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2016 CHLI Future Leaders Conference

Wednesday, July 6, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Roberto Cervantes
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CHLI Future Leaders Conference
Advancing the Future-One Millennial At A Time


The Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) held its annual Future Leaders Conference on Friday, June 24, 2016, at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. The theme of the conference was “Advancing the Future-One Millennial at a Time,” which captivates the importance of educating the leaders of tomorrow.

The CHLI Future Leaders Conference brings together Congressional speakers and distinguished corporate executives, Capitol Hill staff, and academic and non-profit leaders to talk about public service, leadership development and global competitiveness.

This year, the conference hosted Congressman Albio Sires (NJ-08), Congressman Bill Flores (TX-27) and speakers from the US Senate Finance Committee, The National Hispanic Medical Association, Google, Ford Motor Company, BP America and The World Bank.

“Each year, I look forward to speaking at CHLI's Future  Leaders Conference. The conference provides a  tremendous opportunity for students to learn more about  public service and what it means to be a leader. It is  always encouraging to see so many students taking an  interest in and working towards becoming the leaders of  tomorrow,” said Congressman Flores.


“I was honored to meet with the young people at CHLI’s Future Leaders Conference. I have always said that children are our future and was encouraged to see such bright minds dedicated to learning more about public service and searching for ways to improve not just their own lives, but those of their families and communities.” 



The conference began with opening remarks from CHLI President & CEO, Mary Ann Gomez, and Juan Sanchez, Legislative Fellow for CHLI Vice-Chairman Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28). 



The conference was comprised by two different panels of distinguished professionals. The first panel was Leadership Development/Career Paths – Public Sector, and was moderated by CHLI Alum, Irene Castro.

The panelists included Jeyben Castro, Outreach Director, Hispanic Task Force, US Senate Finance Committee; Dr. Elena Rios, President & CEO, National Hispanic Medical Association; and Mauricio O. Rios, Communications Officer, World Bank.



Each panelist began by talking about the purpose of the organization they represented. Castro explained how the purpose of the Hispanic Task Force originated from the need to listen to the Latino Community, on issues such as education, empowerment and financial literacy.

Dr. Rios pointed out how the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) provides policymakers, health care providers, and their partners with expert information and support in strengthening health service delivery to Hispanic communities across the nation. “About time the doctors from our communities find a niche to have their own organization,” she said.

“Poverty is a multi-dimensional problem,” stated Mauricio Rios, as he spoke about how the World Bank works toward solving poverty.    


The second panel was Leadership Development/Career paths- Private sector, and was moderated by CHLI Alum, Alejandro Alba.    

The panelists included Jennifer Bernal, Senior Policy Analyst, Google; Sally Kolenda, Director, External Affairs, BP America; and Ramon Zertuche, Manager, International Government Affairs- The Americas, Ford Motor Company.

Each of the panelists had plenty of advice to pass on to the future leaders in attendance.

“Learning from those around you, patience, humility, keep your feet on the ground, don’t be afraid to take risk, even if you feel like, ‘oh man I’m not going to get this,’ don’t be afraid to be a leader,” said Zertuche when speaking about leadership traits.

“When you show someone that you’re open to their advice and they see the value in you, they will naturally help you out. Always put your best foot forward,” said Bernal during her advice on mentorships.


“It is pivotal not to be afraid to make mistakes and being introspective. No one likes to be critiqued but it’s ok if you take time to listen to what the comment was and figure out how to address it and become a better person,” stated Kolenda as she gave three points on how to advance as an individual.

Once the panelists finished speaking and answering questions, Gomez returned to the booth to give closing remarks and provide some of her own piece of advice.

“Take the time to learn. If you can’t learn something new at a class, there’s TED Talks, podcasts, free online classes, business etiquette courses and webinars.” Gomez said.

Once the panel concluded, CHLI, along with the American Beverage Association (ABA), Florida International University (FIU) and the American Israel public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), held a networking luncheon which allowed students to build valuable relationships and to network with potential corporate employers, as well as national and international leaders.




The CHLI Future Leaders Conference would not have been possible without the hard work of the moderators, speakers, everyone who attended and especially, our dedicated sponsors: BP America, Ford Motor Company and State Farm.


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