Announcing the 2016 Latina Leadership Institute Class!



San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Announces

 2016 Class Members of the Latina Leadership Institute!

The San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (SAHCC) is proud to announce the aspiring community leaders who will take part in the second year of the Latina Leadership Institute, a non-partisan program founded by the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2015 to encourage more women to pursue elected-office positions as well as federal, state, and local appointment positions and boards/commissions. 


“We are excited to welcome the second cohort of 25 brilliant candidates who have shown through their application process that they already are great leaders in the San Antonio community and will continue to do great things rooted in policy and civic engagement. We need more women in public service positions, especially women of color.” said Ramiro Cavazos, Hispanic Chamber President & CEO.


The San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce received many applications for this year’s class, and the 25 Individuals selected to take part in this year’s program will be immersed in education sessions taught by expert community leaders who have experience in policy, civic engagement, and boards/commissions. The six-month program meets one full day per month. The class curriculum topics will be Media Training, Fundraising, Speech Writing, Campaign Management, Resumes, Developing your Message, Grassroots Organizing, Voter Identification, Application/Filing Processes, and Social Media.


“We are so excited for our second class of the Latina Leadership Institute (LLI). These 25 phenomenal candidates will truly make their mark on San Antonio in their future careers and public service goals in politics, Boards and Commissions. Congratulations to the accepted applicants! It’s going to be a phenomenal year!” said Erika Prosper-Nirenberg, Director of Consumer Insights for H-E-B who serves as the 2016 Chair of the Steering Committee for the LLI.

The Hispanic Chamber congratulates the following individuals who were selected to participate in this year’s program: 

  • Melissa Cano, Regional Recruitment Manager, City Year              
  • Michelle Casillas, Attorney and Owner, Casillas Law Firm, PLLC     
  • Karla Duran, Educator and Adjunct Professor of Business, Northside Independent School District and the University of the Incarnate Word      
  • Edith Esparza Young, Assistant Professor of Bilingual Education Texas A&M University San Antonio
  • Kathijo Feder, Board Relations Manager, CPS Energy     
  • Claudia Garcia, Grant Writer & Advisory Chair, Women’s Global Connection             
  • Jeannette Garcia, Marketing Specialist, City of San Antonio Economic Development
  • Jessica Denise Garcia Simpson, Student Mentor, Western Governors University
  • Jessica Gavia, Director of Patient Relations, University Health System        
  • Elizabeth Gongora, Academic Program Coordinator, LULAC National Educational Service Centers, Inc.
  • Yadira Gonzales, Communications Manager, National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders
  • Shermeka Hudson, Corporate Relations Coordinator, Spurs Sports & Entertainment       
  • Amy Lopes, Engineer, Southwest Research Institute      
  • Krystal Nerio, President, Prosperitus Solutions
  • Denise Ojeda, Business Intelligence Specialist, Rackspace            
  • Marisa Palmer, Manager of Engineering, SAWS
  • Jessica Peoples, Family Self-Sufficiency Case Manager, San Antonio Housing Authority
  • Samantha Salazar, Financial Education Instructor, Generations Federal Credit Union       
  • Sarah Sanchez, Manager of Public Involvement, VIA Metropolitan Transit          
  • Katherine Sanchez-Rocha, Corporate Liaison, Alamo Academies
  • Alicia Shank, Director of Business Development, Laurel Ridge Treatment Center              
  • Erica Solis, Retention Executive, San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce  
  • Veronica Vasquez, Attorney and Owner, The Law Offices of Veronica L. Vasquez, PLLC            
  • MaryEllen Veliz, District Director, U.S. House of Representatives – Rep. Lloyd Doggett     
  • Stacy Ybarra, Puente Mentor Coordinator- Certified Advisor, Alamo Colleges- Palo Alto College 


For more information about the Latina Leadership Institute, please call 210-225-0462 or visit our website at