Board of Directors

Business Leaders

  • David Lizarraga, Founder & Chairman, TELACU Education Foundation

    David is internationally renowned as a pioneer in the field of community and economic development. He created the innovative TELACU Model, the community investment engine that sustains TELACU as the nation’s largest Community Development Corporation. He also shares his expertise, leadership, insight and time with many other civic, business, educational, governmental and community-based organizations. David is a past Chairman of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, advocating for more than 2.5 million Latino businesses throughout the nation. He was recently appointed by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Treasury Department’s CDFI Community Development Advisory Board.

    David is also the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce Chairwoman's Award, the U.S. Small Business Administration's Minority Small Business Advocate of the Year Award and the NAACP’s Thurgood Marshall Award. He was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Entrepreneur Magazine and was named among the top 500 business leaders of the year in Hispanic Business Magazine and holds an honorary Doctorate from CSU Los Angeles.

    Business Leaders
  • Dennis Arriola, Chairman and CEO, Southern California Gas Company

    Dennis Arriola is chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), a Sempra Energy regulated California utility.
    He first joined the company in 1994 as treasurer for Pacific Enterprises, SoCalGas’ former parent company. Since then, he has held a broad range of leadership roles for Sempra Energy, including chief operating officer and later CEO of SoCalGas. From 2008 to 2012, he served as executive vice president and CFO of SunPower Corporation. Prior to this, he served as senior vice president and CFO for SoCalGas and San Diego Gas & Electric, vice president of communications and investor relations for Sempra Energy and regional vice president and general manager for Sempra’s South American operations.

    Arriola is chairman of the board of directors for the California Business Roundtable and sits on the boards of the American Gas Association, Latino Donor Collaborative and Southern California Leadership Council, as well as United Way of Greater Los Angeles. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University.

    Business Leaders
  • Dorene Dominguez, Chairman, Vanir Group of Companies

    Dorene Dominguez is the Chairman of the Vanir Group of Companies, which employs a growing staff of more than 300 talented executives, architects, engineers, construction managers, developers, contractors and support staff.

    The Vanir Companies have successfully completed over $8.5 billion in real estate developments, design-build lease, and construction services and consistently ranks among the top construction management firms in the nation.

    Currently an active member of various community improvement projects, boards and commissions, Dominguez was appointed by former President George W. Bush to serve as a member of the Commission to study the potential creation of a National Museum of the American Latino. She is a member of the American River Bank Board of Directors, the Young Presidents Organization, Latino Studies Board of Notre Dame University, New America Alliance and the National Council of La Raza. She has served as a member of the Los Angeles Planning Commission, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, HOPE, California State Board of Geology and Geophysics, and the California State Medical Board.

    Dominguez graduated Notre Dame University and holds a bachelor's degree in Business Finance. Most recently, she earned a Certificate for Corporate Governance from the Center for Business and Government, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and Stanford.

    Business Leaders
  • Ernesto Arredondo, San Diego area President, Wells Fargo

    Ernesto Arredondo Jr. is the President for the San Diego Region in Southern California. A 16-year financial services veteran, Arredondo oversees more than 841 financial professionals and 55 retail stores with more than $5 billion in total deposits and $1.5 billion in total loans.

    In 2013, Arredondo was nominated and accepted into the Young Hispanic Corporate Achievers Program. He was also recognized as being one of the "Top 40 under 40" business executives within San Diego by San Diego Metro Magazine. Arredondo was invited to join the Stanford University Latino Entrepreneurship Board. Most recently, he was recognized at the Latino Impact Awards hosted by San Diego Magazine. Arredondo was presented with the "Volunteer of the Year" award for his exemplary dedication volunteering throughout San Diego communities.

    Arredondo has served on the Board of Directors of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce since April 2012 and began serving as Chair in 2016. He previously served as Vice Chair of the board. He also serves on boards for Father Joe’s Villages, LEAD San Diego, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of San Diego County, and The American Red Cross.

    Business Leaders
  • Henry Perea, Senior Vice Presidnet of Policy and Strategic Affairs, Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA)

    Henry Perea joined Western States Petroleum Association as Senior Vice President of Policy and Strategic Affairs in May of 2017. In this role, his duties include advising WSPA on public policy and legislative matters in California.

    Prior to joining WSPA, Perea was a Senior Director with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), where he oversaw and advised on public policy issues in California, Arizona and Nevada.

    After serving two terms on the Fresno City Council, Perea was elected three times to the 31st Assembly District. During his tenure, he chaired the Assembly Committee on Revenue and taxation and the Assembly Committee on Insurance. He was named Legislator of the Year by the California Small Business Association, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, California Crime Stoppers Association, American Legion, Community Water Center, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was also named Tech Champion by Tech America for his efforts to keep California competitive in high technology.

    Perea is married to Yahaira García-Perea, a corporate communications consultant. They live in Fresno with their two children, Ava Isabella and H. Joaquin Perea.

    Business Leaders
  • James Alva , Senior Vice President & Southern CA Market Manager - ​Citi Community Development

    James has focused his career and personal commitments to enhancing equity particularly for the Latino community. He serves as Senior Vice President and Market Manager for Citi Community Development.  As the youngest person in his role nationally, he is responsible for managing a multimillion dollar budget supporting Citibank’s strategy to develop the most underserved communities across Southern California.

    He has formerly worked on the organizing committee to establish ProAmerica Bank in downtown Los Angeles targeted at serving Latino entrepreneurs. While working for the non-profit Small Business Development Centers, he founded a technology accelerator in San Francisco called Tech Futures Group, which focused on helping the underserved to secure angel and venture capital funding.

    He serves on the boards of the CA Latino Economic Institute, Southern CA Grantmakers, Youth Policy Institute, the Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce, the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, the LA County Center for Financial Empowerment, and HONOR PAC (political action committee dedicated to enhancing the rights of the Latinx LGBTQ community).

    James is a first generation college graduate and has a degree in International Relations from Stanford University where he served as president of his class during both his sophomore and senior years.




    Business Leaders
  • Leticia Aguilar, Union Bank

    Leticia Aguilar is an executive vice president and regional president for Union Bank, and has direct supervision over the bank’s retail divisions in Los Angeles and Central California, and serves as the Public Affairs executive for California. Prior to joining Union Bank in 2009, she was a market president for Bank of America and oversaw the bank’s Greater Los Angeles and Central Valley markets.
    Throughout her 40-year banking tenure, she has held leadership positions in numerous non-profit and community groups that focus on her three key areas of interest: education, health care and the arts. She has been involved with organizations such as the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and has spent more than 20 years supporting the University of Southern California Mexican-American Alumni Association.
    Aguiar was recognized as one of the most influential Hispanics in the U.S. by Hispanic Magazine and Poder Magazine and is a recipient of numerous community awards, including the Los Angeles Business Journal’s “Banker of the Year”, and “Business Leader of the Year” presented by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Aguilar attended the University of La Verne and the University of Virginia, School of Retail Bank Management.

    Business Leaders
  • Peter Villegas, Vice President, Latin Affairs, Coca Cola Company

    Peter Villegas is Vice President in the Office of Latin Affairs for the Coca-Cola Company where he serves as a national spokesman and oversees the execution of local, regional and national strategies that position the company as a leading corporate citizen in the U.S. Hispanic community.

    Recognized as a regional and national corporate leader, Peter has wide-range knowledge of numerous corporate and community issues; he is responsible for key advocacy, civic, public policy & corporate initiatives. He began his career as a bank teller, and has spent the last 18 years in key management positions.

    Villegas is a board member of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, American Israel Public Affairs Committee National Council, The Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Inland Empire Economic Partnership. He was also appointed Commissioner to the city of Rancho Cucamonga Parks & Recreation Commission.

    Peter was recognized in 2015 by Hispanic Executive Magazine as one of the top 10 Latino executives in the country, received the 2012 United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Corporate Advocate of the Year award and is recognized by the Orange County Business Journal as one of the most influential Hispanics in Orange County.

    Business Leaders
  • Rafael Castellanos, Partner, Solomon Minton Cardinal Doyle & Smith LLP

    Rafael Castellanos joined Solomon Minton Cardinal Doyle & Smith LLP as a Partner in mid-2010. His practice focuses primarily on advising large and medium-sized local and regional companies and entrepreneurs in all aspects of their businesses, with an emphasis on commercial real estate matters.

    Rafael's professional affiliations include serving as a member of the Board of Port Commissioners of the Unified Port of San Diego, currently as the chair of the Port's Environmental Advisory Committee. He is a member of the San Diego Foundation's Business Forum on Climate Change, the California State Bar Association, the San Diego County Bar Association, and the Mexican American Business and Professional Association. He previously served as General Counsel to, and a member of, the Board of Directors of MANA de San Diego, and as President and a member of the Board of Directors of the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association. Rafael was named one of the San Diego Daily Transcript's Top Young Attorneys in 2008, and in 2011 was named one of San Diego Metro Magazine’s 20 Men Who Impact San Diego.

    Rafael earned his B.A. summa cum laude from Arizona State University, and he earned his J.D. at the University of Chicago Law School, as a Cornerstone Scholar.

    Business Leaders
  • Tony Barrueta, Senior Vice President, Government Relations, Kaiser

    Tony Barrueta is senior vice president of Government Relations for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. He oversees Kaiser Permanente’s legislative and regulatory policy efforts, leading a team of legislative advocates and policy professionals in Oakland, Calif., Sacramento and Washington, D.C. His organization is responsible for developing Kaiser Permanente’s public policy positions in collaboration with senior leadership throughout the organization to ensure that Kaiser Permanente maintains a common voice in support of the interests of its members and the communities it serves.
    Prior to joining Kaiser Permanente in 1994, Barrueta was in private law practice in Washington, D.C., specializing in legislative and regulatory advocacy on behalf of health plans, pharmacy benefit management companies and health-related trade associations.

    A native of Washington, Barrueta received a bachelor’s degree in history from Boston College in 1987 and his law degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1991. He is licensed to practice law in California and the District of Columbia. He is a member of the boards of directors of the East Bay Agency for Children and the Alliance of Community Health Plans, and served for five years as general counsel to the Hispanic College Fund.

    Business Leaders
  • Xavier Gutierrez, President and Chief Investment Officer, The Meruelo Group

    Xavier A. Gutierrez serves as the President and Chief Investment Officer of Meruelo Investment Partners, and as the Chief Investment Officer of the Meruelo Group. Xavier oversees investments and acquisitions for the Meruelo Group, and is responsible for deal origination, underwriting, execution, and capital sourcing. Xavier also leads Meruelo Investment Partners, the investment affiliate of Meruelo Group, executing both a public equity investment strategy and a private equity investment strategy. Prior to Meruelo, Xavier was Principal & Managing Director with Phoenix Realty Group, a real estate private equity firm managing approximately $1 billion in institutional capital. In addition, he has held positions with Latham & Watkins, Lehman Brothers and the National Football League in a 15+ year career focused on investment management, finance, business development, law, and the institutional capital markets. Xavier received his AB cum laude from Harvard College, and his J.D. from Stanford Law School.

    Business Leaders

Latino Caucus

  • Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, Vice Chair, Latino Legislative Caucus

    Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher was elected in May of 2013, promising to fight for our state’s working and middle classes, and she hasn’t stopped yet. In 2015, The Atlantic Magazine labeled her “The California Democrat setting the National Agenda” for her practical, progressive legislation aimed at alleviating real issues in people’s lives.

    Lorena is the first Latina in California history to Chair the Assembly Appropriations Committee. She is also Chairwoman of the Select Committee on Women in the Workplace.

    Lorena’s father immigrated to California from Mexico and initially worked in the strawberry fields in North San Diego County. Her mother was a nurse. Lorena is a graduate of Stanford University, has a Master’s degree from Georgetown University and a Law Degree from UCLA. She remains a member in good standing of the California State Bar.

    Prior to being elected to the Assembly, Lorena was a labor leader and organizer, serving as the first woman and first person of color to be elected CEO and Secretary-Treasurer for the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO. Lorena also previously worked as the Senior Advisor to California’s Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante, and she served on the California State Lands Commission and the California Coastal Commission.

    Latino Caucus
  • Senator Ben Hueso, Chair, California Latino Legislative Caucus

    Ben Hueso was elected as California State Senator for the 40th District in March of 2013. In January 2017, he was reappointed by the Senate Pro Tempore Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications, as well as to the Senate Veteran's Affairs, Banking and Financial Institutions, Natural Resources and Water and Governmental Organization Committees.

    Since assuming office, he has worked extensively on initiatives regarding water quality, consumer protection, public safety, and job creation. He is also a strong advocate for education, environmental issues and bi-national affairs, most recently serving as Chair of the Latino Caucus and the Select Committee on California-Mexico Cooperation.

    Prior to being elected as Senator, Hueso served in Assembly from 2010-2013 where he championed legislation helping small business, protecting victims of domestic violence, prohibiting the sale of synthetic drugs, securing clean and reliable water resources and stimulating the economy.

    Hueso held his first elected position as the San Diego City Councilmember for the 8th District from 2006-2010. He served as Commissioner for the California Coastal Commission where he worked to protect California’s beautiful coastlines.

    He holds a Bachelors of Arts degree from UCLA and lives in Logan Heights with his four sons.

    Latino Caucus

Local Government

  • Esmeralda Soria, Councilmember, City of Fresno

    Esmeralda Soria was elected to the Fresno city council in 2014. She was born and raised in Tulare County by Mexican immigrant farmworkers and went on to graduate from UC Berkeley and earned a JD from UC Davis. After law school, she became the Sustainable Rural Communities Project Director for California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, where she continued to work on issues impacting the Central Valley. In 2012, she was recognized for her vision, leadership and zealous advocacy for the community.

    Her continued commitment to public service brought her to work as District Director to Senator Michael Rubio and later as a Policy Advisor to Assemblymember Henry Perea. As District Director, Esmeralda built partnerships with community leaders to address unemployment rates in the Central Valley, workforce development, and education among others. She also worked with community leaders to ensure that Fresno received its fair share of public safety dollars to keep criminals off our street and ensure our neighborhoods are safer.

    Esmeralda has served on boards of Hands On Central California, Fresno Barrios Unidos and UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic Council. She has also taught at San Joaquin College of Law. In 2014, Esmeralda was named a 40 under 40 in the Central Valley by Business Street Online.

    Local Government
  • Luis A. Alejo, Supervisor, Monterey County Board of Supervisors

    Luis A. Alejo was elected in 2016 to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. He is the Chair of the Budget and Legislative Committees and representative to the California State Association of Counties.
    Alejo graduated with honors from UC Berkeley, receiving dual bachelor’s degrees in political science and Chicano Studies and went on to earn his J.D. from UC Davis School of Law and Ed.M in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard University.

    Alejo began his legal career by championing the rights of working families as a staff attorney for California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) in his hometown of Watsonville and later as a staff attorney the Monterey County Superior Court where he provided free legal assistance to thousands of self-represented litigants in family and civil law. Alejo would later serve as Mayor and Councilmember of Watsonville.

    Alejo was first elected to the Assembly in November 2010 at the age of 36 to represent the 28th Assembly District, and was reelected in 2012 to the newly formed 30th district. During his tenure, Alejo authored numerous landmark pieces of legislation, was ranked “2013 Most Effective Democratic Assemblymember” by the Capitol Nooner and was awarded the “2015 Legislator of the Year” by the California League of Cities.

    Local Government

Community/Non-Profit Organizations

  • Eloy Ortiz Oakley, Chancellor, California Community Colleges

    Eloy Ortiz Oakley is known throughout California and the nation for implementing innovative programs and policies that help students succeed in college. He was appointed as chancellor for the California Community Colleges in 2016.

    Prior to this appointment, Oakley served as the Superintendent-President of the Long Beach Community College District (LBCCD), where he fostered strong relationships with members of the community, state and national policy leaders, and his Board of Trustees. In this capacity, Oakley partnered with Goldman Sachs to launch the 10,000 Small Businesses Program to help small businesses grow and create jobs. This successful endeavor has taught more than 600 local business owners how to expand operations, increase profits and create more jobs in the region. Most recently, he led the launch of Innovation Fund So Cal in partnership with the Kaufmann Foundation, which provides seed funding to promising start-ups and spurs local job creation.

    Oakley has served numerous appointments to local, state and federal organizations, including the California Forward Leadership Council, the University of California Board of Regents, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the California Forward Leadership Council, the College Futures Foundation.

    He is frequently invited to speak to education, philanthropic and business organizations throughout the nation.

    Community/Non-Profit Organizations
  • Helen Torres, Executive Director, Hispanas Organized for Political Equality

    Helen Torres’ history with HOPE has progressed from volunteer, to HOPE Leadership Institute Alum to Executive Director. She has over twenty years of alliance building, community relations, marketing, and fundraising experience and expertise.

    Prior to joining HOPE, Ms. Torres was a community relations officer for United Way of Greater Los Angeles, the largest private funder of health and human services in Los Angeles County; she lead community outreach efforts and managed new business development. Her major responsibilities included recruiting volunteers to assist in resource development and the creation of community based programs.

    She started her career at Burson-Marsteller where she developed and executed media and special events for Chevron and Coca Cola. She devised strategies and marketing proposals to increase clients’ visibility in the Hispanic market. Torres designed and managed the introduction of Chevron’s education program, Family Science, to a pilot market in Fresno which expanded to four additional Hispanic markets in San Jose, San Diego, Houston, and Miami after its first year.

    Ms. Torres holds Bachelor and Master Degrees in Communications from Michigan State University.

    Community/Non-Profit Organizations

Academic Advisory Board

  • Dr. Fernando Guerra, Loyola Marymount University

    Fernando J. Guerra is Founder and Director of the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University. Dr. Guerra served as Assistant to the President for Faculty Resources from 1992-1996. He is a Professor of Political Science and Chicana/o Studies, and has served as Chairman of the Chicana/o Studies Department, Director of the American Cultures program, and Director of the Summer in Mexico program. He has been on the faculty at Loyola Marymount University since 1984.

    Guerra has served on standing commissions, blue ribbon committees, and ad hoc task forces for the City of Los Angeles, the State of California, and regional bodies in Southern California. He is a source for the media at the local, national, and international level and has published in the area of state and local government and urban and ethnic politics.

    Dr. Guerra earned his Ph.D. and M.A. in Political Science from the University of Michigan. He earned his B.A. in International Relations, with a University Certificate in Latin American Studies, from the University of Southern California in 1980. Dr. Guerra was born and raised in the Northeast section of Los Angeles where he attended Franklin High School. He is currently a resident of the City of Los Angeles.

    Academic Advisory Board
  • Dr. Jody Agius Vallejo, University of Southern California

    Jody Agius Vallejo specializes in immigrant integration, race/ethnicity, and social stratification. Her book, "Barrios to Burbs: The Making of the Mexican-American Middle Class," (Stanford University Press 2012) examines patterns of mobility and socioeconomic incorporation among the Mexican-origin middle class in Southern California. Her approach systematically addresses these issues with a mixed methodological approach, which combines the qualitative strengths of traditional sociological inquiry (in-depth interviews, participant observation, ethnography) with demographic analysis of representative statistics from the U.S. Census.

    She is also involved with other projects, including “The Latino Elite: Entrepreneurship, Community, and Mobility”, a study of middle-class and professional Latino entrepreneurs in Los Angeles, and a project that examines heterogeneous assimilation outcomes of today's new immigrants via the lens of wealth accumulation and business ownership, with a focus on Chinese Americans.

    Vallejo is a former visiting research fellow for the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies and US-Mexican Studies at the University of California, San Diego and hold Masters Degrees in demographic and social analysis and sociology, as well as a Ph.D. in Sociology from University of California, Irvine.

    Academic Advisory Board
  • Dr. Manuel Pastor, University of Southern California

    Dr. Manuel Pastor is a Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He currently directs the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at USC and USC's Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII). Pastor holds an economics Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is the inaugural holder of the Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change at USC, and is co-author of Equity, Growth, and Community: What the Nation Can Learn from America's Metro Areas.

    Dr. Pastor’s research has generally focused on issues of the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities, and the social movements seeking to change those realities. He speaks frequently on issues of demographic change, economic inequality, and community empowerment and has contributed opinion pieces to such outlets as the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Sacramento Bee, the Huffington Post, and many others.

    In 2012, he received the Liberty Hill Foundation’s Wally Marks Changemaker of the Year award for social justice research partnerships. He currently serves as a Public Member of the Strategic Growth Council in California, and has previously served as a member of the Commission on Regions the Regional Targets Advisory Committee for the California Air Resources Board.

    Academic Advisory Board
  • Dr. Mindy Romero, University of California Davis

    Mindy Romero is the founder and director of the California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP) at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change. Mindy’s scholarly work focuses on the intersection of political behavior and race/ethnicity, with an emphasis on conducting research that has on-the-ground relevancy for California’s communities. Mindy has been invited to speak on issues of civic engagement and political rights, including testimony to the National Commission on Voting Rights and the California Legislature. Her research has been cited in numerous major news outlets, including the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, SF Chronicle, Politico and the Huffington Post. Mindy is a native of California’s Central Valley and is active in community leadership, serving as President of the Board of Mutual Housing California and as a Social Service commissioner for the City of Davis. She is a political sociologist and holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from UC Davis.

    Academic Advisory Board
  • Tiq Chapa, Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative

    Tiq supports the Stanford Latino Entrepreneur Initiative, which explores the Latino segment of our economy through research, knowledge dissemination, and facilitated collaboration. Working with the Latino Business Action Network, Tiq has helped build a database of over 1.3 million of the more than 4 million Latino-owned companies in the United States, with more to be added annually. He has interacted with hundreds of Latino led startups, companies, and Latino-serving organizations. Tiq is committed to creating foundational knowledge regarding the “Latino Opportunity” in the United States. Through research and knowledge creation he strives to ensure more thought leaders and decision makers come to understand the untapped economic potential of the U.S. Latino entrepreneur population.

    Academic Advisory Board