The HJHP Executive Advisory Board
Gail Smith, Chair, In her role as Managing Director of Impacto Latin News, Gail Smith brings thorough knowledge of successfully managing and growing a media company in a turbulent media environment. She also brings extensive knowledge of community relations, multicultural marketing, media and public relations. She is highly experienced in sustainability, global marketing strategy, brand development, strategic planning having spent 20 years in senior level corporate international positions in a variety of industries and supporting their marketing and planning operations. Ms. Smith started her career in financial management at The Coca-Cola Company. She then held several executive marketing positions supporting international operations. Ms. Smith also held various executive positions at General Motors (GM). Ms. Smith was awarded a Fellowship by Harvard University to further postgraduate studies in Economics at their Salzburg, Austria program. She holds a Master of Accountancy degree from Houston Baptist University and a BS in Marketing from California State University, Northridge.
Genoveva L. Arellano, is a consulting professional with 25 years of experience in community outreach, communications, public policy, urban planning, market research and economic development. Ms. Arellano is the principal and owner of Arellano Associates (AA), which she established in 1994 to provide professional services to the public and private sectors bridging the gap between public programs and the communities they serve. She has particular expertise in managing large, multi-jurisdictional projects, and specializes in the transportation, housing and economic development fields. Ms. Arellano has focused upon serving a diverse set of Southern California communities and building her business as public consultation professionals. Ms. Arellano’s key qualifications include: project management, consensus-building, public meeting facilitation, research and writing, data analysis and strategic planning. Additionally, Ms. Arellano utilizes her bilingual skills and familiarity with the Latino community for programs that are geared for Spanish-speaking communities.
Dr. Gloria Bonilla-Santiago is a Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor of the Graduate Department of Public Policy and Administration at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She is also director of The Community Leadership Center at Rutgers and is the overseer and Board Chair of the LEAP Academy University Charter School. Throughout her academic career, she has established a track record in coordinating large scale programs and private and public ventures that bring together external and internal stakeholders from a range of organizations, including government, business, non-profits and philanthropic sectors at the local, national and international levels.
Dr. Santiago is the author of numerous articles and three books, entitled The Miracle on Cooper Street, Lessons from an Inner City, Breaking Ground and Barriers: Hispanic Women Developing Effective Leadership, and Organizing Puerto Rican Migrant Farmworkers. She is also a blogger for US World News, the Huffington Post, and is a commentator for ABC, NBC, and CBS News on issues of education.
Kenneth C. Burt is the political director of the California Federation of Teachers and a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley. Burt helped diversify the California State Legislature and was the architect of the successful 2010 voter initiative that made it easier to pass a state budget by requiring a majority vote instead of two-thirds. Burt is the author of The Search for a Civic Voice: California Latino Politics, with a foreword by Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (2007). He is currently researching the role of Hispanics in national politics during the 1930s and 1940s. He has chapters in five anthologies, and he served as the on-air academic for a PBS documentary on Latino veterans, “Realidades: Los Soldados Americanos,” in 2002. He writes periodically for Hispanic Link News Service. Burt, who worked for the United Farm Workers prior to attending Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, can be reached through his Web site, which includes a blog, at www.KennethBurt.com.
Alejandra Campoverdi is Managing Editor of #EmergingUS at the Los Angeles Times. Founded by award-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, #EmergingUS is a digital magazine that explores the emerging American identity and lives at the intersection of race, immigration, and identity in a multicultural America. Prior to joining the Times, Alejandra served as Senior Advisor for Innovation and Communications Strategy for Univision Network News and was a part of the team that launched Fusion. She then appeared regularly as a Host/Producer on DNA, an interactive television show focused on social issues that formerly aired weeknights live on Fusion.
From 2009-2012, Alejandra worked in The White House, most recently as Deputy Director of Hispanic Media. In this role, she briefed President Obama for interviews with Hispanic media, and she developed and implemented the White House’s multimedia communications strategy in relation to the U.S. Hispanic community. Alejandra also served in the White House Chief of Staff’s office as Special Assistant to Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Mona Sutphen. Previously, Alejandra worked on The California Endowment’s Agricultural Worker Health Initiative, which focused on improving the health and living conditions of California’s agricultural workers.
Alejandra holds a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and graduated cum laude from the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California. Alejandra is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy and is a volunteer teacher for Inside Out Writers, through which she teaches a weekly creative writing class to incarcerated youth in juvenile detention facilities in Los Angeles.
Jim Carr, Immediate Past Chair of the Executive Advisory Board of the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy is a self-described “government junkie” who has worked at all levels of government. Twice a student leadership intern at the United Nations, he later worked for the Maryland Municipal League in Annapolis, Maryland, where he became well-versed in issues of importance in municipal government. He has worked in eight federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, his most current agency, where he served as Dean of the EPA Institute. He also did an extended detail to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, serving as the Deputy Director of the Kuwait Leadership Development Program, where he trained newly appointed government ministers in the U.S. and Kuwait.
As a young federal employee, he was nominated for a William Jump Award for “Outstanding Service in Public Administration.” He later received an EPA Gold Medal for serving as part of a team assessing the damage done by more than 700 oil fires in Kuwait; and a Silver Medal for establishing the EPA Fellows Program. He also created the “HUES” (Howard University Environmental Specialist) Program, taking EPA clerical employees in dead-ended positions and putting them through a series of humanities and science courses, thereby qualifying them for promotion into professional, career ladder occupational series.
Jim served as an Interagency Group Leader for Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) for four, two-year terms and received an Outstanding Service Award from the PMF Alumni Association. He served on the National Council of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), and as president of the National Capital Area Chapter of ASPA, the largest in the country.
Very active in the national Latino community, he also served as the Chair of the Board of the Spanish Education Development (SED) Center in Washington, DC for four years; Chair of the Board of the Washington, DC Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers, and President of the Hispanic First Federal Credit Union. He was instrumental in getting the U.S. Postal Service to issue a commemorative stamp in honor of Roberto Clemente.
Jim was a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, serving as a Civil Affairs Brigade Commander. His tours, included “Operation Desert Storm” in the Middle East; in “Operation Just Cause”, where he served as a Military Advisor to President Guillermo Endara of Panama; and in Sarajevo. He specialized in restoring government services and working with international NGOs and the State Dept in humanitarian and refugee crises. His numerous military awards include the Legion of Merit (2) and the Bronze Star Medal. He is currently completing a book entitled, “Sacred Spaces: Arlington National Cemetery.”
Jim received a BA and MA in Political Science from the University of Cincinnati; an MS in Public Information from American University; and a MPA and DPA (ABD) in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. He is a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute.
He plans on becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer.
Nora de Hoyos Comstock is the national and international founder of Las Comadres Para Las Americas. She served as the organization’s President and CEO since its founding and built the organization to over 20,000 women in more in 100 cities and 28 states, Puerto Rico, Canada and internationally. In May 2015 Dr. Comstock retired from the administration of the organization but maintains a leadership role on the board. Las Comadres Para Las Americas is a 501(c)3 organization under the fiscal agency of the Austin Community Foundation of Central Texas. She was selected as one of twenty Latinas in the U.S. to be a 2000 fellow of the National Hispana Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C. Dr. Comstock also was selected as one of fifteen Hispanic leaders to participate in the 22nd Seminario Fundacion Solidaridad, Mexico City and Michoacan in October, 2003.
Nora Comstock received her Ph.D. (1982) from the University of Texas at Austin in Educational Administration with an emphasis on community college management and a B.A. in History (1974) with a specialty in Latin America.
Alfredo Estrada is a graduate of Harvard College and the founding editor of LATINO Magazine. LATINO Magazine is the flagship publication of the Latino Publishing Group. Based in Austin, Texas, it has a national circulation of 50,000 targeting opinion leaders, influencers, stakeholders and members of Hispanic organizations. It presents thoughtful, nuanced articles by America’s top Latino journalists on the issues that matter most to the Hispanic community.
Grace Flores-Hughes-The Honorable Grace Flores-Hughes serves as Vice President F&H 2, Inc., a management consulting business. Mrs. Flores-Hughes’ memoir, A Tale of Survival was published in 2011. She’s a weekly contributor to VOXXI.com. She has had a lengthy public service career both in civil service and as a political appointee. Her last presidential appointment was in 2009 when President George W. Bush reappointed Mrs. Flores-Hughes as a member of the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FISP) of the Federal Labor Relations Authority to a five-year term. As a member of the FISP she was responsible for resolving impasses between federal agencies and unions representing employees arising from negotiations over conditions of employment through arbitration.
Mrs. Flores-Hughes was the first woman to serve as the Director/Assistant Attorney General of the Community Relations Service (CRS), Department of Justice from 1988-92. Before joining the Department of Justice, Mrs. Flores-Hughes was the first woman to serve as Associate Administrator for Minority Small Business and Capital Ownership Development. As Associate Administrator, Mrs. Flores-Hughes initiated a number of innovative policy changes associated with reforming the 8(a) program.
Mrs. Flores-Hughes was also a Visiting Professor in the Political Science Departments of the University of Nebraska-Omaha and Nebraska Wesleyan University. She has won numerous awards, including being featured in Hispanic Business Magazine’slist of 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the U.S. Mrs. Flores-Hughes is a member of numerous organizations and served as Former Chair of the Executive Board, Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University and a B.A. in Child Psychology from the University of the District of Columbia.
Mrs. Flores-Hughes is a native of Taft, Texas and a 1965 graduate of Taft High School. She is married to Lt. General Harley A. Hughes, USAF (Ret), and resides in Alexandria, Virginia.
Daniel Garza began his in public service career as congressional staff assistant for U.S. congressman Richard “Doc” Hastings and was later elected as councilman for the city of Toppenish, Washington in 1996. In 2001, he was tapped by the George W. Bush Administration to serve as Deputy Director of External and Intergovernmental Affairs in the Office of the Secretary at The Department of Interior, and was appointed in 2004 to Associate Director of the Office of Public Liaison in the White House. In 2006 Garza became President of Televisa’s HISPANIC PODER Group overseeing editorial, commercial and promotion of publications and shortly thereafter joined Univision to host and co-produce “Agenda Washington,” a weekly Spanish-language news talk show covering the issues impacting the U.S. Hispanic community.
Born in the Central Valley of California, Garza migrated with his family annually from their ancestral hometown of Garza Gonzalez in Nuevo Leon, Mexico- throughout California, Nebraska and Washington State following the crop season as farm workers. His first-hand knowledge of the plight of the immigrant community has earned him a reputation for advocating on behalf of Hispanics for sound public policy recognizing that the current status of our economy requires that this vital community play an essential role in bringing about solutions. Garza currently serves as Executive Director of The LIBRE Initiative and resides in Mission, TX with his wife and three children.
Juanita Irizarry is a bilingual/bicultural, Illinois-born Puerto Rican whose role in philanthropy builds upon 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector, with an emphasis on housing and community development work in Chicago’s Latino community. She currently serves as a Senior Program Officer in Human Services and Community Development at The Chicago Community Trust, the Chicago region’s community foundation. Her grant-making at the Trust has focused on housing, homelessness, hunger, disabilities, immigration, early childhood education for the Latino community, and capacity-building for small non-profits. Her responsibilities include staffing the Trust’s Persons with Disabilities Fund and the Nuestro Futuro Fund and representing the Trust at the Hispanics in Philanthropy Funders Collaborative for Strong Latino Communities in Chicago.
In June 2007, Ms. Irizarry completed her Master of Public Administration degree at the Harvard Kennedy School where she studied on a full-tuition scholarship as a Presidential Scholar/Public Service Fellow and received upon graduation the Littaeur Fellowship Award for Public Service, Academic Excellence, and Potential for Leadership. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History/Political Science and Spanish from Greenville College and has completed 60 hours of graduate study in urban planning and policy with concentrations in housing and community development as an Abraham Lincoln Fellow at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Nicolás Kanellos has been professor at the University of Houston since 1980. He is founding publisher of the noted Hispanic literary journal The Americas Review (formerly Revista Chicano-Riqueña) and the nation’s oldest and most esteemed Hispanic publishing house, Arte Público Press. Arte Público Press is the largest, non-profit publisher of literature in the United States.
Recognized for his scholarly achievement, Dr. Kanellos is the recipient of the 1996 Denali Press Award of the American Library Association, the 1989 American Book Award–Publisher/Editor Category, and the 1988 Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature presented by the White House, as well as various fellowships and other recognitions. His monograph, A History of Hispanic Theater in the United States: Origins to 1940 (1990), received three book awards, including that of the Southwest Council on Latin American Studies.
Dr. Kanellos is the director of a major national research program, Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Heritage of the United States, whose objective is to identify, preserve, study and make accessible hundreds of thousands of documents written in those regions that have become the United States from the colonial period to 1960. In 1994, President Bill Clinton appointed Dr. Kanellos to the National Council on the Humanities. In 1996, he became the first Brown Foundation Professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Houston. In 2008, he was elected to the Spanish American Royal Academy of Literature, Arts and Sciences.
Hilda Polanco -From offices in New York and Chicago, Hilda Polanco and the firm she founded, Fiscal Management Associates (FMA), provide in-depth and comprehensive financial management and consulting services exclusively to not-for-profit organizations and foundations. For the past 12 years, growing from a staff of four to a current team of over thirty, Hilda and the FMA team have brought CPA-level expertise to a sector slow to recognize financial management needs and least likely to be able to afford services.
Hilda serves on the selection committee for the New York Times Nonprofit Excellence Awards; she has been an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Department of Health Policy and Management; she is a regular presenter at Columbia’s Institute for Nonprofit Management and an adjunct at Chicago’s Donors Forum. She has been recently appointed to the faculty of the Latino Nonprofit Leadership Academies developed by the Center for Leadership Innovation. These academies are delivered in partnership with the Latino Policy Forum in Illinois, the Arkansas Coalition for Excellence and the Consortium for Hispanic Agencies in Michigan. She serves on the Board of the New York Better Business Bureau Foundation and chairs its Hispanic Advisory Committee; she serves on the Board and chairs the audit committee of Acelero Learning, a social venture that partners with local communities to support high quality Head Start programs. Additionally, she serves on the National Advisory Board of the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy. Hilda has served on the Board of Governance Matters and is an active member of the American Institute of CPAs and the NY State Society of CPAs and its Not-for-Profit Organizations Committee.
Henry A.J. Ramos, Founder and Board Member Emeritus, is an Executive Director of Equal Voice Action, a national family membership organization of working and striving families seeking enhanced political and economic empowerment. In recent years, he served as President & CEO of the Insight Center for Community Economic Development and an appointment member of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors. Prior to joining the Insight Center, Ramos served on the program staffs of the Ford Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation and the Levi Strauss Foundation. From 2007-2010, he served as director and lead consultant of the Diversity in Philanthropy Project, an initiative of leading U.S. private foundations to increase philanthropic effectiveness through the greater inclusion of multicultural talent in foundation appointments, investments and contracting.
Ramos, a California native, received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley, an MPA (Master’s in Public Administration) from Harvard University and a JD (Juris Doctorate) from UC Berkeley Law, School.
Juan Salazar is a Manager of Local Policy and Community Affairs at Facebook. Juan works with state and local governments on issues related to transportation, housing, and community engagement. Prior to joining Facebook, Juan was a Program Manager for Growth Sector, Inc. where he developed education/workforce development pathway programs focused on increasing the success of Latino/a and African American students in the fields of Engineering and STEM education.
Dr. Carlos Santiago is presently serving as the Massachusetts Commissioner for Higher Education. Dr. Carlos E. Santiago joined the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education in April 2013. He previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Hispanic College Fund, a Washington, DC, based non-profit scholarship granting organization.
The first Puerto Rican president of a major U.S. research university, Dr. Santiago previously served as the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) and brings over 30 years of experience in public higher education. As Chancellor of UWM since 2004, Santiago was the chief administrative officer of the university with oversight of 3,700 faculty and staff, 31,000 students, and the university’s half-billion- dollar annual budget.
He is also the author or co-author of six books and has published dozens of articles and book reviews, of which many focus on economic development and the changing socioeconomic status of Latinos in the United States. On two separate occasions, in 1996 and 2011, Santiago has been named one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the United Stated by Hispanic Business magazine.