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CLCF Leadership Academy Instructors

The curriculum developed specifically for the CLCF Leadership Academy, is one-of-a-kind.  It is a blend of leadership and management fundamentals applicable in both the civic and corporate sectors.  We are proud and honored that this program will be presented by a renowned cadre of expert instructors with varied backgrounds ranging from the academic world to global corporate leadership. The combined experiences of these impressive professionals will provide for a rich learning experience for all members of the cohort.

Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto, Ph.D.

Victoria received her Ph.D. in political science from Duke University during which time she was a National Science Foundation Fellow. She is currently a Professor at the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas where she was selected as one of the University’s Game Changing faculty. Named one of the top 12 scholars in the country by Diverse magazine Victoria previously taught at Northwestern University and Rutgers. Victoria also holds an honorary Doctoral degree from Northeastern Illinois University where she was privileged to serve as commencement speaker.

Victoria is a contributor to MSNBC and as well as a regular political analyst for Telemundo. She has previously provided on-air analysis for CNN, Fox, PBS, Univision, NPR and has appeared on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. Most recently Victoria was a featured expert in the PBS documentary of the Civil Rights Trailblazer, Willie Velasquez in, Your Vote is Your Voice. Victoria is also published in both academic and popular outlets such as POLITICO and Talking Points Memo. Through these different outlets, Victoria translates social science research into a more relatable form of information for a wide variety of audiences.

Victoria bridges her academic expertise of public policy, political psychology and her media experience by training leaders from various sectors to formulate and strategically employ communications strategies. She has worked with professional organizations and businesses such as Latino Decisions, The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, Public Radio International, Pzifer, and the National Conference of Political Involvement Professionals to provide practical political analysis and media training that enhance the effectiveness of communications campaigns.
Beyond her classroom, media, and consulting work, Victoria is an active public speaker. Some of her featured speaking engagements include Harvard’s Latino Law, Policy, and Business Conference, YWCA National Conference, Chicago’s Standard Club Lecture Series, and the U.S. State Department’s Public Diplomacy Program where Victoria spoke across the United Kingdom about the American electoral system.

Victoria is a native of Southern Arizona and is a diehard Arizona Wildcats basketball fan. She is of Italian-Jewish-Mexican heritage and lives in beautiful Austin, Texas with her husband Neftali Garcia and their children. To learn more about Victoria or contact her please visit

Marlene González

Marlene is the Founder and President of Life Coaching Group LLC. She is a leader in the cutting edge industry of executive coaching and training. She is a Licensed Practitioner for Insights North America, a global learning and development company working with leading organizations around the world. She partners with organizations to inspire and transform individuals and team’s most common challenges into success.

She co-authored the book “Latinization and the Latino Leader”; How to value, develop and advance talented professionals. Former, Career Coach columnist for Latina Magazine. Contributing Blogger and coach for the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement, HACE. She serves in multiple boards and non-profit organizations. González held many executive corporate positions in the US, Europe and Latin America. She is the former Senior Director of Global Training, Learning and Development for McDonald’s Corporation. González holds BS, an Executive MBA/PAG, and a graduate diploma on managerial Issues in the global enterprise from Thunderbird University. She has been a recipient of many awards. She resides in Ohio with her husband Carlos. They enjoy traveling and gourmet cooking.

As a published author, prominent speaker and trainer. Marlene has been speaking and teaching Insights strategies to Fortune 500, Government, Non Profit organizations globally for over a decade. She conducts dynamic workshops and delivers keynote in the following themes:
• Personal Effectiveness; How to thrive in a competitive world.
• Leadership a Game Changer; Inspire your leaders to lead with vision, passion and integrity.
• The Making of a Team; Uncover the real collective dynamics of your team spirit.
• Coaching Yourself to Success; Finding purpose and happiness at work.
• The Power of Mentoring; How to be a great Mentor and find mentors.
• Be Brilliant, Move Ahead; How to Break behavior patterns that hold you back in the work place.
• Assertive Communication for Women in Business; Speak out with confidence—while getting the respect you deserve.
• Latinization and the Latino Leader; How to value, develop and advance talented professionals of color.

Anthony B. Lopez

Anthony is the Founder and Managing Partner for L&L Associates, a Leadership & Management Consulting Firm. Prior to this he was CEO & Managing Director of AZZUR GROUP. Tony is Chairman-Emeritus of the Board of PROSPANICA and currently serves on the PROSPANICA Foundation Board. He also serves on the Board of Advisors for Touchland, Inc. He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering, an MS in Engineering Management, and is a graduate of the Department of Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute. He began his professional career as an AF Officer (Captain) and served from 1985 to 1996.

He began his corporate career in 1991 with Johnson & Johnson serving in various capacities including Director of Engineering, Business Unit Manager, Group Product Director, General Manager and Director of Integration, and Vice President for International Marketing & Market Development, and Chairperson for J&J’s Hispanic Organization For Leadership & Achievement. From 2009 to 2011 Tony served as the SVP & GM for Respiratory in CareFusion where he oversaw a $750M budget. From 2011 – 2017 he served as President for Medical Solutions at Ansell Healthcare - a $450M global business.

Tony is a sought-after speaker and expert on leadership and management topics. He has presented to audiences throughout the United States and Latin America; and thousands of people have attended his presentations. Tony is the author of “The Legacy Leader (1st and 2nd editions)”, “Breakthrough Thinking: The Legacy Leader’s Role In Driving Innovation”, “The Leader’s Lobotomy: The Legacy Leader Avoids Promotion Induced Amnesia”, “The Leader In the Mirror; The Legacy Leader’s Critical Self-Assessment”, “The Diversity Engagement Model: From Awareness to Action” (published in The Journal for Hispanic Business Research, October 2008), and “The Legacy Leader As Superhero: LEGACYWOMAN”. He is also the author of “See You At The Wake: Healing Relationships Before It’s Too Late” and “Jag: Christian Lessons From My Golden Retriever”.

His military awards include: The Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal (2), the Air Defense Service Medal, and the Aerospace Primus Award. His Johnson & Johnson awards include: the ETHICON quality award (3), J&J Standards of Leadership Award (3), The J&J Achievement Award (4); The EHICON Silver Award (2); The ETHICON Bronze Award (5), the 2006 DePuy President’s Award, and the J&J Burke Award for Marketing Excellence.

He is also a two-time winner of the Telly, a prestigious industry award. Tony is a 3rd Degree Black belt in the American Association of Taekwondo and a Black Belt in the International Federation of TaeKwonDo. He enjoys reading, writing, and physically challenging sports.

Dr. Robert Rodriguez

Robert Rodriguez, Ph.D., is the president of Dr. Robert Rodriguez Advisors LLC (DRR Advisors), a diversity consulting firm that helps business leaders elevate the impact and effectiveness of their workplace inclusion initiatives.  DRR Advisors works with large and small businesses to build forward-thinking organizational practices that foster diversity, leadership and innovation.

Dr. Rodriguez specializes in enterprise diversity strategy, diverse talent initiatives and leadership development.  Over 200 corporations have sought his expertise and consultation to develop proactive diversity initiatives that have a positive impact on business results.  So many corporations rely on Dr. Rodriguez for insight on their diversity initiatives thatHispanic Business magazine named Robert one of the Top 100 Most Influential Latinos in Corporate America.  In 2017, Chicago United selected him as one of the Business Leaders of Color.  He was formally a columnist for Diversity Executive magazine.  He is also a 2018 recipient of the Maestro Award from Latino Leaders magazine.

Prior to starting DRR Advisors, Dr. Rodriguez held non-profit, academic and corporate leadership roles. Dr. Rodriguez currently teaches executive education courses at DePaul University, the University of Southern California (USC) and Southern Methodist University (SMU). He previously held leadership roles at Fortune 500 firms, including Target Corporation, 3M Company, Amoco and The Washington Post.

Robert is best known for his book, Latino Talent: Effective Strategies to Recruit, Retain and Develop Hispanic Professionals which is used by dozens of corporations as a framework for their Latino diversity programs.  His new book was released in October 2017, co-written with Andres Tapia, is titled, “Auténtico: The Definitive Guide to Latino Career Success.”

He serves on the Chicago Advisory Council for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, is a past board chairman for the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE) and is a trustee for the National Museum of Mexican Art.

Dr. Rodriguez holds doctorate in Organization Development and is a graduate of the Latino Leadership Institute at UCLA.   Dr. Rodriguez resides in Chicago.  He can be reached at DRR Advisors at