Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez is the executive vice president for Multicultural Markets & Engagement at AARP. Lorraine brings to this position a distinguished career in the nonprofit, government and corporate sectors that extends more than 30 years.
Most recently, she was New York’s Secretary of State, the first Hispanic to serve in that role. Lorraine also served as vice president of Government and Public Affairs at Cablevision Systems Corporation, a leading media, entertainment and telecommunications company.
Her work in the nonprofit sector has gained her national recognition. Cortés-Vázquez served as president of the Hispanic Federation, a nonprofit network of 90 Latino health and human service agencies in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, aiding more than 2 million Latinos annually. Under her direction, the Hispanic Federation provided more than $1 million annually in capacity-building grants.
It also coordinated the Latino Fund Collaborative, a national coalition of eight regional organizations to create endowments and increase donor campaigns within the Latino community. Cortés-Vázquez expanded the organization’s annual Hispanic public policy poll to include the tristate area, making it the largest of its kind in the Northeast. The Hispanic Federation created advocacy campaigns and affinity groups on AIDS, education, immigration and child welfare, and also played a leadership role in relief efforts for victims of natural disasters in Central and South America, as well as in the Caribbean.
In the early 1990s, Cortés-Vázquez served as executive director of ASPIRA of New York, the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit Latino youth leadership development and education advocacy agency. Under her tenure, the organization created an Endowment Fund and reestablished the post-secondary education program in community volunteer service project as its core leadership experience. It was expanded to include a public policy training initiative. For the first time in the organization’s history, school-based chapters were established beyond the city to New York’s upstate school districts.
Cortés-Vázquez also has extensive experience in government service and in the aging community. Earlier in her career, she held a variety of positions working with older adults, preschool age children and teenagers in East Harlem. She also worked at the New York City Department of Aging, where she became chief of the Bureau of Program and Resource Development. As bureau chief, she facilitated public and private partnerships and increased the number of community-based service providers, while ensuring they were held to the same standards as city and state facilities.
She served on the New York State Board of Regents and as chief of staff to former New York Assembly member Roberto Ramirez. As New York Bronx County Chairman she oversaw the Puerto Rican Hispanic Task Force and the annual Somos El Futuro Conference. Cortés-Vázquez was a commissioner on the New York Redistricting Commission and a member of the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board.
A graduate of Hunter College, Cortés-Vázquez earned a master’s degree from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She is a Toll Fellow, having completed the national leadership program for elected and appointed officials. She earned certificates from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and from Columbia University’s School of Non-Profit Management.
Ululy Rafael Martinez began his legal career in public service as a staff attorney for the Bronx Defenders. As a public defender, he represented low-income individuals accused of felony and misdemeanor crimes while working to secure placement in alternative to incarceration programs.
Ululy’s interactions with the local community, as a public defender, lead him to accept a position as General Counsel to a New York City Council Member. Ululy acted as a legal resource to constituents trying to navigate housing, debt, bankruptcy, social security, judicial proceedings and not-for-profit matters.
Inspired to learn election law, Ululy became Chief of Staff to the Bronx Democratic County Committee. While at the Party, Ululy also became particularly adept at managing campaigns in diverse communities with a specific emphasis on how to engage and mobilize Latino constituencies. Upon leaving the Democratic Party, Ululy became involved in a multi-million dollar real estate development called the Bronx Terminal Market. His advocacy resulted in the successful negotiation of a Community Benefits Agreement that required the developer to make contractual commitments to hire people from the Bronx and provide millions of dollars in funding to local not-for-profits.
Ululy continued his involvement in government when he accepted an opportunity to become Deputy Chief-of-Staff to the Speaker of the New York City Council (Council), Christine C. Quinn, where he helped revise the Harassment and Discrimination policy and served as a procedural legislative resource to 51 Council Members. Ululy proposed and managed many reforms to internal Council regulations. Recognizing the need for greater education and transparency about the Council’s legislative process, Ululy created a comprehensive legislative procedure manual on “how a bill becomes a law”.
After several years in the public sector, Ululy made a transition to the private sector as the Director of Government and Business for a telecommunications company, which provides cable, telephone and Internet service to millions of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut residents. In this capacity, he advises the company on local, state and federal video regulatory matters, consultant contracts and franchise compliance. The company designated him to be a member of Mayor Bloomberg’s Climate Adaptation Taskforce, where he worked with government and other telecommunications providers to develop adaptation strategies to protect vulnerable infrastructure from extreme weather events.
In his spare time, Ululy is an active board member of the scholarship foundation for Bronx Community College. Ululy is also a salsa dancer and a poet who has recited his poetry at the Nuyorican Poets Café and featured at The Inspired Word.
Rosa J. Gutierrez, MBA* serves as Treasurer and Executive Board member for the Board of Directors of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc. Rosa is currently the Vice President of Finance for the US Casualty Group of AIG. She has been in this position since September 2010. Prior to her current position, she was the AVP of Finance for the Commercial Casualty Group of AIG.
Ms. Gutierrez is also a Corporate Advisory Board member for the Hope for Families and Children Foundation (HFCF), the fund-raising arm of the Puerto Rican Family Institute. She serves as a Business Leader for the AIG Latino Network, Employee Resource Group.
Ms. Gutierrez received her MBA in Finance from Benedictine University. She received a Certificate in Non Profit Management from the State University of New York, Purchase College.
Carmen A. Pacheco* serves as Corporate Secretary and Executive Board member for the Board of Directors of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc. She is a founding partner of Pacheco & Lugo, PLLC. Pacheco & Lugo, PLLC is the first Hispanic women-owned law firm of New York established at One World Trade Center in January 1992.
Carmen A. Pacheco has a comprehensive practice advising clients from initial entity formation to possible exit strategies, strategic joint ventures, licensing, and commercial and residential real property transactions. She has considerable experience with all types of retail, office and ground leases, construction loans, acquisitions and acquisition loans, dispositions, listing and engagement contracts, construction and architect contracts, real estate brokerage, and real estate partnerships and joint ventures. Ms. Pacheco represents clients seeking to form new corporations, limited liability companies or partnerships, including providing guidance on choice of entity, domicile, capitalization and financing, venture fund, and strategic partnership ventures. She actively counsels existing clients in all aspects of their business law needs, particularly in the areas of contracts, financing, real estate, licensing, joint ventures and intellectual property. She represents both sellers and buyers in domestic and cross-border transactions. Ms. Pacheco’s clients include entrepreneurs and start-up companies as well as small and medium-sized private companies as well government entity representation.
Ms. Pacheco received her law degree from St. John’s University School of Law where she was a published member of the St. John’s Law Review and received her undergraduate degree from Brooklyn College of the City of New York. Ms. Pacheco is admitted to practice before the New York State Courts and United States District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. She also published an article in the Federal Rules of Decision.
In August of 1985, she joined a 350 attorney global litigation law firm where she worked as a litigation associate. Thereafter in 1987, she joined the litigation and corporate teams of the Wall Street firm of Carter, Ledyard & Milburn the law firm where former President Franklin D. Roosevelt performed his apprenticeship.
Ms. Pacheco serves as a member of the Small Business Working Group headed by U.S. Senator Gillibrand. She also serves as a board member of the Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District.
Ms. Pacheco also serves on the Kings County Democrats Rules Committee. She is currently the Vice President of the Puerto Rican Bar Association (oldest minority bar association in the United States America). She is also the Corporate Secretary of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade. She served as a delegate to: the United States Women’s Business Leadership Council; the White House Conference on Small Business; and to the Annual Summit for Businesswomen of the Americas (United States Delegate). Ms. Pacheco also served as an Executive Board Member of the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn College Foundation; as an Advisory Board member of the Fannie Mae Foundation; as an Advisory Board member of the Bank of New York Community Development Corporation; as a board member of Economic Development Committee for the Northern Manhattan Collaborates.
She lectures in real estate and corporate matters for various organizations and institutional lending agencies including the Federal National Mortgage Agency, State of New York Mortgage Agency, United States Small Business Administration; York College Small Business Development Center, and the National Urban League. She has also lectured at Cardozo Law School and St. John’s University School of Law. Ms. Pacheco was an instructor at the New York County Lawyers (CLE division).
Maria Elena Girone* serves as Development Committee Chair and Executive Board member for the Board of Directors of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc.
Ms. Girone is the President and CEO of the Puerto Rican Family Institute, Inc. (PRFI), a not-for-profit organization with a mission to enhance the functioning and self-sufficiency of diverse marginalized communities, and to prevent family disintegration. PRFI is a multi-program, family-oriented health and human service agency that provides culturally sensitive services to all children, youth, adults and families, and respects all individual’s ethnic, cultural and personal identities. Each individual’s identity and community, however that person defines them, serve as the foundation for the culturally responsive services that the Institute provides.
PRFI currently operates over 20 programs located throughout New York, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico.
Ms. Garcia-Betancourt is a poet and writer, author of the poetry book “Ombligo de Luna”, and the plaquet “Memorias y Olvidos.” Her work has appeared in several publications, most recently in Breaking Ground: Anthology of Puerto Rican Women Writers in New York 1980-2012, edited by Dr. Myrna Nieves and published by Campana. Sandra holds a BA from Union Institute University in Vermont, and a MFA in creative writing in Spanish from NYU. Garcia-Betancourt is the founding Executive Director & CEO of Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA), an arts organization launched in 2007 with the mission to cultivate, support and promote the works of artists and arts organizations in Northern Manhattan.
Anthony Diaz* serves as a member of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Board of Directors.
Anthony is one of the top Loan Syndications Salespersons for the Broker/Dealer arm of a major blue chip company. Anthony was born and raised in the Bronx, NY and received his undergraduate degree from St. John’s University in 1996 with a BS in Accounting. After spending several years in controllership and accounting, Anthony landed at a NY Based Based Broker/Dealer, where he joined their Commercial Finance Controllership Team. After managing a team at Corporate HQ, Anthony joined the Capital Markets group, where he structured syndicated cash flow loans. He went on to graduate in 2006 from Pace University’s Graduate Program with a MBA in Finance.
Anthony has been an active member in the GE Hispanic Forum since 2005 and is currently the NY Satellite HUB Leader.
Anthony currently resides in Westchester, NY with his wife Amy and two children, Ava and Antonio.
Edwin Lopez* serves as a member of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Board of Directors. Edwin is a third generation member of Local Union # 3, I.B.E.W., who started his career as an electrical apprentice in 1977. From 1986-1992, Mr. Lopez served as the President of the Santiago Iglesias Educational Society; an organization of electricians that his father founded in 1958, along with Harry Van Arsdale, Jr. From 1992-2005, he served as the Union’s Construction Department Business Representative in The Bronx.
Throughout his union career, Mr. Lopez was a community and political activist. In 1996 and 2000, he served as a Delegate to the Democratic National Convention. In 2004, he served as the National Political Coordinator for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Washington DC, where he developed and coordinated the national grassroots political campaign “GOTV” that involved over 750,000 union members. He served as a board member of the BOEDC, under Bronx Borough President(s) Fernando Ferrer and Adolfo Carrion. He also served on the “Somos el Futuro” Board of Directors, as well as Chairman of the Board.
In 2005, Mr. Lopez became the Executive Secretary of the New York Electrical Contractors Association (NYECA) as well as the Chapter Manager of the New York City Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). Founded in 1892, NYECA is the largest and oldest union electrical contractor trade association in the country.
His industry activities include being an active board member for The Edward J. Malloy Initiative for Construction Skills; a pre-apprenticeship program that offers direct access for NYC high school students to careers in the NYC union building trades. He serves as a board member for Helmet to Hardhats; a direct- entry program for veterans into NYC Building Trades apprenticeship programs. He is also a Board of Governors member of the Building Trades Employer Association (BTEA)in New York City.
In 1982 Mr. Lopez earned his Associates Degree in Labor Studies. In 1994, he earned his B.S. from the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. School of Labor Studies, Empire State College. In 2011 Mr. Lopez earned his Master’s Degree from Cornell University School of Industrial Labor Relations.
Mr. Lopez is active in many philanthropic causes.
Louis Maldonado* serves as a member of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Board of Directors. Mr. Maldonado is a consummate marketing professional. At d expósito & Partners, he leads new business development and oversees several of the agency’s accounts like ConAgra Foods and Amway Global. Prior to joining d expósito, Louis worked at the Marketing Store, where he was the account director overseeing McDonald’s National Hispanic Promotions and Brand Activation Work, including the 2006 FIFA World Cup and Mexican National Team Activations
Louis previously worked at The Bravo Group, as well as at the general market shop Warwick-Baker-O’Neill. While at Bravo, he was instrumental in developing new business. He worked in the OTC and pharmaceutical categories, leading the Wyeth Consumer Healthcare, Glaxosmithkline, Novartis, and Astrazeneca teams. Louis also led the Philip-Morris USA business, handling the youth smoking prevention and Quitassist brands. Other brand experience includes Hellmann’s Best Foods Mayonnaise, French’s Mustard, Frank’s Red Hot, Magner’s Irish Cider, and H+R Block.
María Cristina “Cristy” Marrero* (@mcristymarrero) serves as a member of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Board of Directors. She is also an islander and the proud daughter of Lucas (R.I.P) and Nydia, the sibling of Ana (R.I.P), Nydia, Lucas, Ariel and Edgardo, as well as the godmother of Karianna, Felix and Camila. This avid “conversationalist” as she prefers to be identified, left Puerto Rico when she was 19 years-old because a clairvoyant had told her she was a gypsy in a past life. Perhaps, it was only her cute poetic way of saying “let’s go party in Spain with daddy’s credit card.” Despite her mom’s worries that she may not come back alive, she prevailed. Only a few years later, Cristy would become Editor-in-Chief of Siempre Mujer magazine, published by Meredith Corp., and a Women in Communications, Inc., Rising Star Awards Honoree in 2013, as well as a Julia de Burgos Award Honoree 2014, Puerto Rican Day Parade. At age 30, the chatty gypsy suddenly became the youngest Latina in the U.S. to assume that position. Under her leadership, Siempre Mujer was named “Best Women’s Magazine” on Adweek’s Hot List in 2011. Most recently, she was promoted to Group Content Chief for all Meredith Hispanic Media titles, becoming once again, the youngest Latina to assume this role. A nationally recognized #influencer and lifestyle expert frequently quoted in Hispanic media, Cristy has appeared on Primer Impacto, Nuestra Belleza Latina (Univision), Un Nuevo Día, Yo Soy El Artista and Al Rojo Vivo (Telemundo), The Today Show and 4 New York NBC News (NBC), among others, and you can see her every Thursday at 3:00 pm (ET) on CNN en Español’s Showbiz as its New York contributor and at Despierta América (Univision) every other week as a lifestyle expert. Her eloquence (irreverent humor!) and expertise on the Latino community in the U.S. has secured her important speaking engagements as a moderator, judge, panelist and emcee, such as Celebrando (San Diego), San Antonio Book Fair, Hispanicize (Miami), PRSA Travel and Tourism Conference (San Antonio), FIT Future of Fashion Judge (New York), among others. Throughout her career, Cristy has interviewed many world-renowned personalities including Sofía Vergara, Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias, Shakira, Antonio Banderas, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú. But before she “got lucky” in New York City, she also worked and lived (and partied!) in her motherland of Puerto Rico and later on, in Buenos Aires and Miami; Cristy began her career as a reporter for Caras Puerto Rico before becoming fashion and beauty editor for Vanidades, both owned by Televisa Publishing. Today, besides considering herself a happy 35 year-old Latina, because “happiness is her birthright”, she is also a Board Member of Casa de Esperanza, a national domestic violence awareness organization, a passionate traveler who has lived in three different continents (so far!), and a certified Kundalini Yoga instructor and Reiki master; the last two being her biggest accomplishments in life because they keep her sane. Challenge has always been a constant in Cristy’s life. Change is her passion. This year’s challenge, for instance, is working on her first book, as she looks forward to owning a quiet home on the beach (fingers crossed!) with a huge balcony and a mandatory hammock, devoted to her writing, yoga practice and teachings. Meanwhile, she lives between Manhattan and Brooklyn and enjoys the city life, even though she calls herself an eternal beach bum. But most importantly, Cristy is a “boricua hasta en la luna” (AKA Puerto Rican even on the moon). Oh, and she loves the sound of the words “relájate y coopera” together—mainly as a wishful thinking at tough times. (She is also obsessed with parenthesis. They give her extra space for B.S.)
Orlando Plaza* serves as a member of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Board of Directors. Orlando Plaza was born and raised in New York City’s Lower East Side. His mother came to the United States from Puerto Rico in the 1950s and his father in the 1960s; they raised him with a deep sense of cultural pride and identity.
Growing up in the multicultural milieu of the Lower East Side exposed Orlando to a great deal of cultures and worldviews for which he is very grateful. Nevertheless, the Lower East Side in the 1970s and 1980s was one of many neighborhoods in New York City that was influenced greatly by the Puerto Rican Diaspora.
Social clubs with the names of Puerto Rican towns proliferated, Caribbean produce in “La Marqueta” was always available, movies featuring Spanish language films could be seen, restaurants with Puerto Rican cuisine were plentiful and music stores selling the latest albums by Puerto Rican musicians filled the soundscape throughout the Lower East Side.
Growing up Puerto Rican in that neighborhood was a joy. Puerto Ricans collectively felt as if they were not only a part of New York City but also connected to their brothers and sisters on the Island and in the Diaspora in general.
In the early 1990s, Orlando attended the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) where he met his first academic mentor professor Salvador Ocasio and he immersed himself in the Puerto Rican Studies courses offered at BMCC.
However, his experience at BMCC was only the beginning of his academic journey. After having finished the two-year program at BMCC in a year and half he received a partial scholarship to Fordham University. Once again, he was fortunate enough to meet yet another academic mentor who would have a profound influence on his life, professor Mark Niason. After having written a paper comparing and contrasting the political ideologies of Puerto Rican nationalist leader, Don Pedro Albizu Campos and UNIA leader, Marcus Garvey, Naison called Orlando into his office and told him, “Young man, you are a scholar.”
Orlando graduated from Fordham University in 1995 with a B.A in history and a minor in sociology.
After having worked nearly two years for the Board of Education as a drug prevention counselor and serving as interim director at the Lower East Side-based Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center (named after a Puerto Rican poet), Orlando applied to the Ph.D. program at New York University. In 1999 he was granted the Opportunity Fellowship and the Warren Dean Fellowship. He earned a master’s degree in History majoring in the African Diaspora and Latin America.
In 2002, while working on his prospectus for his dissertation, the opportunity arose to open the bar/restaurant, Camaradas El Barrio.
After a great deal of thought and deliberation Orlando decided that the academy could wait and that entrepreneurship could not. He submerged himself completely into building and developing the bar/restaurant and brand that is known today as Camaradas El Barrio in East Harlem.
From the beginning it was important that Camaradas become more than just a local for food and drink. It needed to be organically connected to El Barrio and its rich cultural and artistic history. He, along with his business partners, were keenly aware of the importance of El Barrio to the Puerto Rican Diaspora and Camaradas needed to be a place that expressed that with pride and respect.
After nine years he can confidently say that Camaradas El Barrio has achieved its goal and to many it is more than just a place for food and drink it has become an institution.
Lorraine Rodriguez-Reyes* serves as a member of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Board of Directors.
Ms. Rodriguez-Reyes is an Actor, Producer. Theatre, Film, Television. These words, when used in reference to Lorraine Rodriguez‐Reyes, describe creative pathways on which a consummate artist can relentlessly pursue her passion.
Lorraine received her MFA from Harvard’s American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.)/Moscow Art Theatre Institute For Advanced Theatre Training illuminating an acting career that has led her to the stages of Cherry Lane Theatre (Verse Chorus Verse), Mint Theatre (On The Edge), Repertorio Espaniol (La Gringa), Theatre Row (A Bicycle Country, Dog Day Afternoon), and so many others. Lorraine’s love of character development is what makes her such a versatile actor, and she insists it’s difficult to choose favorites. But if pressed, she may tell you she’s quite fond of Three Sisters, performed at Columbia Stages; Dostoevsky Demons, performed at Moscow Art Theatre; and Melancholy, a show she did at the beginning of her career at Harvard, directed by Scott Zigler; and the role of La Extrana in De Donde at The Looking Glass Theatre which earned her an OOBer Award.
Lorraine’s on-camera work is nearly as prolific as her stage work. Some highlights include, in television, Lorraine was cast on the HBO mega-‐hit series, The Sopranos, as Nurse Ramirez, and over at ABC she was cast in a recurring Guest Star role on “What Would You Do?” In film, Lorraine again joined team HBO as part of the HBO International Latino Film Festival as Carmen in Taught To Hate. Another of her many film projects, Willets Point, an independent film by TJ Collins, made its World Premiere at the Quad Cinema in New York City. For her performance as Doris, one of Willets Point’s leads, Lorraine was nominated for Best Dramatic Actress at The Long Island International Film Expo.
Lorraine’s credits as Producer are no less impressive. At the Atlantic Theatre she produced the reading of The Genius by Daniel Mitura; at Cherry Lane she produced the Stripped Festival in association with Barefoot Theatre Company and East 3rd Productions; at Theatre Row, the Israel Horovitz Festival Reading and A Bicycle Country by Pulitzer Prize Winner, Nilo Cruz; and at the Gene Frankel, Weird Sisters. Also with East 3rd Productions she produced Strange Snow by Steven Metcalf, Mary Esther (conceived by Christopher Petit and written by Nick Zagone), and the Enter Playwright Reading Festival. Lorraine’s credits as a Film Producer include the Award Winning short films Tape Worm and Capicu. And these are but a few of her credits. Lorraine is currently producing at the Fresh Bread Group in New York City.
Rossana Rosado* serves as a member of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Board of Directors.
Ms. Rosado is former Publisher & CEO of El Diario La Prensa, a position she held for 14 years until her exit on the 100th anniversary of the oldest Spanish-language newspaper in the country. She was responsible for over $20 million in annual revenue.
Her 18 year stint at the paper was marked by her fierce advocacy on immigration and other major Latino issues. She took the paper to its 100th anniversary and solidified its role as a Latino thought leader. Her two passions are women’s leadership and Reentry. She created the annual signature event Mujeres Destacadas Women’s Luncheon which is now in its 19th year and taking it National to six markets.
She’s best known for her work with formerly incarcerated men and women. Over the last 5 years she has been involved as a volunteer, a consultant and a fervent advocate in the Reentry community. She has a desk at Exodus Transitional Community in East Harlem and has been co-teaching a class at Sing Sing for three years. She has served on the advisory board of The Fortune Society and she served on Governor David Paterson’s Task Force on Juvenile Justice from 2008 – 2009.
Her passion for reentry led her to leave her CEO post to spend more time in the state’s prison education programs and start an initiative to have a “Latino Conversation” about the impact of incarceration and reentry on families and communities. She created and IMPACT program at Exodus to help find internships for formerly incarcerated men & women in the private sector so that they can enhance their resumes. She has raised money and increased awareness by investing all of her social capital in reentry.
She was appointed by Governor Cuomo to the prestigious board of the Port Authority of NY/NJ and is a Trustee of the board of John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Prior to becoming publisher Ms. Rosado was Editor in Chief of the paper where she also worked as a reporter in the early 80’s. She was the first woman to hold both the Editor and Publisher positions.
During her 30 year media career, Ms. Rosado worked as a reporter covering The Bronx, City Hall, and writing editorials and a weekly column. In 1988, she joined WPIX, Inc. as a producer of Public Affairs programming and became Public Service Director, responsible for the creation and placement of hundreds of Public Service Announcements on the air. She won an Emmy in 1992 for the production of a series of PSA’s for the “Care for Kids” campaign.
In 1992 she was appointed Vice President for Public Affairs at the Health & Hospitals Corporation for the City of New York. She spent three years working for both the Dinkins and then Giuliani administration in the same post. Her prior experience includes positions at WCBS-AM and FM radio, and WNYC-TV 31.
Her many awards include an Emmy, a STAR award from the NY Women’s Agenda, and a Peabody Award for Journalism. She served on Mayor Bloomberg’s transition team in 2001 and as one of six co-chairs for Governor Eliot Spitzer’s transition team in 2006 as well as Governor Andrew Cuomo’s transition team in 2010. This year she chaired Tish James transition team and co-chaired Melissa Mark Viverito’s transition team.
She is married and the mother of two college students. She received her B.A. in Journalism from Pace University in White Plains, New York and an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Baruch College.
Myra Santiago* serves as a member of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Board of Directors. She is an Executive Producer with over 12 years of television production experience throughout the United States. Currently, Santiago is the Senior Director of Development and Production for MTV2. Prior to that, Santiago was the Senior Director of Production at MTV Tr3s, MTV’s first bilingual network. While at Tr3s she played a key role in establishing an audience that spoke to young Hispanics by strategically developing and producing aspirational content. She oversaw programs like the Latino version of MTV’s iconic hit series TRL, titled Mi TRL, and Entertainment as a Second Language.
Santiago has a passion for the Latino culture and producing great television. She’s a proven leader who inspires her team to grow, and empowers them to create ground-breaking television. Myra’s years of experience have made her an expert of the multi-cultural and millennial audience.
Myra’s vision is to become an inspiration to all young women & men that face challenges and obstacles. Santiago hopes that they will find their inner strength to believe in themselves the way she believed in herself. Born to Puerto Rican parents and raised in the Bronx, NY, Myra left her home to go to college in Florida at the age of 17. She made the trip alone for freshman orientation, because her parents couldn’t afford to accompany her, a foreshadowing of Santiago’s determination, fearlessness, and ambition to succeed.
Myra Santiago is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale where she holds a B.A. in International Communications and an A.E. in Music and Video Business respectively.
Born and raised in New York City “Vinny” has been involved with the non profit sector for over 25 years. As Director of Positive Workforce, a Construction advocacy organization dedicated to obtaining gainful employment opportunities for local and minority building trade workers, he has been responsible for over 10,000 placements in the construction industry. Vinny currently is a board member of El Barrio/East Harlem Community Board 11. He has an important role in initiating and reviewing planning, land use and zoning matters, the City budget, municipal service delivery and many other advocacy matters relating to the welfare of East Harlem. With a number of monthly public committee meeting covering a range of important community issues, Vinny currently serves both the Economic Development and Land Use Committees.
*Affiliations are shown for identification purposes only and no endorsement should be assumed from the identification.