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CHLI Spotlight: The Women of CHLI

Tuesday, March 31, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Victoria Peris
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For Immediate Release
March 31, 2015
Contact: Mary Ann Gomez 
CHLI Spotlight:The Women of CHLI 


Washington, D.C. - The Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) thanks the women on its Board of Directors during Women's History Month for their contributions to the Hispanic community. This group of diverse women have shown their strength and initiative through career accomplishments and their work with CHLI. The women of CHLI are dedicated to fostering a broad awareness of the diversity of thought, heritage, interests and views of Americans of Hispanic and Portuguese descent. They are enthusiastic about CHLI's goals and are committed to preparing and promoting our country's future leaders.


"It is an honor to work together with such an influential group of women. It is because of their commitment to CHLI, that we are able to advance the Hispanic community, support aspiring future leaders, and promote the importance of public service and servant leadership in business," said Mary Ann Gomez, CHLI Executive Director.


Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is one of CHLI's founders. Born in Cuba, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, began her career as a Florida Certified Teacher in Miami. She was inspired by parents and students to represent them. In 1982, she was elected to the Florida State House of Representatives and the Florida Senate in 1986. The Congresswoman was the first Hispanic female elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. A teacher at heart, she now supports all parents and students across the country. She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in Education from Florida International University.


Ivette Fernandez is the Executive Director of the Libre Institute. Prior to her current position, she worked for News Corporation. She has also served at the White House, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Senate. She has been recognized for her contributions to the Hispanic community by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Eielson Air Force Base and many others. A native of Alaska, she earned her bachelor's degree in International Affairs from The George Washington University and her master's degree in International Affairs from Georgetown University.


Belinda Garza serves as the CHLI Secretary and Chair of the Programs Committee. Belinda works at Univision Communications Inc. Prior to joining Univision, she worked for Walmart in the Washington, D.C. office. She also worked for former Congressman, Ciro D. Rodriguez of Texas. Ms. Garza is a graduate of The University of Texas in San Antonio, where she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management, concentrating in International Business.


Nathalie Rayes is the U.S. National Public Relations Director of Grupo Salinas and Executive Director of the Fundacion Azteca America. Previously, Nathalie served as Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn's Deputy Chief of Staff. Ms. Rayes also served as a Department of State Fellow in the Economic/Political Section of the United States Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. She is a United States Presidential appointee to the Board of Trustees of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Last year, she was recognized by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) as an outstanding alumna. She earned a bachelor's degree in Sociology and master's degree in Public Policy from UCLA.


Lauren Robitaille is the Senior Manager of Federal Government Relations for Walmart. She is responsible for outreach to the legislative and executive branches.  Prior to joining Walmart, she served as the Legislative Director for Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart. Ms. Robitaille was born and raised in Florida. She attended the University of Florida earning a degree in Political Science with minors in Business Administration and International Affairs.


Susan I. Santana, Esq. is a CHLI founding member and Chair of the Governance Committee. Ms. Santana is the Assistant Vice President of Federal Relations for AT&T. She has also worked for Dell Corporation and Holland & Knight. She is the current President of the Hispanic Lobbyist Association, and she also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund. Ms. Santana has been recognized with various honors including the Hispanic Association of Corporate Responsibility's Young Hispanic Corporate Achiever Award. Raised in San Diego, California, she earned a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and a law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. 


Patrice Webb is Senior Director for Partnerships and Community Outreach for the American Beverage Association. Prior to joining the association, Ms. Webb, worked at The Webb + Flow Group, LLC and was the Director of External Affairs for Heineken USA. Ms. Webb earned her bachelor's degree from Towson University in Political Science and Philosophy with a concentration in Conflict Resolution, and her master's in Organizational Management from George Washington University. 


To learn more about these extraordinary women, visit:


Congratulations to all women who serve as board members and give of their time and expertise across the county! 

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About CHLI: 

The Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) is the premier organization founded by Members of Congress and corporate executive leaders to advance the Hispanic community's economic progress with a focus on social responsibility and global competitiveness. Founded in 2003, CHLI is a 501(c)3 non-profit and non-partisan organization. CHLI is dedicated to fostering a broad awareness of the diversity of thought, heritage, interests, and views of Americans of Hispanic and Portuguese descent. 


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