Wichita Mayor Carlos Mayans, in the third year of a four-year term, is the city's first Hispanic mayor to be elected by a popular vote. Prior to his mayoral campaign, Mr. Mayans served five, two-year terms in the Kansas House of Representatives as chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee, Local Government Committee, and Kansas' Future Committee. In addition, he owned and operated a multi-service insurance and risk management agency for more than 25 years in Wichita. Mr. Mayans, a native of Cuba who was raised in Wichita, earned a BA in political science from Georgia State University and his master's in human resources from Webster University. He has completed additional post-graduate studies, including the Leadership in Minority Health program and the Mayor Leadership program, both at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Los Angeles-based Sonia Nazario, a projects reporter for the Los Angeles Times and 2003 Influential selection, has spent more than two decades reporting and writing about social issues, earning her dozens of national awards. In 2006, Random House released Enrique's Journey, a true story in which Ms. Nazario recounts the unforgettable odyssey of a Honduran boy who braves unimaginable hardship and peril to reach his mother in the United States. (HBO has purchased Enrique's Journey and is making it into a six-part mini-series.) The newspaper series upon which this book is based won more than a dozen awards, among them the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing; the George Polk Award for International Reporting; the Grand Prize of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award; and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Guillermo Martinez-Marquez Award for Overall Excellence. Ms. Nazario, a graduate of Williams College, grew up in Kansas and Argentina and earned a master's degree in Latin American studies from the University of California, Berkeley.
Smithsonian Latino Center
As director of the Smithsonian's Latino Center, Pilar O'Leary is responsible for fulfilling the Center's mission of fostering understanding and appreciation of Latino contributions to society and culture by leveraging the vast resources of the Smithsonian Institution. The Center works with all the Institution's museums and affiliates to develop exhibits and educational programs that underscore the best of Latin culture. Prior to the Smithsonian, Ms. O'Leary served as special assistant to the Daniel Mudd, president and CEO of Fannie Mae. While in that role, she undertook a number of projects to help Hispanics succeed in the homeownership realm, including the development of a companywide strategic plan to increase Hispanic homeownership opportunities. Before joining Fannie Mae, Ms. O'Leary worked at two prestigious Wall Street firms: At the New York and Buenos Aires offices of J.P. Morgan, where she served as derivatives and banking counsel for the company's Latin American offices and subsidiaries; and as a Latin American equities analyst at Goldman Sachs.
Carlos F. Orta
President & CEO
Hispanic Association of Corporate Responsibility (HACR)
Carlos F. Orta in March took over the position of president and CEO of the HACR. Since 2004, Mr. Orta served as director of Community Outreach for the Western Region for Anheuser-Busch, Inc., responsible for the company's Latino community outreach, which included developing and maintaining relationships with new and emerging community leaders; directing corporate, philanthropic, and media related contributions throughout the region; and recommending funding levels for local and regional community-based organizations. Prior to 2004, Mr. Orta served at a variety of levels for Ford Motor Company in its Corporate Affairs Division. Mr. Orta's career in the public sector began as a legislative staffer for two former members of the Florida House of Representatives. He was also the executive director of Miami-Dade County's Legislative Delegation, the state's largest and most diverse bipartisan legislative delegation, comprised of 27 members. Mr. Orta is originally from Miami, Florida, and a graduate of Barry University with a degree in Liberal Studies.
Eddie A. Perez
Eddie Alberto Perez lives the American Dream everyday. He was first elected Mayor of Hartford in 2001 – the city's first Hispanic Mayor – and by changing the City Charter in 2002, he is now the CEO of Hartford. Born in Corozal, Puerto Rico, Mr. Perez arrived in Hartford in 1969 at the age of 12. His family (Mama Felicita, brothers William, Orlando, Wilfredo, Moises, Nelson, Ruben, Noel, and his sister Jeanette) was greeted by substandard housing and limited opportunities for Latinos. In order to escape the social turmoil in Hartford during the 1970's, the Perez family moved frequently in search of a safe environment. Mr. Perez graduated from Hartford Public High School in 1976, and later earned an Associate's Degree from Capital Community Technical College. Along the way, his affiliations included the youth group at Sacred Heart Church, led by Father Tom Goekler. Father Tom Goekler and "Big Brother" David Lowery became father figures to the future Mayor, instilling in him the passion for community service, and the commitment to change any social or economic injustice confronting people.
Director of Hispanic Markets, Retail Banking North America
As Director of U.S. Hispanic Markets at Citigroup, Rebeca Vargas is responsible for coordinating the consistency of Citigroup's message and products to the U.S. Hispanic Market as well as finding new communication channels to promote products and services tailored to the needs of the Hispanic customer. She also acts as a liaison between Citigroup's U.S. businesses and its Banamex operations in Mexico in order to leverage cross-border capabilities, particularly with new product development. She has been critical in developing products tailored to the needs of the Hispanic segment, such as the new Access Account from Citibank, and Citibank Global Transfers. Before coming to the US, Ms. Vargas had several positions at Bancomer, the second largest bank in Mexico. She is founding co-chair of the Citigroup Hispanic Employee Network, and also sits on the board of directors of the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families and the Corporate Advisory Board for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. Trilingual Ms. Vargas holds an MBA from Tulane University and a BA in Accounting from Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de Mexico.
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