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 email@example.com.
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