Dallas, TX:  The Latino Center for Leadership Development (the LCLD) has selected 15 individuals to participate in the 2017-2018 class after receiving more than 100 applications from all over the country. Our previous two classes have met with four former presidents of three different countries, one sitting president and have heard from 102 different speakers. Five of our fellows have run for elected office and four have won. Eleven serve on a board or commission and all are involved in their communities.

“You would think it gets easier after three years to select leadership academy candidates” states the LCLD Founder Jorge Baldor, “but every year we open our application for the academy, the level of caliber from applicants that apply is matched to previous years or exceeded. We are excited to start our third cohort with these exemplary individuals, who have already demonstrated a commitment to giving back to their communities, as they hone their skills through the leadership academy to create innovative solutions that address Latino issues.”

2017-2018 Leadership Academy Cohort


Participants of the Academy will engage in quarterly trainings and network with leaders in sectors such as municipal and state government, business, education, media, politics, and many others.

The LCLD President, Miguel Solis states, “We wanted to ensure we selected a class that continued the high-standard set by our previous two classes, and this class didn’t fall short by any means. Individuals in this cohort are already fighting for workers and immigrants rights, have empowered students in their local communities, one has led a TED talk, and have impacted their communities through local, state and federal appointed offices and boards”

The Leadership Academy is an educational and leadership training program aimed at providing promising leaders with a set of knowledge, skills, experiences, and networks necessary to assume and succeed in positions of impact with a focus on policy-making roles and elected office.

The LatinoCLD Leadership Academy Class for 2017-2018 (Read their bios here):


Alejandra Aguirre

Government and Public Affairs Associate at ECA Strategies

Dallas, TX


Eduardo Carranza

Founder and attorney at the Law Office of Eduardo Carranza

Grand Prairie, TX


Jasmit Dhaliwal-Perez

Founder and attorney at the Law Office of Jasmit Dhaliwal-Perez

Dallas, TX


Vanessa Fuentes

Senior Director at the American Heart Association, Southwest Affiliate

Austin, TX


Amanda Gallegos

Founder and attorney at the Law Office of Amanda Gallegos

Richardson, TX


Amanda Gonzalez

Senior Campaign Manager for the Light the Night Campaign

San Antonio, TX


Amilcar Guzman

Director of Data and Evaluation at The National CASA Association

Washington, DC


Shana Khader

Interim Director of the Employment and Legal Services Program at Workers Defense Project

Dallas, TX


Cindy Nava

Democratic Pool Analyst at the New Mexico State Legislature

Graduate Research Assistant at the University of New Mexico Center for Education Policy Research

Albuquerque, NM


Nicanor (Nick) Pesina, Jr

Attorney and partner at Roberts & Roberts, P.C

Tyler, TX


Ana-Maria Ramos

Candidate for Texas State House of Representatives House District 102

Founder and attorney at the Ramos Law PLLC and El Centro College Government Professor

Dallas, TX


Gonzalo Serrano

Assistant District Attorney of Dallas for Dallas County Criminal Court #9

McKinney, TX


Jake Torres

Associate at Winstead P.C.

Dallas, TX


Lauren Vargas

Director of Innovation for the Mayor of the City of Long Beach, California, Robert Garcia

Long Beach, CA


Mayrani Velazquez

Behavioral Health Care Assistant at Children’s Health

Dallas, TX


The Latino Center for Leadership Development was formed to create a pipeline of leaders and ideas through a year-long leadership academy for aspiring policy makers and thinkers, a policy institute that offers grants to researchers and a two-year fellowship for postdoctoral scholars, and a set of strategic initiatives for community members to help address current challenges faced by Latinos.