Lili Gil Valetta
President & CEO, Eventus and Former NMAL Commissioner
Restaurant Owner of El Sombrero
CEO, AT&T Business
Chairman of The Latino Coalition and Former SBA Administrator
Juan Carlos Benitez
President Washington Pacific Economic Development Group
Former SVP Coca-Cola and Former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan
CEO, YWCA and Former National Director, MBDA
Dir., Major Giving, Army Museum
Sergio Fernandez de Cordova
Chairman, PVBLIC Foundation
Former Governor of Puerto Rico
Becker & Poliakoff
Former NMAL Commissioner
President, The Libre Initiative
CEO & Cofounder CIEN+
Chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Former CEO of Kellogg Company
Executive Director, External Affairs, Comcast
Utah Attorney General and Former NMAL Commissioner
Board Secretary the Latino Coalition
Former Federal Drug Free Communities Commissioner
President/CEO of US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, Former Chairman of the Reserve Forces Policy Board, Retired Army Major General
President & CEO
Development & Partnerships Director
Government Affairs Director
Monica Lopez Romo
Lili Gil Valletta
CulturIntel and CIEN+
Lili is a recognized cultural intelligence® expert, World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and an award-winning entrepreneur. An immigrant from Colombia, Lili came to the U.S. at the age of 17 without speaking English and managed to become a recognized corporate executive turned business owner and tech innovator.
After a successful corporate career including a 10-year tenure at Johnson & Johnson, Lili co-founded CIEN+ and CulturIntel. Her firm, headquartered in New York City with offices in Colombia and Mexico, is a recognized expert in big data market research, business consulting and cross-cultural marketing helping Fortune 500’s to successfully tap into diverse markets and turn cultural trends into profits. Her proprietary methodologies of Cultural Intelligence and innovative application of AI and leading big data tools to mine and turn open-source digital discussions into insights, have been presented at numerous conferences, news outlets, the United Nations and universities like Harvard University, Princeton, Cornell, Auckland University of Technology, among others.
She is a regular TV commentator seen on Fox News, Fox Business and CNN en Español, and has been featured by Forbes, CNN Money, The Huffington Post, The NY Daily News, MM&M, among others. She is also the recipient of many awards including 2018 Hispanic Businessperson of the Year by the USHCC, 2019 Top 10 Innovation Catalyst by MM&M, Top 100 Most Powerful Women of New York, PODER’s Top 40 Under 40, Top 50 Healthcare Influencers by PRWeek, Most Influential Latinos, among others.
Lili serves as a board member of the Harvard Women’s Leadership Board, National Board of Directors of the YMCA USA, mentor to the Stanford Latino Entrepreneur Leaders Program and was appointed by Governor Cuomo as a member of the New York State Council on Women and Girls and was appointed in 2018 by Mayor Bill de Blasio as a Member of the NYC Technology Leadership Advisory Council.
Vice President, Multicultural Leadership
Bringing over 20 years of experience specializing in multicultural initiatives, Yvette Peña, Vice President for Latino Audience Strategy at AARP, serves as the national voice for AARP’s engagement with Latino communities through partnerships with multicultural organizations to drive AARP’s social impact agenda. Yvette has also championed innovation by leveraging digital, social and mobile platforms to drive engagements with the 50+ Latinos and their families. She develops and manages relevant offerings and programs for the Hispanic/Latino community and AARP’s members in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. She is also responsible for the design and strategic direction on all communication channels targeting Spanish dominant and bilingual/bicultural audience segments.
Previously, Yvette worked as Director of Multicultural Marketing at Sports Authority and Walgreens as the first Director of Multicultural Marketing and has a long history of building successful brands in Multicultural markets, including her time at Sears and The Bravo Group.
She is a lifelong advocate for ethnic communities and takes pride in giving back and providing opportunities to develop communities in meaningful ways. After graduating in Business Administration from Baruch College (New York), she dedicated herself to public service, mentoring and championing diversity efforts. She is a Board Member of the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino.
Yvette is a native New Yorker, an Afro-Latina with proud Dominican roots and cherishes her time with her family. This has enabled her to work passionately for and with multicultural communities. She resides between Washington, DC and Chicago, IL with her Husband, Lazaro
Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO, Republica Havas
Named one of the world’s most influential marketing and communications professionals in PRWeek’s Global Power Book, before co-founding Republica agency in 2006, Jorge was corporate vice president and operating manager of Univision Radio, the nation’s largest network of multicultural-focused radio stations. He played a key role in the integration and cross-platform opportunities of Univision’s television, radio, and digital properties. Earlier, he held the position of vice president of marketing, corporate communications, and public affairs.
Prior to Univision, Jorge was vice president of Estefan Enterprises, Inc., where he was responsible for corporate business strategy, marketing, and communications, and played a vital role in the business affairs and management of several international artists, including Gloria Estefan and Shakira.
Before Estefan Enterprises, Jorge was the first director of Hispanic marketing for the Florida Marlins. During his tenure, the Marlins won their first World Series championship and received the Hispanic Marketer of the Year Award from the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.
A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Florida Council of 100, Jorge was nominated in 2004 by President George W. Bush – and confirmed by the U.S. Senate – to serve on the advisory board of the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB). Jorge has also received numerous accolades including Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur Of The Year® Award, PRWeek’s 40 Under 40, CEO of the Year by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, and Ultimate CEO by the South Florida Business Journal.
Jorge earned a bachelor’s degree with honors from Barry University and completed the Advanced Management Education Program from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Luis R. Cancel
Artist, arts administrator, and distinguished public servant
Harvard University – Master of Arts in Public Administration, 1990
New York University – Master of Arts in Art Administration, 1987
Pratt Institute – Bachelor of Fine Arts, 1975
Luis R. Cancel – artist, arts administrator, and distinguished public servant has a distinguished 30- year career as the head of various not-for-profit and public agencies. Until recently he served as the Director of Cultural Affairs for the City of San Francisco, appointed to that position by Mayor Gavin Newsom in January 2008. In that capacity, he oversaw the San Francisco Arts Commission (www.sfartscommission.org) until July 2011 when he resigned after Mayor Newsom was elected Lt. Governor of California. While serving in San Francisco, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed Mr. Cancel to the National Museum of the American Latino Commission (2009-2011), established by Congress and the President to study the potential creation of such a museum as part of the Smithsonian Institution.
From 2005 until December 2007 he was Executive Director of the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center in New York City, where he raised $14.04 million in capital renovation grants. He has served as an independent curator and consultant in the areas of institutional development and strategic planning for various foundations and government agencies (see ECC below). In 2009, he became a founding member of Rio Cidade Criativa (Rio Creative City www.cidadecriativa.org/en/), a decade-long initiative based in Rio de Janeiro to foment the arts and community development in the city that is being impacted by hosting the World Cup (2014) and the Olympics (2016).
Formerly, Mr. Cancel was Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (www.nyc.gov/html/dcla/html/home/home.shtml). Appointed by Mayor David N. Dinkins in December 1991, Mr. Cancel became the first Latino ever to hold that position as the fifth Commissioner in the agency’s history. During his tenure (1991-1994), he worked closely with Mayor Dinkins to raise the level of city support for the arts and sciences, increasing the agency’s operating support budget from $69 million to $89 million, making it the nation’s third largest public agency supporting arts and culture. In addition, Mr. Cancel oversaw the Capital Improvements budget of $100 million. As Commissioner, Mr. Cancel worked with leaders from all of the arts disciplines to document the economic contributions of the arts to New York City’s economy.
In 1978 he was named Executive Director of the Bronx Museum of the Arts. He was the youngest Museum Director and the only Latino in the country to direct a county museum. During his tenure (1978-1991), he was responsible for the Bronx Museum becoming one of the most respected and innovative cultural institutions in New York City. He guided the Museum’s expansion from the Bronx County Courthouse to a 42,000 square feet (3,902 square meters) permanent building and successfully oversaw a $6.5 million capital campaign and renovation project. Under Mr. Cancel’s direction, the Bronx Museum subsequently developed a master plan for a second physical plant expansion of $22 million and Mr. Cancel secured municipal capital support of $18.75 million for that project.
While Directing the Bronx Museum, Mr. Cancel received a Museum Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts to research Latin American art. He traveled extensively throughout Latin America and established important contacts for the Museum with major collectors, galleries and museums. He also curated several major exhibitions including: the First, Second and Third Emerging Expressions Biennials: The Artists and the Computer; Devastation/Resurrection: The South Bronx; Krishna Reddy, a Retrospective; and the highly acclaimed Latin American Spirit: Art and Artists in the United States, 1920-1970.
The Bronx Museum received extensive national and local media coverage for its exhibitions and public programs. Mr. Cancel has conducted numerous print and broadcast interviews on a wide variety of topics and has been featured as the cover story for the Sunday Arts and Leisure Section of The New York Times (September 25, 1988).
He was President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Council for the Arts (ACA is now known as the Americans for the Arts), having been appointed to that post in April of 1994. ACA was a national membership organization, founded in 1960, whose mission then and now is to promote public policies that advance and document the contributions of the arts and artists to American life. During his tenure, Mr. Cancel helped ACA to focus its activities and become an arts information provider. In 1994 he conceived and established ACA’s pioneering Internet Web site, ArtsUSATM (www.artsusa.org).
Mr. Cancel has maintained an active consulting practice via Entrepreneurial Cultural Consulting (ECC), which he originally founded in 1995 as Esperanto Internet Services (EIS) to facilitate network communication between individuals of diverse nations and cultures. EIS positioned itself to benefit from the growing need to translate information over the Internet. This information technology company provided multilingual, Web site design; quality translations in English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish; and proofreading services. EIS assisted clients with the design and development of those multi-lingual Web sites and EIS sold its domain name www.esperanto.com to the International Esperanto Society in 2007.
Since then, Mr. Cancel has used ECC to undertake selective cultural consulting projects involving strategic planning, fund raising and institutional development for numerous clients including The Rockefeller Foundation, The US-Mexico Fund for Culture and in 1998 he conducted a feasibility study for the establishment of a Museum of the Americas for the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC. Other consulting clients include: Thor Equities (NYC); Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro; Instituto Tomie Ohtake (São Paulo); the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Fundación Eugenio Mendoza (Caracas), The Quipus Cultural Foundation (La Paz), Lord Cultural Resources (Toronto), The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Salt Lake County Center for the Arts (Utah).
As a member of the Smithsonian Council (1990-1997), he headed up a review of the Smithsonian Institution’s publishing and electronic projects. As a consultant, he conducted a feasibility study for the establishment of a Museum of the Americas for the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC. In 1999, he was a consultant to The Rockefeller Foundation, assigned by the Foundation to provide technical assistance to Latin American arts groups.
Mr. Cancel has been a guest lecturer at several prestigious national and international museums and universities including Yale, Harvard, Princeton, The Aspen Institute, and Central University of Caracas. He has maintained an active interest in both the arts and sciences and he has been at the forefront of urging cultural organizations to utilize the Internet and New Media to reach new audiences. He hosted a weekly 2-hour Internet radio Podcast, Loisaida Cultural Wire, on www.eastvillageradio.com, and in San Francisco, he establish and co-hosted CultureWire, a weekly cable TV and Internet-based television program. (www.sfartscommission.org/category/video/)
Mr. Cancel entered Pratt Institute in 1970, where he studied painting and printmaking with a minor in Anthropology. After earning his B.F.A. from Pratt in 1975, Mr. Cancel received a study fellowship from the American Friends Service Committee to research 20th Century Puerto Rican Art. When this research ended, he became the Gallery Director of the Cayman Gallery, the first Latin American art gallery in SoHo, New York. During his 1975-1977 tenure, Mr. Cancel began his continuing affiliation with most of the major Hispanic cultural institutions, including Taller Boricua, El Museo del Barrio, and The Mexican Museum (San Francisco and Chicago).
In 1987 he received a Master of Arts degree in Museum Management/Arts Administration from New York University. During the 1989-1990 academic year, he went on an academic sabbatical from the Bronx Museum, and in 1990, received his second Master of Arts degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Mr. Cancel also studied educational software design and interactive CD-ROM production at the Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Visit Luis’s website www.LuisCancel.com
Meridian Design Associates
Tony is the Managing Principal and a founder of Meridian Design. As such he has spearheaded the development of the firm’s Integrated Design Methodology. With his skillful balance of design vision and detail orientation, Tony leads the conceptualization and design of all of the firm’s projects. He is also an accomplished furniture and industrial designer and has led the firm’s efforts to explore the humanization of the workplace. In addition, he leads the firm’s Quality Management, Cost Estimating and Production Technology processes. Prior to his career in architecture he followed his passion for art and painting and to this day remains active and productive in this area. Tony’s diverse past project experience includes design and construction administration of a broad spectrum of projects, including: media and entertainment, network operation centers, New Media spaces, as well as commercial interiors (offices, restaurants and cultural facilities) and residential spaces (modular, single-family and multi-family apartments). Other aspects of his practice include a cultural center, educational facilities and research projects. Education: Bachelor of Architecture, Pratt Institute, 1976; Masters of Architecture, Pratt Institute, 1980.
Rachel Campos Duffy
Fox New Contributor, Author
Rachel Campos-Duffy may have gotten her start as one of the stars of the iconic show, MTVs The Real World: San Francisco, but today she is ranked one of “Newsmax’s 50 Most Influential Latino Republicans” and sought after for her honest, insightful, and often humorous real world view of the news cycle and American politics.
Rachel is a published author, communications consultant, and television personality specializing in political analysis, culture and parenting.
She is a FOX News and FOX Business Contributor and a recurring guest host on hit shows, FOX & Friends and Outnumbered offering her unique view on political news, parenting, and everything in between.
Rachel has also appeared as a frequent guest on NBC’s Today Show and ABC’s
The View. In 2008, she co-hosted the series “Speaking of Women’s Health” on the Lifetime Network with the legendary Florence Henderson.
Her advocacy work has included serving as the national spokesperson for The LIBRE Initiative, a non-profit group that advocates for the economic empowerment of Hispanics through limited government, entrepreneurship and self-reliance.
Rachel’s debut children’s book set to be released in Spring 2018 by Regnery Kids, is a story about a little girl’s adventure inside the U.S. Capitol inspired by real life events where she learns about patriotism, courage and her immigrant father’s journey to citizenship.
She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Arizona State University’s Honors Program and a Masters Degree in International Affairs from the University of California, San Diego.
Rachel lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Congressman Sean Duffy [R-WI], and her eight awesome kids!
John Leguizamo is an Emmy-winning, Golden Globe-nominated actor. He recently received critical acclaim for his role in the Ava DuVernay mini-series When They See Us, for which he was nominated for an Emmy and Critics Choice Award, among many others. Leguizamo has starred in, written, and produced a number of notable films, Broadway productions, and TV series, including the Tony Award-nominated one-man show Latin History for Morons, highlighting the near total absence of Latinos in American history classes.
At the age of four, Leguizamo immigrated to Queens, New York from Colombia with his family, where he began his successful career in the entertainment industry.
Mario Rodriguez is the President and founding member of Compendium Strategies. He has been an entrepreneur and community leader throughout his career. In 1986, he founded Jonathan Grey & Associates, and built it into a leading Latino-owned consulting and ad specialty company. His clients include Fortune 500 companies, sports agencies, political firms, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. In 2006, he created his consulting business where he specializes in advising his clients on a wide range of political, business, and social issues.
Mr. Rodriguez serves in many social organizations. He served as board Director for the Tiger Woods Learning Center and is the Chairman of the Hispanic 100. He served on the President’s Advisory Council of Concordia University, as well as the New Majority of Orange County. He formerly served as a member of President George W. Bush’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security, Chairman of the California Athletic Commission, President of the Hispanic Business Roundtable, Chairman of the Latino Coalition Foundation, Board of Directors of the Efren Herrera Foundation, and as member of the Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Club in the South County area.
Mr. Rodriguez has received multiple awards including the Hispanic Business Roundtable’s Circle of Excellence and League of United Latin American Citizens Businessman of the Year. He has been featured in television, newspapers, magazines, and radio including Making It: Minority Success Stories, and a KTLA Channel special, The Top Forty Companies with Owners under the age of Forty by Entrepreneur Magazine. Mr. Rodriguez received the 2005 O.C. Hispanic Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 2005 O.C. United Way’s Hispanic Influential Lifetime Achievement award.
Partner and President
Cici has 20 years of corporate client cultivation, engagement, and retention experience. Her tenures range from CEO and Sr. Leader roles for local, regional and national Hispanic and Women’s Business and Advocacy associations, to Healthcare, Political, and Civic Leadership roles. She serves on several local, and national boards to positively contribute to the Kansas City region. She loves “trying” to play golf, spending time in the community for various causes and issues, and hanging out in KC’s eclectic live music and restaurant scene.
Claudia Romo Edelman
Founder, We Are All Human
Claudia Romo Edelman is an advocate for the inclusion equity and representation. Her mission is to use her voice to build bridges and remind us that we are all human.
She is a Special Adviser for the We Are All Human Foundation; she is also the Co-Host of ‘Global GoalsCast’, a podcast distributed by CBS News Digital, which highlights global progress through the stories of champions making a difference. Claudia is the Editor at Large of Thrive Global and it was recently announced that she will step into the role of Editor in Chief of Thrive Hispanics.
Prior to this, the Mexican-Swiss diplomat was seconded to the Executive Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to lead communications and advocacy for the Sustainable Development Goals.
Claudia is the former Chief of Advocacy of UNICEF. While living in Europe for 25 years, she successfully led public relations and brand and marketing for global organizations including the World Economic Forum, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB & Malaria.
A frequent public speaker on development and humanitarian affairs, Claudia holds degrees in Communications, Philosophy and Photography as well as a Masters of Political Communications from the London School of Economics. Claudia is married and has two children. She enjoys sports and speaks six languages.
Luis Spinola is President and CEO of Azteca-Omega Group, a general contracting and construction corporation he founded more than 40 years ago. As a dedicated advocate for the Latino community, Spinola has spearheaded internship and mentorship programs for Latino and Latina students in engineering and construction and was honored by the Dallas Cowboys with the Hispanic Heritage Leadership award for his community involvement.
Born and raised in Mexico City, Spinola immigrated to the US in 1983.
Nicolás A. Medina
Public and Government Affairs Manager
ExxonMobil Production Company
Nicolás A. Medina is the Public and Government Affairs Manager for the Middle East and Russia at ExxonMobil Production Company. Nicolás has been with ExxonMobil for 20 years in a variety of positions in sales, marketing, operations, planning and technology. A native of Nicaragua, Nicolás brings a global perspective having worked for ExxonMobil in Latin America, Europe, and the US.
Nicolás grew up in Miami and earned a B.A. in Economics and International Studies from the American University in Washington, DC. In 1988, he was captain of his college team that won the National Championship Debate Tournament. Nicolás was a Sloan Foundation Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley and in 1991 obtained a Master in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Nicolás is former President of GOAL, an ExxonMobil group designed to facilitate the business, professional growth and advancement of Hispanics. He currently serves in the board of directors for NSHMBA, AVANCE, Inc. and the Russian Chamber of Commerce. He is also an advisory board member of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, Hispanic 360 Retail Conference, and Harvard University’s Latino Leadership Initiative.