News Column

100 Most Influential Hispanics - 1999

Page 11 of 1

A | B | C | D | E |F | G | H | L|M | N | O | R | S | T | V | Z

Raul Alarcon Jr. CEO and President Spanish Broadcasting System Inc. Miami, FL

Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) ranks as the largest Hispanic-owned communications company in the country. With the purchase of WMEG-FM and WEGM-FM in Puerto Rico and of, an Internet music vendor, SBS continues to expand its influence. New York Governor George Pataki presented Mr. Alarcon with the Governor's 1998 Hispanic Heritage Excellence Award.

Felix Enriquez Alcala Director/Cinematographer Warner Bros. Television Burbank, CA

The only Hispanic director with a development deal at a major studio, he has worked on the Warner Bros. lot since signing the deal in 1994. Mr. Alcala makes it a point to hire women and minorities in all his projects. He has directed episodes of "ER," "NYPD Blue," and "Profiler" as well as the feature film Fire Down Below starring Steven Seagal.

Richard Amador CEO CHARO, Los Angeles, CA

CHARO serves as a model of success for a community development corporation. Founded in 1967, the not-for-profit CHARO has eight operating divisions and 180 employees, who run a low-income housing operation, a business incubator and management school, a career center, and a research office. In June Mr. Amador won the district, regional, and national Small Business Administration Minority Advocate of the Year awards. He received the Latin Business Association's Salute to Hispanic Business award in April.

Marc Anthony Salsa Vocalist

Top-selling salsa singer in the world. His Grammy Award-winning Contra la Corriente was the first salsa album to simultaneously debut in the mainstream Billboard Top 200 and reach number 1 on the Hot Latin Tracks and Top Latin 50. He sealed a record deal with Columbia Records for a planned fall release of his first English-language album. He also has a role in the upcoming Martin Scorsese film Bringing out the Dead, a return to the acting career he sidelined after the close of Paul Simon's ill-fated Broadway production Capeman.

Lillian G. Apodaca President Hispanic National Bar Association Albuquerque, NM

As president of the 25,000-member Hispanic National Bar Association, Ms. Apodaca leads the campaign to promote Hispanics for top positions in law schools, the judiciary, and Corporate America. She also addresses political issues such as bilingual education, immigration, and Census 2000. In addition to her partnership at the firm of Crider, Bingham & Hurst P.C., she serves on the board of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Ray Arvizu Chairman U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Phoenix, AZ

In September, the board of directors elected Mr. Arvizu chairman of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the largest Hispanic trade organization in the country. He is also president of Arvizu Promotions & Events Marketing, a full-service Hispanic advertising agency founded in 1991 with an exclusive contract for Coca-Cola. In 1997, the firm won the City of Phoenix Minority Business of the Year award.

Kory Arvizu-Johnson Environmental Activist, Phoenix, AZ

At age 20, Kory Arvizu-Johnson already has more than a decade of experience as an environmentalist. Last year she won the $100,000 Goldman Environmental Prize, the highest international honor for grassroots environmental activism. Her career started at age 9 when an older sister's heart disease was attributed to industrial pollution. In response, Ms. Arvizu-Johnson founded Children for a Safe Environment. Her story has been profiled by Newsweek and the Ms. Foundation for Women, which named her one of the Top 10 Female Role Models for 1998.

Leroy "Lee" D. Baca Sheriff Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Monterey Park, CA

In May, the county with the largest Hispanic population in the nation elected its first Hispanic sheriff since 1890. Mr. Baca commands the largest sheriff's department in the world, with more than 13,000 sworn and civilian employees and an annual budget of $1.1 billion. At his swearing in, the new sheriff pledged to apply his hands-on style of leadership to combating gangs and bias.

Hector V. Barreto Jr. Chairman Latin Business Association, Los Angeles, CA

Since becoming chairman of the Latin Business Association (LBA) in 1997, he has doubled revenues, increased membership by 50 percent, and created the successful Latino Business Expo event. He founded the Latin Business Association Institute to provide technical assistance, education, and business development opportunities to LBA members. Mr. Barreto's company, Barreto Insurance & Financial Services, generates more than $3 million in annual revenues. He sits on the boards of the East Los Angeles YMCA and the Central East Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Jose Behar CEO EMI Latin, Los Angeles, CA

The most powerful Latin music executive in Los Angeles, Mr. Behar began his career by working in the mailroom of A&M Records. Under his charge, EMI Latin has grown into the nation's second-largest Latin music label, with net earnings increasing by 800 percent to $108 million. As a pioneer marketer for the U.S. Hispanic audience, he has worked with such artists as Selena and Jon Secada. He recently signed world welterweight boxing champion Oscar De La Hoya to an exclusive multi-year recording contract.

David Bejarano Chief San Diego Police Department, San Diego, CA

In April, he became the first Hispanic chief of the San Diego Police Department. His impressive efforts in coordinating security for the 1998 Super Bowl and World Series inspired the San Diego City Council to unanimously confirm his appointment. Mr. Bejarano is an active board member with the United Way, Family Literacy Foundation, and Casa Familiar.

Ray Blanco President/Executive Producer Cutting Edge Entertainment, Plainfield, NJ

Veteran TV producer Ray Blanco founded Cutting Edge Entertainment to produce entertaining and socially conscious films and television programs. This year, the New York chapter of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences recognized his success with an Emmy Award for Viva!, a series of specials that featured the achievements of Hispanics. When not working on his own projects, he runs the WB11 Broadcasting Seminar and Training Program, which enhances opportunities for minorities to break into the business.

Diana M. Bonta Director California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, CA

Appointed by Governor Gray Davis to head one the largest departments in California government, Ms. Bonta stands at the forefront of the emerging market for health care from a Hispanic perspective. She is the first Hispanic in charge of the state's Health Services Department. She also serves as chairwoman of the Executive Board of the American Public Health Association, as well as a board member for the Center for Disease Control's advisory committee and the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

Marion Luna Brem CEO Love Chrysler Plymouth, Corpus Christi, TX

Four years after selling her first automobile, Ms. Brem became president of her own dealership, Love Chrysler Plymouth. Her company ranks number 89 on the 1999 Hispanic Business 500, with revenues of $40.17 million. Her battle with cancer and her remarkable success in a male-dominated field have been profiled in the Washington Post, in Reader's Digest, and on The Maury Povich Show. She was honored this year by the Office of Women's Initiatives at the White House and took home the Avon Women of Enterprise award. She begins a national speaking tour this fall to support her book Auto Motives.

Louis Caldera Secretary U.S. Army, Washington, DC

Overseeing more than 1 million soldiers, 250,000 civilian employees, and a budget of $70 billion, Louis Caldera is one of the highest-ranking Hispanics in the federal government. He also chairs the Panama Canal Commission, the group charged with turning over the Canal Zone to the government of Panama later this year. Earlier, he acted as a lead spokesman for the the Clinton Administration's policy on Kosovo and the Balkans.

Silvia Cardenas Producer/Writer "Moesha" Los Angeles, CA

Starting with the show as a trainee in a Writer's Guild program, Silvia Cardenas quickly rose through the creative ranks from writer's apprentice to producer of UPN's hit sitcom "Moesha," starring pop singer Brandy. At age 29, Ms. Cardenas is one of the few Hispanics writing regularly for a network sitcom. She also has credits for "The Sinbad Show," "Something's Gotta Give," "The Wayans Brothers," and "The Nanny."

Carlos Castaneda Editor and Publisher El Nuevo Herald, Miami, FL

This year Mr. Castañeda became editor and publisher of El Nuevo Herald, the Spanish-language newspaper published by the Miami Herald. He previously served 25 years as editor-in-chief of El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico's leading newspaper. The newsroom chief hopes to establish El Nuevo Herald - which just two years ago was only a Spanish-language insert of the Miami Herald - as a leading source of news in the Western Hemisphere.

Ida L. Castro Chairwoman U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Washington, DC

Nominated by President Clinton and unanimously confirmed by the Senate, she became the first female Hispanic appointed to head the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). She previously served as acting director of the Women's Bureau at the U.S. Department of Labor. During her tenure with the Labor Department, Ms. Castro earned two "Hammer Awards" for efficiency in government from the Office of the Vice-President.

Veronica Chambers General Editor Newsweek, New York, NY

She co-authored Newsweek's July 1999 cover story on "Latin USA: How Young Hispanics are Changing America." Before joining Newsweek as General Editor, she worked for such publications as The New York Times Magazine, Premiere, and Essence. Recently named a 1999-2000 Media Fellow to the Japan Society, she is also author of the books Amistad Rising: A Story of Freedom (1998) and Marisol and Magdalena (1998). Her 1996 book Mama's Girl was named an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults.

Linda Chavez-Thompson Executive Vice-President AFL-CIO, Washington, DC

The highest-ranking Hispanic in organized labor, Ms. Chavez-Thompson was appointed to the President's Initiative on Race and serves as vice-chair of the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank for research about the African American community, has appointed her to its board of governors for a three-year term.

Desmond Child Songwriter/Producer Deston Entertainment, Miami Beach, FL

For more than two decades, Desmond Child has exerted strong influence in the music industry. He has collaborated on more than 40 hit records and Grammy-winning songs, writing and producing for such artists as Bon Jovi, Michael Bolton, Cher, Alice Cooper, Joan Jett, Kiss, and Garth Brooks. This year he wrote and produced half of the tracks for the album Ricky Martin, including the hit single "Livin' La Vida Loca." Mr. Child also won this year's Premio Lo Nuestro a la Musica Latina's "Pop Song of the Year" award for another Ricky Martin song, "La Copa de la Vida."

Henry G. Cisneros President and COO Univision Communications Inc., Los Angeles, CA

The Univision network continues its domination of U.S. Spanish-language media through its 21 owned-and-operated stations, 28 affiliates, and 939 cable deals nationwide. Mr. Cisneros, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development and mayor of San Antonio, acts as company ambassador to the Hispanic and advertising communities.

Maria Contreras-Sweet Secretary California Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency, Sacramento, CA

The first Latina appointed as California's secretary of Business, Transportation, and Housing, Maria Contreras-Sweet oversees 13 departments that maintain the state's industrial and financial infrastructure. The collective budget for this government conglomerate is $9 billion. Ms. Contreras-Sweet, a former member of the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission, has served as founding president of HOPE (Hispanas Organized for Political Equality) and of her marketing firm, Contreras-Sweet Co.

Luigi Crespo Executive Director Republican National Hispanic Assembly, Washington, DC

Campaigns & Elections magazine calls Mr. Crespo a "rising star of politics." As head of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, he directs and coordinates outreach operations for the party. He is also the publishing director of American Hispanic and RNHA Weekly. He serves on the advisory board of the Republican National Committee, the Hispanic Youth Foundation, the National Republican Club of Capitol Hill, the Public Relations Society of America, and the American Association of Political Consultants.

Ted Cruz Policy Advisor George W. Bush for President Campaign

This young Harvard law school graduate currently serves as a full-time policy advisor to the Bush campaign. He was formerly a law clerk for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist of the U.S. Supreme Court. His publishing credits include articles on law and economics for the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, the University of California Hastings Law Journal, and the New York Law Journal. He has appeared on more than 20 television and radio programs, including "News Hour with Jim Lehrer," NBC News, and "Good Morning America."

Isaac Cubillos Editor and Founder La Mesa, CA

The Society of Professional Journalists recently named's the Internet's "Best Online News Site." In addition, the Hispanic Online Association named the site its May 1999 HOLA award winner. Mr. Cubillos created the site to focus on stories of interest to Hispanic Web users. A former editor of California Prisoner, a legal newspaper, he is the co-founder of the California Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE) and Prison Watch. His is currently a guest lecturer at the University of California on criminal justice issues, and he appears frequently on radio news shows.

Oscar De La Hoya Boxer

The "Golden Boy" of boxing rules the welterweight division and is regarded as one of the most recognized and likable athletes in the world. He has won five championships in four weight divisions, with a current record of 31-0 and 25 knockouts. He recently won "ultimate revenge" from six-time champion Julio Cesar Chavez. His fights racked up some of the best pay-per-view numbers in the sport, and he has endorsement deals with Levi's, MCI WorldCom, Colgate-Palmolive, McDonald's, and Puma.

Frank del Olmo Associate Editor Los Angeles Times Los Angeles, CA

Following his promotion to associate editor of the Los Angeles Times, this Pulitizer Prize-winning journalist took the lead in making the paper Hispanic-friendly. Under his direction, 10 new beats were created to cover the Hispanic community in Southern California. Mr. del Olmo continues to write columns for the Times Op-Ed page. He serves on the board of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Junot Diaz Author New York, NY

The critically acclaimed author received a 1999 Guggenheim Fellowship. In June, The New Yorker listed him among the 20 best young fiction writers in the country. His first story collection, Drown (1996), has sold translation rights in 15 countries. His stories appeared in the Best of American Fiction '99, edited by Amy Tan. He currently teaches creative writing at Syracuse University and is at work on a novel forthcoming from Riverhead and Vintage Español.

Nelson Diaz Chairman Hispanic Caucus of the Democratic National Committee, Philadelphia, PA

A seat on the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee means that Nelson Diaz will wield considerable clout during the current election cycle. As chairman of the party's Hispanic Caucus, he will handle outreach to the Hispanic constituency. A partner with the law firm of Blank Rome Comisky & McCauley LLP, Mr. Diaz serves on the boards of the World Affairs Council, Temple University, and the National Puerto Rican Coalition. He has served as general counsel at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and was the first Hispanic judge in Pennsylvania.

Lincoln Diaz-Balart Congressman, 21st District, Miami, FL

Cuban-born Lincoln Diaz-Balart serves on the powerful House Rules Committee, where he consistently pushes legislation on immigration and international relations. He drafted much of the 1996 Helms-Burton Act, which tightened the U.S. embargo against Cuba. In November 1998, Mr. Diaz-Balart was re-elected to the House of Representatives with 75 percent of the vote, the highest margin of victory of any contested congressional race in the state.

Moctesuma Esparza Producer Esparza/Katz Productions, Los Angeles, CA

The long-time producer has received more than 100 honors, including an Academy Award nomination, an Emmy, a Clio, and a Cine Golden Eagle award. He has produced such Hispanic-themed hit films as Selena, The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca, The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, and The Milagro Beanfield War. For television, he has produced "The Cisco Kid" and "Selma, Lord, Selma." Upcoming theatrical releases from the Esparza/Katz team include Carlos Avila's Price of Glory, starring Jimmy Smits.

Fernando Espuelas CEO StarMedia, New York, NY

With nearly $100 million in private venture capital, Fernando Espuelas plans to make StarMedia "the Coke of the Internet in Latin America." The Web portal is working to reach Internet users in English, Spanish, and Portuguese throughout the Americas and in Europe. Mr. Espuelas comes to the World Wide Web with experience as managing director of marketing communications for AT&T in Latin America and the Caribbean. Previously, he worked as an executive at advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather in the U.S. and Latin America.

Juan Esteban CEO, New York, NY

With more than three million hits per month, was the only Latin-oriented site to win Home PC Computing Magazine's Top 500 of the Web award. By specializing in the hot Latin music market, the e-commerce site has attracted major investors. Spanish Broadcasting System bought a stake, ensuring that will have on-air access to 85 percent of the U.S. Hispanic market through SBS radio stations. In recognition of his success, Mr. Esteban earned the "Betances Award" from the National Puerto Rican Parade.

Emilio Estefan President/Producer Estefan Enterprises, Miami Beach, FL

He is viewed as the highest-profile producer in the Latin music industry. Recent collaborations with Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, and Shakira have proven that his skill at picking talent outshines his legacy from the 1970s band Miami Sound Machine. Apart from his work in the studio, Mr. Estefan is a successful entrepreneur with a string of profitable businesses: Bongos Cuban Café, the Cardozo Hotel, and his own Crescent Moon Records. He is poised to expand his influence in the entertainment industry through partnerships with Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Television Group.

Giselle Fernandez News Anchor/Reporter Café Ole, Los Angeles, CA

One of television's most seasoned young journalists and the winner of five Emmy Awards, she successfully made the switch from hard news to entertainment with the Galavision show "Café Ole with Giselle Fernandez." Now she is taking the show to English-language stations in an attempt to bring more Hispanic-themed programming to mainstream TV. As president of her own production company, Skinny Hippo Productions, the news veteran is busy developing documentaries for television.

Dennis Garcia CEO, President Potomac Management Group Inc., Alexandria, VA

This entrepreneur provides information technology and communications support for government and corporate clients. His company earned recognition when it rescued from permanent loss more than $3 billion worth of scientific data as a contractor for the U.S. Geological Survey. The efforts won PMG the honor of U.S. Geological Survey Contractor of the Year. The company has doubled its revenue every year since 1992 and ranks number 25 on the 1999 Hispanic Business Fastest-Growing Company directory. PMG has completed work on more than 100 Navy and Coast Guard ships.

Antonio "Tony" Garza Chairman Texas Railroad Commission, Austin, TX

In November 1998, Texas voters chose Tony Garza as the first Hispanic Republican elected to a statewide office. Less than a month later, his colleagues elected him chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission. He has participated actively in the presidential electioneering of Texas Governor George W. Bush, accompanying the candidate on a summer swing through California.

Mr. Garza also serves as second vice-chairman of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, representing Texas on one of the nation's oldest and largest interstate groups, which brings together 39 oil and gas producing states.

Henry Gomez Vice-President of Corporate Affairs HBO, New York, NY

Mr. Gomez is the highest-ranking Hispanic at HBO and one of the highest-ranking in the Time Warner empire. He oversees all media outreach regarding HBO's domestic and international operations and is responsible for creating and implementing the network's affiliate marketing communications, regional press initiatives, and special events. He has successfully run three times for a seat on the school board in his hometown of North Bergen, New Jersey. He is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, New Jersey School Boards Association, New Jersey Community Development Corporation, and the Democratic Roundtable.

Alberto "Al" Gonzales Justice Texas Supreme Court, Austin, TX

Although he had never before tried a case, this former Texas Secretary of State was appointed Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas in November 1998. For the previous three years, he had served as one of the top legal advisors to Texas Governor George W. Bush, acting as chief elections officer and as a liaison to Mexico. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he serves as a trustee of the Texas Bar Foundation.

Ron Gonzales Mayor City of San Jose, San Jose, CA

The first Hispanic mayor of San Jose since California's statehood, Ron Gonzales hit the ground running when he took office in January. In his first 100 days, he initiated two programs - the San Jose Teacher Housing Program and the San Jose Future Teachers Scholarship - aimed at making San Jose the most "teacher friendly" city in California. Previously, Mr. Gonzales served eight years on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and managed the education program at Hewlett-Packard.

Antonio Gonzalez President Southwest Voter Registration Education Project and William C. Vasquez Institute, Montebello, CA

Thanks to the Southwest Voter Registration Project (SVREP), Hispanic voter turnout for the California governor's race during the November 1998 elections increased 18.4 percent from the 1994 figure, while Hispanic voter registration for the 1998 election grew 21.6 percent compared to 1994. Mr. Gonzalez has focused sister organization William C. Vasquez Institute on research and advocacy on U.S.-Latin America relations.

Juan Gonzalez Columnist New York Daily News, New York, NY

The Village Voice calls him "the most radical person in the above-it-all world of New York daily journalism." A New York Daily News staff columnist, he received the 1999 George Polk Award for commentary in recognition of his columns about the racial divide in the United States. He was the only Hispanic in 13 categories to win a Polk award. The recipient of many other journalism honors, Mr. Gonzalez is author of Roll Down Your Window: Stories of a Forgotten America (1995).

Luis Antonio Gonzalez Administrative Judge State Supreme Court in the Bronx, Bronx, NY

In December 1998, he became administrative judge of the Supreme Court in the Bronx, becoming the first Hispanic to occupy the position in the state of New York. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Hell's Kitchen, he began his judicial career as a Housing Court judge in the New York City Civil Court. Mr. Gonzalez is a member of the Association of Judges of Hispanic Heritage, the Puerto Rican Bar Association, and the 12th Judicial District's Task Force on Reducing Litigation Cost and Delay.

Carlos Gutierrez CEO Kellogg Company, Battle Creek, MI

In June 1998 he ascended to the position of president and in April of this year made the jump to CEO. A 25-year veteran with the cereal giant, he has aggressive plans to address the company's faltering sales and stock performance. "We are instilling a sense of urgency in the company," he told reporters after his first stockholder meeting as CEO. He joined the company in Mexico City as a sales representative.

Leopoldo "Leo" E. Guzman President Guzman & Company, Miami, FL

Guzman & Company is the first and only Hispanic-owned securities firm to hold a seat on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The investment bank and brokerage consistently places among the top index trading firms ranked by volume. Mr. Guzman served as co-chair of the first Wall Street Project gala in 1998. This year, he accompanied President Clinton on his anti-poverty tour. He sits on advisory committees for the NYSE, the National Association of Securities Dealers, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ralph Hauser CEO Hauser Entertainment Inc., Pico Rivera, CA

Billboard describes his company as the "biggest and most powerful Hispanic management company in the nation." As CEO of Hauser Entertainment, he represents such artists as Vicente Fernandez and his son Alejandro, Maná, Luis Miguel, and Juan Gabriel. He recently signed a partnership pact with MCA Concerts under which Mr. Hauser will co-produce all shows by Hispanic artists at MCA venues.

Jorge Hernandez-Toraño Partner Holland & Knight, Miami, FL

He chairs the Miami office's corporate and entertainment practices for Holland & Knight, the nation's fifth largest law firm. Mr. Hernandez-Toraño represents artists such as Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Edward James Olmos, and Jon Secada. He also works for major corporate clients such as BMG Entertainment, BMG U.S. Latin, Miami Herald Publishing Co., Radio Unica, and Univision. Outside of the entertainment industry, he handles Wilke-Rodriguez, Banco Popular, and Royal Caribbean Cruiselines. He also supervises Holland & Knight's Mexico City office.

He is the founder and general counsel of the American Latin Music Association and co-founder of the United Way Entertainment Partnership, where he works to address the philanthropic interests of the entertainment industry.

Aliza A. Lifshitz Doctor and Author, Los Angeles, CA

Known as "Doctora Aliza" to fans who listen to her medical commentary on Radio Unica and Univision, she received the C. Everett Koop Media award in recognition of her work in the Hispanic community. This year saw the publication of her book Healthy Mother, Healthy Baby, the first bilingual medical guide for expectant mothers. Awards she has received include Woman of the 90s by the Los Angeles Times and Physician of the Year by the Multicultural Area Health Education Center.

Jennifer Lopez Actress/Singer, Los Angeles, CA

The former "Flygirl" on the show "In Living Color" soared to the top of the Billboard charts with the release of her debut album, On the 6. Working with such producers as Emilio Estefan and Rodney Jerkins, she sought to incorporate the musical sounds of her youth - hip-hop, salsa, and disco - into the album. Prior to jumpstarting her singing career, she received critical acclaim for her starring role in Out of Sight, which was named Best Picture of 1998 by the National Society of Film Critics. In addition, she earned a 1998 Golden Globe nomination for her work in the title role of Selena.

Monica C. Lozano Associate Publisher/Vice-President La Opinion, Los Angeles, CA

She spearheads expansion plans at La Opinion, the nation's leading Spanish-language newspaper. Currently the company is airing a public affairs program on KMEX-TV, Univision's Los Angeles station. The paper also plans to open a series of business centers inside supermarkets. In January 1999, California Governor Gray Davis appointed Ms. Lozano to the California State Board of Education. She joined him on an official state visit to Mexico City to meet President Ernesto Zedillo. She holds a seat on the boards of the California Health Care Foundation and the Fannie Mae Foundation. She is a trustee for SunAmerica Asset Management Corporation and the University of Southern California.

Lavonne Luquis President and Co-Founder, San Francisco, CA

Partnerships with Netscape and Yahoo! help to bring more than 400,000 visitors to the LatinoLink Web site ( each month. Advertisers include AT&T, IBM, Compaq, Microsoft, and New Line Cinema. Last year, President Luquis received the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 1998 National Hispanic Businesswoman of the Year award. She also won honors from the San Francisco Women on the Web organization, which named her one of the Top 25 Women of the Web.

Juan Maldacena Associate Professor of Physics Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Mr. Maldacena recently secured a MacArthur Foundation "Genius" grant for his work on "string theory," a method for describing gravity in the same terms as other forces in the universe. A colleague from the University of Chicago was so taken by this theory that he penned a new version of "Macarena" called "Maldacena." Mr. Maldacena was hired as a tenure-track associate professor by Harvard's Physics Department just two years after earning his doctorate degree.

Ricky Martin Singer/Actor, San Juan, PR

The phenomenal success of his first English-language album, Ricky Martin, released by Sony in May, led to a cover story for Time magazine. Songs from the album topped music charts for much of the summer, making the Puerto Rican pop star one of the most recognized personalities in the world. Earlier this year he won a Grammy for his Spanish-language album Vuelve, and he was chosen to perform during the Grammy telecast.

Sara Martinez Tucker CEO Hispanic Scholarship Fund, San Francisco, CA

A single phone call from the Lilly Endowment Foundation rewarded Ms. Martinez-Tucker with a $50 million grant for her organization. The price tag makes it the largest gift ever pledged to a Hispanic organization. The nation's oldest provider of college scholarships to Hispanics, the HSF has a stated goal to double the percentage of Hispanics earning college degrees by early in the next century. Armed with adequate funding from Lilly, Ms. Martinez-Tucker's organization hopes to make hundreds of dreams come true.

Adolfo Marzol Executive Vice-President Fannie Mae, Washington, DC

As chief credit officer, Adolfo Marzol chairs Fannie Mae's Credit Policy Committee and is responsible for credit risk allocation and underwriting at the third-largest corporation in the nation. Fannie Mae holds about 12 million home mortgages. Mr. Marzol is the highest-ranking Hispanic in the company. He also sits on the advisory board for the University of Florida MBA program, and he was named one of Minority MBA magazine's "Next Generation Business Leaders."

Jorge Mas Jr. CEO MasTec Inc., Miami, FL

Chairman and guiding force behind MasTec's dramatic growth. The first Hispanic company to achieve $1 billion in annual revenues, the company holds the number 1 position on this year's Hispanic Business 500. The publicly traded telecommunications services firm employs almost 9,000 people. Mr. Mas acts as executive director of the Mas Family Foundation, which provides scholarships to Cuban-American students. He also serves on the board of the Cuban American National Foundation.

Diane G. Medina Director of Diversity Programs Walt Disney Company, Burbank, CA

Oversees the Walt Disney Company's outreach to the Hispanic community, including employee recruiting, supplier diversity, and community relations. Her board memberships include the IMAGEN Foundation, Nosotros, the Latino Entertainment Media Institute, and the Latin Business Association. Recently she received the Community Excellence Award from the Latino Entertainment Media Institute and the Woman of the Year award from the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation.

Regina Montoya-Coggins President WORKRules Company; Girls Incorporated, Dallas, TX

The White House named her to serve as Public Sector Senior Advisor to the U.S. mission to the United Nations in 1998. She is founder and president of WORKRules Company, a consulting firm that specializes in work-force training and media relations. Ms. Montoya-Coggins also volunteers as the national president of Girls Inc. (formerly Girls Clubs of America). She serves on the board of the Student Loan Marketing Association (Sallie Mae) and as a trustee for Wellesley College.

Antonio Mora News Anchor "Good Morning America", New York, NY

Mr. Mora anchors the regular newscasts on "Good Morning America" and serves as the show's chief correspondent for major stories. A regular contributor to "World News Tonight with Peter Jennings," Mr. Mora has also reported for most other ABC News broadcasts, including "20/20" and "Nightline." A national Emmy Award nominee, he has covered numerous major events in the last few years, filing stories from a dozen countries on four continents.

Hugo Morales Director and Founder Radio Bilingue, Fresno, CA

This year he received public radio's highest honor, the Edward R. Murrow Award. A graduate of Harvard University, he has guided Radio Bilingue in its growth from a single PBS station in 1980 to the country's foremost Hispanic public radio network. Satellite technology carries the Radio Bilingue signal to more than 80 cities in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Previous honors for Mr. Morales include the Susan J. Hadden Award from the Alliance for Public Technology and the Cesar Chavez Award from the Association of Mexican-American Educators.

Enrique Morones Vice-President San Diego Padres, San Diego, CA

The highest-ranking Hispanic in Major League Baseball, Mr. Morones has increased annual attendance of Hispanic fans at Padres games from 50,000 to 600,000. He established a bi-national interest in Padres baseball by coordinating the first regular-season game ever held outside the United States. The game took place in Monterrey, Mexico, in 1996. ESPN and ABC News have recognized his team as the most outstanding Hispanic marketing organization in major league sports. Mr. Morones is president of the San Diego Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

George Muñoz CEO Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Washington, DC

Declaring 1999 the "Year of Small Business," Mr. Muñoz estimates that at least 30 percent of the business from OPIC-assisted projects will go to small companies. For his efforts, the Small Business Exporters Association honored him with the 1999 Ronald H. Brown Export Enhancement Award for providing opportunities to small businesses. In the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch, he signed an agreement to establish an investment facility in Central America and the Caribbean for capitalization of rebuilding and recovery. Previously, he was the chief financial officer at the Treasury Department.

Janet Murguia Deputy Campaign Manager and Director of Public Liaison Gore 2000, Washington, DC

Al Gore named this White House veteran to a top position in his campaign to win the presidency in 2000. Ms. Murguia currently serves as deputy director of legislative affairs for the White House. During her five-year tenure as President Bill Clinton's liaison to Congress, she has managed major negotiations on health care, the environment, telecommunications, immigration, education, welfare reform, trade, taxes, Puerto Rico, and Mexico certification.

Gregory Nava Director/Writer/Producer El Norte Productions, Los Angeles, CA

The director of Selena and My Family/Mi Familia has signed an unprecedented deal between New Line Cinema and his company, El Norte Productions, to produce and direct Hispanic-themed movies. Under the arrangement, Mr. Nava will develop or direct at least three films. The agreement allows him to develop as many as eight projects, with directing duties handled by younger or lesser-known stagers.

Chon Noriega Associate Professor of Film and Television University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA

Television stands at the forefront of addressing diversity issues in Hollywood. As co-chair of the Latino Producers Conference, Mr. Noriega organized the first national gathering on Hispanic independent media since the 1970s. He is author or editor of seven books on Hispanics in the film and television industry. His current work includes development of three media-related studies in conjunction with the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute.

Soledad O'Brien Correspondent NBC News, New York, NY

This popular NBC News journalist also reports for "Nightly News" and "Dateline" and is substitute anchor for weekend "Nightly News" and weekend "Today." At MSNBC, she anchors "Morning Blend," a three-hour talk show on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Off the air, she contributes a column for MSNBC.COM, serves as a contributing editor for USA Weekend Magazine, and acts as technology columnist for Women's Wire Web site.

Mirta Ojito Staff Writer The New York Times, New York, NY

She was one of four journalists awarded the 1999 American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing award for her series of first-person stories detailing the changes occurring in Cuba today. While writing the series, Ms. Ojito drew upon her own experience of leaving Cuba during the 1980 Mariel boatlift. She covers the immigration beat for the Times.

Solomon P. Ortiz Congressman, 27th District, Corpus Christi, TX

When Mr. Ortiz wanted to address the discriminatory portrayal and employment of Hispanics in the U.S. entertainment industry, he asked the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to sanction a task force. Then he led the effort. In conjunction with IMAGEN, he has organized job fairs to introduce Hispanics to entertainment companies. His efforts have given young Hispanics education, training, and real-work opportunities with major studios.

Ingrid Otero-Smart Executive Vice-President Mendoza-Dillon & Asociados, Newport Beach, CA

As head of client services at Hispanic ad agency Mendoza-Dillon, she exerts clout in the expanding Hispanic market. This year the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA) elected her to its board, where she will serve as co-chair of the Public Relations Committee and the Leadership Development Committee. In addition, she will act as chair for the 2000 AHAA convention. An active member of the Advertising Education Foundation, she works to encourage minorities to enter the advertising industry.

Lisa Quiroz Publisher People en Español, New York, NY

Advertising Age has recognized this publisher of People en Español as one the 25 "Women to Watch." In addition, she received her second Time Inc. President's Award for an innovative product launch into an untapped market. Managing the development of the magazine since its inception, Ms. Quiroz oversees the best-selling Spanish-language publication in the country.

Silvia Ramirez President Zerimar Corporation, San Jose, CA

After she inherited her father's construction company with only two employees and a $10,000 project, she changed its name to Zerimar Corporation. Four years later, it boasts $7 million in annual revenues and employs more than 30 people, making it the number 1 company on the 1999 Hispanic Business Fastest-Growing 100 directory. For her entrepreneurial success, Ms. Ramirez has been honored by the YWCA and the Small Business Administration.

Gabriel Reyes President Reyes Entertainment, Los Angeles, CA

His Hollywood-based communications firm handles Hispanic-focused public relations, marketing, and event production for major entertainment companies. Current and past clients include Latina Magazine, Telemundo Networks, Sí TV, Arista Latin Records, Virgin Records, Paramount Video, and the movie Selena for Warner Bros. With actor Edward James Olmos, Mr. Reyes is a founding member of the Los Angeles International Latino Film Festival.

Miguel Rios Jr. CEO Orion International Technologies, Albuquerque, NM

Winner of the U.S. Small Business Administration's 1999 Prime Contractor of the Year and the Commerce Department's National Minority Male Entrepreneur of the Year awards. Orion also won Hispanic Entrepreneur of the Year honors from the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference. A provider of engineering and research services to federal departments, Orion ranks number 398 on the Hispanic Business 500, with revenues of $8.1 million.

Gregory Rodriguez Research Fellow/Associate Editor Pepperdine University/ Pacific News Service/ New America Foundation, Los Angeles, CA

Author of "The Emerging Latino Middle Class," a groundbreaking report on the upward mobility of U.S. Hispanics. According to The Economist, Mr. Rodriguez's work has "decisively changed the understanding of Latino experience in the United States." Besides his position as research fellow at Pepperdine University, he is an associate editor of Pacific News Service. His writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and The New Republic. In addition, he is a fellow at the New America Foundation, where he will investigate how the demographic shift away from an Anglo majority will affect U.S. society.

Phil Roman CEO and Animation Artist Phil Roman Entertainment, Studio City, CA

A six-time Emmy winner, he has produced and directed animated series, theatricals, and commercials for four decades. The IMAGEN Foundation honored him with the 1999 Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his work on such hits as "The Simpsons" and "King of the Hill." He recently resigned from Film Roman Inc., a company he formed in 1984, to start a new venture, Phil Roman Entertainment. The new company is a full-service animation boutique that will produce traditional and computer animation for TV, features, and commercials.

Raul Romero Finance Co-Chair Bush for President, Houston, TX

In this position as finance co-chair for George W. Bush's presidential campaign, he has identified and assembled a core group of key Hispanics to deliver Hispanic outreach. In the past year, the Texas governor appointed him to the University of Texas Board of Regents. He also chaired the finance sub-committee for the 1999 Texas Inaugural Committee. Mr. Romero is president of S&B Infrastructure, the nation's largest privately owned engineering and construction firm, with revenues approaching $500 million.

Ricardo Romo President University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX

In May 1999, he became the fifth president of the University of Texas at San Antonio. One prime goal of his administration is to take UTSA to the cutting edge in terms of educational technology. In his former position as vice-provost of undergraduate education at UT Austin, Mr. Romo managed retention programs. As an academic, he is a respected urban historian best known for the book East Los Angeles: History of a Barrio (1985), which is currently in its eighth printing.

Lucille Roybal-Allard Congresswoman, 33rd District, Los Angeles, CA

The first Mexican-American woman elected to Congress is now the first Latina to chair the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. She also sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. Her skill as a consensus builder has won many legislative battles, as well as making her the first member of Congress selected to chair the California Democratic Congressional Delegation through the process of election rather than seniority.

Hector De J. Ruiz Executive Vice-President Motorola, Austin, TX

As president of Motorola's Semiconductor Products Sector, Mr. Ruiz manages the largest U.S.-based, broad-line supplier of semiconductors, with annual sales exceeding $7 billion. He supervises more than 40,000 employees worldwide. A former winner of the Hispanic Engineer of the Year award, he recently landed a seat on the board of directors at Darden Restaurants, owner of the Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and Bahama Breeze chains.

Dr. Nancy Ruiz Medical Director of Virology DuPont Pharmaceuticals Company, Wilmington, DE

One of the foremost investigators in HIV research. In conjunction with the DuPont Pharmaceuticals facility in Puerto Rico, Dr. Ruiz is developing a breakthrough drug called Sustiva, the first treatment that can be administered on a daily basis to both adults and children diagnosed with HIV-1. She previously served as director of the HIV research clinic at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and worked for six years as an HIV clinical physician at the National Naval Medical Center.

Carlos Saladrigas CEO ADP TotalSource, Coral Gables, FL

In December 1998, he sold his company Vincam Group to Automatic Data Processing (ADP) for a reported $295 million. Then in March of this year, he became chief executive of ADP. The NYSE-listed company is currently the second largest professional employer organization in the country. Mr. Saladrigas is former vice-chairman of the Institute of the Accreditation of Professional Employer Organizations and a former president of the National Professional Employer Organizations.

Roger Salazar Deputy Press Secretary Gore 2000, Washington, DC

The son of migrant farm workers, he quickly rose from the position of White House intern to become assistant press secretary for the president. In March he joined the presidential committee formed by Vice-President Al Gore, and he is currently the only official spokesman for the campaign. He will field reporters' questions and develop media strategies in Mr. Gore's bid to win the presidency in November 2000.

Maria Elena Salinas Anchorwoman Univision and Radio Unica, Miami, FL

She co-anchors Univision's nightly newscast "Noticiero Univision," the most watched Spanish-language news program in the United States. She has covered the last four presidential elections for the network. Ms. Salinas also hosts "Saber es Poder," an anti-dropout campaign broadcast nationwide by Radio Unica. The series of editorials addresses the school dropout problem among U.S. Hispanics and educates parents and students on its causes and cures.

Eduardo Sanchez Co-Writer and Co-Director The Blair Witch Project, Lake Buena Vista, FL

The success of this independent filmmaker's first release stunned Hollywood studio executives. Made for a reported $35,000, the film is expected to gross $150 million at the box office. The promotional Blair Witch Web site has drawn more than a million hits per month. Mr. Sanchez and his Blair Witch cohorts have signed a two-year development deal with 20th Century Fox TV.

Loretta Sanchez Congresswoman, 46th District, Garden Grove, CA

One of the Democratic Party's top fund-raisers, she was elected this year as co-chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. In her new position, she will work to head off Republican attempts to court Hispanic voters. On the local level, Ms. Sanchez flies from Washington, D.C., to her Orange County district every weekend, all the while maintaining a 97 percent voting record. In last November's election, she won decisively over nemesis and former Congressman Robert Dornan.

John Phillip Santos Program Officer in the Media, Arts, and Culture Program Ford Foundation, New York, NY

A former filmmaker, producer, journalist, and TV writer who has twice been nominated for an Emmy award, Mr. Santos focuses on issues of media, religion, and identity at the philanthropic organization. He serves on the Presidential Advisory Commission on Excellence in Education for Hispanic Americans. Mr. Santos was the first Mexican-American to receive a Rhodes Scholarship. His family memoir, Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation, will be published by Viking/Penguin this year.

Rolando Santos President CNN en Español, Atlanta, GA

He oversees daily operations and editorial content of the 24-hour cable news channel. Mr. Santos is one of only nine executives in charge of the CNN News Group worldwide at Turner Broadcasting. Before joining CNN in 1993 as an executive producer, Mr. Santos worked as executive producer for network news at the Telemundo Network.

Cristina Saralegui Talk Show Host Univision, Miami Beach, FL

"El Show de Cristina" ranks as the number 1 Spanish-language talk show, with an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million viewers. Her monthly magazine Cristina La Revista provides in-depth looks at the subjects featured on her TV show. She airs her opinions every day on "Cristina Opina," a radio program heard in more than 90 countries.

Lalo Schifrin Composer Malibu, CA

Four-time Grammy Award winner and six-time Oscar nominee, Argentina-born composer Lalo Schifrin has written more than 150 film and TV scores, including Mission Impossible, Bullitt, Dirty Harry, and Enter the Dragon. This year Mr. Schifrin composed music for the films Rush Hour, starring Jackie Chan, and Tango, directed by Carlos Saura. He was also the recipient of the 1999 Lifetime Achievement Award by the IMAGEN Foundation. A BMI Life Achievement award winner, he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Lionel Sosa CEO/Media Consultant GarciaLKS/Bush for President, San Antonio, TX

His long career in Hispanic advertising positioned him to take a place on the George W. Bush for President media team, where he will be responsible for general advertising and public relations. He currently serves as CEO and strategic director of GarciaLKS, a multicultural advertising agency that creates diverse ads for such companies as Dr. Pepper and Anheuser Busch. Mr. Sosa is the author of The Americano Dream: How Latinos Can Achieve Success in Business and Life (1998). Once named Adweek's Advertising Executive of the Year, he serves on the Texas A&M Board of Regents.

William Soza President Soza & Co. Ltd., Fairfax, VA

The founding president of Soza & Co. has led the consulting firm from sole practitioner status to its current standing - the number 76 company on the Hispanic Business 500, with revenues of $51.8 million. In 1998, Mr. Soza was named the National Hispanic Businessman of the Year by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Soza & Co. was recognized as 1998 Corporation of the Year by the Greater Washington Ibero-American Chamber of Commerce and as Small Business Contractor of the Year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Bill Teck Editor Generation ñ Magazine, Coral Gables, FL

This young editor from South Florida produces a bilingual, bicultural magazine directed toward an English-dominant Hispanic youth audience whose "favorite comfort foods are Rice Crispy Treats and pure de malanga." The Generation ñ concept has expanded to encompass a television show with USA Broadcasting and a partnership with El Nuevo Herald whereby a Generation ñ feature will appear in the newspaper each week. Mr. Teck's book The Official Spanglish Dictionary: Un User's Guia to More Than 300 Words and Phrases That Aren't Exactly Español or Ingles has become a bestseller.

Brunilda Torres Post-Production Supervisor HBO, Brooklyn, NY

Beginning as a sound apprentice on Jan Kadar's Lies My Father Told Me (1975), Ms. Torres counts among her credits such films as Do the Right Thing, Juice, Jungle Fever, and Daybreak. As post-production supervisor at HBO, she has worked on the Emmy-nominated series "Sex and the City" and the award-winning "Chris Rock: Bring the Pain."

Blanca Valdez President Blanca Valdez Casting, Los Angeles, CA

Recognizing the need for Spanish-language talent, she started Blanca Valdez Casting from her apartment with a laptop computer and a fax machine. She now casts 80 percent of all Spanish-language commercials on U.S. television. Ms. Valdez handles casting for advertising and TV projects in five major markets. From her Hollywood studio, she also presents commercial acting classes for adults and children.

Luis Valdez Writer/Director San Juan Bautista, CA

This year El Teatro Campesino - a theatrical troupe Mr. Valdez founded during the Great Grape Strike of 1965 - celebrates its 33rd anniversary. From his early work in guerrilla theater, Mr. Valdez moved on to write Zoot Suit, the first play by a Chicano produced on Broadway, as well as the Golden Globe-nominated film version. He also adapted and directed the blockbuster La Bamba. Currently, Mr. Valdez has a production deal with Telemundo to develop, produce, and direct new shows. In addition, he is working on two film projects, The Cesar Chavez Story and The Two Fridas, about artist Frida Kahlo. He serves as presidential appointee to the board of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Arturo Valenzuela Special Assistant to the President The White House, Washington, DC

This professor from Georgetown University holds the post of senior director for Inter-American affairs on the National Security Council. In this role, he advises President Bill Clinton and White House advisors on foreign, defense, intelligence, economic, and other policy issues in the Western Hemisphere. A director of the Center for Latin American Studies at Georgetown, he has authored nine books. Board memberships include the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the Hispanic Council for International Relations, and America's Watch.

Gregory A. Vega U.S. Attorney Southern District of California, San Diego, CA

In May 1999 he became the first Mexican American to serve as U.S. Attorney for Southern California. The past president of the National Hispanic Bar Association now serves as the chief law enforcement officer in the heavily Hispanic district. Responsibilities include enforcement of federal law along the California-Mexico border, the busiest land border crossing in the world.

Antonio Villaraigosa Speaker of the Assembly State of California Los Angeles, CA

The outspoken and popular speaker met with President Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico this summer to discuss economic and cultural ties between California and its southern neighbor. A former high school dropout from Los Angeles, Mr. Villaraigosa has worked in the legislature to expand the state's Healthy Families Program to include uninsured children. Political insiders speculate that he may run for mayor of Los Angeles.

Antoinette Zel Senior Vice-President and General Manager MTV Latin America, Miami Beach, FL

Ms. Zel oversees all channel functions and collaborates closely with MTV networks in Latin America by working through regional headquarters in Buenos Aires and Mexico City. Previously, she was vice-president for new business development at MTV Latin America. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association, the Federal Copyright Society, the Cuban American Bar Association, and the Puente de Jovenes Profesionales Cubanos.

Methodology for the 100 Most Influential Hispanics Hispanic Business receives hundreds of nominations for the annual "100 Most Influential Hispanics" listing. We accept nominations from readers, contributing editors and writers, magazine staff, and the nominees themselves. This year our editorial board selected candidates who made outstanding contributions in the entertainment field during the last 12 months, together with achievers in business, academia, media, politics, and sports. To qualify for the "100 Most Influential" list, individuals must be U.S. citizens of Hispanic origin. Because of the increasing number of Hispanics in positions of influence, Hispanic Business attempts to compile a list that recognizes those who have had recent, national-level impact. Therefore, many prominent Hispanics are not included, even though they may have appeared on previous lists. The chart data are based on responses from "Influentials" who returned our questionnaire by the deadline. We are currently in the process of collecting names for our "Year 2000 Most Influential" directory. Please submit your recommendations to the research department, Hispanic Business Inc., 425 Pine Avenue, Santa Barbara, CA 93117. Nominations also may be e-mailed to

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters