Keynote Speaker: Soledad O’Brien is an award-winning journalist, speaker, author and philanthropist who anchors and produces the Hearst Television political magazine program “Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien.” O’Brien, founder and CEO of Starfish Media Group, also reports for HBO Real Sports, the PBS NewsHour, WebMD and has authored two books. She has anchored and reported for NBC, CNN and others, winning numerous awards, including three Emmys, the George Peabody award, an Alfred I DuPont prize and the Gracie. Newsweek Magazine named her one of the “15 People Who Make America Great.” With her husband, she is founder of the Starfish Foundation that sends 25 girls to and through college.
Councilwoman Nury Martinez is the Assistant President Pro-Tem of Los Angeles City Council. Not only is she the only woman elected out of 18 Los Angeles city offices, she’s the first Latina to ever hold a leadership position on the Council.
As the Councilwoman for the sixth district, Councilwoman Martinez is a champion of brining the basic services of city government to the often-underserved communities she represents. She’s focused on the day-to-day issues of fixing sidewalks and roads to cleaning up trash, debris and bulky items on neighborhood streets. She works tirelessly to ensure the families in the district have safe neighborhoods where they live and their children play.
At City Hall, Councilwoman Martinez leads the Council on major initiatives such as fighting human trafficking, empowering women, and reducing the negative impact of those who would pollute our environment.
Councilwoman Martinez has dedicated her life to the San Fernando Valley where she was born and raised and was proud to serve her community on the L.A. Unified School Board from 2009-2013. The product of public schools and the first in her family to graduate from college, Councilwoman Martinez led the School Board and was devoted to expanding access to quality education for all communities.
As the Executive Director of Pacoima Beautiful, Councilwoman Martinez brought together competing interests to create economic opportunity with an eye towards environmental sustainability. As a result, she was able to turn around the former Price Pfister toxic waste site and replace it with the Pacoima Plaza: a LEED certified facility that has brought hundreds of good paying jobs to the community.
The daughter of immigrant parents, Councilwoman Martinez spent her childhood admiring her parents’ hard work and learning from them the importance of community involvement. Her father was a dishwasher who took the bus every day from Pacoima to Sherman Oaks while her mother worked on an assembly line at the Price Pfister factory in Pacoima. This stable, union job provided, for the first time ever, healthcare coverage for Councilwoman Martinez’s entire family. And when Price Pfister announced plans to relocate to Mexico, Councilwoman Martinez organized to save local jobs that supported working families.
Councilwoman Martinez was elected to the Los Angeles City Council on July 23, 2013 in a special election, and re-elected on March 3, 2015. In addition to serving as the Assistant President Pro-Tem of the council, she is the Chair of the Energy & Environment Committee, Vice Chair of the Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee, and a member of the committees on Budget, Public Safety, and Transportation as well as a member of the Ad Hoc Committee on Immigrant Affairs.
Councilwoman Martinez is a graduate of San Fernando High School and California State University at Northridge. She and her husband Gerry live in Sun Valley with their daughter, Isabelle.
Wendy Carrillo is a Congressional candidate, journalist and activist with a passion for politics, popular culture and education. She is a natural bridge builder, connecting millennials, multicultural communities, specifically the growing bilingual Latino-American population with general markets. She has led and been a bilingual (English/Spanish) spokesperson for media, mail, and grassroots campaigns in politics and labor, focusing on engaging voters in progressive elections. Wendy is a strategic thinker with a talent for blending traditional and new media to reach clear and concise objectives.
Considered a leader within the Hispanic/Latino community, Wendy was invited to participate in the first ever White House Hispanic Policy Conference hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
Wendy is a first generation college student, a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), Online News Association (ONA) and holds a BA in Communications from CSULA and an MA in Journalism from USC.
Monique Coleman is most recognized as Taylor Mckessie in Disney’s High School Musical franchise. However, her most significant role came a few years ago when she was appointed the first ever United Nations Youth Champion for the International Year of Youth. With this title, she organized and funded a 6 month global tour to 24 countries and raised awareness about the most pressing issues facing today's youth.
She is the Founder of GimmeMo, a multi-platform community that amplifies youth voices and supports organizations who are working to make the world better for young people. Season 1 of The GimmeMo Show is currently available on HULU.
Mo works tirelessly to strike a balance between her work on screen & her passion for impacting the world. Her latest projects include NBC Pilot Miranda's Rights, playing Kayla in the TV One sitcom "Here We Go Again" and starring as Lain in New Form Digital's "The Fourth Door" which can be seen on the Go90 app. She is currently a Celebrity Champion for The UN Foundation's Girl Up Campaign and appears in the upcoming indie films "Little Star" & "The Outdoorsman". Mo is also executive producer of a short film entitled "Distortion".
Monique is currently filming "Guidance" Season 3 for Awesomeness TV.
Dana Debel, Managing Director of State and Local Government Affairs for Delta Air Lines, is responsible for government relations with state and local elected and appointed leaders in the western U.S., including California, Washington and Utah, along with other key communities of importance to Delta. Prior to relocating to Los Angeles, Dana led similar efforts for the company out of its Detroit hub. In her role at Delta, she has led numerous efforts to enhance the presence of Delta within its hub communities and improve the economic and operating climate for Delta’s customers and employees before state and local elected leaders.
Prior to joining Delta, Dana served as Policy Director for Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm, and was charged with carrying out the Governor’s policy agenda in both the legislative and administrative arenas. In addition to overseeing the policy division, Dana served as the Governor’s advisor for energy, environment, agriculture, and telecommunications. In this role, she worked with stakeholders, state departments and legislators to craft policy to help foster sound economic growth and job creation while balancing the need for environmental protection. She was instrumental in the successful passage of the Water Legacy Act in 2006 and the signing of the multi-lateral Great Lakes Annex Agreements in 2005, both of which help fulfill Michigan’s promise to better protect the Great Lakes.
Among her civic commitments, Dana serves on the Board of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the YMCA of Metro Los Angeles. Dana is a 1999 graduate of the Michigan State University with a B.S. in Environmental Studies and received her MBA from Michigan State University in 2006.
Mona Field started learning about politics in her teens, protesting against the war in Vietnam and for equal rights for African-Americans. She grew up to teach Political Science at Glendale Community College, and had a successful career in the classroom as well as serving her colleagues as President of Local 2276 of the American Federation of Teachers, the Glendale College Guild. Her specialty is California politics and she has served the community as an elected official (4 terms on the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees), in the nonprofit world, and in labor and education. Her college textbook, CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS TODAY, is a bestseller in its field - the first edition was in 1973, and updated versions continue with a planned 15th edition in 2018. Mona is currently 2nd Vice President of the Board of the Los Angeles League of Women Voters.
Nourbese Flint serves as a program manager with Black Women for Wellness (BWW). Here, she directs environmental and reproductive health work, organize community advocacy and works on policy. Before joining BWW, Nourbese studied women’s health in both Spain and Cuba and journalism in Scotland.
Nourbese is a proud alumnus of San Jose State University, where she majored in Broadcast Journalism and African American Studies. She also has a Masters of Arts in Women’s Health from Suffolk University, where she specialized in health disparities as it relates to media influence. She is a founding member of Trust Black Women; a national coalition dedicated to increasing respect and support of Black Women and is an active member of the Women’s Intercultural Network.
Jeannine Pearce is a Long Beach City Councilwoman, and a long time resident of second district who believes all residents deserve a transparent local government, a thriving local economy, and a clean and safe environment to raise their families in. She has spent her life dedicated to fighting for equity for those most marginalized, including the LGBTQ community, youth, and working families. She worked alongside home care workers and housekeepers in their fight for fair wages, healthcare, and respect on the job. She’s knocked thousands of doors in Long Beach to ensure residents were engaged in their local government. Her story is one of struggle and perseverance. After a decade of working multiple jobs while going to college, she graduated Magna Cum Laude from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in Sociology in 2009. She has since worked as a Director with the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy leading the Long Beach campaign for higher minimum wages for hotel workers, increasing civic engagement through deep coalition building that has transformed the way the Long Beach Community engages with policy makers.
Jeannine's commitment is to the residents of the 2nd district and to the greater Long Beach Community. Her leadership has been recognized by several Long Beach organizations and leaders. She has received the Go Beach Award from Mayor Robert Garcia, Steward of the Second from Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal. Other awards include: The Long Beach Women's Democratic Study Club's Betty Karnette Award, and Long Beach Post's 40 Under 40.
Julie Chávez Rodríguez is the State Director for United StatesSenator Kamala D. Harris. In this role, Julie oversees all office operations across five district offices and serves as the Senator’s principal representative among constituents and elected leaders throughout California. Previously, Julie was the Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Deputy Director of Public Engagement at the White House. In that capacity, Julie managed a team of associate directors working with leaders in the LGBT, AAPI, Latino, Veterans, Youth, Education, Labor, and Progressive communities and supported efforts to reform the nation’s immigration system, improve services for veterans, and increase access to affordable, quality health care, among other issues. Julie also worked in coordination with the White House’s National Security Council on efforts to normalize the United States’ relationship with Cuba, in addition to responding to the migration of Central American children and their families. Prior to joining the White House, Julie served as the Director of Youth Employment at the Department of the Interior and the Deputy Press Secretary to former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. Julie was born and raised in California’s Central Valley, attended UC-Berkeley, and worked for the Cesar E. Chávez Foundation in Los Angeles for 9 years prior to joining the Obama Administration.
Isabel J. Sanchez serves as a Policy Advocate for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA). In this capacity, she works in conjunction with CHIRLA’s Policy Team by promoting local, regional, state and federal policies that advance immigrant integration and protect immigrants’ basic human and civil rights. Furthermore, she serves as a liaison between federal policy members and CHIRLA. Isabel is a current fellow for the Front Line Leaders Academy (FLLA), and a fellow with the Justice Policy Network, which focuses on changing our current criminal justice system. Most recently, she was appointed to the Investment Commission for the City of Montebello and is also part of the Latinas Lead Young Professional Network Board.
Prior to joining CHIRLA, Isabel worked as a congressional staffer for United States Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in Oakland, CA where she served an intermediary role between federal and local agencies on behalf of the Senator’s constituency. Isabel holds a Bachelors of Arts degree from the University of California, Riverside in Political Science/Law and Society.
Jess Weiner is an acclaimed author, speaker, and entrepreneur with over two decades of experience as a thought leader. She remains a driving force behind cultural change, serving as Dove’s Global Self- Esteem Ambassador for the past decade. Jess has written two best-selling books, A Very Hungry Girl and Life Doesn’t Begin 5 Pounds from Now. Her TEDx Talk, “The Confidence Myth,” explores the messy, simple, and often overlooked truth about cultivating confidence in today’s media saturated society. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism where she teaches personal branding and entrepreneurship, and serves as an advising faculty member for USC’s “Media, Diversity, and Social Change Initiative”.
Distinguished in her field, Jess received the National Association of Women Business Owners “Innovator of the Year Award.” She’s been recognized by FORBES magazine as one of the “14 Power Women to Follow” on Twitter. Recently named by INC. Magazine as one of their “21 Thought Leaders Every Entrepreneur Should Follow,” Jess continues to strive to be a changemaker in the social, cultural, and branding worlds.