2020 Top 10 Latina Corporate Executives of the Year
By Gloria Romano-Barrera
Now in its 12th year, the LATINA Style Corporate Executive of the Year Awards celebrates exemplary business executives based on leadership, innovation, and company success. Whether they lead the development of the company’s short or long-term strategy, the top 10 Corporate Latina executives featured (in no specific order) have set company benchmarks for excellence.
President & CEO
American International Group (AIG)
Joining American International Group (AIG) in 2018, Agnes Suarez, President & CEO, AIG Insurance Company – Puerto Rico, is a seasoned professional who is a passionate and committed leader focusing in the development and improvement of AIG. During her time at AIG, she has created positive transformations throughout the organization. She has delegated, empowered and, at the same time, coached, encouraged, and recognized the contributions of team members provoking organizational achievements in the pursuit of excellence. A role model for women, Suarez implemented an Excellence Culture focused on Customer Service Excellence Strategy. Since 2018 AIG has celebrated service of excellence week on October; this year it was a virtual event where all employees participated in activities, workshops and skills development seminars to provide Service of Excellence. This initiative has been validated with Client Service Surveys excellent results, improving year after year. During this period, a professional development program for executives as well as for employees has been implemented, offering in house and external training in technical, leadership, management skills, and service quality areas. A member of the Board of Directors of ACODESE (the PR Insurance Companies Association), she is an active Board member of the Community Financial Advisors, Inc (AFC) – a non-profit entity (501 C3) that formed in 2007 as part of the strategies of her presidency of the PR CPA Society, where she served as Chairman of the Board 2010-2012, Deputy Secretary 2016-2018, 2019, belonged to the Audit, Fundraising and PR Pre Check Platform committee. She is also a member of AIESEC ALUMNI Puerto Rico – currently vice president and chairman of the organizing committee of the Ibero American Regional Alumni Congress 2022 to be held in Puerto Rico.
Vice President of Diversity/inclusion
Aida Sabo joined Parexel as Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion in 2014. In this role, she is responsible for the Global Diversity & Inclusion Strategy and for finding creative ways to execute this strategy. The strategy consists on building D/I awareness and launching a culture change to ensure D/I is part of Paraxel’s DNA. Sabo’s work extends to global initiatives in India, Germany, UK, Japan, Argentina and other regions. Additionally, she launched a Leadership and Inclusion Forums to enable diversity and inclusion thought-provoking discussions with not only internal Paraxel leaders but also the local community — this has been extended to all the external community in Boston, Berlin, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Tokyo, and Uxbridge- focusing on the larger hubs in the company.
A daughter of Mexican immigrants, Sabo along with her parents moved to the United States when she was three years old. With a passion for learning, she excelled and earned a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California at Davis. She then completed engineering graduate work at the University of California at Berkeley and at Georgia Tech. She also has participated in programs in Executive Education at Harvard’s JFK School, Harvard Business School, Stanford University, and UCLA.
Sabo serves on various boards, including the Partnership Inc., the Howard University College of Pharmacy Board of Visitors, the Harvard JFK School’s Women’s Leadership Board. She is a member of Catalyst’s Expert Community and a task force member of the Center for Talent Innovation (Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s organization).
Claudia San Pedro
Claudia San Pedro is President of SONIC Drive-In, part of the Inspire Brands family of restaurants. San Pedro sets the strategic direction for SONIC and is responsible for overseeing the brand’s marketing and operations teams. She is also responsible for the growth and success of SONIC’s company-owned restaurants as well as the brand’s relationship with its franchise community. Joining SONIC in 2006 as vice president of investor relations and treasurer, she directed financial planning, procurement, and investment of funds for the organization, formulated investor relations strategy, and oversaw communications with the investment community. San Pedro was promoted to executive vice president and chief financial officer in 2015 and was responsible for SONIC’s financial planning practices, as well as the brand’s relationship with lending institutions, shareholders, and the financial community. Prior to joining SONIC, she served as the director for the Oklahoma Office of State Finance (OSF). Appointed by Governor Brad Henry in 2005, San Pedro was the first female and first Hispanic to serve as director of state finance for Oklahoma. Mexican-born San Pedro serves on the boards of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, BOK Financial, and the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools. San Pedro is an alumna of Smith College in Massachusetts. She also received an MBA from the University of Oklahoma.
Director, Digital Customer Experience Solutions
Joining Sitel Group in 2017 to start a digital strategy venture in North America, Mongalo was key in developing the digital team’s first client relationships and creating new methodologies to identify experience improvement opportunities and automation potential. As Director of Digital Customer Experience Solutions, she leads product strategy, sales and deployment for some of Sitel Group’s key digital offerings: Chat/Messaging and Digital Agent. A digital CX leader, she has worked with Fortune 500 clients to improve their digital customer experience through ideation sessions, customer journey mapping, digital care assessments, and automation and self-care initiatives. She represents Sitel as a frequent industry speaker, manages vendor partnerships and collaborates with account management and business development leaders to advance digital transformation efforts by Sitel Group clients. Under Isabella’s leadership, the Sitel digital team has earned recognition by industry research and advisory firms such as ISG and IAOP for its work in conversational artificial intelligence. Having designed Sitel’s Customer Experience Lab, she is an advocate for user-centric approaches within the group. Previously, she was Brand Manager for an open-source Internet of Things app development platform and computer vision analytics company called AdMobilize, which digitalizes physical world interactions to gain “truth metrics”. Mongalo’s training in service design began at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration where she earned a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Services Marketing and Operations Management. She has run various brand consulting projects for South Florida businesses and stays connected to the local start-up environment. Isabella believes Latinas have the ambition, work ethic and talent to lead American businesses at the highest levels and is committed to helping increase the number of Latinas who pursue business education, corporate leadership, and entrepreneurship.
Leticia M. Sanchez
Market Director of Banking
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Consumer Bank
A seasoned professional in the banking and financial industry with 25 years of experience, Leticia M. Sanchez, Executive Director, Market Director of Banking at JPMorgan Chase & Co. Consumer Bank is an advocate for a diverse and inclusive workplace by empowering employees to bring their best and true selves to work. Joining JPMorgan Chase & Co. in 2010, she oversees all aspects of the retail branch operations and strategies to achieve key financial metrics including deposit and investment balance growth, client acquisition & retention while maintaining an employee and customer-obsessed culture. In this role, she leads a team of 100+ employees in the Los Angeles-Orange County Market offering banking solutions to consumers. A top-performing employee, working mother, community volunteer, and mentor to many peers, associates and external professionals, Sanchez is a role model to follow. She serves as the Co-Lead for Personal & Financial Wellness for JPMorgan Chase Los Angeles Orange County Culture Council, Region Liaison for JPMorgan Chase’s Adelante North America Leadership Team and is part of JPMorgan Chase Community and Consumer Bank’s Hispanic Leadership Forum Steering Committee.
Luz Esparza joined Accenture in 1999 after graduating from Stanford University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. Today, with over 20 years of experience, she is Accenture’s West Market Unit Lead for Intelligent Engineering Services. She leads 400 people who are part of the North America Advanced Technology and Architecture team. In her role, she delivers highly specialized technology solutions to some of Accenture’s most prominent clients. Active in a number of initiatives across Accenture to create a more inclusive workforce, increase engagement and attract and grow talent, Esparza is the Inclusion & Diversity Lead and the executive sponsor for the Inclusion & Diversity Council of Accenture in Southern California. In her role, she sets a vision and direction for all of Accenture’s Employee Resource Groups. The council fosters collaboration between all Accenture Employee Resource Groups on how everyone can best support each other’s programs. A first-generation Mexican-American who grew up in Los Angeles and a mother of three, everything Esparza does in the community is centered around creating opportunities for all. She has a special passion for helping organize career fairs and speaking to students about developing a vision for their careers.
Vice President, Human Resources
Instrumental in advancing the overall Diversity and Inclusion strategy within Conagra Brands, Mariane Boldori, Vice President, Human Resources joined the company in September 2019. With over 18 years of human resources and communications experience in a variety of industries that operate on both a domestic and international basis, Boldori supports the US$11 billion in revenue business supporting functions such as Brand Management, Marketing, Demand Science, Research & Development, Sales and International. Boldori plays a critical role in driving Diversity and Inclusion initiatives within Conagra and has been collaborating with leaders across the business to develop and execute a comprehensive strategic plan to evolve the company’s inclusive culture. Prior to Conagra, she led the successful strategy behind the Sales Go-To-Market initiative for Kraft Heinz including hiring 300+ new workforce, developing a new organizational and career development structure, and creating a unique compensation philosophy to drive increased sales performance. Boldori’s leadership approach integrates curiosity, courage and vulnerability to promote collaboration and employee development. Boldori further illustrates impactful leadership by connecting inclusive behaviors that support the company’s vision, mission, and timeless values through thoughtful employee interaction. She is a conscious inclusive leader who demonstrates the importance of building cultural awareness to boost organizational belonging, innovation, and company performance.
Michelle Martinez Reyes
Chief Relations Officer
Michelle Martinez Reyes serves as Chief Relations Officer for Kelley Kronenberg. She has over 20 years of experience as a trusted advisor in the field of marketing and public relations, earning a proven national reputation as a publicist, brand builder and catalyst to growth.
As one of the only Latinas in the legal industry with her title and at the C-Level, Martinez Reyes works closely with the firm’s principal partners on marketing, strategy, branding, media, outreach and communications, events, social media and public relations efforts across the U.S.
In 2020 alone, she was selected amongst the PR News “People of the Year” and “Top Women in Communications” as a “Game-Changer” by Ragan Communications and PR Daily, “Top Women In PR” by PR News, and named a “National Latino Leader” for the year by the National Diversity Council, selected by LATINA Style Inc., as an honoree for Corporate Latina Executive of the Year Award.
Martinez Reyes previously served as the Chief Marketing Officer for Greenspoon Marder. She was under 40 when she first ascended to the C-Level amongst the AmLaw 200 and NLJ 300 ranks. She also worked as part of the marketing and business development teams for some of the largest firms in Florida and the U.S., including Hunton Andrews Kurth, Akerman, Holland & Knight, and Greenberg Traurig.
She holds an MBA from Nova Southeastern University with a specialty in global management, a bachelor’s degree in political science from Florida International University, Honors College, and an associate’s degree in political science from Miami Dade College, Honors College.
Co-Founder and President
New American Funding
Lead by example, shaping both New American Funding and the housing industry, Patty Arvielo is the Co-Founder and President of the New American Funding. Influencing the real estate finance industry in terms of lending policy initiatives and she rallies for the upward mobility of women in the workplace overall, Arvielo is a nationally recognized businesswoman; leading a mortgage bank with about 4,900 employees and 195 nationwide branches. Arvielo is involved in the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP). She has inspired New American Funding managers to obtain local chapter and board positions with the same group in their areas. To better serve Hispanic communities, Arvielo spearheaded the Latino Focus Committee within her organization. Their mission is to identify, and address challenges Hispanic consumers face in their pursuit of homeownership and to enhance the quality of their lending experience. Arvielo serves on the Executive Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Orange County. She also serves on the National Park Foundation Board of Directors, where she is serving a six-year term as a new board member. She also serves on the Latino Donor Collaborative Board and the Mortgage Bankers Association Affordable Homeownership Advisory Council (MBA). She was also selected to serve a 3-year term on the Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee (HCFAC).
National Diverse Segments Director
Commercial Banking Group
Wells Fargo & Company
Patty Juarez, Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking Group at Wells Fargo & Company has paved the way for many throughout her over 26-year career at Wells Fargo. Juarez serves as the National Diverse Segments Director creating, developing, and executing Wells Fargo’s diverse segments strategy within several lines of business. Joining Wells Fargo in 1995, Patty has held a variety of leadership roles in technology lending, credit, and sales and marketing until transitioning to Regional Vice President of the North Orange County Commercial Banking office in 2010.
Active in a variety of professional and community organizations, Juarez was chairwoman and now Board Development Chair of the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which represents the interests of Orange County’s 30,000 Hispanic-owned businesses. She is also Chairwoman of the board of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Orange County. CASA trains community volunteers to serve as powerful mentors and advocates for the community’s abused, abandoned, and neglected children. Additionally, Juarez is on the Latinx Outreach Advisory Board for Delta airlines, the advisory board of the Latino Donor Collaborative, and on the Dean’s Board of Counselors for Chapman University’s school of business and economics. Last year Juarez was appointed as President of the Latin Connection Team Member Network for Wells Fargo, representing over 48,000 Latinos at Wells Fargo – the largest minority group at the Bank at nearly 20% of the workforce. Within her President role, she has helped uplift the Latin Connection leadership team, setting higher standards to elevate the Hispanic agenda for Latino team members and the Latino community. Juarez earned her bachelor’s degree in business with an emphasis in accounting from the University of California at Berkeley, and her MBA from St. Mary’s College of California in Moraga.
Juarez has been featured on Forbes and Hispanic Executive as a trailblazing Latina, she often speaks about topics such as Diversity and Inclusion, diverse segments, multi-cultural marketing, access to capital, and financial literacy. She has been invited to speak at Harvard University, Stanford, UCI, and Chapman University as well as numerous community and civic organizations across the country.