The Latinas Lead California Board of Directors puts their Heels on the Ground to elect Latina leaders. We volunteer our time and talents to help raise money and provide campaign support for our endorsed candidates.
Our dedicated board members are:
Diana Rodriguez - President
With over 15 years of experience as a lobbyist advocating in the areas of education, water, land use, and local government issues, Diana Rodriguez recently joined Mercury LLC, a global, bipartisan public affairs strategy firm as Vice President. In this role, she will use her experience in providing analysis on legislation that impacts municipalities, coalition building, and resource identification to successfully realize major community development projects throughout Los Angeles City and County.
Rodriguez is a graduate of California State University Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and a Juris Doctorate from the University of West Los Angeles School of Law. She is also a graduate of the HOPE Leadership Institute.
Julissa Gomez - Vice President
Julissa Gomez administers a statewide affordable housing trust fund for the California Association of Realtors. Before joining the California Association of Realtors, she was the Statewide Advocacy Manager for the American Lung Association in California, where she worked on tobacco control and air quality issues throughout California.
Julissa previously directed outreach efforts for Interethnica, working on several state projects, including Energy Upgrade California, High-Speed Railway, San Francisco General Elections, and Clean Power San Francisco. In addition, she served as campaign director for MomsRising, where she advocated for family-friendly policies like the Affordable Care Act and equal pay legislation. Julissa has over 10 years of experience in public policy, public affairs, government relations, and communications, including with several non-profit and private sector organizations such as the Center for Justice and Accountability, Amnesty International USA, and Jungle Communications.
Julissa received her Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Arts from California State University, Northridge.
Marisa Yeager - Political Director
Marisa Yeager is the Government Relations Director for the Riverside Community College District (RCCD). She oversees the annual legislative program, serves as the lead liaison for federal, state, and regional officials, and creates partnerships for the District. The Riverside Community College through its three colleges--Moreno Valley College, Norco College, and Riverside City College supported by the District Office--serves and enriches its diverse communities by offering certificates, degrees, and transfer programs that help students achieve their educational and career goals. The district strives to impact the social and economic mobility of its students by ensuring access, success, and equity for everyone.
Yeager has over 28 years of civic and community service experience. She serves in various leadership roles such as; Governor's Appointee and President for the 46th District Agricultural Association-Southern California Fair, California Construction Authority member, President of Agua Mansa Chapter-Old Spanish Trails Association, and the Riverside Latino Network member.
Prior to serving RCCD, she was the Senior Government Relations Manager for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO) for 22.5 years. In this capacity, she was part of the creation of the Mobility 21 Coalition, 6 full fund grant agreements with the US Department of Transportation to expand transportation in Los Angeles County. Her career began working for Congressman Xavier Becerra in Washington, DC.
Cinthia Flores - Treasurer
Cinthia Flores is a Board Member of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board. Governor Newsom appointed her to this position in 2020. Cinthia formerly served as a Staff Attorney with the Coalition for Humane Immigration (CHIRLA) where she practiced immigration law with a focus on removal defense. Cinthia also has a background in labor law has represented private and public sector unions. Additionally, Cinthia serves on the Latina Lawyers Bar Association board, an organization dedicated to supporting Latinas in the legal profession.
Cinthia earned her Juris Doctorate at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. During law school, Cinthia served as a Regent on the University of California Board of Regents. Cinthia earned her B.A. in Political Science at UCLA, where she served as the first Latina undergraduate student body president. Cinthia is an alumna of the Front Line Leaders Academy and the New American Leaders Project - electoral campaign leadership development programs focused on training progressive and immigrant communities to run for office. Cinthia was born, raised, and resides in Los Angeles, CA.
Susan Sifuentes-Trigueros - Advisory Board Liaison
Susan Sifuentes-Trigueros is the Los Angeles Regional Public Affairs Manager for Southern California Gas Company, where she is responsible for the public affairs and local community giving strategies in the greater Los Angeles County area and manages a professional staff of seven. She is a highly-skilled public relations professional with over twenty years of experience in corporate, governmental, community, and media relations. Susan also serves in a number of civic leadership roles including chairing Future Ports, serving on the Central City Executive Committee, and serving as a Board Member of the USC Board of Governors, the USC-Latino Alumni Association, BizFed, and the Dominguez Dream Foundation. Passionate about social justice and Latina leadership, Susan most enjoys mentoring youth and young professionals and helping them achieve their full potential.
Susan attended the University of Southern California where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting. She resides in Walnut, CA with her husband Mario. They have seven children and five grandchildren.
Blodgie Rodriguez - Secretary
Blodgie Rodriguez has been in the realty business for the last 14 years, successfully running her own real estate business. Her quality experience and knowledge have helped countless clients celebrate the success of selling their homes and buying the home of their dreams.
Blodgie is active in the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, where she served two terms as Chairwoman of the board of directors, and in January 2015, was appointed by Governor Brown to serve on the Kern County Fair Board. She was a graduate of the inaugural class of Latina Global Leadership Institute in 2014 and a 2003 HOPE Leadership Institute graduate. In 2015 The California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce honored her with the Latina Trailblazer award. She also serves on the Kern Energy Festival Steering Committee. She has also been actively involved in key political campaigns in the Central Valley. Blodgie was born and raised in Kern County.
Araceli Sandoval-Gonzalez - Communications Officer
Araceli Sandoval-Gonzalez leads ASG Strategy Consulting, which specializes in government- public relations, communications, and strategy development for diverse public and private sector clients, including the California Community Foundation, LA Area Chamber of Commerce, Advancement Project, Sobrato Family Foundation, Californians Together, LA DEAL, and others. Araceli has two decades of experience championing equity issues at the local, state, and national levels. Her track record includes winning major state budgetary increases to improve high-quality early education and care in California, passing legislation to create and expand transitional kindergarten, and driving public-private investments. She specializes in philanthropic consulting, providing technical assistance and advisement to maximize grant-making impact and sustainability. Earlier in her career, Araceli worked in public affairs at Early Edge California, the California Association for Bilingual Education, and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
Araceli serves on the LAUSD Facilities Bond Oversight Committee and is the Board Chairwoman for East Los Angeles Community Corp (ELACC), an affordable housing organization. She earned dual bachelor's degrees at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Master's in Public Administration from California State University, Northridge, where she graduated with distinction.
Sophia Garcia - Boardmember
Sophia Garcia is the Executive Director of Community Affairs and Government Relations at Verizon where she leads the community engagement strategy in California. She manages the State Government Affairs (SGA) Foundation budget in eight states in addition to serving as the West SGA liaison with the Corporate Social Responsibility team. Before stepping into her current role, Sophia shared responsibility for state legislative affairs in California.
Prior to joining Verizon, Sophia served as State Director of Government Affairs and Community Development for Advance America and as the Director of Finance and Programs for the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, engaging in advocacy and strategic coalition-building and mobilization.
Sophia serves as a board member of the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation, CA Volunteers Fund, LA Promise Fund, and Latinas Lead California. She also serves as an at-large board member of Verizon's Hispanic Support Organization (HSO).
Sophia earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Pepperdine University and a Master of Public Administration mobilization from the University of Phoenix. She resides in Sacramento, CA with her husband Justin.
Maria Lemus - Boardmember
Maria Lemus is the founding Executive Director of Vision Y Compromiso, which provides leadership, capacity building, and advocacy for over 4,000 Promotores and Community Health Workers. Maria has served on numerous public health advisory committees, including the Health and Human Services Promotores Advisory Committee; the Latino Best Baby Initiative; the National Teen Pregnancy Initiative; the NIH and CDC Hispanic/Latino Workgroup of the National Diabetes Educational Program; the California Latino Mental Health Concilio for the Reducing Health Disparity Project; the Family Violence Prevention Fund Intimate Partner Violence Education Project; and the California Hispanic American Cancer Society Hispanic Advisory Committee, among others. Maria previously consulted for local community organizations and served as a fellow with the Purpose Prize and the Mexican American Solidarity Foundation. She has 21 years of management experience at the California Department of Health Services, the City and County of San Francisco, and the California Department of Corrections, where she served as President of the California Chicano Correctional Workers Association.
Maria holds a B.A. from the University of California, Riverside, and is an alumna of the National Hispana Leadership Institute and the California Women’s Policy Institute. For her leadership in public health, she has received a California State Assembly commendation and recognition from California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, the California Center for Public Health, the Contra Costa Women's Hall of Fame, and the Tiburcio Vasquez Community Clinic.
Bea Stotzer - Boardmember
Bea is an accomplished businesswoman and social entrepreneur in the fields of economic development and asset building. As CEO of New Capital LLC, she manages multi-million dollar portfolios of affordable housing, business, and economic development. She was instrumental in establishing New Economics for Women, a Latina economic development nonprofit, by leveraging a $97,000 seed grant into more than $280 million in investments. Bea has served as a trusted advisor to the Clinton Administration, the Mayor of Los Angeles, the Aspen Institute, the Ford Foundation, and a host of local government, private, and independent sector organizations. As former Treasurer of the UNIDOS US (formerly the National Council of La Raza (NCLR)) Board of Directors, she partnered with the CEO and CFO to deliver their strongest balance sheet in 15 years. Bea currently serves as a strategic advisor or executive board member for key national non-profits, foundations, and corporations that focus on economic mobility.
A lifelong advocate for economic opportunities, especially for vulnerable women and families, Bea is resolute about increasing the role of women as leaders within the finance sector and was recently appointed to the Governing Council of the Los Angeles County Initiative on Women and Girls.
LaShe Rodriguez - Boardmember
Ms. Rodriguez earned a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Riverside in Theatre and Film Studies and a Masters' Degree in Communications Management from the University of Southern California. Professionally, Ms. Rodriguez has worked for the California Legislature, serving several Senate and Assembly members. Additionally, LaShe' has managed several successful campaigns throughout Riverside, San Bernardino, and Orange Counties.
Currently, Ms. Rodriguez is the Chief of Staff to Orange County Board of Supervisor Doug Chaffee of the 4th District. Ms. Rodriguez continues to serve as a Sister City Commissioner for the City of Anaheim, a member of the NAACP-O.C., National Council of Negro Women-O.C., the Democratic Party-O.C., and on the South Coast Air Quality Management District-Environmental Justice.
Rita Gallardo Good - Boardmember
Rita Gallardo Good is the Director of Civic Affairs for Sacramento State in the Office of Public Affairs and Advocacy. She has been a proud public servant for 27 years in local and state government. In 2010, a transition brought ber to Sacramento to work in the State Capitol for the California Senate. As a passionate public servant, Rita serves as the Chair of the City of Sacramento Parks and Community Enrichment Commission. She is the first Latina to serve on the commission in its 18-year history. She also serves as a board member of the Chicano Youth Leadership Project (CYYLP) and as a mentor for Puente at Sac City Community College.
Rita earned her Master's of Public Administration at the University of Laverne as well as a Bachelor of Business Administration. She is an alumnus of Los Angeles Harbor Community College. She previously served as a Commissioner for the County of Sacramento Equal Opportunity Advisory Committee, appointed by Supervisor Kennedy. She also served as a Governor's appointee to the State Pupil Assessment Review Panel under the Department of Education for two terms.
Marisa Calderon, Boardmember
Marisa Calderon is the executive director of NCRC Community Development Fund and a housing and financial services industry veteran.
Ms. Calderon has been ranked on the Swanepoel Power 200 as one of the most powerful leaders in the residential real estate industry and named one of HousingWire’s 2018 Women of Influence for her work in increasing real estate and mortgage professionals’ understanding and appreciation of the Hispanic home-buying market. Frequently sought out as an expert, Calderon has been interviewed by numerous publications and media outlets including NPR’s Marketplace, and regularly speaks at events such as those for Mortgage Bankers Association, Consumer Federation of America, the FDIC, and the National Fair Housing Alliance.
She previously served on the advisory board for the Banc of California and the Fannie Mae Affordable Housing Advisory Council, and also previously authored the State of Hispanic Homeownership Report.
She currently serves as board secretary for the Hispanic Wealth Project, which has a stated goal of tripling the median household wealth of Hispanics by 2024. She earned her BA from the University of California at Berkeley and is in the process of completing her MBA.
Carina Armenta, Boardmember
For over 18 years, Carina has dedicated her career to providing strategic counsel to a number of federal elected officials to advance their policy agendas and promote their priorities. by combining communications savvy with policy knowledge, she has successfully raised their public profiles and garnered support for their legislative goals.
Carina's work in politics began as an intern on the Clinton/Gore campaign. Following her graduation from high school, she began her public service career in Washington, DC as a policy aide for former Congressman, Howard Berman. She continued to advocate for social domestic policy issues as Legislative Director for then-Congresswoman Hilda Solis, now a Los Angeles County Supervisor. After several years as a policy advisor on health, education, and women's issues for former Senator Barbara Boxer, Carina returned to her native California and worked for Planned Parenthood of California Central Coast.
Carina currently serves as Communications Director for Congresswoman Julia Brownley, who represents most of Ventura County, and oversees all communications activities to inform constituents and stakeholders of the Congresswoman's work.
Paola Fernández - Young Professionals Network Chair
Paola Fernández is a public sector professional serving as a Government and Public Services consultant for Deloitte Consulting, LLC where she supports federal agencies in developing performance management solutions. She began her career as a public servant in the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti under the Chief of Operations where she produced signature city events, such as the Mayor’s State of the City Address and 2017 Inauguration. Her passion for economic development led her to pursue policy positions to understand the policy development and implementation process in Los Angeles. While in graduate school, she served as a policy and planning intern for Los Angeles Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez and as a policy fellow for economic development non-profit Inclusive Action for the City.
Paola earned her BA in International Relations and Social Entrepreneurship and Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Southern California. She is also an alumna of American University’s Women & Politics Institutes WeLead Program.
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