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
Diana Rodriguez has over fourteen years of experience as a lobbyist advocating in the areas of education, water, and local government issues at both the state and local level.
Diana joined Ek, Sunkin & Bai, one of the top lobbying firms in Los Angeles, in 2016. Her responsibilities encompassed the Long Beach area where she expanded the company’s access to new clients and better served existing clients by working closely with civic leaders and elected officials.
Diana is a graduate of California State University at Los Angeles, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. She went on to earn her Juris Doctorate from the School of Law at the University of West Los Angeles. Diana is an alumna of the HOPE Leadership Institute class of 2003.
Julissa Gomez - Vice President
Julissa Gomez administers a statewide affordable housing trust fund for the California Association of Realtors. Prior to 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 the state of 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 Bachelors of Arts and Masters of Arts from California State University, Northridge.
Mary Rosas - Secretary
Mary Rosas is the Director of Local Public Affairs for California Resources Corporation (CRC), where she is responsible for managing local government relations, securing alignment with key stakeholders, and managing internal communications in the Los Angeles Basin. In addition, her role prioritizes developing partnerships with community organizations and policy groups to position CRC as an industry leader and to amplify their message of Energy for California by Californians.
Mary’s career in alliance development spans across the Western Region of the United States, where she mobilized diverse community groups around issues in the health, pharmaceutical, and utilities industries. In addition, she was a gubernatorial appointee by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to serve as Deputy Director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs Division. There, she led a team of 120 across five offices throughout the state to promote fraud prevention programs by engaging local municipalities and civic leaders.
Mary was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley and is a resident of Granada Hills, CA.
Marisa Yeager - Political Director
Marisa V. Yeager serves as Senior Government Relations Manager for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO). Marisa has over 26 years of experience in the public sector. She holds many civic leadership roles, including serving as a Gubernatorial Appointee for the 46th DAA - Southern California Fair; serving as President of the Agua Mansa Chapter-Old Spanish Trails Association; serving as Political Director for Latinas Lead California; serving as a Member of the University of California, Santa Barbara Alumni Association; and serving as a Member of the Riverside Latino Network.
Marisa earned her Master’s in Public Policy and Administration at California State University, Long Beach and her B.A. in Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She resides in Riverside, CA.
Cinthia Flores - Treasurer
Cinthia Flores is a Staff Attorney with the Coalition for Humane Immigration (CHIRLA) and practices immigration law with a focus on removal defense. Cinthia formerly practiced labor law representing private and public sector unions. In 2015, Governor Brown appointed Cinthia to the Health Professions Education Foundation. Cinthia also serves on the board of the Latina Lawyers Bar Association, 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 was the first Latina elected President of the undergraduate student body. 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.
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.
Carla Castilla - Boardmember
Carla Castilla is a self-described bridge builder, connector, and diplomat with over 16 years of experience in campaign, politics, government, communications and public relations work. Carla began her career in the Clinton Administration, where she was a political appointee in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. There, she was responsible for the management, vetting, and selection of nominations and appointments for positions across the administration’s many federal agencies, boards, and commissions.
Carla most recently served as the District Director for State Senator, Hannah-Beth Jackson where she was responsible for managing the Senator’s district staff and implementing the outreach plan for almost 1 million constituents in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. Carla has worked on a wide range of issues such as addressing the environment with the California Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act and addressing the gender gap with the California Fair Pay Act.
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 of the California Women’s Policy Institute. For her leadership in public health, she has received a California State Assembly commendation, as well as 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.
Dr. Erica Jacquez - Boardmember
Dr. Erica Jacquez is an accomplished government relations expert with more than 18 years of experience. She is the Executive in Charge of Government Affairs at the Directors Guild of America, responsible for the Guild’s federal legislative and governmental work. As such, she serves as an advocate for its members on key issues, such as intellectual property, copyright, and anti-piracy protection.
Prior to working with the Guild, Dr. Jacquez worked in various federal, state and local government relations roles. At the federal level, she was appointed by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2010 to serve as the Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement Liaison between the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Congress and the public nationwide. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed her to the City of Los Angeles’ Civil Service Commission and she previously served on the Housing Authority Commission.
Dr. Jacquez holds a doctorate in Policy, Planning, and Development and a Master's in Public Administration with an emphasis in Political Management, both from the University of Southern California. She also is an alumna of the John F. Kennedy School of Government Executive Leadership Program at Harvard University and of the Center for Creative Leadership.
Blodgie Rodriguez - Boardmember
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 home and buying the home of their dreams.
Blodgie is active on 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 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 - Boardmember
Araceli Sandoval-Gonzalez is Principal Consultant of ASG Strategy Consulting, which specializes in public relations, policy analysis and advocacy, capacity building, and political strategy for diverse public and private sector clients, including the California Community Foundation, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and others. Araceli has over 15 years of experience championing children's 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, launching Birth through Grade Three initiatives in Fresno and Los Angeles counties, and driving public and private investments to support the teacher workforce. She also specializes in philanthropic consulting, providing technical assistance and advisement to maximize the impact and sustainability of grant-making. 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 has served on the Executive Board Member of the East Los Angeles Community Corporation (ELACC) for over a decade. She earned dual bachelor's degrees at the University of California, Los Angeles and a Master's in Public Administration from the California State University, Northridge.
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 who 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.
Juana Hernandez - Young Professionals Network Chair
Juana Hernandez is the Senior Manager of Postsecondary Initiatives at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and its nonprofit affiliate, UNITE-LA. In this role, Juana staffs the L.A. Compact, a collective impact initiative that brings together twenty-four key Los Angeles institutions from education, government, labor, business, and the nonprofit sector to transform student outcomes in the region. Juana also supports the Chamber’s state and federal policy advocacy efforts related to higher education. Previously, Juana performed policy research at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education and managed a national internship program at the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) in Washington, DC.
The daughter of Mexican immigrant parents and a first-generation college graduate, Juana earned her B.A. at UCLA and her Master’s in Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. A Harry S. Truman Scholar, Juana was named a "40 Under 40" Emerging Civic Leader by L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas in 2018. Juana grew up in Buena Park, CA and resides in northeast Los Angeles with her partner Victor G. Sanchez.