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CLCF Leadership Academy Class of 2020

Diana Alfaro

Latino Business Development Manager, Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic
Opportunity (DCEO)

Ms. Diana Alfaro serves the State of Illinois as the Latino Business Development Manager for the Office
of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE) at the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic
Opportunity (DCEO). OMEE serves minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and veterans owned
businesses. In Ms. Alfaro role, she empowers Latinx, Latino, Latina, and Hispanic owned businesses by
informing them of resources, services, and incentives available to them from the State as well as provide
them with technical assistance.

She is a detailed oriented, well-organized, and quality driven professional with a proven record of over six
years of experience with community outreach and twelve years of experience in federal regulation
compliance. She is passionate about contributing to her community as well as sustaining and creating
more economic wealth in Latinx communities.

She earned a Master’s of Science in International Public Service and Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and Latin American/Latino Studies from DePaul University. In Ms. Alfaro free time she loves to travel, rock climb, visit caves, and find new ways to physically and
mentally challenge herself.


Eric Ayala

Manager Emergency Response and Work Methods, Peoples Gas Light and Coke Company

Eric Ayala is the Manager of Emergency Response and Work Methods 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 managing a team of employees that handle all Emergency and Non-Emergency workloads. The team makes sure all Emergency orders are received and assigned and executed timely per American Gas Association regulations. Eric is responsible for with the development and reinforcement of continuous improvement within his department. As changes continue into more modernization it is important to continue evolving his team with the new technology available.

Eric has spent 14 years in the energy industry. He began his career at Peoples Gas in 2006 as an associate engineer. Throughout his tenure at Peoples Gas, he has worked in management, engineering, field operations, construction, supporting various utilities within the WEC Energy Group.

Eric has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL. He currently has been involved in a company driven business resource group, LISTO+! IL, and is currently serving as the Co-Chair.  LISTO+! is an acronym for Latino, Inspired, Support, Talent and Outreach, where the + means we are an inclusive group open to a diverse membership, while the ! represents the enthusiastic and open nature our group demonstrates. He is also a member of the American Gas Association (AGA) emergency preparedness committee and was part of the Chamber of Commerce for Little Village in 2016.

Eric resides with his wife and 4 children in the west suburbs of Illinois where much of his time is given to his family.

Jacqueline Broaddus

District Manager, Aramark

Jacqueline Broaddus’s success story within her career is certainly one to be proud of, especially considering her first college experience at Bradley University ended one semester short of a Bachelor’s Degree.  When she was offered a promotion to management with Darden Restaurants prior to graduating, she decided to take that path, which ended up as a ten-year journey, managing any and every aspect of five different Olive Garden restaurants throughout Illinois.  Her dream job of Regional Training Manager with Darden opened up, but she wasn’t considered for the role due to her lack of a degree so, at the age of 28, with a more-than-full-time job and a two-year-old underfoot, she enrolled at American InterContinental University online and graduated with a business degree in Organizational Psychology & Development. 

With Aramark, she currently has under her wing five promotions in 4 years, within two lines of business, and all supporting the public school district in the city she loves.  Her tenure at Aramark and Chicago Public Schools began with a Training Specialist role within the contract to provide Dining services to the school district, and now sits at the District Manager level for Integrated Facilities Management, responsible for as much as 27 million square feet of CPS facilities and the managers, custodians, and engineers that support those facilities.  She has helped the team through 3 contract start-ups and facilitated and created training and onboarding for over 150 managers, 2,000 custodial workers, 300 engineers, and 2,500 food service workers. She participates in the Aramark STAR Team, Women’s Business Resource Network, and Aramark Young Professionals organizations and has achieved Certified Plant Supervisor and Certified Plant Maintenance Manager certifications from the Association of Facility Engineers (AFE). Not bad for a former restaurant manager, even though the she does miss those breadsticks…

When she’s not busy trying to help her team craft safe and comfortable learning environments for the students at CPS, Jacki can be found curled up with a good book and anxiously awaiting her next package from an online shopping excursion (which is likely to contain more good books).  She is notorious among family and friends for cooking extravagant brunches and making messes during art projects with her son and two nieces.

 Kamilah Burke

Senior Human Resources Manager for Facilities, Aramark

Kamilah Burke is  native Chicagoan and daughter of Jamaican immigrants. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Currently she is the Senior Human Resources Manager of facilities for Aramark with Chicago Public Schools, McCormick Place, Navy Pier & Wintrust Arena. She enjoys volunteering at her church and helping the community with hosting events such as career development, resumes writing and mock interviews. She resides in the Beverly neighborhood with her husband and infant son.

Emilio Cabrera

Investment Banking Analyst, Cabrera Capital Markets

Emilio Cabrera is an Investment Banking Analyst at Cabrera Capital Markets. He works in Cabrera’s Debt & Equity Capital Markets division, where he is responsible for conducting thorough financial analyses of companies, preparing cash flow analyses, performing research, financial forecasting, and assisting in the preparation of all documentation related to potential transactions. He also assists with the impact reports and loan covenant calculations for the on-going service of a loan fund.

Mr. Cabrera received his Bachelor of Science in Statistics from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in 2018. His professional securities licenses include: Series 79 Investment Banking Representative, Series 7 General Securities Representative, Series 63 Uniform Securities State Law Registered Agent, Securities Industry Essentials Exam, and Society of Actuaries Exam I/Probability. 

Mr. Cabrera also has a passion for education as he has several years of volunteer experience in the education space. At the University of Illinois, he was a teacher's assistant for Statistics 100/200, as well as a Math tutor at a local elementary school for grades three through six. Since graduation, he has been a Mentor for high school students from low-income or underserved communities where he assists with college applications and summer programs.

Anthony Correa

Patrol Sergeant, City of Evanston

My name is Anthony “Tony” Correa and I have served 20 of my last 24 years in law enforcement with the City of Evanston.  I am currently a patrol sergeant on the midnight shift. I have served in various units including, Detective, Tactical/Special Operations Group, Evidence Technician, Community Policing and Field Training Supervisor. One of my non-police roles includes serving as a representative for the sergeant’s union.

I am the youngest of three sons born and raised in Chicago’s Humboldt Park community to Antonio and Paulina who both arrived from Puerto Rico in the 1950’s. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign  and later completed a Master of Jurisprudence in Children’s Law and Policy through Loyola University Law School.  I recently completed Northwestern University Center for Public Safety’s School of Police Staff and Command.

In 2004, I received the medal of valor for my part in rescuing a family from a burning building and was a recipient of the 2016 Latino Leadership Award for Community Public Service in Evanston.  In September of 2019, I helped create two positions assigned to patrol officers to serve as liaisons to Evanston’s Latinx community and currently supervise them as well.

My message to my personnel is simply, “Be honest and give me an honest effort.” My leadership style is founded in building relationships through cultivating trust. Two-way communication is vital in leading as well as growing my own skillset.  I assisted my son in developing his own personal mission statement, “I WILL” when he was 8 years old.  It is one of the proudest and most profound moments in my life.

I am looking forward to building the necessary skills to lead a police agency as Chief of Police someday.  In that process, I hope to serve as a resource for Latinx officers forging their own paths in law enforcement.  

I spend my time training my two lab-mix dogs, Sugar and Spicey, and have taken up woodworking projects as a beginner hobby at my home in Park Ridge, IL.

Paulino Diaz

Data Scientist, Chicago Blackhawks

Paulino Diaz, 30, is a Data Scientist for the Chicago Blackhawks and the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation. He is responsible for the development, deployment and evaluation of end-to-end data analysis and machine learning projects that aim to elevate the experience of hockey for Chicago Blackhawks fans. He is also a lead researcher for the Knowledge Lab at the University of Chicago, where he uses advanced natural language processing techniques to map scientific knowledge and enable breakthrough discoveries in the fields of sociology and public policy. 

Before joining the Chicago Blackhawks, Paulino worked at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development as a Media Consultant supporting the design, optimization and execution of international communication campaigns. Previously, he was a Media Relations Manager at global PR agency, Golin, where he helped clients like Walmart, Facebook and Wells Fargo with their national Hispanic marketing communications. He holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, and a Bachelor’s in Communication Studies and Economics from Loyola University Chicago.

Leslie Dimas

Business Advisor, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Leslie was born and raised in Belvidere, Illinois to an immigrant father from Mexico and a hard-working mother from San Antonio, Texas.  Leslie is the youngest of six siblings. Her parents instilled into the family the values of hard work, dedication and the importance of giving back to your community.

Leslie Dimas has worked as a finance and government relations consultant assisting various local organizations and communities to develop strategic plans surrounding civic engagement and financial stability.

Leslie has over 8 years’ experience in the banking industry and as a bilingual financial consultant, including for Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. Her expertise includes advising in Consumer, Small Business and Commercial lines of business. At her time at JPMorgan she was also the Chicago Chapter Chair of Adelante and a Chase Ambassador. 

Leslie was also an Outreach Coordinator at the Office of Congressman Mike Quigley. During her role as an Outreach Coordinator, she identified and implemented outreach events throughout the district. She also attended and/or spoke at events on the Congressman’s behalf, staffed the Congressman at various district events and acted as a liaison with community and government agencies. She also worked on constituent issues such as Immigration, Banking, Mortgage and Housing.

Leslie recently worked an s Political Consultant for several local campaigns. While there, she prepared and implemented campaign strategy, formulated a campaign budget and monitored compliance of campaign finance laws and created social media content.

Leslie currently is a Business Advisor at the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for the Cook County COVID-19 Recovery: Small Business Assistance program. In her role Leslie provides one-on-one counseling, with a specific focus on helping small businesses develop recovery and resiliency plans in response to the new challenges and opportunities that have emerged in the COVID economy.

 Leslie graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies. She was very involved on campus and was a founding member of the 17th chapter of Alpha Psi Lambda, the nation's largest Co-Ed Latino based Fraternity. Leslie is the first woman in her family to graduate from college. 

When Leslie is not hard at work for the community she enjoys running, listening to podcasts, reading a good book and spending time with her family.

Eduardo Garcia

Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Realty of Chicago

Eddie Garcia is an award-winning Realtor and a leader with over a decade of management experience and as Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the Largest Latino owned real estate company in the Chicago land area.  

Eddie had the vision to open an innovative brokerage for the next generation of real estate.  At a time when the market was deteriorating, he was determined to make his dream a reality.  Through hard work and determination, Realty of Chicago opened its doors in 2012, putting the mission and vision for the future. 

Today, Eddie is a thriving leader in the communities that he serves and prides himself on his business and team's significant success.  Realty of Chicago currently has four office locations and continues to expand, closing 340 million in sales this year and over 1 billion in sales since its inception.  

As a philanthropist, Eddie has donated over $200,000 to charities and non-profit organizations and enjoys giving back to his community.  He implements and executes many philanthropic campaigns targeted towards the local community.  Eddie believes in the idea of community as a focal point.  He has promoted stability, equitable growth, and revitalization within the communities he serves by rehabbing foreclosures and abandoned buildings.  He is recognized industry-wide for exceptional growth in real estate and economic development and his phenomenal marketing skills that have resulted in a massive social media following.

Eddie is the recipient of many awards (most recently, he was inducted into the Crain’s 40 under 40 Class of 2020). However, Eddie believes that his most outstanding achievement is helping people achieve the dream of homeownership.  

 Gerardo Garcia

Architect and Urban Designer, Chicago Department of Planning and Development

Gerardo is an architect and urban designer at the Chicago Department of Planning and Development.  In civic practice, Gerardo has been immersed into achieving the city’s urban and economic development goals by leading teams in the delivery of projects ranging from visioning and design guidelines to infrastructure improvements. Gerardo is an advocate of civic engagement and design excellence in the development of city plans and policies.

Gerardo is also an adjunct professor at the College of Urban Planning at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Gerardo has previously been a guest critic and guest lecturer at the School of Visual Arts in New York, NY. His work has been presented at the NYC Mayor’s Office for Long Term Planning and Sustainability, Columbia University, and the Roddom Institute in Ukraine. Gerardo has a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Syracuse University and a Master of Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation.  He currently lives in his native Little Village with his wife and son.

Rocio Garcia

Foodservice Division Leader, Grupo Bimbo USA

Rocio Garcia is a dynamic community builder with over 15 years of CPG experience. As a motivated and driven leader, she currently works at Grupo Bimbo USA leading in the foodservice division. As a community connector, Rocio served on the board of Little Village Chamber representing Coca Cola during her time with the company as a Sales Territory Manager for large accounts. Currently, Rocio is a National Board Member at HACE where she serves as Strategy Chair, as well as a recent Co-Founder of BE!@ Community Initiatives, a nonprofit that is focused on cultivating and executing unifying initiatives and community connections that help families, communities and individuals.   

Bernardo Gomez

Vice President and Creative DirectorRes Publica Group

Bernardo “Bernie” Gómez joined Res Publica Group in the role of Vice President + Creative Director in September 2020. 

Prior to joining RPG, Bernie founded the Corazón Agency, where he delivered strategy, creative development and integration of global brands to the U.S. Hispanic market. Bernie also spent a decade as Group Creative Director at Havas Worldwide. While there, he launched Havas Latino, the multicultural division of the global agency. His clients included Dish, Dos Equis, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Craftsman, Hefty, AutoZone, Cracker Barrel and Coke among other brands. Before forming Havas Latino, Bernie also led new business initiatives for many of Havas’ clients such as Dish Latino and Bel Brands and has worked across many categories, brands and media in both General and Hispanic Markets.

From 1998 to 2008, Bernie served as Art Director, Assistant Creative Director and Creative Director of Brann Worldwide/Euro RSCG Worldwide. While there he led creative for brands such as Sprint and Citibank. Earlier in his career, Bernie also worked in magazine design and branding for American Airlines, Bank of America and E-Trade. His work has been recognized with multiple advertising awards. 

He is a native of Chicago’s Little Village and Pilsen neighborhoods, and is a Graduate of the University of Illinois with a BFA in Graphic Design. He received an Integrated Marketing Certificate from Northwestern University, and was selected as one of 40 participants in the Havas Next Gen Leadership Program in New York, Paris and Kuala Lampur.

Juan Ignacio Gonzalez

Violent Crimes Detective, Chicago Police Department

Juan Ignacio Gonzalez. A lifelong Chicagoan, a Marine Corps veteran, private contractor in Iraq, a career Chicago Police Officer, currently serving as a Violent Crimes Detective is a passionate community builder, Ignacio is on a mission to create a safe gathering space and bring healing and educational services to Back of the Yards where he was born and raised.

After spending much of adult life in other parts of the city, Ignacio purchased his first abandoned property in 2017 on a block that had several vacant lots and five abandoned properties. He envisioned converting all five into affordable vibrant homes over time. He hired mostly local workers who he was personally connected to and watched them deliver quality work with great joy and pride to create something beautiful in their own neighborhood.  He purposely over invested in the property to show the potential of transformation and attract people to the neighborhood. To date he has transformed two abandoned homes and attracted six tenants, all newcomers to the neighborhood.

Ignacio intends to manifest transformation on a commercial scale and bring healing services to the neighborhood. At the center of individual transformation is healing from past accumulated traumas. After two decades of service as a Chicago Police Officer, years worked as a Marine and a Private Contractor in Iraq, and childhood spent in a violent neighborhood, Ignacio needed to face his own past traumas. He was fortunate enough to stumble upon various healing methods, including meditation, yoga, integrated body work, Trauma Release Exercise, and learning from learning ancient wisdom from spending time with indegenous people. He has conducted two 10 day silent meditations, lived with indigenous  people in the Amazon jungles, and survived on his own in the Amazon after being taught be the American tribes of Guyana.  These modalities helped him process past traumas he has learned the benefits of healing and calming the mind and body.

Angelica Jimenez

Vice President of Grants, Legal and Compliance, Aunt Martha's Health and Wellness

Angélica Jiménez is the Vice President of Grants, Legal and Compliance at Aunt Martha's Health and Wellness, a not-for-profit organization serving over 105,000 children and adults throughout over 600 communities in Illinois through its integrated care model. Angélica’s commitment to advocating for underserved and marginalized communities has guided her career path. Prior to joining Aunt Martha’s, she spent five years at the Illinois Collaboration on Youth which represents over 80 child welfare, youth service and juvenile justice service providers promoting policies to ensure young people from all backgrounds have what they need to succeed. 

Her previous legal experience includes roles as a Guardian ad Litem at Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee and Staff Attorney at FRIENDS, Inc., which provides legal, housing, prevention, and counseling services to domestic and sexual violence survivors in Wisconsin. Angélica was an Assistant Editor and Reporter for Latina Voices, Extra Bilingual Community News and AustinTalks, which provides news covering Chicago's Austin community on the West Side.

Angélica is a proud granddaughter of Mexican immigrants. Angélica earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School. She received a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago and Bachelor’s Degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Lisbeth Leanos

Legislative Coordinator (State and Federal Affairs), Office of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle

Lisbeth Leanos works for The Office of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle as the Legislative Coordinator (State and Federal Affairs) in her Government Affairs team. She has passionately worked on behalf of underserved communities through her positions in not-for-profits and government sectors. Prior to joining the County’s Government Affairs team, she spent 13 years working for the Illinois residents in improving Workforce Development and Unemployment Insurance accessibility. She is the proud daughter of Mexican Immigrants and a first-generation college graduate. She believes in her commitment to serving the residents of Illinois justly in her involvement with Illinois Unidos, The Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation (ILLC) and the Illinois Hispanic Association for State Employees (IHASE). She believes that Latinas face obstacles achieving proportionate representation in significant leadership roles. On her free time Lisbeth mentors young Latinas to get involved in policy making roles while stressing the importance of civic engagement. Lisbeth serves as a board member for The Illinois-National Public Radio (NPR) and is an Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership Training Academy (IWIL) Alumni-Class of 2019. She is committed to her community thus has become involved in various organizations to ensure she maintains awareness of any changes that might affect the underrepresented communities in Illinois. (LinkedIn)

Alexandra Lopez

Director of Data Management, Chicago Public Schools

As the current Chicago Public Schools’ Director of Data Management for the Office of Family and Community  Engagement (FACE), Alexandra manages the design and implementation of the data and strategic planning  infrastructure across the following departments; FACE, Local School Council Relations, Parent University, Title I,  Faith-Based Initiatives, Community Action Councils, and Volunteer Programs. This last year, Alexandra introduced a  universal stakeholder engagement tool aimed at tracking and monitoring one-on-one stakeholder touchpoints. As  a result of centralizing engagement efforts for FACE, over 20,000 of them were logged by staff which allowed the  departmental teams to prioritize targeted supports for families, as well as find opportunities to partner with school  leaders, community-based partners and elected officials to support district initiatives. Alexandra began working for  CPS nine years ago as a Family and Community Engagement Manager supporting a portfolio of Network schools,  by connecting them with their extended community and ensuring families had access to district-wide resources  and information. As a result of her ongoing commitment to supporting families and communities, she joined the  leadership team four years ago in an effort to improve transparency, efficiency and effectiveness across the FACE  Office through a systems-wide approach.  

Prior to CPS, Alexandra worked for four years with the 12th Ward Alderman, George Cardenas, as his Media  Relations Coordinator and later the Community Engagement Strategist. Much of her work was rooted in  community building, customer service, and helping improve the Ward’s image.  

A native of Chicago and proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, Alexandra attended Inter-American Magnet  School in Lakeview, a public PreK-8 school focused on promoting academic excellence through a bilingual and  multicultural education. She later attended Loyola Academy in Wilmette, a private Jesuit college preparatory high  school, aimed at fostering educational excellence, leadership, personal growth and community service among  young men and women. Alexandra went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in political science from Marquette  University followed by a master’s degree in public policy from National Louis University. She currently resides in  Norwood Park with her husband and two daughters.

Monserrat Moreno

Global Diversity Employment Brand Strategy ManagerFacebook

‘Monse’ is a passionate marketing and advertising professional with expertise in multicultural audiences. She has worked across media and technology companies driving consumer, b2b, and employment brand building at companies like Publicis Groupe, Pandora, and Facebook. In 2018, she was named “Top 40 Under 40 Latinos in Chicago” by Negocios Now and was a Chicago Latino Networks 2017 “Latina Professional Award” finalist. 

Monse serves as the Global Diversity Employment Brand Marketing Manager at Facebook where she leads global strategy and activation development across the recruiting function. She drives the scaled, innovative and culturally-relevant brand building programs that enable a global recruiting organization to attract the world’s top, diverse talent.   

A native Chicagoan, Monse prides herself in her community roots and dedication to supporting the Latino community. At Facebook, she launched the Latin@FBCHI Latino employee resource group in 2016, and most recently she started a group called ‘Latinos in Tech Chicago,’ with the objective of creating a community amongst Latinos who work across the various aspects of tech in Chicago including business, technical, entrepreneurial, and education. She is currently the global co-lead of the corporate-wide Latin@Facebook employee resource group, overseeing 13 chapters in North America and Europe, representing over 2,500 employees. 

Monse has been a youth mentor and speaker for the Fig Factor Foundation, which focuses on young Latina leaders. She has long volunteered and fundraised for various organizations; the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Foundation, High Jump, Spark, and My Block My Hood My City and continues to share her passion for work she loves, the importance of work ethic and higher education to underrepresented minorities.

Monse lives in the Chicagoland area with her husband Gus, and dogs, Amelio and Scully. She also loves traveling the world, talking about personal finance, and Edwardian British dramas.

Alex Paramo

Chief of Staff, Cabrera Capital Markets

Alex Paramo is the Deputy Chief of Staff at Cabrera Capital Markets, a Latino-owned investment banking and brokerage firm headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from Stanford University with his degree in Management Science and Engineering, with a focus in Operations and Analytics in 2019. Mr. Paramo started with Cabrera in their public finance investment banking division, supporting the execution of over $42 billion in debt to finance public infrastructure projects across the country. Mr. Páramo currently works with senior management on strategic and operational initiatives. He is passionate about issues that impact the Latino community, especially in regards to finances, as evidenced by his recent support in establishing the ILLCF COVID-19 Solidarity Fund, which has raised over half a million dollars to date for immigrant families in Illinois. His previous roles have been as a data analyst with Mission Asset Fund--a financial services technology non-profit that leverages Lending Circles to create a fairer financial marketplace—and with the Immigration Defense Unit at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office as an assistant to the Managing Attorney in representing undocumented residents facing deportation. 

Robert Quezada

Chicago Police Officer, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District

I am a Latino veteran, police officer and small business owner with a passion for my community and helping others.

Erendira Rendon

Vice President of Immigrant Advocacy and Defense, The Resurrection Project

Ere is the Vice President of Immigrant Advocacy and Defense at The Resurrection Project (TRP). In this role, she serves as the organization’s lead strategist and manager of local and state-wide campaigns impacting the lives of immigrants.  Ere also created TRP’s Immigrant Defense and Advocacy Department to strengthen direct legal services with community advocacy.

Ere has played a leading role in the successful passage of many pro-immigrant legislation in Illinois, including Temporary Visitors Driver's Licenses which has licensed nearly 300,000 undocumented immigrants in Illinois, the renewal of Illinois’ All Kids healthcare program to provide coverage for all children regardless of their immigration status, and most recently the expansion of healthcare to undocumented seniors in Illinois.

Ere also serves as the program director for the Chicago Legal Protection Fund Community Navigator Program, a public fund created by the City of Chicago to ensure defense and representation of undocumented immigrants.   The Chicago Legal Projection Fund partners with ten immigrant organizations across the city in its three year history, more than 70,000 immigrants have been reach with  Know Your Rights (KYR) information through thousands of  presentations at churches, schools, community colleges, consulates, and community centers throughout Chicago. 

In 2019, Ere led the successful passage and implementation of Illinois Access to Justice Program, a 10M first in the nation program that provides free legal representation and mass "know-your-rights" education to vulnerable and resilient populations ravaged by the twin scourges of mass incarceration and mass deportations.

Ere is an undocumented immigrant with DACA protection and is a frequent expert commenter on local and national media.  Ere was born in Oaxaca, Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. in 1990 to be reunited with her dad. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Lauro Roman

Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Chicago Public Schools

Lauro Roman is the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for Chicago Public Schools. In this role, he represents the district before government bodies including Chicago’s City Council and the Illinois General Assembly. He has held roles in the public and non-profit sectors, and in each, has pursued his passion to ensure Latino students across Chicago have access to high-quality education. Lauro’s experience working on political campaigns ranges from the local to presidential level, building coalitions of voters and bringing attention to issues that deeply impact the Latino community. His civic-minded perspective and overall expertise in the areas of safety, economic development, and education has established him as a strong leader and advocate for underserved communities.

Lauro received his BA in International Studies from DePaul University, where he received the distinctive St. Vincent DePaul Award for leadership. He recently completed the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement’s (HACE) Emerging Latino Leadership Program. He is originally from Cicero, IL, and is proud to call Chicago his home for over a decade.

Cori Rosales

Project Coordinator, Hilco Redevelopments Partners

Cori Rosales is currently a Project Coordinator at Hilco Redevelopment Partners “HRP”, a firm that engages in the acquisition and redevelopment of commercial real estate properties across the country. HRP’s unique capabilities include complex demolition, environmental remediation, and redevelopment. Ms. Rosales is responsible for maintaining budgets, assisting in overseeing the multiple phases of projects and contributes to community engagement efforts. She finds fulfillment in being a part of an organization that creates opportunities and has a positive economic impact in the communities in which they develop. Ms. Rosales is a Illinois State University first-generation graduate with a Business degree in Advanced Marketing Data Analytics where she was a part of Women in Business and the President/Founding Member of Operation Smile at ISU. Ms. Rosales is one of four daughters to immigrant parents who have instilled integrity, ambition, and resilience into their daughters’ upbringing.

Adela Vargas

Electric Operations Manager, ComEd

Vargas is a versatile leader with 22+ years of industry experience. Prior to assuming her current role as Electric Operations Manager, she held positions in Customer Operations, Distribution System Operations, Construction & Maintenance, Strategic Planning and Innovation. She intentionally sought out challenging and non-traditional roles to diversify her knowledge, skills and experience. In addition to her current role, others included Senior

Distribution System Dispatcher, Operations Control Center and Distribution Underground Emergent Manager, Construction and Maintenance all in ComEd’s Chicago Region. She is an authentic leader with a passion for mentoring others.

Vargas holds a Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Art both from Lewis University. In 2018, she attended the Certified Innovation Mentor Program (CIMP) at the University of Notre Dame, completed the requirements and now holds a certification as Certified Innovation Mentor. Adela was nominated into the Exelon Leadership Development Program working toward her Leading Effective Decision Making Certification through Yale School of Management, Yale University.

Rosa Zamora

Director of Impact Growth, Umoja

Rosa joined Umoja in 2017 and is currently the Director of Impact Growth. In this role, she supports school districts, schools, community-based organizations, and higher-education institutions by linking them to Umoja's equity-rooted professional learning, curriculum, and coaching. Rosa is dedicated to building a cross-sector collaborative of schools, community-based organizations, higher-education institutions, businesses, and government associations with a goal to provide all students a quality education.

Her efforts to close the achievement gap have included service on the KIPP Chicago Advisory Board, the Chicago Community Trust’s Latino Giving Circle, Mujeres Latinas en Accion’s Young Professional Advisory Council, and the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement Advisory Board. She is an alumna of the Metropolitan Leadership Institute and YNPN’s Leadership Institute. Rosa has also held positions working with local and national educational non-profits such as Strive for College, Lumina Foundation, Junior Achievement, College Greenlight, Lutheran Social Services,

Instituto del Progreso Latino, and the YWCA of Chicago.

Rosa was the 2012 recipient of the Verizon Nueva Latina Estrella Award for her contributions to education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Illinois, a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing Communications from Columbia College Chicago, a Masters of Business Administration from National Louis University, and a Social Enterprise Certificate from the University of Illinois at Chicago.