Luis Villa – SVL Cultura Ambassador

 

Silicon Valley Latino is proud to feature our newest Cultura Ambassador, Luis Villa from San Luis Potosí in Mexico. Luis is driven by his latest entrepreneurial endeavor Villa C. Luis and his wife Marisol recently visited with us here in Silicon Valley and we were thrilled to visit with him at Stanford University along with some iconic Silicon Valley institutions such as the Facebook and Google campuses. While pitching potential investors for Villa C, Luis was able to visit the Bay Area and not only meet with potential investors; he was also able to meet with other Cultura Ambassadors who offered him encouragement and support. Luis was able to be inspired first hand at one of Silicon Valley’s Inspire Higher Panel Discussions.

Bringing craftsmanship and unique designs from talent around the world and giving them a global stage in the marketplace is what Villa C is all about. The idea was hatched when Luis shared software design courses with fashion designers at The Universidad Interamericana para el Desarrollo. Luis quickly realized that the genius that toiled in the classroom needed a marketing and sales platform to feature such young amazing talent. He quickly started putting together Villa C. A marketplace for International, young designers.

The idea is to take the necessary steps in finding quality, locally made garments and presenting them through their e-commerce website in a way that’s fair to market and in a way that gives merchandise a sophisticated brand look. The Villa C website coordinates taylor-made solutions for custom garments direct to customers.

Through Villa C, designers will have access to key distribution, manufacturing and collaboration tools and services normally available only in more sophisticated supply chain solutions.

Luis Villa and his start up Villa C are dedicated to offering unique designs from custom designers around the world. This revolutionary idea helps them reach an audience looking for locally made and hard to find goods in a new global market place. His venture is well underway and he certainly has bright horizons ahead as Villa C is expected to officially be launching soon, including the possibility of participating in the next Boot Camp at Manos Accelerator. Manos Accelerator is a mentorship-driven accelerator program that provides “hands-on” education, business resources, infrastructure, capital, and guidance for promising Latino led startup companies, moving them towards a fast track to success.

We are excited to share this journey with all our Cultura Ambassadors. Stay tuned for more exciting news on Luis Villa and Villa C.

 

 

Inspire Higher Panel at SJCC Milpitas Extension

 

On the evening of August 30th, Silicon Valley Latino and San Jose City College were delighted to present the first Inspire Higher Panel presentation to an open audience. Typically, the Inspire Higher program has been a tour involving select high schools in the South Bay. These schools have included the Luis Valdez Leadership Academy, Latino College Preparatory Academy, Cristo Rey, Milpitas High School and ACE Charter High School as well as ACE Middle School and Sacred Heart Nativity Schools. Through the Inspire Higher Tour, Silicon Valley Latino features four Latinos from the STEAM fields. Although STEAM is typically the acronym that represents Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, through our definition the “E” also represents Entrepreneurship and Entertainment and the “M” also represents Media, Marketing and Management. We typically feature two Latinas and two Latinos from these fields through a one-hour moderated panel discussion. During this hour the panelists share their journeys in a very open, honest and authentic manner, they share the good, the bad and the ugly.  The panelists share in such an inspiring way that even though the students did not know them prior to the panel presentation they rush at them at the conclusion of the Q & A segment like groupies to rock stars, it’s such a beautiful thing to watch.

One of the challenges that Silicon Valley Latino has faced in the past years while presenting the Inspire Higher Tour is that these presentations have been rather exclusive to students of the select high schools participating. However, now through an established partnership with San Jose City College, these panel presentations will be offered to the general public (students, parents, professionals, etc) on a regular basis at the new San Jose City College Milpitas Extension. Both Silicon Valley Latino and San Jose City College are excited about this partnership and prospect of offering a variety of similar type activities for our community.

On August 30th, the first Inspire Higher Panel presentation at the San Jose City College Milpitas Extension featured a stellar line-up of Latino Cultura Ambassadors which included Diana Albarrán Chicas (GEO Product Line Manager at SSL and co-founder of Latinas in STEM), Rich Garcia (co-founder of Blyve.com), Nancy Rosales (Serial Entrepreneur and media & business consultant), and Ivan Reyes (Serial Entrepreneur and Executive Director for the Police Activities League in Redwood City).  As usual, these panelists shared their journeys in a truly inspiring manner and passed on lessons learned as well as what inspires them these days. We encourage you to watch our Inspire Higher recap video below.

Also, stay tuned to the next Inspire Higher Panel presentation at the new San Jose City College Milpitas Extension!

 

Marcela Denniston – SVL Cultura Ambassador

 

Marcela Denniston is a Brazilian American living in California. Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil Marcela moved to New Jersey, United States with her mother at the age of 4.  Marcela is the first person in her immediate family to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Computer Information Systems and an MBA: International Business.

At 17, she joined the US Navy where she began her career in Cyber Operations and Intelligence. During her military service, she received several medals, including a Joint Service Commendation Medal and a Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medal for her work in the Navy Cyber Defense Operations Center and the National Security Agency.  After leaving the Navy, Marcela worked in several consulting roles, nationally and internationally supporting the growth and development of Cyber Security Operations and Products. Today, Marcela works as a cyber security consultant for government organizations, start-ups and venture capital firms.

Outside of work, Marcela is a passionate social activist supporting equality and inclusion for minority groups worldwide. She is an active member of several organizations focused on establishing meaningful connections between LATAM entrepreneurs and US investors including the Latino Start Up Alliance and BayBrazil. Marcela also participates in empowerment and education of STEM careers for young females through Girls Can Hack and IGNITE Worldwide.

Marcela is also a community contributor; she is a volunteer soccer coach for the American Youth Soccer Association as a girls U10 soccer coach. This opportunity allows her to help young girls build confidence and camaraderie with each other. Her team won the 2016 Hirschel Cup for the U10 girls age group.

Marcela currently lives in Foster City, CA with her husband and two daughters and hopes to continue her contributions to the Latino and female community through an initiative to empower, encourage and educate Latinas in technology and engineering fields called Poderosa. Marcela envisions her efforts will create a movement of young girls looking to pursue careers in technology fields and ultimately change the norm for women’s equality in business.

Cultura Ambassador Laura Gomez takes aim at Diversity Issue

 

Silicon Valley Latino Cultura Ambassador and Advisory Board Member Laura I. Gómez is part of an amazing team of women who are tackling the Diversity Issue in Tech. Here is yet another article highlighting who they are and what they are shooting for.

How are you taking part in battling this issue?  Share your actions and thoughts here.

Congrats Laura and keep up the great work!
‪#‎Latina‬ ‪#‎LatinaMentor‬ ‪#‎LatinaLeader‬

Ivan Reyes & Gabriel Lomeli guiding Latino youth!

 

We are delighted to feature the work and involvement of two Silicon Valley Latino Cultura Ambassadors, Ivan Reyes Martinez and Gabriel Lomeli. We are very proud of how Ivan has dedicated his career to supporting and empowering our local Latino youth through the work he leads as the Director of MACLA’s Digital Media Academy and of course Gabriel is often here offering his expertise and support to the program’s youth. Nicely done gentlemen, please continue to inspire the next generations of creative Latinos, we will continue to feature your collective work.

Leandro Margulis – Cultura Ambassador

 

Leandro Margulis is the Director of Global Strategic Partnerships at Quixey. Prior to that, Leandro opened and grew the Impulsa Business Accelerator’s California office, helping small and medium sized companies with market entry and revenue growth.

Leandro Profile 3 072015Leandro also worked as a Senior Consultant with Deloitte Consulting, where he coordinated international project management efforts and executive relationships between the United States and Eastern Europe. He then worked in the Strategy & Operations practice in Corporate Development / M&A, due diligence and post-merger integration in the United States and emerging markets.

These experiences position Leandro to pursue a career aimed at building companies and capacity through strategic business development and partnerships while leveraging financial capabilities and innovating around emerging market opportunities.

Leandro holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and an Industrial and Systems Engineering degree from Florida International University (FIU), where he graduated Summa Cum Laude.

Specialties: Corporate Strategy, Business Development, Corporate Development, Partnerships, Contingent Contract Negotiations, Sales, Management, Business Case Development, Business Process Improvement and Project Management.

Leandro is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, loves to travel and learn about other cultures through stories, food and exploring. He also loves hiking and  biking in his spare time.

 

Viviana Leija-Sysak – SVL Cultura Ambassador

 

Viviana Leija-Sysak is a visual artist born in Mexico City and currently living in the Bay Area. She holds a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of California in Santa Barbara (UCSB).

Viviana_Leija_Head_ShotShe is currently working as TV producer at CreaTV San Jose and has produced and edited Health Trust TV, Latino Focus and most recently Valley Politics which ranked #1 TV show in CreaTV this year. Her artistic work has been exposed in many venues, mostly in Mexico and USA. She has worked in the TV industry directing, producing, editing and animating shows and spots for several TV stations and production companies. In 2006 she directed and hosted “Mejora Tu Vida” a KPMR show in Spanish to bring fresh information to the Latino population in the Central Coast. Later in 2008, she produced, edited and hosted “Non-Profit Spotlight” a series dedicated to broadcast the best non-profit organizations in the area of Santa Barbara, CA.

She has also worked as a freelance graphic designer and video editor and joined the Marketing Department at The Metropolitan Transit District in Santa Barbara for a year as main graphic designer and producer.  In 2007, she edited the award winning documentary “The Shaken Tree” at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival and in 2008, she published her first bilingual children’s book “My House is Full of Light“. Viviana has also worked as an art instructor for different organizations and volunteers as a music entertainer for kids.

Her latest artistic inspiration is combining her drawing skills with digital tools and recently initiated an art blog through Tumblr.com where she’s planning to post some of her personal artwork and comments about contemporary art and TV production.

 

Cultura Ambassador – UNAS United Interview Tips

 

We are delighted to present this great video from three of our Silicon Valley Latino Cultura Ambassadors, Arlene Mendoza, Claudia Hernandez and Janeth Larios Medina, founders of UNAS United. We love the way they took an instructional video and provided great tips while making it entertaining and humorous. Thanks for putting this together for our “Chicas” who are looking to make a move!

Share your thoughts on these tips with us!

Rich Garcia applies Entrepreneur Skills for a Worthy Cause

 

Silicon Valley Latino Advisory Board Member Rich Garcia just completed riding his bicycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles, a total of 545 miles. This was part of the AIDS Lifecyle charity bike ride.  An extraordinary accomplishment, we wanted to know what enabled him to be successful.

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“It’s very much like entrepreneurship: taking risks, failing, iterating, and relying on your network to achieve something EPIC. I have never cycled seriously until I started training for this; it was a risk to take this on.  If you don’t take risks, you remain where you are.”

The concepts of “failure” and “iteration” were also key in successfully riding all 545 miles. “I religiously trained for 8 months. I experienced numerous falls, cramps, sprains, bruises, scrapes, discomfort, and energy lapses. Those “failures” and the iterations to correct them resulted in success.”

Garcia admits that he learned these concepts while founding his startup company Blyve.com, a “Live Q&A Platform”. He adds, “what Blyve started as versus what we are now are two different things. We iterated efficiently on what we learned.” The result is revenue streams from some of today’s top brands including the Coca-Cola Company, Shell, and other large content producers.

Rich raised over $3,000 in donations for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation so that he could ride. “Everybody wins. Awareness is raised, people in need are funded, and I get to do something very special. You can’t do EPIC alone.”

Breaking News! Guillermo Diaz Jr. named CIO at Cisco

 

Silicon Valley Latino is delighted to report that earlier today Guillermo Diaz Jr. was announced as Cisco’s CIO!

Guillermo Diaz Cover PhotoThis is big news for the Latino community and especially for all of our Latino youth who aspire to be Latinos in Tech!  Over the past few years Silicon Valley Latino has developed a close relationship with Guillermo and we have learned that he is the real deal as it relates to being an inspiring leader. We have had the opportunity to meet with many of those on his teams at Cisco as well as with members of Conexion (Cisco’s Latino employee resource organization – Guillermo serves as their executive sponsor). The respect, enthusiasm and collaboration that he inspires are clearly evident. The same can be said for those he touches and works with in the community, just ask the folks at HITEC, Sacred Heart Nativity Schools, Cristo Rey High School and so many others.  As for us at Silicon Valley Latino, the connection was instant and we were inspired by his actions immediately. He was actually the person that inspired the name for our “Inspire Higher Tour” initiative. Guillermo’s phrase for 2014 was “Inspire Higher” and our CEO, Alex Ontiveros, was so moved by how Guillermo evangelized this phrase that we asked him if we could use it for a special initiative that we had in mind, of course the answer was yes. His phrase for 2015 has been “Inspire Exponentially” and it has clearly taken affect with many including us at Silicon Valley Latino.

 

Guillermo is deeply committed to his work as a technology expert, to being an inspiring and effective leader to his teams. However the element that we appreciate the most about him is his commitment to the Latino community especially our youth. Guillermo we congratulate you on today’s promotion to CIO at Cisco! It’s a very well earned accomplishment. We thank you for being an inspiring leader to many of us and for your commitment to inspiring the next generation of Latino heroes!

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We believe this is truly a well-earned promotion based on his numerous professional accomplishments and trajectory as well as the various awards and honors that he has earned over his career. We are also excited to see how he will help take Cisco to the next level by inspiring others exponentially. Adelante!