Chicago’s 24 Top Latina Leaders in Philanthropy and Government

National Hispanic Heritage Month: 24 of Chicago’s Top Latina Leaders

This October, Make It Better celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month as we honor Latina leaders who are making Greater Chicagoland a better place.

These dynamic women are among a select group leading nonprofit organizations and government agencies. They possess the qualities of true leaders: confidence, determination, integrity, and passion. And they are as committed to their heritage as they are to improving the lives of others.

Join us in celebrating our Latina leaders!

Dr. Elizabeth Alvarez

Chief of Schools, Network 8, Chicago Public Schools

National Hispanic Heritage Month, Latina Leaders: Dr. Elizabeth Alvarez

Mission of your organization: Network 8 strives to empower schools to continuously improve by building strategic network-to-school and school-to-school relationships, providing high quality learning experiences for leaders at all levels, and examining data with a critical eye for problem-solving to improve student achievement.

Clarisol Duque

Chicago Chief of Staff, Office of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin

National Hispanic Heritage Month, Latina Leaders: Clarisol Duque

Mission: To serve Illinois residents.

Sol Flores

Executive Director, La Casa Norte

National Hispanic Heritage Month, Latina Leaders: Sol Flores

Mission: La Casa Norte’s mission is to serve youth and families confronting homelessness. We provide access to stable housing and deliver comprehensive services that act as a catalyst to transform lives and communities.

Maricela Garcia

Chief Executive Officer, Gads Hill Center

National Hispanic Heritage Month, Latina Leaders: Maricela Garcia

Mission: Since 1898, Gads Hill Center has created opportunities for children and their families to build a better life through education, access to resources, and community engagement.

Minerva Garcia-Sanchez

Chief of Schools for Network 7 (Little Village/Marshall Square/Pilsen neighborhoods), Chicago Public Schools

National Hispanic Heritage Month, Latina Leaders: Minerva Garcia-Sanchez

Mission: Network 7 is a strategic partner with school leaders and staff to drive improvements in instruction, academic culture, and social emotional learning and supports for students, their families, and the community. Our approach is grass roots with partnerships within the communities to support the whole child and their families ensuring a foundation to successful elementary, high school, and college and career experiences. Every Child in Every Classroom in Every School in Every Neighborhood will be successful.

Alicia Gonzalez

Executive Director, Cubs Charities

National Hispanic Heritage Month, Latina Leaders: Alicia Gonzalez

Mission: Cubs Charities harnesses the passion of Cubs fans to improve the lives of children and families across Chicago and beyond. Our goal is to provide increased access to sports opportunities and target improvements in health, fitness, and education for those at risk.

Rebeca Nieves Huffman

Executive Director, City Year Chicago; Trustee, City Colleges of Chicago Board

National Hispanic Heritage Month, Latina Leaders: Rebeca Nieves Huffman

Mission: City Year Chicago’s mission is to reach over half of the off-track students in Chicago Public Schools by providing them with full time Student Success Coaches who help them get on the path toward high school graduation.

Maria E. Wynne Lascarro

Chief Executive Officer, Leadership Greater Chicago

National Hispanic Heritage Month, Latina Leaders: Maria E. Wynne Lascarro

Mission: Leadership Greater Chicago (LGC) is the region’s premiere civic leadership development program. We convene, connect, and mobilize the region’s most promising leaders from the private, nonprofit, and public sectors to affect transformative civic impact across Greater Chicago.

Michelle Morales

CEO, Mikva Challenge

National Hispanic Heritage Month, Latina Leaders: Michelle Morales

Mission: Mikva Challenge develops youth to be empowered, informed, and active citizens who will promote a just and equitable society.

Patricia Mota

President and CEO, Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE)

National Hispanic Heritage Month, Latina Leaders: Patricia Mota

Mission: To positively impact the American workplace by cultivating the pipeline of Latino talent and providing Latino professionals the insight, access, and support to be successful in their careers.

Natalie C. Neris

Executive Director, Namaste Charter School

National Hispanic Heritage Month, Latina Leaders: Natalie C. Neris

Mission: The vision of Namaste Charter School is to empower the whole child to thrive in a complex, interconnected, and changing world.

Katya Nuques

Executive Director, Enlace Chicago

National Hispanic Heritage Month, Latina Leaders: Katya Nuques

Mission: Enlace Chicago convenes, organizes, and builds the capacity of Little Village stakeholders to confront systemic inequities and barriers to economic and social access.

Scarleth Lever Ortiz

Office of Diversity and Inclusion Director, Chicago Housing Authority

National Hispanic Heritage Month, Latina Leaders: Scarleth Lever Ortiz

Mission: The Chicago Housing Authority, the second largest public housing agency in the nation with a $1 billion operating budget, provides homes to more than 63,000 households while supporting healthy communities in neighborhoods throughout the city. Designated a Moving to Work agency by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, CHA has used that flexibility to create innovative partnerships that expand choices and opportunities for the low income families and individuals it serves. At the start of 2018, 63 percent of work-able CHA residents were working and earning a yearly average of almost $22,000. The Chicago Housing Authority is a municipal not-for-profit corporation, governed by a Board of Commissioners consisting of 10 members. The commissioners are appointed by the mayor.

Maria Socorro Pesqueira

President, Healthy Communities Foundation

National Hispanic Heritage Month, Latina Leaders: Maria Socorro Pesqueira

Mission: We are a community-informed grant making foundation that seeks to measurably improve the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities in our service area by promoting health equity, quality, and access.

Celena Roldán

Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois

National Hispanic Heritage Month (Latina Leaders): Celena Roldán

Mission: The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. The Red Cross shelters, feeds, and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. And at the local chapter of the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois serves 9.5 million people in 21 counties.

Andrea Sáenz

Chief Operating Officer, The Chicago Community Trust

National Hispanic Heritage Month, Latina Leaders: Andrea Sáenz

Mission: The mission of the Chicago Community Trust is to lead and inspire philanthropic efforts that measurably improve the quality of life and the prosperity of our region.

Doris Salomón

Director of Programs, Chicago United

National Hispanic Heritage Month, Latina Leaders: Doris Salomón

Mission: Chicago United’s mission is to achieve parity in economic opportunity for people of color by advancing multiracial leadership in corporate governance, executive level management, and business diversity. Working toward the common goal of creating a stronger, more inclusive business climate, Chicago United’s membership includes many of Chicago’s brightest and most accomplished leaders from a variety of professional backgrounds, and more than 95 member companies ranging from large to mid- and small-sized businesses, minority-owned businesses, and civic and nonprofit institutions.

Anna M. Valencia

City Clerk of Chicago, City of Chicago Office of the City Clerk

National Hispanic Heritage Month, Latina Leaders: Anna M. Valencia

Mission: City Clerk Valencia has focused on making government accessible to all Chicagoans. Under Valencia’s leadership, the Office of the City Clerk has made it a priority to find new and innovative ways to bring services directly to residents, increase civic engagement, improve efficiencies, and collaborate across government and with the private and public sectors.

Alicia T. Vega

Executive Director, Changing Worlds

National Hispanic Heritage Month, Latina Leaders: Alicia T. Vega

Mission: Changing Worlds exists to foster inclusive communities through oral history, writing, and art programs that improve student learning, affirm identity, and enhance cross-cultural understanding.

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