top of page

HLI Summit Sessions & Speakers

The bi-annual HLI Summit is a personal and professional development summit designed for HLI alumnae and prospective program participants. This year we will delve into topics like negotiations, life-work balance, and styling your personal brand. We will have important conversations on issues pertaining to the current political landscape inclusive of workforce, energy, education and more. Learn about our sessions and the powerful speakers who will lead these discussions below.

DAY ONE - Friday, August 10

11:45 AM - 12:15 PM

Welcome Luncheon 

Cecilia Aguiar-Curry.jpeg
California Assembly, District 4

In November 2016, Cecilia Aguiar-Curry was elected to the California Assembly to represent the 4th District that includes all or parts of Napa, Lake, Yolo, Sonoma, Colusa and Solano counties. Cecilia grew up in western Yolo County and has long served her community. After going to school and working in the Bay Area for several years, she moved back to her hometown of Winters where she almost immediately became active in the local community and a regional leader on several issues. She first served as planning commissioner and then was elected to the city council eventually serving as the first female mayor of Winters.

As mayor of Winters, Cecilia oversaw improvements in the downtown area and worked to improve local schools, including securing computers for every sixth grader in the city. She also brought broadband internet to rural communities, built senior housing and helped the area to become an agricultural and food innovation hub for the region. With the understanding that employment is central to any successful community, Cecilia helped bring a PG& E training facility to Winters that provided hundreds of jobs for local residents. Cecilia was also involved in efforts to create the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument in the inner California Coast Ranges that was proclaimed by President Obama in 2015.

Napa County Board of Supervisors

Belia, who lives in American Canyon, was born in Napa and raised in unincorporated St. Helena and Pope Valley. She calls all of Napa County home. Belia is a business owner, educator, and mother of three children. Belia attended St. Helena public schools from kindergarten through high school. She graduated from Saint Mary's College of California in 1999 and UC Hastings College of the Law in 2004. Prior to serving on the Board of Supervisors, Belia served as an American Canyon City Council Member from 2010-2016. In 2017, Belia began serving on the Board of Supervisors. In April 2017, she became Board Chair, and currently serves on the following panels: 25th District Agricultural Association, Napa Valley Transportation Authority, Association of Bay Area Governments, North Bay Water Reuse Authority, Latino Caucus of California Counties and Rebuild North Bay.

  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey LinkedIn Icon

12:15 PM - 1:15 PM

Panel: Latinas Impacting Corporate America & the Energy Sector


Manager, California State Government Affairs, Andeavor

Nicole M. Parra has more than 25 years of extensive legislative and political experience in Washington D.C. and California-having served as a legislative assistant to U.S. Congressman Cal Dooley (retired), elected to the California State Assembly, and appointed to a high level position within the California Executive Branch by the Governor. Public safety had been one of her Parra's main priorities. She chaired the Select Committee on Megan's Law and Sex Offender Registration. She authored several key bills aimed at strengthening and expanding Megan's Law in California, target methamphetamine dealers, and toughen laws against child pornography.  

In 2002 Parra was elected to the California State Assembly, representing the 30th Assembly District. In the California State Assembly, Parra served as Chair of the Agriculture Committee, Joint Legislative Audit Committee and Veteran Affairs Committee. She also served on the Banking & Finance, Insurance, and Water Parks and Wildlife Committees. Currently, Parra is the Manager, California State Government Relations, for Andeavor . 

  • Grey LinkedIn Icon
Erica A. Cabrera.JPG

Local Public Affairs Representative, PG&E

Erica Cabrera is a Central Valley native and HOPE Leadership Institute Alumnus, Class of 2013. She currently works for Pacific Gas & Electric as a Local Public Affairs Representative servicing Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, & Tulare Counties.


Erica earned a Master of Arts in Leadership and Organizational Studies from Fresno Pacific University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from California State University, Fresno. She has 10 years of experience working in local and state government; which includes serving as District Director for former Assemblymember Henry T. Perea. 


Vice President of Communications, California Resources Corporation (CRC)

Margita Thompson is currently Vice President of Communications for California Resources Corporation (CRC), the state’s largest independent oil and natural gas producer. Margita focuses on driving unexpected community engagement that translates to increased stakeholder credibility and business impact. Margita is especially skilled at listening and anticipating trends to uncover the common thread that can unite diverse stakeholders toward a common goal.


Before CRC, 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. While at Disney, Thompson brought diverse women’s voices inside DCP to maintain the relevance of the “princess” franchise in the market. Prior, she was Vice President for Corporate Communications and Latino Programs Officer at Health Net Inc. During her time there, she increased Latino health plan membership through a multi-generational, whole-household strategy.

  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey LinkedIn Icon

1:15 PM - 2:00 PM


Geisha Williams  on ATT Marina w_ballpar

CEO and President of PG&E Corporation 

Geisha J. Williams is Chief Executive Officer and President of PG&E Corporation. She joined the company in 2007, and has more than three decades of experience in the energy industry.

Under Williams’ leadership, PG&E is responsible for providing safe, reliable, affordable and clean energy to 16 million people in northern and central California. In her prior role as President, Electric, Williams led PG&E’s electric business, including transmission, distribution, power generation, nuclear operations, energy procurement and customer care. During her tenure at PG&E, the company has become a leader in renewables integration, grid modernization and smart grid technologies, while also achieving the highest percentage of clean energy deliveries in PG&E’s history at nearly 80% greenhouse gas free sources and the best electric reliability in company history.

Williams came to PG&E from Florida Power and Light Company (FPL), where she was Vice President of Power Systems, Electric Distribution. Prior to that, she served as FPL’s Vice President of Distribution Operations, and held a variety of positions of increasing responsibility in FPL’s customer service, marketing, external affairs and electric operations departments.


JSN Headshot.jpg
  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey LinkedIn Icon

Filmmaker, advocate, & thought leader

CEO, The Representation Project

Jennifer Siebel Newsom is a filmmaker, CEO, advocate, and thought leader. After graduating with honors from Stanford University and Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, she wrote, directed, and produced the 2011 award-winning documentary Miss Representation. As a result of Miss Representation’s powerful impact, she launched The Representation Project, a nonprofit organization that uses film and media as a catalyst for cultural transformation. Her second film as a director, The Mask You Live In, had its world premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and explores how America’s narrow definition of masculinity is harming boys, men, and society at large. She also executive produced the Emmy Award-Winning and Academy Award-Nominated documentary The Invisible War, and is an executive producer on the Emmy Award winning documentary The Hunting Ground.


She is currently in production on her third film, The Great American Lie. She has also served as a Global Advisory Board member of the Dove Self Esteem Project, a co-chair of We Day California, and a commissioner on the Girl Scouts’ Healthy Media Commission, and currently serves on the Advisory Boards for the Imagine Kids Bus Project, the Common Sense Media Gender Initiative, and Emerge America. She resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, and their four young children.

2:15 PM - 3:15 PM

Thought Leaders Discuss Fast Paced Changes in Politics, Culture & Tech Workforce

  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey LinkedIn Icon
Alma Headshot #1 - 2018_edited.jpg

V.P. of Community & Government Relations, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest

CalSTRTS Board Member

Nora E. Vargas serves as the Vice President of Community & Government Relations for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest. She is responsible for leading the agency’s education and public affairs team and the day-to-day operation of the agency’s political organization, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of the Pacific Southwest.

Vargas was elected to the Southwestern Community College District Governing Board and most recently, she was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to serve on the 12-member California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS). Committed to community service, Vargas is also a champion for Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE), a boardmember for the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), and a boardmember for Run Women Run. She was the first Latina executive at Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties and at Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest and is a passionate advocate for women and communities of color.


SEIU California

Alma Hernández is the Executive Director of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California, which represents 700,000 members and their families and is the largest labor union in the state. Inspired by her immigrant parents and family, Alma joined SEIU in 2010 as political director to further the union’s mission of providing dignity and a voice for working people. In this role, she built the organization’s field capacity, ran independent-expenditure campaigns, and helped SEIU build the political power of the new California majority: Latino, African American, and Asian and Pacific Islander voters. In 2016 Alma became the first Latina to occupy the role of SEIU California’s executive director.

  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey LinkedIn Icon
  • Grey LinkedIn Icon

Director of Community Impact, Comcast

Lorena Hernandez is the Director of Community Impact for Comcast, one of the nation's largest media and technology companies with two primary businesses, Comcast and NBCUniversal.  Ms. Hernandez oversees the Foundation, Comcast community signature programs, and creates strategic partnerships and programs throughout California. In addition, Ms. Hernandez was appointed and served as Vice Chair of the California Student Aid Commission, the principal state agency responsible for administering $9 billion dollars in financial aid programs for California students.


Ms. Hernandez has been recognized numerous times including being named as one of the one of the Bay Area’s Most Influential Latinos by the San Francisco Business Times and the national publication Latino Leaders Magazine named her one of the country’s leading Latinos.  In 2018, the San Francisco Business Times recognized Ms. Hernandez as one of the Most Influential Women in Business. 


She is committed to enriching the lives of others through mentoring and serves on several Boards and committees, including: UPWARD (Uniting Professional Women Accelerating Relationships & Development), Latinas in Tech, and 

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM 

Negotiations Workshop

As leaders, we are regularly expected to gain buy-in from colleagues and negotiate with partners in order to advance our goals. In this talk, Noelia shares strategies for persuading and influencing others to generate higher levels of collaboration and win support for your ideas.

4:30 PM - 5:30 PM 

Surviving Burnout Culture
Can you afford to take a day out of the office – can you afford NOT to? In the second half of this session we’ll discuss burnout culture and ways to restore your energy, revitalize your creativity, and methods for reclaiming your time.


Brand & Digital Strategist, Noteworthy Lab

After more than a decade of consulting nonprofit organizations on effective branding and online communications, Noelia felt a pull to help narrow the wage gap for women and people of color in the U.S. Her solution, Noteworthy Lab LLC, a leadership development and digital strategy company. Their focus is helping high-achievers leverage their genius to advance into leadership roles and explore entrepreneurial opportunities. Through one-on-one coaching, workshops, and group masterminds, Noelia gives her clients actionable guidance for building a remarkable personal brand that amplifies their visibility and sets them apart as creative, charismatic leaders.

She holds a BA in Linguistics from UC Santa Barbara, is a certified body Language trainer with the Science of People, and a Content Marketing Expert with Digital Marketer. When Noelia is not working with thought leaders and change agents, you can find her indulging in her fabric obsession. As a self-taught seamstress, she loves to make her own clothes and teaches the occasional dressmaking workshop.

  • Grey LinkedIn Icon

6:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Reception, Dinner & Game Night 


State Bar Court of California

A native Angeleno, Lucy Armendariz grew up in the East LA community of Boyle Heights. A graduate of Roosevelt High School, she majored in Sociology and Economics at UCLA and earned her law degree from U.C. Hastings School of Law.

Lucy has served as Los Angeles Chief of Staff to Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero and Counsel to both the California Senate and Assembly Committees on Public Safety. Appointed by Governor Gray Davis, she has also served as the ombudsman for women’s prisons in California

Judge Lucy Armendariz was appointed to the bench of the State Bar Court of California in 2007 and has since maintained a heavy docket of cases including trials, motion hearings and status conferences. She has volunteered as a commissioner to the Supreme Court Blue Ribbon Commission on Foster Care and as a board member to Leadership California, an organization dedicated to advancing the leadership role of women and girls.

Judge Armendariz was recently recognized as a “California Latina Treasure” by HOPE, Hispanas Organized for Political Equality.

DAY TWO - Saturday, August 11

7:00 AM - 8:30 AM

Morning Activity

Let Love In: Mindful Movement with Salud y Wellness

An exploration of love, compassion and understanding for ourselves and for others. By focusing on how we manage our thoughts and physical being in specific situations, this workshop will integrate the use of mindful movement and breath work, as well as provide participants with tools to combat stress, be more present and live with more intention and purpose. Participants will be encouraged to move, play and discover.

Items to bring: yoga mat and journal
Dress code: comfy clothing; yoga-like

Salud y Wellness

Lily Quintero Robles is co- founder of Salud y Wellness, a health and wellness consulting firm that specializes in the use of integrative, holistic and indigenous health and wellness methods to help individuals and organizations be the best version of themselves in mind, body and spirit. She has played a key role in promoting the different practices of integral healing and has had an active participation in her community, teaching women and children the different aspects of health, the environment, as well as traditional customs and practices. She practices and promotes integral healing as a way of life. She loves the arts and aspires to be able to transmit her knowledge and inspire others to live in a healthy world where acceptance, love, mutual respect, and justice are fundamental principles of human life.

Salud y Wellness

Liza Trujillo Kirkland is co-founder of Salud y Wellness, a health and wellness consulting firm that specializes in the use of integrative, holistic and indigenous health and wellness methods to help individuals and organizations be the best version of themselves in mind, body and spirit. Liza is a holistic health coach, integrative wellness advocate and expert. She is especially passionate about inspiring and educating individuals and organizations about the power of using nutrient-rich foods choices and holistic lifestyle changes to achieve optimal health and personal growth.

  • Grey LinkedIn Icon

9:45 AM - 10:45 AM


Educating the Next Generation of Latinas


Executive Vice President, The Campaign for College Opportunity

Audrey Dow is the Senior Vice President of the Campaign for College Opportunity, a California-based policy and research organization that ensures more students go to college and succeed. She has broad responsibilities for co-leading the organizations’ strategic direction, robust research agenda, and for leading strategic media, communications and coalition building efforts. Audrey is a sought-after expert on issues of college access, success, affordability and racial equity speaking regularly at state and national convenings. She often contributes and is quoted in the Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, Politico, The Atlantic and National Public Radio. She serves on the Parent Board of the Mayfield Senior School, the Technical Advisory Committee for the California Future Health Workforce Commission, and is the California State Senate’s appointee to the Awards for Innovation in Higher Education Committee.

  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey LinkedIn Icon

11:00 AM - 11:45 AM

Styling Your Brand


Owner, Beyond Black | Stylist

Amanda is a Wardrobe Wizard serving the entire Bay Area. Her passion for fashion was just too strong to ignore and in her fourth year at San Francisco State, she took a chance and switched majors from Psychology to Apparel Design. It was the first step towards living her dream of becoming a personal stylist. After graduating with a Bachelor's degree, Amanda made sure every move she made was a step closer to achieving the dream. She spent several years in retail, learning and growing her skillset to style any type of customer with every type of body. In 2010, she left retail to join Beyond Black to continue serving clients with a more personalized touch. She has gone on to become the sole business owner and has assisted over 100+ clients. She specializes in helping people through streamlined styling processes, covering everything from editing a wardrobe, to identifying the best fit by body type, to educating clients on the appropriate brands and stores that would be best suited for their style, size, and budget.

  • Grey LinkedIn Icon

12:00 PM - 12:30 PM

Closing (Lunch on your own, enjoy the resort & spa)

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Wine Tasting - Black Stallion Winery

Join us as we relax and unwind after the conference program! We are excited to host a complimentary wine tasting at Black Stallion Winery. This offer has limited availability and is exclusive to conference attendees. 

wine tasting.png
Screen Shot 2018-07-30 at 12.07.24
Screen Shot 2018-07-30 at 12.01.42
Screen Shot 2018-07-30 at 12.14.17

6:00 PM 

Optional Dinner - Celadon Restaurant

The wine tasting will be followed by  a no-host three course dinner at Celadon Restaurant. The cost of the dinner is $84.00 including service charge and tax (dinner price is non-refundable). 

bottom of page