Jonathan Jayes-Green, Vice President of Programs at Marguerite Casey Foundation. (They/Them) is an organizer, orator, strategist and believer. They are the former National Latinx Outreach Director for the Elizabeth Warren for President Campaign, where they focused on connecting the movement and the campaign in service of building big, structural change for Latinx and immigrant communities.
Jonathan is also the Co-Founder and former Founding Director of the UndocuBlack Network (UBN), a multigenerational network of Black undocumented immigrants organizing their own communities and building power. UBN was built at the critical intersection of immigration and racial justice focusing on organizing, deportation defense, advocacy, wellness, and storytelling. Jonathan has also served in the Office of the Governor of Maryland as the liaison to the Caribbean and Latinx communities and worked on statewide campaigns and ballot measures like the Dream Act and marriage equality.
Jonathan received an Associate’s from Montgomery College (MD) and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Goucher College. They have been the recipient of the Haas Jr. Outstanding LGBT Leadership on Immigration Award, American Immigration Council’s Immigrant Youth Achievement Award, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s Inspira Award and the Frederick Douglass 200 List by the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives and American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center.
Currently serving as CEO of Outco Inc., where he is leading a team of programmers, former recruiters, career coaches, and technical mentors driven by the purpose of accelerating careers for job-seeking software engineers. Joshua is a 1.5 generation Dominican-American, a proud Afro-Latino with his heart set on growing and helping people grow into their full potential through the application of positive psychology, systems thinking, and a principle-centered approach to leadership development. As a dedicated techie, he’s helped build 3 tech-industry startups and worked in training & recruiting roles for big tech companies Uber & Google. Born in Manhatten, NY and raised in Lawrence & Springfield, MA Joshua has worked through a lot of adversity but has nothing but love for his folks and the people he’s met along his journey of growth, which consists of a lot of sports, math, reading, perreo, bachata, y Cafe Bustelo.
Arianna Davis is the Senior Director of Editorial & Strategy at Oprah Daily, where she oversees the digital editorial direction across the brand. She is also the author of What Would Frida Do? A Guide to Living Boldly, a self-help book inspired by the life of icon Frida Kahlo. Additionally, Arianna is an adjunct professor at New York University’s Digital & Print Media Master’s program. Throughout her career, on-camera she has interviewed everyone from Hillary Clinton to Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, and the cast of Bridgerton, and she has served as an entertainment expert for outlets like Access Hollywood, Tamron Hall, VH1, TLC, and more. She lives in New York City with her puppy, Leo, and is currently working on a novel.
Jasmine Fuego is a southern raised,Oakland based coach, event producer, and musical artist. Jasmine is the Founder of the Healin’ Myself online intensive which supports women in crushing their impostor syndrome, finding their inner confidence, and creating a plan to live their #bestlives now.
You can find Jasmine performing or speaking at festivals and conferences across the country, producing unique events, or blowing up your Instagram feed with her iconic #MorningMeditations. She created her LLC in 2014 which has worked with brands such as AFROPUNK, She the People, and the Black Joy Parade. In addition to her online work, Jasmine is currently producing a pilot for a children’s television show about mindfulness & confidence.
Mario X. Carrasco is Co-Founder and Principal of ThinkNow, an award-winning, technology-driven cultural insights agency based in Burbank, CA. The agency enables companies and government agencies to discover the cultural drivers that influence consumer decisions.
Under his co-leadership, ThinkNow has successfully launched several innovative initiatives, including ThinkNow ConneKt™, a MarTech segmentation solution focused on the multicultural market and DigaYGane.com, one of the largest and most representative Hispanic online panels in the industry.
During his nine-year tenure at ThinkNow, Carrasco’s expert knowledge of multicultural consumers and his passion for unveiling the story behind the numbers is evident in his editorial contributions to Forbes, eMarketer, Quirk’s Magazine, Online MR Magazine, and MediaPost.
Carrasco has been recognized for his accomplishments. Under his co-leadership, ThinkNow was named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in 2018 and 2019. Carrasco was named the Next Gen Market Research (NGMR) 2018 Industry Change Agent of the Year and, in 2017, received the SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. He is also an SBA Emerging Leader Recipient. Carrasco is a Stanford Latino Entrepreneur Institute Graduate and USC Marshall School of Business alum.
Sergio A. Gonzalez is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Education Studies Program at Claremont Graduate University. He just received his M.A. in Applied Gender Studies on the way to the Ph.D. He earned his M.Ed. in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs from the University of Southern California (USC) and his B.A. in Communication Studies from Manhattanville College. Sergio writes from the core of who he is: joto, Latinx, feminist, hijo de a first-generation Madre and Mexican Immigrant Padre, jotería scholar, activist. As Lorde (2007) states, “I HAVE COME to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood” (p. 40). For this reason, his connection to Jotería (queerness) derives from his experiences navigating the Ivory Tower and trying to understand where he can exist within that space. As a scholar/activist, he focuses on co-creating counternarratives of queer Latinx/a/o individuals within higher education. Currently, he is a Research Associate at the Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) and the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity, and Justice (SDPI) at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. His research interests focus on Jotería pedagogy, social justice, undocumented/Dacamented students, and Queer Latinx students in higher education.
I am a higher education promoter to first generation students empowering them through culturally relevant student service practices. Queer Chicano scholar, first generation college bound student. Chicana/o Studies prof. When I am not working with students, I enjoy dancing Banda and learning about financial literacy.
Dr. Carmen Rojas (she/her) is the president and CEO of the Marguerite Casey Foundation. Prior to joining Marguerite Casey Foundation, Dr. Carmen Rojas was the co-founder and former CEO of The Workers Lab, an innovation lab that invests in entrepreneurs, community organizers, and government leaders to create replicable and revenue-generating solutions that improve conditions for low-wage workers. For more than 20 years, Carmen has worked with foundations, financial institutions, and nonprofits to improve the lives of working people across the United States.
Prior to building The Workers Lab, Carmen was the Acting Director of Collective Impact at Living Cities. She supported 22 of the largest foundations and financial institutions in the world in order to improve economic opportunities for low-income people–supporting projects in the fields of economic and workforce development, energy efficiency, and asset building. From 2008 to 2011, Carmen was the Director of Strategic Programs at the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, where she oversaw the foundation’s Green Access and Civic Engagement programs. Alongside her work at the foundation, Carmen also taught in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to this, Carmen was the Coordinator of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s Task Force on African American Out-Migration to address African American displacement from the city.
Carmen currently sits on the boards of the General Service Foundation, Certification Associates, Blue Ridge Labs, Beyond12, Children’s Defense Fund, San Francisco Federal Reserve’s Community Advisory Counciland the AstraZeneca US Health Equity Advisory Council.
Carmen holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and was a Fulbright Scholar in 2007.
Lori Castillo Martinez is the Senior Vice President of Global Equality and Employee Relations at Salesforce — currently serving as the interim Chief Equality Officer. In her role she focuses on building a culture of belonging while driving diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) across the entire employee lifecycle. As the leader of Global Employee Relations she addresses experience, retention, and accountability through fair, trusted, and inclusive practices. In her position she works to accelerate workplace equality by integrating talent and DEI processes, guided by the voices of employees. She is also the co-chair of the Salesforce’s Racial Equality and Justice Task Force, committed to driving racial equity in the company and the world.
Previously, Lori spent nearly a decade at a Fortune 5 healthcare company where she created the first enterprise-wide strategy, processes and systems for key legal, ethics, and regulatory risk areas. She also led the company’s Latinx Employee Resource group — helping to advocate and create community for women and people of color. Before that, she spent 11 years at an industry leading semiconductor company working in HR and compliance. Throughout her career, she has made a tangible difference in practice and culture in both the life sciences and tech sectors.
Karla is committed to closing the opportunity gap for Black and Latinx people. As the CEO of CODE2040, Karla leads an organization that equips Black, Latinx people, and their allies with the tools needed to dismantle the structural barriers that prevent the full participation and leadership of Black and Latinx people in the innovation economy. Code2040 believes the Digital Revolution provides the biggest opportunity for equitable and structural change in the American economy since the Industrial Revolution and aims to train their community to navigate and lead that change through early career services, community mobilization, and knowledge sharing.
Karla has spent close to two decades focused on growing the people and program functions of rapidly scaling social enterprises driving youth advocacy and leadership. Prior to joining Code2040, she built the tools and ran the systems that supported the scale of healthcare non-profit, Health Leads. and did similar work in college access for low-income communities with national organizations College Summit, and College Track. Karla is currently a board member for Alluma a tech non-profit enabling the creation of pivotal technology necessary to build a path out of poverty. Karla is an alumnus of the University of Southern California.
Luis Martinez, MSOL is an Afro-Latino from Honduras and raised in Brooklyn, New York with an M.B.A. in Organizational Leadership, Luis is an advocate, networker and ecosystem builder for Blacks, Latinos in tech & innovation throughout the United States and abroad.
A Former Pro Basketball Player and U.S. Navy Veteran, currently he is the Director for Startup Grind San Diego. Startup Grind is the largest independent startup community, actively educating, inspiring, and connecting 3,500,000 entrepreneurs in over 400 cities.
Luis felt the need to create a movement aimed at creating the super ecosystem for Black & Latino Founders, Venture Capitalist & Angel Investors. The lack of access and information about tech and innovation that flows to these underrepresented communities is causing these communities to be behind in Math, Science & current Technology.
Also, there is a disconnect between minorities that have been successful in tech & innovation and those back in communities in which they came from. By creating “We Tha Plug”, Luis is connecting businesses, organizations, and individuals, leveraging their resources and talents to build a stronger Black & Latino tech and innovation community through collective efforts.
Beatriz Acevedo is one of the leading inspirational voices and Latina entrepreneurs in the United States. She has dedicated her career to empowering and opening doors for the next generation of Latino leaders.
Beatriz started her career in media at a young age, first on radio and later on television. Her work earned her three Emmys, one MTV Music Award, and a Media Correspondent Award, among others. She later became a tech media entrepreneur as the Co-Founder and President of mitú, the leading digital media brand for young Latinos in the U.S.
Beatriz is a passionate and sought after speaker who enjoys discussions around diversity as good business, female leadership, and the economic impact of Latinos in America. Additionally, she sits on numerous boards and advisory committees.
Beatriz recently co-founded and co-chairs LA Collab, a Hollywood initiative aimed at doubling Latino representation in Hollywood, both in front and behind the camera by 2030.
Her latest startup SUMA Wealth was founded with the vision of closing the Latinx wealth gap by providing financial education via in-culture content, fintech tools, and digital experiences, all in a highly engaging wealth-building digital platform.
Lili Gangas is the Chief Technology Community Officer at the Kapor Center working to create new and more inclusive tech innovation ecosystems regionally & nationally. Her work is centered at the intersection of technology, economic justice, and action driven partnerships to tackle pressing social and economic inequities of underrepresented communities head-on. Her areas of focus and interest include tech advocacy themes such as closing the Digital Divide, Future of Work(ers), and Responsible Technology particularly as they relate to new models with cross sector partners. Lili believes that it is critical that we help prepare and upskill communities of color for the future, today. She was a New America CA fellow focus on Tech for Good, was recognized as SF Business Times Most Influential Women in Business and SF Business Times 40 Under 40, and is an MBA lecturer at Mills College. Lili was recently a featured Salesforce Dreamforce and TEDxOakland speaker.
Before coming to the Kapor Center, Lili was an Associate Principal at Accenture Technology Lab’s Open Innovation team, based out of Silicon Valley, building bridges between startups and commercial clients. She was also a founding member of the Innovation Services team at Booz Allen specializing in crowdsourcing, prize challenges, and open data solutions at the federal level. Before that, Lili could be found in the lab working on software and hardware solutions for the aerospace industry as a Senior Multi-Disciplined Software Engineer at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems.
Lili’s community involvement is at her heart and purpose. All of her work is focused on engaging communities at different intersections to show that tech can be done right if it’s inclusive of all people – whether it’s locally in Oakland or across the US. She’s a proud immigrant from Bolivia and believes in meeting the community where they are at. She’s been an active Startup Weekend organizer – helping launch Women’s Edition, Impact Edition, and Latinx in Tech Editions. She also helped organize the first TEDxOakland. She is an advisor to tech focused nonprofits such as AI-4-All.org, 1Degree.org, Techqueria.org, and LatinasInTech.org..
Lili holds an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business, a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California.
Lucy Flores is a former Nevada State Assemblywoman, former candidate for Congress, lawyer, and media entrepreneur.
The daughter of immigrants, Lucy was raised in a low-income community by a single father. In 2010 Lucy, along with three Latina colleagues, became the first Latinas elected to the Nevada legislature in the history of the state.
After leaving elected office, Lucy served as Vice President of Public Affairs at mitú where she successfully developed and executed social impact and political content strategies. After mitú, Lucy went on to launch her own digital media brand, Luz Collective, producing digital content and events with a focus on the enormously expanding and influential Latina community.
Lucy continues to be a political leader having served on the DNC Unity Commission, the board of Our Revolution, and currently serves on the board of the national Women’s March. She also provides political commentary on national media outlets and speaks frequently throughout the country on both political matters and digital media strategies. Lucy continues to advocate heavily for women’s rights, immigration reform, and criminal justice reform.
Betty Francisco is an entrepreneur, business executive, attorney and community leader. She is known as a powerful convener and changemaker, unapologetic about creating visibility for Latinx and POC leaders. The Boston Business Journal named Betty as one of the 2020 Power 50 – Extraordinary Year Extraordinary People, and in 2018, Boston Magazine named her as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Boston. Betty is currently the CEO of Boston Impact Initiative, a social impact investment fund that invests to close the racial wealth divide in Eastern Massachusetts. She is the co-founder of Amplify Latinx, a social venture that is building Latinx economic and political power by significantly increasing Latino civic engagement, economic opportunity and leadership representation in Massachusetts. Betty is also co-founder of the Investors of Color Network, a consortium of Black and Latinx accredited investors working to close the racial funding gap in startup capital.
She was the General Counsel at Compass Working Capital where she oversaw the organization’s legal affairs, compliance, and risk management. Before that, she served as EVP, General Counsel for Sports Club/LA and Reebok Sports Club/NY, a fitness brand acquired by Equinox Fitness. Betty began her legal career as a Senior Business Law Associate at Edwards Wildman (now Locke Lord) representing start-ups, corporations and investors. She serves on the Boards of Directors of The Boston Foundation, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Beth Israel Lahey Health, and Roxbury Community College. Betty obtained her J.D. and M.B.A. from Northeastern University, and her B.A. in History from Bard College. You can learn more about Betty at http://bettyfrancisco.com.
An investment banker turned three-time award winning Latina entrepreneur from Bolivia, Carolyn Rodz serves as the Founder and CEO of Hello Alice. A free multi-channel platform powered by AI technology, Hello Alice guides business owners by providing access to funding, networks and services. Through a network of nearly half a million companies in all 50 states and across the globe, Hello Alice is building the largest community of business owners in the country while tracking data and trends to increase owner success rate. During her time at Hello Alice, Carolyn was recognized as a “17 Women to Watch,” by Inc. Magazine, in 2020 was named Hispanic CEO of the year by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, has testified before the U.S. Congressional House Small Business Committee, and was featured in a U.S. Senate report by Senator Shaheen titled, “Tackling the Gender Gap: What Women Entrepreneurs Need to Thrive.” She was selected by Mayor Turner of Houston to co-chair the Women and Minority Small Business Task Force in 2019.
With her previous companies she was stated as “Woman to Watch,” by Entrepreneur Magazine, American Express Micro to Millions awardee, and has been featured in Inc., Forbes, Fortune, and more for her work toward building entrepreneurial ecosystems. Prior to Hello Alice, Carolyn launched the world’s first completely virtual accelerator, supporting over 300 women from across the United States and internationally and helped them raise over $76 million in investments. Fast Company highlighted the accelerator as the “most innovative and fastest growing for women.” It was this experience that ultimately spurred the formation of Hello Alice, as Carolyn recognized that the inequities facing women entrepreneurs resulted largely from lack of awareness and access to existing resources and networks — problems that not only faced women, but all marginalized populations. Circular Board also hosted the world’s first “Pitch With Purpose,” a pitch competition awarding $25,000 to a company supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Previously, Carolyn scaled and sold a marketing firm, Cake, that developed technology-driven marketing analytics solutions. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Cake was viewed as one of the early data analytics utilized by enterprise companies to streamline their marketing. Carolyn’s first company, Signatures was a luxury retail line that sold in over 400 stores worldwide, including Neiman Marcus, Harrods, and Bloomingdales. Additional recognitions include being selected as a delegate to the United Nations Foundation Global Accelerator. She is a member of the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, and a featured Dell influencer, a Fortune Most Powerful Women attendee, a Sam Walton Emerging Entrepreneur. Carolyn presented the keynote at TEDx Austin on the topic of failure, and serves as a regular contributor to major media outlets. Through her advisory position, Carolyn continues to support Texas A&M Mays College of Business, and currently resides in Houston, Texas with her husband and two boys, Luca and Henry
A community builder and connector at heart, Ana Flores is the founder and CEO of #WeAllGrow Latina, the first network of Latina influencers founded in 2010 with a mission to elevate the voices and stories of Latinas through the power of community. #WeAllGrow has evolved into the go-to community for Latinas driving social and economic impact. The company’s annual #WeAllGrow Summit was named by Forbes.com as one of “19 Conferences Every Creative Should Attend.”
A sought-out speaker and thought leader in the areas of representation, Latinx identity, building community and gender equality, Ana has been recognized by the United Nations Women’s L.A. chapter as a Champion of Change and by People en Español as one of “Las 25 Mujeres Más Poderosas.” In 2016 she was invited to speak on two occasions at the White House, including the United States of Women Summit on gender diversity and women empowerment issues. Ana also sits on NALIP’s Diverse Women in Media Initiative Advisory Committee.
Born in Houston, Texas, raised in El Salvador and a graduate of the University of Florida, Ana is now settled in Los Angeles, where she lives with her daughter.
Christian strongly believes in the promise of America, and that begins first with California’s estimated 15 million Latinos. As the Vice President of Policy at LCF, Christian leads the foundation’s efforts to advance policy solutions that will improve the lives and political power of California’s Latinos.
Christian served as the Senior Governance Specialist at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) in Washington, D.C. During his tenure, he worked with the nation’s top political, corporate, and nonprofit leaders to develop the next generation of Latino leaders in policy. He also managed CHCI’s transition towards the use of impact metrics and led two successful strategic planning sessions with CHCI’s leadership. Prior to CHCI, Christian worked at the Aspen Institute for the College Excellence Program. He helped administer the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Competition honoring the top performing community colleges in the nation. Dedicated to the advancement of Latino communities, Christian began his career as an AmeriCorps member where he served as a college counselor at Cristo Rey New York High School in East Harlem, New York.
Christian received a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from UC Berkeley and holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Georgetown University in International Politics. In his free time, Christian enjoys cooking, watching Dodgers baseball, and traveling.
Yadira is an advocate for Latinx civic empowerment and has worked tirelessly throughout her career to advance the rights and collective power of the Latinx community, as a proud daughter of immigrants. She co-founded and is currently serving as Co-Executive Director of Poder Latinx, a civic and social justice organization dedicated to building Latinx political power.
Previously, Yadira served as the Development Director for Mi Familia Vota, where she helped raise over $20 million and expanded the number of strategic partnerships with major organizations and allies to increase year-round civic participation within the Latinx community. She was also proud to support the Fast for Families Campaign for immigration reform during her time in the Immigration Department at the SEIU. Yadira is proud to serve on the boards of three nonprofits, Dialogue on Diversity and Family Values @ Work Action, and Western Resource Advisors as well as sitting on the managing committee for Democracy Partners, a firm committed to fighting for progressive values and a truly democracy society for all human beings.
Yadira has been selected as a 40 under 40 honoree by the Leadership Center for Excellence and an Up and Coming Practitioner Finalist by the Professional Women in Advocacy Conference. Most recently, she was selected as an American Express Ngen Fellow and a 40 under 40 honoree by the American Association of Political Consultants. Yadira earned a bachelor’s degree from UC, Santa Barbara, and a master’s degree from the George Washington University. You can follow her work at @YadiraSanchezPL and @PoderLatinx.
Alicia Menendez anchors MSNBC’s “American Voices with Alicia Menendez” Saturday and Sunday nights from 6 to 8 p.m. ET. She is also the author of “The Likeability Trap” and host of the “Latina to Latina” podcast.
Menendez joined MSNBC in October 2019. Prior to joining the network, Menendez served as a correspondent on “Amanpour & Company” on PBS and formerly hosted a nightly news and pop culture show on Fusion called “Alicia Menendez Tonight.” Her reporting and interviews have appeared on ABC News, Bustle, FusionTV, PBS and Vice News.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Menendez has been called “Ms. Millennial” by The Washington Post, “journalism’s new gladiator” by Elle, and a “content queen” by Marie Claire.
From marching 76-straight miles, to hunger striking for 26 days, Dr. César A. Cruz has dedicated his life to justice. Born in México, he migrated to the U.S. with a single mother. Dr. Cruz is from Jalisco, México of Huichol/Mexica roots. César grew up in South Central L.A. and moved to study at UC Berkeley earning a B.A.-History. A 27-year vet in education, he most recently served as the Dean at Arise High in Oakland.
César is the co-founder the Homies Empowerment Program now in its 12th year. The grassroots organization is evolving to become a community-based school for youth who have been given up on. Their mission is to help youth channel the healer, warrior, scholar and hustler within on their journey towards individual and community emancipation.
Dr. Cruz is also the author of “Revenge of The Illegal Alien,” and “Bang for Freedom.” He was the first Mexican immigrant male to receive his Doctorate in Ed. Leadership (Ed.L.D.) at Harvard University. Dr. Cruz is considered one of America’s 30 education thought leaders by the Christian Science Monitor. However, he is proudest to be a husband, and father of three children: Olin, Amaru and Quetzali.
Ivette Rodriguez is the founder and president of AEM, a 24 year old Marketing and Public Relations agency specializing in campaigns for a diverse slate of film, television and documentaries from major studio films to independent and award winning titles in both English and Spanish.
Prior to starting her own firm, Ivette held positions at Arista Records, Columbia TriStar and Live Entertainment.
Ivette has dedicated much of her career fighting for fair and just representation, equity, gender parity for the Latino/a community and has lent her expertise and advisory to many National Latino organizations and initiatives including NHMC, CHCI, NCAA, Voto Latino, and The National American Latino museum.
In early 2020 as a result of report after report of what appeared to be an active erasure of Latinos in Hollywood, Ivette co-founded LA Collab with Mitu co-founder Beatriz Acevedo with the support of the City of Los Angeles to accelerate access for Latinos in entertainment and double representation in front and behind the camera.
Ivette is an executive member of the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts & Sciences’ Marketing & PR branch and co-chair of the Aperture 2025 diversity and inclusion committee.
Dr. Michael McAfee became President and CEO of PolicyLink in 2018, seven years after becoming the inaugural director of the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink. His results-driven leadership, depth of knowledge about building and sustaining an organization, and devotion to serving the nation’s most underserved populations made him the obvious choice to lead the 20-year-old PolicyLink as Angela Glover Blackwelltransitioned to founder in residence.
During his time at PolicyLink, Michael has played a leadership role in securing Promise Neighborhoods as a permanent federal program, led efforts to improve outcomes for more than 300,000 children, and facilitated the investment of billions of dollars in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty. He is the catalyst for a new and growing body of work — corporate racial equity — which includes the first comprehensive tool to guide private-sector companies in assessing and actively promoting equity in every aspect of their company’s value chain. Michael carries forward the legacy to realize the promise of equity — just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential.
Michael also understands the urgency of now. The nation is rapidly becoming a majority people of color. In cities and towns across the country many people are embracing the concept of equity and intent on achieving racial and economic equity for all. At the same time, as the word is used more, the concept of equity is in danger of becoming diluted, just another catchphrase of civil society, leaving the true promise of racial and economic inclusion unrealized. Michael is determined that this will not happen.
Michael is ensuring equity does not become watered down. He is turning movement leaders’ eyes toward redesigning the “rules of the game” so that all people in America — particularly those who face the burdens of structural racism — participate in a just society, live in a healthy community of opportunity, and prosper in an equitable economy. He is achieving this by enacting liberating public policies targeted to the 100 millionpeople living in or near poverty, the majority of whom are people of color.
His legacy will lie in his efforts to stand in transformative solidarity with others, collectively charting a course to Win on Equity. He is building a well-planned, well-coordinated, well-executed, and sustained campaign that frees America’s democracy from the oppressive blend of patriarchy, capitalism, and racism.
Before joining PolicyLink, Michael served as senior community planning and development representative in the Chicago Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). While at HUD, he managed a $450 million housing, community, and economic development portfolio where he partnered with local leaders to create more than 3,000 units of affordable housing and 5,000 jobs and to ensure access to social services for more than 200,000 families. Before his public service, Michael served as the director of community leadership for The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and Affiliated Trusts. He was instrumental in positioning the organization to raise $121 million from individual donors, an accomplishment recognized by the Chronicle of Philanthropy for receiving more contributions than any community foundation in America. Michael’s commitment to the needs of people of color and those living in poverty extends to his work on the boards of Bridge Housing, Independent Sector, North Lawndale Employment Network, One Degree, and Sweet Beginnings, LLC, each of which is committed to creating opportunity for those among the 100 million economically insecure people in America.
Previously, Michael served in the United States Army and as Dean’s Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He earned his Doctor of Education in human and organizational learning from George Washington University and completed Harvard University’s Executive Program in Public Management.
He is a sought-after speaker on community and economic development, leadership, organizational development, racial equity, and youth development. His articles have appeared in Academic Pediatrics, Cascade, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia; Community Development Innovation Review, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; Harvard Education Press, New York Times, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and Voices in Urban Education, published by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University.
Michael lives in the Oakland Hills with his wife, Maja, and their two Brussels Griffons (Gigi and Griff). He is an avid off-road hiker and practitioner of yoga.
Julissa Arce is a writer, social justice activist, and nationally best-selling author of My (Underground) American Dream and Someone Like Me. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, TIME Magazine, CNN, CNBC, Vogue and other outlets. Her forthcoming book You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation is powerful dual polemic and manifesto against the myth that assimilation leads to happiness and belonging for immigrants in America. Instead, she calls for a celebration of our uniqueness, our origins, our heritage, and the beauty of the differences that actually make us Americans.
Prior to becoming an author and immigrant rights activist, she built a successful career on Wall Street working for Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, and had seemingly achieved the American Dream—yet she was not part of what legally defined American.
Julissa immigrated to America from Mexico at the age of 11 and was undocumented for almost 15 years, some of them spent rising to prominence on Wall Street. In order to help other young people in similar circumstances, Julissa co-founded the Ascend Educational Fund (AEF). AEF is a college scholarship and mentorship program for immigrant students in New York City, regardless of their ethnicity, national original or immigration status.
Julissa was named one of People en Español’s 25 Most Powerful Women of 2017 and 2018’s Woman of the Year by the City of Los Angeles. She is a leading voice in the fight for social justice, immigrant rights and education equality. She is a contributor to Crooked Media, CNBC, TIME, and other outlets. Her first book is currently being developed as a television series with producer and actor America Ferrera.
She serves on the board of directors of the National Immigration Law Center. She was officially sworn in as an American citizen in August of 2014. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their two cats, Nikko and Pancho.
Liz Rebecca Alarcón is a social entrepreneur and Latinamericanist. She’s the Founder & Executive Director of Pulso, a non-profit media startup building trusted relationships with more than 1 million Latinos across the United States through culturally relevant news, history and culture content to then leverage those relationships for civic participation. Liz’s writing and commentary on Latin America and Latinos in the US has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, Time Magazine, Newsweek, The Miami Herald & El Nuevo Herald, among others. She is a former Fulbright Scholar to Costa Rica and an alum of the University of Miami and the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.
Dr. Manuel Pastor is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Pastor holds an economics Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is the inaugural holder of the Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change, and he currently directs the Equity Research Institute (ERI).
For the fullest and most up-to-date description of his work (as well as downloadable photos and other material), go to his research center webpage. For a list of the most recent publications, grants, and speaking engagement (this official Dornsife website is outdated for all sorts of reasons, one being the complexity of easily adding updated information), download a current CV here. [see how challenging this is — the bio update here doesn’t take a link. So you need to paste this into your browser bar https://dornsife.usc.edu/eri/manuel-pastor/ and hope we modernize in the future].
Dr. Pastor’s research has generally focused on issues of the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities – and the social movements seeking to change those realities. His work culminates in his most recent book, State of Resistance: What California’s Dizzying Descent and Remarkable Resurgence Means for America’s Future (New Press 2018).
Previous volumes include Equity, Growth, and Community: What the Nation Can Learn from America’s Metro Areas, co-authored with Chris Benner (UC Press 2015), a text that argues how inequality stunts economic growth and how bringing together equity and growth requires concerted local action. He also co-edited the book, Unsettled Americans: Metropolitan Context and Civic Leadership for Immigrant Integration with John Mollenkopf (Cornell University Press 2016), which offers a comparative study and detailed analyses of immigrant incorporation efforts across seven different U.S. metro regions.
Dr. Pastor’s prior volumes include: Just Growth: Inclusion and Prosperity in America’s Metropolitan Regions, co-authored with Chris Benner (Routledge 2012), argues that growth and equity can and should be linked, offering a new path for a U.S. economy seeking to recover from economic crisis and distributional distress; Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future (W.W. Norton 2010; co-authored with Angela Glover Blackwell and Stewart Kwoh), documents the gap between progress in racial attitudes and racial realities and offers a new set of strategies for both talking about race and achieving racial equity; This Could Be the Start of Something Big: How Social Movements for Regional Equity are Transforming Metropolitan America (Cornell University Press 2009; co-authored with Chris Benner and Martha Matsuoka) highlights a promising set of organizing efforts across the U.S.; Staircases or Treadmills: Labor Market Intermediaries and Economic Opportunity in a Changing Economy (Russell Sage 2007, co-authored with Chris Benner and Laura Leete) which offers a critique of current employment strategies and argues for a new “high road” approach to connecting demand and supply in labor markets; and Regions That Work: How Cities and Suburbs Can Grow Together (University of Minnesota Press 2000; co-authored with Peter Dreier, Eugene Grigsby, and Marta Lopez-Garza), a book that has become a standard reference for those seeking to link neighborhoods and regions.
Dr. Pastor was the founding director of the Center for Justice, Tolerance, and Community at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He has received fellowships from the Danforth, Guggenheim, and Kellogg foundations, and grants from the Irvine Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the California Environmental Protection Agency, the W.T. Grant Foundation, The California Endowment, the California Air Resources Board, and many others.
Dr. Pastor speaks frequently on issues of demographic change, economic inequality, and community empowerment and has contributed opinion pieces to such outlets as the Los Angeles Times, the San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Sacramento Bee, the Huffington Post, and many others.
Pastor has served as a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Jobs and Business Recovery and as a Public Member of the Strategic Growth Council in California. He also previously served as a member of the Commission on Regions appointed by California’s Speaker of the State Assembly, and as a member of the Regional Targets Advisory Committee for the California Air Resources Board.
In 2002, Pastor was awarded a Civic Entrepreneur of the Year award from the California Center for Regional Leadership. In 2012, he received the Liberty Hill Foundation’s Wally Marks Changemaker of the Year award for social justice research partnerships. In 2017, he received the Champion for Equity Award from the Advancement Project for his work with community-based organizations fighting for social change.
Maria Aceves (she/her/they/them) is an Investment Operations Analyst with Capital Group, one of the world’s largest investment Management organization. As a non-binary latinx they have been an advocate within the company to bring awareness to the unique challenges that the Latinx LGBTQIA+ community faces. Actively involved in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion communities within Capital Group’s corporate structure.
Maria Salamanca is a Partner at Unshackled Ventures, a fund that fills a unique space in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, funding teams with immigrant founders at the earliest stage of pre-seed and seed. Maria joined the fund in 2015, during her time she has been involved in 50+ investments and has evaluated more than 6,000 deals. In 2018, she was first Latina named Forbes 30 Under 30 for Venture Capital and Business Insider’s Under 30 Rising Stars. Her support for the Latinx community also won her the the 2017 California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Shark of Year.
Previous to joining Unshackled, Maria worked at FWD.us an immigration lobbying group founded by Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Ron Conway, Reid Hoffman and other tech leaders. She attended UC Berkeley where she studied Government and Legal Studies
Adeyemi (“Ade”) is co-founder & Managing Partner at Base10 Partners. Before Base10, Ade had a successful career as an entrepreneur and investor.
Ade was the co-founder and CEO of Tuenti (The “Spanish Facebook” which was acquired by Telefonica in 2010 for $100M), co-founder and CEO of Identified (“AI for HR” acquired by Workday in 2014) and a founding investor of Cabify (the largest ridesharing company in Latin America currently valued at over $1B). While at Workday, Ade led launch to Workday Ventures, the first fund focused on Applied AI for Enterprise Software and was VP of Technology Strategy.
Ade is originally from Spain and half Nigerian. He holds an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. He also holds a J.D. in Law and a M.S in Economics from Icade University in Spain and studied a certificate on Machine Learning at Stanford.
Ade volunteers with CODE2040 who tries to create access, awareness and opportunities for gifted Black and Latin engineering talent.
Angela Guzman is an award-winning UX design lead and entrepreneur based out of Silicon Valley best known for co-designing the original set of Apple emoji. Over the last decade, she has worked for Google, Airbnb, and Apple. She has managed, led, and directly contributed to design teams that focus on user experience, interaction, and visual design and has over two dozen design patents to her name. She studied Industrial and Graphic Design from 2002–2009 at the Rhode Island School of Design where she received a BFA and MFA. Angela has also been featured in a number of national and international publications as well as news outlets. Today, she is the founder and CEO of her new startup called Tijiko. When not designing, she loves to share her career journey with the hope of educating, inspiring, and empowering underrepresented groups in tech.
Aimara Rodriguez is a Honduran-American business strategist and content creator based in New York City. She has a diverse background working at the intersection of startups, technology, and culture. Her expertise lies in operations management, partnership development, and brand strategy. She has been featured in Forbes and actively mentors for organizations such as Techstars, Built by Girls Ventures, and Digital Undivided.
Currently, Aimara builds Platform Partnerships at Adobe, where she focuses on cultivating and unifying the Creative Cloud Platform through the development of various partnerships as well as driving adoption of the plugins and app integrations that partners build. She also helps manage the Adobe Fund for Design, a $10 million fund aimed at supporting teams building products that will help shape the future of creativity and design.
View her work at www.aimararodriguez.com.
1st generation Mexican-American investing in exceptional diverse B2B founders at the pre-seed and seed stage at Act One Ventures.
Alma is co-founder of the grassroots, heart-driven Brown Issues. As statewide coordinator, Alma is cultivating the next generation of Brown leaders through civic engagement, healing, and narrative change.
America Ferrera is an award-winning actress and producer known for her breakthrough role as “Betty Suarez” on ABC’s hit comedy, Ugly Betty. For her performance, Ferrera was awarded a Golden Globe®, an Emmy®, and a Screen Actors Guild Award®, as well as ALMA and Imagen Awards.
Ferrera most recently produced, directed and starred in the NBC workplace comedy, Superstore, which will premiere it’s sixth season on October 29, 2020. She also executive produced and directed episodes of NETFLIX’s new Latinx Dramedy, Gentefied. Described as a badass Spanglish series about family, Gentefied follows three Mexican-American cousins and their struggle to chase the American Dream. The series embodies community, brown love and the feeling of displacement and was picked up for a second season on May 18th, 2020.
In 2018, Ferrera released her first book landing on the New York Times best-seller list. American Like Me is a vibrant and varied collection of first-person accounts from prominent figures about the experience of growing up between cultures in America. Curated and edited by Ferrera, the anthology includes essays that share her own perspective of growing up as the daughter of Honduran immigrants in Los Angeles. Contributors to the book include Lin-Manuel Miranda, Roxane Gay, Issa Rae, Kumail Nanjiani, Congressman Joaquin Castro, Kal Penn, Uzo Aduba, Jenny Zhang, Michelle Kwan, Padma Lakshmi and many others.
A longtime activist, Ferrera recently launched She Se Puede alongside Eva Longoria Bastón and other Latina Leaders on August 31, 2020. She Se Puede is a digital lifestyle community and non-profit built to inspire, affirm, and inform Latinas so they can leverage their power to transform their lives, their families, their community and their nation. In addition to She Se Puede, she organized the ‘Letter of Solidarity’ with Eva as a response to the El Paso, Texas shooting in 2019. Over 200 Latinx community leaders signed, urging others to turn this time of despair into a time of action.
In 2017, she worked as one of the driving forces alongside other powerful women in Hollywood to establish the TIME’S UP movement. The movement addresses the systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace that has kept underrepresented groups from reaching their full potential. Ferrera also cofounded HARNESS, with her husband Ryan Piers Williams and Wilmer Valderrama, in 2016. HARNESS is a community of artists, influencers and grassroots leaders that provides education and engagement opportunities to amplify the organizations and individuals working on behalf of social justice.
Ferrera spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on behalf of women’s rights and immigration in support of Hillary Clinton. She was also a chair for the Artists’ Committee for the Women’s March on Washington and spoke at the historic Women’s March the day after the 2017 Presidential Inauguration. Her activism has even extended on screen in several television documentaries including the EPIX TV mini-series, America Divided, Showtime’s groundbreaking documentary, The Years of Living Dangerously, and Nicholas Kristof’s series for PBS Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.
Some of Ferrera’s television and film credits include a memorable arc on the CBS hit The Good Wife; Ricky Gervais’ Special Correspondents; Ryan Piers Williams’ drama X/Y, which she co-produced and starred in; Diego Luna’s biopic, Cesar Chavez, (ALMA Award Special achievement in Film); David Ayer’s crime thriller End of Watch; Ryan Piers Williams’ The Dry Land, (Best International Film Edinburgh Film Festival); It’s a Disaster; Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (parts 1 and 2); Real Women Have Curves; Lords of Dogtown; How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer, among many others. She lends her vocal talents to the Oscar® nominated franchise films How to Train Your Dragon as Astrid.
On stage, she has appeared off-Broadway in Terrence McNally’s Lips Together, Teeth Apart; Laura Marks’ Bethany; and Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, directed by Trip Cullman. She graced the stage as Roxie Hart in the West End production of the hit musical, Chicago.
In 2006, Ferrera founded her own television and film production company, Take Fountain.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Ferrera is the youngest of six children. As a graduate of the University of Southern California, Ferrera studied International Relations while pursuing her film and television career.
Ana Margarita is a Senior Chaos Engineer at Gremlin and helps companies avoid outages by running proactive chaos engineering experiments. Before Gremlin, she worked at various-sized companies including Google, Uber, SFEFCU, and Miami-based startups. Ana is an internationally recognized speaker and has presented at: AWS re:Invent, KubeCon, DockerCon, DevOpDays, AllDayDevOps, Write/Speak/Code, and many others. Catch her tweeting at @Ana_M_Medina about traveling, diversity in tech, and mental health.
Anthony Hernandez: Anthony is a proud Dominican-American, New York native, and a graduate of Baruch College with a degree in Marketing Psychology. He interned at Accenture for 3 years and shifted over to advertising, ending up at DigitasHealth, where he worked on the Pfizer’s Chantix digital business. He then worked at a eco-startup called TerraCycle in business development where he opened up the Brazil TerraCycle office.
After Brazil, Anthony joined Google working on advertising products as a Product Brand Manager for 6 years, launching ad products for Google. He was on rotation in Tokyo in 2015 working on evangelizing ad products for all of Asia. Anthony was the HOLA (Hispanic Googler Network) chapter lead in the NYC office. His work focused on empowering Latino tech entrepreneurs, celebrating Latino culture in the NYC office, and bringing Google’s passion and knowledge to people in the Latino community!
In 2017-2018 he was Vice president of Marketing, Strategic Partnerships at Genius Plaza an education tech company personalizing learning for immigrant populations across North and South America. He worked on a platform that has content that looks and sounds like the populations it serves while giving the students the chance to use their own cultures to teach themselves math and language mastery.
from 2018-2020 he was a contract senior product manager at Royal Caribean working on facial recognition and its deployment globally. He lead over 11 launches and with 32 planned in 2020. Covid-19 changed those plans!
More recently he finds himself working at Amazon for Prime Video as a senior product manager, technical.
Anthony frequently guest lectures on marketing, product, and growing businesses. He mentors and enjoys working with entrepreneurs. He will also claim loudly that he is undefeated in dominoes. This is not true.
Carla is the LTX Fest Director, where she manages conference strategy, content, partners and sponsorship. Before joining LTX Fest, Carla was the Sr. Global Events and Sponsorship Manager for Samsung NEXT where she led activations and sponsorship for international markets. Before Samsung, she was the global special events manager for Techstars, planning all their global summits and special event activations such as Startup Stage at CES. Carla received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid, Spain. Prior to her career in events, Carla worked as a journalist at various leading media corporations in Spain such as Unidad Editorial and EFE.
Carmen Palafox is a founding partner at 2045 Ventures a pre-seed and seed-stage venture capital firm based in LA and a Partner at MiLA Capital, a seed-stage venture capital firm specializing in “tech you can touch”.
Before VC, she was Vice President at Dimensional Fund Advisors where she scaled investment operations into LATAM, Canada, and Europe going from $75 Billion AUM to $300 Billion AUM.
Carmen is on the Founding Board @ LatinxVC, the LA Steering Team @ All Raise and a Board Member @ NVCA. Carmen holds a BA from the University of Southern California, an MA in Sports Management from the University of San Francisco, and an MBA from Berkeley-Haas.
Carolina Huaranca Mendoza is currently a scout for Lightspeed Venture Partners and serves on the Board of Directors for Latinas in Tech, a network of 10,000 Latinas worldwide. She was a former Principal & Director of LP Investments at Kapor Capital, an early stage seed fund. Carolina originally joined Kapor Capital as a Principal in 2016 and while there she was a generalist investor, but had a particular interest in the future of work, future cities, logistics, and education. During her last year investing at Kapor Capital she helped devise an investment strategy to deploy capital in emerging fund managers. This strategy resulted in investments in Equal Ventures and Operator Collective. Prior to becoming a Principal, she was an Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR) at Kapor working on a edtech platform for teacher professional development.
She began her technology career as a Sales & Product Marketing Manager at SchoolNet; which was sold to Pearson for $230M. In 2012, she founded Spriggle, a marketplace that helped parents identify STEM inspired products for children ages 3-9.
Carolina also has a personal interest in angel investing in Latin American based tech startups given that her family hails from the region. In order to ensure even more diverse founders have access to different capital sources she is also a Venture Partner at Republic, an investment crowdfunding platform that allows users to easily invest in startups.
To date, she has shared her investment experience on over 50 stages, including SXSWEdu, Aspen Institute Latinos & Society Program, SOCAP, LTX Fest, and NPR: How I Built this Summit. Carolina has also been recognized by Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) as a Latino Leader and Cosmo Latina Fearless Award Winner alongside Jessica Alba. She has also been featured in TechCrunch, CNN Money, SF Chronicle, and USA Today.
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