Announcing our 2020 Co-Chairs for the Latina Leadership Institute! Applications are now live!


December 18, 2019





 SAN ANTONIO – Since 2015, the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce had been committed to preparing Latinas to succeed in their civic and political aspirations, through its non-partisan Latina Leadership Institute (LLI) program.  The program also focuses on changing the landscape so that more Latinas serve on federal, state and local boards and commissions. Currently in its fifth year, the Hispanic Chamber is now accepting applications through Monday, January 13th.

“Our Latina Leadership Institute is a truly one-of-a kind program! Since the inception of LLI, two of our alumnae were elected to office, two have received Gubernatorial appointments and 1/3 of our alumnae serve on at least board, commission, or committee after graduating from our program” said Diane S. Sánchez, President and CEO of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “As we head into the fifth year of LLI, we look forward to building upon the successes of previous years and continuing to empower women to change the civic and political landscape of our community and country and earn their seat at the table.”


Applicants must show evidence of a sincere interest in civic engagement, demonstrate commitment to improving the community, have a desire to increase their service to the community through key political positions, and present a clear vision and desire to run for office, sit on boards and/or explore state and national appointed positions. The six-month program begins with a welcome reception in late February and meets one full day per month until graduation in September. Attendance is mandatory for all sessions.


The 2020 LLI Cohort is led by co-chairs Monica Garza, Benefits Program Manager at H-E-B, and Adriana El-Farrah, Immigration Attorney at Demott, Mcchesney, Curtright, Armendariz, L.L.P. “The Latina Leadership Institute has been a catalyst for women to gain the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to take the next steps in serving our community. LLI is preparing a group of highly talented and capable women to raise their hands, share their voices and most importantly to know they can make an impact to the current political landscape. We look forward to empowering more women to achieve their civic and political aspirations and live out the mission of the program to increase the number and influence of Hispanic Women in the city, state and country.” said Garza.


With more than 100 program alumnae, the Latina Leadership Institute is cultivating a pipeline of civically engaged Latinas that are prepared to take on leadership roles and create real change.  “LLI is an exceptional and unique program that creates a community of women, not just a cohort. This program has given me lifelong friendships and most importantly a network of empowered Latinas who propel each other forward. Traditionally, Latinas have been the cornerstone of their families, relationships and communities, our goal is to have them do the same for boardrooms, political office and the community at large” added El-Farrah.

Members of the 2020 LLI Steering Committee are:

  • Carrie Ballard-Bañuelos, President, BBCre8ive
  • Sonia Quirino Canales, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, H-E-B
  • Delia Covo, Director of Teacher Leadership Development, Teach For America
  • Karla Duran, Adjunct Business Instructor, University of the Incarnate Word
  • Claudia Guzman, Qualitative Manager/Consumer Insights, H-E-B
  • Laura Lopez, Event & Audience Engagement Coordinator, Rivard Report
  • Michelle Mata, Curriculum Development / eLearning Specialist, UT Health San Antonio
  • Stephanie Melchor, Internal Communications Specialist, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas, Inc.
  • Madeleine Mendez, Senior Management Analyst, Neighborhood and Housing Services, City of San Antonio
  • Sonia Moreno-Rogers, Director of Nursing Administration, University Health System
  • Laura Perez, Brand Engagement Project Manager, Spurs Sports & Entertainment
  • Shellie Reyes, Senior Associate Attorney, Clausewitz Law Firm
  • Amanda Reyna, Executive Management Assistant, Office of the City Manager, City of San Antonio
  • Jenny Tavarez, Sr. Economic Development Specialist, City of San Antonio
  • Brandalyne Weitzel, Family Support Counselor, Endeavors, Inc.


For more information on the program and application process, go to