2019 Scholarship & Awards Gala

Presented by Dr. Yasmin Davidds





Millenium Biltmore Hotel Crystal Ballroom

506 S. Grand Ave, Los Angeles 90071

2019 Honourees

2019 Leadership Trailblazer Award

Senator Holly J. Mitchell

30th State Senate District 

A third-generation native Angeleno, Sen. Holly J. Mitchell is the proud daughter of career public servants and the protégé of community leaders who instilled in her a passion for service. She continued her family legacy of “firsts” when she was named the first African American to chair the powerful Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee in December 2016. Less than two months later, a profile in The Los Angeles Times described Mitchell as “the Legislature’s moral compass.”

She proved to be just that in 2017 and 2018 when she oversaw the adoption of consecutive state budgets of nearly $200 billion each and won wide praise for directing funds to elementary and college students, the health-care systems and long-neglected programs to assist infants, the elderly, youth and working families.

In recognition of her work, the five-member Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors presented her with its Distinguished Legislator Award.

Advocate for children
Mitchell, the mother of a teen-age son, has devoted her professional life to creating a California where all children thrive. She has led the charge to reform the criminal and juvenile justice systems, expand access to healthcare, early care and education, foster care, secure women’s reproductive health and end the trafficking of minors. She is a passionate defender of women’s rights and the environment.

Fighting for #EquityAndJustice
In addition to fighting for a budget that better serves the more vulnerable among us, Mitchell joined up with Sen. Ricardo Lara and over two years jointly authored a successful package of 10 criminal justice reforms that place a greater emphasis on prevention, rehabilitation and maintaining family cohesion.

Senator Holly Mitchell

A history of caring
Mitchell previously headed California’s largest child and family development organization, Crystal Stairs, and worked for the Western Center for Law and Poverty. This gave her valuable insights in how to improve services to diverse communities whose needs were not being addressed by state or local governments.

With nearly 70 bills signed into law, Mitchell’s other groundbreaking successes include improving human services, expanding access to healthcare, defending the civil rights of minorities and the undocumented, and reducing the numbers of children growing up in poverty.

Mitchell sits on the Senate Health Committee; the Joint Committee on Rules; the Public Safety Committee; the Labor and Industrial Relations Committee; and the Insurance, Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. She also chairs the Senate Select Committee on Social Determinants of Children’s Well-Being and is a member of the Senate Select Committee on Mental Health. In January, 2018, she was named vice chair of the Joint Committee on Rules Subcommittee on Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response.

Mitchell has been cited for her outstanding leadership by more than 100 community and business groups, including the Courage Campaign, Sierra Club, United Cerebral Palsy Association, the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce and the Women’s Foundation of California Board. She was named the 2017 Lois DeBerry Scholar by Women in Government Leadership and this year received the first Willie L. Brown Jr. Advocacy Award from the California Black Lawyers Association. The National Conference of State Legislatures last summer elected her to its national Executive Committee. Her advocacy on behalf of the expansion of mental health services earned her Legislator-of-the-Year Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness California, as well as the 2017 California Champion of Mental Health from Mental Health California. She also served as Faculty in Residence at Rutgers University in 1997, and has served as Legislator in Residence at Mount St. Mary’s University since 2016. In March of 2019, she was appointed to the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission Board.

First elected to the Legislature in 2010, Mitchell represents nearly 1 million residents of the 30th Senate District, which ranges from Century City to South Los Angeles and takes in Culver City, Cheviot Hills, Crenshaw District, USC, downtown L.A. and a portion of Inglewood.


Before joining CHCI, Ms. Lynch spent more than a decade as the Executive Director of the Latino Alumni Association (LAA) at the University of Southern California. She served as both a role model and mentor to thousands of USC students and alumni, raising over $15 million for scholarship and cultural relevant leadership programs. During her tenure, the LAA doubled in membership and tripled its endowment. Ms. Lynch worked diligently to increase the number of Latino Alumni serving on boards across campus, and on the USC Alumni Association’s Board of Governors, in particular. In the 2015-16 academic year, she was appointed to serve on the USC Provost’s Founding Task Force for Diversity and Inclusion. Ms. Lynch’s professional breadth extends into the corporate sector, holding leadership positions at Bank of America and Univision Communications Inc.

Ms. Lynch’s advocacy on behalf of the Latino community has been recognized by various organizations and featured in Forbes.com, The Hill.com, Latina Style Magazine, Latino Leaders Magazine, and the Washington Post. In 2019, Ms. Lynch was recognized by the Mexican Government with the National Ohtli Award, the highest honor awarded to a Hispanic American for creating pathways of opportunities for Mexican and Mexican-American communities in the United States. She received the 2018 National Hispanic Health Foundation Leadership Award, the 2018 Leadership Award by Crittenton Services of Greater Washington, D.C. for empowering young women and teen mothers, and the 2018 Legacy Award by the USC Latino Alumni Association. She was highlighted as one of The Hill’s 2017 Latina Leaders to Watch, awarded the Los Angeles Plaza Community Services 2017 Bridges of Opportunity Award in Education, named 2016 Latina of Influence by Hispanic Lifestyle, and featured as a Los Angeles Community Hero by Telemundo.

Ms. Lynch is a graduate of the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and holds a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from the USC Rossier School of Education. She is the proud parent of a Trojan alumnus.

2019 Leadership Impact Award 

Domenika Lynch

Former President & CEO 

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute 

Domenika Lynch is a champion for women’s rights, Latino leadership, and social equity. She has 20 years of executive leadership experience. At her core, Ms. Lynch is a purpose-driven leader dedicated to creating pathways of opportunity for underserved communities through education, economic empowerment, and access to social capital. Reflecting on her own life’s journey as an immigrant child, teen single mother, and cancer survivor, Ms. Lynch is most inspired by stories of immigrants in the pursuit of the American Dream. She fundamentally believes that learning to overcome adversity is a leader’s greatest competitive advantage.

Most recently, Ms. Lynch was the President and CEO of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, Inc. (CHCI), a preeminent national Latino leadership institute founded by Hispanic Members of Congress in 1978. Building on CHCI’s 40-year legacy, Ms. Lynch led an organizational financial come-back and positioned CHCI as a premier thought leadership convener in less than18 months. During her nearly three year tenure, Ms. Lynch raised more than $20 million in revenue, organized the two highest grossing annual conference and galas in CHCI’s history and increased the number of paid Congressional Internships and Fellowships for emerging Latinx leaders. In May 2019, Ms. Lynch stepped down as CHCI CEO and returned to Los Angeles to focus on health, family and earn her doctorate in public policy, planning, and development at the University of Southern California.

2019 Courage in Leadership Award 

Nora Guerra

National Affordable Lending Manager

Freddie Mac

Nora Guerra is a National Affordable Lending Manager with Freddie Mac. In her role at Freddie Mac, Nora works with lenders across the country by being a voice and advocate for underserved communities /minorities and giving lenders a blueprint in order  for them to offer affordable lending products to low to moderate income homebuyers nationwide.

Nora’s career in residential lending spans over 20 years with experience in both sales and operational management for some of the most recognizable lending institutions in the county. Minority lending and emerging market programs have always been a passion of Nora’s since early in her career. Nora was an integral part of the emerging markets division at Wells Fargo and later went on to lead one of the top producing ops centers in the country. Later in her career Nora transitioned to sales and origination where she excelled and partnered with some of the highest producing real estate agents in the industry, most notably, Marty Rodriguez – Century 21’s #1 agent in the world.

Nora actively speaks at various events and conferences across the county and is an active board member of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals promoting sustainable Hispanic homeownership. She has received numerous sales and leadership awards throughout her career as well as served on private and public boards, but her dedication to making a difference in her community and her willingness to help others is what sets her apart.

2019 Nora Guerra Photo

2018 Gala

Celebrating their Achievements

Signature Sponsor

USC Partners

Entrepreneur Program Premier Sponsor

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