A National Award-Winning Publication

Evelin Freytas 

Masterminding Financial Goals

Age: 37

 Founder and President 

 Organization: Mastermind Wealth Strategies LLC.

Evelin Freytas is passionate about education and financial wellness. She’s a volunteer facilitator of educational workshops and personal education sessions for the Money Management Educators Network (MME) and is the first woman and first Latina/o in Illinois to be a part of MME. 

 Evelin and her team at Mastermind Wealth Strategies LLC. help clients in several states determine what they would like to achieve financially and then map out a strategy to meet those goals. In a very male dominated field, she has been inducted to the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT). 

 Evelin is also actively involved in several community organizations centered on education, empowerment of women, and improving the lives of Latinos.Having been born in Ecuador and then immigrating to the United States when she was 9 years old, she understands the challenges immigrants face and what is needed to overcome them.  

 Evelin served The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Latina/Latino Alumni Association (IllinoisLLAA) as Programming Chair and as President. She has served as a leadership coach for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Leadership Center Imprint Program, is on the Board for the Ecuadorian Volunteers Association (EVA), and is also a proud member of Alpha Psi Lambda Co-Ed Latino Fraternity.

 Evelin received her bachelor’s degree in international business from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her MBA in Chicago. She studied Finance and International Business in Granada, Spain, and at The Chinese University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong, China. She received her LUTCF and CLTC designations through the American College and she is currently enrolled in Northwestern University to complete her Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification. 

 She is married to Dr. Héctor Freytas and they have two sons, 3-year-old AJ and 1-year-old Carmelo. She is also expecting a third child in the summer of 2021. 

 

Words of wisdom: “Be a perpetual student; learn from every experience, person and failure in your life.”

—Nina Vaca

 

Melissa Flores 

Growing Access and Revenues

Age: 37 

Senior Director of Strategy and Operations

Organization: Erie Neighborhood House

In her current role, Melissa Flores has consistently used her sphere of influence to improve outcomes for families while improving her agency’s revenue to ensure sustainability. Over the last three years, she has grown revenue about 25% and led her teams to consistently outperform peer organizations in quality of services. 

Melissa has also led inclusively throughout Chicago to provide services to Latinx and immigrant families and considers her greatest success to be leading her team to build a new childcare center on the West Side of Chicago. 

As a result of Melissa’s successes, she was recognized by Governor Pritzker for her leadership and expertise in youth services and appointed to a four-year term as a Commissioner to the Illinois Youth Budget Commission in 2020. In 2021 she was selected as a New Leaders Council Fellow in Chicago which recognizes progressive, millennial leadership that is poised to make a huge impact in their community. Additionally, Melissa was selected as 1 of 30 nonprofit and government leaders in Cook County that will form the 2021 Civic Leadership Academy cohort at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy. 

Melissa also serves as a mentor to aspiring college students of color at Chicago Scholars, Vice Chair of the Harvard Latino Alumni Alliance, member of the national Harvard Graduate School Alumni Council to increase diversity at Harvard, and as a sitting member of the A Better Chicago Impact Council to support education nonprofits in the city. 

Words of wisdom: Lo único imposible es aquello que no intentas.”

 

Vicente Del Real 

Equipping Transformative Leaders

Age: 31

Founder of Iskali

Big Shoulders Fund, Iskali

Passionate about helping young Latinos find success through community empowerment and leadership development, Vicente Del Real has made a significant impact on Chicago’s Hispanic community.

Vicente immigrated to Chicago from Zacatecas, Mexico with his family when he was fifteen, experiencing firsthand the struggles and challenges that young immigrants face, including being undocumented.

Right after college, Vicente became a community organizer as part of a core team of organizers that worked to pass the Illinois state law allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver licenses. This gave more than 250,000 immigrants the opportunity to drive legally here in Illinois. Vicente became a DACA recipient in 2012, allowing him to more fully integrate and contribute to this country.

Currently, Vicente works for Big Shoulders Fund where he helps to reach out to the families in the Latino community offering them a quality, values-based education within the Big Shoulders Fund networks of schools across Chicago. Big Shoulders Fund serves 20,000 students in 72 schools in the Chicago region, this network of schools is an important resource for students and Chicago communities.

At the age of twenty Vicente founded Iskali, a nonprofit organization that exists to empower and equip young Latinos to become transformative leaders.

Vicente started Iskali as a resource and place of community for young Latinos. Over the past ten years Iskali has been able to impact the lives of over 1,500 young Latinos who have benefited from the organization’s many programs including retreats, small-group communities, leadership development, mentorship, scholarships, a formative podcast, and volunteer opportunities.

He also owns Huarachi LLC, which is a fair-trade brand of traditional Mexican Huaraches and accessories made by local artisans in Mexico. Through this socially responsible business Vicente helps provide jobs to around ten families in Mexico that are supported by single mothers, many times victims of domestic violence.

Vicente is currently finishing his Master’s degree in Pastoral Studies from the Catholic Theological Union where he was awarded the Romero Scholarship.

Words of wisdom: “Our biggest responsibility is to embody the transformation we want to see in the world, and our greatest adventure is to constantly reinvent and rebuild ourselves.”

Fernando DeLeón 

Impacting Communities Through Tech

Age: 37

Co-Founder & Chief Growth Officer

Innovare – Social Innovation Partners

Fernando DeLeon’s experiences growing up in a border city in Mexico and living in Brazil and the U.S. have shaped his eagerness to build bridges across cultures and opportunities for people to reach their potential.

After roles in product development at Google and as a Management Consultant at Accenture, Fernando is now making an impact as a social entrepreneur. 

The organization he co-founded – Innovare – Social Innovation Partners – is a data and strategy ed-tech company that supports education and nonprofit leaders to impact students and communities in the U.S. and Latin America. 

Fernando holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan. He is an alumnus of Education Pioneers, the StartEd & NYU Steinhardt EdTech Accelerator, and 1871 and IHCC’s Latinx Tech Incubator. He has been featured in Forbes for his journey as a product leader.

Words of wisdom: Find your strengths, believe in them, nurture them, and leverage them to positively impact the world around you.”

Dora Cornelio 

Serving In and Out of Court

Age: 35

Assistant State’s Attorney 

Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office

Dora was born in Mexico but considers herself a lifelong Chicagoan now. As Assistant State’s Attorney for Cook County, she practices in the areas of tort and civil rights law. She also currently serves as Communications Secretary for the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, where she previously served as Recording Secretary. Dora is also the Vice-Chair for Casa Central’s Emerging Leaders Auxiliary Board and has been a board member since ELAB’s inception.

She attended Lane Tech College Preparatory High School and obtained her bachelor’s degree from DePaul University. Dora obtained her law degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chicago-Kent College of Law in May of 2018 and is admitted to practice law in Illinois and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Dora has led multiple philanthropy campaigns and events benefitting various Chicago organizations starting during her time at DePaul University fundraising to benefit Lurie Children’s Hospital. She also volunteers with the Center for Disability and Elder Law to ensure Senior Citizens in Cook County have valid powers of attorney for property and healthcare matters.  

In her spare time, Dora enjoys reading and attending group fitness classes. As a compassionate, enthusiastic, and adventurous individual Dora looks forward to advancing and improving the lives of individuals living in Chicago’s Latino Communities through service.  Recently, she was appointed Chairperson for Casa Central’s Emerging leaders Auxiliary Board.

Words of wisdom: “Value all experiences that made you who you are today. Those experiences set you apart from others and give you the strength to move forward when faced with adversity. And always keep your word!”

Guillermo Chavez-Angeles 

 Relationship-driven Customer Service

Age: 37

Agent

State Farm & President of NAHREP Chicago North Chapter

For Guillermo Chavez-Angeles, the most meaningful aspect of his work revolves around one thing – relationships. One of the primary missions of his agency is to develop real relationships with his customers and grow old with them while providing them with the right insurance coverage and financial stability at every stage of their lives.

In 2001, Guillermo began his career in the mortgage lending industry. Over the next three years, he transitioned into real estate with an emphasis on helping people find the right mortgage for their situation. Even then, Guillermo felt his entrepreneurial spirit growing and knew he would someday have his own business. 

In 2014, the perfect opportunity presented itself with State Farm. Guillermo liked the idea of partnering with an industry leader known for delivering top-notch customer service. His office is a positive environment with people dedicated to helping their community and managing the risks of everyday life. They work with the belief that the more positivity you put out into the world, the more positivity comes back to you. 

A native of Guadalajara of Jalisco, Mexico, Guillermo is grateful to his parents for all the sacrifices they made to bring him and his siblings to the United States. Guillermo arrived at 16 to the United States where he was not only able to begin his career in mortgage financing but also attended classes at William Rainey Harper College in Palatine. Guillermo is the 2021 President of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) Chicago North Chapter. He is also a Board of Directors member for the Northwest Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (NWHCC).

Away from work, Guillermo can be found traveling with his family, reading inspirational books by Miguel Ruiz, Robert Green, Napoleon Hill, Louis Hay and many others, listening to music (especially rock en español!) and spending time with his wife and 2 daughters. 

Words of wisdom: “Let your dreams be bigger than your fears and your actions be louder than your words”. 

Luisa Castellanos 

 

 Essential IT Expertise On Call

 27

 Co-founder

Science On Call

Luisa Castellanos started her entrepreneurial journey at age 11 making plush toys called Pock-it Palz and selling them to toy stores, art galleries, and several Whole Foods locations across the country. 

 

Graduating in 2015 from DePaul University with a degree in Entrepreneurship and Marketing, Luisa later developed a passion for helping independent businesses. Having worked with several independent retailers and art galleries – including Rotofugi Designer Toy Store and the Elmhurst Art Museum – Luisa discovered the lack of friendly, reliable technology support available to these brick-and-mortar businesses. At the end of 2014 she co-founded Science, a boutique IT consulting agency. At the end of 2019 she led a strategic pivot to their existing low-cost subscription model, IT helpdesk for restaurants called Science On Call. Luisa and her team are dedicated to helping restaurants navigate not only the pandemic, but the future of hospitality.

 

Words of wisdom: “Don’t be against things so much as for things.” – Colonel Sanders

Erik Cascio

 A Financial Career in Service of Others

Age: 36

 Owner and founder

 Golden Tree Wealth Partners, LLC

Erik Cascio and his brother, Vincent, come from humble Bridgeport beginnings. They were raised there by their single mother, Guadalupe. After she and Erik’s adoptive father, James Cascio, married during his teenage years, the family uprooted to suburban Crystal Lake. It was there that Erik realized his low income, inner city education would require him to work three times as hard to catch up to his new peers. 

Seeing his family struggle financially, he would go on to seek ways to make a difference with families experiencing the same struggle. This desire along with his perseverance and tenacity have allowed him the privilege of becoming an established name in the financial services industry. He counts on over 12 years’ experience in helping families and business owners from all levels via his roles with some of the top fortune 100 financial institutions in the country.

Erik eventually founded a financial services company that provides solutions such as retirement plans, tax efficient strategies and risk management for individuals and businesses. He has developed a platform that offers transparency planning and can include affiliated experts from many different related fields such as real estate, tax planning and preferred attorneys. 

Erik attended the business program at DePaul University and plays an important role as an alumni and mentor for future graduates. 

He also volunteers with and raises funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, sits on the Executive Board of Directors for A Boy and His Dream Foundation, and volunteers and mentors young undergraduates to continue a path of success.

 In his personal time Erik enjoys traveling to other countries and cultures as he is always seeking personal growth and knowledge. 

 

Words of wisdom: “Success is not a destination, it is a constant adventure and it should be continuous.”

Juan David Campolargo

Excelling in Many Passions

 18

Engineering student and entrepreneur

 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Optimum Smart

Born and raised in Venezuela, Juan David Campolargo moved to Chicago when he was 14. When he first arrived in the U.S., he knew no English but mastered the language in less than six months. Just a year after learning the language, he started taking college-level and honors classes.

 

Juan went on to found a digital marketing agency called Optimum Smart, and is now an engineering student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he’s hoping to obtain one strong technical skill that he can build on to create companies, projects, and help others. 

 

In addition to studying engineering, he’s also a biophysics researcher with a focus on antimicrobial peptides, which can potentially be used to treat diseases such as cancer, lung diseases, and infections. 

 

Juan David also writes essays and a newsletter about the challenges and adventures of being a curiously ambitious teenager through the lenses of optimism, science, philosophy, entrepreneurship, and leadership. He wrote a book called Generation Optimism to inspire the next generation to embrace a worldview of optimism. He continues to share his message by creating videos, appearing in interviews, and giving TEDx Talks.

 

The Naperville resident speaks four languages (Spanish, English, Portuguese, and Chinese), serves on Naperville’s Downtown Advisory Committee, and contributes to the nonprofit Panas en Chicago, which provides assistance to Venezuelan immigrants. 

 

When he’s not pursuing an opportunity to help others or a new challenge (like building/designing underwater objects), he’s playing soccer, running, volunteering at the Museum of Science and Industry, or learning about science at America’s particle physics and accelerator laboratory. He’s always looking for things to do, challenges to overcome, and successes to achieve.

 

Words of wisdom: “Don’t find mentors. Find future selves. Future selves are people who were where you are. Future selves can show you a path that gets you excited to work harder and more ambitiously.”

Liana Bran

Lifting Society’s Most Forgotten

Age: 30

Director of Expansion Strategy

Organization: Cara

 Liana believes in entrepreneurship as a tool for social change and places her career firmly at the intersection of business and impact. In February 2021 she joined Cara, a workforce development organization based in Chicago that runs businesses and bootcamps to help people experiencing poverty get back to work. More importantly, the organization aims to rebuild hope, self-esteem and opportunity for individuals and their families in the process.

 Prior to this role, Liana served the small business community for nearly eight years as a program director at the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC). During her time at IHCC, Liana worked with a range of businesses from construction contractors to tech startups and spent her last couple of years running an incubator for Latinx tech founders in partnership with the renowned Chicago incubator 1871. 

 While at the Chamber, Liana discovered the importance of a strong and diverse talent pipeline to the continued growth of the economy. In 2019, she participated in the inaugural Chicago Workforce Leadership Academy, making Liana an Economic Opportunity Fellow at the Aspen Institute. She sees a common thread between her work with small businesses and continuing to help people create a meaningful living and uncover their passions and purpose at Cara. Her hope is to use her collective experiences to scale organizations that affect meaningful change in the community.

 Liana has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a master’s in business administration with honors from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.

 

Words of wisdom: “Growing in your career doesn’t mean having all of the answers. It means asking the right questions and having enough patience with yourself to learn when you don’t get it right.”

 

Rosa Botello 

Creating Access to Opportunities in Tech

Age:38

Global Head of Supplier Diversity

Motorola Solutions

Rosa Botello is responsible for developing the strategic direction of her company’s Global Supplier Diversity program. Under her leadership, Motorola has strategically grown its diversity spend, resulting in an economic impact of over $1 billion in revenue generation and over 10,000 jobs retained or created in the U.S.

Rosa is an accomplished change agent with over 15 years of experience in developing and successfully leading enterprise-wide strategies focused on competitive advantage, corporate responsibility and diversity, equity and inclusion. Her career has spanned across industries and multinational organizations such as the McDonald’s Corporation, The Nielsen Media Company and Motorola Solutions. 

As a first-generation college grad and professional, Rosa is passionate about increasing the number of women and people of color in the high tech space. She works diligently to create equal access and opportunities for diverse-owned businesses and students through strategic investments and partnerships. She is also the Global Co-Lead of the LatinX ERG and Global Communications Lead of the Women’s ERG. 

Outside of Motorola, she also serves as President and Chair of tech:SCALE, mentor and Emerge Lab sponsor for Chicago Scholars, DEI Committee Advisor with the Chicago Chamber of Commerce, a mentor with the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, and Entrepreneurship Program Advisor for Chi Tech Academy. 

Rosa earned her bachelor’s degree in communication and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She lives in Villa Park, IL with her husband and dog.

Words of wisdom: “Excel in all that you do. Set the standard and your professional reputation will open a multitude of doors for you.”

Miguel A Blancarte, Jr. 

 

Extending Health and Wellness Access

Age: 33

Director of COVID-19 Response and Community Outreach

Miguel A. Blancarte, Jr. has certain pillars that are fundamental to him: equity, fairness, justice, community and engagement, health and wellness, and education. In his current role, he is responsible for all COVID-19 related matters including testing, operations, and vaccine distribution, and he is also responsible for expanding access to testing in Chicago’s Southwest side. Prior to joining Esperanza, Miguel was with Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE), a humanitarian, non-profit organization, as part of the Chicago COVID-19 Response leadership team providing community-based testing for Chicagoans.

He works to address inequities, inequalities, discrimination, and systemic issues through collaborations with others, and directly reaching out to individuals and communities and connecting them with resources, tools, and education so they can make decisions that make them wholesome, that empower them. 

Miguel was recognized by Latino Leaders Magazine and awarded the Maestro Award and the BMW Ultimate Drive Award. In October 2020, he was awarded the Class Of 2020 Award by The Alumni Society for his leadership, dedication, and courage in addressing the Coronavirus health pandemic, and responding to the Latino community. 

As a first-generation American and college student Miguel earned his bachelor’s degree from Brown University (as a Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar), and a master’s degree in international business and policy from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and the Walsh School of Foreign Service. 

He is a born-and-raised resident and life-long stakeholder of Little Village. You can find him running there five days a week as health and wellness are focal to Miguel after losing 180 pounds in eight months with healthy eating and exercise.

Words of wisdom: “To better understand, connect, and advocate for others, I found it important to keep my eyes, heart, and mind open, to keep my feet on the ground, and my ears in my community. When you find your truth, when something ignites your passion, be relentless. And at the end of a heavy day, set the weight down, rest up, and get up the next morning, ready to persevere, because there’s a lot of work left to do, and there’s a whole lot left in you.”

 

Eduardo Arabu

 Industry-spanning Leadership

Age: 35

National Hispanic Corporate Council (NHCC)

Eduardo Arabu’s professional journey has included corporations, not-for-profit organizations, educational institutions, sport entities, and governmental agencies. He’s worked for the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Chicago Cubs baseball organization, the Office of U.S. Representative, the Office of Illinois State Senator, and several corporations. 

 

Currently Eduardo manages day-to-day operations at the NHCC including design, implementation, and execution of organizational development strategies. 

 

Eduardo obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in business from Northeastern Illinois University. While at NEIU, Arabu was elected on several occasions to serve as President of Student Government and Student Trustee. He led several teams to Model Illinois Government in Springfield and Model United Nations in New York City. He went on to complete a political management fellowship at George Washington University. And finally, Arabu received a master’s of science degree in public policy and management from the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University. While at CMU, he was elected to serve as Vice President for External Affairs for the Graduate Student Assembly.

 

Words of wisdom: “Be bold and remember that determination + preparation + luck = success.”

 

Lizette Williams

Global marketing head

Facebook

Lizette Williams is a leading marketing and advertising executive with expertise at driving the convergence of brand, culture and tech. She has worked in Fortune 50 companies on consumer-centric growth strategies focused on cultural relevance. 

Williams serves as the global head of vertical solutions marketing at Facebook, where she leads a global marketing team tasked with developing the business marketing strategy across seven industries including consumer packaged goods, retail, gaming, and e-commerce. 

In 2020 she was named an “Advertising Woman of the Year” by the Chicago Advertising Federation. She spends her free time inspiring college students and has been keynote speaker for events at Northwestern University and Lincoln University.

Neli Vazquez Rowland

Co-founder

A Safe Haven

Neli Vazquez Rowland and her husband Brian left their successful 13-year careers in finance 26 years ago and co-founded A Safe Haven. Today they are recognized as the architects of one of the most lauded models in the world to help break the cycle of homelessness. 

Her organization’s comprehensive, vertically-integrated approach provides individualized, community-based, state-licensed food, shelter, substance abuse treatment, healthcare, education, job training, placement, and phased-housing programs to those in need. ASH has moved more than 130,000 people and more than 25,000 military veterans from social and economic crisis to independent living and self-sufficiency. 

Carmen Solano De Carrier

Owner-operator

McDonald’s

Carmen Solano-De Carrier is the proud owner-operator of 15 McDonald’s restaurants in Chicagoland. She started her career as a crew member, working behind the counter at McDonald’s, and progressed to working at the corporate office where she met her husband and then became an independent owner-operator. 

Having grown up and attended school in Chicago, she believes she has a responsibility to work with the community and government to achieve the kind of economic and educational growth that benefits all. This belief has inspired her to work with organizations that help the communities they serve. She is also the current president of the McDonald’s Hispanic Owner-Operators Association.

José R. Sánchez

President & CEO

Humboldt Park Health

José R. Sánchez, president and CEO of Humboldt Park Health, is a senior health care executive with more than 40 years of experience in operational, strategic and fiscal management of multi-faceted healthcare systems. Currently he is Chicago’s only Latino hospital CEO. 

Under his leadership, HPH has maintained financial stability and growth throughout his tenure. In January 2021, the hospital completed a major rebranding initiative, becoming Humboldt Park Health to reflect the diverse and inclusive community it serves.

Sánchez holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the City College of New York and a master’s degree in social work from Adelphi University.

Juan Salgado

Chancellor

City Colleges of Chicago

Juan Salgado, chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago, has focused his career on improving education and economic opportunities for residents in low-income communities. As chancellor he oversees Chicago’s community college system, serving nearly 70,000 students in seven colleges. Under his leadership, City Colleges of Chicago focused on removing barriers to college access, strengthening program quality, and enhancing student supports to create pathways to upward mobility. Previously, Salgado served as CEO of Instituto del Progreso Latino, where he worked to empower residents of Chicago’s Southwest Side through education, citizenship, and skill-building. Salgado was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2015.

Jesse Ruiz

Deputy Governor

State of Illinois

The son of Mexican immigrants, Ruiz was born and raised in the Roseland neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. He paid his way through college, worked for four years in the steel industry after earning a degree in economics, then entered law school at the University of Chicago. 

As an attorney at Drinker Biddle & Reath, he spent more than 20 years advising clients all over the world. He served as chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education and as vice president of the Chicago Board of Education. In 2015, he took on the volunteer role of interim CEO of the Chicago Public Schools.

 

Hipolito (Paul) Roldan

CEO

Hispanic Housing Development Corp.

As CEO of Hispanic Housing Development Corp., Roldan has developed more than 4,500 affordable apartments and townhomes in 56 developments for families and elderly residents of several Hispanic communities in Chicago. 

He directed the formation of a property management division, which currently manages more than 3,900 residential units in Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Puerto Rico.

In 1988, he was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for his work in community development. He committed $100,000 of his fellowship award to establish the Teresa and Hipolito Roldan Community Development Scholarship Fund to attract Latinos into the community development field.  

Celena Roldán

CEO

American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois 

Celena Roldán joined the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois as CEO in March 2016. In April 2020, she became CEO of the new Illinois region of the Red Cross. This is the second-largest region of the Red Cross, which in Illinois responds to approximately 2,000 disasters annually, most of which are house fires. The Illinois region has an annual budget of $19 million, covers 88 counties, has more than 3,500 volunteers.  

Prior to joining the Red Cross, Roldán served as executive director of Erie Neighborhood House, which was founded in 1870 to strengthen low?income, primarily Latino families.

Robert Rodriguez

President

DRR Advisors

Robert Rodriguez is the president of DRR Advisors LLC, a diversity consulting firm. He has worked with more than 200 corporations on their diversity initiatives. 

He holds a doctorate in organization development and currently teaches executive ed courses at the University of Southern California, Stanford University, and DePaul University. He is the author of two books, “Latino Talent: Effective Strategies to Recruit, Retain & Develop Hispanic Professionals,” and “Auténtico: The Definitive Guide to Latino Career Success” co-authored with Andrés Tapia. In January 2020, he spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as a member of the Hispanic delegation.

Emma Rodriguez Ayala

General Counsel

LGIM America

Rodriguez-Ayala is the general counsel, chief compliance officer and board secretary of LGIM America, the U.S. arm of LGIM, the fourth-largest institutional asset manager globally, managing more than $1.5 trillion. LGIM America focuses on pension stabilization, retirement income generation and sustainable investment solutions. 

Rodriguez-Ayala leads the legal, governance, risk and compliance functions and is an executive committee member. She also serves on Legal & General Group’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Council, helping set diversity priorities. She was previously an investment management partner at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, among other in-house and private practice experiences.  

Jesse G. Reyes

Justice

Illinois Appellate Court

  Jesse G. Reyes is currently a justice on the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, and is a member of the executive committee. He previously served as the presiding justice of the Fifth Division and as the chair of the First District’s settlement conference committee. 

Reyes has been a member of the judiciary since December 1997, having previously served as both an associate judge and elected judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Before his election to the bench, Reyes was employed with the Law Department of the Chicago Board of Education.

 

Raul I. Raymundo

Founder

The Resurrection Project

Raul I. Raymundo has long understood the challenges and strengths of working-class and immigrant families. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Carleton College, he returned to the neighborhood he grew up in and co-founded The Resurrection Project with seed capital of $30,000 from six Chicago-area parishes in 1990. 

Since its inception, TRP has leveraged this capital into more than $600 million in community investment and positively impacted more than 198,000 individuals in Latino Southwest Side city neighborhoods and western suburbs.  Under his leadership, TRP blends community development, community organizing, human service delivery, and advocacy to build healthier and engaged communities. 

Sylvia Puente

President and CEO

Latino Policy Forum

Sylvia Puente is the president and CEO of the Latino Policy Forum, a nonprofit that works for equity, justice, and economic prosperity on behalf of Latinos in Chicago and Illinois through public-policy advocacy and analysis on issues including education, housing, and immigration. 

Over more than a decade at the helm, Puente has grown the organization into a central voice on Latino issues. In 2020, the forum has helped lead the response to COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on Latinos and communities of color.

Puente was selected by Gov. J.B. Pritzker to serve on his transition team and was recently appointed to the state housing task force.

Maria de J. Prado

Partner, Co-founder, President

Prado & Renteria CPAs

Maria de J. Prado co-founded her company when she was only 26. Today the firm is the largest Hispanic-woman-owned company in Illinois. 

As managing partner, Prado most enjoys the opportunity to innovate. She believes a leader is a person who follows her passion, and her passion is that people discover fulfillment in their lives. She is responsible for the firm’s strategic planning, marketing and business development, and general oversight of resources, people and finances.  

In 2015 the firm established an international leadership program, based on the ideas of Werner Erhard and Michael Jensen, to help people develop their talents.

Jose Luis Prado

Executive Advisor Partner

Wind Point Partners

Jose Luis Prado is executive advisor partner and investor with Wind Point Partners, based in Chicago. He is also chairman of Tropicale Foods, the leader in Hispanic frozen novelties in the United States, and vice chairman of Benestar/Evans Food Group, owned by Highlander Partners in Dallas, Texas. 

Prado is also former president of Quaker Oats North America, a $2.7 billion division of PepsiCo Inc. The first Mexican to lead a major PepsiCo business in North America, Prado retired from PepsiCo in 2014 after a 30-year career spanning six countries and two continents.

Jorge Perez

Executive Director

Hispanic American Construction Industry Association

Jorge Perez grew up in his family grocery and bakery stores where he developed a strong work ethic and great ability to work with people. His family lived in the apartment above this store, and as an undergraduate he managed the store, closing it in 1994 in order to pursue his MBA and start his career in economic development and business advocacy in Chicago and Illinois. 

 

For the past eight years, Perez has served as executive director of The Hispanic American Construction Industry Association. He previously worked at the Calumet Area Industrial Commission and in 2008 was appointed deputy commissioner for Chicago’s Department of Aviation. 

Miguel Patricio

CEO

The Kraft Heinz Co.

Miguel Patricio is the chief executive officer of The Kraft Heinz Co. Prior to Kraft Heinz, Miguel spent more than 20 years at Anheuser-Busch InBev where he served as part of the executive leadership team in various positions, driving organic growth and industry-leading margins. He was the global chief marketing officer at AB InBev from 2012-2018, president of Asia Pacific from 2008 to 2012 and president of North America from 2006 to 2008. 

Before his career at AB InBev, Miguel held a variety of leadership positions at other global consumer packaged goods.

David Ortiz

Credit Executive

BMO Financial Corp.

During a career of more than 25 years in asset management and finance, David Ortiz maintained a strong connection to the Latino community. In 2009, he founded Beacon Ridge Capital Management, a certified, minority-owned investment firm and registered investment advisor. As a minority entrepreneur, Ortiz understood firsthand the inequity in how credit is distributed in the economy and the difficulty minority groups face in accessing capital. 

Since 2014, he has been at BMO Financial Corp. In his current role as a credit executive for enterprise risk and portfolio management, he leads a team of credit officers for commercial credit transactions with a focus on smaller middle market borrowers. 

Gregg Ontiveros

CEO

Group O

Turning Group O from a startup business into the $900 million diversified services firm it is today is due in large part to Gregg Ontiveros’ entrepreneurial spirit and can-do philosophy. As principal owner and CEO, he has provided the vision necessary to attract marquee clients that represent a veritable who’s who of America’s most respected brands including AT&T, Michelin, PepsiCo, Caterpillar, and Samsung. 

By creating innovative marketing, packaging, and supply-chain solutions, Ontiveros and Group O have helped these and many other Fortune 500 companies turn their most complex business challenges into centers of profitability and efficiency.

David Olivencia

Managing Director

Accenture

David Olivencia is a global business strategy and information technology executive who has delivered significant business outcomes at Global 500 organizations and prominent international nonprofits.

He is a managing director at Accenture, leading the Accenture Cloud Program for the company’s health and public service customers. Prior to Accenture, Olivencia held various technology and business strategy leadership positions of increasing responsibility at Nippon Telegraph & Telephone (NTT), Ford Motor Co., Oracle, Verizon and Softtek.    

He is sought after as a speaker for his perspectives on business and technology issues and has presented in prominent forums including the U.S. Congress.

 

Oscar Munoz

Presidente ejecutivo 

United Airlines Holdings Inc.

Muñoz se ha desempeñado como presidente ejecutivo de la junta directiva de United Airlines Holdings Inc. desde mayo de 2020. Anteriormente se desempeñó como director ejecutivo de la compañía y como presidente. Ha sido miembro de la junta directiva de United Airlines desde 2010 y ha sido miembro de la junta directiva de Continental Airlines Inc.

Antes de trabajar en United, Muñoz fue presidente y director de operaciones de CSX Corp., una empresa de servicios de transporte ferroviario e intermodal. También fue vicepresidente ejecutivo y director de operaciones de CSX, así como vicepresidente ejecutivo y director financiero.

Patricia Mota

President & CEO

Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement

Mota serves as the president and CEO for the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement, leading strategy, fundraising and development, professional leadership programs, and expanding organizational reach on a national scale. She increased the operating budget by 40% in less than two years of taking her new role, and by nearly 70% in fewer than 3 years, bringing in $2.5 million in new corporate partnerships and increasing membership from 35,000 to 77,000.

She expanded leadership programming to more than 10 cities in the U.S., including Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Washington, D.C.

She is Mexican-American, grew up in East Chicago, Indiana, and currently resides in Chicago. 

Juan Gabriel Moreno

President

JGMA 

Juan Gabriel Moreno is an award-winning architect and president of JGMA (Juan Gabriel Moreno Architects). Moreno was born in Bogota, Colombia, studied architecture at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and also lived in Florence, Italy, where he studied under Christiano Toraldo di Francia.

In 2010 he launched JGMA with the sole purpose of positively impacting Chicago’s diverse communities. The firm’s award-winning works include the Northeastern Illinois University El Centro Campus.

Now in its 10th year, JGMA has become one of the largest Latino-owned architecture firms in Chicago with plans to expand to other locations. 

Susana A. Mendoza

Comptroller

State of Illinois

Illinois Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza took office in December 2016 and was re-elected in 2018. She is the first Hispanic independently elected to statewide office in Illinois. 

Since becoming comptroller, Mendoza shifted priority to the funding of nursing homes, hospice centers, schools, and the state’s most vulnerable citizens during the state’s two-year budget impasse. Although the comptroller must pay the state’s bills as they arrive, the budget crisis forced the office to prioritize which bills would be paid first. Mendoza also worked with legislators of both parties on legislation that makes financial information more publicly available.

Julieta LaMalfa

Director

Stout

Julieta LaMalfa is a director at Stout, a global advisory firm where she is part of the disputes, compliance and investigations practice. She has more than 17 years of experience providing financial and litigation consulting services to clients on a variety of assignments across multiple industries. 

In her work she has assisted clients with forensic and fraud investigations, accounting restatements, and disputes involving the quantification of damages in both national and international matters. In 2019, Gov. J.B. Pritzker appointed her to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission. She also serves on the board of Wintrust Bank and is the treasurer of Instituto del Progreso Latino and Teatro Vista. 

Richard A. Gonzalez

Chairman & CEO 

AbbVie 

Richard A. Gonzalez is chairman and CEO of AbbVie, a global biopharmaceutical company that employs approximately 47,000 people worldwide and markets medicines in more than 175 countries. 

Prior to AbbVie’s separation from Abbott in January 2013, Gonzalez was a 30-year Abbott veteran. He served as president and chief operating officer of Abbott before briefly retiring in 2007. He also held various senior leadership positions in Abbott’s medical products businesses, including president and chief operating officer of the medical products group.  

Gonzalez is also a member of the Business Roundtable, which is the only national organization representing CEOs of America’s leading companies.

Rey B. Gonzalez

President and CEO

El Valor

Rey B. Gonzalez has been the president and CEO of El Valor since 2013 after 32 years of serving as chairman of its board of directors. Prior to assuming his role at El Valor, he was vice president for legislative and community affairs at ComEd. He was responsible for stewarding relationships with state legislators and community organizations. 

Prior to this position, Gonzalez was the vice president of corporate diversity for Exelon Corp., parent company of ComEd. He was responsible for developing Exelon’s national external and internal initiatives. Before joining Exelon in 2002, he served as vice president of diversity for McDonald’s Corp. 

Francisco Gonzalez Pulido

Founder

FGP Atelier 

Francisco Gonzalez Pulido was born in Mexico City in 1970. In 1991, he graduated from Monterrey Tec with a bachelor’s degree in architecture. In 1998, he was accepted to Harvard’s Graduate School of Design for a master’s degree. In 2000, he joined JAHN in Chicago. Eight years later he became Helmut Jahn’s first partner, and in 2012 he became president of the company.  

Since founding FGP Atelier in 2017 in Chicago, he has been awarded the Green Building Award for the Americas for his Orchid Educational Pavilion in Oaxaca by The Architects Newspaper.

Alicia Gonzalez

Executive Director 

Cubs Charities

Gonzalez is from the Chicago Pilsen and Little Italy neighborhoods and is the executive director of Chicago Cubs Charities. She oversees Cubs Charities philanthropic and programmatic investments in Chicago communities and provides strategic direction for elevating the power of sport as a vehicle for improved health, academic success, and leadership development.  

She joined the Cubs in May 2018 after serving for 10 years as the founding executive director of Chicago Run, a local nonprofit that provides free sport-based youth development programs to more than 18,000 children in Chicago Public School and the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center.

Rodrigo Garcia

Deputy State Treasurer

State of Illinois

Rodrigo Garcia is the deputy state treasurer and chief investment officer for Illinois State Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs. He directs the Illinois treasury’s combined $35 billion investment portfolio, $250 billion in related banking operations and financial services, and a $3.2 billion agency budget and financial services unit. 

In this leadership role, Garcia leverages financial innovation, investment stewardship, corporate governance, stakeholder capitalism and equity, diversity, and inclusion to maximize investment returns and bolster the Illinois economy. 

He was previously the director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and has worked for Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc. and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. 

Jesus “Chuy” Garcia

Representative

U.S. Congress

Rep. Jesús G. “Chuy” García proudly represents the Fourth Congressional District of Illinois. Throughout his career, García has been a progressive voice, both as an organizer and as a legislator, fighting to improve the lives of his working-class neighbors, many of whom are immigrants like him. 

He currently serves as a member of the Financial Services Committee, Natural Resources Committee, and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congressional Equality Caucus, Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, and New Americans Caucus. He is also the founder of the Future of Transportation Caucus.

Sol Flores

Deputy Governor

State of Illinois

Sol Flores serves as deputy governor in the Pritzker administration, overseeing health and human services. 

Flores is the founding executive director of La Casa Norte, a nonprofit organization established in 2002 that has served more than 30,000 youth and families confronting homelessness. She built La Casa Norte from two employees to an 80-plus employee, multi-million-dollar organization that delivers inspiration, hope and critical services to the lives of youth and families experiencing homelessness. She has served on numerous working groups, commissions and local nonprofit boards. Flores was raised by a single mother who came to Chicago from Puerto Rico.

Ricardo (Ric) Estrada

President and CEO

Metropolitan Family Services

Ric Estrada is CEO of Metropolitan Family Services, one of Illinois’ largest human services agencies. Since joining Metropolitan in 2011, he has helped the agency more than double in revenue and families served. 

Estrada has three decades of human services leadership experience. Prior to joining Metropolitan, he served as first deputy commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services. He previously served as executive director of Erie Neighborhood House in Chicago.

He serves on the board of trustees of the University of Illinois as well as on the board of directors of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Rosa Escareño

Commissioner

Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection 

As commissioner of the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, Escareño is a cabinet member of Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot’s administration.

Escareño has made public service her life’s work, and she has served under three Chicago mayors. 

She has managed day-to-day operations and implemented policy reforms across multiple city agencies, leading initiatives on public safety and helping to bring economic growth to low-income communities, residents and working families. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, Escareño has been on the forefront of Chicago’s business recovery efforts including reopening Chicago businesses, administering $120 million in business financial relief, and setting up protections for essential workers.  

Omar Duque

President

HITEC

Omar Duque is president of HITEC, the premier global community of Hispanic technology professionals and executives. Duque is passionate about technology and entrepreneurship and how both help build community and help create a better world. 

His work is focused on helping develop the next generation of Hispanic technology leaders. He previously served as president and CEO of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which under his leadership developed initiatives to connect more Latinos to the innovation economy. IHCC partnered with 1871 Chicago to develop a first-of-its-kind incubator program for Latinx tech startups. Since launching in late 2016, 95 Latinx founders have completed the program. 

Joseph Dominguez

CEO

ComEd

Dominguez leads ComEd, an Exelon company, which powers the lives of more than 4 million residential and business customers, or 70 percent of Illinois’ population. 

He oversees the management of the electric grid for Chicago and most of northern Illinois, and oversees ComEd’s partnerships with the diverse communities it serves. He is also the 2021 chairperson for the Illinois Utilities Business Diversity Council. 

Before joining ComEd, Dominguez served as executive vice president of governmental and regulatory affairs and public policy for Exelon. Dominguez joined Exelon in 2002 as associate general counsel, responsible for litigation matters in the Mid-Atlantic region. 

Jaime di Paulo

President and CEO

Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

 

Since January 2019, Jaime di Paulo has been president and CEO of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of  Commerce, the leading Hispanic business networking, advocacy, and development  organization in the Midwest.  

Under his leadership, the IHCC team intensified their commitment to assist the Latino business community, providing direct assistance and working closely in collaboration with all stakeholders. In 2020, IHCC created and helped retain 18,092 total jobs — a number that exceeded the 2019 figure by 42 times. Besides the team’s professionalism and willingness to help, this increase is mainly because of IHCC’s rapid response throughout its programs.