Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Yo Soy I AM, LLC
Ivette Mayo is the Founder & CEO of Yo Soy I AM, LLC, a professional development firm. She is an awarding winning entrepreneur, international author, globally recognized career coach, motivational business speaker and philanthropist. Ivette is also the Founder & CEO of Power On Heels Fund, Inc, a 501c-3 non-profit organization based in Houston, Texas. Ivette’s POWER is that she gets what is important, the bottom line – people and productivity. Ivette is an expert trainer in a host of disciplines, certified coach, and speaker. Ivette is also known as a POWER ADVOCATE by her clients for creating POWERFUL and IMPACTFUL results quickly. Her 27-year global career was spent working in business development, sales, marketing and training for both employees and clients throughout five continents. Her focus is to incorporate cultural awareness into all her training programs to assist participants in inspiring performance, build stronger interpersonal skills and to build agile team of leaders. This dynamic facilitator has worked with Fortune 100 & 500 all over the world.
PAULA M. MENDOZA
President & Chief Executive Officer
Possible Missions, Inc., Pos Mis, Inc. & Possible Properties, LLC
Native Houstonian, Paula Mendoza is an entrepreneur, innovator, advocate, barrier-breaker, and tireless volunteer recognized not only for the quality of her work, but for the passion she brings to every endeavor. Under her leadership, Possible Missions, Inc. (PM), a company she established in 2001, specializing in Procurement Solutions has experienced exponential growth. Beginning with $100 in the bank to achieving over $90 Million in revenues. The business has achieved significant accolades. Most recently, Mendoza has been named the Most Admired CEO and Executive of the Year by the Houston Business Journal and earned the Hispanic Hero Award by Comcast. She has been named one of the Top 30 Most Influential Women, A Woman of Distinction, and a Women on the Move. Under Mendoza’s leadership, Possible Missions, Inc. was awarded the U. S. SBA 8a Graduate of the Year, Houston Minority Business Council’s Supplier of the Year Award, and a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Accountability Award for its expenditures with fellow MBEs, The U.S. Small Business Administrator’s Award of Excellence, and the UT Alliance HUB Contractor of the year, to name a few. Possible Missions also maintains the prestigious ISO9001:2015 Certification. Paula’s humility, discernment and sense of fair play are evidenced by her service, serving as the first Latina to serve as Chairman of the State of Texas Ethics Commission, the First Latina to be appointed to the University of Houston System Board of Regents, only the second Latina to serve in the 30-year history as the Chairman of the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC) naming only a few of her leadership roles. Over the years she has offered her time and talent as a speaker, event organizer and community leader to countless organizations and has spent a considerable amount of time with organizations that focus on youth and education. Mendoza earned a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Houston Downtown (1995) and earned her MBA from the University of Houston Downtown Marilyn Davis School of Business (2017). She and her husband of 33 years have one son, three grandkids and a 20-year-old goddaughter, who has captured their hearts.
- Texas Association of Business, Chair of the Small Business Committee
- SURE, UH Bauer School, Advisory Board Chair
- SER Jobs, Board Chair
- EDRA TIRZ Board, Chair Communications Committee
- YMCA Association Board, Executive Committee
- East End Chamber Foundation, Board Chair
- CMALS, Center for Mexican American and Latinos Studies UH, Advisory Board
- Houston Minority Supplier Development Council, Board Member
- University of Houston – Downtown Presidents Advisory Board
- Texas Executive Women, Immediate Past President
- SBDC Advisory Board
- Women Who Mean Business, Houston Business Journal
- Women of Excellence, Federation of Houston Professional Women
- Most Admired CEO and Executive of the Year, Houston Business Journal
- Hispanic Hero, Comcast
- 8a Graduate of the Year, United States Small Business Association
- UT Alliance Contractor of the Year, University of Texas Alliance
ANNA M. ALVARADO
Chief Legal Officer & Corporate Secretary
Texas Capital Bank
Anna M. Alvarado is a business-oriented, operationally focused executive who is bilingual (fluent in Spanish) and bicultural. In her role as Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary of Texas Capital Bank and its parent company, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ®: TCBI), she is responsible for supervising and coordinating all legal services for the company, serving as key legal advisor to the Board of Directors, ensuring legal compliance with all securities laws and banking regulations, serving as the lead legal advisor on all the firm’s strategic initiatives and commercial and transactional matters, advising the bank on litigation risks, and serving as primary liaison with regulators. She is also a member of the firm’s Operating Committee. Her strengths include M&A, executive management, talent development, corporate and public company governance, ESG, public relations, and board management.
Alvarado joined Texas Capital Bank in October 2021 to help the firm rebuild and transform itself into the flagship financial services firm in Texas, bringing more than 10 years of broad-based expertise in leading business and legal advisory services, including scalability, expansion, and domestic and international integration. One of Alvarado’s key priorities, and a strategic component of the firm’s transformation, was creating and standing up an investment banking division and its broker-dealer: TCBI Securities, Inc. d/b/a Texas Capital Securities, which obtained its FINRA license in December 2021.
Previously, Alvarado served as the global general counsel for FirstCash, Inc. (NASDAQ®: FCFS), a consumer financial services and retail company and the leading international operator of retail pawn stores. During her tenure there, Alvarado oversaw an international team of more than 50 people and led several important initiatives, including the company’s Latin American expansion and several domestic acquisitions. Before FirstCash, she served as a trial attorney at Texas-based firms Tanner & Associates PC and Hill Gilstrap PC.
Alvarado holds a bachelor of arts and master’s in business administration from Bentley University in Massachusetts and a law degree from SMU Dedman School of Law. She was voted Top Corporate Attorney in 2017 and 2018 by Fort Worth Magazine, and most recently, she was selected as among the Top 100 Most Influential Latinas by Latino Leaders Magazine.
Alvarado serves as a member of the Board of Directors and the Finance and Strategy Committees of the nonprofit ACH Child and Family Services. She also serves on the Board of Visitors for TCU’s Brite Divinity School. Alvarado lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with her two children.
LOREN J. BLANCHARD
University of Houston Downtown
Dr. Loren J. Blanchard, oversees the institution’s historic downtown campus as well as UHD Northwest and off-site centers at Lone Star College campuses in CyFair and Kingwood.
An accomplished academic leader, President Blanchard is aided by award-winning scholars and talented staff members, who are dedicated to the success of UHD’s diverse student population. UHD serves as a premier urban university that provides Houstonians with affordable and attainable higher education opportunities.
UHD has long maintained a commitment to enhancing higher education within the fourth largest city in the United States. With approximately 15,000 students, UHD remains the second largest university in Houston and its most affordable. More than 54,000 alumni have emerged from this institution ready to serve as leaders in business, education, public service, the arts, humanities, science and medicine.
GLORIA LUNA BOUNDS
Community Relations Manager
Gloria Luna Bounds is Community Relations Manager at CenterPoint Energy in Houston, Texas. In this role, she helps plan, implement and direct community outreach programs, partnerships and Foundation grants with a focus on education and community vitality.
Gloria is personally committed to serving the community and is actively engaged through volunteer and board service. Currently, she is a sustaining member of the Junior League of Houston and serves on the Executive Board of Directors of the Hermann Park Conservancy. Gloria previously served as an Executive Board member for Latin Women’s Initiative, and now serves as Advisory Board Chair. In 2020, she was appointed to the Mayor’s Advisory Board for Adult Literacy and previously served on the Executive Board of Directors for AVANCE Houston, Inc.
Gloria is a graduate of the United Way of Greater Houston’s Project Blueprint Class 27, Leadership Houston Class 33, and is a current American Leadership Forum Class 56 Fellow.
Gloria earned her BA in Communication, and MBA in Finance from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, TX.
Houston Police Department
Patricia Cantu is an Assistant Chief with the Houston Police Department, the fifth-largest municipal police department in the United States. She is a native Houstonian growing up in Houston’s East End and graduated from Stephen F. Austin High School. Her law enforcement career began with the Harris County Sheriff’s Department in 1991 thru 1999. At the HCSO she worked as a Deputy/jailer at the various jails, Inmate Processing Center, Information Booth and the first Latina selected to work in the Harris County Narcotic Task Force working in an undercover capacity. While at the Sherriff’s Department Patricia successfully completed an internship in the Homicide Division and the Juvenile Violent Offenders Unit for college credit.
She is now the highest-ranking Hispanic female at the Houston Police Department. She chairs on various committees to include, the Crash Review Board, FBINA selection committee and Vice Chair of the department’s Hispanic Officer of the Year Committee. Chief Cantu has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston, Downtown and a master’s degree in criminal justice from University of Houston at Clear Lake.
CYNTHIA N. COLBERT, MSW
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
An expert on poverty and ways to address it, Cynthia N. Colbert, MSW, took the helm of Catholic Charities in 2012 and since then created new partnerships across the region to help impoverished individuals build better lives. She is an experienced leader with more than 25 years in nonprofit management. Cynthia earned her bachelor’s degree from The California State University in Sacramento and her master’s in social work from UC Berkeley.
Under Colbert’s leadership, Catholic Charities was recognized for its outstanding record of trustworthy administration of public human services funds by both Harris County and the City of Houston, which chose the agency to distribute more than $250 million federal funds to 125,000 families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Accolades for her work came from the Houston Business Journal, which named her to its inaugural list of Houston’s Most Admired CEOs. Previously, HBJ recognized her for two consecutive years on its Women Who Mean Business list.
In addition, she was named as a Woman on the Move by Texas Executive Women; Hispanic Female Executive of the Year by the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and Leadera Consulting Group’s Outstanding Woman in Business. Colbert spoke before a United Nations panel in New York about educating refugee women, and she has presented numerous times at the regional and national level.
Founder of SpoiledLatina
Yvonne is a multi faceted, multi-cultural influencer & entrepreneur behind SpoiledLatina, a leading Latina lifestyle brand dedicated to empowering women to invest in themselves. With over 13-years of influencer and blogging experience, SpoiledLatina continues to elevate women through live experiences that connect brands to consumers. Yvonne is the proud Founder of SpoiledLatina Summit, an annual conference that empowers women through self care and meaningful conversations. Her digital content including a podcast and her Youtube page are an extension of her personality. She has worked and collaborated with top tier brands and celebrities such as Hennessy, Ciroc, Diddy and Amazon to name a few, to bring brand affinity to each. Above all, she is a first generation Mexican American who is a hardworking mother of a wonderful and talented 12 year old and a wife of 17 years.
Houston Independent School District
Dani Hernandez is a native of Houston’s East End and attended HISD schools. She is the daughter of immigrants, and a first-generation graduate from both high school and college. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Boston University in 2011 and returned to Houston to be a bilingual teacher at the same elementary school she attended as a child. Hernandez went on to earn a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of St. Thomas. She then worked as a teacher and an administrator in HISD and remained with the district for six years before becoming a real-estate agent with Keller-Williams. Hernandez is a community advocate for eliminating educational inequities and closing the achievement gap between children from different socioeconomic backgrounds. She believes all students must be held to high expectations, so they can graduate ready for college, career, or military service, and have the best possible opportunity to succeed in life.
CLAUDIO ORTEGA HOGUE
Global Communities Houston, LLC
Claudia Ortega Hogue is the Founder + CEO of Global Communities Houston, LLC, a Business Entrepreneur, Community Advocate and current President-Elect & Vice President of Houston’s League of Women Voters. Her primary goal has been focused on non-profit organizations, underserved communities and raising awareness on social concerns through education, immigration, and voting. She graduated from the University Language Institute in Oklahoma and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business.
Prior to serving as District Director for the 29th Congressional District of the U.S. House of Representatives, Claudia worked over a decade as the Southwest Regional and Texas State Director with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund.
Claudia’s most recent appointment by the Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner to serve on the 2019 Advisory Council of New Americans and Immigrant Communities for the City of Houston. Past appointments include, Co-Chair for the 2016-2018 Mayor’s Advisory Council of International Communities, 2016 Mayor’s Public Safety Transition team, and 2011-2018 Co-Chair of the City of Houston’s Citizenship Month initiative with former Mayor Parker.
Claudia serves in several nonprofit board positions, community committees and taskforces, such as the League of Women Voters of Houston, Bonding Against Adversity, Discover Fitness Foundation, AVANCE-Houston and Houston Community ToolBank. She is also is a Senior Fellow at the American Leadership Forum – Houston/Gulf Coast Chapter (ALF), Class LIV/54.
Claudia has been featured and profiled in The New York Times and Latina Lista. She has been recognized as “Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women” by the Houston Woman Magazine, 2016 Changer Maker Award by the New Leaders Council-Houston, 2015 “Community Women of the Year” by Solo Mujeres and “35 Houston Latinos You Should Know!” by the Houston Chronicle.
ADRIENNE M. HOLLOWAY, Ph.D.
Harris County Community Services Department
Dr. Holloway, an accomplished professional with over 5 years of experience in the housing and community development industries and 10 years of experience in academia teaching undergraduate and graduate students, received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Northern Illinois University. She is currently Executive Director of the Harris County Community Services Department where she drives community development, disaster relief and housing investments through myriad programs and a $1B budget comprised of local, state and federal funding sources. She was formerly the Chief Innovation Officer at the City of Aurora where she led the development and execution of new initiatives for the city. Areas of focus include improving citizen engagement, building efficiency and effectiveness within government and, stimulating the success capacity of the city’s nonprofit, social entrepreneur and resident populations. She also supervised the City of Aurora’s Community Services and Information Technology divisions. Dr. Holloway most recent academic experience was as an assistant professor at the DePaul University Graduate School of Public Service where she taught government, community development and research methods courses.
Board of Directors
Dolores Lozano, a community organizer and advocate, will serve as the next Harris County Justice of the Peace in Precinct 2, Place 2. Dolores has spent years organizing for quality education, gender equity, and equitable development throughout Harris County. She is a first-generation college graduate of Baylor University who began her career providing speech therapy services to children in underserved communities. As an alumna and a current member of the KIPP Texas Board of Directors, she supports youth voices to advance communities across the state. Dolores is on the founding team of Impact Hub Houston, a locally rooted, globally connected nonprofit organization working to make Houston a role model for how the world solves its most pressing issues. She runs a small public relations and business consulting firm. Her experiences and accomplishments have been recognized across the state and country.
Dolores resides in Garden Villas with her husband Kory Haywood and their two dogs.
Other affiliations and recognitions include:
- Garden Villas Civic Club, Board of Directors
- 2-Year City of Houston Hackathon Winner
- Junior League of Houston, Head Active & Houston News Assistant Editor
- Houston Coalition for Equitable Development without Displacement
- Houston Area Women’s Center Young Leader
- Aspen Institute Ideas Festival Scholar
- Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Scholar
- Project Grad Scholar
- New Leaders Council
Director of External & Legislative Affairs
AT&T Services for the Greater Houston Area
Tanya Makany-Rivera serves as Director of External and Legislative Affairs with AT&T Services for the Greater Houston area. Tanya previously served as the Senior Director of Government Affairs and Community Relations for Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia. Prior to that, she was the Deputy Press Secretary for Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and the External Affairs Manager of the City of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunity. Tanya has spent her career as a public servant and specializes in external affairs, strategy, communications, and team management. Tanya is a native Houstonian who attended the University of Houston for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She is the proud mom of two young boys, Dominic and Anthony.
MARIA DEL PILAR MONTES
Director of Boards & Commissions
Maria Del Pilar Montes is a native Houstonian and the first Director of Boards and Commissions for Harris County. Prior to joining the county, she served as Director of Boards and Commissions for the City of Houston from July 2018 to September 2021. Under her tenure, she worked closely with Mayor Turner and Council Member Abbie Kamin to create the Women’s Commission. Montes was part of the historical appointment of Cheryl Creuzot, the first African American woman to the Port of Houston Authority board. Montes also held the first public event for boards and commissions, with over 200 Houstonians in attendance.
Montes has worked for Transwestern, Ayrshire Corporation, Senator Rodney Ellis (now County Commissioner), Cherish Our Children International and Strong Strategies LLC.
Montes is a KIPP alumna who graduated from Hollins University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston-Downtown. Montes received the Alumna on The Rise Award from the University of Houston-Downtown in May of 2022 and is a senior fellow of the American Leadership Forum, Class 53.
Montes serves on the board of the Houston Northeast CDC, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Latinas United PAC, and is a member of LULAC District 8 as well as Eastex-Jensen Super Neighborhood #46.
In her free time, Montes likes to: ride her bicycle, go on hikes, and play with nephews Roggier, Rylee, and Esteban.
LUZ ELENA RIVERS
CEO of Amera Solutions, a company valued at $10 million by Forbes with no initial bank funding or investment. Amera provides transportation for those undergoing a medical procedure anywhere in the US.
Despite being turned away by multiple banks when I first launched Amera in 2010, I have grown the company to great success, employing over 45 people and working with over 3000 affiliate partners across the US. In 2021 I was grateful to be recognized by Forbes in their annual NEXT 1000 list, which celebrates entrepreneurial heroes. Amera was able to blossom into a multi-million-dollar corporation.
Received an Associates in Education from Prairie View University in 2000 prior to receiving a 4-year degree in Psychology from Ashford University in 2007. Currently completing her MBA.
Vice President of HR Total Rewards & HR Information Technology
Bertha is Vice President, Human Resources Total Rewards and Human Resources Information Technology of CenterPoint Energy. In her current role, she oversees the design, implementation and administration of compensation and benefit programs enterprise-wide and technology that supports Human Resources. Bertha has over 15 years of experience in human resources in the energy industry. She has served in various roles with increasing responsibility at CenterPoint Energy, Kinder Morgan and El Paso Corporation.
Bertha graduated from Milby High School. She received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in business administration from Rice University. She is a Society for Human Resource Management-Certified Professional (SHRM-CP), a Certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and a Certified Compensation Professional (CCP).
Bertha’s parents immigrated from El Salvador to the U.S. in the early 1980s. She was born and raised in Houston, Texas (Magnolia Park). She is a mother and has eleven nephews and nieces. When she is not working, she is spending time with her family and running around to practices, games and performances.
Director of Community Empowerment
TelevisaUnivision Houston Local Media
Over a span of almost three decades, via public service programs, education/health campaigns, and community involvement and service, Grace Olivares has enriched the lives of thousands of people.
As Director of Community Empowerment for TelevisaUnivision Houston Local Media*, Grace heads a year-round empowerment platform that focuses on raising awareness and disseminating important information about education, health, financial literacy, civic engagement, and diversity/culture. The essential components of the project include a public affairs program “Contigo en la Comunidad,” (With You in the Community) which Grace produces and hosts on a weekly basis, phone banks/Facebook Lives where volunteers from a community organization provide information about a topic of interest to Latinos, extended media campaigns spotlighting several issues, as well as on the ground citizen engagement activities and community forums. Because of her work and leadership, Grace was designated as Regional Leader of the Univision Central Region.
Currently, Grace serves on the Mayor’s Hispanic Advisory Board, the University of Houston’s Center for Mexican American Studies, and the Miller Theatre Advisory Board. She is a member of the American Leadership Forum Class XXVII. Grace also supports media/marketing efforts of several organizations and has served in many boards.
Grace graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Cecilio Acosta Catholic University in Maracaibo, Venezuela and holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Communication/Community Journalism.
Despite the accolades and achievements, Grace remains the essence of a servant leader. The lofty charge of managing the community relations for the Univision Houston conglomerate has challenged her to do all she can to empower the community and create a more just society. Faith, family, and friends are life’s foundation and pillars for Grace.