Board of Directors

Executive Board

  • Alice Perez - Secretary, Area Director - AT&T External Affairs

    Alice Perez is Area Director with AT&T External Affairs. In her role she is the direct liaison for local government and the non-profit community in the 22 counties she covers. She is responsible for the implementation of corporate strategic policies and programs pertaining to the company’s regulatory and legislative initiatives. Alice previously was President / CEO of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. The statewide chamber provided a number of business and leadership development programs that encourage the creation, expansion and growth of small and emerging businesses, including women and minorityowned businesses throughout California. She also served as the President / CEO of the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce where she restructured the chamber and Manager of Customer Strategy at Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). Perez was Vice President and Director of U.S. Bank’s national Multicultural Banking initiatives. In her role, Alice guided U.S. Bank in its decisions to effectively serve and meet the unique financial services needs of high-growth Hispanic and other Multicultural markets. 

    Executive Board
  • David C. Lizarraga - Vice Chairman, 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.

    Executive Board
  • Dennis V. Arriola, Chairman , Executive Vice President and Group President - Sempra Energy

    Dennis V. Arriola is executive vice president and group president, and chief sustainability officer for Sempra Energy. In his current role, Arriola oversees Sempra Energy's communications, government relations, regulatory and international affairs activities, corporate social responsibility and the company's South American operations. Previously, he served as chairman, president and CEO of Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas), one of Sempra Energy's regulated California utilities. Arriola spent most of the past 24 years in a broad range of leadership roles for the Sempra Energy companies. He served as president and chief operating officer of SoCalGas beginning in 2012, until he was promoted to CEO in 2014. From 2008 to 2012, Arriola left Sempra Energy to work as executive vice president and chief financial officer for SunPower Corp., a Silicon Valley-based solar panel manufacturer. From 2006 to 2008, he was senior vice president and chief financial officer of both San Diego Gas & Electric and SoCalGas. Previously, Arriola also served as vice president of communications and investor relations for Sempra Energy, and regional vice president and general manager of Sempra Energy’s South American operations. He first joined the company in 1994 as treasurer for Pacific Enterprises/SoCalGas.

    Executive Board
  • Rob Lapsley - Treasurer, President - California Business Roundtable

    Rob Lapsley is president of the California Business Roundtable, a nonpartisan organization comprised of the senior executive leadership of the state’s major companies employing over half a million Californians. Before he was named president in 2011, he was vice president and state political director for CalChamber. He also served as president of RCL Consultants and vice president of Arnel Development, one of the largest private real estate companies in Southern California. He served in the US State Department as special assistant to the US ambassador to Spain during the Iraq War. He was chief of staff to California secretary of state Bill Jones and served as undersecretary of state from 1995 to 2001. He has served on the PPIC Statewide Survey Advisory Committee since 2011. He is a graduate fellow of the Coro Foundation and a veteran of the US Air Force. He holds a BS with a major in biology and political science from Illinois State University.

    Executive Board

Business Leader

  • 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.

    Business Leader
  • Ermelinda Ruiz Moretti, CA Representative State Government Affairs - Chevron Corporation

    Ermelinda serves as a California Representative of Public Policy and Government Affairs for Chevron Corporation. She advocates on behalf of Chevron before the California State Legislature and the Executive Branch on energy issues. Prior to joining Chevron in 2012, Ermelinda worked as both legislative and committee staff in the state legislature. She was also a legislative advocate for a California based insurance trade association representing the largest property and casualty insurance companies in the nation. In addition to her position at Chevron, Ermelinda is a member of the Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps Board of Directors and the Cristo Rey High School Sacramento Work Study Committee, both organizations of which are focused on improving the lives of low-income minority youth through education and work experience.

    Business Leader
  • James Alva , Senior Vice President & Market Manager (Southern CA & Texas) - ​Citi Community Development

    James serves as Senior VP and Market Manager for Citi Community Development in which he manages a multi-million dollar budget to develop the most underserved communities across Southern California and Texas. Previously, he has served on the founding team to establish a community bank focused on the Latino community and worked under the direction of Maria Contreras-Sweet, former SBA Administrator under President Obama. His non-profit experience includes six years working at the Small Business Development Centers at which he founded a non-profit technology accelerator called Tech Futures Group focused on helping the underserved to secure funding from private investors. He serves on the boards of Southern CA Grantmakers, the Foundation for the Los Angeles Community Colleges, the CA Latino Economic Institute, HONOR PAC, and he is on the advisory boards of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, the LA Latino Chamber of Commerce, and the LA County Center for Financial Empowerment, which he also helped to found.  The innovative community engagement work done by James and his team have been recognized by the United Nations Association, the LAEDC, and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce all of which have named Citi as their 2019 and 2020 Corporation of the Year for corporate social responsibility. James is a first generation college graduate with a degree from Stanford University.

    Business Leader
  • Lupe De La Cruz III, Senior Director of Government Affairs - PEPSICO

    As Senior Director of Government Affairs for PEPSICO, Lupe De La Cruz manages political and public policy activities for eight states in the western region of the United States. In its global portfolio of food and beverage brands, PepsiCo has 22 different brands that generate more than $1 billion each in annual retail sales. With net revenues of over $65 billion, PepsiCo’s main businesses also make hundreds of other enjoyable foods and beverages that are respected household names throughout the world. Lupe represents PEPSICO’s diverse convenient food and beverages portfolio with policy makers and community leaders and directs PEPSICO’s community engagement in those states.  With a cross divisional team, Lupe supports PEPSICO’s national initiatives in the Latino community.  He joined PEPSICO in 2005 and is most proud of his role in fostering relationships with the communities he works in. Lupe’s interest in government affairs began working on several political campaigns and grassroots mobilization; a product of following his father to many political and campaign rallies as a youth. His passion for public policy issues was cemented while working in the office of Congressman Esteban E. Torres and later as Advocacy Director of the AARP California State office.

    Business Leader
  • Margita Thompson, Vice President of Public Affairs - California Resources Corporations

    Margita Thompson is currently Vice President of Communications for California Resources Corporation (CRC), the state’s largest independent oil and natural gas producer. Thompson leads a team charged with unprecedented community and media engagement. Previously Thompson was Vice President, External Communications for Disney Consumer Products (DCP) leading PR teams spanning Disney Publishing, The Disney Stores and DCP Licensing, the world’s largest licensor. Prior, she was Vice President for Corporate Communications and Latino Programs Officer at Health Net Inc. Thompson served as Press Secretary for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger during his first term. Prior to joining the Schwarzenegger administration, Thompson served as the Political Producer for Larry King Live in Washington, D.C., then CNN’s highest-rated, award-winning political news program. Before working for CNN, Thompson worked at the White House in the Office of the Vice President as Press Secretary to Mrs. Lynne Cheney. She was also the California Press Secretary for Bush for President during the 2000 election, serving as the principal contact for California-based and Spanish language media.

    Business Leader
  • Patty Juarez, National Diverse Segments Director - Wells Fargo & Company

    Patty Juarez is a senior vice president and regional manager at Wells Fargo’s middle market banking office in Orange, California. She oversees a team of middle market banking professionals who develop business relationships with companies with revenues greater than $10 million. Patty earned her bachelor’s degree in business from the University of California, Berkeley, and her MBA in business administration from St. Mary’s College of California in Moraga, where she graduated with honors. Active in many professional and community organizations, Patty is vice chair of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Orange County, and she heads up their board development effort. CASA is an organization that trains community volunteers to serve as powerful mentors and advocates for our community’s abused, abandoned, and neglected children. She is also a board member at the Prentice School, a private nonprofit school that provides specialized programs to students with learning differences. Patty sits on the dean’s board of counselors for Chapman University’s school of business and economics.

    Business Leader
  • 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 Leader
  • 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 Leader
  • Randal Hernandez, Executive Director External Affairs (Southern California) - Verizon

    Randal Hernandez is Verizon’s Executive Director, External Affairs for Southern California. He is responsible for developing and implementing local and state legislative strategies and community engagement initiatives to advance the company’s strategic objectives including the rapid deployment of 5G wireless technology. Verizon is one of the largest communication technology companies in the world.  We’re using award-winning networks to make breakthroughs in interactive entertainment, digital media, the Internet of Things and advanced broadband services for customers. Verizon powers the nation’s largest and most reliable 4G LTE network and offers the largest all-fiber network for residences and small business. Randal formerly served as Managing Director, Government Relations for Union Bank where he was responsible for building relationships with government officials, civic leaders, community-based advocacy organizations and multi-cultural leaders across California. Hernandez led the bank’s legislative advocacy, political contributions and overall engagement with elected officials at every level. Prior to joining Union Bank, Hernandez was Senior Vice President and Senior Public Policy Executive, California for Bank of America. In that role, he was responsible for the bank’s overall external affairs including developing partnerships with California government officials, community advocates and business leaders to drive the bank’s strategic public policy initiatives and community partnerships.

    Business Leader
  • 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 Leader
  • Xavier Gutierrez, Managing Director - Clearlake Capital Group

    Xavier A. Gutierrez serves as Managing Director at Clearlake Capital Group focusing on operations, strategic development, and investor client servicing and outreach. Mr. Gutierrez has a 20+year career focused on investment management, corporate strategy & operations, finance, business development, and the institutional capital markets. Previously, Mr. Gutierrez served as Chief Investment Officer of Meruelo Group, the family office of US Latino business executive Alex Meruelo, and President & Chief Investment Officer of Meruelo Investment Partners, the firm’s investment affiliate. At Meruelo Group, Mr. Gutierrez oversaw investments and acquisitions, and was responsible for deal origination, underwriting, execution, and capital sourcing. He also helped lead the strategic management of 35+ portfolio companies across industries including: Banking & Financial Services; Hospitality & Gaming; Media; Infrastructure; Restaurant & Food Services; Real Estate; Public Equity; and Private Equity. Mr. Gutierrez currently serves as a voting member of the United States Securities Exchange Commission Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies, which provides a formal mechanism for the SEC to receive advice and recommendations on privately held small businesses and publicly traded companies with a market capitalization less than $250 million.

    Business Leader

Latino Caucus

  • The Honorable Blanca E. Rubio (AD 48), Designee - California Latino Legislative Caucus

    Assemblywoman Blanca E. Rubio was elected in November 2016 to represent California’s 48th Assembly District. One of her greatest honors was to have all six of her bills that made the Governor’s desk signed in her first year of the Assembly. Before coming to the Assembly, Blanca spent 16 years as a teacher and 20 years in elected office, serving on the Valley County Water Board, and Baldwin Park Unified School District. Her students-first philosophy made Blanca a leader and champion for students in and out of the classroom. She was successful in her efforts to improve academic outcomes for students, aligning them with vital resources for college preparation. Blanca was born in Juarez, Mexico, and came to the United States with her parents at a young age.  Her personal experiences have given her a genuine understanding of the everyday struggles and barriers that immigrants and working families continue to face in the United States. Assemblymember Rubio received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Master’s Degree in Education with a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Azusa Pacific University. Blanca is a resident of Baldwin Park and a proud mother of two children. 

    Latino Caucus
  • The Honorable Lorena Gonzalez (80th AD), Chair - California Latino Legislative Caucus

    Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez 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 and Chair of the Latino Caucus. 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
  • The Honorable María Elena Durazo (24th SD), Vice Chair - California Latino Legislative Caucus

    María Elena was born the seventh child in a family of eleven children to migrant worker parents. Growing up, María Elena traveled with her family, following the crops throughout California and Oregon, and experiencing the exploitative conditions and hardships that migrant laborers suffer. In spite of these obstacles, María Elena attended St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California, and graduated in 1975. In college she became involved in the Chicano Movement at the urging of her older brother. Then she entered the labor movement as an organizer for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (later called UNITE, the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees). While working as a union organizer, she pursued an education in law at the People’s College of Law and earned her degree in 1985. In 2008, María Elena Durazo served as the Vice Chair of the Democratic National Convention Committee and as National Co-Chair of the Barack Obama Presidential Campaign. From 2006 through 2014, she was the first woman Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, the second largest labor council in the country and served on the National AFL-CIO Executive Council. Besides her union work, María Elena has served on many civic commissions and boards. Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley appointed her to the Los Angeles Commission on Airports, Mayor Richard Riordan appointed her to the Los Angeles Parks and Recreation Committee and she has also served on the California State Coastal Commission.

    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. 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, CEO - Hispanas Organized for Political Equality

    Helen Iris Torres is CEO of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE), where she leads one of the State and Nation’s most influential Latina Organizations. She has been instrumental in the development and implementation of the HOPE Leadership Institute (HLI), a program that prepares adult Latinas for their next level of civic participation. HLI has resulted in more than 180 Latinas being appointed to state and local commissions, and over 200 Latinas serving on nonprofit boards to improve local communities. To date, more than 545 Latinas have graduated from HLI. She has served on various commissions under Governor Gray Davis, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Governor Jerry Brown.  From supporting AmeriCorps programs to serving on the influential “Little Hoover Commission,” Helen is proven public servant. She is a sought-after speaker on women’s issues and an advisor to projects such as The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything, a study by Maria Shriver in partnership with the Center for American Progress. She is also featured in Life Moments for Women, a book supporting the Women’s Foundation of California. She has been recognized by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a “community hero,”  and by Hispanics in Philanthropy for advocacy work on behalf of Latinas. Her story has been part of a California State University oral and public history exhibit titled “Voces de Liberacion: Latinas in Politics in Southern California.”

    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. Mindy Romero, University of Southern California

    Mindy Romero is the founder and director of the California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP) at the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy, in Sacramento. Romero is a political sociologist and holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Davis. Her research focuses on political behavior and race/ethnicity, and seeks to explain patterns of voting and political underrepresentation, particularly among youth and communities of color in California and the U.S. Romero has been invited to speak about civic engagement and political rights in numerous venues, testifying before the National Commission on Voting Rights and the California Legislature, among others. Her research has been cited in major news outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, Politico and the Huffington Post. She has also been a frequent guest on National Public Radio, Capital Public Radio, and several other NPR-affiliated stations in California. She is a regular op-ed contributor to the Sacramento Bee. Romero works with a wide array of policymakers, elected officials, voter education groups and community advocates to strengthen political participation and representation.

    Academic Advisory Board