From a student’s dream to a woman’s reality…
A story of a partnership born 25 years ago.
“When I decided I wanted to major in business, I made the right choice, and chose one of the best business schools in the country: The USC Marshall School of Business.
As an undergraduate student in business, I discovered that my mission was to change the world and make it a better place for women. All women. I shared that dream with the Dean of MBA Admissions at that time, Keith Vaughn. Dean Vaughn encouraged that dream, and mentored me, guiding me to develop an institute of programs that would empower and develop women. An institute that would provide women with the tools to become authentic leaders in their community and in their careers around the world.
The USC Marshall School of Business has been a partner of the Latina Global Executive Leadership Institute since its inception in 2013 and its expansive programs and goals. Once Dean Vaughn retired, Sunny Donenfeld, Senior Associate Dean and CFO of USC Marshall School of Business and Debra Langford, Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion for the USC Marshall School of Business stepped in and embraced our institute, and for that, our gratitude and Trojan pride runs deep.
After tremendous success of the Latina Global Executive Leadership Program at USC and by great demand, we have initialized the Multicultural Women Executive Leadership Program. A program dedicated to bringing professional women of all cultures together to continue making dreams a reality.”
– Dr. Yasmin Davidds, PsyD, MCC
Founder, President & CEO
Dr. Yasmin Davidds Women’s Leadership Institute
MULTICULTURAL WOMEN EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP & ENTREPRENEUR PROGRAM FELLOWS
2023 FALL COHORT
Ruhiya Nuruddin, MBA
Executive Producer, Condé Nast Entertainment
Danitza Cardenas, MSW
Psychiatric Social Worker, LA County Dept. of Mental Health
SPD Project Manager, Turner Construction
Senior Project Manager, Clayco
Claudia Cuz-Flores, MA
College Counselor, Cuyamaca College, Riverside City College, and Southwestern College
Star Manning, MS
Safety Coordinator, Kiewit Infrastructure West (SoCal)
Senior Partner Manager, Brex
Founder & CEO, 1st Mentor Street
Culture Strategy Program Manager Workforce Culture, Silicon Valley Bank
Debbie Cervera, MBA
Associate/ Business Manager, Thornton Tomasetti, Inc.
Business Development Manager, Investment Bankers Network
Director of Servicing Operations, Westlake Financial
HR Generalist, American Public Media Group
2023 SPRING COHORT
Erin Brown, Esq.
Vice President, Operational Risk Management, MUFG
Miriam Burgos, MBA
Associate Vice Dean for Teaching and Innovation, University of Southern California
Halisi Wolf, MBA
DEI Learning & Development Leader, MUFG
Halima Cherif, MBA
Director, Internal Communications, Turner Construction Company
Renee Doyle, MBA
Vice President, Acquisition Manager, MUFG
Yingxing (Sherilyn) Chi, MA
Director, Quantitative Research Service, Fidelity Investments
Karen Bowser, MA
Vice President, MUFG
Patricia Bermudez, MBA
Senior Director of Growth and Advocacy, AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Winnie Shek, MS
Director, Business Information Security Officer, Fidelity Investments
Joy Adams, MPM, MISM
Senior Manager, Southern California Edison
Lizbeth Zepeda, MBA
Vice President, Senior Recruiter, US Bank
Director, Market Readiness, Fidelity Investments
Kassandra Torres, MBA
Financial Manager, Turner Construction Company
Viry Martino, MS
Design Liaison, Turner Construction Company
Vice President, MUFG
Janie (Ximena) Marquez
Vice President, Senior Relationship Manager, 1st Century Bank
Vice President, Technology Project Manager, MUFG
Regional Manager/ Community Outreach Specialist, Union Bank
Gabriela Santiago Medford
Regional Property Manager, NewMark Merrill Companies
Assistant Vice President, Branch Manager/ Community Outreach Specialist, Union Bank
Adela Naranjo-Bernabe, MA
DREAM Resource Program Coordinator, Cabrillo College
Assistant Vice President, Community Outreach Officer, Union Bank
Viviana Mauri Ibarra, MEIM
Senior Executive Assistant, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Warner Bros. Discovery
2022 FALL COHORT
Dr. Carolina Castillo, EdD
Executive Director of Development, USC Civic Engagement and Economic Partnerships
Dr. Melissa Cervantes, EdD
Executive Dean of Equity, Inclusivity, and Campus Diversity, Ohlone College
Dr. Zilma Santiago Pabón, PhD
Academic Dean, EDP University- San Sebastián
Lisa Moving, MS
Vice President, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Turner Construction Company
Traci Oshiro, MA
Executive Producer, Condé Nast
April Taylor, MBA
Sr. P&O Business Partner, Mars
Laura Peralta, MPA
Vice President, Community and Business Development, JPMorgan Chase & Co
Sr. Project Manager, Turner Construction Company
Geri Franco, MS
Senior Cost Analyst, Turner Construction Company
President & CEO, X Level, Inc.
Contracts Manager, Cell-Crete Corporation
Adaptive Skills Manager, Institute for Effective Behavioral Interventions
2022 SPRING COHORT
Hilary Sledge-Sarnor, JD
Executive Counsel to General Counsel, MUFG Union Bank
Dr. Sophie Zhuang, PhD
MUFG Union Bank
Andrea Saavedra, MBA
MUFG Union Bank, Mexico Branch
Dr. Lori Silverman, PhD
STEM Division, Ohlone College
Zelma Cordero, MS
Director of Software Engineering,
Lucy Bamber Rodriguez
Director, Project and Delivery Manager,
MUFG Union Bank.
Vice President, Audit Relationship Manager, MUFG Union Bank
Maria Blocker, MBA
Vice President, Technology Project Manager, MUFG Union Bank.
Squad Lead, Client Data and Insights,
Candace Raphael-De Jonge, LLM
Vice President, Compliance Operations,
MUFG Union Bank, Canada Branch
Vice President/IT Project Manager,
MUFG Union Bank
Melika Kuric, MA
Vice President, Third Party Manager,
MUFG Union Bank
Stephanie Ramos, MS
Director, Transfer Center/Counseling Faculty, Ohlone College
Evelyn Diaz Sanchez
Supervisor, Student Pathways Program, Ohlone College
2022 MULTICULTURAL ENTREPRENEUR COHORT
Louis C.G. Fisher III
Gjenaii Givhan, MBA
CEO/ Real Estate Broker & Specialist,
NkKai Properties/NkKai Mangement Group
Summit Accounting Solutions
North American Real Estate & Mortgage
Catherine Silva Walker
Vader Air Conditioning & Heating Inc
Bri Gainz LLC / Fitness & Nutrition Coaching
2021 FALL COHORT
Dr. Ghada Al-Masri, PhD
Dean of Social Sciences,
Cynthia Cortez, MA
Deputy Chief Diversity Officer,
University of California, Merced
Dr. Rose-Margaret Ekeng-Itua, PhD
Professor of Engineering
HR Business Partner,
Dr. Teresa Massimo, EdD
Professor of Communication Studies,
Assistant Vice President, Community Lending Officer, MUFG Union Bank
Senior Associate Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, USC Marshall School of Business
Senior Project Engineer
Tiffany De Santiago
Community and Affordable Lending Manager, JP Morgan Chase & Co.
Larissa Favela, MA
Realtor, Keller Williams-
Martha Morales Real Estate
Therapeutic Activity Aide,
Aurora Las Encinas Hospital
2021 SPRING COHORT
Head of Global Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging, NVIDIA
Vice President/ Sr. Business Consultant,
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
President & CEO,
Connexions Consulting, Inc.
CEO, Wadeco Business Center
Vice President of Sales,
Provident Title Company
Dr. Carlene Fider
Professor, Pacific Oaks College
CEO , Z Promotions
Rosa Martin Muñoz
Sr. Manager, Executive Relations,
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Co-Owner, Pez Cantina
Sr. Project Engineer,
Turner Construction Company
Founder/President, Terravanta Inc
Owner, Elle Marie Spa
Owner & Chef,
Chef Michelle & Company
Stephanie Montoya, M.S.
Protection/Control and Meter Strategy Engineer SCE
SPD Project Manager,
Turner Construction Company
Laura Garcia, M.S.
Administrative Analyst, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Kashae Knox, M.A.
Engagement Manager Educational Results Partnership
Delila A. Vasquez, M.A.
Catholic Association of Latino Leaders
Isabel Aranda, M.A.
USC Latino Alumni Association
Onprem Solution Partners
Turner Construction Company
Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) Manager, Turner Construction Company
Tai Yan Phyvin Mok, M.A.
Real Estate Rep, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
CEO/President Ballard Construction, Inc.
In Her Own Words
The program was unique because it was based upon improving the person as a whole as opposed to having the person fit what the program wanted.
It forced me be more introspective and to consider what my goals are and to be more strategic in my planning. There are also other ways in which the program empowered me, but I can’t verbalize it exactly. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this amazing program.
The make up of the co-hort is amazing. The most amazing group of women I have ever been affiliated with. I learned that I can really do whatever I set my mind too. THANK YOU.
The combination of Dr. Yasmin’s lectures, content, guest speakers, alumni coaches, exercises and personal reflections allow MWELP students to develop a more profound sense of personal and authentic leadership in a loving and affirming environment. As a result of the program, I was able to tap into a well of knowledge that I did not know I had within myself. And, I was able to understand more clearly and articulate my unique leadership style and how I could maximize it for more significant impact. I am confident that these lessons will prove to be sustainable, life-changing as I continue my leadership journey.
This program is different from other leadership programs that I have attended by bringing in individuals from various walks of life together to explore and share our paths. It enabled us to fine tune our unique leadership styles by establishing accountability and our commitment to development from the first day of the program.
This program creates a safe space to share and articulate concerns and issues women experience in the work place and provides a forum for tackling those issues without judgement. It also introduces women to techniques that would normally be reserved for their male counterparts and helps shed light on a rather elusive subject.
MWELP is one of a kind! This program focuses on authentic leadership and how who we are as women greatly influences who we are as leaders. Unlike many programs, the emphasis on empathy, grace, and turning vision into thoughtful action is not only taught – but implemented during these few months together. It has been a remarkable change and the journey continues!
I’m eternally grateful to this program for helping me realize that I’m not alone in how I’ve tried to navigate through my career as an African American women (woman of color) in my field. The bond that I’ve created with some of these women is a foundation that will enhance my growth, because I will be able to call on them to obtain their support and guidance. I not only look forward to growing in my career, but also to provide mentoring to those that may have the same concerns and insecurities I’ve had in my career.
It’s an introspective approach to self-improvement and leadership development. If you truly want to be great, you must be content to be in a growth-enhancing environment, which can, and should be, uncomfortable at times while being extremely rewarding. MWELP is that environment.
This program was unique because it was everything wrapped into one program. It was Leadership Skills Training, Life Coaching, Stakeholder Centered Coaching, and Networking all-in-one. It was a journey, not a course.
I used to think the most important strength of influential leaders were being able to drive results. What I didn’t know was that the world’s most impactful leaders lead from strong personal values and empathy in order to motivate others who then drive results.
This program was unique in that it allowed me to really understand how I lead. The way the program was structured with the coaches, instructors and exercises was very valuable in my leader journey. We are all better when we share and are open to learning from each other. Sometimes you have to peel back the layers to get to the real self.
Information was flowing both ways and that was a great way to engage from day 1: we not only learned from Dr. Yasmin but also from all the fellows. This made it extremely valuable given the mixed backgrounds within the cohort: financial, HR, non-profit, law, engineering etc. In addition, personalized action plans developed for personal improvements to create habits were implemented with associated accountability, not only to coaches and learning teams with fellows but also with selected stakeholders at work.
Always take a moment to reflect on those important things that give meaning to a long-term vision for leadership. Taking the time to nurture myself, learn from others and add value to others leadership journeys should be a top priority at this stage in my career.
Dr. Yasmin Davidds
Founder, President & CEO
Dr. Yasmin Davidds Women’s Leadership Institute
Organizational psychologist, leadership development expert and educator, Dr. Yasmin Davidds has trained and counseled more than 2,000 corporate leaders in over 200 blue chip companies throughout 22 countries. Dr. Davidds has developed and implemented customized leadership programs for Fortune 100 companies in Brazil, Columbia, Argentina, England, Spain and the U.S. Dr. Davidds established the Women’s Institute of Negotiation (WIN), dedicated to the teaching, instruction and development of negotiating skills and leadership competencies primarily focused on women in professional, academic and corporate settings.
Dr. Jolanta Aritz, PhD
Professor of Clinical Management Communication,
Department of Business Communication
Marshall School of Business
University of Southern California
Jolanta Aritz specializes in intercultural business communication, small-group decision-making, and leadership communication. Professor Aritz is co-author (with Robyn Walker) of the book Leadership Talk: A Discourse Approach to Leader Emergence and co-editor of the Discourse Perspectives on Organizational Communication book which received the 2012 Distinguished Publication on Business Communication award from the Association of Business Communication. She received awards from the USC Fund for Innovative Undergraduate Teaching (2008), the USC Mellon Mentoring Grant (2006), the USC Advancing Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences Initiative (2007), CIBER International Research Fund (2010), and the C.R. Anderson Research Foundation for Innovative Research in Business Communication (2011). Professor Aritz is a former Fulbright scholar and serves on the USC Advisory Committee on National and International Graduate Fellowships
Dr. Carol Geffner, PhD
Newpoint Healthcare Advisors
USC Faculty Director of Leadership Programs
USC Sol Price School of Public Policy
Carol is the President of Newpoint Healthcare Advisors and Professor of Governance, Management and Policy Process at the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy. She is also the Director of the Price School’s Executive Master of Leadership Program. For more than twenty years, Dr. Geffner has been an advisor for regional hospitals, leading healthcare systems and academic medical centers as they have addressed their most pressing strategic, leadership and performance issues. She works with Boards of Directors, CEOs and executive leadership teams on the development and successful execution of strategy to strengthen and support economic and mission sustainability. Dr. Geffner directs consulting engagements in the areas of: strategy development and execution, organizational alignment, large-scale transformation, and patient and workforce engagement. She also serves as an executive coach to CEOs and senior leadership.
Dr. Sharoni Denise Little, PhD, EdD
Professor, Clinical Business Communication
Faculty Diversity Recruitment Adviser
Marshall School of Business Department of Business Communication
University of Southern California
Sharoni Little is an expert in management and leadership communication, organizational effectiveness, institutional diversity, and educational outcomes. Professor Little’s research centers on educational and organizational leadership, cross-cultural, interpersonal, and team communication, educational outcomes and student success. She has received an award from the USC Fund for Innovative Undergraduate Teaching, two Golden Apple awards, and USC’s Remarkable Woman award. An organizational consultant, executive coach, and educational/social advocate, Professor Little has presented both domestically and internationally to executives, educators, and organizations. She serves on the Los Angeles County Commission for Children and Families, sits on several boards of trustees, and partners with the Children’s Defense Fund.
Julius E. Robinson
Corporate Social Responsibility for the Americas
MUFG Union Bank, N.A.
Julius Robinson serves as managing director and head of MUFG Union Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) group for the Americas. He is responsible for company-wide CSR strategy and programs in the United States, Latin America and Canada, including charitable giving, community outreach, environmental stewardship, and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) compliance and investment. Mr. Robinson also oversees the bank’s government relations activities and the MUFG Union Bank Foundation, the nonprofit entity that acts as the agent for the bank’s charitable contributions.
Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer
Vanir Group of Companies, Inc.
Dorene Dominguez is the Chairwoman and CEO of Vanir Group of Companies, Inc. and its subsidiaries. Vanir has delivered over $23 billion worth of projects from its inception. Vanir employs a growing staff of more than 400 talented executives, architects, engineers, construction managers, developers, contractors and support staff across seventeen regional offices located in major U.S. cities. Ms. Dominguez also serves on various boards and is an owner of the NBA “Sacramento Kings.” She is the first Latina to hold the distinction of NBA ownership status. Her philanthropic activities are many and varied, however, none is more important than Ms. Dominguez’s long-term commitment to helping and inspiring underserved elementary and high school students attain the American Dream, attend Universities that may seem to be out of their reach. She founded The Dominguez Dream, a foundation in memory of her late father, which serves schools in underserved communities and empowers students to achieve their full potential in Literacy and S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math). Through this twelve-year concerted effort of implementing fifteen essential programs in seven partner schools, The Dominguez Dream has served over thirty-five hundred students (www.dominguezdream.org).
Kenneth T. Lombard
Ken Lombard is president of MacFarlane Partners and is responsible for its real estate investment management business. He serves on the firm’s investment and senior management committees, and assists with its real estate development business. Ken has more than 30 years of experience in real estate investment and development, investment banking, business development, and economic development, and is widely recognized for having led numerous successful real estate investments and business ventures that fostered economic improvement and urban renewal in underserved minority communities throughout the United States. As a result of his broad expertise and business success, Ken has been invited to give keynote addresses and participate on panels at universities, professional associations and business forums nationwide. Among the organizations where he has spoken are the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; Harvard University’s Business School and Kennedy School of Government; the University of California, Los Angeles; the International Council of Shopping Centers; and the Inner City Economic Forum.
Wells Fargo & Company
Dolores Arredondo is a vice president and marketing program manager, supporting the Consumer Lending Group at Wells Fargo. In this role, she has enterprise-wide responsibility for developing cross-credit marketing programs and strategies across multiple lines of business, capabilities marketing, and credit education. She has spearheaded important initiatives for the company including business banking, millennial, and diverse segments growth strategies. She is an expert in omni-channel marketing and is known for her innovative approach. Ms. Arredondo is a champion of Diversity and Inclusion and helped found the company’s Hispanic employee resource group. Most recently, Ms. Arredondo was recently appointed to the Los Angeles Commission for Department for Public Social Services. Ms. Arredondo is the President of the Wellesley College Latina Alumnae Network.
Maria S. Salinas is an accomplished business woman, entrepreneur and community leader. She is a CPA and former executive at The Walt Disney Company and Ernst & Young. Today, she is President of Salinas Consulting, a finance and accounting project management firm working with major corporations. Ms. Salinas is the former Chairwoman of ProAmérica Bank, a Latino-owned community bank in Los Angeles. For over ten years, she participated in all aspects of the Corporate board room, including Governance & Nominating, Audit and Compliance. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Loyola Marymount University. She is Vice Chair of the Board of UnidosUS, formerly NCLR, and was recently appointed to the founding Board of Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine. Over the years, she has served on numerous nonprofits including the Girls Scouts, American Red Cross, and HOPE as founder.
Dr. Betty Uribe
Executive Vice President
California Bank & Trust
Dr. Betty Rengifo Uribe is the Executive Vice President of business and personal banking for California Bank and Trust. Reporting directly to the CEO, Dr. Uribe is responsible for leading a division comprised of branches and multiple business lending teams in the San Francisco, East Bay, Sacramento, Central Valley, Greater Los Angeles, Orange County, Antelope Valley, and Inland Empire areas. Dr. Uribe’s academic credentials consist of a bachelor’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in business, an Executive MBA from Pepperdine University and a doctorate in organizational leadership.
Dr. Geovanna H. Waters, PsyD
GM, Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics
Dr. Geovanna Henao Waters, Psy.D, graduated from Phillips Graduate Institute in 2008 with a Doctorate degree in Organizational Management. She earned a Master of Arts Degree in Counseling Psychology from Pepperdine University in 2005 and Bachelor of Arts Degrees in English and Psychology from Mount St. Mary’s College in 2003. Dr. Waters has been in the Beauty industry for over 13 years in sales, branding and manufacturing roles. She is currently the GM for Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics. In her roles, she has led all aspects of domestic and global wholesale expansion, working closely with cross functional teams to create sustained growth and profitability. In her positions, she has focused on business development initiatives, scaled growth and working closely with Executive Teams to ensure continual success and competitive edge in the industry.
Entrepreneur Intelligence, Inc.
Karla Sandoval is the director of the Latina Leadership Academy’s Entrepreneur Program. She is a highly acclaimed speaker, leader, businesswoman and an Executive Presidents Team Member with Herbalife International. Ms. Sandoval travels the world as a master speaker motivating a whole new generation of entrepreneurs and business professionals, teaching effective tools and strategies for generating huge success. Ms. Sandoval leads success training seminars throughout the United States and abroad, including Puerto Rico, Mexico, Norway, Canada, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and Iceland. Today, Ms. Sandoval is the Founder & CEO of Entrepreneur Intelligence, an entrepreneur soft skills training program.
Dr. Robert Rodriguez
Robert Rodriguez, Ph.D., is the founder and president of Dr. Robert Rodriguez Advisors, LLC (DRR Advisors), a management and diversity consulting firm. Dr. Rodriguez specializes in Latino talent management programs. Over 100 corporations have sought his expertise and consultation to develop proactive Latino diversity initiatives that have a positive impact on business results. So many corporations rely on Dr. Rodriguez for insight on their Latino initiatives that Hispanic Business Magazine named him one of the Top 100 Most Influential Latinos in America. Dr. Rodriguez is best known for his book, Latino Talent: Effective Strategies to Recruit, Retain and Develop Hispanic Professionals which is used by dozens of corporations as a framework for their Latino diversity programs.
Clearlake Capital Group
Xavier A. Gutierrez serves as President and Chief Investment Officer of Meruelo Investment Partners, and as Chief Investment Officer of Meruelo Group. Meruelo Investment Partners is the investment affiliate of Meruelo Group, and makes public equity and private equity investments. Meruelo Group is a privately held, diversified management company founded in 1986 by US Latino business executive Alex Meruelo. As Chief Investment Officer, Mr. Gutierrez oversees investments and acquisitions, and is responsible for deal origination, underwriting, execution, and capital sourcing across the Meruelo Group platform. He also helps lead the strategic management of Meruelo Group’s twenty-five affiliated companies across ten primary industries.
SVP, Head of Community Development
CIT/One West Bank
Byron K. Reed is the senior vice president and head of Community Development at CIT/OneWest Bank, which offers a wide range of banking products in Southern California. In his role with the bank, he oversees the Southern California territory. CIT One West has approximately 70 branches that encompass a territory, which includes Los Angeles, Riverside/San Bernardino, Ventura, San Diego and Orange Counties. Under Reed’s direction the bank will be involved in the development and rehabilitation of affordable housing, economic development which include workforce development/job creation, financial education and core community services by partnering key Not for Profit Partners and through hosting community forums, to educate all of our communities on the multitude services and products that the bank offers. Reed also manages and oversees the Bank’s $5 million annual grant budget and engages with key Community Development not for profit organizations to help achieve the Bank’s CRA obligation’s through strategic philanthropy.