Elizabeth Chavez (Liz) is the President of Impact Media Communications a multi-service group headquartered in Southern California.
She is a graduate of Stanford University with degrees in Communications and Spanish, attended UCLA Law School, was selected a Core
Fellow to their National Public Affairs and Management Program and attended the CBS School of Management in New York City as a senior
manager for the Los Angeles owned and operated station.
A native of El Paso, Ms. Chavez currently divides her time between California
and Texas. She is President and Founder of Wise Latina International a non-profit organization serving the international border of El Paso,
New Mexico and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua that seeks to raise awareness, educate and empower Latinas and women. Ms. Chavez is an
Emmy award winning television producer/director, a member of the distinguished Director’s Guild of America and The Academy of
Television Arts and Sciences. Her entertainment expertise has led her to provide publicist services to Warner Bros and Showtime, Inc.,
working closely with film producer Moctesuma Esparza and director Gregory Nava on the highly acclaimed film Selena and Creator and
Executive Producer Dennis Leoni on Resurrection Blvd. the first weekly one-hour dramatic series on American television to predominantly
feature Latinos in front and behind the camera. Prior to establishing Impact Media and upon her departure from CBS/KCBS Ms. Chavez
served as Communications Director and Chief Spokesperson for former Los Angeles Council member Richard Alatorre. She was an appointee
to the Greek Theater Advisory board by Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and was honored by the City of Los Angeles during Women’s
History Month. Throughout her career Ms. Chavez has received numerous commendations and awards.
She is a founding member and past president
of the Stanford Chicano/Latino Alumni Association and founded the Stanford Latino Scholarship Fund an endowment that raised half a million
dollars in its first year. In El Paso she has served on the Board of the Boy’s and Girl’s Club, serves on the El Paso Community College
Hispanic Heritage Month Committee, the University of Texas at El Paso’s 21st Century Scholars Program and is a recipient of the YWCA’s
Racial Justice Ambassador Award and the Latinitas “Mujeres Making A Difference Award.” In 2015 Ms. Chavez was recognized by La Mujer Obrera
for her leadership and dedication to promoting and upholding the rights of women on the border and the 16th Annual McDonald’s Hispanic
Triunfadores Award in the Arts and Entertainment category.
Cemelli De Aztlan
Cemelli de Aztlan, a native El Pasoan, has been engaged in community organizing, social justice advocacy and cultural education
throughout her career.
She holds a Masters in Divinity with a focus on Women and Indigenous Religious Studies from Harvard University
and received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Religion from Concordia University at Austin.Presently, at the University of Texas at
El Paso in the Division of Student Affairs she serves as the Coordinator of Student Life Programs and UTEP’s Religious Studies
Department where she is developing an Indigenous Spirituality course to be taught Fall 2014. She also serves as Director of Religious
Education at the Universal Unitarian Community of El Paso.
Prior to joining UTEP, Cemelli served as Racial Justice Program Manager at
the YWCA of El Paso where she conducted presentations and trainings on Civil Rights, Diversity and Cultural Appreciation. In 2009-2011,
she served as the Executive Director at the Indigenous Cultures Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to research and preservation
of Indigenous cultures. Cemelli has served as an AmeriCorps Vista Volunteer and currently works with La Mujer Obrera organizing events and workshops.
As a Wise Latina International Board member she Chairs the Development Committee and is on the WLI First Inaugural Summit Planning Committee.
She is the proud mother of two children, Itzea and Ameyalli de Aztlan.
Lizette Arditti Saucedo
Lizette Saucedo a native El Pasoan is an advocate on behalf of educational opportunities for the El Paso community.
Presently, she works for the City of El Paso in the Mayor’s and City Council Department as a Legislative Aide for District 3. Ms. Saucedo brings a
spanning professional history as an educator and writer.
Her career encompasses creating and writing a program and curriculum for the
Department of Justice that served crime affected families across the U.S. Mexico Border. She also recently ran two successful local political campaigns.
Currently, she serves as President of LULAC Council 335 where under her direction has lead the two most successful fundraisers in the history of the
council awarding over $20,000 in scholarships to students pursuing a higher education. Ms. Saucedo holds a Bachelors Degree in Bilingual Creative
Writing and a Minor in Sociology from the University of Texas at El Paso. She maintains her deep commitment to the El Paso Community by volunteering
for various local organizations and also serves on the El Paso Sheriff’s Advisory and Foundation Boards. As a Wise Latina International Board member,
she Chairs the Education Committee.
Sandy R. Castillo is currently employed by Telemundo KTDO Channel 48 where she serves in the Traffic Department as a Traffic Assistant.
Born and raised in the Sunset Heights Historical District of El Paso, Texas Sandy has worked for companies like Hobby Lobby where
she utilized her interior design experience to set up Floral Departments, train new personnel and launch grand openings for Hobby
Lobby stores throughout Arizona, California and Texas.
Concurrently, Ms. Castillo established a small business “Exclusively Yours”
providing Event Planning consultant services including weddings, quincianeras, baby showers, company parties and special events.
Through her business she also created “Dinner for Two,” a line of ceramic table settings. She is also known for her floral designs,
handmade paper and has designed window displays for department stores in Santa Monica, California, Dallas, and El Paso. Ms. Castillo has over 20 years’
experience working in the retail and manufacturing industry.
Prior to Hobby Lobby she worked for Rockwell International and most recently prior to
Telemundo for MerkadoTeknia a local marketing and research firm. Sandy enjoys writing and watercolors, has lived in Anchorage, Alaska and has enjoyed
extensive U.S. travel. She has an AA degree in Interior Design from Southwest Institute. A founding board member of Wise Latina International, Sandy
currently serves as Recording Secretary, Membership Chair, Community Outreach Co-Chair and is a member of the WLI Writing Ourselves Into History program.
Maria Elena Garza
Ms. Garza is presently on the board of several organizations that provide services to the community of El Paso, Texas such as the Zoning Board of the City of El Paso; El Paso Public
Library Association; Center Against Sexual and Family Violence; Family Services of El Paso; Las Americas Immigration Advocacy Center, and also serves as a representative for
foster Children before the District Court in El Paso as part of the Court Appointed Special Advocates.
She is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration degree in Accounting and is currently working on her Master’s Thesis in Public Administration at New Mexico State University.
In 1985 Ms. Garza established Seltek International Incorporated, a multi- million dollar company that offers supplying services to the automobile industry along the United States-Mexico border. She has also worked for the Internal Revenue Services in Austin, Texas.
Originally from Zacatecas, Zacatecas known as a beautiful miner’s town that produced silver for its inhabitants, Ms. Garza made her way to the U.S. via Sinaloa and Mexico City seeking a better quality of life.
She credits her experience in the import-export business in Mexico to her success in building a major multi-million business in El Paso/Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua Mexico.
Ms. Garza is presently on the Board of Wise Latina International where she serves as Treasurer and is a 2018 Wise Latina International Fellow of the Leadership, Education, Advocacy, Development (L.E.A.D.) Initiative.
Brenda is a recent graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) with a Master in Public Administration. She currently works for the City of El Paso.
Born in Los Angeles, California she came to El Paso, Texas at age 3 when her father decided to look for better job opportunities at Fort Bliss Military base.
She graduated from Andres High School and went on to receive a BBA from UTEP in 1994.
Brenda has over twenty (20) years experience in housing management and finance/accounting that includes practice in both the private and government sectors.
She has twelve (12) years experience in the implementation and administration of state and federal contracts.
Brenda also has the understanding and practice in the fields of grant writing, development of social programs,
public relations, auditing, small business, homeownership, community building and economic development.
Brenda’s former employers have included Ft Bliss, Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe, The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso and The County Housing Authority.
She is also a Notary for the State of Texas since 1993.
Brenda received the 2000 Best Practices Award from HUD for a training manual entitled “Resident Motivation”.
She participates in the community through the Neighborhood Leadership Academy offered thru The City of El Paso since 2010.
She was appointed to the City of El Paso - Capital Improvement Advisory Committee by Representative Claudia Ordaz-Perez, District 6 in 2017.
Brenda was selected to the first inaugural Leadership, Education, Advocacy, Development Initiative (L.E.A.D) Fellows for Wise Latina International in 2017.
Her focus is in developing a non-profit community development corporation that will provide comprehensive services such as affordable housing, childcare and programs that move women towards economic independence.
Brenda is married and proud mother of two boys Manny D. (age 13) and Anthony (age 11). Brenda enjoys gardening, interior decorating and event planning.
Bio Not Available
Diane Medina is a retired educator from the Socorro Independent School District where she served for 38 years. She taught Physical Education, Health Education, Dance, Career Investigation and was a Cooperative Education Instructor.
The last 18 years of her career was spent as a Facilitator for Career & Technical Education overseeing the district trades programs to include Media Technology, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Welding, Electrical trades, Criminal Justice,
Graphic Design, Computer Maintenance, Building Trades, Automotive, Career Preparation, HVAC, Forensic Science, Professional Communications, and Agricultural Sciences. Diane also was the Coordinator of the Teen Parent Program for the school district.
For 10 years Diane was an Adjunct Instructor for Texas A & M University, Corpus Christi teaching Certification Courses for incoming Career & Technical Instructors.
Diane is a graduate of The University of Texas at El Paso receiving a Bachelor Degree in Education, a Master of Science Degree in Occupational Training and Development from Corpus Christi State University
and a Master of Science Degree in Education in Counseling from Sul Ross State University. She also holds a Principal Certification for the state of Texas.
Some of Diane’s activities during her career include working with the No Kidding Program in conjunction with the Attorney General’s Office to give high school students an insight of what life can be like for a teen parent,
a member of SISD School Health Advisory Council, and held the offices of President and Director of the Texas Vocational Industrial Association for District 1.
Throughout her career she has received accomplishments as TIVA Administrator of the Year, Tech Prep Outstanding Educator/Counselor and received a Coin of Excellence from Socorro Independent School District.
Currently Diane is working with the National Geographic Learning/Cengage where she helps to bring curriculum and software choices to high school educators.
Elvira Valles is the Sr. Vice President of West Texas for LiftFund, the largest nonprofit small business lender in the United States. In her role, she serves as an advocate for small businesses in the community,
providing capital and business support services to those who are not able to receive financing from traditional sources.
Ms. Valles works closely with entrepreneurs, helping them understand their capital options, increase their business knowledge, and connecting them with additional resources in the community.
Throughout her professional career, which includes more than 17 years in the finance industry, Ms. Valles has received recognition for her commitment to providing financial literacy,
sharing financial management skills and supporting small business owners in West Texas. Most recently, the U.S. Small Business Administration El Paso Office honored Ms. Valles as Financial Services Champion
and Minority Advocate for her commitment and passion for helping small businesses.
She is a member of advisory boards for Wise Latina International, Business Connect Division for the El Paso Greater Chamber of Commerce and the El Paso Credit Union HOAP, Inc.
Lorrie Castaneda currently serves as General Manager of Telemundo 48 the local television affiliate in El Paso, Texas.
A native of El Paso, Ms. Castaneda joined the ZGS Communications Team in 2006 bringing with her over 25 years of Retail Sales
and multi-store management experience in major markets such as California, New Mexico and Texas.Through her leadership she has taken
Telemundo 48 to new heights making KTDO into atop competitor not only within the local Spanish language broadcast media, but among all mainstream media.
Under her management the Nielsen ratings have seen a major boast making a significant business impact posting steady growth and significantly
enhancing the station’s profile in the market. As a leader on the ZGS senior management team, Castaneda believes in ensuring Corporate
Responsibility and giving back to the community it serves as evidenced through Telemundo’s local news and programming, community based
initiatives and partnerships. In 2013, Telemundo 48 was the recipient of three local Emmy Awards.Ms. Castaneda is a graduate of Ysleta
High School and is a founding member of Wise Latina International. She currently serves on the Board of Directors as Treasurer and Fundraising Chair.
Dorian Clouser is embarking on a second career after having served as an Art Teacher for 34 years.
Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, she taught Art at Alamogordo, New Mexico Public Schools for four years, El Paso Independent School District,
and recently Socorro Independent School District where she taught at Americas High School until her retirement in May 2012.Dorian’s is now
looking forward to building a second career as an artist. Her creative work includes pastels, watercolor, oils and acrylics.
She draws in
pencil and micron pens and has experience in printmaking, encaustics, jewelry, enameling and ceramics. She is active in the artist community
and is a member of the El Paso Art Association, Plein Air Painters of El Paso, UVAS, Retired and Working Art Teachers, Rio Bravo Watercolorists,
Pastel Artists of El Paso and is Chair of Arts of March.She currently serves as Recording Secretary for the WLI Board of Directors and was
appointed as Historian in 2013.
Maria Elena Garza
Maria Elena Garza was born in Zacatecas, Zacatecas. Mexico. She holds a BBA in Accounting from the University of Texas at El Paso
and a Master’s in Public Administration from New Mexico State University.
Upon graduation Ms. Garza worked for the IRS in Austin,
Texas and later moved to El Paso where she opened a business supplying the Maquila Industry along the border of Mexico and the United States.
In 2000, Elena was appointed as the Treasurer and City Clerk for the City of Sunland Park, New Mexico where she served until 2004.
Ms. Garza volunteers her time at the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence; Family Services of El Paso and is currently a board
member of both organizations. She helps as a volunteer for the Court Appointed Special Advocates and is the Treasurer for the El Paso
Public Library Association. Currently, she serves as a member of the Wise Latina Tapestry Summit Planning Committee.
Laura Nebhan was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. Currently, after serving as a 20 year Stay-At-Home mom,
Laura met the challenge re-entering the workforce after her 40th birthday.
First hired by Boeing as a Manufacturing Engineer Planner,
Laura worked on Fighter Jet and Delta Rocket programs and the International Space Station before going on to work for First Health Plans and
before joining Humana Inc. a Fortune 100 company as a Marketing Specialist serving El Paso and New Mexico.A successful business owner,
Laura holds a Life and Health insurance license.
As a mother of four and prior to re-joining the workforce, she was involved in every aspect
of her children’s lives, serving on advisory boards at Glen Clove Elementary, Indian Ridge and Dessert View Middle schools,
fundraised for Hanks High School Theater and their Speech and Debate booster clubs. She also volunteered at Saint Anthony of the
Desert Maronite Catholic Church.Laura is a founding member and Vice-President of Wise Latina International, Chairs the Special Events Committee
and is on the 2014 Summit Planning Committee.
Denisse Olivas is a lecturer of Marketing and the Director of the Center for Hispanic Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas at El Paso where
she enjoys teaching, researching, and mentoring students and business owners.
A native El Pasoan, she received her Master’s in
Business Administration in Marketing from the University of New Mexico, and her Bachelor’s in Business Administration in Marketing
and Computer Information Systems from the University of Texas at El Paso. Recently, she became a Professional Certified Marketer
by the American Marketing Association. Prior to that Denisse worked at the University of North Texas in Denton as a Professional Development
marketer to help enhance professionals’ business and media acumen, and enjoyed working as an Adjunct Professor of Spanish Language Media and Hispanic marketing;
teaching students the value and intricacies of multicultural marketing and media.
She also conducted innovative research on Spanish Language Media.
Her private industry experience includes work in project management and Hispanic marketing for the print advertising industry in Dallas, Texas with
clients such as Domino’s and Sony. Her work also includes retail management and merchandising for JCPenny’s top district store in Albuquerque, New Mexico,
as well as consulting small and medium sized businesses. Denisse enjoys traveling, reading, exercising and spending quality time with family and friends.
She currently chairs the WLI Marketing Committee and is on the Summit 2016 Tapestry of Evolution Planning Committee.