This authentic conversation with innovative Hispanic leaders will unpack the diversity and the intersectionalities among the multitude of identities that exist within the community, further dismantling societal stereotypes to encourage more equitable and inclusive workplaces for everyone.
Jacqueline Camacho-Ruiz is a visionary social entrepreneur that has created an enterprise of inspiration. With 20 years of experience in the marketing and Public Relations industry, she has created two successful award-winning companies, established two nonprofit organizations, published 26 books, created a number of products, and held dozens of events around the world.
Jacqueline is currently the CEO of JJR Marketing, one of the fastest-growing top marketing and public relations agencies in Chicago, and Fig Factor Media, a media publishing company that helps individuals bring their books to life. Jacqueline is also the Founder of The Fig Factor Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to giving vision, direction, and structure to young Latinas as well as the President of Instituto Desarrollo Amazing Aguascalientes, the first youth center in Calvillo, Aguascalientes, Mexico, offering various hands-on experience, courses, and global connections to support international youth in defining their dreams.
Jacqueline currently serves as a board member for the World Leaders Forum, The Fig Factor Foundation, and the Alumni Executive Board at the College of DuPage. Jacqueline earned her Assoc. from the College of DuPage. She has continued her education by completing numerous courses, including the Dale Carnegie Flagship, High Impact Presentations, and Leadership Courses, the IBESI Certificación: Inteligencia Interpersonal & Liderazgo Ético, the Stanford University Latino Business Action Network, and the Women Entrepreneurship Cohort 3 from DePaul University among others.
Rosario is an award-winning Colombian-born entrepreneur with more than seven years of practical experience in data and technology platforms and more than 20 years in executive roles. She is a spatial computing expert and developer obsessed with having more women prepared to solve problems with technology.
She is a co-founder of several organizations including, XR Americas, a software company that uses spatial computing systems (AR/VR/ AI) focused on improving workforce learning, BCPartners Tech, a consulting firm specializing in digital adoption and transformation, Dreamers & Doers, and #Brooklyn2Bogota, a digital transformation community for Hispanic small business owners. Rosario is additionally a co-creator of the Four Dimensional Quotient guide.
Rosario is a member of the Big Data Advisory Board of Rutgers University, SXSW Pitch, XR In Learning, The World Innovation Network, and the Board of Directors of Artizen Premium VR Grant. She has been a business mentor at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, Mentor of Mujeres Tech – Accelerator of the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce, the NYC WE program, Founder Institute, Mentor Makers of Nasdaq, and an entrepreneur in residence (EIR) Spring 2021 at Harvard Ventures.
Rosario has been a speaker at TEDx, NAB Show, Augmented World Expo, The World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, VRAR Summit, The World Innovation Network Global, EnlightEd, and IioT World among others.
In 2017, she was named one of the 100 World Disruptors in New York City by the World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, in 2019, she was named one of the five “Legendary Women 2020” in Innovation/Technology by the Ford Motor Company, and she was also selected by the OBO Movement as one of the 100 Innovators in 2020. Rosaria also formerly served as the CEO of the Senseta Group, a Silicon Valley company at the forefront of Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning technologies.
She currently lives in New York and is happily married to Felipe Forero-Hauzeur.
Nick Valencia is a CNN correspondent based in the network’s global headquarters in Atlanta. He regularly appears across CNN, CNN International, HLN, and CNN en Español.
In 2019, Valencia won an Atlanta Press Club award for his reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border where he spent seven weeks living in El Paso, Texas. He broke numerous stories including an exclusive interview with a border patrol agent whistleblower who spoke out about the deplorable conditions in which migrants were being held. His story on the treatment of a Honduran migrant who was mistreated while in custody sparked an internal government investigation. He was one of the reporters to break the story of a racist and vulgar social media group with a nexus to current and former CPB agents. In 2018, Valencia was CNN’s lead reporter covering President Trump’s zero-tolerance family separation policy that was later lifted.
Valencia has dedicated much of his attention in recent years to covering issues that impact the Latino community in the U.S., including the story of an American teen who was wrongfully held in ICE custody on suspicion of being in the country illegally. In late 2019, Valencia was the only network TV reporter to travel into a migrant tent camp in Matamoros, Mexico, where illness and disease among asylum-seeking migrants were rampant.
In his seven years as a CNN correspondent, Valencia has extensively covered race-related issues in America, including police shootings and protests across the country in Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Ferguson, and Charlotte.
During his reporting career, Valencia traveled internationally as well, including a trip to the Colombia-Venezuela border to spotlight deteriorating conditions after a failed coup attempt, as well as the Mexican drug wars as the first American inside the tunnel used by drug kingpin El Chapo to escape a Mexican prison.
Valencia has secured several news-making interviews. In 2018, he was the first TV correspondent to interview Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress purported to have had an affair with President Trump, and was the first to interview Alice Johnson, seen as the face of prison reform in America after her clemency was granted.
During CNN’s 2017 hurricane coverage, he covered all three major hurricanes, including Maria, Harvey, and Irma. While on-air, Valencia helped reunite a son with his father, whom he feared had died in the storm. As a general assignment reporter, Valencia has covered everything from presidential elections and congressional races to Ebola outbreaks and prisoners-of-war. He has reported from state legislatures across the country on controversial religious freedom bills, as well as the so-called Transgender Bathroom Bill in North Carolina. He’s also been on the ground during multiple natural disasters and covered mass shootings, including the Pulse nightclub and Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
He started at CNN in 2006 as a teleprompter operator. Since then, he has been nominated for an Emmy and has been part of the news coverage earning three Peabody Awards at CNN. He has twice been nominated by The Atlanta Press Club as “Broadcast TV Reporter of the Year.” In 2013, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) awarded Valencia its inaugural “Si Se Puede” Excellence in Leadership award. The Huffington Post acknowledged him as one of the most influential Latino journalists in America. He was named one of the “Top 50 Latinos” to follow on Twitter.
A graduate of USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism, he is the former documentary filmmaker for the National Champion USC football team. Originally from Northeast Los Angeles, he currently lives in Atlanta and serves as the National Vice President of Broadcast for NAHJ.
You can follow his stories on Twitter and Instagram @CNNValencia.
Latinas, and women of color more broadly, are closest to injustice and are best suited to provide just solutions.
Denise Collazo is squarely focused on encouraging women of color to lead into their vision, live into their fullest selves, and love past negatives that too often hold them back. She is a gifted speaker who leaves listeners compelled to take action on how they can act on their purpose. She mentors, coaches, and raises funds in collaboration with other women to find the just solutions we so desperately need. By doing this, she models what a woman working with and for women really looks like.
She’s as comfortable speaking with people in their living room or front porch as she is meeting with national political and corporate leaders to advance social change for families. This is a gift she was given by her ancestors.
Her book Thriving in the Fight: A Survival Manual for Latinas on the Front Lines of Change has been named a finalist for the 2021 International Latino Book Award in three categories, including Best Latina-Themed Book. It will be released in Spanish in October, 2021.
Denise is the senior advisor for external affairs and director of institutional advancement at Faith in Action (formerly PICO National Network), the nation’s largest faith-based, progressive organizing network, where she has advanced the cause of social justice over the past twenty-five years. As senior advisor she represents Faith in Action with foundation and corporate executives, builds strategic partnerships with organizational executives across the movement for change, and is crafting a national individual membership program to expand Faith in Action to all fifty states.
She has served as community organizer at Oakland Community Organizations; executive director of what is now called Faith in Action Bay Area; and Faith in Action national director of development, national deputy director, and national chief of staff. She began her advocacy career in Washington, DC, as a fellow at the National Puerto Rican Coalition and program associate for Community Change.
She is a graduate of Harvard University, where she studied Romance language and literature and completed all the requirements for pre-medicine. Her thesis, written in Spanish, explored the role of the Taino people in Puerto Rican literature across time.
Denise attended the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education Women and Power program, where she partnered with fifty international leaders across sectors. She is an official member of the Forbes Nonprofit Council, an invitation-only organization for executives in successful nonprofit organizations.
Denise has led successful advocacy campaigns to win valuable, lasting change in people’s lives, including better housing, improved transit, and better wages. In 2002, she led her organization to run a local ballot measure for affordable housing. This effort served as one of the first Faith in Action attempts to influence policy via voting. In 2012, she led the successful Florida statewide No on 3 campaign to stop a dangerous revenue measure that would have decimated funding for vulnerable families. In 2016 she led the national Together We Vote campaign, which held 829,000 conversations with Black, Latinx, white, and Asian and Pacific Islander voters, who are regularly ignored by campaigns and candidates. She helped lay the early groundwork for the 2018 Florida Yes on 4 campaign to restore voting rights to people returning from incarceration. The measure eventually passed under the leadership of Desmond Meade and Pastor Rhonda Walker-Thomas.
Denise may be able to help you grow your leadership via:
– Mentoring and impact coaching for leaders of color
– Providing technical support for action-oriented senior executives to center the leadership of Black and Brown women
– Creating sustainable organizational structures that help employees better integrate family and work, and grow their creativity
– Developing culturally competent, strategic community organizing plans
Denise enjoys sharing her thoughts about community organizing with a particular focus on women’s leadership. Her work has been featured in CNN.com, the Miami Herald, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Nonprofit Quarterly, and Forbes Nonprofit Council.
She refills her tank by riding her bike, going to the beach, and reading. Denise is married to the love of her life, Julio Cesar Collazo. Her daughter Elisa and grandbaby Leyla Rose are the sparkle in her eye.
Visit her website at www.DeniseCollazo.com.
Rhina Valentin is a leading figure in New York City’s entertainment industry. She is a native New Yorker and Afro-Boricua embracing her Black indigenous and European ancestry. She’s a mother, comedienne, producer, director, writer, and dancer. As an award-winning artist and performer, Rhina has captured audiences with her humor while discussing adversity with honesty, representing the values of working-class women of color.
Rhina has been featured on HBO’s Betty la Flaca and has appeared in nationally syndicated television commercials for Bally’s & 1-800-Flowers. Since 2006, Rhina has been the hostess of the popular OPEN Friday talk show on BronxNet TV. She was also a distinguished recipient of the 25 Bronx Influential Women of 2015 Award, presented by the Bronx Times Reporter.
As an activist and motivational speaker, Rhina has focused on the perils of domestic violence and most recently has been honored in 2021 as “The Creative New Yorker for New York” by The Citizens Committee for NYC. She ended 2020 with “A Change Agent” award by Color Magazine coupled with her former 2015 award “A Woman of Today” from The Women of Tomorrow Conference.
As a health and wellness advocate, she produced a reality TV web series, Rhina Gets Lean, which followed her journey of healthy eating and fitness to promote better living for the urban community. She also trained for the New York City Marathon which she completed.
Rhina Valentin is a production consultant with years of experience in strategic planning, stakeholder reporting, executive production, and general assets acquisitions. She’s a practitioner of Transcendental Meditation and believes in its potential for individual healing and societal transformation. She offers meditation classes online and is currently working toward certification as a Primordial Sound Meditation instructor through the Chopra Center.
For over two decades, Onida Coward Mayers has been a leading voice in media, political and government relations.
Ms. Coward Mayers is the Vice President of the MirRam Group, a governmental firm providing strategic consulting experience in Government, Political Campaigns, and Communications. Ms. Coward-Mayers advises a broad range of clients on local, state, and federal policy and legislative matters.
Ms. Coward Mayers was awarded the 2021 City and State “Above and Beyond” recognition as a Women of Public and Civic Mind. This was a result of Ms. Coward Mayers being credited for creating and launching several civic engagement firsts including NYC’s Video Voter Guide, NYC Voter Awareness Month and the NYC Youth Poet Laureate (YPL) program, Student Voter Registration Day, New Citizen registrations and the annual “Voter Day” in Albany.
Most recently in response to voting in a pandemic she launched Shield the Vote a 45-day nationwide campaign that distributed 10,000 free face shields to those who wanted to vote in person during the historic 2020 Federal elections.
Mrs. Coward Mayers began her career with the City under former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg’s administration where she served as the Agency Head for the Voter Assistance Commission and continued Director for the Voter Assistance where she was key in the launch of NYC Votes. She proudly led New York City to first place in the United States, for highest number of people registered in a single day on National Voter Registration Day from 2015 – 2017. Ms. Coward Mayers was the Co-Founder of the Youth Poet Laureate Program where its poets have performed before audiences at NYC City Hall Inaugurations and the 2021 Biden Harris Inauguration.
Prior to joining City government, a true Brooklynite, Mrs. Mayers was the Founding Director of Brooklyn Community Access Television/ BCAT at BRIC where she led the design, construction, launch and daily management of the 10,000 square foot multi-media, multimillion-dollar television station where she launched, and executive produced many local and international television programs.
Ms. Coward Mayers received the 2016 Community Service Award from Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez the first Hispanic District Attorney in the City of New York and the “Mujures Distintas” from El Diario in 2005.
She is a graduate of State University at Buffalo in Broadcasting and Communications and received her MBA from the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College/City University of New York.
An Afro Latina born in the Country of Panama Ms. Coward Mayers is a resident of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn where she resides with her husband Gregorio Mayers, an attorney and a University Professor,her two children, Carlos and Lavoneia and her doggy Ginger.
Slma Shelbayah is the Chief Communications Officer at Yardstick Management, overseeing internal and external communications, strategy alignment, marketing, public relations, branding, and project management solutions for clients. Her background includes more than 15 years of experience as an award-winning journalist, communication, and public relations expert in the media industry, including experience as a reporter, show host, editor, writer, voice-over artist, producer, and communication consultant.
Before joining Yardstick, Slma managed her own communication consulting firm. She trained executives, management leaders, and employees in corporate, education, healthcare, and non-profit sectors and supported organizational strategy development and execution across all communications verticals. She has revolutionized the way businesses and brands approach messaging through her innovative storytelling narrative development and pitching strategies.
Some of her past clients include The Carter Center and Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters. She brings her experience as a former Director of Corporate Public Relations with Savannah College of Art and Design. Previous to that role, she spent many years in journalism as a producer, writer, and assignment editor at CNN International, CNN Digital, CNN Image and Sound, and CNN Newsource. She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor of communications, language, and business for several universities, including Brenau University, Georgia State University, and Clayton State University.
In 2015, she won the CNN Worldwide Diversity Ovation Award for her commitment to inclusion in news coverage. Shelbayah is passionate about diversity, human uniqueness, and unraveling tough conversations and traditions. Additionally, she is dedicated to promoting stronger voices for underprivileged individuals, focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Slma holds a B.A. in Journalism with a minor in Sociology and an M.A. in Linguistics, focusing on cross-cultural linguistics of Spanish and Arabic, both degrees from Georgia State University. She was inducted and graduated from LEAD, Atlanta’s distinguished and highly selective leadership program for the class of 2018. She has also obtained a certificate from Oxford University, U.K., during which students were selected from 30 countries across the world to pursue a seminar on global media policy: technology and new themes in media regulations.