. His area of expertise is financial security and he is currently leading AARP’s educational campaigns on investor protection. He also spearheads the team’s work in serving AARP’s Hispanic membership. He joined the Financial Security team in 2004 after beginning his AARP career in the NY state office. Prior to joining AARP, he worked for Chase Manhattan Bank as a financial analyst. He holds an MBA from Thunderbird, The Graduate School of Global Management, and a BS from Binghamton University.

Marieli Colon-Padilla

Marieli Colon-PadillaMarieli Colon-Padilla is Chair of the National Hispana Leadership Institute's (NHLI) Board of Directors and a 2006 Executive Leadership Program graduate.

With more than a decade of experience in reaching Latino consumers through marketing efforts in the nonprofit sector, bilingual and mono-lingual education for Latinos on social issues, and bilingual media relations, Marieli serves as Vice President of Fleishman-Hillard’s Hispanic issues and marketing communications practice, FH Hispania®, based in Washington, D.C.

She is committed to using her skills and exceptional marketing and public relations expertise to serve her community and to the advancement of Latinos and Latinas throughout the United States.

Marieli serves on various Latino and women organizations boards including: the National Alliance for Hispanic Families, Girls Scouts of the Nation’s Capital; and served on the Board of the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute; and the Commission to End Health Care Disparities established by the American Medical Association, the National Medical Association, and the National Hispanic Medical Association.

Her leadership has received nationwide praise being selected by Latino Leaders Magazine as one of the “Ones to Watch” in their Inspired Leaders inaugural issue. The December/January issue features 20 Latinos under 40 as rising stars. Other recognitions throughout the years have included: Latin Leader RISE: Mujeres del Nuevo Millenio, Girls Scouts Gold Medal and Community Service and Leadership Award and being named one of the Top Latinas in the Nation by Hispanic Online Magazine in 2004.

In 2009, she was appointed to the Military Leadership Diversity Commission (MLDC), Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and was invited to America's Leaders of Change (ALOC), a National Urban Fellows program for leaders on the rise in the government, non-profit and private sectors.

Awards and recognitions aside, Marieli is a great role model for Latinos/as nationwide because she represents the leader of today who combines her passion with her responsibility for the common good of our communities.

As a board member and alumnae, Marieli exemplifies the values NHLI promotes of developing ethical Latina leaders and she pays it forward by mentoring and developing other Latinas.

Madeline Figueroa

Madeline FigueroaWith over 20 years guiding technical and non-technical teams in all aspects of operations, Madeline Figueroa (2000 NHLI Executive Leadership Program alumna) has played an instrumental role in the success of various national and international organizations serving the healthcare, document management, business process outsourcing, as well as financial and professional services sectors.

As a creative and resourceful operations management professional with a strong history of effective leadership, she understands and possesses the business savvy and the management attributes necessary to direct mission-critical programs and projects.

Through the years, Madeline has learned to balance her demanding professional and personal lives.

In addition of serving as Program Director at Automated Data Processing (ADP), she recently launched an event planning business, Absolute Expressions – that targets smaller gatherings and enables the host(s) to offer an elegant atmosphere for networking, or social events while not breaking the bank.

Her ability to multitask, prioritize and take charge of her life has been critical as Madeline battles cancer.

In November of 2009, Madeline was diagnosed with breast cancer and in spite of surgeries, chemo and radiation treatments and other time consuming appointments, she has managed to work it all into her schedule. She is currently writing a blog about her experience, while maintaining a full work load and studying for her PMP Certification from the prestigious PMI Institute.

She uses her personal story as a platform to inspire other leaders to take charge and manage their professional life efficiently without neglecting the personal one.

Elizabeth Eguia-Garcia

Elizabeth Eguia-GarciaElizabeth Eguia-Garcia is an entrepreneur and the founding Chief Executive Officer of Guide to Grants Plus®, [] a company designed to provide grants and resource development consulting services for non-profit organizations and educational institutions.

She earned her Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies from St. Mary’s University, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in English/History from Our Lady of the Lake University.

She is a graduate of numerous distinguished programs including Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Executive Leadership Program, the Center for Creative Leadership’s Leadership Development Program, NHLI Executive Leadership Program [Class of 2004], Our Lady of the Lake University’s Center for Women in Church and Society’s Leadership Development Institute for Hispanic Women, and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Internship Program with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. She has received extensive professional training in the field of fundraising, grant writing, public relations and social media networking. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals since 1999.

Elizabeth is the founding Chair of the Board of Directors for Voz de Mujer, a non-profit charitable organization which exists to, “empower and educate women to actualize their potential and aspire to achieve their dreams for the benefit of their families and ultimately their communities.”

As a professional fundraiser, Elizabeth currently serves as the Advancement & Development Director for Holy Cross of San Antonio. She most recently fundraised for the Hope, Courage and Justice Project (founded by another NHLI alumna, Amy Serrano) in order to bring direct relief to the Haitian people in the Dominican Republic post-earthquake in 2010.

She recently volunteered her time to raise funds for a Humanitarian Direct Relief Mission for the Haitian communities after the January 12 earthquake that hit Haiti. She subsequently went as a delegate on this mission that brought relief items including food and supplies to 200+ families in the Dominican Republic.

Elizabeth is a public speaker and trainer of grant writing techniques and effective fundraising strategies.

In addition to raising her beloved son in San Antonio, Texas, her hobbies include creative writing, hiking and photography.

Aurelia Flores

Aurelia FloresAurelia Flores is Senior Counsel with SAIC, as well as founder of (, a company that gathers together Latina women to learn from and share with one another.  The mission of Powerful is “assisting successful Latina women to stay grounded in their power!” and leverages the tools of the internet to do so.

As an attorney, Aurelia is an Intellectual Property specialist for SAIC where she counsels, drafts, negotiates and advises on intellectual property matters for the company.  Aurelia joined the SAIC Legal Department in March 2001.  SAIC is a FORTUNE 500® scientific, engineering, and technology applications company that uses its expertise to solve problems of the nation and the world, in national security, energy and the environment, critical infrastructure and health.

Aurelia also volunteers for various nonprofit organizations, including serving on the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of the San Diego Museum of Art, and as a board member of Women of Color in Law.

She received her B.A. from Colorado College, and her J.D. from Stanford Law School.  After law school, Aurelia was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and studied in Mexico City.  Aurelia is a proud mother of one son who attends Georgetown University. 

Aida Levitan

Aida LevitanAida Levitan, Ph.D., APR, is the President of The Levitan Group, Inc., a firm that provides marketing and community relations consulting services to companies and organizations such as Aetna and the Port of Bilbao (Spain). Dr. Levitan is the president of a 501(c)3 organization, ArtesMiami, Inc., dedicated to supporting and promoting Hispanic artists and cultural organizations, and chairperson of the Public Communications Committee of the National Museum of the American Latino Commission. In April 2010 she was named Chairperson of the Aetna Miami Advisory Council. In May 2010 she was named to the Honorary Committee of NHLI's 2010 Executive Leadership Training Conference and Mujer Awards.

A nationally recognized advertising and public relations leader, she has been quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, The Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, CNN and CNBC business news, among others.

Until January 2005, Dr. Levitan served as the vice chairperson/chief communications officer of Bromley Communications, which she helped transform into the number one Hispanic advertising agency in the U.S., according to the 2003 listings by Advertising Age. In 1986 she co-founded Sanchez & Levitan and sold the agency to Publicis Groupe from 2001 to 2003. By 2003, under her leadership as Co-Chairman/CEO, Publicis Sanchez & Levitan had become one of the top ten U.S. Hispanic advertising agencies listed by Advertising Age, with $92 million in billings, 80 employees, and four full-service offices in the leading Hispanic population centers: California, Texas, New York and Florida.

At Publicis Sanchez & Levitan and later at Bromley, Dr. Levitan directed strategic marketing communications campaigns for clients such as: Nestlé, BellSouth, BMW, L’Oreal, TJX Cos., Pennzoil Quaker State, Chivas Regal, and Zales. At Sanchez & Levitan, Inc. she developed campaigns for major brands, including: Coca-Cola USA, Coors Brewing Company, Philip Morris USA, Crown Royal, Absolut Vodka, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

From 2005 to 2007 she was president of Levitan & Palencia, LLC, a marketing consulting firm, serving clients such as: Actor Andy Garcia; the Ports of La Coruña, Bilbao, Santander and Gijón (Costa Verde Cruises); IFB, a Grupo Fierro Bank; HOY Newspaper; Hormigones Pelayo; AGM International Corporation, Fowler Rodriguez Valdés-Fauli, and PhRMA (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association.

A speaker at numerous national Hispanic and multicultural marketing and public relations conferences, Dr. Levitan has also organized seminars for Florida professional associations on Post-Embargo Cuba. She also writes travel articles published on the front page of El Nuevo Herald’s Pasaporte.

Aida Levitan has a Ph.D. an in Spanish Literature from Emory University and a B.A. from the University of Miami.

As president of ArtesMiami, Inc. Aida recently launched its publishing division, Editorial Ultramar, published La Ciudad de la Unidad Posible, a collection of 107 poems by 32 South Florida Hispanic poets, edited by Dr. Levitan, with a preface by award-winning Spanish novelist Dr. Carlos Rojas.

Currently she serves on the Commission to create the National Museum of the American Latino and on the boards of: the Miami Art Museum; the España-Florida Foundation, the Latin Chamber of Commerce (CAMACOL), and The Spanish Cultural Center.

From 2006 to 2009 she served on the board of the local university of The Art Institutes, a public company that owns over 40 education institutions located throughout North America. From 2004 to 2005 she was the president of the National Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies.

In the 1990s Aida Levitan co-produced and publicized the Andy Garcia-Cachao Concert Series in Miami and at Radio City Music Hall in New York. She won the PRSA Multicultural Excellence Award for this program. She was also the Associate Producer of the Cachao There is Nothing Like His Rhythm film, directed by Andy Garcia, shown at film festivals throughout the world.

During the 1990s she served on the board of We Will Rebuild to help victims of Hurricane Andrew and on the Board of Governors of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. She was also one of the founders of the first AIDS fundraisers in South Florida, featuring Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren. During the 1980s she promoted Miami as City of Miami Director of Information & Visitors, by bringing 1,500 journalists from major media to the city through a program that she created.

2008 - PRSA Royal Palm Award
2007 - Dept. of Commerce MedWeek Legend in Communication
2007 - Latin Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year—Communications Award
2006 - Vanidades Magazine National Tribute to Hispanic Women Award
2006 - Hispanic Magazine National Entrepreneur of the Year in Communications
2003 - Women in Communications Entrepreneurship Award
2003 - Advertising Federation Legend in Advertising
2003 - Chosen one of the top 100 women in the country by Working Woman Magazine

2009 Presenters

Nanci Luna Jiménez

Nanci LunaNanci Luna Jiménez, founder and president of Luna Jiménez Seminars & Associates (LJS), is recognized regionally, nationally, and internationally for her highly effective and insightful training, inclusive facilitation, and dynamic speaking with groups of diverse ages, industries, and cultural backgrounds. Following her passion, she designs and delivers unique programs that encourage individuals in their process of personal transformation, releasing individual initiative to create a more just and equitable workplace and world. She has led hundreds of programs, and she has custom-designed and facilitated hundreds of meetings, retreats, and events—large and small—including complex events with international groups and multiple languages. In addition, she has presented scores of memorable keynote speeches.

Nanci is a Certified Professional Facilitator© and has trained extensively in methodologies developed by both the Institute for Cultural Affairs, an international organization that provides training and facilitation in participatory group leadership processes for sustained organizational and social change, and United to End Racism (UER), an international organization dedicated to the global elimination of racism. She has also been trained by Marshall Rosenberg in Non-Violent Communication and Jim Rough in Dynamic Facilitation. Through these skills, Nanci expertly assists organizations in realizing the changes they envision by facilitating group consensus, planning, and implementation.

In 2001 she attended the United Nations World Conference against Racism Non-Governmental Forum in Durban, South Africa as a delegate with UER. In 1995 she served as an international observer for the Haitian presidential elections. She was a Ford Foundation Fellow and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and received her B.A. cum laude from Yale University. She also attended the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras and completed El Programa Interdiciplinario de la Mujer at the Colegio de México in Mexico City.

Of Puerto Rican and Chicana heritage, Nanci was born in Detroit, Michigan, and raised in Detroit and Tucson, Arizona. With a commitment to unleashing women’s voices on a global scale, for four years she chaired the Board of Directors for World Pulse, an organization dedicated to empowering women’s voices around the world. She now lives with her partner in Portland, Oregon, and enjoys yoga, weight training, marathons and triathlons, knitting, and time near the water—ideally with friends and family. She graduated in 2006 from NHLI’s Executive Leadership Program. Her website is

Nora Super

Nora_SuperNora Super is Director, Federal Government Relations, Health and Long-Term Care at AARP. In this role, she is responsible for managing AARP’s lobbying and government relations activities regarding health care reform, Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care, and prescription drugs. Prior to coming to AARP, Nora served as Kaiser Permanente’s Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, where she represented the political and health policy interests of KP’s eight regional Permanente Medical Groups.

Nora has more than 20 years of experience working in Washington, DC, with an impressive background in a wide range of health policy issues, including Medicare, Medicaid, HIPAA, ERISA, and other federal and state health programs. She has worked in academia and in the private sector, including GWU Medical School, the National Health Policy Forum, the Washington Business Group on Health, and the Employee Benefit Research Institute. She has also worked in government at the local, state, and congressional level. She is a prolific writer and a frequent speaker at conferences.

A native of New Orleans, Nora studied political science at Tulane University and did her masters work in public administration, with a concentration on health policy, at George Washington University.

Alicia Paramo-Dionne

Alicia Paramo-DionneSALSA & CHIPS: Leadership Tips for Latinos© presenter Alicia Paramo-Dionne, an award-winning educator and seasoned trainer, brings energy, humor, interaction, and practicality to each session she facilitates, as well as to the classroom. Alicia has woven the principles learned from numerous leadership and professional development trainings with her own experiences to create SALSA & CHIPS.

As a product of both public and private education, Alicia has valued education from her youth. Mrs. Paramo-Dionne credits her parents, Dennis and Olivia Paramo, for instilling into their children the value of education, diligence and hard work. She has a diverse background in education that includes nearly twenty years of counseling, teaching and leadership training. She began her professional career as an Admissions Counselor for St. Mary’s College in Indiana and then moved to consulting for the Toledo Area Catholic Schools in Ohio.

From there she worked as the Director of Student Activities at Oakland Community College (OCC), in Auburn Hills, Michigan where she is a 15 year tenured faculty member as an Educational Counselor, and instructor in the area of education counseling.

A born leader and community advocate, Alicia seeks solutions to the challenges encountered by at-risk youth and the dilemma Latinos face in higher education by demonstrating how respect, community responsibility, self-reflection, and personal renewal fuel student success.

Alicia has a Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Bowling Green State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Michigan State University. She is proud to say her educational pursuits began at the very institution for which she now works!

In addition to providing personal, academic, career and social counseling to a diverse population at OCC, she has been the coordinator of a pre-college enrichment program, The OCC-AH Summer Academy, for 12 years. She lives in Grand Blanc, Michigan with her husband, Tom, and three sons.

Alicia has presented for:

Urban League: Hispanic Outreach Program
American Association of University Women (AAUW), Oakland County Chapter
Big Brothers~Big Sisters of Oakland County
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), Oakland County Chapter
League of Innovations National Conference
Michigan State University
Northern Essex Community College
Oakland Community College
Pontiac Northern & Central High Schools
Sociedad Mutualista Mejicana
W.H.Y. Women Helping Youth of Pontiac
YWCA of Pontiac
Pontiac Police Athletic League (PAL)

Alicia’s other workshops include:

  • Educational Personal Development
    Preparing for College Personality Assessment
    What Admissions Counselors won’t tell you Learning Styles
    College Recruitment 101 Time & Stress Management
    College Retention 101 Values & Priorities
    What is Financial Aid and the ambush to Avoid
  • Community Advocacy:
    Leadership & Empowerment
    Cultural Identity and Pride: Quienes Somos?
    Mobilization & Motivation
    Conflict Management
    Team Building

*Alicia’s workshops and seminars are tailored to the audience needs.

You may contact Alicia at