Anthony Rendon is speaker of the California State Assembly, a position he has held since March 2016. Since 2012, Rendon has represented the 63rd Assembly District, which includes nine cities – Bell, Cudahy, Hawaiian Gardens, Lakewood, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount, South Gate and a northern portion of Long Beach. The son of working class parents and grandson of Mexican immigrants, Rendon was far from a high achieving student, once carrying a grade point average of 0.83 and nearly flunking out of high school. In Rendon’s first year as speaker, the Assembly passed landmark progressive legislation, including the nation’s first statewide $15 minimum wage, extension of California’s climate change reduction goals, overtime pay for farmworkers, and groundbreaking policies on gun and tobacco use. The first state budget passed during Rendon’s tenure continued California’s recent history of on-time, balanced budgets, doubling the state rainy day fund, and investing $530 million in early childhood education, a key victory for Rendon and the Legislative Women’s Caucus. In 2017-18 legislative session, Rendon led the most progressive and productive legislative session in memory – a session when the Assembly passed a landmark $52 billion transportation funding plan, extension of California’s cap-and-trade program, first-of-its-kind clean air measure, and efforts to address the affordable housing crisis. The Assembly approved legislation to end the cash bail system that for decades disproportionally impacted poor Californians and people of color. State budgets continued to build on fiscal reserves, expand the earned income tax credit and child care eligibility, make record investments in education, and implement governance reforms to the Board of Equalization and University of California.
The Honorable Luz Rivas was elected to represent the 39th Assembly District in the California State Assembly in June 2018. Before serving as a State Legislator, she was an engineer, civil servant, and educator. With a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT and a Master's degree in Education from Harvard, Luz has focused on encouraging young girls to pursue training and careers in STEM fields. The founder of DIY Girls, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping girls become interested in math and science, Luz has helped set thousands of young women on the path towards economic empowerment, independence, and self-confidence. Prior, Luz also taught service learning for engineering undergraduates at USC, worked to increase diversity at Caltech, and worked on NASA funded projects aimed to increase access to STEM in community-based organizations. In 2016, Luz served as a commissioner on the City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works on the Bureau of Street Lighting and Engineering. Here she worked to raise the quality of life for residents in the City of Los Angeles and continued her gender equity work through various initiatives. Assemblymember Rivas is an engineer by trade, educator, and public servant who is dedicated to ensure that every Californian has the opportunity to learn, prosper and succeed. She strives to ensure equitable and adequate educational resources for all Californians and looks forward to bridging the gap in the 39th Assembly District to the State Capitol in Sacramento.
Assemblymember Cervantes represents the 60th Assembly District and serves as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy. As a state legislator, Sabrina has worked continuously to serve her community and enhance the quality of life for Riverside County residents. Sabrina’s top priorities include veterans, public safety, transportation, higher education and the economy. In her first term, she authored legislation to support veterans, students, seniors, and working families—fourteen of which were signed into law. Previously, she served as a District Director for the Legislature and the California Voter Project. Prior to serving in the Assembly, Sabrina worked in the private sector alongside various community organizations to enhance the local economy, broaden access to quality education, and improve access to governmental services for the residents of Riverside County. Sabrina is a lifelong resident of Riverside County. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of California, Riverside, and completed an executive education program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Wendy Carrillo was elected to serve in the California State Assembly in December 2017. She represents the 51st Assembly District which is home to close to 500,000 residents in the City of Los Angeles, unincorporated East Los Angeles and includes some of the most historic and iconic communities in the city. Prior to being elected to office, Assemblywoman Carrillo was a broadcast journalist for twelve years covering human rights, global conflict and US politics. Additionally, she worked in communications for the Service Employee International Union United Long Term Care Workers, which represents over 350,000 Home healthcare workers in California and served in local government as a communications deputy for a member of the Los Angeles City Council. She has been an advocate for education, immigration reform, environmental justice, healthcare for all, job creation and innovation. In the State Assembly she serves on the Appropriations, Rules, Public Safety, Health and Water, Parks and Wildlife committees. Assemblywoman Carrillo immigrated to the United States as a young child during El Salvador’s Civil War and is a first generation American with Salvadoran and Mexican heritage. She is the eldest of five daughters and received a Bachelors of Arts in Communications from California State University Los Angeles and a Masters in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Southern California.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez was elected in May of 2013, promising to fight for our state’s working and middle classes, and she hasn’t stopped yet. In 2015, The Atlantic Magazine labeled her “The California Democrat setting the National Agenda” for her practical, progressive legislation aimed at alleviating real issues in people’s lives. In 2014, Lorena authored historic legislation to allow 6.5 million Californians the ability to earn paid sick leave. When AB 1522 was signed by Governor Brown, California became the first state in the nation to guarantee earned sick days for every single private sector worker regardless of employer size or sector. The next year, Lorena brought the idea of Automatic Voter Registration to life for nearly seven million unregistered citizens by authoring and passing California’s New Motor Voter Act. In 2017, Lorena succeeded in making California the first state in the nation to subsidize diapers for parents in need -- hardworking mothers and fathers struggling to juggle job and parenting responsibilities. AB 480, the Diaper Affordability Act, was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Oct. 12, 2017. Lorena is the first Latina in California history to Chair the Assembly Appropriations Committee. She is also Chairwoman of the Select Committee on Women in the Workplace and Chair of the Latino Caucus.
Ms. Belinda Barragan is part of the Executive Team and serves as the Director of Programs and Policy for Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE). She is responsible for directing and managing HOPE’s two flagship programs the HOPE Leadership Institute (HLI), an intensive training program that brings together Latina professionals from across the state representing rural and urban areas in various professional sectors; and the HOPE Youth Leadership Program (HYLP), a statewide development program designed to prepare low-income, high school-age Latinas for a self-sufficient future that will allow for economic and political parity through a college education. She sets HOPE’s policy agenda by monitoring and analyzing legislation that impacts HOPE’s main areas of focus - Education, Health and Economic Development. She is an accomplished public affairs and political management professional, with over twenty years of experience working with government entities, Community Based Organizations, corporations and grassroots organizations. Prior to joining HOPE, Ms. Barragan was the Regional Director for the Latino Issues Forum, Los Angeles Office. Ms. Barragan has an extensive background in political campaigns as well. Her electoral accolades include the successful election of many Assemblymembers, Senators and Local representatives. Committed to advancing Latinos in the political arena, Ms. Barragan worked as a Legislative Analyst and District Director for then Assemblymember Tony Cardenas, 39th Assembly District. Ms. Barragan received her undergraduate degree in Business Finance from the University of San Francisco.
Chris Hoene became the Budget Center’s executive director in October 2012, bringing to the organization 15 years of leadership in state and local policy research and analysis. He leads the strategic direction of the organization, acts as primary spokesperson, and works with the board of directors and community partners to implement our vision and mission. Prior to joining the Budget Center, Chris was director of the Center for Research and Innovation at the National League of Cities in Washington, DC, leading efforts to analyze trends in local and state government and promote constructive policy action on issues including public finance, economic development, housing, poverty reduction, infrastructure, and governance. Chris also previously worked for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, DC, and the Public Policy Institute of California in San Francisco. Chris holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Claremont Graduate University and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science of the College of Idaho. In 2011, in recognition of his service to the state and local community, Chris was elected as a Fellow into the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA).
Selected by Senator Susan Rubio Cruz Baca was elected to the Baldwin Park City Council in 2013 and served on the dais for five distinguished years. During her tenure, she was able to implement key programs that improved the lives of city residents. Cruz saved Baldwin Park over $1 million dollars by promoting government efficiency. She fought to continue Senior programs at the adult school, and introduced “class pass” so that students and seniors can ride the bus line for free. As a member of the Council of Government’s Ad Hoc Homeless Committee, Cruz helped pave the plan for what is now Measure H. Prior to her involvement in government, Cruz was in the Entertainment Industry for over 40 years and owned and ran her own recording studio. During her career, she managed over 100 employees and worked with some of the brightest stars of the day, earning her a Grammy Award and a nomination for an Academy Award. Cruz attended Rio Hondo College and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach. She holds a Master’s Certification in the Business of Music Law from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is serving her second term as President of the Baldwin Park Woman’s Club where she is Chair of Music scholarships for Students graduating from local high schools, as well as, working with Veteran’s and victims of Domestic Violence.
Elsa Macias, Ph.D. consults on research and policy projects that focus on increasing excellence and equity in education, information technology, and for women. Dr. Macias was previously at the University of Southern California where she concentrated on data-based decision-making in higher education. Prior to that, she directed the research agenda on information technology policy at the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute (TRPI). Dr. Macias has briefed elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels, including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, on information technology research and policy issues, and her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, IBM, Verizon, and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Selected by Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes Emma Gómez Lechuga was born in Gómez Palacio, Durango, Mexico. At age five, she emigrated to California from Texas with her parents and 10 siblings. The family settled in San Bernardino, California. Ms. Lechuga’s parents encouraged her to pursue educational endeavors and to participate in social justice movements, such as the farmworker’s movement, student rights movement (MECHA), and educational justice and immigrant rights. Ms. Lechuga attended San Bernardino Valley College for 2 years and then transferred to Johnston College at the University of Redlands where she graduated in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Science. She further obtained her Master’s in Education with a focus in Career and Technical Education from California State University, San Bernardino in 2007. It was while at Johnston College at the University of Redlands that Ms. Lechuga developed a penchant for developing institutional systems that would impact social and educational change in vulnerable communities and that would bring forth systemic educational and employment justice to immigrant families, teenagers, single parents, women and the undocumented worker. Throughout her young adult and adult life she has participated in developing educational and vocational schools that served many impoverished families and helped train them out of poverty. Ms. Lechuga semi-retired in 2014 but continues to serve as Latin Business Institute’s Director of Operations, responsible for program development and operations and is an Evaluator/Reader for ETS and Measurement Incorporated. Additionally, she formed Achieve Education and Training Institute to specifically develop and source out operable mobile computer labs to community centers, schools and preschools that address the achievement gaps and the digital divide in vulnerable communities.
Ester Sandoval joined Tradeswomen Inc. as a Project Coordinator in the fall of 2016. Ester has been a member of the United Brother of Carpenters since 2001 and has worked with the tools as both a laborer and a carpenter. Ester brings her trades experience in the field, as a graduate of a pre-apprenticeship and as a apprenticeship program graduate. She is bi-lingual in Spanish and English.
Helen Torres is the Executive Director of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE). Under her leadership HOPE has grown into one of the leading women’s leadership and advocacy organizations in California and United States. Ms. Torres produces conferences and leadership programs that educate and train over 3,000. She has been instrumental in the development and implementation of the HOPE Leadership Institute (HLI) - a program that prepares adult Latinas for their next level of civic participation. HLI has resulted in over 521 graduates, 180 Latinas of which have been appointed to California commissions, 80 have run for elected office and over 200 Latinas serving on nonprofit boards improving local communities. Most recently, Helen was able to see her dream of a binational program for Latinas in the US and Mexico to be trained to lead national and international organizations come to fruition. She has served on various commissions under Governor Gray Davis, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Governor Jerry Brown. Most recently she joined the California Latino Economic Institute, a group of business leaders formed to advise the California Latino Caucus. She also serves on the community advisory boards for Southern California Edison and PG&E. Ms. Torres is a sought out speaker on women issues and an advisor to key projects such as “The Shriver Report: A Women’s Nation Changes Everything.” She has been recognized by Los Angeles Dodgers as a “community hero.” Most recently Ms. Torres’s story has been part of a California State University- Fullerton oral and public history exhibit titled “Voces de Liberacion: Latinas in Politics in Southern California and was honored with the HIP Giver award by Hispanics in Philanthropy for her role as a women’s advocate.
Nominated by Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo For over 15 years, Kristie Hernandez has led a life in public service with a passion for government relations, legislative affairs, policy advocacy and community engagement. Kristie’s professional experience extends into every level of government - local, state, federal and the executive branch. She has worked in the classroom with students at the Los Angeles Unified School District; advocated with the national Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund; and represented the first female Senate Majority Leader of the California State Legislature. On the horizon of national health care reform, she tirelessly advocated for medically underserved communities as the Manager of Legislative and Advocacy Affairs at AltaMed Health Services - the largest federally qualified health center organization in the country. In 2014, Kristie was appointed by former President Barack Obama to serve at the Department of Defense (DoD) in the Office of Legislative Affairs as a legislative liaison to the United States Congress. While working at the Pentagon, she advised the Office of the Secretary of Defense and DoD senior leadership on sensitive military personnel and readiness portfolios including: military sexual assault prevention, suicide prevention, diversity management and equal opportunity, military dependent education, DoD and Veteran Affairs collaboration, and the Transition to Veterans Program. Kristie facilitated meetings with DoD and Congress, prepared DoD leadership for Congressional hearings, and communicated closely with the United States Senate and House Armed Services Committees to uphold the department’s legislative and budget priorities. In her current capacity as Director of Program and Operations for UCLA’s Veterans Affairs Relations office, Kristie is the liaison for UCLA and the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Healthcare System (VAGLAHS). Kristie oversees and promotes the Chancellor’s recent veteran-related initiative, which expands UCLA’s commitment to military veterans and their families with the implementation of three new programs on the VAGLAHS campus – the Veteran Family Wellness Center, UCLA School of Law Veterans Legal Clinic, and the Center of Excellence for Veterans with a focus on homelessness, substance abuse and mental health recovery.
Before joining Mercury, Parra was a registered lobbyist for DiMare, Brown, Hicks and Kessler, and worked as a Legislative Aide for then-Assemblymember Ricardo Lara and Assemblymember Hector De La Torre. She represented clients in an array of subject areas such as higher education, air quality, water and local government issues. Laura served as co-chair and lobbyist liaison for the California Latino Capitol Association Foundation, Sacramento-based professional organization founded to bring together California’s legislative staff, legislative advocates, the Sacramento community, and other Latino professionals around the state to promote the professional development of its members and to serve the community. Parra is an alumnae of the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) Leadership Institute and a recipient of the USC Forum on California Politics Certificate. HOPE is the first and only statewide non-profit, non-partisan, organization committed to ensuring political and economic parity for Latinas through leadership, advocacy and education to benefit all communities and the status of women. Laura is originally from Los Angeles and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with a minor in Mexican American Studies from San Jose State University.
Selected by Assemblymember Blanca Rubio Leia Fletes helps effect change for thousands in the San Gabriel Valley, and inspires other Latina women who see her as an example of how to successfully navigate social and cultural hardships. Leia can often be found garnering support for important public policies, or paving the way for Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio to connect with constituents. Her job, though deeply satisfying, feels more to her like a privilege than a cause for commendation. Today, she dedicates herself to discovering and discerning people’s struggles so she can help implement programs and acquire resources to assist them. She focuses especially on children, understanding that reaching them means reaching the whole family. Leia works with programs that teach kids important life skills like financial literacy in an effort to break the cycle of poverty. Leia’s down-to-earth leadership emanates from a life immersed in challenges and triumphs. As a single mother 20 years ago, Leia struggled to make ends meet while putting herself through college. Leia credits her parents, who modeled strength and courage, as well as her husband and son, who provide unconditional love and support as she works with passion and persistence to help others learn from her adversities and achievements.
Lia Rodriguez serves as the district manager for Wells Fargo’s Capital Edge District. In this role, Rodriguez leads a team of nearly 150 talented and engaged team members in 10 branches throughout Carmichael, Citrus Heights, North Highlands, and portions of Sacramento. A 19-year financial services veteran, Rodriguez began her career with Wells Fargo in 2000 as a personal banker. She promoted to various roles within the company before being named district manager in 2010. A Sacramento native, Rodriguez has a deep-rooted passion for helping her community and its residents succeed. A dedicated community advocate, Rodriguez serves on the board of Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and volunteers alongside her team during various community events throughout the year.
Nicole M. Parra has more than 25 years of extensive legislative and political experience in Washington D.C. and California-having served as a legislative assistant to U.S. Congressman Cal Dooley (retired), elected to the California State Assembly, and appointed to a high- level position within the California Executive Branch by the Governor. Parra graduated from the UC, Berkeley in 1992 with a B.A. in Economics. In 1998, she earned a J.D. from the Catholic University School of Law in Washington D.C. In 2002 Parra was elected to the California State Assembly, representing the 30th Assembly District. Parra served as Chair of the Agriculture Committee, Joint Legislative Audit Committee and Veteran Affairs Committee. In 2008, Parra was appointed as the Director of Regional Development Initiatives for the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency by Governor Schwarzenegger. In 2014, Parra was hired as an Adjunct Professor at California State University Bakersfield where she was an instructor for American Government and Politics, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties courses. Before moving to Sacramento, in 2016, Parra was hired as the campaign manager for the Measure J Campaign for the Kern Community College District, a $500M school bond that passed with a 2/3 vote. Currently, Parra is the State Government Affairs Manager for Marathon Petroleum Corporation. She lives in Sacramento and enjoys reading, crocheting, watching her favorite football team the Oakland Raiders with her nephews. She hopes to always live a “fearless” life and continue to contribute to her community by serving others.
Ms. Nicole Rice serves as the Policy Director of Government Relations for the California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA) – a statewide, non-profit association that works to improve and enhance a strong business climate for California's over 30,000 manufacturing, processing and technology based companies, an economic sector that generates more than $288 billion every year and employs more than 1.3 million Californians. In this role, Ms. Rice guides her membership through California’s complex legislative and regulatory policy maze on a myriad of issues related to labor and employment, workforce development, workplace health and safety, retirement programs and unemployment insurance. As a twenty-year veteran in public policy development, Ms. Rice developed her expertise representing small businesses, utility companies, educational organizations and local government bodies on a wide range of matters while crafting and driving legislation. In her effort to effect change, she also worked with grassroots community leaders to equip them with the intricacies and blueprints required to succeed in navigating the Sacramento public policy arena. Prior to joining CMTA in 2012, Ms. Rice worked as Community Affairs Manager for Nehemiah Corporation of America; Legislative Policy Strategist for Strategic Counsel PLC; Deputy Director for the California Department of Consumer Affairs; Deputy Secretary of Appointments for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; and Public Affairs Representative for Southern California Edison. She also spent several years in the California State Assembly and had the honor of being chosen for the 1998-99 Senate Fellowship Program.
Selected by Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman Patty Palacios’ family immigrated to Stockton in 1970 from Mexico, she grew up in Stockton, graduated from Franklin High School, and went on to graduate from MTI Business College. As a first generation Mexican-American, Patty soon found herself becoming the family translator and financial professional at the age of 12. This experience gave her the passion to become a resource not only for her family, but gave her a great sense of responsibility to help others in her community. For the last thirty years, Patty has ambitiously participated in the growth and expansion of the Latino community in Stockton. Patty Palacios is well known in the Stockton region for her ambitious contributions to promoting self-empowerment and a sense of community. As Senior Associate and Latino Market Manager for New York Life (NYL) in Stockton, Modesto, Brentwood and Sacramento, her widespread connections with diverse groups and organizations bring people together and promote social welfare and diversity. In her current role at NYL, Patty is motivated by her vision to provide financial fluency and independence to marginalized groups within the community in the hopes of cultivating talent, leadership and empowerment. Her ongoing activity and enthusiasm for nurturing Latino excellence is visible in the Stockton community. Patty was previously the President of the Latino Business Professional, a non-profit organization, and currently serves as a supportive and contributive executive board member. She currently sits on the executive committee of the San Joaquin Hispanic Chamber and has previously served as a board member.
Rosie Arroyo manages programs, initiatives and outreach on issues affecting immigrant communities at California Community Foundation (CCF). Arroyo joined CCF in October 2007 as a Joan Palevsky Fellow for the foundation’s El Monte Community Building Initiative and was board/community relations liaison. Before that, Arroyo was program director at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund. Arroyo is the Board Chair of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE). She holds a bachelor’s in Mexican-American studies from California State University, Los Angeles. She is currently pursuing an MPA from California State University, Northridge.
Stephen (Steve) Konig is Director of Government and Public Affairs for Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC), located in Sacramento, CA. Steve works to advance MPC’s business interests and drive key policy issues with state and local elected officials and regulators in MPC’s West Region states (CA, WA, OR, UT, WY, ID, CO, TZ, AZ and NV). Steve also has responsibility for a team that covers all local and community affairs in Southern and Northern California. Steve and his team’s role are to enhance MPC’s reputation among state and local leaders, agencies and community groups to sustain and grow the business. For over twenty-five years, Steve has worked in the petroleum industry, most of it in the refining and marketing sector. Prior to his current role in government affairs, Steve held various maintenance and operations management, project management, discipline engineering and performance management roles. He has worked for ARCO, BP, Tesoro/Andeavor and MPC. Steve is a graduate of Cal Poly, Pomona with BS degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Geological Sciences, and holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Southern California.
State Controller Betty T. Yee was elected in November 2014, following two terms of service on the California Board of Equalization. As Controller, she continues to serve the Board as its fifth voting member. Reelected for a second term as Controller in 2018, Ms. Yee is only the tenth woman in California history to be elected to statewide office. As the state’s chief fiscal officer, Ms. Yee chairs the Franchise Tax Board and serves as a member of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) Boards. These two boards have a combined portfolio of more than $570 billion. Ms. Yee also serves on the Ceres Board of Directors, a nonprofit organization working to mobilize many of the world’s largest investors to advance global sustainability and take stronger action on climate change.
Fiona Ma is California’s 34th State Treasurer. She was elected on November 6, 2018 with more votes (7,825,587) than any other candidate for treasurer in the state's history. She is the first woman of color and the first woman Certified Public Accountant (CPA) elected to the position. California is the world’s fifth-largest economy and Treasurer Ma is the state’s primary banker. Her office processes more than $2 trillion in payments within a typical year and provides transparency and oversight for an investment portfolio of more than $90 billion, approximately $20 billion of which are local government funds. She also is responsible for $85 billion in outstanding general obligation and lease revenue bonds of the state. The Treasurer works closely with the State Legislature to ensure that its members know the state’s financial condition as they consider new legislation. She gives her own recommendations for the annual budget. Treasurer Ma was a member of the State Assembly from 2006-2012, serving as Speaker pro Tempore from 2010 to 2012. She built a reputation as a solution-oriented public servant and was adept at building unlikely coalitions to overcome California's most complex problems. Prior to serving as Speaker pro Tempore, she was Assembly Majority Whip and built coalitions during a state budget crisis to pass groundbreaking legislation that protected public education and the environment while also expanding access to health care.
Selected by Assemblymember Luz Rivas Trini Tlazohteotl Rodriguez is co-founder of Tia Chucha’s, a cultural center and bookstore that transforms community through ancestral knowledge, the arts, literacy and creative engagement. Now a Board Member, she served as Executive Director for seventeen years. A graduate of CSU, Northridge, she has experience as an educator, editor, writer, interpreter, business manager, and mentor. Adopted by a Navajo Nation Dine family, Trini conducts women’s sweat lodge ceremonies and healing circles for personal and collective wellness. Active all her life, she writes, speaks and strives to impact systemic social change so that we may fully express our authentic selves and live the lives we were born to lead. She and husband Luis J Rodriguez produce “The Hummingbird Cricket Hour” podcast. Awards include: 2003 Local Hero of the Year, Hispanic Heritage Month KCET/Union Bank of CA; 2010 Mujeres Destacadas, Arte y Cultura Award, La Opinion; 2014 Mujeres de Corazon, Comision Femenil/San Fernando Valley; 2016 Community Hero Award, Los Angeles Dodgers; 2017 Maestro Award, Latino Arts Network; 2018 Outstanding Achievement Award, Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore.
Selected by Assemblymember Cristina Garcia Valerie Flores has been dedicated to serving her community from a young age. She has volunteered hundreds of community service hours as an explorer for the Montebello Unified School District Police Department and through service opportunities focusing on reaching young people in her community, including reading to young children, drug use prevention education, and personal safety workshops. She has volunteered for her high school on security details for events such as “Welcome Back to School,” “Back to School Night,” “National Night Out,” football games, and graduations. Valerie was a founding member of the “All Girl Color Guard” and has performed in various ceremonies. Valerie received her Associates of Arts in Criminal Justice from Cerritos College and went on to obtain a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from University of California Merced. Upon graduating, Valerie began her career as a Behavior Technician. She provided direct applied behavior analysis treatment to children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Currently, she is working with her local church community in an effort to provide resources to those less fortunate. She assists in the coordination of local outreach and community conferences, and the opening of the church’s food bank.
Vanessa is a lobbyist at KP. With over a decade of lobbying and community organizing experience, she brings guidance to a wide range of activities, including lobbying in all areas of state government, leading coalitions, and building grassroots networks. Vanessa has extensive experience in lobbying the state budget and provides additional expertise for issues pertaining to healthcare, social services, and non-profit organizations.
Selected by Assemblymember Monique Limon Vianey Lopez was elected to the Oxnard City Council, District 6 in November 2018 and is currently serving her first term in office. She previously worked for Assemblymember Monique Limón in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties as her district director. Prior to joining Assemblymember Limón, she worked for former Congresswoman Lois Capps. Her connection to the community began when she attended a summer leadership camp with Future Leaders of America (FLA) the summer before her junior year of high school. Fifteen years later, Vianey serves as treasurer of the board of directors for FLA. Additionally, she is a current board member of the Ventura County Women’s Political Council (VCWPC) where she has previously served as Vice president, Political Action Committee Chair and Treasurer. As an active member of the Ventura County League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), she has supported the organization with communications to members. She was elected to the Hueneme Elementary School District Board in 2012, and served for two terms. As a school board member she has advocated for increased parent involvement, the dual language immersion program, and supported the work of teachers and staff to move education and the district forward.
Xiomara Peña works from our Los Angeles office where she focuses on strengthening relationships with small business owners and organizations across California. Her portfolio includes overseeing policy recommendations and advocacy work in California as well as managing our statewide educational initiatives around workforce, entrepreneurship, retirement, and healthcare. She also manages Small Business Majority’s national Latino small business outreach work focused on delivering quality resources for the Spanish-speaking business community. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Xiomara piloted business retention programs for the City of Los Angeles and programs geared toward empowering at-risk youth. She also has extensive experience as a community organizer and campaign manager. Her most notable accolades include a Leading the Way award and the Champion for Families award for her leadership in the Latino community. In 2016, Xiomara was recognized by the L.A. Mayor's Office of Economic Development for her extensive work highlighting responsible lending and education on access to capital options for small businesses. She currently sits on the Advisory Board for the Women's Mentoring Collaborative Program, is a member of California Community Colleges Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy “Small Business and Ethnic Outreach" Subcommittee and is the Chair for the El Nido Family Centers Alumni Association.