San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is now accepting applications for the 2019 Latina Leadership Institute

LLI continues to strive to strengthen and grow leadership skills of women for them to seek positions in politics and high-power boards and commissions

SAN ANTONIO (Jan. 10, 2019) – With a historic 2018 Election that saw an increase of women elected into public office, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is committed to the mission to prepare women to succeed in their political aspirations through its non-partisan Latina Leadership Institute (LLI) program.  The program also focuses on changing the landscape so that women serve on federal, state and local boards and commissions. Currently in its fourth year, the Hispanic Chamber is now accepting applications through Jan. 31, 2019.

The program itself has seen success through recent election wins and gubernatorial appointments from graduates including the Honorable Bexar County Probate Court No. 2 Judge Veronica Vasquez and Judy Treviño, an appointed member of the “Prepaid Higher Education Tuition Board” by Governor Greg Abbott.

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 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.

“I look forward to continuing the Latinos are Leaders effort spearheaded by our past Chamber Chairwoman Erika Prosper, and further showcase how Hispanics are shaping the future of our city, our state, and our country,” said John Agather, 2019 Chair of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “We continue to strengthen and grow the LLI program empowering and encouraging women who aspire to attain leadership positions in government, boards and commissions.”

The 2019 LLI Cohort is led by co-chairs Michelle Martinez, Owner/President of M. Martinez Communications, and Anamaria Suescun-Fast, Vice President/COO of The DeBerry Group.

“Together, with a strong steering committee, our goal is to harness the momentum created in the first three years of this one-of-a-kind leadership program,” said the co-chairs.  “Through LLI, we want to help become a national model to fill the pipeline gap for Latinas who want to pursue positions on boards, commissions and elected office, and help them unlock their leadership potential.”

Members of the 2019 LLI Steering Committee are:

–       Tessa Benavides, Diversity and Inclusion & Supplier Diversity Specialist, H-E-B

–       Carrie Ballard-Bañuelos, President, BBCre8ive

–       Karla Castillon Duran, Industry Liaison, Alamo Academies

–       Claudia Guzman, Qualitative Manager/Consumer Insights, H-E-B

–       Monica Garza, Benefits Manager, H-E-B

–       Annelise Gonzalez, Business and Community Director, San Antonio Board of REALTORS®

–       Laura Elizabeth Mayes, Communications Strategist, City of San Antonio

–       Anais Biera Miracle, Chief Public Relations Officer, The Children’s Shelter

–       Monica Treviño-Ortega, Public Information Officer – Special Projects, San Antonio River Authority

–       Adriana Segundo, Immigration Attorney, DMCA, LLP

–       Tina Siller, Assistant Director of Academic Services, University of the Incarnate Word

–       Judy Treviño, Executive Director, CCVI Ministries, Inc.

–       Brandy Weitzel, Family Support Counselor, Endeavors, Inc.

–       Melissa Vela-Williamson, Chief Communication Architect/Owner, MVW Communications

Founded in 2015, the Latina Leadership Institute is a nonpartisan, issue-neutral program. Its mission is to build upon the skills, knowledge, and abilities to engage in the process of pursuing elected-office positions as well as federal, state, and local appointment positions on boards and commissions.

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