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Day 1 | October 14 | 12-3pm PT

Melina Duarte is the Founder and Principal Consultant of MyDuarte Group, LLC. MyDuarte matches organizations and individuals to strategies and solutions and specializes in a wide range of services including (but not limited to) organizational development, branding, board development, donor cultivation, public relations and the managing of high profile clients and events. In addition to her consulting work, Melina is also a political strategist who has a passion for working with progressive candidates and campaigns to shape messaging and advise on strategic courses of action. Before venturing out on her own, Melina worked at the University of California where she was an integral part of the team that designed, launched and implemented the California State Summer School for Mathematics & Science.


Melina is a self proclaimed ‘Chingona’ and considers herself to be part of a movement of Latinas who have taken back that term and now wear it as a badge of honor. Her unique contribution is the creation of an official definition for the term, which can be found on a line of products she sells as part of her culture and lifestyle brand aptly named Chingona Definition. Melina’s motivation for starting Chingona Definition was to inspire all women, particularly young women of color, to own their power and pursue their dreams with confidence. Melina splits her time between the San Francisco Bay Area and Coachella Valley and is passionate about investing her time and energy in those communities through volunteer work, philanthropic efforts and supporting local business owners. She is a proud alum of UCI and self proclaimed tech geek. room or enjoying the company of family and friends.

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Noelia Sanchez is a Personal Branding and Digital Strategist who specializes in working with nonprofit organizations and women looking to grow their thought leadership. Noelia is focused on helping women transform the way they market, brand, and communicate their genius by teaching them to strategically manage all aspects of their personal brands, including their leadership presence, communication effectiveness, personal development and professional networks. Noelia holds a BA in Linguistics from UC Santa Barbara, is a certificated Body Language Trainer with the Science of People, and is a certified Content Marketing Expert with Digital Marketer. When she 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 in her neighborhood.

Dayana Falcon grew up in Miami where the warmth and electricity rubbed off on her starting at an early age. Being the first in her family to attend college as a LatinX woman with Cuban roots, she chose The University of Florida where she majored in Advertising. Dayana has been described as pioneering, storyteller, energetic, digital expert, forward-thinking, connector, revenue driver, enthusiastic and her greatest strength is her ability to network. She began her career in analytics and digital media planning for clients such as Lifelock, Logitech, Pandora, Hyundai, and Kia during her time at Initiative Media. Shortly after, she was relocated to NYC by the Global CEO of BPN (IPG Mediabrands third media agency) to join his global team. Dayana’s responsibilities ranged from global business development, marketing, and operations. She brought to life the agency’s brand, culture and positioning, launched 25+ offices WW, strategized and executed global summits for the agency’s global leadership team, supported the team to win 160+ new clients to their client roster and created case studies that won 30+ awards YOY for the agency.

Today, Dayana joins us as the Sales Marketing Manager at Disney Advertising Sales within the DTCI Segment at The Walt Disney Company. She is responsible for leading our B2B go-to-market strategy and strategic white-glove client engagement in efforts to further evangelize the positioning and priorities of powerful brands in The Walt Disney Company portfolio. This includes strategic GTM positioning, B2B thought leadership of a 360 degree trade strategy, B2B social media content strategy and leading the marketplace narrative in maintaining the position as “one of the most intimate brands” worldwide. Dayana is also deeply passionate and a huge advocate about all things around Diversity and Inclusion and helping companies develop a Talent Mobility Mindset for Talent engagement and retention.


Follow along her #CareerFocused Journey on Twitter: @DayanaF


Day 2 | October 15 | 12-3pm PT


Rosie Arroyo manages programs, initiatives and outreach on issues affecting immigrant communities.

Arroyo joined CCF in October 2007 as a Joan Palevsky Fellow for the foundation’s El Monte Community Building Initiative and was board/community relations liaison.  Before that, Arroyo was program director at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund.

Arroyo holds a bachelor’s in Mexican-American studies from California State University, Los Angeles. She is currently pursuing an MPA from California State University, Northridge.

Arroyo took on the office of HOPE Board Chair in January 2019, where she leads strategies to advance HOPE's mission of ensuring economic and political parity for Latinas.

Dr Consuelo (Connie) Casillas is a family physician at Kaiser Permanente (KP) Pasadena and Clinical Faculty for the Los Angeles Medical Center (LAMC) Family Practice Residency Program. Dr. Casillas enjoys providing care for a diverse patient population and leading program initiatives to improve health equity. She devotes her free time to promoting healthcare workforce diversity in her role as Chief Information Officer for Alliance in Mentorship. She also serves as Instructor for the new Kaiser Permanente Tyson School of Medicine as well as for David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.


She is the immediate past co-chair for LAMC’s Equity, Inclusion & Diversity Committee and is a current California Health Care Foundation Fellow for Cohort 19. Prior to joining KP, Dr. Casillas practiced with Pomona Valley Health Center’s newly established Family Practice Residency Program as its Obstetrical Coordinator and Core Faculty between 1997-2000.

Dr. Casillas completed her undergraduate training at the University of California, Berkeley where she majored in Genetics with a minor in Chicano Studies. She obtained her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and completed an American Heart Association research fellowship at the University of Rochester, New York. 

Dr. Casillas’ family roots are in Jalisco, Mexico and South Texas, but she was raised locally in Pico Rivera and Montebello, CA.  She is passionate about mentorship and serving disenfranchised populations and is hopeful for a future where all populations have equal access to health care and equitable health outcomes.

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Wendy has been in the Financial Industry for 15 years and has served in various capacities. She enjoys being an advocate for her clients and serving her community. She is currently responsible for educating communities about homeownership and the importance of building generational wealth. She serves on the board of Bloom Again Foundation, and the National Latina Business Women Association- LA Chapter. She is a mother of two and enjoys traveling and staying fit

Day 3 | October 16 | 12-3pm PT


As a nonprofit leader, Vanessa is most passionate about honoring the commitments made to communities through policy, and legislative change.


In her decade of advocacy and legislative experience, Vanessa has been instrumental in the passage of major bills that directly impact the lives and experiences of children and youth impacted by California’s Foster Care system at California Youth Connection (CYC). These include; the extension of foster care to the age of 21, legislation to maintain the sibling relationships through the adoption system, and the modernization of California’s Foster Care Bill of Rights (the most expansive in the Nation!)


Vanessa is thrilled to join the team at HOPE (Hispanas Organized for Political Equality) because the mission and values of advocacy & empowerment align with her own vision of systematic and social change- one that is rooted in community empowerment.


Vanessa is currently an appointed member of the California Child Welfare Council and the Judicial’s Council: Keeping Kids in School and Out of Court Initiative. She is a founding member of the Sacramento Latina Leaders Network, which has grown to include over 300 women in the Sacramento region who celebrate and cultivate the leadership of Latinas. She also serves as the Recruitment Chair for the New Leaders Council, Sacramento which trains progressive leaders of tomorrow.


When she’s not serving her community, Vanessa can often be found enjoying life at Lake Tahoe or playing with her two puppies, Rocky & Rosie.

Sofia was born and raised in Southern California. She attended Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA before transferring to UCLA. In 2015, she graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts in Gender Studies and studied International Business abroad for a summer at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). In 2018, she graduated from the Riordan MBA Fellows Program at UCLA Anderson School of Management and the Forte MBA Launcher Program.

Currently, she is an Ambassador at the United State of Women (USOW) and Founder and President of Muslim Women Professionals (MWP). Most recently, she was accepted as one of only 17 entrepreneurs in the Los Angeles area to be a part of the Grid110 Program.


MWP is an organization that promotes empowerment amongst Muslim women by educating, empowering, and mobilizing a global network. MWP creates spaces where Muslim women are inspired to thrive in both their personal and professional lives through networking, mentorship, and motivational content. 


Sofia lies at the intersectionality of multiple identities: Muslim, woman, Pakistani, and Mexican. She uses her unique identity to bring awareness to various issues including: diversity and inclusion, community development, islamophobia, and women empowerment. She has written for outlets like Forbes, was featured on multiple podcasts, and interviewed for various publications. She is a frequent panelist at events centered around female empowerment and diversity and inclusion. Her mission is to foster unity amongst Muslim women, bring awareness to the struggles of underrepresented communities, and create resources to help them thrive.


Janet Martinez is the co-founder/director of programs of Comunidades Indigenas en Liderazgo (CIELO). She is a Bene Xogsho (Zapotec) born in Los Angeles and raised in south-central L.A. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Gender and Women’s Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, with a thesis on Indigenous migrants in the U.S. court system. Ms. Martinez has a formal education that has been coupled with grassroots work through her fund development experience at Indigenous Front of Binational Organizations, independent consulting to community organizations as a grant writer.

Aside from her direct activism, Janet has engaged issues facing indigenous migrant communities through her writing; she has published articles on topics including new approaches to gendered leadership in indigenous communities, and the challenges facing youths in indigenous migrant communities. She also was a collaborator on UCLA’s mapping indigenous L.A.


Ms. Martinez has organized the Indigenous Literature conference and Weaving Words and Rhymes for the past four consecutive years. Her work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Ozy, and Telesur. Currently, she is a host on the podcast Tu’un Dali, a podcast for and by indigenous people.

Ashley McCullough is a native of Charlotte, NC. She obtained her bachelor’s of science degree in Accounting from NC A&T State University and a master of science in accounting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Ashley started her career as an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and currently serves as the Accounting Manager at a non-profit organization, Thorn.


In her spare time, Ashley is constantly pouring into adolescents through her non-profit, The Princess Project, where she provides mentorship and scholarships to graduating high school females. She also loves traveling the world, adding Thailand and Brazil stamps to her passport to name a few.

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