Imagen Foundation honors Maria Tukeva - Columbia Heights Educational Campus

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March 03, 2009

Imagen Honors 14 Extraordinary Women

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Fourteen women are being honored by The Imagen Foundation at the organization’s 2nd annual Latina Leaders Women’s History Month event in Washington, D.C., March 4.

Imagen’s Founder and President Helen Hernandez said the organization is recognizing Latinas who have made a difference in their community in the areas of advocacy, education, entertainment, environment, health, sports, media and journalism.

The women, who enrich the Latino community and promote a positive image of Latinos to the community at large, are being recognized for their achievements in their respective professional fields.

Honorees include Dolores Huerta, an iconic figure who has dedicated her life to improve the lives of working men and women across the country. A community organizer-activist for more than 50 years Dolores Huerta’s humble demeanor is overshadowed by a fierce dedication with which she has served her community and earned her world wide recognition and accolades that include, among others, The Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award from President Clinton.

In 1997, she was named one of the three most important women of that year by Ms. Magazine and made the Ladies Home Journal’s 100 most important women of the 20th Century.  She has received the prestigious Ohtli Award from the Mexican Government, as well as nine Honorary Doctrines from universities throughout the United States, and at last count there are least five schools named after her in California, Texas, and Colorado.

President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, which is dedicated to community organizing, and an active member of the Fund for the Feminist Majority, she is best known as co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association – now known as the United Farm Workers Union -- with Cesar E. Chavez where she holds the emeritus position as first vice president.

As the main negotiator for the UFW, she successfully negotiated contracts and as the legislative advocate for the Community Service Organization and the United Farm Workers Union, she accomplished many firsts. Among them, she was instrumental in passing historic legislation that included better working and living conditions, Disability Insurance for farm workers, the end of the infamous “bracero” program, and legalization for one million farm workers under the Immigration Reform Act of l984-85.

Huerta was honored this year by the Girl Scouts of America which designated a Girl Scout Patch in her honor for community service.

The image used on the merit patch was designed by world-renowned artist and muralist Barbara Carrasco , also an honoree, who also designed the Latina Leader Awards that were distributed to the honorees.

During the farm workers movement, Carrasco created numerous mural banners for the United Farm Workers Union.  In 1985, she was invited to the former USSR to paint murals in Leningrad and Armenia. Upon her return to the U.S., she created a computer animation Pesticides! that was presented on the Spectacolor Light-board at Times Square in New York.

Carrasco’s original mural sketches and drawings are included in the Permanent Collection of Works on paper at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.  Documentation of her mural work is archived in the California Murals Collection at the Smithsonian Institution, where her oral history is also archived at the institution’s Archives of American Art. A permanent collection of her papers has been established and archived at Stanford University Special Collections Mexican American Manuscript Collections.

Carrasco has served as a Regents professor at UC Riverside and has also taught at UC Santa Barbara and Loyola Marymount University. She currently serves as a board member of the Dolores Huerta Foundation.

Other honorees include:

Cecilia Muñoz, who in her new role as White House Director of Intergovernmental Relations will lend her expertise of working with diverse communities and issues relating to local and state governments.

Previously, Muñoz was Senior Vice President of Research, Advocacy and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza, where she spearheaded many of the organization’s immigration initiatives, and was in charge of the group’s entire advocacy and legislative agenda.

Muñoz began her work at National Council of La Raza as the senior immigration policy analyst in 1988. She was the face of NCLR during the controversy over Welfare Reform in 1996 and its affect on legal immigrants who were not citizens. Following the 1986 enactment by President Ronald Reagan of the Immigration Reform and Control Act, Muñoz helped more than 5,000 immigrants obtain legal citizenship in the United States.

She is the youngest of four children, whose parents moved to the United States from La Paz, Bolivia. She was three when her family moved to Livonia, a growing, middle-class Detroit suburb.  She attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and completed her undergraduate degrees in English and Latin studies in 1984.

Muñoz is recipient of a 2000 MacArthur Foundation “genius grant.” She is married to Amit Muñoz-Pandva, a human rights lawyer. They have two daughters, Cristina and Meera.

Maria Teresa Petersen has made her mark in this country by registering young Latinos in huge numbers this past election cycle. Named by Hispanic Magazine as among the top Latinas in Government and Politics, Petersen is the founding Executive Director of Voto Latino, a youth organization engaging the next generation of Americans in civic participation.

Under her leadership, Voto Latino launched the first ever national mobile texting campaign to register voters in 2006, has produced award winning Public Service Announcements, created the Artist Coalition of over 35 active celebrity voices, and has created a media coalition that includes MySpace, YouTube, iTunes Latino, SiTV, LATV and MTV.

In addition to serving as a frequent guest on Chris Matthew’s Hardball, Petersen appears on CNBC, NPR, CNN Español, and Fox News as a political analyst. She serves as a frequent guest speaker at national conferences focusing on social entrepreneurship and Latino issues.

Petersen is a Woodrow Wilson Public Policy International Affairs Fellow, a National Hispana Leadership Institute Fellow, an Advisory Board member of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and a founding board member of the Latino Leader's Network. Petersen, who began her career as a legislative aide for former Democratic Caucus Chairman Vic Fazio, holds a Masters from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor's from University California, Davis in international economics.

Patricia Madrid, the former Attorney General of New Mexico – currently the Chairman of the MALDEF Board of Directors -- who has played a big role on the national political stage by serving as Co-chairman of the platform committee for the Democratic Convention.

As Attorney General of New Mexico (1999-2006), Madrid holds the distinction of having served as New Mexico’s first woman Attorney General and is the first Hispanic woman Attorney general in the history of the United States. From 1978 to 1983, she served as a District Court Judge, the first woman elected to the New Mexico Court Bench, a court of general jurisdiction.

Following her District Court Judge appointment, Madrid was a partner in the law firm of Messina, Madrid & Smith, P.A., a firm with expertise in business organizations, commercial law, commercial real estate, bankruptcy and litigation.

She also served as Chairman of the Energy Committee and Conference of Western Attorneys General, and is co-founder of the Democratic General Association, which she chaired.

A recipient of numerous awards, she was named one of the Top Five Hispanic Women in the Country by Hispanic Business Magazine, was named to the list of 100 Top Latino Movers and Shakers in America by Latino Leaders Magazine, and in 2005, was selected as one of 500 Leading Lawyers in America by Lawdragon Magazine.

Dr. Maria Ramirez is a trailblazer in the bilingual education movement. She is a Puerto Rican, Brooklyn born advocate for children who was the first Hispanic Commissioner to serve in the New York State Education Department. She was the first to use TV teleconferences to introduce new syllabi to schools statewide and has been on educational TV for NBC, ABC and PBS.  She has been a teacher, administrator, advisor and consultant at elementary, secondary, higher education, State, national and international levels.

Under her leadership as Chief of the Bureau of Bilingual Education at the Education Department, she developed the first State policy on bilingual education in the nation.  It provided bilingual and English as a second language programs for students representing approximately 100 languages enrolled in New York State’s schools.

In 1985, she was appointed to a newly created Cabinet position at the State Education Department.  As Executive Director of the Center for Multinational and Comparative Education, she worked with ministries, embassies, cultural, educational, and linguistic attaches from twenty-two countries. She was the first in the nation to develop a student exchange program with Poland and a Curriculum Consultant and Chinese Language Assistants program with the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union.

A recipient of numerous awards, she was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters and Humanities from Hartwick College, and a Doctorate in Law from her Alma Mater, St. John’s University.

On April 20, 1995, after forty-three years in education, Ramirez retired from the New York State Education Department. A former Amityville Dominican Sister, she resides in Clifton Park, New York where she enjoys private consulting and pro-bono service as a board member of several non-profit organizations, commissions and colleges.

Maria Tukeva has dedicated her life to immigrant students of the District of Columbia through her role as principal of Bell Multicultural High School.

She has served as the Executive Director and Principal of the Multicultural Career Intern Program, (now Bell Multicultural High School) an alternative high school for immigrant and refugee youth since 1979. As one of the founders of the school, she was responsible for initial fundraising, community outreach, program design, and hiring of staff.

Recognized as a model school that has been highly successful in ensuring that immigrant and refugee youth receive equal educational opportunities, are able to complete their high school education, and succeed in post-secondary education and training, it has been cited by numerous organizations including the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Labor and the White House as “a school of excellence.”

Under her guidance, Tukeva has produced such results as, successfully graduating 90% of her senior classes, an extremely low drop out rate of 10% for Hispanic and immigrant youth, as compared to a national average of 40%, and over 75% of BMHS’ graduates go on to college.

From September of 1991 until July of 1994, while still administering BMHS, Tukeva served as a Lead Principal for the D.C. Public Schools where she had the responsibility for coordinating communications to 33 schools in the DC Public Schools.  She reprised this role again in school year 2005-2006 when she was appointed Assistant Superintendent for High Schools.  In April 200, Tukeva was inducted into the Washington D.C. Education Hall of Fame.

Corinne Sanchez is an extraordinary woman who has built an organization that includes medical clinics, juvenile diversion programs, and a work source center with funding of over $25 million per year.

She is a visionary leader whose dedication has led to significant improvement in the quality of life for thousands of underserved individuals and families over the last three decades.

Early in her career, Sanchez was a volunteer with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Domestic Violence program where she assisted battered women with filing temporary restraining orders and pursuing their legal options.

A member of the State of California Bar Association, she is a founder and past president of the Latina Lawyers Bar Association, where she served as a board member from its inception until 2004.

As President and CEO of El Proyecto del Barrio, her leadership and vision has contributed to the remarkable growth of the organization from a humble storefront facility in 1978 to a major health care and human services organization that earned her many accolades, including the Republic of Mexico’s prestigious “Ohtli Award” for her commitment to the well being of the Hispanic community in the United States.

During her tenure, El Proyecto has expanded its services to the entire San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley and East Los Angeles, a service area that encompasses 400 square miles and serving an estimated 50,000 people annually.  El Proyecto provides a wide spectrum of services including family health care medical clinics, satellite clinics and immunization programs for children, WorkSource employment and youth centers, substance abuse programs and a child development center.

Lupe Ontiveros is an award-winning actress, producer, activist, and visionary.  She is a woman who makes a difference. Whether it is as ‘La Nacha’ in the Oscar- nominated film El Norte or as a founding member of LA’s Latino Theatre Company, her voice is heard and the world is better for it.

After graduating from Texas Woman’s University, she worked for 15 years as a social worker in the  East Los Angeles and Compton areas where she became involved as an activist on issues confronting women and education. In 2003 the domestic violence and abuse of women issue prompted her to perform The Vagina Monologues with Jane Fonda, Margo Kidder and Rosie Perez to raise funds for a women’s shelter facility in Florida.

As a founding member of the Latino Theatre Company in Los Angeles, Ontiveros has dedicated her life towards affecting change in the negative image of Latinos in the entertainment industry, and at the same time helped to create the first Equity Theatre non-regional theatre in the nation. She has also served as juror on feature, documentary and short subject categories in both national and international film festivals.

Her film credits include Picking Up the Pieces, directed by Alfonso Arau, As Good As It Gets with Jack Nicholson, and Mi Familia/Selena directed by Gregory Nava.  Among her countless television credits, her most memorable are a starring role in the HBO feature Real Women Have Curves, guest appearances as Eva Longoria Parker’s mother-in-law on ABC-TV’s mega-hit Desperate Housewives, and a series regular in Warner Bros.’ Greetings from Tucson.

Her work has gained the respect of her peers, as well as her community, through recognition awards for her efforts as an actress, pioneer, activist and visionary who has sought to affect change while maintaining her dignity as a woman.

Included in this special tribute are several Latina chiefs of staff, the gatekeepers who bear the responsibility for the administrative and legislative matters for their congressional or senate office.

These unsung heroines include:

Linda Macias, who serves as Chief of Staff for U.S. Rep. Joe Baca (CA-43rd Dist.), is one of the few, if not only Latina serving in that position in the U.S. Congress. Motivated by a strong desire to make a positive difference in her country and wanting to ensure that her community’s interests and rights are considered and protected, Macias has dedicated more than two decades working in the political arena.

She began her career in politics at the age of 21 working as an assistant for a Los Angeles assemblyman who was Majority Floor Leader. Later, she worked for former California State Senator Art Torres, and opened her own consulting firm where she led fundraising for candidates in Sacramento.

As Chief of Staff to the Chair of both the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, she plays an integral role with both groups as well as managing the congressman’s Washington, D.C. and San Bernardino District offices.

Throughout her career, Macias has enjoyed her role as a public servant where she can help in finding solutions to social issues like childcare and healthcare. At the same time she has learned to balance her personal life as wife, mother and grandmother while taking pride in her Latino traditions, heritage and faith which are her roots and which will remain with her wherever her political career may take her.

Carmen M. Feliciano is Chief of Staff for U.S. Rep. Pedro Pierluisi.  She has over fifteen years of substantive policy and advocacy experience both on and off Capitol Hill, including four years as the Executive Director of a Hispanic non-profit organization in Washington DC.

Her professional experience includes working for two previous Resident Commissioners, as well as for the Office of the Governor of Puerto Rico in Washington DC, where she served as Legislative Director.

She has also served as the Hispanic National Bar Association Executive Director, and as Editor-in-Chief of the Noticias quarterly magazine. As Executive Director of a Hispanic non-profit organization, she established ties and relationships with various advocacy organizations nationwide, which she still actively maintains.

Feliciano is a seasoned attorney, who throughout her career has demonstrated a keen ability to navigate complex issues, negotiate long-term sustainable solutions and build key coalitions.

A native of Puerto Rico, Feliciano received her juris doctorate degree from Syracuse University College of Law in 1991. She received her Bachelor’s of Arts degree, Magna Cum Laude, in International Relations and French from Syracuse University in 1988.

Amanda Renteria is Chief of Staff for Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI). With extensive experience in banking, she became the banking expert for the Senator, a member of the Senate Democratic Leadership Team as well as the Finance, Agriculture, and Budget Committees.

Earlier in her career, Renteria was a high school teacher, a consultant to workforce development organizations, a legislative assistant to Senator Dianne Feinstein, focusing on banking, business and tax related issues, and a Special Consultant for the City of San Jose (CA) improving city-wide operating processes and managing a neighborhood community center.

Prior to entering public service, she worked in the Wealth Management Division of Goldman, Sachs & Co., focusing on international equity products and portfolio analysis.

Following her tenure in the financial industry, Renteria moved back to her hometown to teach advanced math and economics and coach basketball and softball.

Renteria is the daughter of migrant workers and is the first Mexican American from her small town of Woodlake, California to be accepted at Stanford University. While at Stanford, she walked on to the returning NCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship team and was the starting third baseman for Stanford’s softball team.  She was also part of the Ballet Folklorico de Stanford Performing Group.

Renteria graduated from Stanford with honors earning Bachelor’s degrees in economics and political science. She also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Alexis Tamerón has worked in both the private & public sectors, including corporations such as AT&T, Sallie Mae and the highly respected Washington, DC think-tank, The Brookings Institution.

Currently serving as Chief of Staff to U.S. Congressman Harry E. Mitchell,

she is a widely recognized leader in local, state and national

Democratic politics and a respected strategist within the Hispanic community.

Entering professional politics in 2000, she has served on various congressional, state and local campaigns in Arizona, Virginia, Washington, DC and Wisconsin.

She has held such prestigious positions as Democratic National Committeewoman of the Young Democrats of America, Political Director of the Arizona Democratic Party, Wisconsin Political Director, and Deputy Director of Arizona’s Coordinated Campaign charged with the management of  $4.5 million dollar budget and direction of base vote operations for the 2004 Kerry/Edwards Presidential Campaign.

She served as a Super Delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention and in 2005, served as Western Region Coordinator for Howard Dean’s successful election to Chair the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C.  She later returned to Arizona to continue serving as the Political Director of the Arizona Democratic Party managing political outreach, legislative and grassroots field operations.

In 2006, Tamerón joined the Harry Mitchell for Congress campaign in Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District to direct policy and political outreach. This effort resulted in an upset victory over a six-term incumbent.

A native Arizonan, Tamerón attended Arizona State University for undergraduate studies in Public Policy Analysis and Religious Studies and has been invited to participate in public policy and leadership conferences at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems at Georgetown University and attended the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University as a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow.

Jennice Fuentes is a woman of many talents. As Chief of Staff for U.S. Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, from Illinois’ Fourth District, she is responsible for the overall office functions of three offices, oversees staff and budget, advises the congressman on political matters, and establishes office policies and procedures.

As a cultural commentator, she is a frequent guest on various local and national radio and television programs, and as an actress, her professional career includes a recurring role in the critically-acclaimed HBO series K Street; a movie for 20th Century Fox; as well as several independent film roles and theater credits.

As a film critic, she is a guest host and a frequent guest on NPR/WAMU's live, two-hour radio program, The Kojo Nmandi Show.  She has appeared as a guest on 9 News Tonight on WUSA 9, a CBS network affiliate station, and is a contributor to the program Around Town, which airs on WETA/Channel 26, the leading public broadcasting station in the nation's capital. In 2009, she hosted the National Archives Experience Showcase of  Academy Award® nominated documentary features.

She is former host of Actualidades, a Hispanic Communications Network radio program featuring vignettes celebrating the best offerings in Hispanic culture.   Her movie and celebrity interviews and entertainment articles have appeared in a number of Spanish language magazines, including People en Espanol, Cristina La Revista, Caras Magazine, and Vista Magazine, the national monthly newspaper supplement, the Puerto Rican daily, Primera Hora and El Tiempo Latino, the largest Spanish weekly in the Washington, D.C.

A native of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, Fuentes earned her B.A. from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and her M.A. from New York University.  She is fluent in Spanish, French and Italian and has knowledge of Russian and German.

Presenting sponsor of the Latina Leaders Celebration is The Nielsen Company whose Vice Chairman Susan Whiting has been a staunch supporter of the organization's diversity and integrity.

More information regarding The Imagen Foundation can be found on their Web site: www.imagen.org.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Fourteen women are being honored by The Imagen Foundation at the organization’s 2nd annual Latina Leaders Women’s History Month event in Washington, D.C., March 4.

Imagen’s Founder and President Helen Hernandez said this year, the organization is recognizing Latinas who have made a difference in their community in the areas of advocacy, education, entertainment, environment, health, sports, media and journalism.

The women, who enrich the Latino community and promote a positive image of Latinos to the community at large, are being recognized for their achievements in their respective professional fields.

Honorees include Dolores Huerta, an iconic figure who has dedicated her life to improve the lives of working men and women across the country. A community organizer-activist for more than 50 years Dolores Huerta’s humble demeanor is overshadowed by a fierce dedication with which she has served her community and earned her world wide recognition and accolades that include, among others, The Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award from President Clinton.

In 1997, she was named one of the three most important women of that year by Ms. Magazine and made the Ladies Home Journal’s 100 most important women of the 20th Century.  She has received the prestigious Ohtli Award from the Mexican Government, as well as nine Honorary Doctrines from universities throughout the United States, and at last count there are least five schools named after her in California, Texas, and Colorado.

President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, which is dedicated to community organizing, and an active member of the Fund for the Feminist Majority, she is best known as co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association – now known as the United Farm Workers Union -- with Cesar E. Chavez where she holds the emeritus position as first vice president.

As the main negotiator for the UFW, she successfully negotiated contracts and as the legislative advocate for the Community Service Organization and the United Farm Workers Union, she accomplished many firsts. Among them, she was instrumental in passing historic legislation that included better working and living conditions, Disability Insurance for farm workers, the end of the infamous “bracero” program, and legalization for one million farm workers under the Immigration Reform Act of l984-85.

Huerta was honored this year by the Girl Scouts of America by their designation of a Girl Scout Patch in her honor for community service.

The image used on the merit patch was designed by world-renowned artist and muralist Barbara Carrasco , also an honoree, who also designed the Latina Leader Awards that were distributed to the honorees.

During the farm workers movement, Carrasco created numerous mural banners for the United Farm Workers Union.  In 195, she was invited to the former USSR to paint murals in Leningrad and Armenia. Upon her return to the U.S., she created a computer animation Pesticides! That was presented on the Spectacolor Light-board at Times Square in New York.

Carrasco’s original mural sketches and drawings are included in the Permanent Collection of Works on paper at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.  Documentation of her mural work is archived in the California Murals Collection at the Smithsonian Institution, where her oral history is also archived at the institution’s Archives of American Art. A permanent collection of her papers has been established and archived at Stanford University Special Collections Mexican American Manuscript Collections.

Carrasco has served as a Regents professor at UC Riverside and has also taught at UC Santa Barbara and Loyola Marymount University. She currently serves as a board member of the Dolores Huerta Foundation.

Other honorees include:

Cecilia Muñoz, who in her new role as White House Director of Intergovernmental Relations will lend her expertise of working with diverse communities and issues relating to local and state governments.

Previously, Muñoz was Senior Vice President of Research, Advocacy and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza, where she spearheaded many of the organization’s immigration initiatives, and was in charge of the group’s entire advocacy and legislative agenda.

Muñoz began her work at National Council of La Raza as the senior immigration policy analyst in 1988. She was the face of NCLR during the controversy over Welfare Reform in 1996 and its affect on legal immigrants who were not citizens. Following the 1986 enactment by President Ronald Reagan of the Immigration Reform and Control Act, Muñoz helped more than 5,000 immigrants obtain legal citizenship in the United States.

She is the youngest of four children, whose parents moved to the United States from La Paz, Bolivia. She was three when her family moved to Livonia, a growing, middle-class Detroit suburb.  She attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and completed her undergraduate degrees in English and Latin studies in 1984.

Muñoz is recipient of a 2000 MacArthur Foundation “genius grant.” She is married to Amit Muñoz-Pandva, a human rights lawyer. They have two daughters, Cristina and Meera.

Maria Teresa Petersen has made her mark in this country by registering young Latinos in huge numbers this past election cycle. Named by Hispanic Magazine as among the top Latinas in Government and Politics, Petersen is the founding Executive Director of Voto Latino, a youth organization engaging the next generation of Americans in civic participation.

Under her leadership, Voto Latino launched the first ever national mobile texting campaign to register voters in 2006, has produced award winning Public Service Announcements, created the Artist Coalition of over 35 active celebrity voices, and has created a media coalition that includes MySpace, YouTube, iTunes Latino, SiTV, LATV and MTV.

In addition to serving as a frequent guest on Chris Matthew’s Hardball, Petersen appears on CNBC, NPR, CNN Español, and Fox News as a political analyst. She serves as a frequent guest speaker at national conferences focusing on social entrepreneurship and Latino issues.

Petersen is a Woodrow Wilson Public Policy International Affairs Fellow, a National Hispana Leadership Institute Fellow, an Advisory Board member of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and a founding board member of the Latino Leader's Network. Petersen, who began her career as a legislative aide for former Democratic Caucus Chairman Vic Fazio, holds a Masters from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor's from University California, Davis in international economics.

Patricia Madrid, the former Attorney General of New Mexico – currently the Chairman of the MALDEF Board of Directors -- who has played a big role on the national political stage by serving as Co-chairman of the platform committee for the Democratic Convention.

As Attorney General of New Mexico (1999-2006), Madrid holds the distinction of having served as New Mexico’s first woman Attorney General and is the first Hispanic woman Attorney general in the history of the United States. From 1978 to 1983, she served as a District Court Judge, the first woman elected to the New Mexico Court Bench, a court of general jurisdiction.

Following her District Court Judge appointment, Madrid was a partner in the law firm of Messina, Madrid & Smith, P.A., a firm with expertise in business organizations, commercial law, commercial real estate, bankruptcy and litigation.

She also served as Chairman of the Energy Committee and Conference of Western Attorneys General, and is co-founder of the Democratic General Association, which she chaired.

A recipient of numerous awards, she was named one of the Top Five Hispanic Women in the Country by Hispanic Business Magazine, was named to the list of 100 Top Latino Movers and Shakers in America by Latino Leaders Magazine, and in 2005, was selected as one of 500 Leading Lawyers in America by Lawdragon Magazine.

Early in her career she was named Latina Lawyer of the Year by the Hispanic Bar Association, and awarded the Governor’s Award for Outstanding New Mexico Women.

Dr. Maria Ramirez, a trailblazer in the bilingual education movement. She is a Puerto Rican, Brooklyn born advocate for children who was the first Hispanic Commissioner to serve in the New York State Education Department. She was the first to use TV teleconferences to introduce new syllabi to schools statewide and has been on educational TV for NBC, ABC and PBS.  She has been a teacher, administrator, advisor and consultant at elementary, secondary, higher education, State, national and international levels.

Under her leadership as Chief of the Bureau of Bilingual Education at the Education Department, she developed the first State policy on bilingual education in the nation.  It provided bilingual and English as a second language programs for students representing approximately 100 languages enrolled in New York State’s schools.

In 1985, she was appointed to a newly created Cabinet position at the State Education Department.  As Executive Director of the Center for Multinational and Comparative Education, she worked with ministries, embassies, cultural, educational, and linguistic attaches from twenty-two countries. She was the first in the nation to develop a student exchange program with Poland and a Curriculum Consultant and Chinese Language Assistants program with the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union.

A recipient of numerous awards, she was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters and Humanities from Hartwick College, and a Doctorate in Law from her Alma Mater, St. John’s University.

On April 20, 1995, after forty-three years in education, Ramirez retired from the New York State Education Department. A former Amityville Dominican Sister, she resides in Clifton Park, New York where she enjoys private consulting and pro-bono service as a board member of several non-profit organizations, commissions and colleges.

Maria Tukeva, who has dedicated her life to immigrant students of the District of Columbia through her role as principal of Bell Multicultural High School.

She has served as the Executive Director and Principal of the Multicultural Career Intern Program, (now Bell Multicultural High School) an alternative high school for immigrant and refugee youth since 1979. As one of the founders of the school, she was responsible for initial fundraising, community outreach, program design, and hiring of staff.

Recognized as a model school that has been highly successful in ensuring that immigrant and refugee youth receive equal educational opportunities, are able to complete their high school education, and succeed in post-secondary education and training, it has been cited by numerous organizations including the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Labor and the White House as “a school of excellence.”

Under her guidance, Tukeva has produced such results as, successfully graduating 90% of her senior classes, an extremely low drop out rate of 10% for Hispanic and immigrant youth, as compared to a national average of 40%, and over 75% of BMHS’ graduates go on to college.

From September of 1991 until July of 1994, while still administering BMHS, Tukeva served as a Lead Principal for the D.C. Public Schools where she had the responsibility for coordinating communications to 33 schools in the DC Public Schools.  She reprised this role again in school year 2005-2006 when she was appointed Assistant Superintendent for High Schools.  In April 200, Tukeva was inducted into the Washington D.C. Education Hall of Fame.

Corinne Sanchez is an extraordinary woman who has built an organization that includes medical clinics, juvenile diversion programs, and a work source center with funding of over $25 million per year.

She is a visionary leader whose dedication has led to significant improvement in the quality of life for thousands of underserved individuals and families over the last three decades.

Early in her career, Sanchez was a volunteer with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Domestic Violence program where she assisted battered women with filing temporary restraining orders and pursuing their legal options.

A member of the State of California Bar Association, she is a founder and past president of the Latina Lawyers Bar Association, where she served as a board member from its inception until 2004.

As President and CEO of El Proyecto del Barrio, her leadership and vision has contributed to the remarkable growth of the organization from a humble storefront facility in 1978 to a major health care and human services organization that earned her many accolades, including the Republic of Mexico’s prestigious “Ohtli Award” for her commitment to the well being of the Hispanic community in the United States.

During her tenure, El Proyecto has expanded its services to the entire San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley and East Los Angeles, a service area that encompasses 400 square miles and serving an estimated 50,000 people annually.  El Proyecto provides a wide spectrum of services including family health care medical clinics, satellite clinics and immunization programs for children, WorkSource employment and youth centers, substance abuse programs and a child development center.

Lupe Ontiveros is an award-winning actress, producer, activist, and visionary.  She is a woman who makes a difference. Whether it is as ‘La Nacha’ in the Oscar- nominated film “El Norte” or as a founding member of LA’s Latino Theatre Company, her voice is heard and the world is better for it.

After graduating from Texas Woman’s University, she worked for 15 years as a Social Worker in East Los Angeles and Compton areas where she became involved as an activist on issues confronting women and education. In 2003 the domestic violence and abuse of women issue prompted her to perform The Vagina Monologues with Jane Fonda, Margo Kidder and Rosie Perez to raise funds for a women’s shelter facility in Florida.

As a founding member of the Latino Theatre Company in Los Angeles, Ontiveros has dedicated her life towards affecting change in the negative image of Latinos in the entertainment industry, and at the same time helped to create the first Equity Theatre non-regional theatre in the nation. She has also served as juror on feature, documentary and short subject categories in both national and international film festivals.

Her film credits include Picking Up the Pieces, directed by Alfonso Arau, As Good As It Gets with Jack Nicholson, and Mi Familia/Selena directed by Gregory Nava.  Among her countless television credits, her most memorable are a starring role in the HBO feature Real Women Have Curves, guest appearances as Eva Longoria Parker’s mother-in-law on ABC-TV’s mega-hit Desperate Housewives, and a series regular in Warner Bros.’ Greetings from Tucson.

Her work has gained the respect of her peers, as well as her community, through recognition awards for her efforts as an actress, pioneer, activist and visionary who has sought to affect change while maintaining her dignity as a woman.

Included in this special tribute are several Latina chiefs of staff, the gatekeepers who bear the responsibility for the administrative and legislative matters for their congressional or senate office.

These unsung heroines include:

Linda Macias, who serves as Chief of Staff for U.S. Rep. Joe Baca (CA-43rd Dist.), is one of the few, if not only Latina serving in that position in the U.S. Congress. Motivated by a strong desire to make a positive difference in her country and wanting to ensure that her community’s interests and rights are considered and protected, Macias has dedicated more than two decades working in the political arena.

She began her career in politics at the age of 21 working as an assistant for a Los Angeles Assemblyman who was Majority Floor Leader. Later, she worked for former California State Senator Art Torres, and opened her own consulting firm where she led fundraising for candidates in Sacramento.

As Chief of Staff to the Chair of both the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, she plays an integral role with both groups as well as managing the congressman’s Washington, D.C. and San Bernardino District offices.

Throughout her career, Macias has enjoyed her role as a public servant where she can help in finding solutions to social issues like childcare and healthcare. At the same time she has learned to balance her personal life as wife, mother and grandmother while taking pride in her Latino traditions, heritage and faith which are her roots and which will remain with her wherever her political career may take her.

Carmen M. Feliciano is Chief of Staff for U.S. Rep. Pedro Pierluisi.  She has over fifteen years of substantive policy and advocacy experience both on and off Capitol Hill, including four years as the Executive Director of a Hispanic non-profit organization in Washington DC.

Her professional experience includes working for two previous Resident Commissioners, as well as for the Office of the Governor of Puerto Rico in Washington DC, where she served as Legislative Director.

She has also served as the Hispanic National Bar Association Executive Director, and as Editor-in-Chief of the Noticias quarterly magazine. As Executive Director of a Hispanic non-profit organization, she established ties and relationships with various advocacy organizations nationwide, which she still actively maintains.

Feliciano is a seasoned attorney, who throughout her career has demonstrated a keen ability to navigate complex issues, negotiate long-term sustainable solutions and build key coalitions.

A native of Puerto Rico, Feliciano received her juris doctorate degree from Syracuse University College of Law in 1991. She received her Bachelor’s of Arts degree, Magna Cum Laude, in International Relations and French from Syracuse University in 1988.

Amanda Renteria is Chief of Staff for Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI). With extensive experience in banking, she became the banking expert for the Senator, a member of the Senate Democratic Leadership Team as well as the Finance, Agriculture, and Budget Committees.

Earlier in her career, Renteria was a high school teacher, a consultant to workforce development organizations, a legislative assistant to Senator Dianne Feinstein, focusing on banking, business and tax related issues, and a Special Consultant for the City of San Jose (CA) improving city-wide operating processes and managing a neighborhood community center.

Prior to entering public service, she worked in the Wealth Management Division of Goldman, Sachs & Co., focusing on international equity products and portfolio analysis.

Following her tenure in the financial industry, Renteria moved back to her hometown to teach advanced math and economics and coach basketball and softball.

Renteria is the daughter of migrant workers and is the first Mexican American from her small town of Woodlake, California to be accepted at Stanford University. While at Stanford, she walked on to the returning NCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship team and was the starting third baseman for Stanford’s softball team.  She was also part of the Ballet Folklorico de Stanford Performing Group.

Renteria graduated from Stanford with honors earning Bachelor’s degrees in economics and political science. She also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Alexis Tamerón has worked in both the private & public sectors, including corporations such as AT&T, Sallie Mae and the highly respected Washington, DC think-tank, The Brookings Institution.

Currently serving as Chief of Staff to U.S. Congressman Harry E. Mitchell, she is a widely recognized leader in local, state and national Democratic politics and a respected strategist within the Hispanic community.  Entering professional politics in 2000, she has served on various congressional, state and local campaigns in Arizona, Virginia, Washington, DC and Wisconsin.

She has held such prestigious positions as Democratic National Committeewoman of the Young Democrats of America, Political Director of the Arizona Democratic Party, Wisconsin Political Director, and Deputy Director of Arizona’s Coordinated Campaign charged with the management of  $4.5 million dollar budget and direction of base vote operations for the 2004 Kerry/Edwards Presidential Campaign.

She served as a Super Delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention and in 2005, served as Western Region Coordinator for Howard Dean’s successful election to Chair the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C.  She later returned to Arizona to continue serving as the Political Director of the Arizona Democratic Party managing political outreach, legislative and grassroots field operations.

In 2006, Tamerón joined the Harry Mitchell for Congress campaign in Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District to direct policy and political outreach. This effort resulted in an upset victory over a six-term incumbent.  A native Arizonan, Tamerón attended Arizona State University for undergraduate studies in Public Policy Analysis and Religious Studies and has been invited to participate in public policy and leadership conferences at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems at Georgetown University and attended the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University as a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow.

Jennice Fuentes is a woman of many talents. As Chief of Staff for U.S. Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, from Illinois’ Fourth District, she is responsible for the overall office functions of three offices, oversees staff and budget, advises the congressman on political matters, and establishes office policies and procedures.

As a cultural commentator, she is a frequent guest on various local and national radio and television programs, and as an actress, her professional career includes a recurring role in the critically-acclaimed HBO series “K Street”; a movie for 20th Century Fox; as well as several independent film roles and theater credits.

As a film critic, she is a guest host and a frequent guest on NPR/WAMU's live, two-hour radio program, "The Kojo Nmandi Show".  She has appeared as a guest on "9 News Tonight" on WUSA 9, a CBS network affiliate station, and is a contributor to the program "Around Town", which airs on WETA/Channel 26, the leading public broadcasting station in the nation's capital. In 2009, she hosted the National Archives Experience Showcase of Academy Award® nominated documentary features.

She is former host of "Actualidades", a Hispanic Communications Network radio program featuring vignettes celebrating the best offerings in Hispanic culture.   Her movie and celebrity interviews and entertainment articles have appeared in a number of Spanish language magazines, including People en Espanol, Cristina La Revista, Caras Magazine, and Vista Magazine, the national monthly newspaper supplement, the Puerto Rican daily, Primera Hora and El Tiempo Latino, the largest Spanish weekly in the Washington, D.C.

A native of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, Fuentes earned her B.A. from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and her M.A. from New York University.  She is fluent in Spanish, French and Italian and has knowledge of Russian and German.

Presenting sponsor of the Latina Leaders Celebration is The Nielsen Company whose Vice Chairman Susan Whiting has always been very supportive of the diversity and integrity of the organization.

More information regarding The Imagen Foundation can be found on their Web site: www.imagen.org.

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