President and CEO
--Company: ACCION International
--Currently: Bolivian-born Ms. Otero has been a leading exponent in microfinance as a weapon against poverty long before last year's Nobel Prizes drew attention to the practice. In 1986, she joined ACCION, which provides technical assistance and investment to microlenders around the globe. She was named president and CEO in 2000. For a decade until 2005, she chaired the global MicroFinance Network and spent six years chairing the Inter-American Foundation after her appointment by President Clinton. Ms. Otero says she's been greeted as a Hispanic woman with "open arms. Now I want to see more microbanks in Latin America managed by women!" On her own success, she says it helps "that I'm involved in work that I am absolutely passionate about – and a really supportive family, and let's not ever forget the management skills I learned from my mom, who raised nine kids."
VICTORIA E. RODRIGUEZ
Vice Provost, Dean of Graduate Studies, and Ashbel Smith Professor of Public Affairs
--Employer: University of Texas at Austin, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
--Currently: As a scholar, researcher, and instructor, Dr. Rodriguez is passionate about politics. While her work focuses on governance, democratization, and political change in Mexico, most recently she has concentrated her studies on women's roles in Mexican politics. She has written numerous books, articles and book chapters, and has earned her the prestigious Ohtli Medal, the highest honor granted by the Mexican government outside Mexico. Her latest book is "Women in Contemporary Mexican Politics." Education, she explains, has been integral to her success in the male-dominated realm of higher education. She is greatly optimistic about the growing number of Hispanic women in her field and encourages them to, "Go to school, go to college and go to graduate school!"
Vice-President and Regional GM
--Company: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
--Currently: Ms. Ruiz's 14 years of dedication recently culminated in her 2006 promotion to regional general manager, responsible for store operations and personnel within region, including 109 Wal-Mart Stores in West Texas, as well as more than $7.4 billion in sales. She says that Wal-Mart played no small part in her accomplishments, providing many opportunities for advancement for both Hispanics and women. However, she offered a bit of personal insight into her success: "With every challenge you have an opportunity to show others what you can do for the organization. I viewed those opportunities as a way of showing others my skills and my commitment to contributing to the department's success." A graduate of Santa Clara University, Ms. Ruiz is a founding member and two-time chair of the Hispanic Latino Associate Resource Group for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
FRANCES ALDRICH SEVILLA-SACASA
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