The 2018 Top 12 LATINA Corporate Executives of the Year.
By Gloria Romano-Barrera.
In its 10th consecutive year, the LATINA Style Corporate Executive of the Year program honors influential Latinas, selected by their peers, as leaders and examples for the Hispanic community and for the professional women in the U.S. From Dallas Fort Worth Intl. Airport Executive Vice President, Administration & Diversity, Linda Valdez Thompson to Airbnb Senior Manager Public Policy Marisa Moret, the Top 12 Corporate LATINA Executives of the Year highlights the executives who are making waves in their respective industries.
Catherine Hernandez-Blades, Senior Vice President, Chief Brand & Communications Officer, Aflac
Catherine Hernandez-Blades, senior vice president and chief brand and communications officer at Aflac, is responsible for advertising, brand strategy, organizational and corporate communications, sponsorships, social media and philanthropy, including the company’s International SABRE award-winning corporate social responsibility program. She joined Aflac in 2014 as senior vice president of Corporate Communications and was named chief brand and communications officer in October 2017.
Prior to Aflac, she served as chief marketing officer and then chief marketing and communications officer at Flextronics. Previously, she served as vice president of Communications and Public Affairs at Raytheon Company’s Space and Airborne Systems business and held various other marketing and international communications-related leadership positions at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.
She is the 2017 World Communications Forum Davos “Relations of the Future” awardee and a PRWeek Hall of Femme and a PR News Hall of Fame inductee. She is a PR News 50 Game-Changers of PR awardee and a recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Alumni Award from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Most recently, she was named to the NY Moves magazine 25 Power Women list and the Outstanding Public Relations Professional (in-house) by PRWeek.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts in mass communication from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and is a Loyola University Environmental Communications Fellow.
Gladys Lopez, Senior Manager, Hilton
Gladys Lopez is a Senior Manager in the Supplier Diversity team at Hilton. Lopez is responsible for advisory supplier diversity strategic planning and the integration of those elements into the sourcing and procurement process. Lopez also oversees the educational and outreach programs for supplier diversity as well as being the department’s liaison to the Hilton Supply Management Organization.
Lopez has a strong background in supplier diversity, diversity and inclusion, strategic sourcing, and supply chain. Before joining Hilton Supply Management in 2018, she held various positions in the public and private sector to include supplier diversity, subcontract administration, and procurement.
Lopez served a two-year term on the Board of The Financial Services Roundtable for Supplier Diversity, serving as secretary and vice chair. She is the Chair of the Corporate Board of The National Association of Latino State Chambers of Commerce.
She is an active member of the National Minority Supplier Development Council, the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the local affiliates of several of these organizations.
Lopez holds a B.A. degree from Georgetown University, an M.A. degree in legal administration from Marymount University, an Advanced Professional Certificate in Corporate Management from Western International University, a Certificate in Diversity & Inclusion from Cornell University, among other professional degrees and certificates.
Jackie Rios, Managing Director of Customer Care at Chicago, O’Hare, American Airlines
Jackie Rios began her American Airlines career in 1995 at ORD as an agent in ticket lift. She became a CSM before moving into the HR side of the business where she worked to support various organizations over the last 11 years including Chicago, Flight and Flight Service, the Integrated Operational Center and most recently the International Division. While leading People initiatives for the International division, Jackie’s scope of care included 64 countries across the globe with over 6000 team members for American Airlines.
Rios is recognized, respected and admired by all who work in American Airlines both international and domestic. Her dedication and commitment with the company and their employees make her a valuable asset and an inspirational role model for those who are under her leadership.
For over 10 years she has been and advisor and a manager sponsor for the Latin Diversity Network Employee Business Resource Group and has helped in opening chapters in the U.S. and Latin America, provides mentorship to board members and the Diversity Advisory Council.
Not only has she demonstrated tenacity and perseverance throughout 23 years, but she has also become a reference for excellence. She embodies the companies’ goals by caring and collaborating with people and leaders to think globally. Also, developing new opportunities and providing outstanding results she’s always looking towards our bright future.
Linda Valdez Thompson, Executive Vice President, Administration & Diversity, Dallas Fort Worth Intl. Airport
Linda Valdez Thompson is the Executive Vice President of Administration and Diversity at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport since 2001. She provides strategic leadership for the Human Resources, Procurement and Materials Management, Risk Management, Business Diversity and Development, and Corporate Communications & Marketing functions. She is one of the highest-ranking Latinas in the aviation industry.
Valdez Thompson is also a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion in the workplace and is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce by implementing strategies that promote engagement and develop a culture of inclusion. She has established a leadership council, various employee resource groups (including HOLA – Hispanic Outreach by Leaders in Action), networks, and mentoring programs. She has personally mentored and coached over 150 women, including many Latinas.
She oversees the Airport’s award-winning business diversity program which continues to create significant economic opportunity for North Texas’ small, minority and woman-owned businesses.
During her professional career, she has worked for several Fortune 500 companies. She is a Certified Corporate Citizenship Professional through Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, a Certified Diversity Professional/Advanced Practitioner from Cornell University, and an alumni of the National Hispana Leadership Institute.
Linda serves and has served on various community boards such as the United Way, American Heart Association, North Texas Commission, Hispanic 100 and Parents Step Ahead.
Lisa Heritage McLin, Vice President, Channel Sales and Channel Chief, Rackspace
As Rackspace’s Vice President of Channel Sales and Channel Chief, Lisa Heritage McLin is responsible for the strategy and execution of growing partner relationships and propelling organizational revenue. Having been with Rackspace since 2002, she has mastered the development of high-velocity sales organizations through creating processes, methodologies and accountability for profit-generating programs and building relationships and strategies for the company’s partners and alliances. She is known for her visionary, servant leader approach to developing strong, winning teams and invests in mentoring and advancing the careers of those around her.
McLin serves on the Board of Directors for Texas Conference for Women and on the Board for the Rackspace Foundation. She is also the Executive Chair for POWER, Professional Organization for Women Empowerment at Rackspace, the largest employee resource group at Rackspace. Lisa has been recognized as one of the 50 Most Influential Channel Chiefs of 2018, honored as CRN 2018 Women in the Channel and was awarded Channel Partners Circle of Excellence for her executive vision, innovation and advocacy of the indirect channel.
McLin holds a BBA in Accounting & Business Management from University of Texas in San Antonio University and an Executive Business Administration and Management degree from University of Texas in Austin.
Maria T. Lensing, Vice President, Healthcare Solutions – AT&T Business, AT&T Communications, LLC
Maria T. Lensing heads the Healthcare Solutions team worldwide for AT&T Business. She leads the sales and technical teams responsible for developing the growth initiatives of this business, including the products, services and global industry specific solutions for the nearly $6 billion organization.
Prior to her current role, Lensing was the Chief of Staff for the Chief Executive Officer of AT&T Business. She was responsible for developing, leading and supporting the growth initiatives and operational cadence of the company’s $70B integrated business organization, which serves more than 3 million business customers in nearly 200 countries and territories, including nearly all of the Fortune 1,000.
Previously, she was AVP of Business Strategy where she led the development of unbiased and executable recommendations and strategies to drive superior and sustainable economic value for the entire business organization.
Lensing has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering & Master of Science in Engineering Management from Christian Brothers University (CBU). She completed her Executive Education from Harvard Business School and is actively involved in many local and national nonprofits. She is a director for the Board of DeNeuville Learning Center and a trustee for CBU.
Mariam Merced, Director-Community Health Promotions, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital-New Brunswick
Mariam Merced, has been the Director of the RWJ Barnabas Health System-Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Community Health Promotion Program for the past 27 years. In this role, she is responsible for the coordination of accessible quality preventive health care services and educational programs for communities in Middlesex County.
Merced works closely with local community-based organizations and residents to develop innovative programs to address the health needs of the community. She utilizes the arts to promote health information among diverse communities in Central Jersey. As a result, she has developed numerous health promotion theater and art projects in the areas of Breast and Prostate Cancer awareness, domestic violence, youth violence prevention summer initiatives and smoking cessation/Lung Cancer awareness.
Merced is the Co-Chair of the New Brunswick Community Food Alliance Community Engagement Group, Chair of the Puerto Rican Action Board of Directors, a member of Partnership for Healthy Kids of New Brunswick, a member of the Elijah’s Promise Soup Kitchen Advisory Board and Elder and past vice-chair of Consistory at the Suydam Street Reformed Church.
She holds a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Psychology and Labor Studies from the University of Puerto Rico, and a Masters Degree in Labor Studies from Rutgers the State University of New Jersey.
Marisa Moret, Senior Manager Public Policy, Airbnb
Marisa Moret is a Senior Manager on Airbnb’s Public Policy and Communications Team. This team works with cities, counties, states, and jurisdictions around the world to ensure that the Airbnb community can participate in, and benefit from, the sharing economy. Moret works with the team and policymakers to pass laws to legitimize Airbnb’s business and crafts legislation to enable Airbnb’s business and community to thrive. She is also leads initiatives to develop new tools for political engagement and empowerment of the Airbnb community.
Prior to joining Airbnb, Moret served for over a decade as Chief of Staff and Managing Attorney to San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera where she was at the forefront of legal cases of national importance such as marriage equality, affordable healthcare, consumer rights and environmental protection. Earlier in her career she was the first Latina equity partner with the Nossaman law firm where she advised public and private companies on a wide range of regulatory and litigation matters.
Moret has served in leadership positions with a number of community organizations including the California Coastal Conservancy and the St. Mary’s Medical Center Foundation. She is dedicated to advancing the Latino community and has worked to elect a number of elected officials across California.
She is a graduate of Georgetown University and the UCLA School of Law and is an active member of the California Bar. She currently resides in San Francisco with her partner Stephen Gomez.
Monica Andrea Greenhalgh, Chief Information Officer, First Mile, General Motors
Monica Andrea Greenhalgh is the CIO of First Mile located in Austin, Texas. First Mile is dedicated to enabling emerging business within General Motors. Greenhalgh was promoted to her current role in August 2018.
Prior to First Mile, she was the CIO of South America managing the IT professionals, projects and operations in the region while serving as a member of the South America Executive Leadership team. She led the transformation of the SA organization streamlining and moving all resources into development (Innovation) roles.
Prior to the CIO role, she was the Director of Program management in the Sales and Marketing IT portfolio. In this role, her team was responsible for global project delivery and IT Insourcing in Sales and Marketing.
Greenhalgh has more than two decades of experience in the IT and management consultant industries. Prior to joining GM in February 2013, she spent seven years at Hewlett-Packard. Before HP, she spent more than 10 years at Accenture, and was part of the ExxonMobil merger team, one of the largest Petrochemical mergers.
She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1996, earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics with High Honors with a minor in Spanish.
Norma L. Garcia, Associate General Counsel-International Legal Affairs, Rent-A-Center
Norma L. Garcia is an accomplished and seasoned bilingual attorney with extensive employment, tort litigation and corporate experience. She is Associate General Counsel-International Legal Affairs at Rent-A-Center (“RAC”) responsible for managing the consumer litigation docket and serves as the Assistant Compliance Officer for a three-billion dollar publicly-traded company with approximately 18,000 employees.
Garcia leads and manages the legal team in Mexico and also provides support with litigation, regulatory, human resources, and other oversight to the legal team in the U.S.
She has been recognized for her leadership, including receiving the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association’s 2017 Corporate Counsel Diversity Award.
Garcia was instrumental in the formation of the company’s Women’s Leadership Initiative (Diversity & Inclusion) program. She is also one of the four founding members of RAC’s first Women’s Leadership Conference held in August 2017. She is a Board member of the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center. She serves as a Commissioner on the Hispanic National Bar Association’s Latina Commission and serves as the Co-Chair of the Dallas Latina Leadership Program. In addition, she continues to serve as a mentor to numerous female Hispanic students that are interested in pursuing a career in law.
Garcia is also active with organizations that provide food and shelter to the underprivileged, including serving as a fundraiser and volunteer for both the North Texas Food Bank and Minnie’s Food Pantry of Plano.
Patty Arvielo, President, New American Funding
Born into a hard-working Mexican-American family from South Gate, California, Patty Arvielo’s first exposure to the mortgage industry was as a young girl. At just 16, she landed a clerical position for TransUnion Credit. At 19, she was promoted into a sales position.
Arvielo’s extensive background in mortgage lending includes DE Underwriter and VA LAPP Certifications. In 1997 she was invited to lead the operations unit of an independent broker shop, and in 2003 she and her husband Rick Arvielo decided to launch their own mortgage company – New American Funding.
Over a decade later, she has worked to transform New American Funding into a national
mortgage lender and servicer that maintains a servicing portfolio of over 108,000 loans for $27 billion. Under her guidance, the company has brought the entire loan process in house – origination, processing, underwriting, funding and servicing. She continues to actively contribute to the bottom line, originating and booking millions in home loans each year, all while managing operations and sales for New American Funding’s headquarters, approximately 180 branches and about 2,900 employees.
Sonia Velasco Clayton, President & CEO, Virtual Intelligence Providers, LLC
Sonia Velasco Clayton was born in Colombia during the violence of the Narco-Guerilla period. While still in her youth, she moved to Venezuela with her family seeking refuge from the turmoil of her native soil. She arrived in USA in 1984, with $50 in her pocket and she didn’t speak English.
She Founded Virtual Intelligence Providers, LLC (www.vip-global.com), just 2 weeks after 9/11, in 2001, and remains as its CEO to this day. VIP-Global is an IT consulting firm specializing in ERP Systems Implementations, Staff Augmentation, Change Management and Training. Her company was created against all odds during a time of economic recession within the energy sector and in a traditionally white-male dominated industry.
While being recognized for her accomplishments she is said to be, “The Oracle of The Hispanic Business Women in America,” as quoted by U.S. congressmen and senators, from both sides of the aisle, for achieving the American Dream. She has won 29 awards of excellence including state and White House recognition. Sonia is a member of the Texas Judicial Council and several university boards in the USA and abroad. Sonia holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management & Administration, is a Harvard Business School Certified Negotiator and is a graduate of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneur Program, from Stanford Business School.
LATINA Style Inc. is also proud to announce the following “Honorable Mentions” Corporate
LATINA Executives of the Year for 2018 (in no specific order):
Bianca Negron, Director, The Coaching Spot, LLC.
Graciela Racaro, VP, Client Delivery, PAREXEL
Natalia Grassis, Vice President, PAREXEL
Sandra Moore, Vice President, Digital Retail Solutions, FordDirect, LLC
Sophia Felix, Founder/Manager, HBM & Talent Management
Want to comment or have any questions on this article? Email us at [email protected]