Firestarter Judith Garcia
AMPLIFY CONFERENCE: CLAIMING OUR POWER
June 1, 2019
Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate
210 Morrissey Blvd, Boston
12:30 – 6:30 PM
(see full agenda below)
#AmplifyConference #ClaimingOurPower #AmplifyLatinx
About the Conference
We invite you to join us on Saturday, June 1st at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the 3rd Amplify Conference: Claiming Our Power. We will convene a broad set of Latinx leaders, Latinx-led community organizations, and power-building groups across Massachusetts to build new relationships, strengthen existing partnerships and develop the Latinx Power Coalition for the Commonwealth. As the Latinx population in Massachusetts continues to grow and drive our economy, Latinx leadership is lagging behind. Now more than ever, we need Latinx leaders in positions of power. Bold action and disruptive structural change is needed to claim our power and add our voices in decisions impacting the Latinx community. The conference is hosted by Amplify Latinx, The Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy and The Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy in collaboration with our partner organizations.
What To Expect
The Amplify Conference will convene 350 Latinx leaders across multiple sectors, including political leaders, community organizers, business executives, cultural leaders and the artistic community to recognize our Latinx elected leaders and develop and understanding of the state of the Latinx community in Massachusetts. Through our keynote speakers, Firestarter storytellers, interactive workshops and networking reception, participants will build powerful partnerships and relationships that amplify our work. During this convening we will begin to:
- Build a sustainable coalition of Latinx leaders and organizations that support our Amplify Latinx mission of increasing Latino civic engagement and leadership representation
- Develop an deploy diverse leaders who will disrupt the status quo and advance the priority issues of the Amplify Latinx coalition
- Identify key policy issues for the Massachusetts Latino community that will become part of an Amplify Latinx policy agenda for Latino upward mobility
About Amplify Latinx
Amplify Latinx is a non-partisan, collaborative convener that builds Latinx economic and political power by significantly increasing Latinx civic engagement and representation in leadership positions across sectors. Amplify Latinx was founded by The Latina Circle, a Boston-based social venture founded in 2012 that is advancing Latina leaders across industries into positions of power and influence.
Eneida Román is a Latina advancement champion and connector. For over a decade, she has been a risk-taking entrepreneur, providing a breadth of legal services for her clients through the boutique legal practice she founded in Boston, MA. Ms. Román is a licensed Industrial/Organizational Psychologist in Puerto Rico and a licensed attorney in Massachusetts. She is also a Certified Mediator and strongly believes in the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution in order to resolve legal matters.
Ms. Román is an award-winning multi-faceted professional whose experience and background include executive work around legal compliance, negotiation, diversity & inclusion, organizational behavior, non-profit interest work, teaching at college level, as well as psychological assessments.
Ms. Román has served in leadership positions for the American Bar Association (ABA), Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), and Massachusetts Bar Association (MBA). She currently serves on the ABA’s Commission on Hispanic Rights and Responsibilities and is the National Co-Chair of the HNBA Latina Commission. As a result of her work with the HNBA Latina Commission, Eneida founded the Latina Circle, a non-profit social venture focused on developing Latina executive leaders in Boston. The Latina Circle hosts quarterly “Cafecitos”, which provide its members with meaningful networking, mentoring and business partnering opportunities. She is also very committed to Big Sister of Boston and currently serves on Board of Directors and is a founding member of its Diversity Council. She concurrently serves on the National Hispanic Advisory Council of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, which mission is to increase Hispanic mentors nationwide.
Ms. Román has been recognized as a national leader and been selected as 1 of 22 attorneys for the American Bar Association’s (ABA) TIPS Leadership Academy; 1 of 50 attorneys to participate in the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) and Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Latina Executive Leadership Program; as an American Bar Association (ABA) GP Solo Diversity Fellow Scholar; and as part of a distinguished group of attorneys to participate in the Collaborative Bar Leadership Academy (CBLA), all of which are coordinated efforts to strengthen the pipeline of bar association leaders by providing leadership training and professional development to benefit the legal profession overall.
Ms. Román is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a distinction limited to one percent of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction. The Fellows is an honorary organization of attorneys, judges, law faculty, and legal scholars whose public and private careers have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the welfare of their communities and to the highest principles of the legal profession. Some of her accolades include recognition three consecutive years by El Planeta newspaper as one of the ‘Top 100 Most Influential Individuals in the Hispanic Community in Massachusetts‘. In 2011 she was named ‘Top Lawyer Under 40’ by the Hispanic National Bar Association, and also received the Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys’ Leadership Award. In 2012 she was recipient of The AD Club’s Rosoff Award for her dedication to meaningful diversity. She was nominated by Big Sister of Greater Boston, and obtained the mentor award which given to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to a minority community by providing guidance and experience. In 2014 she was selected as Massachusetts Big Sister of the Year by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. In 2016 Eneida was selected by Latino Leaders Magazine as 1 of the 25 Most Influential Latino Lawyers in the United States.
Ms. Román attended undergraduate and graduate schools at the University of Puerto Rico and Inter American University, both with honors. She is a graduate of New England Law School of Boston, MA where she was honored with the New England Service Award at the time of graduation. Ms. Roman is admitted to practice law in Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Massachusetts Federal District Court, First Circuit of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of the United States.
Co-Founder, Latina Circle and Amplify Latinx
Founder/Principal, Roman Law Offices
Betty Francisco is an entrepreneur, business executive, attorney and community leader. She is known as a powerful convener and collaborator, unapologetic about creating visibility for the growing Latinx business and civic community in Massachusetts. In 2018, Boston Magazinenamed her as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Boston and GetKonnected honored her to the GK100: Greater Boston’s Most Influential People of Color list.
Currently, Betty is the General Counsel at Compass Working Capital where she serves as the organization’s chief legal advisor, responsible for overseeing all aspects of the organization’s legal affairs. As an attorney, she has over 17 years of experience advising health clubs, life sciences, and technology companies in the areas of legal, compliance, risk management, operations, and human resources. Most recently, Betty served as the CEO and Founder of FitNation Ventures, a business and legal consulting practice focused on advising health and fitness companies, and which launched Reimagine Play, a startup that offers fitness programming for children and families in Greater Boston. Previously, she served as EVP, General Counsel for Sports Club/LA and Reebok Sports Club/NY, a fitness brand acquired by Equinox Fitness. Betty began her legal career as a Senior Business Law Associate at Edwards Wildman, one of Boston’s largest law firms representing start-ups, corporations and investors. Betty is also an investor with Pipeline Angels, a network of new and seasoned women investors focused on creating capital for women social entrepreneurs. She was also selected in September 2015 to participate in Babson College’s Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab, a yearlong residency program for women entrepreneurs.
Betty is also a dedicated community leader who has been involved with a number of non-profit and civic leadership organizations. She is the co-founder of Latina Circle, a Boston-based network that is advancing Latina leaders across industries into positions of power and influence, and which recently launched the Amplify Latinx initiative to increase Latino civic engagement and political representation. Amplify Latinx has received awards for its work as GK10’s Equity Changing Ideas, State Street Corporation Latina American Professional Group (LAPG) and Ms. JD Magazine.
She is a member of the Board of Trustees of Roxbury Community College, the Board of Directors of the Greater Boston YMCA, the Board of Directors of Boston Educational Development Foundation, and the Board of Corporators of Eastern Bank. She serves as an advisory member for the Boston Women’s Commission under Mayor Martin Walsh. She is also a member of the Advisory Council for The Capital Network, Project 99, and Bentley University’s School of Arts and Sciences. She previously served on the Boards of YWCA Boston, ALPFA Boston and Association of Corporate Counsel – Northeast Chapter.
Betty is also the recipient of a number of awards, including the Women’s Bar Association’s Pioneering Women in the Law Award (2017); ALPFA Boston’s Excellence in the Community Award (2014); IBA’s Jorge Hernandez Leadership Award in the corporate category (2013); Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly “Top Woman in the Law” Award (2012) and “In-House Leader in the Law” (2010); and Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys’ Latino Leadership Award (2011). El Planeta Newspaper also named Betty one of the 100 most influential Latinos in 2017 and 2012. She has been featured in the Boston Business Journal, Bay State Banner and Hispanic Executive Magazine.
Betty obtained her JD and MBA from Northeastern University, and her BA in History from Bard College. She is fluent in Spanish and resides in Boston with her husband and two daughters.
Co-Founder, Latina Circle and Amplify Latinx
General Counsel, Compass Working Capital
Ayanna Pressley is an advocate, a policy-maker, an activist, and survivor. Raised in Chicago as the only child of an activist mother who instilled in her the value of civic participation, Ayanna understands the role that government can play in helping to lift up our communities. After leaving Boston University to help support her mother, Ayanna worked for 14 years as a senior aide to Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II and later Senator John Kerry. In 2009, she won election to the Boston City Council, marking the first time a woman of color was elected to the Council in its 100-year history. On the Council, Ayanna has worked in partnership with residents, advocates, and other elected leaders to address the challenges facing our communities. She led the establishment of the Committee on Healthy Women, Families, and Communities; championed the introduction of a comprehensive sexual health curriculum in Boston Public Schools; convened the first “listening-only” hearing in the Council’s history, focused on gun violence and trauma; and successfully pushed for the creation of new liquor licenses that spurred economic development in previously underserved communities, among much other work. On November 6, 2018, Ayanna was elected to represents Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, making her the first woman of color to be elected to Congress from Massachusetts.
United States Congresswoman
MA 7th Congressional District
Ana Navarro is a political strategist and commentator.
Born in Nicaragua, she immigrated to the United States in 1980 at 8 years of age.
She is a Republican commentator with expertise on Latin American, Florida and Hispanic issues.
She also has vast expertise in supporting losing, but principled, Republican candidates. She was the National Hispanic Co-Chair for John McCain’s 2008 Presidential Campaign. She has advised numerous Federal and State campaigns in Florida and nationally.
She is one of the leading Hispanic (long-suffering) Republican political voices in the United States. She is a political commentator on CNN and Telemundo and a Co-host on ABC’s, “The View”. She is known for her honest and blunt commentary and speaking truth to power.
She lives in Miami, FL with her high-maintenance Hispanic husband. She has no children, and her house plants tend to die. She has no hobbies or activities, requiring significant attention span or physical exertion.
Republican Strategist and Political Contributor
to CNN, ABC News, Telemundo and Co-host of “The View”
Cecy Del Carmen
Meteorologist, Telemundo New England Noticiero
Dan Rivera is the Mayor of Lawrence, where he grew up, went to Lawrence public schools, and owns his home. As a youth Dan was a Boy Scout, a U.S. Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol Cadet, newspaper delivery boy for the Eagle Tribune, Co-chair of LHS Model United Nations, and high school Senior Class Secretary. Dan Rivera is the son of a single mother who emigrated from the Dominican Republic to find a better life for her family by working in area mills. As the middle boy of a family of four, Dan is the type of person who never had anything handed to him. He has worked hard his entire life and brings that with him in his role as Mayor of Lawrence. He shares the common values of a strong work ethic and meaningful community involvement.
Mayor of the City of Lawrence
Denise Isaac was born and raised in Colón, Panamá. She moved to the United States to pursue her dream of becoming a Meteorologist and graduated with honors from Florida State University. Denise started her broadcasting career in Washington, D.C. while working for the local Telemundo station, since then, she has worked & lived in Minneapolis, Miami, Detroit and now Boston. Her current job allows her to show versatility, as she is the only bilingual Meteorologist on the team- Denise can usually be found on NBC and NECN but also on Telemundo Boston. Denise’s family still lives in Panama so she makes sure to go home at least once a year.
Bilingual Meteorologist at NBC10 Boston, NECN and Telemundo
Jon Santiago is the Massachusetts State Representative for the 9th Suffolk District (Boston) and an emergency room physician at Boston Medical Center. A lifelong public servant, Representative Santiago is a former Peace Corps Volunteer and continues to serve as a captain in the Army Reserve. Prior to completing medical school at Yale University, he spent five years abroad working in community development and public health. His current policy and clinical interests are focused on improving quality and access to care for underserved communities.
Massachusetts State Representative, 9th Suffolk District
As the City Councilor of District 5, Judith Garcia is the first Honduran American woman to serve on the Chelsea City Council. She has been recognized as Top 10 Latinas Think Big Innovators to Watch in 2016 by the Huffington Post and as one of El Mundo Boston’s 30 Under 30 influential leaders. Most recently, she received an official Proclamation from the New York State Senate for her relentless commitment to helping the growing Honduran diaspora. In recognition of her exceptional leadership and devoted service, El Centro de MARIAS awarded her Leader of The Year 2017. In addition, she was recognized nationally by Eva Longoria’s Latino Victory Project, where tribute is paid to the achievements of Latinos who are pioneers in their fields. She attended Wheaton College where she received a BA in Urban Studies. During her years at Wheaton, she was a strong advocate of women’s rights and took part in many initiatives against gender based violence. While pursuing her degree, she interned at Chelsea’s Planning and Development department where she focused on improving housing conditions for residents. She also worked with the Trash Task Force to help recreate a sustainable method to dispose of trash and enforce a recycling program in Chelsea. In 2015, at the age of 23, Judith decided to run for office at Chelsea’s City Council. She garnered 60% of the vote and increased voter turnout by 101%. Her victory garnered local, national, and international recognition.
Chelsea City Councillor District 5
Julian Lopez-Leyva is a cubano-chicano advocate for nonviolent civic engagement. Alongside years of community organizing and mentoring across the D.C. and Boston areas, he organized as the catalyst and student leader for Boston’s March for Our Lives, with approximately 40,000 people in attendance. A criminal justice transfer student of Bunker Hill Community College and former intern with Suffolk County DA Rollins’ Office, he’s orienting towards law school and the mass-mobilization of Boston’s student population; hoping to further the causes of social, economic, and educational justice in a multilateral framework.
Advocate for Nonviolent Civic Engagement
Tere Ramos is an education, disability and civil rights attorney at Ramos Law LLC. She focuses her practice on special education and Social Security disability law, with emphasis in serving low income, limited English proficient families. She represents children with special needs and their families, as well as students who have faced bullying, harassment, or civil rights violations in school, and helps families access Social Security disability benefits. She is an expert on language access rights, especially regarding limited English proficient students with disabilities, presenting and publishing on both issues nationally. Prior to Ramos Law, Tere was a civil rights attorney at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, MA’s poverty law center, working on discrimination cases on behalf of limited English-speaking families across the state. Tere also worked as an attorney at the Disability Law Center (DLC), focusing on special education issues related to the Hispanic community across Massachusetts. Prior to joining DLC, Ms. Ramos was the executive director of Special Education Advocates. Tere received her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College, a master’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and her law degree from Boston College Law School. She two daughters, one is autistic. Her website is www.ramoseducation.com.
Education, Disability and Civil Rights Attorney at Ramos Law LLC
Springfield City Councilor Adam Gomez is a life long resident and true believer in the divinity of closely related issues that need to be tackled in the Black and Latino communities. It is those beliefs that have driven his years of advocacy work in criminal justice reform, immigrant rights, and social justice. Adam’s passion for helping people continues to catapult him into leadership positions like Home City Housing Board of Directors, Springfield Puerto Rican Day Parade Committee, Founding Member of the Collective Majority, Board of Directors of Hispanic American Library, Board of Directors of Neighbor to Neighbor Education Fund, President of Palante Theatre, Alpha Phi Alphas’ annual oratorical scholarship competition judge, and National Puerto Rican Day Parade Scholarship selection committee for the state of Massachusetts. Most importantly being an active father to his three beautiful children life is what he is most proud of.
As the Resident Service Coordinator/Property Manager for the Veterans Outreach Center of Massachusetts Inc. and business owner of a marketing and printing company, Brightwood Press, he believes in quality driven results. While Adam is all about building sustainable bridges he surely isn’t afraid to rock the boat either. Adam has fought alongside the North End Coalition for the rehabilitation of German Gerena Community School and collaborated with local Unions to ensure that Springfield residents receive access to sustainable wages and employment opportunities within the City.
As Chairman of the City’s Economic Development Sub-Committee Adam has been involved with notarized projects like: MGM Springfield, the development of market-rate & affordable housing, 1.5 million dollar renovation to the North River Park, and repair of other parks. His ability to build and maintain local, state-wide, and national relationships certainly makes him a champion of the community.
Springfield City Councilor
Adrian Velazquez currently serves as a Research Analyst at the Joint Committee on Financial Services in the Massachusetts Legislature. As part of his work he oversees the financial institutions and business legislation. In his capacity, he has worked on new legislation like the Transportation Network Company and Short Term Rental bills.
As an activist, Adrian co-founded the Harvard-MIT Puerto Rican Caucus, the Massachusetts Democratic Latino Caucus, and the Alliance for Puerto Rico (PR). He is a member of the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee. Since 2012, he has worked and advised multiple local, state and federal campaigns. He also has served as an adviser to the US Senate on the Puerto Rican Financial Crisis as well an adviser to State and Local governments on the Hurricane Maria recovery effort. He currently serves on the advisory committee of Mass United for Puerto Rico recovery fund.
A native of San Juan PR, he holds a master degree in liberal arts with a concentration in Government from Harvard University and Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School. Adrian is fluent in Spanish, German and he has a keen interest for international affairs, travel, history and aviation.
Research Analyst at Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Amaad was born and raised in Springfield, MA. He has spent his career advancing progressive public policy and advocating for his community. He previously held positions as the Director of Housing Policy at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, a Program Officer for The Massachusetts Service Alliance, where he managed an $11 million AmeriCorps grant portfolio, served as a Director for Babson College 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative and most recently the State Policy Director for United States Senator Ed Markey.
In 2011, he served as a Springfield City Councilor where he championed an anti-foreclosure ordinance to protect homeowners from predatory banks, stopped a biomass plant that would have posed a long-term public health problem, and expanded access to city services for non-English speakers.
Amaad received his undergraduate degree at Bentley University and attended graduate school at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Government Affairs and Political Advocate
Amanda is the CEO and co-founder of Latinos for Education, the first Latino-founded and led social enterprise solely dedicated to creating leadership pathways for emerging Latino latino leaders in the education sector. She has more than 25 years of experience in the private and nonprofit sectors with a focus on talent, leadership and Latino community engagement. Prior to her current role, she was the Vice President of Latino Community Partnerships at Teach for America, where she developed relationships with national Latino serving organizations to advance recruitment of Latino teachers and support Latino alumni. Amanda was a Director at The Bridgespan Group where she served as an organizational consultant to youth and education clients in support of their strategic planning efforts. She also spent seven years at Deloitte, an international professional services firm, where she focused on human capital consulting projects and diversity program management for Deloitte staff nationally.
She currently serves on the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Roxbury Community College Board of Trustees, the RISE Colorado advisory board and the CSC advisory board based in Chicago. She is a Fall 2015 Aspen Institute Pahara Fellow. Amanda holds an M.S. from Fordham University and lives in the Boston area with her spouse and two children.
CEO and Co-founder of Latinos for Education
Ana Nuncio currently serves as a member of the School Committee in Salem, Massachusetts. Before being elected to the School Committee in 2018, she managed community partnerships and educational programming for immigrant youth and their families at The House of the Seven Gables.
Ms. Nuncio is an immigrant, born in Mexico, now a naturalized citizen of the U.S. Although her early childhood years were spent mainly in Mexico and Puerto Rico, her family finally settled in Chicago, where she attended high school and college. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Roosevelt University in Chicago, majoring in English literature and Music (piano performance).
Before joining The House of the Seven Gables, she was Executive Editor of Bilingual Programs in the School Division of Houghton Mifflin Company in Boston.
Salem School Committee Member
Andy X. Vargas serves as State Representative for the 3rd Essex district. He was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives at 24 and previously served as a City Councilor in Haverhill, MA. He also led communications and marketing for Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll), a non-profit that fosters inclusive entrepreneurship in communities that need it most. Rep. Vargas is a graduate of Boston University (CAS ’15).
Rep. Vargas grew up on Arlington St. in Haverhill, Massachusetts. At a young age, his family moved from Cambridge to Haverhill, due to rising housing costs. Andy’s family immigrated from the Dominican Republic and played an active role in installing the values of humility, hard work, and service.
Rep. Vargas’s work in public service began in high school, when he helped craft a bi-partisan civics education bill as a youth organizer for Teens Leading The Way (TLTW)—a statewide coalition of young people from disenfranchised communities. In 2018, Rep. Vargas helped push a similar civics education bill through the legislature, which was ultimately signed by the Governor.
He attended Haverhill Public Schools. He founded Haverhill Baseball for All, which received baseball equipment donations to form a free league for inner-city youth. Andy was part of the Haverhill Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) team where he often visited middle schools to tutor students in the fields of math, science, and history, while also mentoring youth from challenging backgrounds.
Andy attended Boston University and received a Bachelor’s Degree, with a double major in Political Science and International Relations and a concentration in Foreign Policy and Security Studies. He is an inaugural member of the Boston University Pardee School of Global Studies. Seeking to continue his commitment to public service and community organizing, Andy founded the Boston University Political Action Organization (BUPAO), which brought together students, faculty, activists, law enforcement, and elected officials to discuss and take action on some of the most pressing issues facing students. Andy also served as the Director of the Department for City Affairs for BU’s Student Government.
While pursuing his degree, Andy interned at two offices in the Massachusetts State House, serving one Senator and one Representative throughout 2 years. He spent 5 months in Madrid, Spain, studying abroad and interning for the U.S. Embassy, under the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Commercial Service. He spent his time at the embassy by serving small to medium-sized U.S. businesses seeking to export their products to Spain. Andy successfully fostered partnerships between Spanish and U.S. companies, which contributed to the total growth of U.S. exports.
Andy served as a White House intern under the Obama Administration. While at the White House, Andy researched and wrote on issues pertaining to immigration, the economy, Latin America, and more. He served in the White House Office of Communications.
As a City Councilor, Andy focused on economic development, education, financial transparency, and support for public safety. In 2017, Andy was elected to serve as State Representative for the 3rd Essex District (MA House). He was recently re-elected. As Representative, Andy has successfully helped pass civic education reform, advanced legislation to address the opioid epidemic, and created a new public health grant to fund youth gun violence prevention. He resides in downtown Haverhill with his wife and Yankees fan, Rikelma.
Massachusetts State Representative, 3rd Essex
Arthur (Arturo) Natella has over ten years of political and public sector experience. Arturo started his career as an aide to Governor Deval Patrick. He went onto being a Regional Field Organizer for the Massachusetts Democratic Party. Arturo then became the 1st Congressional Deputy District Director for the 2010 Massachusetts Coordinated
Arthur (Arturo) Natella
Director of Communications for the Mayor’s Office of Health & Human Services for the City of Boston
Beth is the Director at the Massachusetts Voter Table and works with over 25 community organizations to increase voter turnout and civic leadership in communities of color and working-class people in Massachusetts. As the Director of MVT, Beth serves on the Steering Committees of Raise Up Massachusetts and the Election Modernization Coalition and convenes MassCounts, a coalition that works with nonprofits to achieve a complete count in the 2020 Census. Prior to joining MVT as the Field Coordinator in 2016, Beth worked at Jobs With Justice as the National Coordinator of the Student Labor Action Project. Beth is a senior trainer with the Midwest Academy. She hails from Wisconsin, where she became politicized through fights for workers’ rights and racial justice, and holds a bachelors of science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Director at the Massachusetts Voter Table
Douglas V Chavez is currently a political consultant and community activist. He is a cofounder and treasurer for the Massachusetts Democratic Latino Caucus.
Doug served in Governor Patrick’s administration as the Deputy Director of Compliance for DCAMM (Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance). He was also the Deputy Director for SOMWBA (State Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance). Through these positions his focus has been to increase economic opportunities for Minority and Women-owned businesses as well as workforce development for Minorities and Women across the state.
Prior to working for the Commonwealth, Doug served as the Constituency Director for the Deval Patrick Campaign where he focused on mobilizing voters in communities of color, especially in new immigrant enclaves where English is not the first language. Doug also served as a Deputy Finance Director for the campaign and was part of a fundraising team that raised $5.2 million dollars before Primary Day.
Prior to moving to Boston in 2005, Doug lived in New York City where he was the senior retail analyst for Sean “P. Diddy” Combs’ clothing line, Sean John. Previously he also worked as a Retail Planner and Associate Buyer for Macy’s department Stores.
Doug was born in the Bronx, NY and raised by immigrant parents. His mother is from Colombia and father from Costa Rica. He was awarded an A Better Chance, Inc. scholarship to attend Milton Academy. After graduating from Milton, Doug attended the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia where he pursued a BA in Communications. His passions include advocating for immigrant rights and developing networking opportunities and relationships for Latinos and other professionals of color. In 2013 Doug was named as one of the commonwealth’ most influential leaders in the Latino community as part of El Planeta’s Powermeter and was also recognized with an official resolution by the Boston City Council for his commitment to building a better Boston.
He currently lives in Hyde Park, MA.
Erika Rodriguez is the Executive Director at Chica Project. She is a well-known community organizer and non-profit leader in the City of Boston. Before leading Chica Project, Erika worked for Beantown Society, Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA), and The City School.
Erika is a first-generation Dominican, born and raised in Boston. She assisted Boston Public Schools and later was part of the METCO Program attending Concord-Carlisle Regional High School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Africana Studies from Simmons College. She is a recipient of the distinguished Boston Neighborhood Fellow Award issued by The Philanthropic Initiative and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh.
Her work with young underrepresented women is thoughtful, strategic, and visionary. Erika’s passion is to empower youth of color to analyze power and oppression in society and to embrace their gifts, strengths, and leadership through love and the spirit of community.
Executive Director, Chica Project
Gabriella is a fourth-generation East Bostonian. She is a proven advocate for working families and believes that city government can help to better people’s everyday lives. Coletta got her first campaign experience as field director for now-State Representative Adrian Madaro’s successful campaign in 2015 and subsequently served as his community outreach liaison. She is the outgoing Associate Director of the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus where she initiated programs to engage young women in the political process and helped to develop campaign strategy for their Political Action Committee. Coletta worked in U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey’s office in Washington, D.C through the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate Young Leaders Network Scholarship. She was also a legislative intern in the office of State Representative Aaron Michlewitz of the North End. In 2016, she was elected as Democratic State Committeewoman representing the First Suffolk and Middlesex Senate District during the presidential primary. She attended the University of Massachusetts at Boston and graduated from Boston Latin Academy.
Chief Of Staff for Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards
Gail Jackson – Blount is an independent consultancy specializing in key aspects of communications including public relations, fundraising, community outreach strategy, government affairs, new business development, event design, production and management. Our mission is to work with corporate and mission driven clients to increase brand awareness to support their desired goals, revenue growth and market share.
Jackson – Blount’s career includes work with private sector and non- profit organizations managing teams and budgets, crisis communications issues, marketing and public relations campaigns, designing and leading fundraising for strategic initiatives, designed & managed diversity marketing programs, created and implemented political campaign outreach strategies and produced large-scale business forums and creating galas boasting thousands of participants.
Her professional portfolio includes working as Chief Community Outreach Strategist for a US Senate Candidate; Senior Director for the United Way of Eastern Massachusetts and Merrimack Valley (MV) where she ran the MV Office, cultivated new and existing donors, launched a Women’s Initiative and hosted a Women’s Annual Fundraising Breakfast, worked with CEO to re-establish the city of Lowell as a workplace donor which generates millions annually. She served as the top MA executive for the 2004 Democratic National Convention (DNCC) where she brokered and fostered collaborative partnerships with government, businesses and the community, to ensure that the Convention invested money in MA Women and Minority Business Enterprises, and in the local economy.
A creative and strategic professional, Jackson-Blount has also worked as the Director of the Ad Club Foundation in Boston, Executive Director of Communications at Roxbury Community College, Director of Public Information for Action for Boston Community Development, Inc., one of the nation’s oldest and largest antipoverty agencies, and as global communications consultant at Wang Laboratories, Inc. She began her career in radio broadcasting, retail sales, and in city, state and federal government roles.
A native Bostonian, Jackson-Blount is the past president and current Board Member for the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, and serves on the Board of the American Civil Liberties Union of MA. She’s a frequent moderator, and speaker on women in politics, leadership and the importance of mentoring. Gail and her husband Ray reside in Quincy, MA.
Founder and Principal of
Gladys Vega joined the Chelsea Collaborative in 1990 and became executive director in 2006. She has worked as an organizer and an advocate to insure that the Latino community has a role in determining the ways its needs and concerns are addressed. She believes that empowerment of the individual leads to empowerment of the community and that social action is the vehicle an empowered community can use to achieve its goals.
Gladys is the architect of most of the Collaborative’s community coalitions and has played leadership roles in organizing for immigrants’ rights, tenants’ rights, welfare rights, open space and the environment, multicultural and anti-racism programs, and in numerous grassroots campaigns.
Executive Director at Chelsea Collaborative
Gloribell Mota is a native East Bostonian with a long history of civic engagement and political activism. She serves not only as Program Manager for MassVOTE but also leads Neighbors For A United East Boston (NUBE). Mota also led the training and education sectors for the Massachusetts Democratic Party. Mota is an Emerson Alumnae.
Co-Director | Lead Coordinator at MassVOTE Neighbors United for a Better East Boston
Jonathan Rodrigues is a national organizer with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) working to support grassroots labor and community coalitions throughout the country. Prior to joining the AFT in February 2019, he worked as an organizer for the Boston Teachers Union in their community engagement efforts. At the BTU his main roles included taking lead roles with its annual Back to School Fair, Parent2Parent Conference and Summer Organizing Institute as well as representing it at local coalition tables such as the Boston Ed Justice Alliance and Mass. Ed Justice Alliance. Jonathan continues to co-facilitate a new coalition in the PILOT Action Group as part of his work at the BTU. In 2018 he was part of co-writing a comprehensive report on the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program in Boston that has helped the city with recommendations for improving the program. Jonathan holds a B.A. in Political Science and Latin American Studies from the University of Chicago where he first began is career in immigrant rights organizing. He currently lives in Dorchester.
National Organizer at American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
Juan Jaramillo has been a life long community organizer and activist. In his early years in high school, having experienced being an undocumented immigrant from Colombia, Juan joined organizing via the Student Immigrant Movement during high school which sparked his interest in social justice. At 19 years of age after graduating high school, Juan became the first person of color to run for city-wide office in Revere, where he grew up. After the election he became program director for a grass roots organization in Revere, Revere Youth in Action (RYiA), while working as a janitor and going to school full time at UMASS Boston. In 2016 after leaving RYiA, Juan became the field director for then-candidate, now State Senator Joe Boncore, and subsequently his Legislative Director until March of 2019 when he joined the political team at SEIU 32BJ.
Political Coordinator at SEIU
Juan Carlos Morales is a financial executive with over a decade of global experience in strategic finance, business management and growth planning. Juan Carlos most recently served as Chief Financial Officer for TIAA Global Asset Management (TGAM) and successfully co-lead the $6 billion-dollar acquisition of Nuveen Investments. The deal was the third largest transaction in the history of the asset management industry and catapulted TGAM to become one of the largest asset managers globally, with approximately $1 trillion of assets under management (AUM).
Previously, Juan Carlos served as a banking and asset management executive, where he served as chief financial officer for global investments management firms with over $4 trillion in assets under management. In that capacity, he was the key financial architect behind the firms’ growth and profitability agenda and led global teams through several transformation initiatives including acquisitions, divestitures and restructurings. He was recognized by the Boston Business Journal as ‘CFO of the Year” in 2009.
Juan Carlos began his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers after graduating cum laude from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst on a merit scholarship. He is a first-time passer of the National Uniform CPA examination.
Recently, Juan Carlos was appointed by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to serve on the state’s first Latino Advisory Commission and on the Board of Directors of MassDevelopment, the state’s primary economic development agency, stimulating business and driving growth by originating over $4 billion in capital transactions every year. Juan Carlos’ other Board responsibilities have included Nuveen Investments, Boston Medical Center, Big Sisters Association, The Partnership Inc., and Wheelock College. He is the co-founder of The Latino Legacy Fund at The Boston Foundation and the Boston Chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA).
Juan Carlos Morales
Managing Partner at Surfside Capital Advisors
Former State Representative Juana Matias migrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic at the age of five and settled in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Her parents worked blue-collar jobs to make ends meet. Her father spent more than 17 years at Polartec as a Machine Operator in Malden Mills, and mother worked for Central Metal Finishing as a precision finisher.
Their hard work and perseverance served as an inspiration to Juana and helped instill the values of integrity, empathy, courage, and responsibility. Juana believes in the significance of service to others, including one’s own community, to bring about social change, and fix our government.
Juana attended Haverhill public schools and through scholarships, loans, and part-time jobs, paid her way through college and law school. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston with Bachelor degree in Political Science and Criminal Justice, and received a Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School in 2014. After graduating from law school, Juana dedicated years of her career to public service by enlisting in AmeriCorps as a Justice AmeriCorps Legal Advocate. There she served as an immigration advocate seeking humanitarian based immigration relief for unaccompanied children in removal proceedings.
Prior to her service with AmeriCorps, Juana served the Lawrence community as a social worker, where she assisted families and children who had suffered abuse, and neglect. She provided foster children and foster parents with a wide range of support and social services. This experience further instilled in her, that through service to others, she could have a positive impact in the lives of ordinary people, especially those in need.
In 2014, Juana ran for State Representative against a long-time incumbent, and shocked the political world by winning an improbable primary. She became one of the first Latina immigrant women elected to the Massachusetts State House.
As a State Representative, Juana sponsored key legislation to make college affordable, protect immigrant rights, promote access to minority owned/women owned businesses, address inequities in our public school system and expand opportunities for working class Americans. When a horrific crime that included kidnapping of a teenager and lack of response shocked residents across Massachusetts, Juana stepped up to bring local community groups, activists, state and local police agencies together to find solutions and protect future victims.
Juana believes we need to continue to fight to elect servant leaders who represent people over politics, and country over party. Her commitment and passion lies in working to eradicate racial, social and economic inequities and ensure that every person has an opportunity to achieve the American dream.
Chief Operating Officer at MassINC
Judy Zaunbrecher joined the LWV of Concord-Carlisle in 2015. She is currently a LWVMA Board member and LWVMA Voter Service Co-Chair. She continues to be active in her local League as Voter Service Chair.
Judy joined the LWV because of its long history of encouraging citizen involvement in all levels of government, its advocacy based on careful study of the issues, and its non-partisan stance. Her interests include increasing voter registration, voter education, and voter participation amongst all citizens—especially young people. Judy is interested in how various civic groups with common goals and values can collaborate to increase civic participation.
Judy is a retired R&D executive in the food and consumer products industry. She has a BA in Biochemistry and Masters of Chemical Engineering from Rice University. She serves on the Town of Concord Natural Resources Commission and was a member of the Concord’s Long Range Plan Committee.
Voter Service Co-Chair at League of Women Voters of Massachusetts
Laurie Nsiah-Jefferson is currently the interim director for the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at UMass Boston, and graduate program director for the Gender, Leadership and Public Policy graduate certificate program. In 2018 she was a Visiting Professor in the same program. She has held faculty and senior scientist positions at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, where she was affiliated with the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy, the Institute on Assets and Social Policy, and the Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy.
In prior academic roles, Nsiah-Jefferson has headed efforts related to diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Heller School, and was the concentration head for women, gender, and sexuality studies for the Master’s in Public Policy Program. Nsiah-Jefferson has served as affiliate faculty with the Health, Science, Society and Policy Program, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Program, and the African and Afro-American Studies Department at Brandeis University. She is also an affiliate of the Intersectionality Institute for Policy and Research, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia. She was recently appointed associate research professor at the University of North Carolina, College of Health and Human Services.
Nsiah-Jefferson earned a PhD in social policy with a concentration in Health Policy/ Health Services from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, and a master’s in women and gender studies from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Brandeis University. She also received a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) degree in Health Services Administration from Yale University School of Medicine, Dept. of Epidemiology and Public Health. In addition she holds a BA in African and Afro-American studies and politics from Brandeis University.
Interim Director for the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at UMass Boston
Dr. Lorna Rivera
Director of the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development & Public Policy
Marcela has more than 10 years experience in economic development, research and strategy consulting. She has worked closely with public, private and nonprofit organizations to help address social and economic challenges in the US and abroad. Currently she works as a Senior Analyst at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce for the Pacesetters initiative, a collective private effort aimed at increasing opportunities for small ethnic minority owned businesses.
Prior to joining the Boston Chamber, Marcela worked at Harvard Business School (HBS) as a Research Associate at the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness led by Professor Michael Porter, and at HBS online education division. She also worked at McKinsey Research Center where she supported multiple engagements related to US competitiveness. Marcela currently serves in the board of ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals For America) as the Chief Content Officer, and holds a Master in International Economics and Finance from Brandeis University (MAIEF 09), an MBA from Nebrija University in Spain, and a business degree from UNITEC in Honduras.
Senior Manager, Economic Growth at
Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
Elena was born in El Salvador. She attended Oberlin College-Conservatory where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in piano performance and music history, and the University of Massachusetts Boston where she earned a Ph.D. in public policy.
Elena has 30 years of experience working and serving the nonprofit sector as volunteer, organizer, activist, teacher, director, and consultant.
Between 1999 and 2008, Elena directed Centro Presente, an immigrant rights organization in the Greater Boston area. During her tenure, she led a change process that transformed Centro Presente into a member driven organization. In 2005, Elena’s work was recognized when she was selected to be part of the Barr Foundation’s inaugural class of Fellows.
Currently, Elena directs Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts, a membership organization of working-class, low-income, people of color and immigrants dedicated to building power to achieve racial, economic and environmental justice.
Maria Elena Letona, Ph.D.
Director at Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts
Mary Skelton Roberts is a co-director for Climate, focusing on transportation and land use—two critical levers for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Her portfolio aims to modernize our transit systems and to help communities transform themselves into more walkable, connected places where all residents have attractive alternatives to driving and spend far less time and money traveling by car.
Prior to joining Barr in 2009, Mary was a consultant specializing in problem-solving and dispute resolution of complex corporate, environmental, and public-policy issues. She has worked extensively with nonprofit, government, and private-sector clients in the United States and internationally. She currently serves on the national boards of Hispanics in Philanthropy and the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities. In Boston she volunteers her time with organizations focused on preventing child homelessness, improving animal welfare, and supporting cultural enrichment for Latino children.
Mary holds a master’s degree in city planning with concentrations in consensus-building and environmental policy and planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She also holds mediation and facilitation accreditations from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and from the Center for Dispute Resolution in London, England, where she served as lead faculty. She is bilingual, bi-cultural, and a native Spanish-speaker. During her spare time Mary delights in mothering her rambunctious 11-year-old, preventing her dog, Scooter, from catching the squirrels at the Arnold Arboretum, and, when she’s feeling really adventurous, practicing her salsa moves.
Mary Skelton Roberts
Co-Director for Climate at Barr Foundation
Mayra Macias grew up on the South Side of Chicago in the working class home of immigrant parents. Mayra attended Yale University, where she double-majored in American Studies and Ethnicity, Race & Migration. After graduating, Mayra moved to Miami to work with Teach for America as a middle school Language Arts teacher in Liberty City at Charles R. Drew Middle School.
For three years, Mayra worked with the Florida Democratic Party, first as the Hispanic Outreach Director for South Florida and then as the Deputy Political Director where she helped flip the Sarasota City Council. Mayra left Florida as part of the Capitol Hill Fellowship where she transitioned from politics to policy, working for the Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro.
Mayra returned to sunny Florida the summer of 2016 as the Florida Democratic Party’s Political Director — becoming the first Latina to hold this position. During this past election cycle, Mayra had the opportunity to advocate for immigrants, Latinos, and millenials on various national platforms, including on CNN’s New Day with Andrew Cuomo and has been recognized as one of Florida’s #BossGirls.
Vice President at Latino Victory Project
As Director of Small Business, Natalia’s extensive knowledge of Boston’s neighborhoods and the small business community compliment her experience in creating growth strategies and building partnerships across community stakeholders. Natalia manages a 12-person staff focused on tracking and producing research on local and national trends to inform decision making about small business development tools, coordinates with local residents and existing businesses to ensure that there is a strategic and policy-driven approach to growth without displacement, and works with residents and other City officials to remove any barriers to do business in the City of Boston. Natalia manages and oversees the distribution of the more than $3 million in small business resources under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program and the more than $3 million in investment in small business within and outside of the 20 Boston Main Streets Districts. She directs and implements Mayor Walsh’s 2016 Small Business Plan to provide coordinated service delivery and economic opportunity for Boston’s 40,000 small businesses.
Previously, Urtubey served as the Executive Director of Imagine Boston 2030, working to implement the first citywide plan. She was responsible for ensuring the first planning process in more than 50 years was representative of Boston residents’ vision and concerns. In this role, Urtubey was instrumental in keeping the process visible and accessible to all Bostonians. She brought community leaders together and identified opportunities for collaboration. Natalia received her Master in Public Administration from Suffolk University in 2012. Natalia is a proud homeowner in Dorchester and serves on the board for several local nonprofits, including the Dorchester YMCA, Future Chefs, and Hyde Square Task Force.
Additionally, Natalia started the Mayor’s Latinx Employee Resource Group (ERG) and currently serves as the liaison to the Diversity Officefor the ERG. The Latinx ERG is comprised of more than 50 Latinx employees from around the City.
Director of Small Business, Executive Director of Imagine Boston 2030 for the City of Boston
Nikko Mendoza is the state director for the 116th Congress for U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. She held this position since 2017. Mendoza previously served in the administration of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and the late Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.
Before joining Senator Warren’s office, Mendoza worked as communications director at the Massachusetts division of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the Commonwealth’s largest healthcare union representing nearly 60,000 members. Mendoza also served for over three years in the administration of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick as Director of Operations, promoting the administration’s growth and opportunity policy agenda through strategic management and execution of gubernatorial events across Massachusetts, the U.S. and abroad. Before that, she served as Governor Patrick’s Deputy Director of Government Affairs, advancing the administration’s legislative and policy priorities, including legislation to address the rising cost of healthcare and proposals to curb youth violence. Mendoza began her career in the office of Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino as a summer intern and ultimately became Assistant Director of Neighborhood Services, managing daily operations of the department responsible for strengthening relationships with civic, community and business organizations and collaborating with city agencies to provide constituent services.
State Director, Senator Elizabeth Warren at United States Senate
Dr. Raul Fernandez is the Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at BU’s Wheelock College of Education & Human Development and a lecturer in Wheelock’s Higher Education Administration program. He is an accomplished educator, with thousands of people having attended his workshops at campuses, conferences and organizations around the country and internationally.
He is an elected Select Board Member in Brookline, MA and an appointee to the Racial Imbalance Advisory Council of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. He is also the co-creator of the popular Wide Lens film series at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, which seeks to explore underrepresented perspectives through film and conversation.
Raul’s signature workshop Blind Spots challenges participants to examine their background, beliefs and biases while identifying areas where they can do the work and grow. He’s facilitated versions of Blind Spots and other workshops for deans, faculty and administrators, doctors and nurses, lawyers and social workers, teachers and tutors, resident assistants, campus activities boards and orientation leaders.
Dr. Raul Fernandez
Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at Boston University’s Wheelock College of Education & Human Development & Brookline Select Board Member
Sol Carbonell is part of the Boston Fed community development leadership team. She oversees the Strategic Engagements Team, which focuses on promoting the economic strength of low-income communities by understanding and documenting how individuals, families and businesses experience the economy, and leveraging the research and convening power of the Fed to inform policy and practice. The team’s highest priorities include furthering the Fed’s maximum employment mandate by identifying and promoting practices that help increase the quality of jobs available to low-wage workers in New England, understanding and addressing the root causes of racial wealth inequality and promoting a more inclusive economy. She also serves on the leadership team for the Fed System’s Investing in America’s Workforce efforts.
Carbonell holds a Master in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and certificates of the MIT Sloane School of Management. She has completed a number of fellowships and served as an advisor to national and regional organizations, including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the Association of Latinos for America. She is a member of the Board of Overseers at the Boston Museum of Science and was recently appointed to the Board of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. She has received numerous awards for her community contributions, including recognitions by Congress, InBusiness Magazine and the Boston Business Journal.
Assistant Vice President, Regional and Community Outreach at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Sonia Chang-Díaz is the first Latina elected to the Massachusetts State Senate, where she represents eight neighborhoods in Boston. Sen. Chang-Díaz’s mother instilled in her the conviction that leadership, at its heart, is about service. She began her career as a teacher in Lynn and Boston public schools, an experience that taught her about the challenges facing students, teachers and parents, and the role state government can play in improving the educational system. Since being sworn into office in 2009, Sen. Chang-Díaz has been widely recognized as a champion for public education, criminal justice reform and increasing opportunities for low-income and immigrant communities. Additionally, she has been a voice for those affected by foreclosures, hate crimes and youth violence. Sen. Chang-Díaz serves as the senate chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities and the Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy. She is also the vice chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, and serves as a member of the Joint Committees on Election Laws, Financial Services, and Public Safety and Homeland Security.
Massachusetts State Senator, Second Suffolk
Yulkendy is a social entrepreneur, storyteller, and public speaker. As the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Forefront, she helps businesses and their leaders enable their cultural competence and inclusive leadership skills to meet the demands of the emergent workforce. Yulkendy brings a diverse set of both corporate and nonprofit experience to the table. She’s worked with Bank of America, EY, Puma, and Innosight Consulting as well as the International Institute of St. Louis and Betty Jean Kerr People’s Centers. While working in social impact, Yulkendy’s work focused on community-based projects ranging from financial equity for low-income immigrants to affordable health care. Yulkendy has received numerous fellowships including the Resolution Project, Young People For, Opportunity Nation Leaders Program, Future Founders Fellowship, Net Impact Racial Equity Fellowship, Harvard Kennedy School Public Policy Leadership Conference, One Young World, StartingBloc, and PPIA Indiana University. She is a proud alumna of Babson College, #1 school for entrepreneurship. More recently, she was named one of the Latino 30 Under 30 honorees by El Mundo Boston and a top millennial in Boston by Get Konnected. With roots in her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, Yulkendy has traveled to over 30+ countries for work and for fun.
Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Forefront
Pedro “FLAKO” Cruz is a Boston born and raised Boricua creative, specializing in documentary photography and spoken word. His longtime love for art and passion for social change has helped him grown into the community artist he is today. When he isn’t diving deep into his creative process, he is Directing a Youth Development Program in the South End area of Boston. Working with local youth, exploring social justice topics through art exploration. He aims to continue creating pieces and spaces that inspire others like him to think and create.
Opening Session Performer
Pedro “FLAKO” Cruz
Spoken Word Artist and Documentary Photographer
Jorge Arce, M.Ed. 1995, Harvard University; B.A. Boston Conservatory of Music (musical-theater),1985, University of Puerto Rico’s Drama Department (1969-1974) Puerto Rican showcased artist. Actor, singer, composer, dancer, choreographer, graphic artist, and educator. Broad experience as an actor in local, international and world festivals, among them: France (1974), Venezuela (1974-1976), Panamá (1976), Colombia (1976) and First NY Latino Festival Off Broadway (1976). As a dancer performed and choreographed for Ballet de San Juan (Puerto Rico, 1974-1978), Raíces Puerto Rican Jazz Dance Group (1972-1976), and Pisotón Modern Jazz Group (Puerto Rico, Founding member (1976-1979). Member and recording artist for Trio Integración (Puerto Rico, 1972-1976), (Atabal (Puerto Rico, 1979-1983), Haciendo Punto en Otro Son (Puerto Rico, 1978-Present), Raíz de Plena (Puerto Rico and Boston 2003- Present, founder and director), Humano(1987-2001 / Boston Music Awards 1991, founder and director), and his Puerto Rican Bomba-dance project Bombazo Boricua (2011-Present). Recently, released his last recording production entitled Compilations/ Compilación 1993-2013. In 1972, created Puerto Rican version of La Muralla (Nicolas Guillén-Quilapayún), recorded by Haciendo Punto in 1977, one of the most important contribution of the history of Latin American music. Founded Humano Multicultural Project in 1987. Since then, shares cultural values with his one-person-show Afro-Caribeño throughout US and Puerto Rico. Awards recipient, enjoys recognition locally and abroad.
Closing Session Performer
Actor, Singer, Composer, Dancer, Choreographer
Sandra “Sasi” Marcelino, , is an electric exciting multifaceted performer and historian who maintains a lifelong passion for the cultural investigation and preservation of Afro-Caribbean traditions and folklore through Dance & Music. With over 20 years of performance and choreography experience in Ballet, Jazz, Modern, African, Afro-Cuban, Salsa, Hip-Hop, Bomba, and Plena, Sasi collaborates with organizations around the world to train and educate in Latin and Afro-Caribbean lore and history through a combination of dance, music, and theater games that promote cultural healing and individual expression,. Driven by the clave, the drums, and her diverse knowledge of African dance, Her belief is that dance & music are an integral tool for social change and cultural awareness.. , Sasi is an official member of the MetaMovements Artist Collective, Lead Afro-Latin Instructor with the Boston Ballet and continues to surround herself with other passionate artists and social justice advocates promoting healthy living and community building.Sasi started her career as performer and dance historian, debuting as the youngest dancer, only 12 at the time , with Back porch Dance Company in Cambridge MA in the 1990’s. She later began her exploration of Afro-Boricua Lore with Celia Ayala Bomba Dance Company. Sasi started touring in the 1990’s with the Humano Multicultural Project and and currently performs with Raiz de Plena as a singer and percussionist, Sasi is currently working on her own Band/album and happily continues to collaborate with different Band and dance collectives locally , internationally and nationwide.
Closing Session Performer
Sandra “Sasi” Marcelino
Dancer & Choreographer
OUR PLANNING COMMITTEE
Cheryl Clyburn Crawford
Elke A. Trilla-Bamani
Mary Ann Ashton
Sendy Vaughn Suazo
Tariana V. Little
Call for Conference Ambassadors!
We’re calling our Amplifiers to help us with our biggest event of the year: The Amplify Conference: Claiming our Power on Saturday, June 1st 12-7 pm. The Conference will convene more than 400 Latinx leaders from across the Commonwealth to recognize our Latinx electeds, community activists and policy makers.
This is a great opportunity to engage with valuable members of our Latinx network, learn more about the state of the Latinx community in the Massachusetts and enjoy a beautiful afternoon by the sea, at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute.
Become a Sponsor
We invite you to become a sponsor organization for our 3rd Amplify Conference. Your support will help the development of a coalition that builds Latinx economic and political power by significantly increasing Latinx civic engagement and representation in leadership positions across sectors.