“True wealth is not measured in money or status or power. It is measured in the legacy we leave behind for those we love and those we inspire.” - Cesar Chavez

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Welcome to the 2020 La Mesa Latina

Virtual Event

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, BUILD is proud to present La Mesa Latina, a unique event that brings together many of Chicago’s most accomplished Latin leaders to share their stories with promising Latin youth from across metropolitan Chicago.

There’s nothing as powerful as a good story – especially when it is true. If a young person asked to hear the story of your life, what would you say? What dreams and aspirations drove you when you were young? What are the experiences – the triumphs and the challenges – that shaped your path to success? Who taught you what it means to be a leader?

What legacy do you want to leave behind? La Mesa Latina highlights some of the many ways success is possible, while providing an unprecedented look into the hearts and minds of exceptional role models. It is also a rewarding opportunity for the leaders of today to coach the leaders of tomorrow about what it takes to be successful, to overcome challenges, and to generate impact today and a legacy for tomorrow.

Welcoming from BUILD CEO, Adam M. Alonso

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Alexandria Turcios, Strategy & Management Consulting- Accenture

At Accenture, Alexandria is the Hispanic-American Employee Resource Group Lead in Detroit and a passionate I&D champion. She is a proud first-generation Honduran-American and alumna of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and with Bronze Tablet Honors (Top 3% of graduating class). There, she Founded and was President for the Association of Minorities in Political Science which still operates on campus today. She is the recipient of over two dozen local, state, and national scholarships including a Fulbright Fellowship which sent her across the ocean to teach English in Indonesia.

She is currently the Co-Chair for the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement’s Professional Development Committee. She has entrepreneurial spirits, and Founded “Built in Detroit” an organization that connects small business owners in Detroit to corporate young professionals. She is currently based in Chicago. In her free time, she loves to travel, hike, try new restaurants, and spend time with her family.

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Antonio Martinez, Jr., President and CEO, Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation

As president and CEO, Martinez leads and directs the advancement and fulfillment of the mission of the Community Foundation. He is responsible for the achievement of the operational and strategic goals, including fund and donor development, fiscal management, grants and programming, board relations, staff oversight, community relations and management. 

Before joining the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation, Martinez served as director of development for The Chicago Community Trust, Chicago’s community foundation. Martinez also worked for the American Bar Association, Museum of Science and Industry and the Chicago Cubs. Martinez serves on the national board of the Association of Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement, and on the boards of The Resurrection Project and Future Leaders of Chicago.

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Diana Gutierrez, News Reporter, WCIU 'The Jam' 

Diana Gutierrez is a Mexican-American Chicago native. Born to immigrant parents, she is bilingual and speaks fluent Spanish. Diana is one of two news reporters on WCIU’s ‘The Jam’. Born on the city’s Southwest side, Gutierrez understands the importance of unbiased journalism and is passionate about storytelling.

Gutierrez discovered her passion for journalism while she was studying abroad in Madrid, Spain. Soon after, as a first-generation college graduate, she received her bachelor’s degree from DePaul University in 2016. She kicked off her career in South Bend, Indiana where she was a weekday general assignment reporter and weekend morning anchor. She's interviewed leaders like Dolores Huerta and Carmen Yulin Cruz to celebrities like Tina Knowles-Lawson and Jaime Camil.

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Gabe Ramirez, Host "Gabe & Nina in the Morning" on B96 and Chicago Bears Contributor on Fox 32

Gabe grew up on the North Side of Chicago, attended Lane Tech and graduated from UIC, double majoring in Economics and Behavioral Communication. He started at B96 in 2008 as an intern quickly falling in love with the ability to connect with the people. Determined to get on air he continued to live by his mantra "Work Hard, Be Good" and eventually his efforts paid off as he went from intern, to producer, to morning show host.  His passion and connection to the city come through the airwaves daily and is seen in real life through efforts with countless nonprofits throughout the year. When asked what's important his three pillars remain the same. Family, Friends, Faith. Make sure to check him out, weekdays 6-10am on B96 or listen on your phone on the Radio.com app!

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Irma Amparo Ortiz, Center for College Access & Success at NEIU

Born and raised on the south side of Chicago and a proud Chicago Public Schools graduate, Irma has dedicated her professional career to serving Chicagoland youth in high school and college. She began her career as a student employee at NEIU in 2002, through the federally funded grant program, GEAR UP, focused on college access for CPS students. Upon graduating from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2004, she began to work full-time as a NEIU GEAR UP Student Services Coordinator at Foreman High School and became an integral member of that school community.

In 2011, she obtained a master’s degree in School Counseling from Concordia University Chicago. Additionally, Irma served as the National President for Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority, Inc., which is a Latina-oriented sisterhood, founded in 1991. She held this position from 2007-2009 and 2016-2020, leading the Board of Directors to manage the operational aspects and strategic planning for the sorority’s 33 undergraduate and alumnae entities in Illinois, Indiana, Texas, Kansas, Michigan and Ohio. 

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Lourdes Duarte, Co-anchor of WGN Evening News at 4pm

Lourdes came to WGN-TV in September of 2007 as a general assignment reporter for the WGN Midday News, WGN Evening News and WGN News at Nine. Prior to joining WGN-TV, Lourdes worked for three years as a reporter and fill-in anchor for WJBK-TV, the Fox affiliate in Detroit, Michigan. She also spent two years as a reporter for WXIN-TV in Indianapolis. While there, she launched and hosted the station’s public affairs program, “Hoy en Dia,” and anchored daily news cut-ins in Spanish for radio station WEDJ-FM. Lourdes was a reporter in Peoria at WHOI-TV and at Metro Networks in Miami, Florida for radio stations WLRN-FM and WTMI-FM.

She got her start here in Chicago, working as a freelance reporter for Telemundo. Lourdes is a four time Emmy Award winner. She also received an Emmy nomination for a story on deportation. Lourdes and a WGN photographer were aboard the plane that transported undocumented immigrants to their home country. Lourdes also hosts “Adelante Chicago” on WGN. In 2009, she was picked as one of DePaul University’s 14 Under 40 and is on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Communication. Lourdes received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from DePaul University.

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Mark Rivera, ABC 7 NEWS

Mark Rivera came back to work in his hometown when he joined the ABC 7 Eyewitness News team as weekend morning news anchor and reporter in December, 2017.

Upon his arrival to the station, News Vice President Jennifer Graves described Mark as a "skilled anchor and a versatile reporter adept at covering everything from big breaking news stories, to politics and feature stories." Rivera grew up in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Rivera is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois.

He, his wife Alissa, and their dog Xena live in the city. They enjoy running and exploring all of the diners, coffee shops, and taco spots Chicago has to offer.

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Patricia Mota, CEO- Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE)

Patricia serves as the President & CEO for the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE), leading strategy, fundraising & development, leadership programs, and expanding impact on a national scale. As an advocate for access and equity, Patricia strives to create a multi-generational, diverse, and inclusive support network to catapult the career growth Latinos across the country. Patricia leads with a diverse industry background, from co-founding a nonprofit, leading in community affairs for local government, marketing for corporate utilities company, to administration in higher education, to circling back to nonprofit at HACE as a Director in 2010, Sr. Director 2012, then CEO in 2015.

Patricia has a strong history of serving the community, as reflected by her service on various nonprofit boards and committees, and several accolades, most recently appointed as a commissioner on the Illinois Hispanic Employment Plan Council and named Crain's Business Chicago Top 25 Most Powerful Latinos.

 

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Ricardo Estrada, CEO of Metropolitan Family Services

Ric Estrada is CEO of Metropolitan Family Services, one of Illinois’ largest and best-respected human services agencies. Since joining Metropolitan in 2011 Estrada has helped the agency more than double in revenue and families served. Estrada has three decades of human services leadership experience. Prior to joining Metropolitan Estrada served as First Deputy Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS). He previously served as Executive Director of Erie Neighborhood House in Chicago.

He serves on the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois as well as on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Woods Fund of Chicago, the Grand Victoria Foundation, A Better Chicago and Erie Elementary School.

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Sol Flores, Deputy Governor in the Pritzker administration overseeing Health and Human Services.

Flores is the founding Executive Director of La Casa Norte, a non-profit organization established in 2002 that has served more than 30,000 youth and families confronting homelessness. Flores built La Casa Norte from two employees to an 80+ employee, multi-million-dollar organization that delivers inspiration, hope and critical services to the lives of youth and families experiencing homelessness.

She has served on numerous working groups, commissions and local nonprofit boards as a tireless advocate. Flores was raised by a single mother who came to Chicago from Puerto Rico and has been recognized as a national Champion of Change for her work by the Obama White House.

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Sylvia Puente, President and CEO: Latino Policy Forum

Sylvia Puente is the Executive Director of the Latino Policy Forum, the only Latino public policy and advocacy organization in Illinois. Puente has earned a national reputation as a bridge builder and a trailblazer, having been recognized by Hispanic Business Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics in the U.S.”

She works tirelessly with nonprofit leaders, elected officials and corporate partners to improve educational outcomes for children, to make housing more accessible and affordable while promoting just immigration reform and building the influence and leadership of Latinos for the betterment of all Illinois.

Puente is a proud Chicago native who was introduced to her life’s work in advocacy, policy and activism at the young age of 13, when she joined her mother on picket lines in support of the United Farm Workers union. She was the first in her family to graduate college and earned a BA in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She did graduate studies at Harvard Kennedy School of Government and earned her Master’s Degree from the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

Special Youth Interview!
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Tony Diaz, Senior Program Director at After School Matters

Diaz supervises a program management staff and a team of more than 300 instructors to provide nearly 10,000 opportunities annually to teens on Chicago’s North and West Sides. Diaz has worked for the organization for more than 12 years and has dedicated his career to delivering high quality after-school and summer programming to underserved youth.

Growing up on the Southwest Side, Diaz was involved in similar programs and knows first-hand that safe and supporting environments are critical to youth development. Diaz was instrumental in the establishment of the first After School Matters community center in Chicago’s Belmont Cragin community. The Michael and Karyn Lutz Center provides teens with experiences in the arts, communications, sports and STEM fields. Diaz’ favorite part of the job is speaking with youth about their challenges, hopes, and dreams.

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