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These are the key traits of successful Latinas that are shaping our nation today:  A willingness to be visible in the workplace by demonstrating her skills, knowledge and leadership so that she gets noticed.   A strong comfort with her identity as a Latina--whether she is an immigrant, first generation or someone with a diverse mix of cultures.  A remarkable determination not to be discouraged by the headwinds that come with being a woman of color and to keep moving forward with her personal vision.  And, a strong willingness to take action, step up and take charge of all the various facets of her career and her life.   These remarkable qualities that can empower Latinas to lead in any organization or community and to live a fulfilling life--VIDA!


LatinaVIDA's mission is to engage career minded Latinas in developing their strategic roadmap to reach the C-Suite by connecting them to key resources that support their journey. 


We are veterans of corporate leadership roles, serial entrepreneurs, and professional coaches—each with unique strengths and experiences to create a remarkable opportunity to plan for growth and to support you for the next step in your career---where ever that may take you.  We created LatinaVIDA™ partly out of love for the work we do and partly out of a frustration that during our lifetimes we have not seen enough progress or change in the overall status of Latinas in the nation.  The stereotypes about Latinas remain in place, there are few role models, and we continue to see painful statistics about our community.  Yet true to our culture of strength and faith, Latinas are leading the nation in creating new small business, more of us are entering colleges and universities, and the economic base of Latinos is approaching $1.2 Trillion. We are seeing important trends that can be leveraged effectively to give the Latino community a voice in corporate America, to bring our innovative spirit to address key social issues, and to strengthen communities.  These efforts all require leadership skills and life skills that need to be shared among us.  We look forward to making LatinaVIDA™ a remarkable life affirming experience for you that empowers you to succeed. 


Maria Hernandez, PhD,  Santalynda Marrero, EdD,  Julia Arellano-Sullivan, MBA



CECILIA M. MOTA   Executive Director


Executive Director

CECILIA MOTA is a dynamic Women Empowerment Expert and Influential Latina Leader with over 20 years of experience and service in the Nonprofit sector. She's an Entrepreneur, Marketing & Branding Expert, as well as a Radio & TV Host.

Under Cecilia's leadership as LatinaVIDA's Executive Director the organization has established a strong community presence, experienced much growth, has gained exponential visibility, and launched new programs.

Cecilia is a Philanthropist at heart who over the years has generously given much of her time to serve on the board of or run local and national nonprofit organizations. Most recently she served as Chairwoman of the Board of the CA Hispanic Chambers of Commerce Foundation, and past National President of the National Latina Business Women Association to name a few. 

Being a women empowerment advocate allows Cecilia to be a voice for women who cannot speak for themselves and are desperately seeking to improve their lives and change their current situation through learning, entrepreneurship, mentorship, and/or personal development. 


DR. MARIA G. HERNANDEZ, PhD    C hairwoman of the Board & Co Founder


Chairwoman of the Board & Co Founder

Dr. Maria Hernandez, PhD

As a result of my unique education I have designed, engaged and lead a wide range of multidisciplinary initiatives ranging from building corporate advisory council tasked with responding to diverse customers telecommunication needs to a professional development program for the staff of a children's shelter in a major city.  This range of work has required engaging executives in the C-Suite, elected officials, media representatives and front line staff.

For the past 20 years my clients include Fortune 100 senior executives, founder of early stage companies, foundations, public agencies and elected officials. I have worked extensively in four sectors: technology, healthcare, utilities, and telecommunications as a strategic advisor, executive coach and program facilitator. In 2010 I began working in the field of social impact investing and co-authored a white paper in 2012 for the California Endowment that inspired California's first health related social impact investment pilot project aimed at preventing asthma emergencies. Impact4Health, LLC provides key solutions to advance health equity and address the dynamic changes taking place in our nation's healthcare system. The Inclusion Scorecard for Population Health is a unique dashboard of activities healthcare systems an track to insure they have created a culture of inclusion to address the diverse needs of vulnerable populations.

My passion project is the founding of LatinaVIDA with a mission to inspire the next generation of Latina executives.

OPHELIA B. BASGAL   Board Director


Board Director

OPHELIA B. BASGAL is an experienced executive who has led large organizations in both the private and public sectors.  During 2010 – 2016 she served as the Regional Administrator for the Department of Housing Urban Development (HUD) for the states of Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and the outer Pacific Islands and reported to the HUD Secretary.  During her tenure with HUD, Ophelia established a regional mentorship program for Presidential Mnaagement Fellows.  Prior to this position, she was a Vice President at PG&E, a Fortune 200 utility company serving Northern California.

Ophelia is a highly sought after speaker, consultant and executive coach. She has a strong passionto serve millennials and women interested in developing their leadership potential.  She values and promotes diversity and inclusion in organizations and has served as an advisor to several employee resource groups that appreciate her straightforward approach to strategic planning, community outreach and program design.  In 2009, Ophelia was named the Ultimate Hispanic Executive by the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (now Prospanica) in 2009.

Throughout her career, Ophelia has produced noteworthy results that have been recognized in national settings.  Her communication style and skills have led to frequent speaking invitations from a variety of organizations and the media.  She also has extensive experience facilitating group meetings focused on organizational transformations and strategic planning.

Ophelia has a BA with Distinction from Arizona State University and Masters in Social Welfare Administration from the University of California, Berkeley where she is a currently a Visiting Scholar.  In addition to serving on the Board of LatinaVIDA,  she also serves on the Board of the San Francisco Foundation and is current Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Alameda County California Employees’ Retirement Association, a $6 billion multi-employer pension fund.   



Board Director

DR. DAMARY BONILLA-RODRIGUEZ leads the Latina Initiative for Girls Inc at a National level, one of the nation’s oldest nonprofits dedicated to empowering and educating young girls and inspiring them todevelop their full potential.  A graduate of the St. John Fisher College, Damary holds a Doctorate in Education focusing on Executive Leadership.  She is a national leading authority on Latina leadership development. She delivers keynote addresses and presentations drawing upon her experience from roles in the non-profit, private, and government sectors, as well as her doctoral research.  Her seminal research about Latina leadership in the United States has served as the foundation for events, conference sessions, and new publications on Latina leaders that address the urgency of leadership development for a fast-growing population and create a pipeline of diverse leaders.     

Dr. Bonilla has published essays in the Huffington Post and is contributor for the book Ethics, Gender, and Leadership in the WorkplaceToday’s Inspired Latina (Volume II) features Damary’s unique story and accomplishments.  Her work around leadership and empowerment of women has been featured by several media outlets including: NBC Latino, Chief Writing Wolf, and the Empowered Latinas series.  In 2014, Damary received a proclamation from the New York State Assembly for her designation as a Coors Light Lideres finalist.  In a 2016 Damary received the Proud to Be Latina Soy Poderosa award.

In addition to her board seat on LatinaVIDA, Dr. Bonilla is on the board of Latinas on the Plaza,  Los Compadres Modern Caballero, and serves as an advisor to the Board of Hispanic Caucus Chairs and the Alliance for Positive Youth Development, Damary and her husband are the proud parents of seven-year old twin boys. 

In 2014, Damary received a proclamation from the New York State Assembly for her designation as a Coors Light Lideres finalist.  In a 2016 Damary received the Proud to Be Latina Soy Poderosa award. In addition to her board seat on LatinaVIDA, Dr. Bonilla is on the board of Latinas on the Plaza,  Los Compadres Modern Caballero, and serves as an advisor to the Board of Hispanic Caucus Chairs and the Alliance for Positive Youth Development, Damary and her husband are the proud parents of seven-year old twin boys. 



Board Director

KATHLEEN CHÁVEZ RÈGE is the Chief of Staff for Western Digital Sales and Business Development and  has worked in the high-tech sector for over 20 years consulting, coaching, and supporting leaders through strategic business transformations and executive development opportunities linked to change management, product launches, and reorganizations.

Kathleen possesses a strong foundation for providing prescriptive and emergent solutions for strengthening a leader’s impact and effectivenessShe began her career in Silicon Valley implementing MRP systems in factory operations and quickly began focusing on executive behavior as a critical driver for culture change and employee success. Kathleen has extensive experience consulting to executives and managing business operations in: customer advocacy, customer support, engineering, executive development, human resources, international customer administration, IT implementation, organizational effectiveness, sales operations, strategy development and execution, and supply chain management.

Native to Silicon Valley, Kathleen holds a B.S. in Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco. In addition to serving on the board of LatinaVIDA, she is the Director, Corporate Relations, IEEE Santa Clara Valley Women in Engineering (SCV WIE) and is an Executive Advisor to Apsora Pvt. Ltd.. Kathleen co-authored a two part series: “Latina Entrepreneur, Trail Blazing Small Business Growth” for Latina Style Magazine.  Kathleen invented a golf speed of play digital assistant and holds two patents: Golf Play Pacing Method, Patent number 6,346,055 B1 and Golf Flagstick Play Pacer, Patent number 6,062,985.



Board Director

ROSE CASTILLO GUILBAULT is a Communications and Public Affairs Consultant and Executive Coach with an impressive history of success in business, media, and the community.  Widely recognized as an influential leader, Ms. Guilbault was named one of the 25 Most Influential Hispanics in the San Francisco Bay Area for two consecutive years and honored as one of the Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business for three consecutive years.  She also received the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award from the San Francisco United Nations Association; was inducted into the San Mateo County Woman’s Hall of Fame; was named a “Woman Who Could Be President” by the San Francisco League of Women Voters; and was appointed by President George Bush to the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.   In 2011, she was named Forever Influential Honor Roll of Exceptional Women Leaders. 

Ms. Guilbault has made significant contributions as a business leader.  While with AAA Northern California, Nevada, Utah, and CSAA, she was the founding President of the Community Safety Foundation; Vice-President of Communications and Social Responsibility; Chief Diversity Officer; and Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Publishing.  Before joining CSAA/ AAA, Ms. Guilbault held very high-profile roles in media including Editorial and Public Affairs Director for KGO-TV’s (ABC San Francisco).  During her broadcasting career, she received several honors for her work in television broadcasting including an EMMY; Western Woman of Achievement from American Women in Radio and Television; and Innovator of the Year from the National Broadcast Community Affairs Association.

In addition to serving on the board of LatinaVIDA, Rose is the former Chair of the Board of the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans) where she continues to serve as well as serving on the board of Caltrain.  She is past Chair of the Board of Governors of the Commonwealth Club of California, the nation’s oldest and largest public affairs forum where she is a lifetime Board member; member of the Board of Trustees for the Mineta Transportation Institute; Trustee Emeritus at the University of San Francisco; and former member of the Board of Directors for Catholic Healthcare Hospitals, and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. She also served on the California Community College Board of Governors.

Ms. Guilbault is a published author.  Her latest book is “The Latinas Guide to Success in the Workplace.”  She also wrote the critically acclaimed memoir, “Farmworker’s Daughter:  Growing Up Mexican in America.”  She was featured in the exhibit “Latinas, the Spirit of California” at the California Museum for History, Women and the Arts in Sacramento.  A graduate of Pepperdine University, Rose holds an MBA and is fluent in Spanish.



Board Director

DOLORES CORTÉS-MCPHERSON has over 25 years of experience as an international humanitarian. For over a decade she worked in South America as a Human Trafficking expert and Progam Manager for  the International Organization for Migration (IOM) an agency of the United Nations (UN). Based in Lima, Peru, she travelled extenseivelly through South America, Central America and Europe to provide technical assistance to Governments and civil society agencies on measures to prevent human trafficking. She has also lead awarenes raising and capacity building campaings in alliance with numerous international institutions, such as the International Labour Organization (ILO); the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA); the Inter-American Development Bank and the Ricky Martin Foundation.

Born and raised in Spain, she completed her studies in the cosmopolitan School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London, where she lived for six years. In this European city, Dolores also worked as a Latin American researcher and analyst. Currently Dolores lives in Northern California where she is writing her doctoral dissertation within the International and Intercultural Program of the University of Deusto in Spain. 

She works under the coordination of her Spanish supervisor and her second advisor at the Global and International Studies Program of the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).  Dolores´s research analizes the Peruvian Government policies to fight illegal gold extration in the Amazon rainforest,  extended practice that involves sexual and labor exploitation affecting the supply chain. Dolores is also a seniour researcher for the Laboratory of Criminology  of the Catholic University of Peru (PUCP), insitution where she has lectured for three years.

In addition to serving as a board member for LatinaVIDA, Dolores is also on the board of the Latino Service Providers (LSP) and supports the recently stablished association, Los Cien. She has also voluntered for the non-profit 10,000 Degrees, an institution that helps underpriviledged young Latinos access post secondary education in the US.



Board Director

MICHELLE E. MESSINA is CEO of the international consulting and advisory firm, Explora International LLC.  She is a serial entrepreneur and highly sought out advisor specializing on the topics of innovation, business acceleration, market readiness, technology commercialization, entrepreneurship and leadership. She has worked with over 1000 startup entrepreneurs across the globe and leverages her expertise in revenue generation, marketing, and operations to help her clients develop viable growth and expansion strategies.   Michelle is part of the U.S. Department of State initiative Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas for Women Entrepreneurs, focused on economic empowerment and public-private partnerships for SME growth and has assessed and scored companies with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Program in Latin America. 

In working with regional governments, Michelle brings the best practices of Silicon Valley to regions around the world to ensure sustainable and vibrant ecosystems.  She has been actively involved with foreign direct investment projects, country positioning and branding, economic development and job creation programs, in addition to connecting global partners for trade and investment purposes.

Michelle speaks throughout the world on business acceleration programs, entrepreneurship, innovation, technology commercialization, Silicon Valley best practices for creating and growing companies, sustainable ecosystems, and market readiness. In 2016, she  co-authored Decoding Silicon Valley: The Insider's Guide with Jonathan C. Baer.

In addition to serving on the Board of LatinaVIDA,  Michelle is board member at Innovation Center Denmark-Silicon Valley, with the ConnectiMass Foundation Jamaica, focused on promoting tech entrepreneurship in the Caribbean, and with SAGE, Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship.

DIANA NAVAS - ROSETTE   Board Director


Board Director

DIANA NAVAS-ROSETTE is a strategic Human Resources leader with more than 12 years of experience developing, managing, and executing key initiatives for fortune 500 firms. Currently, Diana is driving key elements of the global diversity and inclusion strategy for Microsoft by leading innovative strategies that drive organizational performance. Prior to joining Microsoft, Diana worked for Charles, Schwab, Pepsi Bottling Company, and NASA. She has extensive experience in strategic planning, change management, diversity, inclusion, EEO/AA compliance, employee relations, union avoidance, organizational development, diversity branding and community relations. 

Born and raised in Medellin, Colombia, Diana migrated to the United States at the age of 15. She holds a M.S. in Management with emphasis in Human Resources and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, both from the University of Central Florida. In 2013, she received the inaugural “Top 40 under 40 Latinos to Watch” Award by Silicon Valley Latino. Most recently, she was recognized as a HACR Young Hispanic Corporate Achiever™. Known for being a strategic maximizer with a strong bias for action and a candid ability to work collaboratively, she is an active volunteer in the non-profit community.  Diana has held leadership roles with ALPFA Chapter in San Francisco,  the National Initiative Women of ALPFA and volunteers with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND).