In Her Own Words

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

2020 Cohort

Executive Fellows

Dr. Megan Bloomer, PhD

VP, Sustainability & CSR The Cheesecake Factory

Dr. Veronica Estrada, Ed.D

Admin. Faculty School of Human Development

Dr. Arameh Anvarizadeh

Dir., of Admissions / Associate Professor USC

Brittany M. Hernandez

Senior Associate Reed Smith LLP

Ana Gaona, MPA

Dir., Office of Government Relations & Policy L.A. County

Jackie Tsang, MBA

Sr. Admin. Analyst Metropolitan Water District So CA

Lauren Turner, E.I.T.

Project Engineer Turner Construction Co.

Tao Peng, MS

Senior Engineer Metropolitan Water District So CA

Cristina Polk

Senior Project Mgr. Turner Construction Co.

Laura Santo

Project Mgr. Turner Construction Company

Velma de la Rosa

Founder and CEO The Monarca Enterprises

DeDe Hornes

Project Admin. Analyst Union Bank, MUFG

Nancy Obando

VP Diverse Markets Bus. Dev. Union Bank, MUFG

Entrepreneur Fellows

Luoya Tu, LEED AP

President/Design Director Archimorphic

Naomi Stone, MBA

President and CEO MugenKioku Corporation

Kaitlyn Yang, MBA

Founder/Visual Effects Supervisor Alpha Studios

MaryAnne LoVerme, MA

Owner/Founder Los Angeles County Store

Wendy Amara, MA

Founder/President Wendy Amara Strategic Life

Zeahlot Lopez, M.S.

CEO Vida Therapy, Inc.

Tati Polo

CEO/Founder Forkplate

Mary Schneider

President INYA Inc.

Kenetia Lee


Tandia Elijio

CEO Tandia Elijio

Paula Kendrick

Owner Claims Management Plus, CMP

Gabriela King

Owner/Dir., Kool Kids Daycare & Preschool, Inc.

Gina Woodruff

CEO/Founder AIM Living Services Inc.

Katherine Herrera

CEO, Owner and Operator Kat's Pest Solutions

Millennial Fellows

Brandye Combs

Medical Case Worker L.A. County Dept. of Health Services

Kimberly Cordova

Administrative Executive Assistant Beautycon

In Her Own Words


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

Managing Director
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.

Dorene Dominguez

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 (

Kenneth T. Lombard

MacFarlane Partners

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.

Dolores Arredondo

Vice President
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 Salinas

Salinas Consulting

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.

Karla Sandoval​

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​

DRR Advisors

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.

Xavier Guiterrez

Managing Director
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.

Byron Reed

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.

2020 Leadership

Alumni Advisors

Erica Burton, Esq.

Pauline Avendano, M.S.

Vice President of Marketing
Picture Head Holdings

Rosamary Gomez, MBA

Data Scientist
Southern California Edison

Bertha Haro, M.S.

Great Minds in STEM
Director of Development

Berta Montoya


Sylvia Soto

Community Center Director
Los Angeles County for Organization

Yimi Casasola

Marketing Operations Manager
MUFG Union Bank

Brenda Duarte


Dr. Geo Waters

Senior Executive Consultant

Karla Sandoval

Director of Entrepreneur Program

Monica Viramontes

Director of Advisors

Janet Guerrero

Business Develop Manager

Lurdes Medina

Program and Media Coordinator

2021 Fall MWELP Cohort Info

Dr. Ghada Al-Masri, PhD

Dean of Social Sciences

Cynthia Cortez, MA

Deputy Chief Diversity Officer

Dr. Rose-Margaret Ekeng-Itua, PhD

Professor of Engineering

Marissa Duarte

HR Business Partner

Belen Verduzco

Project Superintendent

Dr. Teresa Massimo, EdD

Professor of Communication Studies

Jennifer Zamora

Vice President- Community Lending and Diverse Markets

Tonisha Jester

Senior Associate Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Shawni Ellis

Senior Project Engineer

Tiffany De Santiago

Community and Affordable Lending Manager

Jennifer Vides

Project Superintendent

Larissa Favela, MA

Assistant Professor

Martha Morales


Evelyn Sepulveda

Therapeutic Activity Aide