Carlos Hernandez Falcon- Founder & Executive Director – or 773-342-8865 ext 103

Carlos R. Hernandez holds a Master in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Southern Illinois University.  As an executive director, Carlos is a founder and directs a premier Latino arts 501 (c) (3) non-profit arts organization known as the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (PRAA) founded in 1996.   In 2012, Carlos completed PRAA’s $2.5 million capital campaign drive and established an expanded Puerto Rican/Latino cultural center in the Logan Square/Avondale community of Chicago.  Carlos continues to provide key leadership and produces PRAA’s annual Emmy award winning National Cuatro Festival; implements its one-of-kind national Latin Music Project; directs El Archivo, an archival program documenting the historical migration contribution of the Puerto Rican community in the Midwest; and PRAA’s  cutting edge exhibition and studio arts programs, among others.   Under Carlos’ leadership the PRAA has established a reputation of extending its regional arts program outreach and collaboration with other Latino and non Latino communities.  Carlos has develop inclusive programs which has led PRAA to become known as a unique culturally specific organization that promotes diversity while maintaining its mission and core values.

Carlos’ past experiences include working for McCormick Tribune Foundation as a Program Intern Officer, Director of Economic Development for the City of Chicago Treasurer’s Office, and Director of the National Museum of Mexican Art’s $7.3 million expansion. He has also served in the past as consultant for non-profit community development projects.  Carlos has participated on numerous community boards and committees among them: The Chicago Community Loan Fund, Bickerdike Redevelopment, Chicago Cultural Alliance, State Treasurer Latino Affairs Advisory Board, Northern Trust Bank Community Advisory Board.   Carlos also served as a board member of Chicago Arts and Business Council, member of Ravinia’s Festival and the Logan Square Neighborhood Association advisory committees.  Carlos is a Northwestern University Kellogg Executive Scholar and in 2007 completed Stanford University Graduate School of Business Executive Training Program for Nonprofit Leaders Arts.  In 2015 Carlos was appointed by the Mayor of Chicago to be a member of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Carlos is currently a board member of Enrich Chicago, a founding board member of Chicago Latino Theater Alliance and member of the UIC Latino Advisory Committee.   He is a past recipient of the Chicago Community Trust Experienced Leader Fellowship which provided him the opportunity to build his knowledge and credibility through first-hand cultural connections with an active network of Caribbean cultural leaders and artists that encompasses the diaspora.   Other accomplishments has included providing leadership that lead to developing five prominent exhibitions, among them;  the  nationally recognized Smithsonian travelling exhibitions entitled “Beyond Baseball, The Life of Roberto Clemente;   “American Sabor, The Contribution of Latin Museum in America from 1940s to present”; Arnaldo Roche at the Chicago Cultural Center, Coming Home;  PRAA’s first traveling exhibition entitled “Loiza in Chicago” which highlighted the contribution of African cultural in Puerto Rican cultural through traditional masks, customs and music; and most recently “Faces of Puerto Rican Migration”.   Carlos’ cultural and community service has been recognized by Rincon Family Service “Community Care Award”, National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators “National Culture & Arts Awards”, Aspira of Illinois, “Community Service Award”, Network of Hispanic Administrators in Education “Community Partnership Award”, Centro de Estudios Avanzado de Puerto Rico y el Caribe “40th Anniversary Award”, among others.

Zabdiel Santiago- Music Manager I – or 773-342-8865 ext 111

Zabdiel is a graduate of the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico, and continued his master studies at the Inter Americana University of Puerto Rico, with concentration  on Music Education and Piano performance. He has also participated on multiple master music workshop under the direction of renowned musicians like; Michael Camilo, Oscar Stagnaro, Orlando Laureano, Danilo Perez, Mariza Garcia and others  He worked as music teacher at the Department of Education of Puerto Rico for over 10 years creating  conducting multiple Latin ensembles like Steel band, “trovadores”, bell choir and marching band that perform all throughout the island of Puerto Rico.  On numerous occasions, many of his past students have been award recipients of  trova and band competitions.  Zabdiel also worked for 10 years as the director of the music departments for numerous church and other non for profit organization (CIIPAP) in Puerto Rico.  For the last six years, Zabdiel has managed the PRAA Latin Music Project program including being a principal music instructor and overseeing curriculum and schools programming.

Michael Scott- Music Program Director  – or 773-342-8865 ext 111

Michael Scott has been studying and performing music professionally for over twenty years. Exploring many styles throughout his career, ranging from classical to jazz, folk to funk, and Brazilian Choro to Puerto Rican Jibaro, he has become a versatile and compassionate musician and educator. Michael has performed with various touring bands, mandolin orchestras, and recording artists throughout the United States; and is the proud recipient of both the Hibbard Perry Mandolin Scholarship and the Mandolin Symposium Scholarship. Mr. Scott holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Business from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, and a Master of Music in Jazz Studies from Northern Illinois University. Since relocating to Chicago from Nashville, where he held the position of Finance Coordinator at Sony Music Entertainment, Michael continues to maintain an active teaching, adjudicating, and performance schedule. His commitment to helping improve the quality of after-school music programing, as-well-as his involvement with many other music education endeavors, has continued to strengthen his role within the music community and have a meaningful impact on his student’s musical development.

Jose Carrasquillo- Music Manager II- 773-342-8865 ext 111

José is a graduate of the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico, where he graduated as a performer of Jazz and Caribbean music. He has worked as an educator since his early 20’s working in Puerto Rico for Escuela de Bellas Artes de Comerío, Centro de Formación de Artes de Carolina and given a vast amount of workshops in jazz and latin music for different schools in Puerto Rico. He is also an accomplished performer, having toured and performed in Russia, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Italy, Turkey, Poland, Italy, France and Spain. As a musician he was worked with artists such as Edwin Colón Zayas, Andrés Jimenez, Charlie Aponte, Danny Rivera, Grupo Manía, Orlando Laureano, Quique Domenech, Orquesta Mapeyé, Ballet Folclórico Guamanique, Guarionex, Brumas del Torito, Luis Daniel Colón, Tony Croatto, Neftalí Ortiz among others. He has received multiple awards and scholarships from places such as Berklee College of Music and has won 1st place in various cuatro competitions in Puerto Rico. Currently, José manages the Latin Music Project where he is a teacher and arranger of the music performed by the youth and is also a performing musician in the Chicago land.

Nancy Ward- Development Director – 773-342-8865 ext 105

Nancy Ward, is a seasoned fundraising professional who brings new capacities in individual giving to PRAA and a breadth of experience with arts and Latinx organizations.  She has served on the boards for Chicago Women in Philanthropy and the Association of Consultants to Nonprofits, as an Adjunct Lecturer at North Park University teaching fundraising principals, and as a Case Study Facilitator for the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Management Institute.  She holds an MPA from Roosevelt University and a Bachelor’s degree from Kent State University.

Jorge Felix- Studio Arts & Exhibition Program Manager- or 773-342-8865 ext 104

Jorge Felix, artist, curator and arts administrator native of Puerto Rico and living in Chicago since 1993.  Felix responded to neighborhood changes by engaging in community activism and curatorial work. Felix started working for several Chicago northwest non-profits; provides consulting services to newly established cultural organizations and arts/film festivals; and volunteers reviewing city and state grants while serving in advisory committees in and out of Chicago. Influenced by his involvement in the Field Museum’s Cultural Connections program and his collaborations with Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE), Felix work now makes a strong emphasis in cross-cultural education and arts integration. Felix worked as graphic artist and set designer for the company Teatro Cundiamor (Puerto Rico) and in Chicago worked with UrbanTheater Company. Felix received a Chicago After Dark Award 2007 for his scenic design in the production ‘Eulogy for a Small Time Thief’ and received great reviews for his work in the Jeff recommended production of Brain People.

As a professional Felix is part of the group of leaders that founded the Chicago Cultural Alliance, a consortium of ethnic museums that advance first-voice at community museums in the Chicago region. In 2010 Jorge Felix was awarded a Propeller Fund grant to move forward his independent research that mapped the history and contributions of Puerto Rican artists in Chicago. Currently Felix volunteers as set designer for Youth Empowerment Performance Project (YEEP), an LGBTQ performance group dealing with issues of coming out and homelessness.  As an artists, Felix currently keep producing in his studio and engages the public with his social-performance SOFRITO, a cooking and anecdotal presentation about his experience working as an artist, community curator and activist in Chicago’s Puerto Rican community.

Felix, completed the scholarship program at the League of Art of San Juan (San Juan, PR, 1990) and a bachelor in Visual Arts Communications from Sacred Heart University (Santurce, PR, 1991). Felix has a Master of Fine Arts in painting/history from Bowling Green State University (Ohio, 1993), and a Master of Arts in Arts Administration from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL, 2001).

PRAA Main Desk – or 773-342-8865 x 104

PRAA Consultants and Instructors:

Ernesto De La Torre, Accounting Consultant 
Celeste Park, Music Instructor 
Kevin Toler, Music Instructor 
Rene Avila, Music Instructor 
Mara Ayala, Studio Arts Instructor  
Maureen O’Connor, Development Consultant 
Jorge Ortega, Production Consultant 
Kopczyk, Osher & Scott

Board of Directors

Juan M. Mendez, JD, Chairman – President/Owner, Tara/Jordan Management, Ltd. 

Juan is the President of Tara Jordan Management, Ltd. which operates seven McDonald’s restaurants. Prior to becoming a McDonald’s franchisee, he was the principal for the law offices of Juan M. Mendez & Associates. He received his Juris Doctor Degree from De Paul University, College of Law in 1975. Juan is a veteran, having served in the U.S. Army  during the years of 1969-1970.

Throughout his career he has been actively involved in service to our community. Amongst his many contributions, he has been the National Chairman for the McDonald’s Hispanic Owners Association, Member of the Board of Trustees for Northeastern Illinois University, President of the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, President of the Latin American Bar Association, Member of the Board of Directors of the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance, Chairperson of Los Amigos del Cuatro, Panel Chairman of the Hearing Board of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois, President of the HACER Scholarship Program for the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana region, as well as Board Member of Aspira.

His love for our culture and its people are well documented. He has mentored many. The only request he makes is that when the opportunity arises, they assist others. According to him, “There is no greater gift than helping others.”

 Eduardo Camacho, Vice Chairman – Senior Compliance Facilitator, OLSCR, CPS

Sixty-three year-old Eduardo Camacho is a life-long Chicago resident.  He was born in West Town and grew up in Lincoln Park, where he currently lives with his wife, Dr. Annie Camacho.  His educational background reflects his many interests. He has a BA in Communications from Northeastern Illinois University, and Masters Degrees from the School of Social Service Administration and Booth School of Business Administration at the University of Chicago.  Reflecting his broad interests, he has had careers in nonprofit social service, business, and government.   He has coauthored studies on poverty, Hispanics, and the middle class in Chicago, for which he has won the Stick-o-Type and Peter Lisagor Awards for journalism.  He served as a Vice President at St Paul Federal Bank and Deputy Commissioner of Housing for the City of Chicago.  He has served as PRAAs Vice Chairperson for twelve years, where he has chaired the Marketing Committee and co-chaired  a $2.5 million Capital Campaign.

Robert Pantoja, Treasurer – Vice President, Customer Segments/Strategy Manager, BMO Harris Ban

Robert Pantoja has been in banking for over 16 years with a proven successful track record in branch sales, employee development, retail operations and program management. Robert is currently Customer Segment Strategy Program Manager as well as Interim Market President for retail banking in Chicagoland for BMO Harris Bank overseeing 17 bank centers in the Chicagoland area. Throughout his 11 year career at BMO Harris, Robert has held several roles to include Branch Management in multiple BMO markets throughout the Chicagoland area that include BMO Harris’ first SMART (digital) Branch. Robert has also held key corporate roles to help drive and develop new customer acquisition programs throughout the U.S. Retail network that help drive new customer acquisition.Robert earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration and Management from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Since 2014, Robert also has been an active member of the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance where he represents BMO as Board Trustee.  Robert resides in Chicago, IL with his wife and three children.

Jose R. Sanchez, Secretary – President & CEO, Norwegian American Hospital

José R. Sánchez, President and Chief Executive Officer of Norwegian American Hospital, is Chicago’s only Latino hospital CEO. He is a senior health care executive with 30 years’ experience in the operational, strategic and fiscal management of healthcare and multi-hospital systems.  He began his career as a clinical social worker before advancing through the ranks of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), the largest public health system it the nation, ultimately serving as Senior Vice President and Chief Executive of the Generations+/Northern Manhattan Health Network, comprised of three acute care hospitals, three diagnostic and treatment centers, and 20 community based health centers in Manhattan and the Bronx.   Since his arrival in Chicago, Norwegian American Hospital has had one of the most successful safety net hospital turnarounds in the country and has received national recognition in the areas of finance, information technology, innovation, and quality improvement.  Sánchez has been a licensed social worker since 1979. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the City College of New York and a Master of Social Work from Adelphi University.

David Doebler – President, NBC 5  and Telemundo Chicago

David Doebler is President and General Manager of NBC 5 Chicago/ WMAQ and Telemundo Chicago / WSNS, the NBC-owned stations in Chicago. A broadcast industry veteran, Doebler has more than 25 years of local television experience.  Doebler came to Chicago from NBC Connecticut, the NBC-owned station in Hartford, where he was President and General Manager for eight years. Under his leadership, NBC Connecticut significantly grew its local audience launching the market’s largest investigative team and engaging viewers through social media. Doebler and his team also oversaw the design and construction of a state-of-the-art broadcast facility that local stations across the country have looked to as a model. Under Doebler’s leadership two stations have received the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in journalism. NBC Connecticut’s careful and respectful coverage of the 2012 Newtown school massacre kept the traumatized community informed, and NBC Chicago’s trailblazing reports on Laquan McDonald, a Chicago teen shot 16 times by police, led to a major shake-up in the Chicago Police Department.

Before NBC Connecticut, Doebler was the President and General Manager of WVTM, the NBC affiliate in Birmingham that was owned at the time by NBCUniversal, for four years. He was also the Vice President of Creative Services and Sales for the formerly NBC-owned WNCN in Raleigh for three years. Doebler began his career in local television working in a variety of sales roles at WCAU, the NBC-owned station in Philadelphia, for 11 years.    Doebler has a strong commitment to the community. Under his leadership stations in three television markets have launched branded community initiatives committed to positive and inspirational storytelling within newscasts.

The most interactive initiative, Making A Difference at NBC 5 Chicago and Telemundo Chicago, has produced more than 1,000 uplifting stories and interview with an interactive digital presence, and created a robust board of more than 100 leaders from the Chicago area committed to problem-solving and community service.  Doebler has received numerous recognitions for his philanthropic efforts, including Chicago’s MET Jubilee Peace Planter Award, the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Community Service, the Connecticut Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Executive Choice Award, the American Cancer Society’s Corporate Community Leadership Award and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Citizen of the Year Award.   He has sat on the Boards of the Urban League, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the United Way, among many others.  Doebler holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications. He and his wife live in the Chicago area and their two adult children make frequent visits to the Windy City.

Anastasia O’Brien, JD – Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Exelon

As vice president and deputy general counsel, O’Brien leads a team of company attorneys and outside counsel who represent ComEd before regulators, lawmakers and judicial bodies in Illinois and nationally.  ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation. ComEd delivers electricity to approximately 3.8 million residential and business customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population.

Prior to joining Exelon in 1999, O’Brien was a partner in Sidley & Austin’s Chicago office, where she provided a wide range of services for energy and telecommunications clients. She worked on AT&T’s divestiture of its Bell operating companies as well as large utility restructuring projects including the $5-billion sale of ComEd’s fossil-fueled electric generating plants and the largest utility asset-backed securitization in U.S. history.

O’Brien serves on the boards of El Valor and the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance and participates in a variety of other community organizations.  O’Brien earned a J.D. with high distinction from the John Marshall Law School and a bachelor’s degree with highest distinction in public administration from Roosevelt University.

Cheryl Cooke – Manager, Corporate Giving, Allstate Insurance Compan

Cheryl Cooke advances community relations, develops partnerships and creates socially impactful programs on behalf of Allstate Insurance Company to enhance the quality of life in Chicago’s urban under-served neighborhoods.  A seasoned corporate funder, Cheryl specializes in creating economic development strategies for dis-invested neighborhoods by leveraging the resources of existing stakeholders.  At Allstate, Cheryl manages the administration of Allstate’s $4 million “Hometown” giving budget. At The Boeing Company, Cheryl funded “PlaceMaking” programs and initiatives that influenced culture, community development, civic discussion and environmental practices and policies in communities located both nationally and internationally. Prior to her work at The Boeing Company, Cheryl served as Deputy Director at the Fannie Mae Corporation.  At Fannie Mae, Cheryl was responsible for business development and financing of affordable housing and mixed-use developments in the Illinois region.  Her work also included funding the revitalization of public housing, redevelopment plans for public housing sites, regional master planning and neighborhood violence prevention strategies.  In addition, Cheryl managed Fannie Mae’s Illinois corporate giving budget.  At Fannie Mae, Cheryl won the “Community Business Center of the Year” award. Cheryl also worked at the City of Chicago as Assistant Commissioner in the Department of Planning and Development where she was responsible for facilitating the development of more than $55 million in new commercial and mixed-income housing on Chicago’s southeast side.

Cheryl has served on the boards of numerous organizations including: the North Lawndale Employment Network, Genesis Housing Development Corporation and Court Theatre.  Cheryl attended Georgetown University where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and History and graduated with honors from Tufts University with a Master’s in Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy.

Manuel Cuevas-Trisan, JD – Corporate VP, Motorola Solutions, Inc.

Manuel Cuevas-Trisán joined Motorola’s Legal Department as Labor & Employment Counsel 1998. He leads the Labor & Employment team since 2012 and the Privacy & Data Protection practice, which he established, and became Chief Human Resources Officer of the company in November of 2015. In addition to leading the People strategy of Motorola Solutions, he oversees the activities of the company’s non-profit, philanthropic arm, the Motorola Solutions Foundation. Mr. Cuevas-Trisán’s areas of expertise include EEO compliance, human resources management, corporate restructuring, downsizing, outsourcing, M&A, privacy/data protection, commercial and employment litigation, terminations, restrictive covenants, internal investigations, business immigration and talent mobility. From 2007-2010, Mr. Cuevas-Trisán served as Senior Commercial Counsel for Motorola’s Supply Chain organization, and led the legal team that supported Mobile Devices sales and field operations throughout Latin America.  Prior to Motorola, Mr. Cuevas-Trisán worked at the Puerto Rico law firm of McConnell Valdés and served as judicial clerk at the Puerto Rico Court of Appeals. He received his B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Notre Dame, and earned his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Puerto Rico, School of Law. He obtained his Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) and Information Privacy Manager (CIPM) certifications from the International Association of Privacy Professionals in 2011 and 2013, respectively.

Mr. Cuevas-Trisán is a frequent speaker and panelist at national and international legal and human resources conferences. He co-authored the Mexico chapter of International Labor and Employment Laws (BNA Books & American Bar Association), Vol. I, 2ndEd. (2004), and is member of the Adjunct Faculty at the John Marshall Law School, International Business & Trade LLM Program in Chicago. In January of 2015 the Illinois Commission on Diversity and Human Relations honored Mr. Cuevas-Trisán with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Outstanding Leadership, on account of his commitment to workplace diversity and inclusion, as well as mentorship and recognition of leadership potential of underrepresented minorities. In March of 2015 he was selected by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to represent the management sector in a Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace. The Task Force, established by EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang, is part of the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan for FY2-13-2016 “to convene experts from the employer’s community, workers’ advocates, human resources experts, academics and others in a broader effort to identify effective strategies that work to prevent and remedy harassment in the workplace”. At the state level, he was a member of the State of Illinois Study on Diversity & Inclusion (2016) in the private sector. Mr. Cuevas-Trisán serves on the Boards of Directors of the Chicago Legal Aid Society, the Illinois Commission on Diversity & Human Relations and the District 214 Educational Foundation.

Ignacio Lopez – National Louis University

Ignacio Lopez, Ed.D  was President of Harold Washington College one of the seven City Colleges of Chicago. Prior to his presidency at Harold Washington Dr. Lopez served as the Deputy Provost of Academic and Student Affairs at National Louis University. He was a former faculty member and program chairperson in the National College of Education. Dr. Lopez’s research has focused on the ways in which schools are influenced by culturally responsive teaching and community engagement. Dr. Lopez is committed to community and community engagement; He serves as an elected school board member for Illinois School District 73, was an appointed governing board member for the University Center of Lake County, and has served in advisory capacity to several community organizations around the Chicagoland area. Dr.Lopez’s career in education includes positions as a high school English teacher, reading teacherand higher education administrator. Dr. Lopez holds a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Psychology and an MA in teaching, from National Louis University in Chicago, and a BA in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Lopez is author and coauthor of books and online articles, includingThe Essential Classroom Management Checklistand The Empowerment Approach to Behavior Management.  His latest book is titled: Keeping it Real and Relevant: Building Authentic Relationships in your Diverse Classrooms, an ASCD publication.

Sylvia Mojica-Castillo, PsyD – Psychotherapist Consultant

Sylvia was born in Juncos, Puerto Rico and raised in Chicago. She graduated from Inter-American University in Puerto Rico, obtained a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Illinois and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Most of Sylvia’s work has been in the non-profit sector. She was a child welfare worker for DCFS, Director of Child Welfare for Casa Central and a Chicago Public School Social Worker. Currently she is in private sector as a psychotherapist, consultant to private organizations and supervising master level students in social work, psychology, and marriage and family therapy. Her professional interests include trauma, multi-ethnic identity development and life transitions.

Sylvia’s parents were culturally rooted which exposed her to Puerto Rican traditions, culture and music in addition to Spanish music in general. She firmly believes in the importance for our youth learning of their ethnic heritage and developing pride in their ethnic roots, which contributes to a positive sense of self.

Sylvia is married to Chief Judge Rubén Castillo, the mother of two adult children, Francisca and Roberto and the proud grandmother of Agnes and Olivia.

JeNyce Boolton, Vice President l Community Relations Manager – East Region, Corporate Social Responsibility, U.S. Bank

JeNyce is responsible for setting the strategic direction and driving the impact of community relations, Foundation giving, non-profit sponsorships and employee engagement with organizations that complement U.S. Bank’s corporate giving programs and build positive brand awareness.  She is also responsible for leveraging diversity and inclusion strategy and enhancing activities in local markets.  Most recently, JeNyce was Director of Public Affairs for RBS Citizens/Charter One Bank where she led charitable initiatives, philanthropic activities, community outreach and marketing sponsorships in Illinois.  Charter One Bank was acquired by U.S. Bank in June 2014.  Prior to this role, JeNyce held positions of increasing responsibility in public affairs at U.S. Cellular, United Airlines, Dominick’s Finer Foods and Flowers Communications Group. In addition to her strategic public affairs expertise, JeNyce is experienced in media relations, internal communications, cause marketing, government relations and has managed national corporate social responsibility and public relations campaigns.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.  JeNyce serves on the boards of U.S. Bank’s African-American and Spectrum (LGBT) Business Resource Groups as well as on the board of The Chicago Philharmonic Society and on the Leadership Council for UNCF Chicago.  She lives in Elmhurst, IL with her husband and three sons, and is an active volunteer parent within Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205.

Monica Diaz – Vice President and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at HCSC – Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Monica leads the strategy that aligns diversity and inclusion with business results at the country’s largest customer-owned health insurer.

Diaz’s more than 25 years of leadership experience includes serving as vice president and chief diversity & Inclusion Officer at Campbell Soup Company, Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion and Wellness at ESPN Inc. (part of The Walt Disney Company), as well as executive roles in diversity and inclusion, organizational development, talent management, learning, HR business partner at other Fortune 50 organizations, like Microsoft and Merck & Co.  She builds trusting partnerships with people at all organizational levels and is regarded as a strategic, highly principled and collaborative leader.  Diaz is a results-driven executive with expertise on global growth and cross-cultural competence.  She is an influential spokesperson and visionary thought leader, skilled in effectively managing public relations issues through business engagement, advocacy organizations and professional forums.

Practitioners and professional organizations in a wide range of industries seek Monica’s expertise.  She has been recognized as a Leader of Team Innovation (CTHRA, 2017), named one of the Most Influential Minorities in Cable TV (CableFax, 2015, 2016, and 2017), honored with the Multicultural Leadership Award (Tri-State Diversity Council, 2015), included as one of the Top 10 Lideres by Hispanic Executive Magazine (2014), and selected by Hispanic Business Magazine as part of its Top 50 Influentials (2013) and 100 Influentials (2011). She has served as Board Member and Advisory Board Member to organizations focused on the support to working mothers (Working Mother Media),the prevention of relationship violence (One Love Foundation), the development of Latinas in business (Madrinas) and others. She is an active contributor to organizations engaged in the development and advancement of minorities, such as the Hispanic Association of Corporate Responsibility (HACR) and Hispanics Inspiring Students Performance and Achievement (HISPA), as well as equality for the LGBTQ community, such as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Diaz earned her B.A. degree in psychology and M.A. degree in industrial and organizational psychology (University of Puerto Rico) and completed the WISE Executive Leadership Institute at the Tuck School of Business (Dartmouth College).  She is bilingual and biliterate in English and Spanish and proficient in Portuguese.