News Column

100 Most Influential Hispanics - 2000

Oct 13 2000 4:14PM

October 2000 - Hispanic influence in the business community is far-reaching and has come to encompass the high-tech sector. For proof, look no further than this year’s HISPANIC BUSINESS 100 Most Influential Hispanics, a list that includes representatives from a diverse cross section of the nation’s most vibrant technology firms.

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Raul Alarcon, Jr. CEO Spanish Broadcasting System Miami, FL Mr. Alarcon is CEO, president, and majority stockholder of SBS, the largest Hispanic-owned media entity in the United States with annual revenues of $120 million. He recently oversaw SBS’s initial public offering, raising a total of $501 million, the second-largest radio IPO ever. This year, he completed the acquisition of eight Chancellor Media radio stations serving Puerto Rico.

Rene Alegria Editorial Director Rayo New York, NY As editorial director of Rayo, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, Mr Alegria publishes titles by and for Hispanics. Mr. Alegria seeks out authors and books that reflect the Hispanic diversity, encourging HarperCollins to publish novels in Spanish by Esmeralda Santiago, Isabel Allende, and Oscar Hijuelos.

Fernando Alvarez CEO Abaco P.R., Inc. Roswell, GA Mr. Alvarez founded Abaco, which provides wireless systems consulting and enterprise software design for Fortune 500 companies. Abaco’s revenues exceeded $20 million last year and are projected to exceed $125 million by the year 2005. Mr. Alvarez has led Abaco’s global expansion, establishing offices in Australia, Germany, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Microsoft Corp. selected Abaco as the only enterprise software showcased at its launch of the Pocket PC.

Raquel M. Alvarez Associate, Intellectual Property and Technology Group Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P. Philadelphia, PA Ms. Alvarez focuses on patent prosecution, as well as on licensing/agreement issues and interference law. Her firm represents clients involved in intellectual property, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and unfair competition. The clients are Fortune 500 companies, multinational corporations, and entertainment conglomerates, as well as small businesses, universities, and artists. She is a member of the American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar Associations. And she has served as vice president and as a member of the board of directors of the Hispanic Bar Association of Philadelphia.

Cecilia Alvear President National Association of Hispanic Journalists Washington, DC Ms. Alvear, a NBC News Burbank field producer, was elected president of the 1,600-member association during a NAHJ convention this summer in Houston. She says it’s an exciting time to be a Latino and a journalist, adding: “Just as we are changing the demographics of United States we will change the demographics of the U.S. newsrooms.” She will serve a two-year term.

Ralph Armijo President & CEO Navidec Inc. Greenwood Village, CO Mr. Armijo has been recognized as a finalist in the Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in Colorado. He is also one of the “Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies in Colorado,” and one of the “Top 1000 E-businesses in the U.S.,” according to VarBusiness magazine. The company recorded revenue of $19 million in 1999, and analysts’ projections for 2000 are closer to $40 million. Since June 1999, Mr. Armijo has been the chairman of the company’s subsidiary, Navidec helps clients transform their traditional business into e-business.

Ed Avila Co-founder Endeavor Academy, Arroyo Grande High School Arroyo Grande, CA Mr. Avila, a lecturer in the engineering department at the California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo, developed a program that includes electronics, computers, sensors, robotics, spacecraft, rockets, aircraft, materials/structures and design of new products, which prepares students for college and the high-tech industry. Endeavor now is being copied at another high school through a federal grant. Mr. Avila will be in charge of recruiting students and engineering professionals to teach courses at the new academy. Last November, he was selected as a speaker at California Gov. Gray Davis’ first Aerospace Summit.

Orlando Ayala Senior VP, Worldwide Sales, Marketing, & Support Group Microsoft Redmond, WA “Hispanics in corporate America should do whatever they can to ensure the Latino community has access to the Internet, and should offer their services to support Internet startups,” says Mr. Ayala, the highest-ranking Latino executive at Microsoft. He oversees the sales, marketing and support of Microsoft products worldwide, and he reports directly to Microsoft’s chairman, Steve Baum. He joined Microsoft in 1991 as senior director of Microsoft’s Latin America Region.

Ronald Blackburn-Moreno President and CEO ASPIRA Association Inc. Washington, DC Under Mr. Blackburn-Moreno, ASPIRA has opened more than 20 Community Technology Centers across the country, providing Internet access to thousands of Latinos in low-income areas. The organization is plans to eventually have 40 centers, with more than 1,000 Internet-connected computers. ASPIRA, a national youth organization, provides information on educational opportunities, policies and model programs. He has helped shape federal education legislation, most recently the Higher Education Act, which will increase access to college, make higher education more affordable, and improve teacher quality.

Joaquin Blaya Founder, CEO, and Board Chairman Radio Unica Network Miami, FL Mr. Blaya, who founded the first Spanish-language radio network in the U.S., completed Radio Unica’s initial public offering of 6,840,000 shares of common stock at $16 per share, with the total gross proceeds of about $109 million. The network reaches more than 80 percent of Hispanics in the U.S. through company stations and affiliates nationwide. Mr. Blaya also is chairman of the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Lydia Camarillo CEO Democratic National Convention Los Angeles, CA Ms. Camarillo coordinated the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, which attracted international attention with the presidential nomination of Vice President Al Gore. She was the first Hispanic to ever hold that top post in either the Democratic or Republican parties. She is the former executive director of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, and she also was the chairwoman and founding member of the National Community Latino Leadership.

Gilberto Cardenas Executive Director Institute for Latino Studies, University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN Mr. Cardenas is the executive director of Inter-University Program for Latino Research, a 13-university alliance that conducts in-depth analysis. His current Latino project covers economic empowerment, economic development strategies, and small-business entrepreneurs. In the last nine moths, he has been appointed to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Millenium board, to the first Smithsonian National Board for Latino Initiatives, and to the new Julian Samora Chair in Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Carlos Cardona Founder & Chief Technology Officer Yupi Internet Inc. Miami Beach, FL Mr. Cardona oversees product and technology development of a Hispanic portal. He ensures that the site maintains its vision of being the fastest and easiest way for Spanish-speaking people to use the Internet. Yupi has offices in Miami, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and Spain. The company announced in March that its revenue in the first fiscal quarter grew to $3.6 million, a 20 percent increase over the $3 million recorded in the fourth quarter of 1999. He also has helped create new communities with, a virtual community for Spanish-speaking women, and, an online business community for Spain and the Americas.

Linda Chavez-Thompson Executive VP AFL-CIO Washington, DC Ms. Chavez-Thompson has been the leader in the new stance for the AFL-CIO’s advocating amnesty for undocumented workers, and she wants to eliminate sanctions for employers who hire them. She became the highest-ranking woman in the labor movement when she was elected to the new position of AFL-CIO executive vice president in 1995. Among her successes are: organizing a drive in Texas that brought in 5,000 new members; and the passage of a collective bargaining law for public employees in New Mexico.

Irene Chavira President Telephone Pioneers of America Denver, CO Ms. Chavira, who is vice president of Public Policy for US WEST, heads an international volunteer organization that is comprised of 84 chapters operating in the United States and Canada, with an increasing presence in Mexico. There are about 800,000 members, who are active and retired employees of large telecommunications companies. They volunteer to build healthy communities, with a major focus on education and youth outreach. Through partnerships with the U.S. Department of Education, Industry Canada, Library of Congress, and Junior Achievement, Pioneers have pledged more than 25 million hours of volunteer service from 1999-2000.

Diana Chibás CEO Diana Chibás Shapely Intimates New Rochelle, NY Mrs. Chibás launched her Web site,, in September 1999. She is breaking the mold in advertising and Internet business. She is focusing on enhancing the image for the plus-size woman. As a full-figured size 12 model, Mrs. Chibás is proud of her new collection of plus-size loungewear. Her company employs full figured Hispanic models in their catalogs and on their Web site, attempting to present full-figured models resembling the women in Renaissance paintings.

Miguel Contreras Executive Secretary-Treasurer Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO Los Angeles , CA Mr. Contreras is the first Hispanic to head the 800,000-member Los Angeles County chapter. He made a national splash in June when his group sponsored an amnesty and immigration reform rally in Los Angeles, which drew 20,000 supporters and wide media coverage. The union has been seeking to help undocumented immigrants. He is also serving on the boards of the L.A. Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and United Way.

Carlos Cordeiro Vice Chairman Goldman Sachs Asia Hong Kong Mr. Cordeiro, who was named vice chairman in June, is responsible for developing corporate and government client relationships across all divisions. He has served in several senior management roles since joining Goldman Sachs in 1990. He was made a partner in 1992. He became co-head of the company’s capital markets in Europe, Middle East and Africa in 1994. And he later relocated to Hong Kong to head the Asian debt capital markets.

Ted Cruz Domestic Policy Adviser George W. Bush Campaign Austin, TX Mr. Cruz, a Harvard Law School graduate who clerked for Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, advises Texas Gov. Bush on Hispanic affairs and school-choice policy. He has played a key role in the Republicans’ outreach efforts to Hispanics, most noticeably at this summer’s GOP convention in Philadelphia. Before joining the campaign, he was an associate at the Washington, D.C., law firm of Cooper, Carvin & Rosenthal, where he specialized in constitutional and commercial litigation.

Ada Diaz Ahmed President & Co-Founder New York, NY, a Web site for Hispanic women, resulted from Ms. Diaz Ahmed’s vision to create a site where Hispanic women from around the world could gather to share advice, get to know each other, and have fun. received a $4.8 million investment in the form of preferred stock in the company. Ms. Diaz Ahmed has brought together LatinForce.Net, Z-Spanish Radio, and Vista Media to back her vision.

Tony Dieste President & CEO Dieste & Partners Dallas, TX Upstart Hispanic advertising agency Dieste & Partners, with billings of $90 million, boasts clients such as Pepsi, Wrangler, HBO, 7-Eleven, and Salomon Smith Barney. After five years running his own Dallas-based shop, Mr. Dieste remains the creative prime mover. Additionally, he serves on the board of the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies and a member of the New America Alliance.

Willie Escobar President Willie Esco Sportswear New York, NY The first Hispanic sportswear brand had sales of $20.3 million in 1999, mostly to urban consumers. Mr. Escobar aims to bring innovative designs and high quality sportswear to fashion conscience Hispanic shoppers. To give his product line a higher profile, he plans to forge promotional ties with Hispanic musicians to make Willie Esco the brand of choice among Latin Americans and U.S. Hispanics. Getting his goods into Footlocker and Champs outlets provides a strong platform for future sales growth.

Martin Espada Poet/Writer Amherst, MA Called “the true poet laureate of this nation,” by critic John Bradley, Mr. Espada delivers inspiration and vivid character portraits in his collections of poetry. In April, W.W. Norton & Co. published his sixth book, a volume of political verse titled A Mayan Astronomer in Hell’s Kitchen. Currently, Mr. Espada teaches creative writing at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Miguel W. Espinosa Treasurer Conoco Inc. Houston, TX Mr. Espinosa has engineered a $4.4 billion initial public offering and a $4 billion bond issue. He participated in one of the biggest joint ventures of the past decade by bringing together Conoco and Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) to pool $2.45 billion for oil production. He tracks Conoco’s $20.8 billion in annual revenues. Mr. Espinosa also chairs the City of Houston Public Library Board, and he serves as an advisor to the University of Texas at Austin graduate business school.

Fernando Espuelas Founder & CEO Starmedia Network New York, NY A pioneer in Hispanic cyberspace, Mr. Espuelas turned his popular portal ( into a political forum in July, when he offers users the chance to engage in online debates with Mexican presidential candidates. The chat gave Mexican-Americans and Mexicans living in the U.S. a chance to get involved “virtually” in the Mexican electoral process. In partnership with the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, Mr. Espuelas has launched, the first Spanish-language Internet sites focused on increasing Hispanic voter registration and turnout.

Emilio Estefan Producer, Composer Crescent Moon Studios/Estefan Enterprises Miami Beach, FL This year Mr. Estefan moved from music to drama. The song producer has teamed with film studios to produce sitcoms and made-for-TV-movies that will bring more Hispanic performers into the mainstream. Also, he received the inaugural Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (LARAS) Person of the Year award. In the recording studio, he produced four songs on Ricky Martin’s album, and Shakira’s first English-language album will hit stores early next year.

Daisy Exposito-Ulla President The Bravo Group/AHAA New York, NY As president of New York advertising agency The Bravo Group and the trade group Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA), Ms. Exposito exercises tremendous influence in Hispanic marketing. At AHAA, she has instituted Futuramente, an education program to encourage educational achievement among Hispanic students. She serves on the board of the New America Alliance, a group of business leaders who promote the Hispanic community.

Jose Feliciano Singer, Guitarist, Composer Fairfield County, CT With more than 45 gold records and 16 Grammy nominations, Mr. Feliciano keeps going strong after more than 30 years in the spotlight. He has won Best Pop Guitarist for the last five years and placed in the "Gallery of the Greats" by Guitar Player magazine. He has been voted both Best Jazz and Best Rock Guitarist in the Playboy Magazine reader's poll and received Billboard’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Antonio Flores President Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities San Antonio, TX Under the leadership of Mr. Flores, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) has grown from a $3 million to a $13 million operation. Membership has expanded from 150 schools to 254. As a lobbyist, he has increased federal support for HACU institutions from $10.5 million to more than $50 million per year. The HACU Web site gets half a million visitors every month.

Milena Flores Basketball Guard Miami Sol, Women’s National Basketball Association Miami, FL Ms. Flores was the 40th pick in the 2000 Draft. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Stanford University, where she enjoyed a successful basketball career. In June, she made five steals, a game-high mark, and added four assists in a loss to the Houston Comets. Her career highlights include being among only 10 players in Stanford’s history to earn First Team All-Pac-10 honors more than once.

Charles P. Garcia CEO Sterling Financial Investment Group Inc. Boca Raton, FL Mr. Garcia runs a fast-growing financial services firm with 33 U.S. and international offices. And the firm plans to open 15 new offices in Latin America. Mr. Garcia’s vision is to revolutionize the capital-raising process by using the Internet, and to push Sterling to become the second-largest American investment bank to operate outside the U.S. He also serves on the White House Fellow’s selection committee, which identifies qualified Hispanics to serve at the highest levels of the U.S. government.

Julio Gomez CEO Gomez Advisors Inc. Lincoln, MA Mr. Gomez oversees the strategic direction of the company, which provides e-commerce support and measures online customer experience. He is considered an authority in the e-commerce industry, and he has been recognized by Time Magazine as one of the 50 most important people shaping technology. He has been interviewed for his expertise by NBC, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Business Week and Forbes. Mr. Gomez formerly led the Money & Technology Strategies research team at Forrester Research Inc.

Manuel G. Gonzalez President E-Latin Business Group Culver City, CA Considered an expert on Hispanic Marketing, Mr. Gonzalez was brought on board for his energy, experience, and leadership. He built a reputation for aggressive branding campaigns while working for Miller Genuine Draft, Times Mirror Corp. and La Opinion, one of the nation’s largest Spanish-language newspapers. E-Latin Business is a Latin American Internet incubator on the West Coast. He will direct financial and management resources for Latino-owned Internet start-ups.

Ana M. “Cha” Guzman Senior Adviser, U.S. Secretary of Education U.S. Office of Education Washington, DC Ms. Guzman’s priorities include national efforts to improve reading and math, reduce class size, and promote the Partnership for Family Involvement in Education. She also is chair of President Clinton’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. And she serves on the on the advisory boards of the National Research Council Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Science Resources Center, the Smithsonian Institute, and the National Academy of Sciences.

Christy Haubegger Founder/President/Publisher Latina Magazine New York, NY Ms. Haubegger runs a monthly bilingual lifestyle magazine for Hispanic women, ages 18 to 34, which industry experts say soared in popularity in 1999, judging from more than 600 ad pages sold. Ms. Haubegger created Latina as a joint venture between her company, Alegre Enterprises Inc., and Essence Communications Inc. In February, she was named one of Advertising Age’s “Women to Watch.” Last year, she was inducted into the American Advertising Federation’s Hall of Achievement. At 30, she was the youngest inductee ever.

Jessica Rae Herrera Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Prosecutor U.S. Department of Justice Washington, DC Ms. Herrera is the only minority woman working in the Computer Crime Section at the Department of Justice, which has 20 prosecutors. The 29-year-old lawyer is helping form high-tech policies and legislation, as well as prosecuting serious cyber criminals. She has worked on high-profile cases like this year’s “Love Bug” virus. She also contributed to the report, “Electronic Frontier: The Challenges of Unlawful Conduct on the Internet,” for the President’s Committee on Unlawful Conduct on the Internet.

Maria Hinojosa, Host of Latino USA, National Public Radio Correspondent, CNN New York, NY Ms. Hinojosa reports on many issues, including many that affect Hispanics, for CNN. She also hosts a National Public Radio show, which features news, culture, and politics. She feels she is a role model for young Hispanics. In 1999, she was presented the Ruben Salazar Award from the National Council of La Raza for her journalistic work. She also has been named one of the 25 Most Influential Working Mothers in America by Working Mother magazine.

Alfredo Jaar Independent Artist New York, NY Mr. Jaar is among the 25 people who received the MacArthur Fellowship, a scholarship of $500,000, for the year 2000. He utilizes his art to challenge established opinions about the relationship between art and politics. He fuses the aesthetics of art and the ethics of politics to depict the injustices in the world. His subjects – laborers, miners, boat people, refugees, and massacre victims – are illustrated as strong, proud, and dignified individuals, despite the exploitative, desperate, dangerous, and even deadly circumstances.

Luis Jimenez Morning Show Host Spanish Broadcasting System Inc. New York, NY At 28, Mr. Jimenez has been referred to as the king of New York’s Hispanic airwaves. His morning show, “El Vacilón de la Mañana,” has more than 1.9 million listeners and is only second in local ratings to Howard Stern’s show. SBS became the first Hispanic station to climb to number 1 in the New York Arbitron thanks to Mr. Jimenez’s syndicated show, which brought in about $15 million in advertising revenues last year.

Petra Jimenez Maes Justice New Mexico Supreme Court Santa Fe, NM Ms. Maes is the first Hispanic woman in history to serve on the New Mexico Supreme Court. She also is the court representative on the Judicial Information Systems Council. One of her goals to implement a statewide judicial information system, with emphasis on sharing information and data resources. As the first member of her family to complete college, she hopes to inspire young Hispanics to remain in school and accomplish their goals.

Carmela G. Lacayo President/CEO National Association for Hispanic Elderly Pasadena, CA Ms. Lacayo informs policy-makers and the public about the needs of elderly Hispanics and other low-income, elderly people. As the founder of one of the largest Hispanic organizations in the U.S., Ms. Lacayo ensures that her association provides employment, housing, education, and other social services. In addition, she oversees the National Hispanic Research Center, which conducts national gerontological studies on the Hispanic community.

Luis Lauredo Ambassador Organization of American States Washington, DC Appointed by President Bill Clinton, Mr. Lauredo works with international leaders to strengthen democracy, advance human rights, promote peace and security, and expand trade throughout North, Central, and South America, and the Caribbean. In addition, he is the president of Greenberg Taurig Consulting, an affiliate of the international law firm Greenberg Taurig.

Ronnie Lopez President Phoenix International Consultants Phoenix, AZ Mr. Lopez runs a lobbying and public relations firm, with clients such as Southwest Airlines, Cigna Healthcare, the Phoenix Coyotes, and the William Mercer Company. He serves on the board of directors for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, as well as the finance chairman for Congressman Ed Pastor. In addition, he has been the chief of staff to former Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt, justice of the peace for the West Phoenix Precinct, president of Chicanos Por La Causa, and director for Bank of America in Arizona.

Anel Lopez Gorham Actress WB Drama Series “Popular” Hollywood, CA Ms. Gorham plays Poppy Fresh, a Latina cheerleader, on the highly rated WB television series, “Popular.” In the beginning, the Poppy character was one-dimensional, but it has since expanded.Viewers are interested in Poppy’s quirky life and interests, including her involvement in the Hansen Fan Club and the Knees Together Club, which supports sexual abstinence. Ms. Gorham also has said a few lines in Spanish on the show, as well as discussed a woman of color being homecoming queen.

Lavonne Luquis CEO San Francisco, CA Mrs. Luquis is one of the most influential Hispanic leaders in the new media industry and was honored with the 2000 Catalyst Award by the National Association of Minority Media Executives. She was also selected Hispanic Business Woman of the year by the National Hispanic Business Group in New York. She heads the general-interest Web site,, formerly known as LatinoLink. Mrs. Luquis also has served as a board member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Patricia A. Madrid Attorney General New Mexico Ms. Madrid is the first woman and first Hispanic elected to the office of the Attorney General in New Mexico. She was honored with the 1999 Trailblazer Award by the New Mexico Commission. She represents the state in all matters in which the state has an interest and issues opinions on questions of law submitted by officials. Before being elected, Ms. Madrid was in private practice, focusing on commercial litigation.

Eluid Martinez Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation Department of the Interior Washington, DC The first Hispanic to serve as commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, Mr. Martinez came to his job after four years as New Mexico’s state engineer. He overseas dams and water resources for much of the western United States. For four of the last five years, the bureau has qualified as the outstanding organization for small and disadvantaged businesses in the Interior Department.

J. Leonard (Lenny) Martinez Vice-President, Manufacturing Systems Sandia National Laboratories Albuquerque, NM Mr. Martinez manages a $150 million program that makes high-tech components for the nation’s nuclear weapon stockpile. Recently, he has worked in the application of commercial manufacturing methods to the defense industries, as well as leading an initiative to commercialize Defense Department technologies. He serves on the advisory boards for the Arizona State University College of Engineering, the University of Texas at El Paso Center for International Manufacturing, and the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference.

Jennifer Martinez Tribunal Assistant United Nations International Criminal Tribunal Hague, The Netherlands The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia brings war criminals to justice. Ms. Martinez works for Patricia Wald, a former judge in the District of Columbia, who serves as the U.S. judge on the panel. Ms. Martinez’s yearlong assignment follows a clerkship at the High Court of the United Kingdom (Britain). She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School.

Carlos Mazzorin Vice-President, Global Purchasing & South America Ford Motor Co. Dearborn, MI Mr. Mazzorin supervises 1,600 employees who each year buy more than $83 billion worth of vehicle components, materials, and services from around the world. He also heads up Ford South America, which operates nine assembly plants with 8,000 employees in Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela. Mr. Mazzorin works at developing and implementing Ford's minority suppliers program. He chairs the Michigan Minority Business Development Council.

Tony Medrano Founder & President DoDots Inc. Sunnyvale, CA “Dots” are free-floating Web sites that enable Internet users to perform multiple things online while simultaneously working in other desktop applications. Mr. Medrano created dots, then developed them into a proprietary way of branding, packaging, and distributing content and applications over the Internet. His company, DoDots Inc., provides the first major option to Web users looking for different ways to access the Internet.

Robert Mendoza Managing Director Goldman Sachs New York A former J.P. Morgan vice chairman, Mr. Mendoza is the new managing director for Goldman Sachs. His primary focus will be to enhance relationships with chief executives and business leaders, particularly in Europe and Latin America. Mr. Mendoza, who was born in Cuba and graduated from Yale, helped transform J.P. Morgan from a traditional lending institution to an investment bank.

Ray Mota CEO,, Arizona Mr. Mota’s new company is an Internet service provider for Hispanic businesses and it provides procurement services. He also is CEO for and Through, he has established an affiliation with the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, representing 700,000 businesses through 300 local Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. Mr. Mota is the former managing director with the Aberdeen Group, where he trained Hewlett-Packard middle management in Europe, Asia, and U.S.

George Muñoz CEO Overseas Private Investment Corp. Washington, DC Mr. Munoz heads a government agency that provides seed money to American companies for global projects. In the past year, the agency has reported a growing number of Hispanic businesses expanding beyond the U.S. market through partnerships with OPIC. Mr. Munoz helped fuel this effort by organizing the annual “Hispanics in Globalization” meeting in Washington, D.C., as well as a conference in May on the emergence of Central American and Caribbean markets.

Rick Muñoz Producer & Director Action Talent Management Hollywood, CA Mr. Muñoz’s vision for music video production has earned him Billboard Magazine's nomination for “Music Video of the Year,” as well as production contracts from such labels as: Arista, Capitol, EMI, Scotti Brothers, BMG, Polygram, and Thump Records. He has produced and directed live concerts for Natalie Cole, Carlos Vives, Marcos Llunas and Los Temerarios Live in Las Vegas. In his 20-year career, he has amassed a credit list of more than 300 commercials, music videos, and live shows.

Gregory Nava Director/Screenwriter/Cinematographer/ Producer San Diego, CA Mr. Nava, whose films include El Norte, Mi Familia, and Selena, has an unprecedented deal with New Line Cinema, to produce and direct Hispanic-themed movies. His latest project, “An American Family,” was not picked up by CBS for its fall television lineup, but the network is allowing him to shop the “dramedy” to other networks. He is credited with opening opportunities for other Latino filmmakers like Carlos Avila, who recently released “Price of Glory” for New Line Cinema.

Frances Nevarez Owner and President PowerUP Scotts Valley, CA Ms. Nevarez is one of the few female Hispanic senior executives in the Silicon Valley. Her company provides computer software and technical training. She also is president of the California Chapter of National Association of Women Business Owners, which provides mentoring to entrepreneurs. The growth in women-owned businesses will generate significant increases in employment and revenues in California, according to a 1999 analysis of census data released by NFWBO and Wells Fargo Bank.

Ben Ocasio Vice President, Diversity Development & Manager, Policy and Planning United States Postal Service Washington, D.C. Mr. Ocasio has helped increase the representation of minorities in management and officer-level positions; helped increase opportunities for minorities to enroll in career management programs; and sponsored more than $1 million in (DONATIONS TO? - JM) community-based Hispanic and other minority organizations. He also encourages minority- and women-owned businesses to sell their services to the government. And he tries to meet the needs of various communities in terms of products, services, employment, and stamp honorees.

Ellen Ochoa Astronaut NASA Houston, TX Ms. Ochoa has most recently received the Women in Aerospace Outstanding Achievement Award, The Hispanic Engineer Albert Baez Award for Outstanding Technical Contribution to Humanity, and the Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award. She served as a flight engineer on STS-96 Discovery during a 10-day mission in June 1999 to the International Space Station. She coordinated the transfer of supplies and executed an eight-hour space walk. She accomplished her mission in 153 Earth orbits and is the first Hispanic woman to travel 4 million miles in 235 hours and 13 minutes.

Lupe Ontiveros Actress Pico Rivera, CA Ms. Ontiveros most recently appeared in the critically acclaimed movie Chuck and Buck (July) and she made a cameo appearance in the film Luminarias (May). During her 20-year Hollywood career, she also has appeared in Gabriela, As Good as it Gets, Picking up the Pieces, and El Norte. She probably is best remembered for her portrayal of Yolanda Saldivar in Selena. Before becoming an actress, Ms. Ontiveros worked nearly 20 years as a social worker.

Ingrid Otero-Smart President/COO Mendoza-Dillon & Associates Newport Beach, CA Mrs. Otero-Smart was selected this past year as one of the most influential Hispanics by the Orange County Business Journal. She also is a founding member of the Orange County Chapter of NACOPRW (National Conference of Puerto Rican Women), and this year was named Managing Partner of a joint venture with CommonHealth. She also was chair of the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies conference in Newport Beach and nominated for Hispanic Advertising Executive of the Year.

Julio Pabón Chairman, CEO Latino Sports Ventures Inc. Bronx, NY Mr. Pabón heads a sports marketing firm that promotes professional Latino athletes. The company has established the annual Latino Most Valuable Player Award, given to an outstanding Major League Baseball player. Mr. Pabón also has his own line of sports clothes, and he writes a column that runs in the Spanish-language newspaper Hoy. And he is a co-founder of the National Puerto Rican Business Council.

Manuel T. Pacheco President University of Missouri System Columbia, MO Mr. Pacheco has been reappointed by President Bill Clinton to the board of the National Security Education Program. In the last year, he initiated a mutual fund shares program to reward faculty who fulfill high priority objectives. He also serves on several national philanthropic, educational and corporate boards. He is the only Hispanic president of a research university in the U.S.

Orlando T. Padilla Director, Public Policy Center General Motors Corp. Detroit, Michigan Mr. Padilla, through the GM China Public Policy Project, has been involved in trying to help China gain membership to the World Trade Organization and in winning congressional support for Permanent Normal Trade Relations. He also has worked on GM’s child passenger safety campaign in the Hispanic community, which provides free child seats to needy families.

Ed Pastor Congressman U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC Mr. Pastor, now in his ninth term, is the first Hispanic to represent Arizona’s Second Congressional District. The Roosevelt School District’s 19th school was named after Mr. Pastor and his wife, Verma Mendez, for their leadership in education. The K-8 school opened in fall 1999 and serves about 800 children. He also is a founding member of the Arizona State University Hispanic Alumni Association.

Richard G. Polanco California Senator Sacramento, CA Sen. Polanco was named president of the National Hispanic Council of the State Legislators in December 1999. He recently authored a bill and won support to establish March 31 as a paid, state holiday to salute the late farm worker advocate Cesar Chavez. He also pushed for a 1999 report, which studied wage discrepancies among Latino workers - finding education to be the most significant factor.

Alfred Rascon Inspector General Selective Service System/Vietnam Veteran President Bill Clinton presented Mr. Rascon with the nation’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor, in February. In May 1965, he was a medic for a platoon of Army paratroopers, who were sent to Vietnam. He saved several lives during an intense fight, even after being wounded. For his valor, he received a Silver Star in 1966. However, the request for his Medal of Honor got lost in the process.

Gabriel Rincon-Mora Senior Design Engineer Texas Instruments Dallas, TX Mr. Rincon-Mora is this year’s recipient of the National Hispanic in Technology Award, given by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. He also works as an adjunct professor for Georgia Institute of Technology, where he helped establish a multimillion dollar Texas Instruments sponsorship for the engineering program. He also has written a textbook, Voltage References: From Diodes to Precision High-Order Bandgap Circuits, that will be published in 2001.

Miguel Rios Chairman/CEO Orion International Technologies Albuquerque, NM Mr. Rios was recognized as the 1999 National Minority Entrepreneur of the Year by the U.S. Department of Commerce. His company also was selected by the U.S. Small Business Administration as the 1999 National Prime Contractor of the Year. Mr. Rios, who has a Ph.D. in physics, has conducted post-doctorate research in nuclear astrophysics. He also has more than 30 years experience in providing engineering services, research, and development support to National Laboratories and many large prime contractors.

Richard E. Rivera President Red Lobster Restaurants Orlando, FL In the fiscal year 2000, Mr. Rivera helped Red Lobster, owned by Darden Restaurants Inc., to surpass the $2 billion sales mark for the first time in its 32-year history. He is credited with invigorating the company that was facing a decline in revenue when he joined the management team in 1997. This spring, Red Lobster’s executives agreed to alter its advertising campaign to increase the company’s presence on Spanish-language television.

Robert Rivera President Spectrum Communications Cabling Services Inc. Corona, CA Mr. Rivera’s company employs more than 100 people and is ranked as one of the fastest growing businesses in the country. More than 80 percent of the company’s clients are public schools. A new spin-off company, MeshworX, offers K-12 education end-to-end technology services. MeshworX was recently asked to participate in the California Department of Education VETS Trainer Program, addressing technology/infrastructure upgrades for schools. MeshworX is set to go national by 2001.

Alex Rodriguez Shortstop Seattle Mariners, Major League Baseball Seattle, WA Mr. Rodriguez holds the American League record for most single-season home runs by a shortstop for 1998 and 1999, with 42. He also is one of three Major League players to hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases. Fans voted for him to play in the 2000 All-Star Game. Mr. Rodriguez also contributes to his community through his educational program, Grand Slam for Kids. He visits schools encouraging children to work hard in class, be physically fit, and be a good citizen.

Arturo S. Rodriguez President United Farm Workers Keene, CA In the past year, Mr. Rodriguez has served on the National AFL-CIO Executive Council and the California State AFL-CIO Executive Board. He has conducted hearings on a new Amnesty Program for undocumented immigrants, negotiated contracts with national employers, sponsored legislation to improve the quality of life of Hispanics, and worked on numerous political campaigns.

Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez Catcher Texas Rangers Colleyville, Texas Mr. Rodriguez received the most votes in fan balloting for the 2000 All-Star Game. On July 10, he made his eighth consecutive start behind the plate for the American League. In 1999, he won the American League MVP and his eighth Gold Glove Award. His season ended abruptly this year when he broke his thumb. Through his organization, the Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez Foundation, he offers support to children suffering from cancer.

Hector de J. Ruiz President & COO Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA In addition to joining a new company this year, Mr. Ruiz was appointed by Gov. George W. Bush to the Texas Higher Education Board. And he was honored as the Hispanic Engineer of the Year in 1999. Mr. Ruiz currently serves on the board of directors of Darden Inc. and AMD. He was featured in a cover story of the July/August issue of HISPANIC BUSINESS.

Rita Saenz Director, California Dept. of Public Social Services State of California Sacramento, CA Ms. Saenz oversees more than 4,000 employees and an annual budget of $16 billion. Department programs include: Welfare-to-Work, food stamps, foster care, adoptions, child abuse prevention, refugee support services, special services to blind and deaf, and emergency assistance. The agency also licenses child-care centers, group homes, and adult residential care facilities. Her immediate plans are to improve services for foster-care children and streamline the welfare-work program.

Ana Maria Salazar Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Drug Enforcement Policy and Support Secretary of Defense Washington, DC Ms. Salazar is the highest ranking Hispanic woman in the Defense Department. She oversees a $1 billion dollar budget for 120 anti-drug programs in the U.S. and more than 20 countries. In October 1999, she sponsored the Pentagon’s “Red Ribbon Celebration”, an event that encourages children to say no to drugs. She played a key role in developing counter-drug surveillance flights to the Central American region after the U.S. departed Panama.

Hector Saldana Member, Board of Directors Hispanic Television Network Inc. Fort Worth, TX Mr. Saldana, former general manager of the Latin American division for Apple Computers, was elected in May to the HTVN board. With his background in technology, he is expected to help the company develop its new media strategy. HTVN currently is taking steps to meet the demand of entertainment and Internet usage by the fast-growing Hispanic market.

Felix Sanchez President & COO ORION International Technologies Albuquerque, NM Mr. Sanchez was instrumental in the company attaining the Software Engineering Institute’s level 3 ranking, considered a strong proactive phase based on a 1 to 5 maturity gauge. Less than 2 percent of all the software companies have obtained the same recognition. SEI is a federally funded research center sponsored by the Defense Department. The company also won the Small Business Administration’s 1999 National Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year award.

Raymond G. Sanchez Speaker, New Mexico House of Representatives President, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Albuquerque, NM Mr. Sanchez is in his second term as president of NALEO. As a state legislator, he has helped set standards and accountability measures to ensure at-risk children receive a good education. He also supported legislation to allocate $6 million in training funds for new and expanding businesses. And he currently serves on more than 15 board of directors for local and national associations.

Alberto Sanchez Banard CFO Miami, FL Mr. Banard heads an international Latin music Web site, which launched in September 1999. He joined the Internet company after working more than 20 years for leading international financial institutions, such as InterUnion Bank, Continental Bank, Cisneros Group, and Banco Mercantil. is trying to build the industry’s most experienced Latin management team. He holds a master’s degree in business administration, and he is fluent in English, Spanish, and Japanese.

Debra Sanchez Fair Vice President, Corporate Communications Nissan North America Mission Viejo, CA Ms. Fair oversees a staff of 23 people in the corporate communications division. Her duties include developing positions on diversity, litigation, and financial and manufacturing news. She’s also chief public relations counsel to Nissan’s legal department, and she provides communications support to the company’s sales, marketing, and distribution units.

Carlos Santana Musician San Francisco, CA Mr. Santana won 9 Grammys for his Supernatural album at the 42nd Grammy Awards in February. The album has sold more than 13 million copies. His single, “Smooth,” was number 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for 12 consecutive weeks, the longest of any single in 1999. He was inducted in 1998 into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall Of Fame. His music spans five decades and he has been immortalized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Jose Serrano Representative, D-NY U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC Mr. Serrano successfully fought to improve legal services for the poor in the United States by introducing a funding boost for Legal Services Corp. In June, the House Appropriations Subcommittee approved a $134 million increase, boosting the agency’s budget to $275 million. He also sponsored legislation to lift the embargo on the sale of food and medicine to Cuba, which has been co-sponsored by 167 representatives from both parties.

Aliza Pilar Sherman Founder New York, NY Ms. Sherman’s Web site provides support and resources to help Hispanic women succeed in their careers. She is also responsible for establishing the first woman-owned Internet marketing company in 1995. And she has written two books, including her latest, Cybergirl@Work: Tips and Inspiration for the Professional You. It is due out in January. She also freelances for several publications.

Hilda Solis Senator, D-El Monte, CA California Senate Sacramento, CA In May, Ms. Solis became the first woman to be presented the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. She was recognized for overcoming strong opposition of a former governor and the business community to obtain environmental protections for minority communities. She also is the first Hispanic woman to serve in the upper house of the California Legislature, and she is expected to win an uncontested election in November for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Sammy Sosa Outfielder Chicago Cubs, Major League Baseball Chicago, IL Mr. Sosa is one of the most well-known Hispanic sports figures. He was voted the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1998. He led the NL in votes for the 1999 All-Star Game. He hit 66 home runs in 1998, 63 in 1999, and 38 through mid-August. He was embroiled in a classic battle two years ago with the St. Louis Cardinal’s Mark McGwire, who won a season home-run duel with a record 70.

Priscilla E. Tudela CEO NetMAXimo Miami, FL Ms. Tudela established netMAXimo in January. The site provides various services, including: payroll, accounting, Web hosting, e-commerce, business exchange services via the Internet, a business-to-business marketplace, buyer’s guides, and information about the high-tech industry. Her goal is to help Latin-American businesses harness the power of technology. She previously has worked for, Oracle, and PeopleSoft Latin America.

Walter Ulloa Chairman & CEO Entravision In August, Mr. Ulloa’s company acquired Z-Spanish Media for $448 million, including $224 million in cash and $115 million stock, and the assumption of $109 million of debt. With the addition of these assets, Entravision will own and operate 57 radio stations in 23 markets and 11,200 billboards in New York and Los Angeles. The company also owns 16 Univision TV affiliates. It is the only Spanish-language media company in the U.S. to own business units in all three markets.

Alice Velazquez Aponte President Hispanic National Bar Association Washington, DC Ms. Velazquez has been instrumental in the confirmations of Judge Julio Fuentes (Third Circuit Court of Appeals), Judge Richard Paez (Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals), and Judge Jay Garcia-Gregory (District Court, Puerto Rico). She continues to pursue the nomination of a Hispanic to the U.S. Supreme Court. The organization also awards scholarships to law students, and conducts a national student job fair.

Alberto Vilar President & Founder Amerindo Investment Advisors Inc. New York, NY Mr. Vilar’s company manages $7.5 billion in the fastest growing sectors of the U.S. economy and is one of the largest investors in the Internet. Last year, the Amerindo Technology Fund gained 249 percent, making it one of the year’s most successful mutual funds. His funds have increased from $4 billion to $8 billion in the past year. He also is considered one of the world’s top philanthropists, having donated nearly $150 million to various causes.

Manuel A. Villafana Chairman and CEO ATS Medical Inc. Minneapolis, MN Mr. Villafana is a well-respected entrepreneur and investor in the medical technology industry. Last year, Deloitte & Touche ranked ATS Medical among the 50 fastest-growing technology companies in Minnesota. The company manufactures cardiovascular products worldwide, including mechanical heart valves, aortic valve graft prosthesis, and related cardiovascular accessories. The ATS Open Pivot™ Mechanical Heart Valve* is the company’s best selling product.

Jose H. Villareal National Treasurer/ Partner Gore 2000 Presidential Campaign/ Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P. San Antonio, TX Mr. Villareal has raised a significant amount of money for Gore, Hispanic members of Congress, and a wide range of charities and activities. He serves on the board of several organizations. He is a vice chair of the Board of the National Council of La Raza, a vice chair of the Board of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, a board member of the New America Alliance, and a board member for the Close Up Foundation, a civic education organization.

Grace M. Williams President Grace Williams & Associates Inc. Norgross, GA Ms. Williams, a certified public accountant, was appointed by Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes to the state’s Workforce Investment Board. In 1999, she was recognized as one of Georgia’s Most Powerful Women, and the Atlanta Hispanic Chamber of Commerce presented her the Business Woman of the Year Award. In addition, she is a community advocate who helps Hispanic small business owners. And she is treasurer of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs.

Irving Wladawsky-Berger VP Technology and Strategy IBM - Enterprise Systems Group Somers, NY Mr. Wladawsky-Berger is responsible for IBM’s Next Generation Internet initiatives, for advanced architectures and technologies in the Enterprise Systems Group, and for the strategy and development of IBM’s UNIX and Linux software. He also is helping lead IBM’s participation in e-business, is co-chair of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee, and serves on the board of Advanced Networks and Services.

Francisco R. Wong-Diaz, J.D., Ph.D. Attorney/Professor Law Offices of Francisco R. Wong Greenbrae, CA Mr. Wong-Diaz frequently appears as a political analyst for Univision/KDTV in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a founding member of the Industrial Relations Law Quarterly and the Latino Educational Association. He has been a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley’s School of Business, and a director for the Inter-American Center in Miami. He also has published a book, American Politics in a Changing World.

Raul Yzaguirre President/Co-Founder National Council of La Raza, The New American Alliance Washington, DC Mr. Yzaguirre and the NCLR works to improve Hispanics’ quality of life through research, policy analysis, and community assistance. He recently fought for a Federal Reserve policy change to ensure that all small business loan applicants are treated equally by lenders. He also is a co-founder of The New America Alliance, which channels donations to Hispanic programs. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a national think tank dedicated to fostering America’s understanding of other nations.

Teresa Zubizarreta President/CEO Zubi Advertising Coral Gables, FL Ms. Zubizarreta runs one of the nation’s largest, independently owned Hispanic ad agencies, with annual projected billings for 2000 of $80 million. This fall, she will receive The Alexis de Tocqueville Award for Outstanding Philanthropy from the United Way of Miami-Dade County. She is the first Hispanic woman to be elected to United Way’s Board of Governors and Committee Chair. In 1999, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush appointed her advisory council to the State of Florida Film Commission, and she received the Cancer Lifeline of Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Outstanding Woman Award.

Source: Hispanic Business magazine

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