We measure success in many different ways. On the playing field athletes measure it in victories. In academia it is measured by accreditation. In public service, by election or appointment to higher office. Business success is typically gauged in terms of financial performance. But whatever the field of endeavor, a benchmark common to all levels of success is the degree to which an individual influences others. In that regard, it is impossible to overlook the influence that the Latino community has had on the state of Georgia.
Through the years Georgia has experienced great economic development and cultural enrichment due to the diverse and vibrant makeup of its residents including, significantly, the Latino community. Of the over 1,000,000 Latinos living in Georgia many have taken it upon themselves to serve in various capacities of leadership. And through their efforts, improve lives and create opportunities for growth.
To recognize the accomplishments of these gifted leaders, the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce presents the first annual “50 Most Influential Latinos in Georgia.” The nominations of the men and women selected for this prestigious honor have gone through a rigorous process to evaluate contributions they have made. Weighing heavily on the final selection was the degree of influence each person exhibited in their role as a representative of the Latino community. It is one thing to be successful but quite another to ensure others are successful as well. For that positive influence, the GHCC is thankful and is delighted to recognize the “50 Most Influential Latinos in Georgia” for 2018.
On behalf of our wonderful judges, we are honored to introduce the 2018 awardees of The 50 Most Influential Latinos in Georgia . This year, out of more than 450 worthy applications received, the judges chose 50 outstanding awardees.
Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights
Since 2000, Adelina Nicholls has overseen, coordinated, and carried out the efforts to develop grassroots leaders and organizations within Georgia’s Latino immigrant communities in order to defend and advance Latinos’ civil and human rights at the Coordinating Council of Community Leaders. Originally from Mexico City, Adelina studied sociology at the Autonomous National University of México (UNAM), where she later taught courses in sociology, social theory, social research techniques, and methodology in the Political and Social Science College.
To this date (2018) Adelina has dedicated to facilitate the creation of Comites Populares around the state and developed within a collective leadership among immigrants in the state of Georgia in the struggle for Human Rights, and since 2007 Adelina has continued her organizing efforts as the Executive Director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights
Adelina has received recognition as well as a number of awards for her work in community organizing and human rights, including the MALDEF Award Community Service (2001), the ACLU Georgia Civil and Human Rights Award (2008), Mundo Hispánico’s Best Organization of the Year (2013), and a National recognition on 2015 with the U.S. Human Rights Movement Builders Award, in (2016) she received the “Daniel Levi Award” National distinction from the National Immigration Project (National Lawyers Guild) and in 2018 she has received the WAND National Community Legacy Award for one of Georgia’s most effective community organizers focused on leadership development in Latino communities.
Ana María Martinez Staff
Attorney to the Hon. Dax E. Lopez
State Court of Dekalt County
Ana María Martinez is a Staff Attorney to the Hon. Dax E. López in the State Court of DeKalb County. Outside of work, she dedicates her time to various legal and community organizations. In 2015, she co-founded the Georgia Latino Law Foundation (“GLLF”). The GLLF’s mission is to increase diversity in the legal profession by supporting the Latino legal community pipeline. The GLLF focuses on educating and empowering Latinos with an interest in the law. As President, she oversees the organization’s Law Day, Leadership Academy and Mentoring Program, and Fellowship Program.
She is currently the only Latina serving on the State Bar of Georgia’s Board of Governors. She also serves on the boards of the Georgia Hispanic Bar Association, the Latino Community Fund, and the Lamar Inn of Court.
Originally from Manizales, Colombia, Ana María Martinez has been a resident of the metro-Atlanta area since age 12. She received her B.B.A. in Marketing, cum laude, from The University of Georgia in 2004. She obtained her J.D., cum laude and with Pro Bono distinction, from the Georgia State University College of Law in 2009.
Ana Maria is married to Mario Martinez, Jr. Together they are the proud parents of Liliana (6) and Elena (2).
Latin American Association
Aníbal Torres was named executive director of the Latin American Association in September 2015, after serving as interim executive director for three months. He served on the board of the LAA from 2008 until 2015, most recently as chair.
Throughout his decades-long career in publishing, Torres has held senior-level executive positions with a variety of media companies in the U.S., as well as in Latin America, where he worked for McGraw-Hill. Torres served as publisher of MundoHispánico, Atlanta’s largest Spanish-language newspaper, from 2007 to 2013. Prior to that, he was vice president and general manager of the Tribune Co.’s Hoy Spanish-language newspaper in New York City and publisher of the Tribune’s El Sentinel in Orlando, Fla. He has a distinguished record of community service and involvement.
Torres has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Dayton in Ohio.
A native of Puerto Rico, Torres has also lived in Colombia and Panama.
Anna R. Cablik
Anna R. Cablik was born and raised in the Republic of Panama, where she obtained a degree in Medical Technology from the Canal Zone College. After finishing her studies, she got married to Jerry C. Cablik and together they came to Atlanta in 1974. She started out working at Piedmont
Hospital, after two years, she had an opportunity to change jobs and in 1976 she started working with a construction materials company. She stayed there for seven years, progressing from clerk to Vice President of the Company. In 1982 she left her position to start her first company: ANATEK, INC., a contracting company that specializes in highway bridges.
After leading ANATEK, INC. to become one of the largest Hispanic owned firms in Georgia, Ms. Cablik started ANASTEEL & Supply Company, LLC in 1994. ANASTEEL is the only Hispanic/female owned reinforcing steel fabricator in the Southeast, and possibly the United States.
In 2001, Mrs. Cablik joined forces with Mark Massmann and started a third company: MassAna Construction LLC. MassAna is a general contractor specializing in heavy construction. In 2006 she sold her ownership interest in MassAna Construction.
Mrs. Cablik was a partner in PanAmerican Logistics, LLC, a logistics company that operated the Perishables Center at the Atlanta Airport; and CAMANA Holdings, LLC, a real estate holding company sold in 2017.
Anthony P. Rodriguez
Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director
Aurora Theatre opened in the summer of 1996 and Anthony Rodriguez and Ann-Carol Pence (Co-Founder and Associate Producer) established Aurora Theatre, Inc. as a non-profit organization in 1999. Under their leadership, the theatre grew from 120 season subscribers to the 5100 subscribers Aurora Theatre currently boasts. Mr. Rodriguez’s greatest accomplishment to date was the successful negotiation to relocate Aurora Theatre to downtown Lawrenceville Georgia where it serves as the cornerstone for their revitalization. Aurora’s accomplishments include: Learning Library an educational theatre program, Aurora’s Apprenticeship for recent college graduates, Aurora Academy and Conservatory where students learn from working professionals, and Teatro Aurora a professional Spanish-language theatre company that was created to highlight Latinx cultural heritage and to help build social bridges in our community. Anthony is the Immediate Past Chair of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, he was the first Latino and Arts leader to serve in that position and is also past Chair of Partnership Gwinnet. Mr. Rodriguez is a member of Screen Actor’s Guild, Theatre Communications Group, and the national steering committee for the Latinx Theatre Commons. Mr. Rodriguez is a graduate of Marist High School, the University of Georgia, the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Regional Leadership Institute and the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures’ Leadership Institute and Advocacy Institute.
Belisa M. Urbina
Ser Familia, INC
Ms. Urbina was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She studied Business Administration at the University of Puerto Rico and graduated as Valedictorian of her class. She moved to Georgia in 1999. On 2001 she co-founded Ser Familia, Inc. which is the leading program in
Georgia providing coordinated multi-disciplinary family, social and mental health services to Latinos.
She is a member of Cobb County’s 2020 Steering Committee and Kennestone Hospital’s Regional Board of Directors past chairperson. On 2012 she was named by Womentics as one of the Women of the year. On 2014, she was chosen as one the 11WhoCare®by Atlanta’s 11 Alive Channel. On 2015 she received the “Family Advocacy Award” from the Interfaith Children’s Movement. In 2017 she was honoured by the Georgia Women’s Legislative Caucus with the Nikki T Randall Servant Leadership Award. That year she was also recognized with the NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award by the Atlanta Falcons. In 2018, Gideon’s Promise gave her the Community Impact Award and the Atlanta Braves chose her along with her husband as Community Heroes.
She has been married to her husband Miguel for 33 years and is the proud mother of 5 children and grandmother of 5.
Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications & Administrative Services
Roberto I. Jimenez is senior vice president of corporate communications and administrative services at Cox Enterprises, a leading communications, media and automotive services company. Jimenez serves as the communications counsel to members of the executive team and leads the management of the company’s brand, reputation and strategic communications across Cox Enterprises.
He is responsible for leading internal and external communications; digital communications; public affairs; issues management and crisis preparedness; creative studio; as well as corporate social responsibility and corporate giving. He also oversees the company’s meeting and event management services, audio/visual production and corporate travel teams serving as an enterprise-wide resource for the company’s 60,000 employees.
Prior to joining Cox in 2003 as director of corporate communications, Jimenez was a director of global communications and international marketing at AFC Enterprises, the franchisor and operator of more than 4,000 restaurants, bakeries and cafés around the world. In 1999, he joined the Walt Disney World Resort as manager of public affairs serving as official spokesperson for the 49-square mile resort. He was responsible for public affairs, issues management, crisis communications and diversity public relations.
In 1997, Jimenez launched Jiménez Pinzón International, a multicultural marketing communications consultancy, specializing in Hispanic, market-entry strategies. In 1992, he served as administrative director of marketing and public relations for Florida Hospital, the nation’s largest Medicare provider and leading cardiac center. Jimenez started his communications career as director of public relations at Opera Orlando in 1989.
Jimenez serves on the board of the Latin American Association as the organization’s Past Chair. He also serves as a member of the Board of Advisors for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, The Alliance Theatre and Mount Paran Christian School. He is a member of the Arthur W. Page Society and The Seminar. Previously, he served on the boards of Leadership Atlanta, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, the United Way of Greater Atlanta, the National Hispanic Corporate Council and the Elon University School of Communications.
Jimenez earned a master’s of business administration degree with an emphasis in marketing and international business from Rollins College and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Southern Adventist University, where he was recognized as alumnus of the year in 2015. That same year, he was recognized by with the Individual Achievement Award by La Amistad, and in 2017 with the Leadership Excellence Award at the National Diversity Council Georgia Leadership Conference. Jimenez is an IABC/Atlanta Catalyst Award winner and past co-chair of the Diversity Committee for the Public Relations Society of America’s Georgia Chapter. Hispanic Business magazine named Jimenez as one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in America in 2007.
Brenda Lopez, Rep.
Attorney Brenda Lopez made history last fall when she became the first Hispanic woman elected to the Georgia General Assembly, representing House District 99 in Gwinnett County. She was sworn in January 2017 and is one of two Latino representatives in the General Assembly. She sits on the education, retirement and state planning & community affairs committees. Representative Lopez is a rising star in Georgia politics.
As the principal attorney at The Lopez Firm, Representative Lopez handles removal and family-based immigration cases.
Representative Lopez was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States at age 5. She is a product of DeKalb County Schools and graduated from Cross Keys High School in Brookhaven. She received a bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology from Georgia State University and, after working as a paralegal and in advocacy for three years, she graduated law school from Syracuse University. She has focused on international law, national security, and comparative politics in her academic career.
While in law school, Representative Lopez worked as a clerk for the Georgia Legal Services Program, the American Civil Liberties Union, and interned for a trial judge in Morelos, Mexico, where she is from. After law school, she worked as a staff attorney with Catholic Charities before opening her solo practice. In early 2015, she decided to run for office.
Representative Lopez is involved in political, legal, and education advocacy and has volunteered with organizations such as GALEO (the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials) and Amnesty International. She is particularly passionate about education and access to education for Dreamers, immigrants who were brought to this country as children. She is most proud of her volunteer work as a GED instructor with the adult education program at the Marist School.
Representative Lopez serves as vice chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia’s Latino Caucus. She is member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association and Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Cesar Y Abadia
Vice President Business
Banking Area Manager
JP Morgan and Chase
Cesar Y. Abadia is an area manager for Chase Business Banking, which provides deposit, credit and cash management services to small business owners and lower middle market clients; overseeing a team of business relationship managers in Metro Atlanta.
Cesar joined Chase Bank in 2012 and has over 16 years of experience in the financial services industry serving in various different roles and capacities in Atlanta. He has been recognized by his firm as a National Achiever for the last 4 years and in 2017 he was recipient of the prestigious President’s Club award. In addition to his professional role at the firm, he enjoys helping and coaching others on their career development. He is also the Co-Chair and Founder for Chase’s business resource group, Adelante SE Chapter, a Community Ambassador, and South Division’s Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador.
Cesar is highly motivated and involved in the Community. He is a volunteer of Habitat for Humanity, Junior Achievement and supporter of Carry the Load, an organization that honors and celebrates the sacrifices made by our nation’s heroes (military, law enforcement, firefighters and first responders). He currently serves as a member of the Board of Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia, a member of Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Chairman’s Club Member at Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. He was a former Member of the board of the Cottage School and Boy Scouts of America, Atlanta Chapter.
Cesar was born and raised in San German, Puerto Rico. He attended Colegio San Jose (San German, PR). He continued his community involvement and leadership development at Pontifical Catholic University (Ponce, PR), where he graduated with honors in 2002 with a Bachelor of Business Administration with a triple concentration in Finance, Management, and Human Resources. He was the President of the Finance Club and a member of the volunteer committee.
Cesar along with his wife Johana and two children Julian and Lucas are residents of Suwanee, GA. They enjoy playing tennis and golf as a family, traveling and volunteering at their church.
Co-founder, President and CEO
David Araya is the Co-founder, President and CEO of HoPe (Hispanic Organization Promoting Education), Inc. Born in Costa Rica, David immigrated to the US at the young age of 5. Immersed and personally impacted by the day to day struggles of immigrant youth in America, David co-founded HoPe at the age of 18 to provide his peers a pathway to-and-through high school and college. Within 9 years, HoPe has expanded its youth leadership development and educational attainment programming to 52 high school in Georgia reaching over 4000 families yearly and achieving a 100% high school graduation rate. David has been recognized by the White House for the work HoPe has achieved in Georgia, and travels the country speaking into the power of youth development, leadership and social entrepreneurship, and educational attainment. David is a Praxis Nonprofit Fellow Alumni, LEAD Atlanta Alumni, and currently sits on the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Advisory Board and the Emory Goizueta Foundation Grant Advisory Board. David’s priorities in life are faith, family, and service, and his greatest joys are his wife and daughter.
Dax E. Lopez
State Court Judge
State Court of Dekalb
Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Judge Dax López moved to Georgia at the age of six. Constantly on the move, Judge López lived in six states, mostly in the South, throughout his childhood. Judge López attended Vanderbilt University and then, Vanderbilt Law School.
After law school, Judge López served as the law clerk for the Hon. Hector M. Laffitte in the Federal District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. He returned to Atlanta in 2002 to commence his career as an attorney at Holland & Knight, LLP. Before joining the DeKalb State Court, Judge López also worked in the litigation groups of Ashe, Rafuse & Hill and Foltz & Martin LLC, where he handled class actions, complex civil litigation, employment matters, and product liability cases.
On August 10, 2010, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue appointed Dax to the State Court of DeKalb County, where he has presided over both criminal misdemeanor and civil matters. Judge López also presides over two sections of the DeKalb County DUI Court, which includes the only such court conducted entirely in Spanish.
Deborah Gonzalez, Rep.
Representative Deborah Gonzalez, HD117, is an attorney, mother, and advocate for social justice. Her work in the legal field covers media, technology and entertainment through her legal firm D Gonzalez Law, LLC and Letterbox Legal. She won her seat in a special election in November 2017 and gained national media attention (thanks to a shout out by Michael Moore on CNN) by flipping the seat blue despite being outraised 4 to 1 by her opponent. Her legislative work includes protection of children (health, education), working families (livable wages, non-discrimination), and victims of sexual harassment, domestic violence and other forms of abuse. She is a published author, most recently of“Managing Online Risks: Apps, Mobile, and Social Media Security.” Deborah comes from a military family (army).
Rep. Gonzalez is currently on three committees: judiciary non-civil, code revision, and intergovernmental coordination. Due to her 2018 committee work Rep. Gonzalez was appointed in May, 2018 to be the Vice Chair of a national task force on Law & Criminal Justice for the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. Rep Gonzalez distinguished herself as a freshman legislator by defeating a bad bill with her opposition speech on cross-over day, not once but twice. She also earned the nickname “the cross examiner” due to her provoking and thorough questioning during committee meetings.
Rep. Gonzalez governed with a few guiding principles: transparency, communication, and accountability – remembering her job is to serve the people of her district. Did a bill provide positive benefits for her constituent, for all Georgians? Were there any possible unintended consequences because of the bill? How can we build coalitions to ensure good and necessary laws are passed?
Rep Gonzalez has made herself accessible and is often spotted out and about the District participating in different community events and listening to community members about there concerns and needs.
On the personal side of life, Rep. Gonzalez’s husband is Dr. Robert (Bob) Scott, professor at UGA. Her two daughters are Vivian and Angelica and her two grandsons are Jacob and Zander.
President, The UPS Foundation
UPS Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer
The UPS Foundation leads the global citizenship programs and initiatives for UPS. As President, Ed Martinez is responsible for the operations and management of its global community investments, employee engagement and corporate relations programs which invests in over 4,300 organizations and communities across 170 countries. In addition to his role as President of The UPS Foundation, Martinez also serves as the UPS Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer with responsibilities for the advancement of diversity and inclusion programs which empower over 440,000 UPS employees worldwide including its suppliers, customers and communities.
Martinez served as corporate legal counsel in the UPS Legal Department until 2007, where his practice included intellectual property, information technology matters, commercial transactions as well as civil litigation. Prior to assuming the role of President for The UPS Foundation, he held senior management positions at UPS in the areas of Corporate Finance and Accounting, Risk Management and Acquisitions
Martinez serves as a director on numerous boards and leadership advisory councils for the United Nations, civil society organizations and the World Economic Forum. He is a frequent speaker and advocate for the importance and value of public-private sector partnership to help drive humanitarian action, global sustainability, social & gender equality and the advancement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Martinez immigrated to the United States with his family in 1960. He has lived in Atlanta since 1992, with his wife and three children.
Martinez holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting from the University of Miami, Florida and a Juris Doctor degree from the Nova Southeastern University Law School. A member of the American Bar Association and the Hispanic National Bar Association, he is also a member of the Florida Bar.
Atlanta Braves Team
Eddie Pérez was born on May 4, 1968, in Ciudad Ojeda, Venezuela. Pérez was signed as an amateur free agent in 1986 and was 27 years old when he broke into the big leagues on September 10, 1995, with the Atlanta Braves. Pérez played with the Atlanta Braves from 1995-2001 and 2004-2005, the Cleveland Indians in 2002 and the Milwaukee Brewers in 2003. Eddie was a part of the 1995 World Series Championship team. After concluding a 20-year playing career, Eddie became the Bullpen Coach for the Braves. Pérez had one of his best years in 1998 when he posted a .336 batting average along with a .404 on-base percentage in 61 games helping the Braves claim the National League East Division. In 1999, he was the NLCS MVP. In 2006 Eddie coached for the Mississippi Braves and was promoted to the major league Atlanta team in 2007 as the bullpen coach and later became the first baseman coach. Pérez now serves as an advisor to the team.
Founder & Executive Director
Latino Community Fund in Georgia
Gigi Pedraza is a social entrepreneur and experienced professional in the areas of general management, strategy, operations, marketing and development in both the for-profit and non-profit world.
Pedraza started her first business in elementary school re-selling stickers to other 8 years olds. For the last 20 years she has been part of businesses and non-profit teams in both operational and executive roles.
Pedraza has started and managed several businesses, including a communications and development consulting firm for non-profits, a fair trade retailer and wholesaler designed to support underprivileged communities in Peru, and a social venture dedicated to celebrate and empower Latinas in Georgia.
Gigi Pedraza is currently the founder and Executive Director of the Latino Community Fund in Georgia (LCFgeorgia.org ), a non-profit dedicated to
catalyze investment and promote collaborative work in the Latinx/Hispanic community. LCF Georgia amplifies the diverse voice of our community
through advocacy, research and leadership development; builds capacity in community-based organizations and directly invests through cholarships and grants in our community.
Mrs. Pedraza has an active role in the community; sitting on a number of boards of local nonprofit organizations. She is a Hispanics in Philanthropy
2017 Fellow, member of the ARC Global Voices Panel, and the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2017 Caminar Latino Leadership Award,
2016 Best Organization Award by Mundo Hispánico and a 2013 TUMI USA winner, the highest award for civic contributions by Peruvians living in the United States.
Pedraza has earned an Executive Certificate in Non-Profit Leadership from the Fuqua College of Business at Duke University, a Masters in international Tourism Planning from the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain, Executive Business Certificates from the Peruvian University of Sciences in Corporate Training and Strategic Marketing and has a BA from the Hotel Management School – College of Tourism in Lima, Peru.
She lives in Atlanta with her husband, two smart and strong daughters anda very spoiled dog.
Taylor English, LLP
Glianny Fagundo is a partner at the prestigious business law firm Taylor English LLP, where she specializes in employment law and business litigation. In addition to practicing law, Glianny a passionate community servant, following the footsteps of her mother. Glianny was born in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico and raised by her single mother and public school teacher, who despite the social and financial issues she faced, always had time to serve in professional and community groups, as well as paint a neighbor’s home or buy their child a backpack. Glianny graduated from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (El Colegio) magna cum laude, and as soon as she obtained her law degree from the University of Georgia, she began to get involved in the Atlanta’s professional and Latino communities.
Proudly, Glianny served as Secretary, VP, President and Chairperson of the Georgia Hispanic Bar Association. She also taught classes to recent immigrants about their legal rights and duties in the US at the GHCC’s HACED. Glianny co-founded and served as a member of the board of directors of the NLBWA-Atlanta and served on the board of CredAbility, Inc., a national financial empowerment nonprofit for low to moderate income families. Politically, Glianny worked as a director for Brookhaven Yes, Inc., where she successfully advocated for the creation of the city. After the City’s creation, Glianny remained involved, having served on its Alcohol Board, the Bufford Highway Improvement Plan Steering Committee, and the Lynwood Park Master Plan Stakeholder Committee. Glianny recently stepped down as a board director of the Latin American Chamber of Commerce, where she focused on business and political outreach. In 2017, Governor Deal appointed Glianny to a five-year term on the State’s Personnel Board. Additionally, she currently serves on the Latin American Association’s Advocacy Committee.
Over the years, Glianny has been interviewed by numerous radio and TV stations including NPR, Univision and Telemundo, and has quietly contributed endless volunteer hours and funds to many other organizations including the Chattahoochee River Keepers, Rivers Alive, and the Cross Keys Foundation. Glianny is a proud member of the 2013 Leadership Atlanta class. Due to her professional, political and community accomplishments, Glianny has been recognized by various publications including the Atlanta Business Chronicle (as a Woman Who Means Business), Georgia Trend (as Legal Elite), and Atlanta Magazine (as a Rising Star and a Super Lawyer). She is most proud, however, of her awesomely “woke” daughter Cristina and husband Michael Diaz, both of whom support and fuel Glianny’s many passions.
Wasserman West, LLC
Guillermo Wasserman is a partner with the international law firm Wasserman West, LLC, based in Atlanta, Georgia. As head of the Firm’s Latin American Practice, he regularly advises U.S. and Latin American-based companies on complex cross-border transactions. He currently serves as President of the Northwestern Law Alumni Society in Atlanta and is also an active member of various leading organizations in Georgia, such as the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Argentine-American Chamber of Commerce of the Southeast, and the International Section of the State Bar of Georgia, as well as other international organizations, including the International Law Committee of the American Bar Association and the Buenos Aires Bar Association (Argentina). He frequently lectures on market entry, foreign direct investment, and commercial transactions to leading business organizations, companies, and universities throughout the Americas. Guillermo, who is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and English, is admitted to practice law in the State of Georgia and Argentina, having earned law degrees in both Argentina and the U.S.
A native of Colombia, Guiomar Obregón founded her construction company, Precision 2000, in 1998 with her husband, Carlos Sánchez. She had been laid off from her job and had just had a baby when they decided to start a business from home. It was a risky decision but they saw it as an opportunity and a challenge, and they went for it.
Precision 2000 is celebrating its 20th anniversary as the only Hispanic woman-owned company involved in the expansion of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and the construction of SunTrust Park, among many important infrastructure projects in the city of Atlanta.
She co-founded the Georgia Hispanic Construction Association as a way to bring greater cohesiveness to the loosely knit group of Latino construction companies in Atlanta. And when the devastating Great Recession hit in 2008, she devoted herself and the organization to helping the Hispanic construction industry survive.
Education and job access for young Latinos has been always one of her main concerns.
In 2006, Guiomar created an internship program for civil engineering students from her alma mater, Escuela Colombiana de Ingenieria and later expanded to Universidad Nacional de Colombia, where the seniors come to Atlanta to work and learn.
This year she also created the Precision 2000 Inc. Fellowship at Georgia Tech, School of Building Construction. The fellowship provides financial assistance to Colombian students who are pursuing a master’s degree.
The company also partnered with Cross Keys High school to give students there the opportunity to pursue a career in construction.
She was born in Boston and studied civil engineering in Colombia. She has an MBA and a master of science in civil engineering, both from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She also holds an executive master of science in finance from Georgia State University.
Guiomar’s contributions to the Hispanic construction industry and the community, and her achievements as a businesswoman, have made of her one of the most prominent members of the Hispanic business community.
She has been recognized as one of the Women Who Mean Business and the Small Business Person of the Year-Minority by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Metro Atlanta Chamber. She has also been presented with the Inspire Award by the Latin American Association and the Leadership Award by The GHCC.
El Super Pan
Chef Hector Santiago was born in Puerto Rico. Nearly 25 years ago, he took his first culinary job cooking in the San Juan kitchen of his mentor, Chef Giovanna Huyke. Under her advisement, Chef Santiago attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Following graduation, he trained in the kitchens of the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia, the Manhattan Ocean Club, Stony Hill Inn in New Jersey, and Heartland Brewery.
Fast forward to 2001, when he moved to Atlanta and opened his restaurant Pura Vida—a highly regarded Latino tapas restaurant. For over a decade, Chef Santiago traveled, explored, and cooked, bringing the authentic flavors and ingredients of his beloved Latino America to Pura Vida. He researched and expanded his technique with stints in the kitchens of renowned international chefs, including José Andrés,Wylie Dufresne (WD~50) and Andoni Luis Aduriz. As Chef-Owner of Pura Vida, Santiago was a three-time, James Beard Foundation “Best Chef of the Southeast” Semifinalist.
General Manager & General Sales Manager
Ivan Shammas is General Manager & General Sales Manager for Telemundo Atlanta, a premier Spanish-language media company providing award-winning local news and programming to the expansive Latino population in Atlanta. His experience and passion for the Hispanic market continue to drive his involvement in the community through various organizations. Shammas serves as Chair Elect on the Board of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, one of the largest Hispanic Chambers in the nation. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the United Way of Greater Atlanta. Over the past years, Shammas has served as Chair of the United Way’s Young Professional Leaders Advisory Board and as Chair of GALEO (Georgia Association for Latino Elected Officials) Leadership Council (GLC) overseeing 6 community outreach committees. Shammas is a proud graduate of the 2018 Cultivating Hispanic Leadership Institute -a collaboration between the University of Georgia and the GHCC. He is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta 2015 and alumni of the GALEO Institute of Leadership. Past recognitions include the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s and Georgia Trend Magazines 40 Under 40 awards. Being of Venezuelan decent, Shammas grew up in Atlanta and currently resides in Brookhaven with his wife and 3 children.
Jason R. Anavitarte
Director of Development and Advocacy
Jason R. Anavitarte is the Director of Development and Advocacy for CareSource Georgia. He serves as a Commissioner for the Commission on Equal Opportunity appointed by Governor Nathan Deal.
Most recently, Jason became the Republican nominee for the Paulding County Board of Education after winning a countywide runoff with 58% of the vote. During the 2016 election cycle Jason served as the Georgia Chairman of Senator Marco Rubio’s Presidential Campaign. Jason is a former member of the Doraville City Council elected in 2003, becoming the youngest Hispanic ever elected in Georgia and the youngest to serve as Mayor Pro Tem. In 2011, he was named by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the top 40 Under 40 Leaders in Georgia. In 2005, Jason was bestowed with the Ivan Allen Jr. Legacy Award named after the former Atlanta Mayor.
Jason serves as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Chattahoochee Technical College, the largest technical college in Georgia. In addition, he serves on the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Georgia Hispanic Chamber Board of Directors, and Cobb Chamber Board.
He received a B.A. degree from Georgia State University and M.S. degree in Public Policy from the Georgia Tech. Jason and his family are members of North Metro Church. Jason and wife, Jennifer, and daughters Taylor, Madison, and Kennedy reside in Dallas, Georgia in north Paulding County.
Assistant General Counsel at Equifax
Member of Atlanta Public School
Board of Education
Jason Esteves currently serves as Chairman and an at-large representative of the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education. He was first elected on December 4, 2013 and was unopposed when he sought re-election in 2017. Jason has focused his efforts at promoting equity and improving the financial outlook of the school system. As an attorney and former educator, Jason is working to ensure every child in Atlanta Public Schools obtains an education that prepares them for college and career.
After graduating from the University of Miami, Jason devoted himself to teaching at an underperforming school in a low-income neighborhood. He worked countless hours with students, teachers, and parents to ensure his kids had the resources they needed to succeed. This experience gave Jason insights into the challenges our children face and the importance of public schools that help children overcome those challenges.
Today, Jason serves as Assistant General Counsel at Equifax Inc., where he manages litigation matters for the company. He was as an associate at the law firm of McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP (now Dentons US LLP) after graduating from Emory University School of Law. Jason also serves on various boards of local non-profits, and believes that partnerships with non-profits are vital to ensuring our children have the wraparound services they need to be able to focus on their education and development.
A native Georgian, Jason was raised in Columbus, Georgia by his parents, Linda and Fernando, a retired Army veteran. At an early age, his parents instilled in him the importance of public service and a good education. Those values are the foundation upon which Jason serves today.
Jason is married to Ariel, a graduate of Kennesaw State University and Emory University’s School of Nursing graduate program. Ariel is a Director at CareSource, serving Georgia’s Medicaid population. Jason and Ariel are proud parents of Jaeden and Zoe, and reside in northwest Atlanta.
Javier Díaz de León
Consul General de Mexico en Atlanta
Javier Díaz de León holds a Bachelor Degree in International Relations from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. He also earned a Master of Arts in International Conflict Analysis from the University of Kent at Canterbury in England. Since 1991, he is a member of the Mexican Foreign Service, and holds the rank of Ambassador. During his professional career he has served as: Deputy Consul General in San Diego; Deputy Consul General in New York, Head of the Office for Migration and Hispanic Affairs at the Mexican Embassy in the United States, and Executive Director of the Institute for Mexicans Abroad at the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From June 2013 to May 2016 he served as Consul General of Mexico in Raleigh, NC. On May 2016, he was appointed by President Enrique Peña Nieto as Consul General of Mexico in Atlanta, Georgia, serving in this position since June 18, 2016.
Jerry Gonzalez is the founding and current Executive Director of Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO) and the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund (GLCDF). GALEO was founded in 2003 and is a 501(c)(6) statewide nonprofit and non-partisan organization; its mission is to increase civic engagement and leadership development of the Latino/Hispanic community across Georgia. The GALEO Latino Community Development Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization affiliated with GALEO.
At GALEO, Gonzalez has utilized not only his extensive political experience but also his deep understanding of the struggles of the Latino community in Georgia. During his tenure with GALEO, the GALEO Institute for Leadership (GIL) program has become a flagship leadership development for the Latino and immigrant community in Georgia, equipping more than 600 community members with skills to serve their communities. The GALEO Leadership Council, Spanish-Language Leadership Series, and the Latino Leaders Summit are also integral to GALEO’s leadership, empowerment and networking activities.
Through GALEO’s voter engagement efforts, the Georgia Latino electorate has grown to well over 240,000 from a mere 10,000 in 2003, and Latino voter participation rates in most jurisdictions in Georgia during the 2016 election out-performed national Latino voter participation rates. In 2015, citing the federal Voting Rights Act Section 203, Gonzalez and LatinoJustice spearheaded the successful effort to make Spanish-language materials available to voters in Gwinnett County. In 2015, GALEO LCDF was honored by the Sapelo Foundation with the prestigious Smith Bagley Award, for its continued success and exemplary work with the community.
Gonzalez is a native of Laredo, Texas, and received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University in 1995. He completed his Master of Public Administration with a Nonprofit Administration emphasis at the Andrew Young School of Public Policy at Georgia State University in 2005. In 1996, Gonzalez moved to Atlanta for a job as Field Support Engineer for Rockwell Automation. After transitioning into the nonprofit arena in 2002, Gonzalez worked with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) as a Legislative Policy Analyst, focusing upon immigrants’ rights issues at the Georgia General Assembly and in several local jurisdictions across the Southeast. Due to his efforts at GALEO, Mr. Gonzalez has been recognized by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of Georgia’s 100 Most Influential Georgians for several years, and serves as a trustee and member on foundation and advisory boards, along with many other honors and awards. In 2017, he was selected to participate in the Rockwood Institute’s ‘National Leading from the Inside Out (LIO) Yearlong Fellows’ executive leadership program.
When not traveling throughout Georgia speaking at town hall meetings and advocating for education, civic engagement and fair immigration policies, Gonzalez lives in Atlanta with his husband of over 22 years, Ray, an established and practicing pediatrician, and their dog, Jenny. Jerry’s hobbies include photography, travel, hiking and considers himself an avid road cyclist.
Jose Paniagua, CTP
VP and Treasurer
Inspire Brands, Inc.
Through various roles, Mr. Paniagua has been responsible for designing and implementing initiatives to support the Treasury department’s expanding role at Inspire Brands. In his current role, he is responsible for developing and executing the strategic plan for Inspire Brands’ Treasury operations, including managing the company’s working capital; structuring bank and vendor relationships; guiding Inspire Brand’s payment strategy; developing franchisee financing programs; managing the organization’s capital structure; ensuring compliance with the company’s various debt agreements; and serving as the Treasury Department’s Subject Matter Expert on company-wide initiatives.
Prior to this, Jose served as the Director of Treasury at the Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, where he also administered the company’s Smart Safe program. Jose earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance from Georgia State University and is currently on track to earn an MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business in May 2019.
In addition, Jose currently serves as the Treasurer for the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, where his passion for his profession has successfully united with his desire to contribute to his community.
Dr. Jose Rodriguez
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Dr. Rodriguez obtained a Bachelors’ Degree in Science from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus and a Medical Doctor degree from San Juan Bautista School of Medicine in San Juan Puerto Rico. Came to Georgia in 1981 upon competition of medical school to do a residency in Pediatrics at the Medical College of Medicine in Augusta. Dr. Rodriguez has been practicing in Cobb County since 1983. In 1998 he completed a Master in Business Administration from Kennesaw State University. He is Board Certify in Pediatrics and recertified in .
Dr. Rodriguez has held numerous positions in the community such as Board member of the WellStar Kennestone Regional Board where he served as the Chairman for 2008-09. Past Chairman of the Wellstar Kennestone Hospital Pediatric Department in numerous occasions. Also appointed by the speaker of the Georgia House of Representative to serve as an Advisory Board Member in the Office of Child Advocacy representing Georgia pediatricians. He served in the board of directors of the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics as a District II Representative for COBB and Douglas County, currently as a committee member. Past accomplishment include helping launch the Universal Newborn Hearing Program in Georgia and testifying in the Georgia legislation to impulse the law for meningitis vaccination for college students after participating as medical director for a vaccine campaign in a number of Cobb county High schools. In 2010 and in 2011 he was selected as the medical spokesperson for a national media campaign in Spanish and English for Influenza vaccination.
Dr. Rodriguez holds academic appointments in the Pediatric Department of three medical schools; the Medical College of Georgia teaching third and fourth year medical students as Clinical Professor and at Morehouse School of Medicine teaching third year medical students as Adjunct Associate Clinical Professor and Mercer School of Medicine.
In 2000 was selected finalist for the Hero Award of the Atlanta Business Chronicle. For the past 17 years Dr. Rodriguez along with his wife Sandra has been involved in a non for profit organization, Ser Familia where he was Chairman of the Board for 10 years, to strengthen and revitalized the Hispanic community by participating in Workshops for Couples, Teens and Parenting Classes where he is also program director for the Parenting Workshops.
In 2016 he served as Lead Physician for a State Project to Address Adolescent Substance Use in Georgia as part of a Chapter Quality Improvement collaborative from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Rodriguez with his wife Sandra who also works in the medical field as a Nutritionist and Clinical Educator has two daughters, both Pediatricians.
In his free time Dr. Rodriguez likes traveling with his wife, playing his classical guitar and enjoying a good game of chess when he is not playing with his German Shorthair Pointer or having Tapas with friends.
Atlanta United Football Club
Martinez has been nearly unstoppable since arriving in MLS. After scoring 19 goals during his first season with Atlanta United, Martinez has followed that up with a record-breaking campaign in 2018. The Venezuelan striker has scored 28 goals in 27 matches to date, breaking the MLS single-season scoring record with eight matches to spare. He also holds the league’s all-time hat trick record with six, becoming the fastest in league history to reach both milestones. He has already been named MLS Player of the Month twice, while taking home four MLS Player of the Week honors this season.
Martinez scored 19 goals in just 20 appearances in his debut season and was a 2017 MLS Newcomer of the Year finalist. He was the only player to win MLS Player of the Month twice and was also named MLS Player of the Week twice.
Martinez joined Atlanta United with more than 100 professional appearances spread across the first divisions of Venezuela, Switzerland and Italy. He has also been capped by the Venezuelan National Team 42 times and has scored nine goals since making his debut in 2011. In his three seasons with Torino, Martinez scored 13 goals while adding six assists in 76 combined appearances. Martinez joined teammates Hector “Tito” Villalba, 22, and Miguel Almiron, 23, as Atlanta United’s third Designated Player.
2018 (Atlanta United): The Venezuelan forward set the MLS all-time single-season scoring record with his 28th goal of the season in a win at Orlando on 8/24. Martinez has recorded three hat tricks this season, giving him an MLS career record of six. He is the fastest player in league history to reach both milestones. Tied the MLS record for goals in consecutive matches with nine (6/30 – 8/24). A two-time MLS Player of the Month (July, August) and four-time MLS Player of the Week. Named to MLS Team of the Week eight times, while earning MLS Goal of the Week honors on three occasions.
2017 (Atlanta United): The 24-year-old Venezuelan forward scored 19 goals in only 17 starts in his debut MLS season, the most ever by a player on an expansion team. Martinez’s three hat tricks in one season tied an MLS mark while his 0.95 goals per game average ranks third in league history amongst players with a least five goals scored in a single season. Two-time MLS Player of the Month (March, September) and two-time MLS Player of the Week. Named to MLS Team of the Week four times and voted MLS Goal of the Week once. 20 appearances and 17 starts. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started and played 114 minutes against Columbus. US Open Cup: Played 90 minutes and scored one goal in 3-2 win over Charleston on June 14.
2016/2017 (Torino): In 11 Serie A matches, Martinez scored once against Bologna (Aug. 28). He made two starts in the Coppa Italia and scored in a 4-1 win over Vercelli (Aug. 13).
2015/2016 (Torino): In 21 league matches, Martinez scored three goals and one assist. He netted two goals and an assist in a 5-1 win over Udinese (April 30). In two Coppa Italia matches he scored once against Pescara (Aug. 16) and recorded two assists against Cesena (Dec. 1).
2014/2015 (Torino): In the summer of 2014, Martinez transferred to Torino and burst onto the scene in Italy as a 21-year-old when he netted seven goals with three assists in 40 combined appearances. He scored his first goal for Torino in a Europa League Qualifier against Brommapojkarna in a 4-0 win on Aug. 7. Martinez scored his first goal in Serie A against Palermo on Dec. 6. Five days later, he scored twice in a Europa League match against Copenhagen on Dec. 11. Martinez scored in his first- career Coppa Italia match when he netted the lone goal in a 3-1 loss to Lazio on Jan. 14. He had a career day against Hellas Verona (Feb. 7), taking part in each goal of a 3-1 win when he scored once and dished out two assists. On the final match of the season, Martinez scored once with one assist in a 5-0 victory over Cesena (May 31).
2013/2014 (FC Thun and Young Boys): Martinez began the year on loan fellow Swiss club FC Thun. There he scored eight goals in 18 Super League games and was temporarily Switzerland’s top-scorer. Martinez was then recalled by Young Boys for the duration of the season where he scored twice and added four assists over 18 matches. He scored in his first three matches with Thun against Zurish (July 14), St. Gallen (July 21) and parent club Young Boys (July 28) when he also added an assist. Martinez scored twice with an assist against Lausanne-Sport (Sept. 1). In his third match back with Young Boys, he replicated that performance with another two goals and an assist against Lausanne-Sport (Feb. 16). Martinez also scored once in the Europa League against Genk (Dec. 3) and the Swiss Cup against Echallens (Aug. 18). He finished the year with 12 goals and seven assists in 50 combined appearances with Thun and Young Boys.
2012/2013 (Young Boys): Martinez played eight Super League matches and scored once with one assist. In 11 matches with Young Boys U-21 in 1. Liga, Martinez scored 18 goals. He had five multi-goal matches, including a five-goal performance against Echallens (Nov. 25).
2011/2012 (Caracas and Young Boys): Martinez made 15 appearances and scored four goals with Caracas. He transferred to Young Boys of the Swiss Super League in 2012 and made his debut in the Super League on Feb. 5 against Servette. In 11 league matches he started eight and recorded one assist in a 4-0 win over Thun (March 25).
2010/2011 (Caracas): Martinez made his professional debut with Caracas against Estudiantes Merida on Aug. 21. He scored his first goal in a league match against Petare on Nov. 21. Martinez scored four goals in 21 Primera Division matches. In 28 combined appearances he scored five goals.
INTERNATIONAL: Has 42 appearances and nine goals. Martinez made his Venezuelan National Team debut Aug. 7, 2011 in a friendly against El Salvador. Since then he has represented La Vinotinto in World Cup Qualification matches for 2014 Brazil and 2018 Russia, and Copa America 2015 and Copa America Centenario 2016. At the Copa America Centenario, Martinez scored the game-winner against Jamaica in a group stage match at Soldier Field in Chicago on June 5, 2016. The strike helped Venezuela advance to the knockout round after finishing second in Group C, behind Argentina, which was led by current Atlanta United head coach Gerardo Martino. In 16 World Cup Qualifying matches he has scored five goals.
International Social Media Strategist
An originally born Paisa, Juanita Velez, earned her bachelor’s degree from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia. She began her business career as a Latina entrepreneur, co-founding a distribution and exporting company in Florida for medical and dental refurbished products and equipment for Latin American products. She left Miami to advance her studies where she pursued and became a part of the first Master’s in International Business cohort at Georgia State University in 2013. As she became more involved in the Atlanta community by interning at the Atlanta Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, she gained a passion for the commercial internationalization of Atlanta.
Human connectivity, communication, and globalization became Juanita’s main passion points, eventually landing her a career with UPS, the global logistics monster. Juanita joined UPS in 2013 as Global Brand and Sponsorships Specialist and was responsible for customer hospitality activation programs for Ferrari Formula 1, The Masters and other international and domestic sponsorships. She was promoted as the International Digital Integrated Communications Supervisor on the UPS International Communications Team. She effectively managed the coordination, development and execution of integrated communication programs that support UPS’s international marketing and business plans across all regions: APAC, Europe, Americas, Canada and ISMEA. After a great career with UPS, Juanita took a growing opportunity with Delta as International Social Media Strategist where she is developing the company’s global social media strategy and presence in priority markets across all regions. Her teams continue to be all over the world, both internal and external from Delta.
Juanita also serves on numerous boards both internally and external from Delta. Prior to leaving UPS, she served as Co-chair for Crecer, the UPS Hispanic Business Resource Group focusing on making UPS the employer of choice for Latinos and identifying opportunities within the Hispanic market for the organization to help drive. She also served as Chair of the Georgia Diversity Council connecting with other organizations in Atlanta valuing D&I in the workplace. Juanita is has been heavily involved with the Latin American Association both as board member of the LAA Fundraising Committee and also as mentor of Hispanic students at local tier 1 high schools.
The value of mentorship is near to her heart, she dedicates a lot of her time to the mentoring community in Atlanta participating as a mentor in the Women Lead Program through Georgia State’s Robinson College of Business. Juanita also serves on the board of CIBER, Center for International Business Education & Research at Georgia State University where she provides insight and engages in conversations to advance academic programs within the international business segment of both undergraduate and graduate programs. She is also a Founding Member of the Business School Mentoring Program for Georgia State University and serves on the Goizueta Foundation Gift Advisory Board for the Emory Goizueta Business School. She has been highlighted as 2016 Latino Leader of Atlanta by the Latino Leaders Magazine, 2015 UPS Latino Millennial of the Year and 2016 Young Professional of the Year by the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Juanita is also a graduate of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Cultivating Hispanic Leadership Program, where HYPE, Hispanic Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs was born creating a space for the development and cultivation of young Hispanics in the business community occurs. She currently leads a team of 14 dedicated to making impactful and relevant change and elevation of the Hispanic business community.
Juanita’s passion is focused on the development of the immigrant youth; her goal is to leave a legacy of a streamlined and structured process for all students to use as a resource for their road to success. After all, she is one of them.
AR Heritage Group
Karla was Born in Brooklyn, New York, to Guatemalan parents. Inspired by her mother, she is propelled by an insatiable desire to empower women to become financially independent by learning new skills and/or starting a business.
Karla’s career efforts are uniquely motivated by a desire to support her company, community and the philanthropic organizations close to her heart. As a dedicated community investor and advocate, she invests up to 20% of her Net Profit into many local nonprofit organizations focused on the areas of entrepreneurship and small business development, green space preservation and pet protection. Current recipients of her financial support include the Chastain Park Conservancy, The Latin American Association for whom she is serves as a Board Member, Latino Community Fund as a Sustaining Member and Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
She is energetic, creative and self-motivated, her entrepreneurial spirit steered her toward a career in real estate. In 2009 she founded the AR Heritage Group and joined the Keller Williams Realty’s worldwide organization. As a Real Estate Consultant at their Buckhead, Atlanta Office.
Prior to her real estate career, Mrs. Arriola’s experience includes assignments in Latin America and different states as sales, marketing, business development and insurance executive with Stewart & Stevenson, GE Power System and Mutual of Omaha.
Mrs. Arriola-Kalmes has a degree of International Business Management, lives in Chastain Park with her husband and her four-legged pooches Jack and Boomer. She is an avid golfer, enjoys spending time at their home in Costa Rica, traveling, fishing, cooking and entertaining friends and neighbors at their home.
Ms. Murvartian is a Senior Director at Equifax and an established leader in the community.
Ms. Murvartian is a graduate of the 2014 Leadership Atlanta class and is the Founder and Chair of Fiesta de Libros, a non-profit library program that has given away over 20,000 books since 2012. Her involvement in the Latino community also includes being a board member of the Institute of Mexican Culture and a member of the Latin American Association Finance Committee. She is the immediate past Board Chair of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, the immediate past President of the Atlanta Latina Business Women’s Association, and a past member of the Girl Scouts Hispanic Engagement Committee.
Ms. Murvartian is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and holds a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Michigan with a focus on International Economics. She also graduated cum laude from Hamline University.
Ms. Murvartian’s personal story of being a migrant child who worked in the bean fields as well as corn and chicken processing plants with her parents to becoming a successful business woman has been featured on NPR’s StoryCorps, Mundo Hispanico and La Vision. She was an Olympic Torch bearer in 2001.
Luisa Fernanda Cardona
Office of Immigration affairs
Luisa Fernanda Cardona de Vence serves at the Deputy Director of the City of Atlanta’s Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs – Welcoming Atlanta. Luisa supports the director in the development and implementation of Welcoming Atlanta’s strategic plans and policies, and provides leadership and direction to the Welcoming Atlanta team. Programs which she currently supervises include language access through iSpeakATL, Citizenship and Citizenship Corners, ATLinBusiness, ESL and financial literacy, Bank On Atlanta, and community and volunteer engagement. Her work also includes serving as a Spanish media liaison for Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Luisa is especially proud to have developed and implemented the first citywide language access plan to ensure that all people, regardless of English ability, have equitable access to all city of Atlanta services.
Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, Luisa served the immigrant community as an attorney both in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. In this capacity, Luisa advocated on behalf of immigrant workers, tenants, and DREAMers. Luisa was born in Armenia, Colombia and raised in metro Atlanta, and holds a law degree from the American University’s Washington College of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University.
Regional Community Empowerment
Mariela Romero has been named Regional Community Empowerment Director in Philadelphia, Raleigh and Atlanta and is expected to implement the corporate responsibility platforms of Univision Communications under the “Contigo” property. She will also develop content for special programs as she will continue to serve as anchor and producer of news magazine Conexión Fin de Semana in all three markets. Romero has interviewed former President and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jimmy Carter, Civil Rights leader and Presidential Medal of Freedom Awardee, Reverend C.T. Vivian, American labor leader Dolores Huerta and Dr. Bernice King among other distinguished public figures. Mariela’s distinction and recognition in the Atlanta community are indisputable, as is her unwavering commitment to journalistic excellence, now with a broader role she looks forward to reaching new audiences and for the many opportunities to build on her passion for informing and empowering Spanish speaking viewers. Mariela has received 21 Emmy Awards from the Academy of Television Arts – South East region – among other accolades, and holds a degree in Journalism from Universidad Católica Argentina as well as a degree in Social Communications from Universidad de Belgrano. She also studied TV Broadcasting and Production at Buenos Aires’s Centro de Estudios de la Comunicación. Before moving to the U.S. in 1996, Mariela was a producer for the popular talk show “Tu y yo Con…” for Televén network. She is a native of Caracas, Venezuela.
Columbus City Councilor Evelyn “Mimi” Woodson was born in Manati, Puerto Rico on November 22, 1957. She has faithfully represented the Citizens of District 7 for the past 24 years, being elected in 1995 and re-elected for another term in 2018. She has helped to bring more than $400 million dollars in capital projects to her district.
Councilor Woodson only lived in Columbus for two years before she was elected to office, thus making history by becoming the first Latino to be elected as a City Council, member in the consolidated city/county government. Her political experience has led to thousands of new jobs in Columbus, Georgia including Total Systems Credit Card Processing/TSYS, AFLAC Insurance Company Expansions, and Columbus South Business Expansions. Her years of knowledge and experience has also helped to make Columbus, Georgia a better place to live, work and play – New and Affordable Housing, Recreation Facilities, Restoration / Redevelopment of Uptown Columbus, Urban Whitewater Rafting, Zip Line, Walmart, and the new National Infantry Museum to name a few.
Councilor Woodson proudly served in the United States Army for 15 years and is a strong supporter of soldiers and military families. Councilor Woodson has been an active member of more than twenty civic/ community based organizations involved in making Columbus a better place to live for all of its citizens. Organizations such as C.A.D or Columbus Against Drugs, Winter field on the move, American Red Cross, South Columbus Revitalization, Georgia Municipal Association, National League of Cities, Community Advancement and past president of HELO or Hispanic Elected Officials, a national organization, Georgia Association of Latino elected Official, State of Georgia Commission on Hispanic affairs, Tri-City Latino Association, Community Warriors, American Legion, Tri-City Latino Association, and Columbus Steam Center
Councilor Woodson has been recognized for her hard work and dedication during her years as a public servant. She has received the Keep Columbus Beautiful “Litter Prevention Award”, PERTY Favorite City Leader Award, Ernestine Aurelia Mack Service to Mankind Award (AKA), and the Rainbow Push Coalition Woman on the Rise Award, Women of Action, The Courier Community service award, The Harold “Lefty Encarnacion community service award, The Dr. Ophelia DeVore Unsung Hero Honors, Mundo Hispanico Atlanta Distinguish Person of the Year, The Panamanian Association of Columbus Ga Mother of the year, William H. Spencer High School Generosity in service, Spenserian Service Award, Davis Broadcasting Women of Excellence Award, Columbus Georgia Chapter of J.U.G.S Women of Acton Honoree, Jack Brinkley, Sr. Lifetime Service Awards and many more Awards, Proclamation, Certificate.
Councilor Woodson enjoys empowering people and showing them that if they believe in God and themselves, anything is possible. Councilor Woodson has two adult children and five grandchildren. Her greatest satisfaction comes from helping others, giving back to her community, and ensuring that all of the citizens of Columbus, Georgia are represented with equal voice.
For over 30 years, Monica Maldonado has passionately served as a leader in the Atlanta Latino community. Her commitment to community is matched by her business savvy and tireless work ethic. Under her leadership, IP Communications has become the largest Hispanic woman-owned business of its kind in the southeast, providing integrated marketing solutions to clients across the nation, ranging from global non-profits to Fortune 500 companies like The Coca-Cola Company, Home Depot, Kaiser Permanente and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) to name a few.
As a dynamic community leader, small business advocate and trailblazing entrepreneur, Ms. Maldonado has been recognized by a number of organizations for her tireless efforts in business and the community. She has served in the boards of the GHCC, LACC, DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, and Colombianitos and currently serves as a member of the DeKalb Thrives Steering Committee and MBEIC Co- Chair for GMSDC.
Under her leadership, DiversityBusiness.com named IPC as one of the Top 500 Hispanic American-Owned Businesses in the United States, Top 100 Minority-Owned Businesses in Georgia and Top 100 Women-Owned Businesses in Georgia. Interprint received the 4th Annual Jackie Robinson MVDBP (Most Valuable Diverse Business Partners) Award. This award is given to partners who have attributes such as proactive leadership, commitment to sound business practices, quality products, efficiency, reliability and accountability. The also coveted Blue Legend Award from GMSDC was created to honor visionaries who have demonstrated extraordinary courage in the face of many obstacles, and whose lifetime of selfless leadership has helped level the playing field for minority business owners across the state of Georgia.
A mother of two and grandmother of another two – family is her treasure! Monica is basically passionate about everything she does.
Assistant Vice President
Strategic Account Management & Business Development at INROADS
Myrna Garcia, Assistant Vice President, Strategic Account Management & Business Development at INROADS, Inc.; a 501C3 International Non Profit. As a dedicated leadership team member focused on National Strategic Sales, New Business development and Relationship Management for the enterprise supporting over 250+ Top 500 Companies in the country. Additionally, MS. Garcia leads Hispanic Initiatives for the INROADS Enterprise across the United States and leverages her background in fund development to support the organization’s fundraising campaigns. From August 2012 to November 2013 Myrna was a full-time Consultant for INROADS prior to joining them as a member of the leadership team.
In addition to her INROADS experience, Ms. Garcia’s , professional background spans over 30+ year in professional Executive Placement, Contingent workforce, workforce management solutions, diversity and inclusion strategies and now sales and business development nationally in the Non Profit sector. For the past eight years Ms. Garcia transition to the non-profit sector as a Development Officer, Communication and Marketing Department Head at the Latin American Association. (LAA). There she directed all fund raising strategies, marketing and communication for the organization; a 501 C3 that provides services in the areas of immigration, family services and youth academic achievement.
Most recently the proud recipient of the Recipient 2016 Leadership Character Award Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, 2015 Latina of Excellence Award – LISTA, 2014 HABLA Community Award, 2014 Recognized by TOASTMASTERS and a proud member of the Girls Scouts Hispanic Initiatives Advisory Board, Hispanic Corporate Leadership Forum and the MBA Hispanic Initiatives Advisory Board at the Goizueta School of Business at Emory University. Consultant for Sales Training and Leadership Development Fulton County, Leading Hispanic initiatives in collaboration with the Office of Personnel Management for the Federal Government, Washington, DC to name a few. A contributor to the Strategic Alliance in collaboration with TRAVELERS INSURANCE, INVEST and POSSEE to promote diverse talent and develop career literacy in the insurance industry.
Achieved her Bachelor’s Degree Liberal Arts Catholic University of Puerto Rico. Ms. Garcia has lived in Atlanta for the past 37 years with her three daughters and her son. Proud grandmother of three.
A native of Monterrey, Mexico, Norberto Sanchez is a Hispanic entrepreneur and community leader that has lived in the United States since 1982. Sanchez and his wife, Ira, moved to Atlanta, GA to attend Georgia Tech for his Masters in Engineering. After graduation, he began his career as an engineer and quickly realized that it was not his passion. In 1987, he took a career risk and opened his first restaurant, Frontera Mex-Mex Grill in Atlanta, GA. Norberto serves as CEO and Chairman of his company: Norsan Group, which currently owns and operates sixteen Frontera Mex-Mex Grills, two Luciano’s Ristorante Italiano restaurants, the award-winning Pampas Steakhouse, and recently Frankie’s The Steakhouse at Gwinnett’s 1818 Club in Duluth, GA. Prime Meats, Norsan Group’s meat packaging and distribution company, provides high quality meats to restaurants and grocery stores in the Southeast region of the US. In 2007, Sanchez broke into the media business with the addition of the Spanish language media group Norsan Media headquartered in Charlotte, NC. Norsan Media currently operates 23 local radio stations and 3 television stations in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. In Charlotte, Norsan Media owns and operates several FM stations including Latina 102.3, La Raza 106.1, and La Zeta 107.5 and 97.3 FM publishes a weekly Spanishlanguage newspaper HOLA NEWS, and hosts various large-scale festivals for the Hispanic Community throughout the year.
Sanchez’s mission for his media company has always been to serve the Hispanic community on a grass-roots level. He has served on various Charlotte-based boards as an advocate for the Hispanic community, including: Foundation for the Carolinas, Levine Museum of the New South, and the Latin American Coalition. Norsan Media partners with several organizations in Charlotte to ensure the safety, wellness, and quality of life for their listeners. One of the signature events, “Milagros Para Los Niños Radiothon” with Levine Children’s Hospital breaks records every year, most recently raising over $145,000 in one day from their Hispanic listeners during the July 2017 radiothon.
Ozzie Areu brings over 20+ years of executive experience in motion pictures and television production and operations to his leadership of Areu Bros., the brand new major film and television studio that he recently founded with his brother, Will. Areu Bros. is dedicated to creating, promoting and showcasing Latino and female storytellers across multiple genres and platforms.
Ozzie spent the past decade with Tyler Perry, helping to build Tyler Perry Studios’ content and studio businesses. During his time as President of TPS, Ozzie managed the production of 900+ episodes across nine television series, fifteen feature films and several plays.
A renowned leader in the Latin American community, Ozzie has received various awards, including the Hispanicize 2016 Latinovator Award and the CEO Executive Excellence in Entertainment Award by the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. As first generation Cuban Americans, Ozzie and his brother Will are the first Latinos to own and run a major film and television studio in the United States.
Pedro Marin, Rep.
House District 96
Rep. Pedro Marin has honorably served House District 96 in the Georgia General Assembly for the past sixteen years. He has been at the forefront in stopping gang violence, eradicating gang graffiti, and supporting economic development initiatives for Gwinnett County and Georgia. He currently serves on the House Banks & Banking, Economic Development & Tourism, Industry & Labor and Science & Technology Committees. Rep. Marin has created a reputation as an elected official dedicated to being a voice for justice, opportunity, and equality for all people.
Upon moving to Gwinnett County, Rep. Marin immediately recognized a need to build relationships between community and government leaders and the emerging diverse communities in metro Atlanta. He has facilitated countless intercultural relation programs to educate people about minorities, which has been critical in discrediting stereotypes, erasing ignorance, and easing tensions that arise when people are adverse to change. Rep. Marin has also led numerous community organizing efforts to register voters, protect minorities from unfair treatment, and raise awareness about health & educational disparities. He has worked hard to improve relations between Gwinnett County government and the Immigrant community by serving as an advisor and intermediary.
Rep. Marin possesses over 35 years of executive experience in both the private and non-profit sector plus 16 years as a Public Servant. He was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico and while working for Persol, North America he was transferred in 1995 to Gwinnett County, GA. He has been happily married to his wife, Nereida, for 35 years.
Rafael L. Bras, Sc.D.
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Georgia Institute of Technology
Rafael L. Bras is provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is a professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences where he holds the K. Harrison Brown Family Chair.
Before becoming provost, Bras was a distinguished professor and dean of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UC-Irvine. For 32 years, he was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was Chair of the Faculty, head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering department, and director of the Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory.
He has served as advisor to many institutions including: Engineering Directorate, National Science Foundation; Board of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council; Earth Systems Sciences and Applications Committee of NASA and NASA Advisory Committee; National Academy of Sciences; Secretary of Energy and the academic departments of prestigious American and international universities.
He is a distinguished member of ASCE, fellow of AGU, AMS, ASCE and AAAS, an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the Academy of Arts and Sciences of Puerto Rico and the Academies of Engineering and Sciences of Mexico. He holds an honorary degree from the University of Perugia in Italy. His awards include the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Award Hall of Fame, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award from MIT, AGU Horton medal, NASA Public Service Medal, and the Clarke Prize, among others.
He has published two textbooks, more than 225 refereed journal publications, and several hundred other publications.
Rene M. Diaz
President and CEO
Rene M. Diaz. Mr. Diaz was born in Cuba and moved to the United States as a child at the age of 6. He has spent his entire career with Diaz Foods where he has served as President and Chief Executive Officer since 1980. Diaz Foods is an ethnic food importer distributing to restaurants and supermarkets in twenty-eight states with sales of $200 million. Mr. Diaz also owns and manages 5 other companies: Diaz Produce, Tortillas de Casa, La Cena Fine Foods NJ and EDUA Holdings. He is also the President of the Diaz Group, the management company for all 5 companies.
Mr. Diaz is currently active on several civic and corporate boards of directors: Founding director Atlantic Capital Bank and current board member; Board of Advisors of the J. Mack Robinson College of Business, United Way of Greater Atlanta. Some of Mr. Diaz’s past board involvements include The Community Foundation, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, The Carter Center, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, United Way of Atlanta, Atlanta Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Latin American Association, Leadership Atlanta, Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Alliance Theatre Company and Zoo Atlanta. In addition, he was a founding director of United Americas Bank, a community bank focused on the Hispanic community.
Mr. Diaz has been recognized both locally and nationally as one of the outstanding Hispanic entrepreneurs in the United States. He was recognized as a regional finalist for the 2006 Ernest & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Mr. Diaz was also the recipient of the 2003 Legacy Award from Big Brothers Big Sisters, the 2003 Georgia State University Robinson College of Business’ Inaugural Entrepreneurship Award and has been listed by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Atlantans”.
Mr. Diaz graduated from Georgia State University where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration and was the recipient of the National Food Brokers Education Foundation Scholarship. Mr. Diaz is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta, the Regional Leadership Institute (RLI), the Diversity Leadership Academy of Atlanta and the Middle East Travel Seminar (Mets) program. Mr. Diaz attended Marist School in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated in 1980.
Rubén J. Cruz
Cruz & Associates
Ruben J. Cruz, the son of Cuban immigrants and the owner and founder of Cruz & Associates, has dedicated his successful career to helping injured victims and workers for the last 30 years.
In addition to running a successful law practice, Ruben is extremely involved in his community. He is the founder of the Alcanzando Un Sueño Scholarship Program, awarding numerous scholarships each year to deserving high school seniors of Hispanic decent and is a proud member of the Board of Directors of H.O.P.E. (Hispanic Organization Promoting Education). Rubén also is a strong contributor to numerous charitable organizations such as Kid’s Chance, the March of Dimes, Doctors without Borders, the United Way, Be a Leader Foundation, Chicanos Por la Causa and Habitat for Humanity, among others.
Ruben completed his undergraduate education at the Georgia Institute of Technology where he attended on a tennis scholarship and later earned an MBA and J.D. at Georgia State University in 1989.
Ruben currently lives in Atlanta with his wife and two children Nico and Sofia where he enjoys playing tennis in his spare time.
Rudy M. Beserra
Sr. Vice President, Latin Affairs
The Coca-Cola Company (Retired)
Rudy M. Beserra is the former Senior Vice President, Office of Latin Affairs at The Coca-Cola Company. He began his career in 1989 after serving as special assistant to President Ronald Reagan on Latino and Small Business Affairs.
A native of Albuquerque, Rudy is a graduate of the University of New Mexico. From modest roots, he has built a long, successful career as an advocate and voice for the Latino community. With Coca-Cola, he has strengthened the company’s bridge to hundreds of Latino organizations and small businesses in the U.S.
Rudy is an active member of a number of prominent Latino-focused organizations, including the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC); the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI), of which he is a founding member; and he serves on the board of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI). In the past, Rudy has served as chairman of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF).
In 2016, Rudy was included in Latino Leaders magazine’s “101 Most Influential Latinos of 2016”, recognized as one of the “exemplary individuals” who “have dedicated their lives to education, culture and the success of generations to come.”
In 2011, Rudy received the NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award. That same year, he was awarded the Hector Barreto “Con Ganas” Award at the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) annual convention in Miami for his advocacy promoting Latino businesses in the private sector.
In 2007, he received the Executive of the Year Award from the Association of Latin Professionals in Finance. His other citations include the 1995 Hispanic Community Commitment Award by the Latin American Management Association; a special recognition award in 2006 by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and the 2007 Hispanic Leadership Award from the Dominican Times.
In 1987, during his tenure with President Reagan’s administration, Rudy was a special assistant to President Reagan in the Office of Public Liaison. He was instrumental in creating The Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s (HHF) Hispanic Heritage Awards. They were established by the White House to commemorate the creation of Hispanic Heritage month in the United States.
For the past 30 years, the Hispanic Heritage Awards have honored Latino leaders in various fields who have made a positive impact in the United States and around the globe. The awards are unique in that physicians, scientists, educators, innovators, public officials, community and business leaders, and even young leaders are presented the coveted award. In Sept. 2017, Rudy was honored with the Leadership Award at the 30th Anniversary of the Hispanic Heritage Awards.
Rudy lives in Atlanta with his wife, Lois, and two daughters.
Intent Solutions of Atlanta
CEO of Intent Solutions of Atlanta, Ga. Previously the Founder and President of Zamarripa Capital Incorporated, 2007, a private equity corporation focused on lower middle market companies, primarily in the Southeastern United States. The company provides capital strategies and transaction consulting for executive teams involved in the sale or acquisition of assets in media, financial services and consumer products.
From 2002 – 2006, Sam was a Partner and Managing Director at Heritage Capital Advisors focusing on investments in media and financial services. In 2007, Mr. Zamarripa was appointed as a Senior Advisor to Darby Private Equity, the private equity arm of Franklin Templeton Investments. He is a Director of Assurance America Corporation. In 1998, Mr. Zamarripa co-founded United Americas Bank, NA of Atlanta where served as Board Member until 2009.
Mr. Zamarripa served two terms in the State Senate of Georgia representing the City of Atlanta, where he served as the Secretary of the State Economic Development Committee and member of the committees on Insurance, Science & Technology and Transportation. He retired from the State Senate undefeated in 2006. Mr. Zamarripa is a Trustee of the Annie E. Casey Foundation of Baltimore, Maryland and a lifetime Trustee of Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York. He is also a member of the Board of Counselors for the Carter Center of Atlanta.
Under the pen name, Samuel Zamarripa, he has completed two novels, publishing his first book of a duology, The Spectacle of Let – the Oliet and Obit, with Floricanto Press in 2017. A second book in the series, The Spectacle of Let – the Soul of a Miracle, along with a companion lexicon was published in 2018.
He holds a BA from New College of Sarasota, Florida, and a Masters of Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University, Syracuse New York.
President & CEO
Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Mr. Marquez was born in Cuba and came to the United States in 1971. He lived in Portland, Oregon until 1982 when his parents were transferred with Georgia-Pacific to Atlanta, GA. He is a graduate of Georgia State University; a current student at Notre Dame University and an alumnus of the Buckhead Business Leadership Class; alumnus of Leadership Atlanta, best class ever-2013; he has served on the Gwinnett Citizens Review Board. He also serves on multiple boards including the Aurora Theatre and is on the advisory board for supplier diversity at Delta Airlines.
Mr. Marquez joined GHCC in September 2008. His main functions include financial management, fundraising, membership development and partnership development. Mr. Marquez has been working in the non-profit sector since 1998, cutting his teeth with Consumer Credit Counseling Service, Inc., while attending graduate school at Georgia State University. After CCCS, Marquez served as the Director of Employment and Housing for the Latin American Association, starting the first housing department to focus on Hispanics in Atlanta. In 2004, Marquez joined Boys & Girls Clubs of America where he worked for four years as the Director of Latino Outreach. During this tenure his duties included implementing a Latino outreach strategy in multiple Boys & Girls Clubs across the country. The Latino outreach initiative focused on outreach to Latino youth and families, while helping Clubs increase the number of Latino staff and board members. Most recently, Mr. Marquez served as the Director of Development, NE region where his duties included fundraising and corporate relations in the northeast region.
In 2017, Mr. Marquez became the President and CEO of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He is honored and humbled to lead an organization with over 1,100 members and over 34 years of service.
DelCampo Weber & Grayson
J. Antonio “Tony” DelCampo previously served as a Judge in the State Court of Dekalb County for nearly a decade. As one of the state’s most well-respected judges, Tony is best known for handling some of the most complicated cases in recent memory including all of the civil claims originating from the Brian Nichols courthouse shooting case, countless medical malpractice cases, and intricate products liability trials with substantive verdicts—one of which was among the largest in the history of the state.
A native of Lima, Peru, Tony came to Atlanta, Georgia, in July of 1979. He graduated from Emory University in 1991 and received his law degree from Georgia State University in 1994, where he served as an Editor on the GSU Law Review and received the A. Thomas Jones Excellency in Advocacy Award.
Tony is a member of the Board of Governors of the State Bar of Georgia, the immediate past Chairman of the Board to Determine Fitness of Bar Applicants, a Member of the Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism, a former member of the Supreme Court’s Commission on Interpreters and a member of the Judicial Council’s Access, Fairness, Public Trust & Confidence Standing Committee. He serves on the State Bar’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures Committee, the Judicial Qualifications Commission Legislative Taskforce and is a former Vice-Chair of the Civil Legal Services Taskforce. He currently serves on the Board of the Georgia Hispanic Bar Association and the Board of Counselors at Oxford College of Emory University. He previously served on the Board of Leadership DeKalb, the DeKalb County Bar Association, the Oxford College of Emory University Alumni Board, the Judicial Section of the Atlanta Bar Association, the DeKalb Volunteers Lawyers Foundation, the Standing Committee on Drug Courts, Lawyers for Equal Justice, and the Georgia Commission on Hispanic Affairs. While on the bench, he was a member of the Council of State Court Judges and served on the Legislative Committee, the DUI Court Committee and the Minorities in the Judiciary Committee. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, the Georgia Hispanic Bar Association, the DeKalb Bar Association, a Fellow of the Lawyers Foundation of Georgia, and a Master of the Lamar Inn of Court. He is a member in good standing of the Bars of Georgia and South Carolina. He is a past Chair of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials. Tony is actively involved in Dunwoody United Methodist Church where he currently Chairs the Stewardship Committee, and serves on the Finance Board, Steering Committee and previously served on the Board of Trustees.
In 2015, the Georgia Supreme Court designated Tony as an Amicus Curiae in recognition of his distinguished service and contribution to the improvement of the administration of justice. Tony also has received numerous other awards including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Dream Keeper of Justice, the Caminar Latino Journey Award, the TUMI USA Award, the Lawyer of the Year by La Vision de Georgia, and the Chamblee High School Hall of Fame. Tony has been named to Georgia Trend Magazine’s “40 Under 40″, a list of the 40 most influential Georgians under 40 years of age. Tony is a graduate of Leadership DeKalb, and a 2004 graduate of Leadership Georgia. A past president of the Georgia Hispanic Bar Association, Tony also served as the Regional President for the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA). In 2002, Tony was elected Vice-President of the Judicial Council of the HNBA. After resigning from the bench in 2011, Tony was named as a Super Lawyer for the years 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Georgia Mentor Protege Connection
Channel 2 Action News
Wendy Corona joined Channel 2 Action News in January 2013. She anchors Channel 2 Action News at 4pm Monday through Friday and also reports daily throughout the metro.
Before the move to Atlanta, Wendy worked at WFAA in Dallas, Texas. Wendy was also an evening anchor at KPRC in Houston, Texas.
Wendy was the morning anchor at Local 10, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Her broadcast career began as a reporter in Yuma, Arizona followed by El Paso, Texas and Orlando, Florida.
Wendy has been a witness to many significant news events, starting in her college days being present at the O.J. Simpson murder trial.
She was working in Florida, when all eyes were on the contested 2000 presidential election, its “hanging chads” and tracking Florida connections to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. During her time in Florida, a record number of hurricanes made landfall in South Florida.
She is most proud of her early work as a reporter in reuniting an African refugee with her long-lost family members in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and winning an Emmy Award at WSB for reporting on peoples abuse of the lightly regulated service dog industry.
Wendy had the pleasure of teaming up with Robin Roberts in Miami to support Women’s Heart Health initiatives and appeared on Good Morning America to support the issue.
Wendy has hosted numerous special event broadcasts from sporting to philanthropic gala events and finds joy connecting with the community this way. She is a board member for Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School, who will graduate its first class in Georgia in May 2018. Wendy is especially supportive of in the areas of women’s health, education, literacy projects and domestic violence.
Born and raised in Southern California, Wendy is the daughter of Mexican immigrants, fluent in Spanish and the first in her entire family to graduate from college.
Wendy graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Arts and Science in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish.
To send Wendy a story idea, email her: Wendy.Corona@wsbtv.com
Follow Wendy on Facebook and Twitter.
Artist & Educator
Yehimi Cambrón is an artist and educator born in Mexico and raised in Atlanta. She earned a full ride scholarship from the Goizueta Foundation to attend Agnes Scott College, from where she graduated with a B.A. in Studio Art in 2014. Cambrón’s artwork focuses on celebrating the humanity and
resiliency of immigrants.
In the Spring of 2015, Cambrón decided to expand her fight for social justice to the classroom by joining Teach for America (TFA) in their movement for educational equity, becoming the first of two DACAmented (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) TFA educators in Georgia. After completing her two-year commitment teaching at a bilingual elementary school, Cambrón returned to her alma mater—Cross Keys High School in DeKalb County School District—as an art teacher. Most recently, Cambrón transitioned from Vice President to President of the Cross Keys Foundation—a non-profit organization that advocates for and supports the public schools of the Cross Keys cluster.
In 2017, she painted a mural of her Education is Liberation Monarch as part of The BuHi Walk—a public art conference on Buford Hwy co-hosted by Living Walls, The City Speaks and We Love BuHi. Since then, she has used this mural as a platform to advocate for the protection of “Dreamers”. In April of 2018, Cambrón illustrated a series of portraits to anonymize the faces of undocumented student authors for the 4th edition of Green Card Youth Voices: Immigration Stories from an Atlanta High School. The book includes her story and the stories of students at Cross Keys High School. Cambrón was recently selected as one of the participating artists on Off the Wall: Atlanta’s Civil Rights & Social Justice Journey led by WonderRoot and Atlanta Super Bowl. Through murals, media, and community conversations Off the Wall will share elements of Atlanta’s civil rights and social justice journey, elevating key stories and ideas present in the city’s pursuit of civil rights, human rights and a more equitable future for all Atlantans.
Strategy & Technology Innovation
Yovany was raised in Havana, Cuba for the first 12-years of his life. His family endured a 9-month migration trajectory that took them through Panama, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. Yovany made it to Boston, MA on July 3, 1993 just in time to celebrate his family’s freedom along with this great nation’s Independence Day. He attended Phillips Academy (Andover, MA) and East Boston High School, graduating as Valedictorian, President of the Honor Society, Captain of the baseball and swimming team, Boston Athlete of the Year, and as the first Hispanic to become Senior Class President. He continued his community involvement and held several leadership positions at Dartmouth College, where he graduated in 2003 with an AB Sociology and an AB Spanish Literature. As part of the “AT&T 2020 Vision”, he completed a Master of Science & Technology Leadership at Brown University (June 2018) with a thesis on AR/VR (augmented/virtual reality).
Joined AT&T in 2009. With 12-years of sales, marketing, negotiation, and management experience, Yovany has worked in several industries: manufacturing, packaging logistics, external affairs, banking and consulting. Yovany started his AT&T career as a Commercial Seller, followed by an opportunity to be a Training Manager. Currently, Yovany explores strategies and innovative technology that delivers strong-ROI for AT&T University and its clients. He was just elected as HACEMOS National President, leading ~11,000 Members through 42 Chapters.
Yovany is a highly involved member of the Atlanta community. He founded and serves on the Hispanic Corporate Council of Atlanta (HCCA). He helped organized purpose-driven treks that raised funds for ~450 orphans in some of the world’s most remote and iconic location (eg. 2010 Mount Everest in Nepal; 2009 Mt. Cotopaxi in Ecuador; 2006 Inca Trail in Peru).
Yovany married Olivia Adams on November 2015. They enjoy traveling the world, making new friends, learning about first-century Christian history, and spending time with little Peter (their firstborn, July 2018).
www.linkedin.com/in/YovanyJerez Twitter: @MrYJerez
Gabriel Vaca comes to the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce after a 24 year successful career at UPS and will lead the GHCC Hispanic Entrepreneur Center (HISEC) a newly formed organization that will support and accelerate the growth of Hispanic businesses with new programming and opportunities in finances, access to capital, sales / marketing and procurement & certification.
Gabriel Vaca was responsible for consulting and supporting UPS’ largest enterprise customers in their logistics and global supply chain. He was instrumental in developing international trade between the U.S. and countries around the world, especially with Asia and Latin America.
Joining UPS in 1994 in Miami, Mr.Vaca helped customers develop exports and imports between the U.S, Mexico and Latin America. He later relocated to Atlanta and held various International Business Development positions at the UPS Corporate Headquarters.
Mr. Vaca is past Chairman of the Board of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GHCC) the 6th largest Hispanic Chamber in the US. He has demonstrated his commitment to the GHCC by serving as a Board Director since April 2004. However, his support does not end there; he also served as Board member of the Hispanic American Center for Economic Development and is a business advisor of the GHCC- Hispanic Young Professional and Entrepreneurs (HYPE) group and it is through Mr. Vaca’s efforts the GHCC continues to receive support from The UPS Foundation, contributing to the strengthening and economic wellbeing of the GHCC and the Hispanic community. He currently serves as a member of the Senior Executive Corporate Advisory Board of the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce based in Washington, D.C.
He is a founder and graduate of the GHCC Cultivating Hispanic Leadership Institute and founding member of Crecer, the UPS Latino Business Resource Group, which he helped lead in 2017 to win first place as the most impactful Latino BRG in Corporate America at the USHCC Corporate Challenge. He has been a guest speaker on Leadership Development, Latino Employee Resource Groups, Hispanic business and International trade in the US and international countries. He also was a speaker in support of NAFTA during its ratification and most recently he has been a featured speaker at the Hispanic Corporate Council of Atlanta, Georgia Tech, Georgia Power, Kennesaw State University, University of Georgia, Chamber of Commerce of Bogota, Colombia and has discussed international trade in various forums in Mexico.
He has been honored by the Georgia Secretary of State as an “Outstanding Georgia Citizen” for his work on helping Hispanic businesses in Georgia and also received the CEO Award in Corporate Ambassadorship from the GHCC. In June 2016 he was honored and was named Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Chairman Emeritus.
His commitment to helping Hispanic small businesses and UPS employee development and business growth is based on his personal experience as a small business owner where he received support as well as business opportunities through the local Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.Mr. Vaca has a degree in Business Administration from the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, was born in Mexico City and raised in Washington, D.C. has two children and lives in Roswell, GA.
Veronica Toscano de Leger
David Lee Windecher