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CLCF Leadership Academy Class of 2020


Tristan & Cervantes LLC

Ashley is an attorney at Tristan & Cervantes LLC located in Chicago, IL. She is a graduate of University of Illinois at Chicago, where she received a BA in Psychology in May of 2013. In January of 2014, Ms. Alvarez began law school at California Western School of Law located in San Diego, CA. There she served as a clinical student for the California Innocence Project, where she worked with a team of eight successfully overturning a wrongful conviction. Ms. Alvarez interned at both the San Diego and Orange County Public Defender’s Office in their respective juvenile delinquency, dependency and felony divisions. Most notably, effectively overturning the application of a collaborative local and federal law. Throughout her law school career, Ms. Alvarez volunteered as a mentor with the local San Diego schools, with survivors of human trafficking, the XONR8 board, animal rights and diversity collaborative. After graduating law school, Ms. Alvarez returned to Chicago, where she worked at Kelly & Ignoffo Law Group, PC. In September of 2019, Ms. Alvarez joined Tristan & Cervantes focusing her practice on litigation and government affairs. She recently founded Oye Prima, a Cuban-American and Ally Community that uses its platform to bridge and expand the celebration of culture and unity.



Chief Legal Counsel, Office of the 16th District Cook County Commissioner

Carlos earned his Bachelor of Arts from Lewis University, completed coursework towards his Master of Public Administration from  DePaul University, and earned his J.D. from The John Marshall Law School. He is admitted to practice law in the State of Illinois and the United States Supreme Court. Currently, he is Chief Legal Counsel to a Commissioner of the Cook County Board, where he counsels the Commissioner on parliamentary procedures and board rules, legislation, contracts, government grants, contractual and legal authority for corporate actions, and other advice related to the execution of his fiduciary duties as County Commissioner. He played a key role in overturning the “Soda Tax” and drafting legislation to protect union workers throughout Cook County. Prior to his current role, Mr. Aparicio’s worked as a senior attorney for Acero Schools Chicago (previously known as UNO Charter School Network), providing advice and counsel to both the Board of Directors and senior leadership on matters related to state and regulatory compliance with the Illinois Charter School Law, intergovernmental affairs, and a myriad of other legal matters. In particular, Mr. Aparicio was instrumental in successfully terminating federal SEC oversight, stemming from the prior UNO board’s mismanagement of state grants and bond offering. His experience as public agency counsel also includes assistant general counsel/legislative counsel to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and  Family Services, where he acquired significant experience in legislative and regulatory matters, employment and labor law, government contracts and procurement, and defending the agency against administrative claims. As legislative Counsel to the agency, Mr. Aparicio coordinated the strategic objectives of the state of Illinois while developing and managing legislative objectives with outside stakeholders.


Director of Construction, Peoples Gas Company

‘Sal’ is the Director of Construction for Peoples Gas, a natural gas delivery company that serves approximately 840,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the city of Chicago, and is a subsidiary of WEC Energy Group. He is responsible for leading the field capital construction team to execute the annual multi-million dollar infrastructure System Modernization Program (SMP) in the city of Chicago. Sal ensures field construction work is performed safely, in compliance with applicable regulations and construction standards, and satisfactory to customers and external stakeholders. He is tasked with the development and reinforcement of a continuous improvement and quality management culture and is responsible for ensuring the consistent application of project management, process management and process improvement tools. Sal has spent 20 years in the energy industry. He began his career at Peoples Gas in 1999 as an associate engineer. Throughout his tenure at Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, he has worked in management, engineering, field operations, construction, workforce planning, and human resources supporting various utilities within WEC Energy Group. Sal has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University, West Lafayette. He currently serves on the board of directors for Casa Central. He has served on the board of directors for the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and as a trustee for the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Power for America Training Trust Fund. He is also a member of the American Gas Association (AGA) Construction Operations Committee and Chairman for the Peoples Gas Political Action Committee. Sal resides with his wife and three daughters in the northwest suburbs of Illinois where much of his time is centered on family activities and his children’s sports


Commissioner, Illinois Commerce Commission

Maria was appointed to the Illinois Commerce Commission by Governor JB Pritzker on April 8, 2019 to a four-year term and confirmed by the Illinois Senate on May 31, 2019. Commissioner Bocanegra is an accomplished, well-respected attorney with prior public service in both Democratic and Republican administrations. She most recently served as Arbitrator at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. There, she managed a docket of nearly 3,000 claims, presiding over various matters including pre-trials, trials, settlements, dismissals, attorney fee disputes along with collateral issues involving Medicare and Social Security. Previously, Bocanegra held the Public Seat on the Labor Advisory Board for the Illinois Department of Labor, participating in critical meetings regarding various laws and issues affecting Illinois workers, including those laws enforced by the Department of Labor. She also formerly worked as an attorney with Katz Friedman, where she handled workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. Commissioner Bocanegra earned her Juris Doctor from DePaul University College of Law and her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Quincy University. She is fluent in Spanish and is the first in her family to obtain a college degree.


Deputy Commissioner

Business Affairs and Consumer Protection

 City of Chicago

Currently, Ivan is Deputy Commissioner of Business Compliance for the Chicago’s Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Dept. Previously,  Ivan served as Deputy Director and Acting Executive Director at the Chicago Animal Care and Control and held several management roles at the Chicago Department of Environment. Ivan brings leadership experience managing department operations including instituting new policies and procedures, administrative oversight, and contract negotiations.  He has experience in investigations and enforcement managing inspection staff, devising investigation strategy in permitting and enforcement.   His areas of expertise include advancing agendas to meet the growing demand of resources and establishing strategies that maximize resource allocation. Other areas of strength are to identify best practices, strengthen training and enhance professional development.    With more than 20 years of government service Ivan holds degrees in Environmental Studies and Criminal Justice from Northeastern Illinois University. He is a resident of the Portage Park Community and is looking forward to rolling-up his sleeves and be a part of the CLCF Academy Class of 2020. 


Legal & Policy Adviser, Illinois Commerce Commission

Gerardo Julian is a dedicated public servant and community leader, who currently serves as a Legal and Policy Advisor to Commissioner Sadzi Oliva at the Illinois Commerce Commission.  As an energy and water regulatory attorney, he provides counsel on complex matters related to investor-owned utilities and state and federal authority and public policy. Gerardo also builds relationships with public officials, industry leaders, and community advocates across the nation, and has developed and presented at stakeholder forums on critical topics, such as clean energy, diversity and inclusion, and consumer protections.  Gerardo’s leadership in the utility sectors includes serving on Advanced Energy Group’s Board of Advisors, Chair of Hispanics In Energy’s Illinois Energy Policy Summit 2019, and volunteers with Lawyers in the Classroom and Junior Achievement of Chicago. He has also been published in industry publications like Utility Dive and was recognized for Championing Latinos In Energy by Negocios Now’s 40 Under 40.  Gerardo’s academic credentials include an undergraduate degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Illinois and his Juris Doctorate from Suffolk University Law School.  In addition to being a first-generation Hispanic-American, he is the proud son of Cuban and Mexican immigrants.


President/CEO, Elias Strategy Group, LLC

Mr. Juan Luis Elias, Jr. was born to teenage parents and raised in a blended family in Chicago’s Humboldt Park and Logan Square Communities. The experiences, challenges and education he learned growing up allowed him to earn employment with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) at the age of 22, where he served as a front-line worker and manager of Chicago’s most vulnerable populations. During his time at CDPH, Juan earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science in 2013 with the honors of Cum Laude from Northeastern Illinois University. Since 1999, Juan has also worked a dual career as a real estate broker, serving clients looking to buy, sell, invest or lease their real estate. Juan holds a Real Estate Managing Broker’s License and recently completed his graduate studies by obtaining a Master of Science of Real Estate Degree from the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University (2019), where earned the distinguished recognition as a Hipolito and Aida Roldan Scholar. Two key accomplishments in Juan’s career were the recruitment of a non-profit organization to build two new planned unit developments in communities in need of affordable housing such as, the 88-unit Castillo-Pennycuff Apartments in Logan Square, and the 99-unit Aurea Martinez Apartments located in the Belmont-Cragin communities, respectively. Juan was influenced by his late mother Lucy Rosario’s, organizing efforts during the Chicago City Council Wars in the 80’s that gave Luis Gutierrez aldermanic victory that tilted the council to the favor late Mayor Harold Washington was the confirming moments Juan decided he wanted to continue to be part of change for the people. Since then, Juan has contributed to the electoral process in communities where he has lived. In 2013, Juan’s community lobbying efforts include the successful the passage of SB 1659 expanding tax credits for companies who hire ex-offenders, and currently involved in ensuring the HB 1438 Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act fulfills the promise of social equity for those impacted by the War on Drugs. Juan lives in Chicago’s Avondale community with Yvette his wife of 30 years, Yvette. They have 3 children and 5 grandchildren.


Assistant Principal, CPS

Aida is an educator and community leader in Chicago’s near Southside.  Born in Chicago’s Pilsen Neighborhood, a hub of the city’s Mexican-American community, Aida’s is a story of resilience.  The daughter of working class immigrants, and a mother at the age of 14, Aida has had to contend with plenty of externally imposed labels—but her story is a story of self-definition.  Upon graduation from high school, Aida was awarded a Gates Millennium Scholarship, went on to graduate from Georgetown University, and to complete her Masters in Teaching from National- Louis University, and second Master in Education from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. While in Boston, Aida helped found the first dual-language college prep school in Massachusetts, Margarita Muñiz Academy.  Upon returning to Chicago, Aida joined the faculty of her old high school, Benito Juarez Community Academy, then entered administration in Chicago Public Schools. Her experience growing up and serving her community led to her first run for Chicago City Council in the race for alderman, representing Chicago’s 25th Ward this past election cycle. While she came short in the race,  she garnered and inspired many in her community with her positive message to lead with compassion. Currently, Aida is an Assistant Principal and a Chicago Public School parent at Darwin Elementary.


Chicago Police Department

Dr. Frausto is a Sergeant in one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the United States, the Chicago Police Department, serving the City for 21 years.  As a passionate life-long learner and inclusive leader by application, the story of Jacquelyn Frausto transforms her as a strong Latina woman serving diverse communities. Jacquelyn was born in Chicago’s south side to Mexican immigrant parents, and raised by a single mother, who was committed to ensure she became the first generation family member to go to college.  While attending Loyola University, Jacquelyn joined the only, at the time, Latino organization where her civic duty to society began. The organization and the university, allowed her to understand the importance of service and duty to the world. After she graduated from Loyola University in 1996, she joined the brave men and women of the Chicago Police Department in 1998 and patrolled the roughest neighborhoods with unquestioning devotion.  She worked in a wide array of units from patrol to undercover work, while always keeping in mind her devotion to education. She had the opportunity to earn two Masters degrees and a Doctoral degree, in order to continue her devotion as a sense of nobility, purpose, and character. Jacquelyn has served alongside her husband, Daniel Frausto, a 24-year veteran and a Detective of the Chicago Police Department. They have four boys: Alejandro who is currently serving our county in his third deployment overseas in the Navy, Daniel age 15, Diego age 13, and David age 12.


Partner, Stricklin & Associates

Jessica is a partner at Stricklin & Associates. Ms. Fuentes joined Stricklin & Associates in 2018 and immediately developed a record of accomplishment on behalf of the firm’s clients. She is a leader in the firm’s health care and human service practice areas, drawing on her previous experience at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Ms. Fuentes excels at connecting clients directly with elected officials to make their point of view clear and persuasive. She has successfully managed numerous “lobby days” for groups large and small, making their voices heard within the Capitol. Ms. Fuentes has also contributed on a volunteer basis to several campaigns for state representative, state senate and executive branch offices. Ms. Fuentes received her B.A. in Human Development and Family Studies from Michigan State University.


Deputy Bureau Chief, Bureau of Asset Management, Cook County

A lifelong resident of Chicago, Elizabeth Granato is currently the Deputy Bureau Chief for the Cook County Bureau of Asset Management. Elizabeth’s dedication to public service and passion for politics began at an early age when she joined her father on the campaign trail in Chicago’s Wicker Park and Bucktown neighborhoods. A graduate of Chicago Public Schools, Elizabeth went on to receive a Bachelor’s in Political Science and a Masters in Elections and Campaigns Management. A dedicated public servant, Elizabeth has worked in local government in Chicago for the past 8 years. She served as campaign manager for 39th Ward Alderman Margaret Laurino during her successful bid for re-election in 2015. Prior to working at Cook County, Elizabeth was the Manager of Business Development and Executive Advisor at the Public Building Commission of Chicago. Elizabeth’s commitment to public service does not end with her work. She recently served on the Palmer Elementary LSC as a community representative, she is also a member of the North River Expanded Mental Health Services Program and Governing Commission, which administers local tax dollars to expand access to mental health services on the northwest side of Chicago. Elizabeth was a graduate of the IWIL Class of 2016 and continues her political advocacy by volunteering for local campaigns in her community. Elizabeth lives in the North Mayfair neighborhood on the northwest side of Chicago, with her husband Ram Villivalam and their son, Rohan.


Sole Proprietor, Law Offices of Rachel Moguel

Rachel attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she double majored in Political Science and Sociology. Hailing from Mexico City, Rachel developed an early interest in immigration law, so upon graduating from college, she went on to attend DePaul University College of Law where she received her Juris Doctor degree. Rachel worked in several immigration law firms and non-profit organizations in Chicago from 2005 until 2011. Rachel opened the doors to her own law office in July of 2011. Rachel accepts only immigration cases and helps her clients achieve family unification and lawful status in the United States. She regularly provides lectures to churches, schools and community organizations and volunteers at citizenship workshops in hopes of encouraging other immigrants in the community to seek lawful status. On her down time, Rachel also volunteers with organizations and politicians who work towards achieving fiscal responsibility and economic growth.


Director, ComEd

Mr. Rommel Noguera is a Director at ComEd currently leading the External Affairs team in the North and West Regions, where he is responsible for the strategic relationship management and stakeholder outreach in municipalities, local government, and community organizations. Mr. Noguera was most recently a manager in the Smart Meter deployment project. Mr. Noguera has broad experience within the electric utility industry including managing regional electric distribution operations; customer operations; strategy development and implementation; and organizational effectiveness through programmatic cross-functional process improvement and change integration. Mr. Noguera has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.


Corporate Affairs Manager, ComEd

Susan is the corporate affairs manager for ComEd where she leads the department of business operations under Governmental Affairs. Her team develops and implements innovative training and technology programs in partnership with cross company departments and external stakeholders including legislators, community leaders, business and trade associations and policy makers. She has nearly 20 years of experience managing government, community affairs and development opportunities. During that time, she has worked for both government and Fortune 500 companies including Edison International, BP Amoco and the City of Chicago.  She is a member of the Illinois Chapter of Women in Energy (WEN), and the Raue Center for the Arts. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago, and an Executive MBA from the University of Notre Dame.


Director, Diversity Programs, Chicago Transit Authority

Juan Pablo is the proud son of Colombian immigrants, currently serves as the Director of Diversity Programs and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Liaison Officer for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).  Mr. Prieto is responsible for managing the CTA’s Diversity Programs Department, which oversees the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), Labor Compliance, and Workforce Initiatives Programs. Mr. Prieto and his team are responsible for certifying DBE firms, connecting DBE firms with potential prime contractors, monitoring contracts totaling over $5 billion, and connecting job seekers with employment opportunities on CTA construction projects. Mr. Prieto demonstrates a passion for providing resources and tools to small businesses for growth and development. Mr. Prieto holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from DePaul University and resides on the north side of Chicago with his family.


Assistant Vice President of Marketing, Ziegler

Carla Robles is the Assistant Vice President of Marketing at Ziegler, a privately held investment bank, capital markets and proprietary investments firm. Specializing in the healthcare, senior living and education sectors, as well as general municipal and structured finance. In her role, Ms. Robles partners with the executive senior leadership team and CEO to create strategic marketing initiatives that acquire new customers, deepen engagement of existing customers, and create brand awareness increasing overall company profitability. During her first year at Ziegler Ms. Robles has been responsible for launching a streamline in-house marketing agency that creates customized business development marketing materials ranging from pitch-books, offering memorandums, deal marketing websites, brochures, flyers, as well as social media and email marketing campaigns. The in-house agency has resulted in over $575 million in transacted financing acquisitions along with various new client additions to her respective business pipelines. Ms. Robles’ team manages the planning, marketing and execution of over 65 events a year for the firm. The events have resulted in key media engagements from various news outlets ranging from McKnights Senior Living, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and PR Newswire. Prior to joining Ziegler, Ms. Robles served as a Senior Marketing and Business Analyst in CBRE’s Corporate Capital Markets Group based in Chicago, where she was responsible for the planning, management and execution of all marketing materials of real estate dispositions valued in excess of $1.3 billion and totaling 15.5 million square feet across North America, South America, Europe and Africa. In her role, Ms. Robles played an integral role in the team’s business development efforts launching and training members on her team in the use of various CRM tools (i.e. Salesforce, Apto, Pitchbook, Base) to better manage the team’s on-going pipeline. Ms. Robles obtained a dual Bachelors degree in Business Management and Integrated Marketing Communications, along with a minor in Journalism from Calumet College of Saint Joseph’s. Currently she is pursuing her Masters in International Business at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.


Deputy Director, Regional Economic Development,  IL Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Yair currently serves as the Deputy Director for Regional Economic Development (RED) for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). In that role, he leads a team of twelve managers placed throughout the state that are charged with recruiting business to the state, helping business grow, and providing customer service. His team also works hand in hand with local economic development organizations to identify opportunities for assistance in which the state can help local municipalities create economically sound communities. Yair is excited about leading Team RED in providing an excellent customer service to businesses and community stakeholders. He and his team work to help Illinoisans thrive and live better quality lives. Prior to joining the DCEO, he served as Director of Corporate Giving for the Chicago Scholars Foundation where he grew their corporate portfolio from 40 to over 170 companies. While there, he managed corporate investments and individual giving. Yair also worked for the Chicago Public Schools as a family and community engagement manager for various district networks. There he created and managed state-wide conferences and local events that provided resources and access to information for community stakeholders. He oversaw public relations, community partnership development, and leadership training for 39 Chicago Public Schools and their stakeholders throughout the city. While there, he was involved in the execution CPS’ DREAM Fund Scholarship Benefit which raised over $15,000 on-site for future college students. He has also managed projects such as the Ames Middle School expansion and change of academic focus into what is now the Marine Leadership Academy at Ames. He received his MPA and his Bachelor of Arts in Communications also from UIC. Yair strives to be a role model for his family and his community. After “washing blackboards and vacuuming carpet floors” to pay for his high school tuition at Mount Carmel High School, Yair attended the University of Illinois at Chicago where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Communications. During this time, he spent two years abroad between France, South Korea, and Brazil. Two years after graduation, he returned to UIC to obtain his Masters in Public Administration from UIC’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs. When asked about his personal philosophy, Yair said he believes “in working with integrity, doing things the right way, and helping people” around him. He always seeks to connect people around him to resources and opportunities which he did not have growing up or was exposed to early in his career. Through his network, he continuously connects the youth with internships and scholarships, and for those graduating college – with opportunities for full-time employment. “The only way to move our communities forward is to provide assistance and exposure to youth and young professionals. It is our responsibility to help plant Latinos in diverse professions and grow our social equity,” said Rodriguez.  Yair previously served as the Chair for the Young Professionals Board for the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement and recently served as the Communications Co-Chair on the Steering Committee for the Chicago Community Trust’s Latino Giving Circle. He also sits on the advisory board for YoLoBe – an online platform that connects youth with resources in the community. In the fall of 2015, Yair was named to Chicago’s inaugural “Latino 40 Under 40.” Early 2016, Yair received the Remy Martin One Life Live Them Award and was featured in a national campaign that celebrates and recognizes individuals’ multi-talents. Also in 2016, he was recognized by the Illinois Latino Council on Higher Education (ILACHE) with their annual Leadership Award. Having grown up in Mexico with a grandfather who was a carpenter and grandfather an electrician for railroad engines, he developed a passion for wood working and steel. Yair recently co-founded 1840 Creative, a start-up that provides design services and custom fabrication of industrial-style furniture.



Supplier Diversity Manager, U.S. Cellular

With more than a decade of experience leading entrepreneurs and community stakeholders in supplier diversity and inclusion markets, Gerardo championed tasks to build strategic business alliances between corporate and nonprofit organizations, served on numerous nonprofit boards and ensured diverse communities and businesses benefit from diversity, equity and inclusion programs within major corporations, nonprofits and government agencies. Gerardo currently leads the development of companywide strategies to increase U.S. Cellular’s economic impact on the communities it serves and represents through spend and use of diverse suppliers. Gerardo’s job functions include developing the infrastructure for the supplier diversity program through collaboration and partnership with key stakeholders and executive leadership. He is also tasked with creating and managing policies that ensure effective implementation, setting targets to track progress, creating systems for outreach and developing new sourcing avenues. Gerardo was recognized as one of Chicago Scholars’ Top 35 Under 35 young leaders, he was also acknowledged as a Top 40 Under 40 awardee for Negocios Now Newspaper and has been named one of the Top Ten Lideres in the nation by Hispanic Executive Magazine. He was also a fellow with the U.S. Department of State’s Professional Fellows Program which allowed him to travel the world working with young entrepreneurs from all backgrounds. When he’s not empowering diverse communities through economic development and entrepreneurship, you can find him channeling his inner qi, one acupuncture needle at a time, challenging his twelve-year old daughter to a dance battle or teaching her the importance of what “real” music is. He completed his M.S. degree in Oriental Medicine with a focus in Nutrition and holds degrees in English – Creative Writing and Philosophy from Southern Illinois University. He currently resides in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood with his daughter Mia Selene.


Lead Digital Strategist, Cook County, Office of the President

Jennifer is in charge of coordinating the digital media strategy for the Office of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Jennifer specializes in amplifying the County’s mission, vision and values through an accessible and strategic digital media presence. Ms. Sanchez is passionate about fostering positive relationships and enhancing the accessibility of communication between residents and their government. As a lifelong Chicagoan and daughter of Mexican immigrants, Ms. Sanchez brings her experience and perspective into the work of communicating with Cook County residents. Ms. Sanchez understands that she stands on the shoulder of many before her and exemplifies every day that she is “Not Your Typical Mexican Daughter.


Finance Director/ Strive Strategies Group

Jesus has over 15 years of experience in campaign, government, banking, and non-profit. Currently he serves as campaign finance director at Strive Strategies Group. Most recently, he worked as Senior Outreach Director for the Illinois Republican Party where he led initiatives to increase Republican participation in Chicago and Cook County. In addition to serving as Treasurer on the Chicago Young Republican Board, Solorio serves as Chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Illinois. Solorio first entered politics in 2014 where he served as Deputy Director for Latino Outreach for then-candidate Bruce Rauner; in 2016, he served as Coalitions Director for Senator Mark Kirk’s re-election campaign; and as Campaign Manager for State Representative candidate Jillian Rose Bernas. Jesus has worked in advancing policy and legislative initiatives in education, workforce development, and immigration on the State and National levels.


President, VE Solutions, LLC

Angel is President of V E Solutions, LLC. He is passionate about Human Resources and helping corporations fulfill strategic objectives. As a consultant for several Fortune 500 corporations he engages each client’s human capital objectives with predefined outcomes in mind. By using a project management approach, he is able to exceed expectations for his clients. Angel retired from the U. S Navy after 27 years of distinguished service. During this time, he completed 7 deployments to Southeast Asia and the North Arabian Gulf participating in Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Tomodachi and Operation Enduring Freedom. He rose from the most junior ranks, through senior enlisted ranks to earning an Officer’s Commission. His unique leadership journey included roles ranging from pay and benefits specialist, executive recruiter, CRM Director to Chief HRO for the Department of Defense Global mail service. Angel’s community service and educational achievements provide his clients with the expertise to mitigate the most daunting of transformational tasks. He holds an Executive MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, a M.S. in Global Business Leadership from the University of San Diego with a certificate in Project Management and a B.S in Human Resource Management from Columbia Southern University. A recognized veteran advocate, he is the national Co-President of the Veteran Leadership Council, Chicago Veterans Advisory Board and sits on the Chicago Mayor’s Advisory Council on Veteran affairs. Additionally, he is on the Board of Directors for Teatro Vista, is the founder of the Kellogg Veteran Mentorship program and a motivational speaker throughout the nation and city of Chicago. Angel is married to Carla Casas-Torres, an immigration attorney and owner of Casas Immigration. They live in Old Irving Park neighborhood of Chicago with their English Mastiff, Bentley.


Senior Director, Business Development & Strategy

Loretta Ivette Treviño currently serves as IHCC’s Senior Director of Business Development & Strategy. Ivette has dedicated over 10 years to advocating, building relationships and connecting small businesses with opportunities in both the public and private sectors. As the Senior Director of Business Development & Strategy, Ivette is responsible for managing relationships with corporate partners, members, and community leaders and overseeing IHCC membership activities. Ivette is passionate about creating spaces where the community can come together and network. Ivette’s favorite event is the Make the Connection!® IHCC Business Conference, one of the largest gatherings of Hispanic business leaders in the Midwest. Featured speakers included former U.S. Senator Barack Obama, former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, current Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, current U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, 1871 President & CEO, Betsy Ziegler, My Block My Hood My City, Founder Jahmal Cole, Kapor Capital, Principal Carolina Huaranca, Coca-Cola’s, the Adelante Movement superstar Nely Galan as well as Richard Montanez, Vice President of Multicultural Sales & Community Promotions at PepsiCo. Previously Ivette managed and led the 1871 + IHCC Latinx Incubator, working with more than 40 Latinx technology startups. The Latinx Incubator is a twelve week program that provides diverse founders with access to technology, community and capital through specialized workshops and industry experts. Ivette received her Bachelor of Science in Business Management with a minor in Public Policy from National Louis University. Ivette is a Chicago native and grew up in Brighton Park playing basketball. She currently resides on the Southwest side with her husband and children.


Associate Vice President, Morreale Communications

Berenice Vallecillos is a seasoned strategic communications expert who specializes in public policy, community relations and transportation issues. Berenice started her career at the Illinois General Assembly working alongside policymakers as a Legislative Aide for the 2nd Senate District to push forward diverse local and state-wide initiatives through the complex legislative process. Berenice continued her career at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning where she developed strong bilingual outreach and engagement skills by working with diverse constituencies including elected officials, business owners, employers, community leaders, and the broader public on important decision-making land use and transportation processes that impact the quality of life of Illinois residents. Berenice joined Morreale Communications in 2016 as the Director of Communications where she led the firm’s transportation division, managing multiple major regional and statewide projects for transportation agencies including the Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Illinois Department of Transportation, and the Chicago Department of Transportation. In 2018 Berenice was promoted to Associate Vice President in which she has been an essential part of growing the firm exponentially in under three years. Berenice’s leadership role includes business development and operations, team management as well as project development. Berenice is the first in her family to graduate from college in the United States. She obtained her Master’s in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University and Bachelor of Arts in Urban and Public Affairs from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Berenice serves as the Communications Co- Chair for the Latino Giving Circle, a philanthropic and educational vehicle of the Chicago Community Trust and is a member of the Women’s Transportation Seminar.


Financial Advisor/ Merrill Lynch

Juan Carlos Viamontes is a co-founder of The Vega & Viamontes Group, a wealth management team based out of Northbrook, Illinois. He has over eight years’ experience in the financial services industry. Juan Carlos is originally from Orlando and earned his Finance degree from Florida State University in 2008. He focuses on helping small business owners and families address the various aspects of their financial lives by providing access to the investment insights of Merrill and the banking convenience of Bank of America. Juan Carlos’s Cuban heritage was an integral part of his upbringing and it drives his passion for financial literacy. He especially appreciates educating groups that lack a large presence in the financial services realm, such as the Hispanic community. He is a member of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, participates in events hosted by the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute, Chicago Latino Network, and HispanicPro. Juan Carlos often volunteers his time leading financial education discussions in the local community, including teaching teenagers about the stock market in his work with the Big Shoulders Fund. Juan Carlos lives in Chicago with his wife Brittany and his daughter Kalista. He has a large extended family including three sisters. In his time away from the office Juan Carlos enjoys spending time with his family, checking out the latest movie releases, and attending almost any live sporting event.