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 PRAA’s 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 – VP President & Chief Human Resource Officer, Northwestern University
Manuel Cuevas-Trisán became Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer of Northwestern University in December of 2019. In this capacity, he provides University-wide strategic leadership for human resources practices and policies, Talent and Leadership Development, Total Rewards, Benefits, HR Operations, Payroll & Tax, Talent Acquisition, Learning, and Employee/Labor Relations, as well as joint oversight to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access.
Prior to joining Northwestern, he had a successful career as in-house employment counsel at Chicago-based Motorola Solutions in roles of increasing responsibility, culminating in his combined role as lead employment counsel and Chief Human Resources Officer. His CHRO tenure at Motorola Solutions (Q3 2015-Q2 2019) marked a period of remarkable transformation of the company’s business model and focus—from communications hardware and devices, to mission-critical services and software solutions for public safety and enterprise customers.
Under Manuel’s leadership, Motorola’s Human Resources repositioned itself as a leader in talent development and acceleration. At the BoD level, Manuel made senior leadership succession a priority and executed C-level and officer-level succession plans at multiple levels. He spearheaded the launch of “People First Academy”, an award-winning platform to develop line managers’ capabilities. As part of his talent strategy, he shifted the collective orientation of High-Potential programs into a model based on individualized talent interventions, while embedding inclusion and diversity principles in all stages of the employment life-cycle.
In his capacity as lead employment and data protection lawyer for Motorola Solutions, Manuel and his team sustained the lowest rate of employment disputes in over 10 years and oversaw a GDPR-compliant Privacy program for the company.
Prior to joining Motorola as Employment Counsel in 1998, 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 Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) and Information Privacy Manager (CIPM) certifications from the International Association of Privacy Professionals in 2011 and 2013, respectively. In November of 2019, Manuel completed a Master’s Degree in Executive Coaching & Leadership through Universitat de Barcelona/OBS.
Other professional highlights:
Adjunct Faculty, John Marshall Law School, International Business & Trade LLM Program in Chicago (2008 to present).
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 – Human Resources Senior Executive
Monica Diaz is a Human Resources Senior Executive who empowers people to lead global brands, to become talent magnets and transform organizational cultures. She is a global architect of HR, Diversity, Inclusion and Talent Management strategies, who drives talent development that generates business innovation. She is experienced in centralized HR functions and matrixed structures across multiple industries. Diaz’s designs and develop solutions grounded on best practices and tailored to specific organizational needs and business opportunities. With over 25 years of leadership experience, she has served as Vice President and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield (HCSC), Campbell Soup Company, Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion & 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, with expertise in Diversity & Inclusion, Learning & Development, Employee Engagement, Talent Acquisition, Talent Management and Culture Transformation. Diaz 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 currently serves as Board member of the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (Chicago) and 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.