A National Award-Winning Publication

Latinos 40 Under 40 Class of 2021 nominations are open

Nominate here!

Chicago.- Negocios Now is calling for nominations for its 7th annual Latinos 40 Under 40 in Chicago, a unique initiative to recognize and celebrate the leadership of a new generation.

The deadline for nominations is December 15, 2021. Nominations can be made through either of these pages Latinos40under40.com or NegociosNow.com/40under40.

Since it was launched in 2015, Latinos 40 under 40 has recognized 280 leaders in Chicago and New York. The celebration ceremony is planned for March 2022.

“I can’t wait to see who will be nominated at this time. Who are they and what do they do? Recognizing talented young people in different fields has been one of the best satisfactions that Negocios Now has given me since founding the company 14 years ago”, said Clemente Nicado, owner of the publication.

Those selected will represent a group of 40 outstanding Chicagoans under the age of 40. The honorees could represent business, corporations, government, nonprofits, politics, sports, and education, among others.

“I have no doubt that we will have another fantastic group of Latinos and we will face another challenge to select the 40″, said Nicado.

To celebrate the achievements of this younger generation of Latinos, Negocios Now will organize a celebration in March of 2022. Nicado Publishing is actively looking for sponsorships.

In 2019, Negocios Now celebrated the first ever selection of Latinos 40 Under 40 in New York City.

Founded in 2007, Negocios Now is a national award-winning publication and the Midwest’s most dynamic news source for growing Hispanic businesses, focusing primarily on business owners, entrepreneurs and economic development in the Latino community.

Negocios Now has received more than 20  awards from the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP). In May 2012, The Chicago Headline Club, a leading association of local professional journalists, awarded Negocios Now the Peter Lisagor Award for General Excellence, a first for a Hispanic newspaper in Chicago. The publication produces “Who’s Who in Hispanic Chicago,” another unique event in the city. Last August, the publication celebrated the first edition and Gala event dedicated to Who’s Who in Hispanic Business in Chicago’s suburbs.

Negocios Now announces Latinos 40 under 40 Class of 2020 Special Awards

Chicago — April 19, (HINA Wire)- Negocios Now announced today the special awards for the Latino 40 Under 40 Class of 2020.

The special recognitions go to David Juan Campolargo 18, Engineering student and entrepreneur, Youngest Latino AwardSulema Medrano Novak, a litigation lawyer, Rising Star Award and Olga Gutierrez,  Strategic initiatives manager at Apple, Leader of the Pack Award.

“David is an extraordinary young man. He is an engineering student, biophysics researcher, and the founder of Optimum Smart, his own company. At 18, David is the author of an inspiring book for young generations and a speaker at TEDx Talks. What else can you ask a young man who immigrated to the United States from his native Venezuela in 2014?”, asked the Publisher, Clemente Nicado.

“Sulema is a brilliant, rising lawyer and partner of one of the most recognized law firms in Chicago. She is an award-winning trial lawyer with extensive experience leading trial teams to verdict, particularly in cases related to commercial disputes and insurance claims”, Nicado said.

“Olga, our leader of the pack is a persevering young woman with a passion for technology. She has proven in just a few years to be an industry leader with a promising future at Apple; we have no doubts about that”, Nicado commented.

This announcement comes four days before the virtual celebration of Latinos 40 Under 40 on  April 22, at 5:00 pm. Registration is available here.

We have another fantastic group of Latinos 40 Under 40 and we are happy to be able to give that well-deserved recognition to all of them. It is hard to believe that we have already awarded 280 young Latinos since we launched this initiative in 2015.

Unfortunately, we cannot meet them personally due to the pandemic.  I hope that these restrictions will one day be just a horrible story, and we can celebrate together with the great family that is already our Latinos 40 under 40.

Remy Martin Award

Emmanuel Lopez

During the virtual celebration, Remy Martin will recognize two members of the community with the Remy Martin Centaur Award. These individuals are exceptional leaders and are dedicated to the community and the world at large.

Remy celebrates their success with this award and honors their endeavors by donating $1,000 to a charitable organization of their choice. The award recipients are Emmanuel Lopez,  and Rebecca Monarrez

Rebecca Monarrez

Nubia Willman

Leading a Latina Uprising

Age: 36


Organization: Mayor’s Office of New Americans

Nubia Willman moved to Chicago for law school in 2007 and has called the city home ever since. Currently she is responsible for the City’s immigration policy and programming for immigrants and refugees. Nubia’s work includes leading the City’s census outreach efforts, improving language access, and working with community stakeholders to increase services for Chicago’s immigrant and refugee communities. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, Nubia worked at Legal Aid Chicago for nine years where she represented survivors of gender-based crimes and low wage workers seeking immigration and employment relief.  

Outside of work, Nubia is committed to the advancement of social justice for the Latino community; focusing on diversity and inclusion within the legal field. In 2014, Nubia created Latinas Uprising, an online community dedicated to supporting the advancement of Latina lawyers, who make up less than 2% of all U.S. lawyers. The first online community of its kind, Latinas Uprising now reaches an audience of over 25,000 young Latina professionals pursuing legal careers. Nubia is also a freelance writer, previously authoring a monthly column for Remezcla in which she broke down complex immigration questions to the general public. 

Nubia graduated from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 2010 and is admitted to practice in Illinois. 


Words of wisdom: “We often feel that our experiences, whether it’s being a first-gen student or growing up in tough circumstances, puts us at a deficit compared to others but we should see our difficult experiences as valuable lessons that we can leverage to show our grit, determination, and leadership abilities.”

Erica Vega 

Supplying Sustenance 

Age: 39

Chief Operations Officer

Organization: La Galera Produce and LGX Logistics

As a leading woman in the produce industry, Erica Vega has made her mark on La Galera – one of Chicago’s fastest growing Latino-owned companies. Her leadership and strategic planning have been the catalyst for change both in the workplace and in the community where she is committed to helping the fight against hunger. 

Erica has been an owner of La Galera since day one when the company started as a rented room in a warehouse at the Chicago International Produce Market in 2004. She began managing the accounts receivable and accounts payable from her kitchen table. In 2005, she took on the role of office manager and spent the next 12 years growing La Galera into a strong produce powerhouse. In 2017, she took the position of chief operations officer and has continued to work to strengthen and expand the company. Under her influence, the company now owns multiple units in the Chicago International Produce Market and successfully services all of the Midwest.

 In 2016 Erica realized that she needed to be in better control of her logistics and the timely arrival of her produce. With her customers’ needs at the forefront she decided to open up her own logistics company, LGX logistics. 

 When Erica became aware of a community of homeless people living in tents under the iconic 90-94 expressway bridge and within a mile radius of the Chicago Produce Market, she refused to ignore it. She has made it her team’s goal to buy food from her customers, and on a monthly basis deliver food, fruit, and water to those in need. Her team rotates in helping and they make drop offs at common homeless areas.


Words of wisdom: You get what you work for, not what you wish for.”

Micaela Vargas 

Assembling the Latino Agenda

Age: 30  

 Executive Director

Organization: Chicago Latino Caucus Foundation

A native of the Gage Park community in Chicago, Micaela is a high impact engager and coalition-builder. She has over ten years of experience in public policy, political strategy, business development and operations. 


In her current role she leads her organization’s initiatives to support and mobilize the next generation of Latino leaders. She leverages key relationships with stakeholders, organizations, and allies to develop the collective Latino Caucus legislative agenda that enables sustainable and equitable policies to justifiably advance the livelihood of Chicago’s Latino communities.


Micaela has served in a variety of leadership roles supporting senior-level executives and top government officials. Through her company, MAV Consulting, Micaela performs enterprise sales, external relations, social impact plan development, and more for clients. 


She previously served as Chief of Staff for Cook County government where she analyzed a $5 billion budget and served as lead on legislation that positively impacted thousands of individuals and families in Illinois. Legislation drafted by Micaela has been covered by the Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business and the New York Times.


She is a member of the Global Shapers World Economic Forum Chicago Chapter and has previously served on the board of directors for Mujeres Latinas En Accion, in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, and the National Diversity Advisory Council for the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C. 


Micaela received her bachelor’s degree in international studies and business administration from DePaul University and received the Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship from Carnegie Mellon University.


Words of wisdom: “We can make our own normal. We can throw out all the rules and write our own. We can build our lives from the inside out. We can stop asking what the world wants from us and instead ask ourselves what we want from the world.” – Glennon Doyle

Alexandra Turcios 

Creating a Blueprint for Mentorship

Age: 26

Management Consulting Senior Analyst 

Organization: Accenture

Alexandra Turcios is a demonstrated and passionate leader who builds bridges and identifies strategic partnerships.


In her current role she has worked with a multitude of Fortune 500 companies to address digital transformation journeys and strategic planning.  As the lead of the Detroit Hispanic American Employee Resource Group (HAERG) she helped build a coalition of chapters in the Midwest. She was also nominated to be the Co-Communications Lead for the 2020 Midwest African-American and Hispanic-American ERG Leadership Summit that convened more than 500 participants. She received the 2020 North America HAERG Chapter Leadership Award.


Alexandra is also enthusiastic about mentoring college students and new Accenture analysts via 1:1 coaching sessions. In 2020 she launched “Advice with Alex” and spoke to dozens of students, offering guidance on navigating a remote world as a young professional. She’s been a part of various panels, podcasts, and internal Accenture meetings to share her blueprint with hundreds.


In 2020 she also founded Built in Detroit, a young professional networking platform to expand Detroit’s footprint in the Midwest and create meaningful connections with small businesses. BID hosted its inaugural event in February 2020.


Outside of Accenture she holds Co-Chair positions for the Young Professionals Board for the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement and recently joined  the Board of B Local Illinois as the Chair of Marketing and Communications. 


Alexandra is a first-generation Honduran American and Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is also a former Fulbright Scholar to Indonesia. In 2020 she was an Impact Leader Scholar via Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University Chicago and received her Executive Certificate in Analytics and Artificial Intelligence from the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.


Words of wisdom: “Tenacity and grit will take you far. Remember that “no” simply means ‘next opportunity.’”

Jacqueline Soto-Herrera

 Making Social Mission Strides

Age: 36

Director of External Affairs & Communications

 Organization: Humboldt Park Health, formerly Norwegian American Hospital 

Jacqueline Soto-Herrera is a strategic and innovative leader with a uniquely comprehensive background in social responsibility, cause-related public relations and marketing, and government relations. She has a proven track record in successfully directing and managing initiatives that advance social mission as well as business goals and priorities. In addition, she has a superior ability to effectively collaborate with a diverse range of internal and external stakeholders and audiences to yield individual and collective outcomes. Jacqueline demonstrates an uncommon commitment to building community partnerships that strengthen underserved populations and bring tools for healthcare to those most in need. 

 She serves as Co-Chair for the North West Side Health Advisory Committee and is a member of Alliance for Health Equity, Casa Central’s Health Services Advisory Committee, and Family Connects Community Alignment Board. 

Jacqueline received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Michigan State University.


Words of wisdom: “Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.” – Marion Wright Edelman

Jennifer Sanchez 

 Channeling Empowerment for Women

Age: 34

 president and founder

 Organization: The Women’s Institute of Self Development and Efficacy (WISE)

Jennifer Sanchez is a big believer that women can have it all. Early on in her life, she recognized the need to empower and provide a supportive environment for women. She believes that if you can help women in all areas of their lives, they will be most effective both at work and at home. Jennifer has researched and created training and coaching programs, podcasts, workshops, support groups, and motivational talks not only to help women transform their lives but enhance their existing ones. 

Jennifer is a contributing author for Today’s Inspired Latina, Volume 4. Before launching WISE, she worked in the not-for-profit world providing financial education, academic advising, and career coaching to thousands of individuals throughout the Chicagoland area looking to change their lives. 

She obtained a BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago and learned coaching techniques from Neighbor Works Training Institute. Jennifer has received support group training from Focus Ministries to help women who are in abusive relationships. 

Jennifer resides in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with her husband, three daughters, and Doberman Pinscher named “Ruby.” You can find her liver every Monday morning at 7:15 a.m.on her business Facebook page and youtube channel @womensselfdevelopment for her weekly show called WISE Morning Coffee Chats.


Words of wisdom: 

“No matter how hard it gets pursuing your dreams, keep your head up, face forward, and don’t look back. Remember, seeds sprout in the darkness.”

Diana Rodriguez – Zaba 

 Flourishing in the Face of Disasters

Age: 39


Organization: ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba

Diana Rodriguez-Zaba stands as a pillar of strength for her

staff, clients, family and community. In the middle of the 2008 recession she launched two ServiceMaster brands and has now grown to be one of the top largest franchises in Illinois. With her background in franchising, human resource development, real estate rehabbing and business management, she brings a unique perspective to a very successful company. Building a profitable disaster restoration company is one of Diana’s proudest achievements.


By working closely with commercial property owners and managers and building solid relationships with insurance carriers, ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba has been privileged to assist small and large companies across the city. Her company also travels across the nation to assist with natural disasters. Diana is truly passionate about reaching out and helping other entrepreneurs grow their own success.


Diana especially enjoys sharing her experiences with other women in business, listening to their plans for the future and providing real-world insight. Diana regularly contributes to Huffington Post and other national publications. As a member of the Forbes Business council, she uses her platform to publish content that covers topics of special interest to women including running a small company, succeeding in a male-dominated field and innovating restoration industry operations. 


Today, Diana serves as a member of the Illinois State Comptroller’s Advisory Collective. She is one of the 40 founders for the Women’s Entrepreneurship Institute which is the nation’s first comprehensive Institute for women founders that integrates academic learning, research, incubation, funding and public policy.


Currently, Diana supports and works with Step Up Chicago, the Miracle Center and the Niles Food Pantry. Diana is a graduate of the Crain’s Leadership Academy and an alumni of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program. She recently completed an Entrepreneurship Certification program at Stanford University School of Business. 


Words of wisdom: The more successful you become, the more people are going to question your success. This only means you’re doing everything right. Their judgement is a validation that you are successful!”

Fernando Ortiz

Granting Legal Aid In Many Ways

Age: 33

Regulatory Counsel & Compliance Officer

Organization: Company: Seed CX | Zero Hash

Fernando Ortiz has an entrepreneurial mindset and with his legal training and business savvy loves the challenge of joining start-ups to help them evolve through their most difficult stages.

 Fernando’s legal career started at Seed CX | Zero Hash, the world’s leading settlement venue for digital assets where he was hired as an intern and has worked his way up the ranks where he currently serves as their in-house attorney. As in-house counsel, Fernando has been able to work side by side with top executives to help make critical decisions for one of the top finance startups in the United States. 

 Fernando is one of the first members of his family to have graduated college, receiving a bachelor’s degree in political science. He wanted to be a lawyer to not only help underrepresented communities, but also be a mentor to minorities who want to join the very underrepresented field. 

His passion for helping others has led him to his work in the community where he provides legal assistance to those who cannot afford it or those who are not able to find representation due to the language barrier. His work in the community has inspired him to one day serve his community on a larger scale and potentially one day run for office.

Fernando Ortiz is the son of immigrant parents. His parents came to the U.S. from their native land of Aguascalientes, Mexico, in search for a better life and opportunity for their kids. They were fortunate enough to be able to raise their family on the Northwest side of Chicago where they could provide them with opportunities they could only dream of as children. His parents always instilled the importance of education, family, community, and giving back to where you came from.


Words of Wisdom “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett

Grace Elizabeth Noboa-Hidalgo 

A Latina Business Executive with a Passion for Healthcare

Age: 33

Director, Innovation and Strategy Execution

Organization: Walgreens Boots Alliance

 Grace is a forward-thinking, collaborative, and pragmatic business leader with an exceptional ability to manage critical strategic initiatives and complex execution to accelerate a company’s growth and innovation. She is eager to address disparities in access to care and advance consumer-centric innovations that can promote positive health outcomes.

 Currently, Grace serves as Director in the healthcare innovation team at Walgreens Boots Alliance, a Fortune 40 company and the first global pharmacy-led health and wellbeing enterprise with operations in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America. In this role, she evaluates and executes on new business opportunities, industry partnerships and go-to-market strategies. She works closely with teams in product management, finance, user experience, clinical programs, and technology including Microsoft. During her career at Walgreens, she also served for two years as Vice-Chair for the Latino Professionals Network and her team efforts were featured in the Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

 Previously, Grace was a leader in the Market Development and Sales team at Walgreens and a Senior Consultant in the Health practice at a Global Management Consulting Firm. She also held positions at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington DC, the Institute for Policy Research and the Economics Department at Northwestern University. Her research was published in an economics journal by the University of Chicago Press and has also been recognized by the National Science Foundation.

 Grace is an Economist by training and holds Master degrees from Northwestern University and the University of Maryland as well as a Certificate in Financial Economics from the Kellogg School of Management. She was born and raised in Ecuador and has traveled extensively through Latin America. Her hobbies include salsa dancing, running, yoga, cooking, and ecotourism. She has also actively volunteered with nonprofits, including Prospanica, Junior Achievement, HACE, HSF, NALHE.


Words of wisdom: “Always believe in yourself and pursue your dreams! Be brave and take pride in your Latin American heritage, it’s a precious gift.”

Suheily Natal Davis 

Diversifying Corporate America

Age: 38

Senior Director, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Organization: McDonald’s USA

As the first in her family to attend law school, Suheily Natal Davis has a passion for encouraging inclusion, fostering mentoring relationships, and having candid conversations on race, class and gender in corporate spaces. Throughout her entire career, Suheily has worked to advance opportunities for women of color and other underrepresented groups.  


In her current role she partners with McDonald’s U.S. leadership team to drive strategic diversity initiatives. Suheily has been with McDonald’s since 2014. Prior to stepping into her current role, Suheily was General Counsel for McDonald’s Latin American Markets and before that worked as Senior Counsel on McDonald’s Global Labor & Employment team. She received her undergraduate degree in Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her JD from DePaul University College of Law.  


Suheily was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Chicago when she was three years old. Growing up, Suheily spent the school year on the South Side of Chicago and her summers in the mountains of Puerto Rico. This upbringing allowed her to grow up bilingual and truly bicultural — both experiences shaping her perspective and who she is today. 

In addition to the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation where she co-chairs the grant committee, Suheily currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Employment Law Council and on the DePaul University College of Law Alumni Diversity Council. 

Suheily and her husband, George, also keep busy with their own non-profit, The Perfect Cadence, which provides support for Chicago-area families expecting babies and experiencing financial need. The couple live on the West Side of Chicago with their two children, William and Marley. 

Words of wisdom: “If you admit your mistakes, they become part of your past.  If you deny your mistakes, they become part of your future.”  – Wise words from my mentor, the late Rafael Medina.

Osvaldo Montelongo 

Engaging our Aging Population

Age: 32

Founder & CEO

Organization: ConnectCareHero

Osvaldo Montelongo’s passion is to enhance experiences for older adults to keep them healthy and socially engaged through immersive and relevant activity programming. Being a first-generation Latino and having personally experienced senior living with his aging father with dementia, Montelongo knew there had to be a better way to engage older adults in nursing homes with more culturally relevant activities like Latino-focused activities such as mariachi music or cooking classes. “My dad needed more than just bingo and more activities relevant to what he grew up with as a farmer in Mexico.”

 He quickly realized how underserved brown and black older adults were when it came to great activity programming whether it’s in a nursing home or their own homes. The effects of poor engagement lead to social isolation & loneliness which puts older adults at 50% higher risk to develop dementia and 31% higher risk for mortality. The COVID pandemic has only amplified this. 

That’s why Osvaldo founded ConnectCareHero, a digital social platform that combats social isolation by bringing engaging and diverse virtual activities to adults 65+ wherever they are.  

Today ConnectCareHero serves thousands of adults in nursing homes, homecare organizations and looks to expand their reach in coming years to other organizations looking to engage their older senior populations with enhanced virtual programming. 

 Prior to ConnectCareHero, Montelongo worked as a global marketing manager for eight years for consumer goods companies, ranging from oral care to paint and coatings categories, where he managed strategy, product development and brand rollout into new markets and categories. 

 Osvaldo is an active member in the Chicago Tech Ecosystem and focuses on diversity inclusion. He’s currently part of 1871, LatinX Incubator, IHCC, Entrenuity MoxE, Alzheimer’s Association of Illinois and most recently Techstars + Melinda Gates’ Pivotal Ventures whose focus is on the future of longevity. 


Words of wisdom: “Nunca serás capaz de cruzar el océano hasta que pierdas de vista la costa.” – Spanish proverb

Rebecca Monarrez 

Leading Roadside Innovators

Age: 26

Product Manager in Technology & Data Science

Organization: Allstate Corporation

Rebecca (Becky) Monarrez is a passionate community leader and business professional native to Chicago. Born to immigrant parents and descended from bracero farmworkers, Rebecca is the first in her family to pursue higher education and enter Corporate America.

In her current role, she leads a team of innovators as a Product Manager in Roadside Services Technology & Data Science. Before this, she was part of Allstate’s Leadership Development Program where she served as a Data Product Owner, HR Consultant and Marketing Research Analyst.

Rebecca has served on the board of ALPFA Chicago (Association of Latino Professionals for America) for almost four years. For the past two years, she has been building the pipeline for future Latinx leaders as the Director of Student Affairs. Her and her committee lead

and support one of the largest ALPFA student chapter initiatives in the nation. Their efforts ensure students across the Midwest have access to professional development and extraordinary opportunities during and after their undergraduate education.

Rebecca has also served on Allstate’s PLAN (Professional Latino Allstate Network) board as Lead of Community Relations where she helped the company and its employees engage with Latinx serving organizations & non-profits across the country.

Rebecca graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a major in Marketing and a minor in Spanish. She was a campus leader in the Latinx student organization space. Upon graduating, she was the recipient of the 2017 Latina/o Congratulatory Academic Excellence Award.

Outside of her professional life, Rebecca volunteers for multiple organizations servicing communities with physical and cognitive disabilities, advocating for animal welfare and pushing for racial and social equity.

WORDS OF WISDOM: “We’re the generation our ancestors prayed for and our descendants will remember. ¡A cosechar lo que por tanto tiempo se ha labrado! Como dijo mi apa?: “Puro para adelante. Para atrás ni para agarrar impulso.”

Sulema Medrano Novak

Laying a Path for Future Lawyers

Age: 36

 Litigation partner

 Organization: Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

Sulema Medrano Novak is an accomplished and award-winning trial lawyer with extensive experience leading trial teams to verdict, particularly in cases related to commercial disputes and insurance claims. Sulema honed her courtroom skills as an Illinois state prosecutor and is known for defending corporate clients in complex contract and consumer disputes. 

 Sulema recently served as the Chair of the Hispanic National Bar Association’s Commission on Women and is also the former Regional President for the Hispanic National Bar Association and former Board of Director for the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois. 

Sulema has hosted numerous educational programs to encourage middle school, high school and college students to pursue a career in the law. She helped design an executive leadership program for women lawyers with over ten years of experience to help them continue to break glass ceilings within the legal profession.  

Sulema annually volunteers to raise money and donations for underprivileged children and families in the Chicagoland area during the winter and holiday months and has served as a volunteer coach for the Chicago Kent Trial Advocacy Team and Chicago Kent’s Hispanic Law Student Association. Currently, Sulema serves as an Executive Board Member for the Latino Leadership Council. Sulema also volunteers her time toward pro bono legal work, including the ACLU COVID Detainee Project. 

 Sulema has been recognized as a top lawyer under 40 by the Chicago Law Bulletin and the Hispanic National Bar Association, Chicago Kent College of Law’s Young Alumna of the Year 2019, one of the Lawyers of Color’s Nations Best for 2019, a Rising Star by Illinois Super Lawyers, and Who’s Who in Hispanic Chicago by Negocios Now. She received the 2018 Latina Lawyer of the Year Award from the Hispanic Lawyers of Illinois.

Sulema graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Art from James Madison Honors College at Michigan State University and received her juris doctorate from Chicago Kent College of Law. 


Words of wisdom: “If we want to experience significant progress towards the professional advancement of Latinos, we need to be intentional about the work we’re doing to build the pipeline every day.”

Jose A. Marroquin 

Thriving in the Success of Students

Age: 35

Director of Student Affairs

 School of Nursing at Loyola University Chicago

As a first-generation college student, Jose A. Marroquin understands the value of education and its ability to provide a pipeline for professional and social mobility. Since 2012, Jose has worked within the higher education field, having previously worked in the nonprofit sector. 


Prior to his current role, he worked at Roosevelt University Chicago as the Director of Student Involvement, working directly with the RU Student Government Association and the University Programming Board. 


Jose is involved with the ALPFA Chicago Board of Directors (Association of Latino Professionals for America). Additionally, he volunteers for the One Million Degrees nonprofit, the only organization in Illinois and one of few in the country dedicated to providing comprehensive support to low income, highly motivated community college students. Jose is entering his third year as a volunteer coach. Within his coach role, he has become a coach ambassador to recruit new coaches and has been invited to be a part of the One Million Degrees Associates Board. Jose also volunteers for his fraternity as the National Director of Alumni Affairs. 


Jose was raised in Pilsen, graduated with a Master of Arts from Ball State University and obtained his Bachelor of Science from Western Illinois University. Currently he is working on his M.B.A at Loyola University Chicago


Words of wisdom:Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.” – Don Miguel Ruiz 

Emmanuel Lopez 

Furnishing Secure IT Solutions

Age: 35

 National Director of Strategy & Development

Organization: BetterWorld Technology

As an accomplished sales executive with more than 15 years of experience, Emmanuel Lopez has driven top-performing sales teams to capture market share and achieve substantial revenue growth. Emmanuel possesses a wide range of knowledge and assets that have allowed him to contribute towards the success of major companies. Emmanuel’s expertise lies in successfully developing and implementing effective sales strategies, directing go-to-market campaigns, and leveraging his network from his many years as the Director of Membership and Member Engagement for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

In his current role Emmanuel helps businesses and nonprofits nationwide connect and collaborate securely with managed services, voice, data, and IT solutions. Emmanuel utilizes his passion for networking, problem-solving, and solution implementation for all the organizations he works with. 

His incredibly supportive family had a huge impact on him growing up and helped lay the foundation for who he is. As a stage-four cancer survivor, he is passionate about giving back and currently serves on the Associate Board of the Gateway for Cancer Research and volunteers as a mentor with Imerman Angels to provide one-on-one cancer support for those currently undergoing treatment. He is also President of the University of Oklahoma Club of Chicago where he raises scholarship funds for Chicagoland students to attend the University of Oklahoma. 

Most recently Emmanuel was featured as The Face of Chicago Business and authored his first book, Email Hijack, which focuses on helping businesses stay secure from threats of hacking that have increased throughout the pandemic. He has had the privilege of becoming the newest Board of Directors member for The Association of Latinos Professionals for America in Chicago.


Words of wisdom:  “Los Lopez unidos nada no detiene. Para arriba y adelante.” – Cutberto Lopez 

Francisco Juarez 

Eclipsing Hardship in the Banking World

Age: 38

Compliance Advisory Manager

Organization: CIBC Bank USA & President Alpha Chicago

Francisco Juarez’s journey to the current point in his career took many turns but taught him valuable lessons that he continues to use today. Francisco was born and raised in Chicago to Guatemalan parents. He grew up on the north side of Chicago and is a product of the Chicago Public Schools system. 

 After graduating high school, he followed a passion in art and received his first degree in advertising, art and design and then spent some years as a freelance graphic designer while working as a personal trainer. He then moved into the real estate world a few years before the crash of 2008. After the crash, he went and got his insurance license and started working at an insurance agency to see whether or not he wanted to open his own agency. Instead, he went back to school and obtained his second bachelor’s in business from DePaul University where he was eventually recruited by the FDIC to work in their Chicago regional office.That led to the opportunity to shift into working in the field as a bank examiner, which was great preparation and an introduction to the banking world.

In his current role Francisco leads a team that works with various business lines to ensure their compliance with applicable regulatory requirements.

 Francisco currently leads other Latino professionals as the Chicago Chapter President of ALPFA. Their mission is to empower and develop Latino professionals as leaders of character for the nation and in every sector of the global economy. 

 In his free time, Francisco enjoys hanging out with friends and family, especially his 1.5-year-old nephew who’s a handful. When not doing that, you can find him training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu preparing for the next competition.


Words of wisdom: “Forget about the consequences of failure. Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success” – Denis Waitley

Carlos Jaramillo

Bringing Carrera de Muertos to Life

Age: 38

Senior Business Development Manager

Organization: The Resurrection Project

As a native Chicagoan, Carlos Jaramillo brings 15 years of experience working in education, marketing, non-profit and special events management. After teaching history at a local high school on Chicago’s south side, Carlos transitioned to work for the UNO Charter School Network (now called ACERO). At UNO he managed multiple staff and programs, including the Graduate Support Initiative, Parent Outreach and spearheaded the formation of the Athletics department. Under his leadership, the Graduate Support department received national recognition for its mission of transitioning 8th graders into top-performing high schools in Chicago and across the United States. 

In 2007, Carlos created the Carrera de los Muertos (Race of the Dead) 5k race. What started as a small fundraiser with 500 participants, has grown to become one of Chicago’s biggest 5k running events, featuring just under 6,000 participants annually, hailing from over 35 states. As Race Director, he manages logistics, creative direction, marketing, community outreach and execution.

In addition to La Carrera Carlos supports and assists numerous events and races, including the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle and Chicago Marathon. Since 2010, Carlos has served as Aid Station Captain in Pilsen, along the Chicago Marathon’s 19th mile – down historic 18th street. Year after year, he works with local musicians, folkloric dance troupes and entertainers to provide a rich Latino experience to runners and spectators that travel through the neighborhood.

Apart from his involvement with the Carrera de los Muertos, Carlos works as the Senior Business Development Manager for one of Chicago’s longest standing Latino non-profit organizations, The Resurrection Project.

An avid Chicago sports fan and amateur athlete, Carlos played soccer and ran cross country collegiately at St. Xavier University. He resides in Garfield Ridge on the southwest side of Chicago.

Words of wisdom: “As Latinos in the U.S., we have only begun to scratch the surface in terms of what we can accomplish by working together – vamos por mas.” 

Stefany Jacobo 

Age: 28

Title: Director of Strategic Partnerships

Organization: Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE)


Seeking Success for Others

Stefany is a driven, purposeful, and dedicated leader who immigrated from Mexico to the U.S. at ten years old. As many first-generation college students, Stefany struggled with the lack of resources and role models. This experience opened her eyes to social inequities and educational disadvantages. Since then, she has taken this experience as her personal purpose as she strives to be a resource to others in her community and beyond. Today, she is dedicated to empowering underserved communities through mentorship, awareness, and activism.


In her current role, she fosters relationships with HACE’s partners that challenges them to build an inclusive and equitable space for Latinos in the workplace and beyond. Her efforts also increasefunding for HACE’s talent acquisition and leadership development programs.  In addition, she supports the organization’s mission by leading workshops on various professional development topics for students and professionals, connecting jobseekers to meaningful careers, and ensuring HACE is meeting the needs of its constituents. She looks forward to continuing furthering the mission of the organization by leading HACE’s partnerships nationwide and increasing awareness at across the board.


Prior to this role, Stefany worked at the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute as the Finance and Development Coordinator. In addition to her finance experience, Stefany was able to share her story and be a mentor to thousands of middle and high school students across the nation after winning the Miss U.S. Latina 2016 national title.


Words of wisdom: “Never lose sight of your core purpose, where you come from, and the people and places that shaped you along the way.”

Patricia Hernandez 

 Protecting Maternal and Child Health

Age: 38

 Director of WIC & Women’s Health Services 

Organization: at Roseland Community Hospital

Patricia Hernández is the daughter of immigrant parents from México. Although her parents had sixth-grade educations, they gave her and her siblings the gift of a college education because they believed that it would afford them not a life of luxury but an ability to advocate for themselves and others. They also instilled the idea of giving and serving those in need because the family often relied on help from community organizations and other families like them. 


Patricia’s passion for public service spans over more than 15 years, empowering underserved communities across Chicagoland with resources to improve residents’ lives. Her work has inspired people to address inequitable access in the communities where she serves patients with some of the greatest needs. Most recently, she was the recipient of the Corazon Award from the Community Alliance for her work to improve people’s lives on Chicago’s west side and the western suburbs of Cook County. 

Patricia has also spearheaded health fairs, charitable giveaways, and assisted community organizations and businesses in joint efforts. 

In her current role Patricia seeks to address inequities in maternal and child health in the African American/BIPOC communities of Roseland and beyond. She will focus efforts to fulfill the need for quality food and nutrition education and increase healthy deliveries in the maternity ward. 

A graduate of National-Louis University with a Bachelor of Arts in Healthcare Leadership, Patricia is a current student in the Master’s in Public Health (MPH) program at Northeastern Illinois University (degree expected, 2022). Patricia’s passion for public service stems from her vision of helping communities become prosperous and dynamic. She finds her experience fulfilling through the meaningful work she delivers. Work that makes a difference.

Words of wisdom: “Never withhold your ability to advocate for someone when it is in your power to help.”

Olga Gutierrez 

 Teaching Everyone to Code

Age: 39

 Strategic initiatives manager

Organization: Apple

Olga is a leader in bridging the gap between government and technology. She is an innovative and strategic thinker and trusted advisor to elected officials, boards, non-profits, and executive leadership teams on issues that intersect technology and government. With a specific focus on education, Olga also has experience in federal and state education and technology policy, outreach and advocacy. 

Olga put her passion for workforce innovation, education, and creative strategy into developing the Everyone Can Code Chicago program with her team at Apple. The program launched in 2017 as a public-private partnership between Apple and the City of Chicago to expand opportunities for youth to develop coding skills and explore career pathways. Following the success of the program, Apple held an education-based event at Lane Tech College Prep High School where Tim Cook announced that Apple would create the Center for Excellence in Computer Science Education in collaboration with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and Northwestern University. The Everyone Can Code program is now a national beacon that has been replicated in several cities across the nation. 

Olga was born in Colombia and grew up in Chicago, where she attended St. Scholastica Academy. She began her legal career as a law clerk for the Honorable Maria Valdez of the Northern District of Illinois. She also worked as an Assistant to Mayor Richard M. Daley in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. At Apple, Olga was awarded the Top Performer Award in 2018 for her business development and outreach skills. Olga is a graduate of the Chicago-Kent College of Law and the University of Illinois.

Words of wisdom: “My life motto, since attending a Benedictine high school, is to lead with confidence, competence and compassion.” 

Priscilla Guasso

 Building a Latina HR Network 

Age: 36

Based out of Chicago and Miami, Priscilla Guasso thrives in leading human resource teams focused on all areas of the employee life cycle: talent acquisition, mobility, talent development, succession planning, performance management, employee relations, global diversity, equity and inclusion, and overall company culture. 


Her fifteen years of experience spans HR in the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean in the hospitality and healthcare industry. She thoroughly enjoys coaching others to invest in themselves and further grow their leadership skills in corporate, nonprofit, and government sectors. As the author of Latinas Rising Up In HR, she is focused on building a community of Latinas In HR that openly shares connections, best practices and experiences while also giving back to our youth.


Priscilla holds a bachelor’s of science degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing from the University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign. 

Outside of work she is an active board member and secretary for HACE’s Mujeres de HACE Chicago, membership director of the Latino/Latina Alumni Association for the University of Illinois, an inspiration agent for Young Latina Day, a member of the HRHotspot, Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), the National Hispanic Corporate Council (NHCC) and The Latinista. She enjoys traveling to new cities with her husband, Jorge, and soaking up the sun in warmer climates.

Words of wisdom: “Take chances, boldly invest in yourself, and give yourself permission to pause.” 

Edgar Gonzalez Jr.   

 Ushering in a Young Perspective

Age: 24

Within a year Edgar Gonzalez Jr. went from Harvard graduate to congressional staffer to State Representative. Not only did Edgar graduate from the most top-ranked and prestigious university in the world, but he was determined to go back to his community and work directly for his neighbors by joining Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia’s in-district staff. 

Edgar comes from a Mexican immigrant family. His father is an operating engineer in IUOE Local 399 and his mother is a former member of SEIU Local 73. 

At 23, he is currently the youngest legislator in the Illinois General Assembly, the youngest Democrat in modern history and the youngest Latino ever in the IGA, all while juggling memberships in associate boards and political organizations. 

Edgar joined the General Assembly in January of 2020, but along with the world was forced to transition to working remotely once the pandemic hit. After recovering from COVID himself, he focused his attention on his district and many others with a large portion of black and brown communities that still had high positivity rates of COVID and low counts for the Census. He collaborated with other elected officials and community organizations to combat food insecurity, provide community members with PPE, and assure people their information was confidential when filling out the Census. 

He got creative by holding food and PPE giveaways and hosting free wash events at local laundromats to incentivize people to fill out the Census. After the Census deadline passed, he continued to do outreach by informing small businesses about state and county grants available for those hardest hit by the pandemic and is continuously working on legislation to help working families. Edgar aims to continue working for his community.


Words of wisdom: “If you are new to something, it’s okay to think differently and have a lot of questions, but it’s never okay to avoid seeking answers to those questions.” 


Digna Gomez 

Headline: Shaping Infrastructure with Excellence

Age: 39


Organization: Right of Way Acquisitions, Inc.

An immigrant from the Dominican Republic, Digna Gomez came to the United States with her parents at the age of four. Throughout the years she saw the many sacrifices and hard work undertaken by her parents day after day to make ends meet. These family values were instilled upon Digna and inspired her to carry on the mission for a better tomorrow: “Today, with a college degree and a successful small business of 12 years, I can truly say I am living the American Dream.”

Digna is the CEO/President of Right of Way Acquisitions, Inc., located in Chicago, which specializes in Land Acquisition Consulting Services for public agencies, such as IDOT and the IL Tollway. The organization’s primary services include Right of Way Negotiations and Relocation Advisory Services for infrastructure projects. Digna and her team are committed to excellence and take pride in providing good faith negotiations to affected property owners throughout the State of Illinois.  


Words of wisdom: “If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t you will see obstacles.” – Wayne Dyer

Melisa Godinez 

Infusing Diversity into Talent Recruitment

Age: 27

Talent Acquisition Manager

Organization: Echo Global Logistics

Melisa Godinez is passionate about connecting people to great opportunities, leading her to a career in recruiting. 

In her current role she supports the sales side of business, bringing different strategic methods to attract new talent. Melisa is passionate about diversity and inclusion and wants to ensure her team is focused on bringing diverse talent into the organization. She believes diversity brings innovation and creates a better American society. To further contribute and make a positive impact, she is part of her organization’s D&I committee.

 Melisa has built very strong relationships with her networking presence and has been successful meeting hiring initiatives. Her ultimate goal is for each candidate to have the best experience possible.

Melisa received her bachelor’s degree in human resources and organizational leadership from Rasmussen University, while working full time. For her, working full time and completing an online bachelor’s program was extremely challenging but she never gave up. She stresses that not attending a top tier University won’t affect your career and that as you strive for success you can overcome any obstacles. 

 Melisa was born and raised in Chicago. She is the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants from Guadalajara, Jalisco, who worked very hard to ensure a bright future. She is a proud Latina that believes in giving back to her community and overall wants to make her parents proud of her accomplishments. She wants to be seen as a role model to young Latinas and show them that success is possible by taking the initiative and never giving up. 

 In her free time Melisa enjoys traveling, working out and spending time with family and friends.

Words of wisdom: “My accomplishments would not be possible without taking the initiative and stepping outside of my comfort zone. Remember you’re in charge of your own success, therefore work with integrity and never give up.”


Samuel Garcia

Taking Clients from Inception to ROI

Senior Customer Success Manager, Enterprise Sales, LinkedIn.
Over 12+ years of technology experience in SaaS, Automotive & Managed Services industries with a focus on retaining, increasing overall sales performance and driving more revenue to their business.  Samuel Garcia has taken his talents to help architect and on-board global customers at LinkedIn within the Enterprise New Business segment of Sales Solutions.
Samuel also works with customers to empower their sales organizations as a change management consultant and take some of their most critical initiatives like growing revenue pipeline, building & expanding stronger relationships and driving digital transformation from inception to ROI.
During his time at LinkedIn Chicago, he was previously the Regional Office Lead for HOLA (Hispanics of LinkedIn Alliance) where he aligned with the mission of uniting LinkedIn employees and the Latino community to increase access to opportunity. He’s now taken the role of National Partnerships Lead for HOLA where he is building stronger relationships within and outside of the tech community.
A passion of Samuel’s is community outreach primarily focused in Chicago’s Pilsen, Back of the Yards and La Villita neighborhoods. He serves as a Chaplain for the Cook County Department of Corrections where he mentors and advises inmates as they prepare to re-enter society. His other passions include spending time perfecting his skills on the piano and working with his local church where he’s served in mission projects to Argentina, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico and Uruguay.
Words of wisdom: “You are in control of your narrative, be intentional with your family, relationships, opportunities, and habits. Focus on the present and be in the moment.”


Jazmin Garcia 

 Sustaining Business and Professionals

Age: 27

Senior Business Resource Manager

Organization: World Business Chicago

Jazmin Garcia is a queer, first-generation, Mexican-American dedicated to expanding leadership opportunities for LGBTQAI and Latinx professionals. Her experience growing up across borders in San Diego, California and Tijuana, Baja California inspired her to be a curious leader and prompted her passion for public service and social impact. 

Professionally, Jazmin has extensive experience in fundraising and grant making specific to entrepreneurship, small business expansion, jobs, skills and neighborhood revitalization. Jazmin is dedicated to the development of leadership for all youth and is an avid volunteer with ChicagoNext, Chicago Sister Cities International, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, University of San Diego Senior Legacy, Chicago Scholars, and the Association of Latino/as Motivating Action (ALMA) Chicago.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of San Diego, and is both the National Vice President of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Alumni Association (PPF 2015-2016) and the Nonprofit and Social Impact Leader from the Baumhart Center at Loyola’s Quinlan School of Business. She is an alumnus of the Emerging Leaders Program with Chicago Women in Philanthropy and is now a Programs Committee member. 


Words of wisdom:  “Be curious and never be afraid to ask questions. Just because something has always been done a certain way it doesn’t mean it has to continue that way. Strive to innovate and create!”


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


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



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 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 and can include from many different related fields such as real estate, tax planning and 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.

Erik Cascio is a registered representative of and offers securities through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC(www.sipc.org) Golden Tree Wealth Partners, LLC. Is not a subsidiary or affiliate of MML Investors Services, LLC., or its affiliated companies. (10401 Innovative Drive, Suite 125, Wauwatosa, WI 53226.

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


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


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.”


Diana Alfaro

Bring Crucial Resources to Businesses
Age: 35
Latino Business Development Manager
DCEO – Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE)

Diana Alfaro is dedicated to empowering Latinx-, Latino-, Latina-, and Hispanic-owned businesses. In her role Diana serves minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and veterans in business with a focus on Latinx/o/a and Hispanic-owned businesses. She connects them to crucial resources, services, and incentives available to them through the State of Illinois, also providing them with technical assistance as needed.

Diana’s attention to detail, organization, and quality are a staple of her over six years of experience with community outreach and twelve years of experience in federal regulation compliance. She is also passionate about contributing to her community and sustaining and creating more economic wealth in Latinx communities.

Diana earned a Master of Science in International Public Service and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Latin American/Latino studies from DePaul University. In her free time she loves to travel, rock climb, explore caves, and find new ways to physically and mentally challenge herself.

Words of wisdom: “Invest in the growth of those around you, when we invest in each other, we are that much stronger as a community.”

Latinos 40 Under 40 Class of 2021 nominations are open

Nominate here!

Chicago.- Negocios Now is calling for nominations for its 7th annual Latinos 40 Under 40 in Chicago, a unique initiative to recognize and celebrate the leadership of a new generation. 

The deadline for nominations is December 15, 2021. Nominations can be made through either of these pages Latinos40under40.com or NegociosNow.com/40under40.

Since it was launched in 2015, Latinos 40 under 40 has recognized 280 leaders in Chicago and New York. The celebration ceremony is planned for March 2022.

“I can’t wait to see who will be nominated at this time. Who are they and what do they do? Recognizing talented young people in different fields has been one of the best satisfactions that Negocios Now has given me since founding the company 14 years ago”, said Clemente Nicado, owner of the publication.

Those selected will represent a group of 40 outstanding Chicagoans under the age of 40. The honorees could represent business, corporations, government, nonprofits, politics, sports, and education, among others.

  “I have no doubt that we will have another fantastic group of Latinos and we will face another challenge to select the 40″, said Nicado.

   To celebrate the achievements of this younger generation of Latinos, Negocios Now will organize a celebration in March of 2022. Nicado Publishing is actively looking for sponsorships.

  In 2019, Negocios Now celebrated the first ever selection of Latinos 40 Under 40 in New York City.

  Founded in 2007, Negocios Now is a national award-winning publication and the Midwest’s most dynamic news source for growing Hispanic businesses, focusing primarily on business owners, entrepreneurs and economic development in the Latino community.

Negocios Now has received more than 20  awards from the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP). In May 2012, The Chicago Headline Club, a leading association of local professional journalists, awarded Negocios Now the Peter Lisagor Award for General Excellence, a first for a Hispanic newspaper in Chicago. The publication produces “Who’s Who in Hispanic Chicago,” another unique event in the city. Last August, the publication celebrated the first edition and Gala event dedicated to Who’s Who in Hispanic Business in Chicago’s suburbs.