2015 Academy Class

Lauro “Larry” Banda
Lauro “Larry” Banda

Larry Banda is an attorney at Envestnet, Inc. His practice focuses on corporate law and regulatory compliance within the financial services industry.

The son of Mexican immigrants, Larry has demonstrated a strong commitment to the Latino community and has held various positions at non-profit organizations that advocate on its behalf. Currently, Larry is a Council Member of the Hispanic Issues Section of the State Bar of Texas and Treasurer of the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association.

Larry was born and raised in Cameron, Texas. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance with a certificate in International Business from the University of Notre Dame and a Juris Doctor from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Joe Carreon
Joe Carreon

Joe Carreon is a staffer in the Office of the Provost at Southern Methodist University (SMU) and is pursuing a law degree at SMU’s Dedman School of Law.

Throughout his education, Joe has replenished his study of public policy with experiences in various levels of government including the Dallas Mayor’s Office, the U.S Congress, the Office of the Colorado Governor, and the White House.

Joe is a native Dallasite and a proud product of the Bachman Lake neighborhood. He received his Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and Spanish from Southern Methodist University and a Master in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

Andrés Correa
Andrés Correa

Andrés Correa is a practicing trial attorney at Lynn Tillotson Pinker & Cox, where he focuses on business litigation.

Andrés worked as a field organizer in Ohio for Obama for America and in the New York office of Cravath Swaine & Moore. He is a member of the UT System’s Centurions council, and he founded and presided over the Eugene McDermott Scholars Alumni Association.

Born in Santiago, Chile, he immigrated to New Orleans and ultimately to Dallas, where he attended the University of Texas at Dallas as part of the inaugural class of the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program. He earned his law degree, cum laude, from New York University School of Law.

Martha Gonzalez
Martha Gonzalez

Martha Gonzalez is an Architectural project manager for PSW Real Estate, a sustainable urban infill developer. Martha is responsible for overseeing the execution of home designs from concept through construction administration, as well as the coordination of community land planning with PSW’s in house land acquisition and civil engineering teams.

Martha is passionate about urban design and has recently been appointed to the City of Austin’s 11 person Design Commission board, which provides advisory recommendations to the City Council to promote excellence in the development of the urban environment.

Martha holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a Master of Architecture from NewSchool of Architecture & Design in San Diego.

Elizabeth Kastiel
Elizabeth Kastiel

Elizabeth Kastiel currently serves as the Co-Founder and President of Dallas Teacher Residency (DTR). Prior to serving as the President for DTR, Elizabeth was the Principal of Dallas ISD’s L.G. Pinkston High School.

In addition to her work with Dallas Teacher Residency, Elizabeth is an Adjunct Instructor at The University of North Texas at Dallas, where she teaches courses in the Teacher Education and Administration Department at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

Elizabeth received a Bachelor of Arts from University of Wisconsin Madison and her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from University of San Diego. She received her school administration certification through LAUNCH, a program run by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Chequan A. Lewis
Chequan A. Lewis

Chequan Lewis is an attorney at Baker Botts LLP. His practice focuses on complex business litigation in both state and federal courts.

He currently serves as a board member for Educate Dallas, SMU’s Simmons Young Leaders in Education, and the Baker Botts Employee Relief Organization. He is also the Downtown/Central Business District Representative for the City of Dallas’s Urban Design Committee and was a member of the 2014-2015 class of the Mayor’s Star Council. Chequan was also a member of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers Leadership Class of 2013-14.

He is an active volunteer with Julius Dorsey Elementary School and a member of the Concord Church Career Network Ministry.

Monica Lira Bravo
Monica Lira Bravo

Monica Lira Bravo is the owner and managing attorney of Lira Bravo Law, PLLC, a boutique immigration law firm.

She currently serves as the 2015 President of the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association (DHBA) in addition to serving on the Dallas Bar Association Board of Directors, Hispanic National Bar Association Board of Governors; the Adelfa B. Callejo Monument Committee; and the City of Dallas Judicial Nominating Commission.

She is a Dallas native who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in French from Southern Methodist University and law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law. She is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Victoria Neave
Victoria Neave

Victoria Neave is a Texas State Representative for House District 107, and owner of Neave Law. She previously worked as an attorney in one of the top ten law firms in the country, Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP.

Victoria has served as Chair of the Southeast Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, State Bar of Texas Leadership Class, Dallas Association of Young Lawyers Leadership Class, City of Dallas Civil Service Commission, Dallas Bar Foundation Fellow, Executive Board of the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association, La Voz del Anciano, among others.

She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics from the University of Texas at Dallas and Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from Texas Southern University.

Priscilla Orta-Wenner
Priscilla Orta-Wenner

Priscilla Orta-Wenner is the first and only attorney at Sunflower Community Action, in Wichita, KS, where her goal is to develop a strong immigrant -led anti-deportation defense project.

Priscilla was raised by her grandparents in Defiance, OH and San Antonio, TX. After graduating from Harvard College in 2005, Priscilla taught high school in Brownsville, Texas, the city she still considers her true home. Priscilla attended Columbia Law School in New York City and graduated in 2011. She was accepted into the Department of Justice Honors program and returned to the Valley, living in Brownsville while working in the Harlingen, TX Immigration Court for two years.

Jaime Resendez
Jaime Resendez

Jaime Resendez is an Associate Attorney at West & Associates, L.L.P. and served for 8 years in the U.S. Army including a yearlong tour of duty in Baghdad, Iraq.

Jaime is committed to serving his community and is actively involved in various organizations and professional associations, including the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, the Dallas Bar Association, the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, the American Bar Association, and the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association.

Jaime earned his law degree from The University of Texas School of Law. Prior to attending law school, Jaime obtained degrees with honors from the University of North Texas and Eastfield Community College.

Byron Sanders
Byron Sanders

Byron Sanders serves as Vice President for U.S. Trust, the private bank of Bank of America. Previously, he served as Executive Director of the Dallas Education Foundation.

He serves on the Advisory Council of the Dallas Foundation, KIPP DFW, Big Thought (Executive Committee), Children at Risk, the Mayor’s Star Council, Kids Hope USA National Advisory Council, and is the Education co-chair of the WINS South Dallas Collective Impact initiative. A member of Dallas Assembly, Leadership Dallas ’13, Leadership ISD ’12, Greenhill Alumni Board, and several other service engagements, Sanders is a committed advocate for education, economic development, and creating equitable communities in the city.

Byron is a graduate of the University of Tulsa with a BSBA in Marketing.

Claudia Sandoval
Claudia Sandoval

Claudia Sandoval works as a consultant for Hitachi Consulting and is involved in the Latino Employee Resource Group. She currently serves as Vice President for Sigma Lambda Gamma’s DFW Alumnae Association.

Claudia is looking forward to getting more involved in her community and learning everything she can from the Latino CLD Leadership Academy.

She was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and graduated from Southern Methodist University with a B.S. in Management Science and M.S. in Systems Engineering. She has stayed actively involved as an alumna by serving on SMU’s Hispanic Alumni Board.

Veronica Torres
Veronica Torres

Veronica Torres currently works for the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau as the Director of Business Development. Veronica and her husband opened the V12 Yoga Studio in July of 2014 in the heart of the Dallas Farmers Market.

Veronica currently serves as the President of the Hispanic 100 board of Directors and is a member of the Young Latino Executives, the Mayor’s Star Council Advisory Board, the Hispanic Women’s Network of North Texas, the Greater Dallas planning Council, LATISM (Latinos in Social Media- Dallas Chapter), and is Co Chair of the Girls Inc. Champion for Girls Program.

Veronica is originally from Austin, Texas, and holds a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Johnson and Wales University.

Lissette Villarruel
Lissette Villarruel

Lissette Villarruel is an attorney at Haynes and Boone, LLP. Her practice focuses on commercial litigation and appeals in state and federal courts.

Lissette has gained leadership experience and increased her knowledge of public policy by participating in several educational programs, including the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program, the Archer Fellowship Program, and the Senator Gregory Luna Legislative Scholars Program. As a Luna Scholar, Lissette served as a legislative intern in the office of Texas Senator Wendy Davis during the 82nd and 83rd Legislative Sessions.

In law school, Lissette studied within the Graduate Portfolio Program in Dispute Resolution, through which she obtained her certification to practice as a mediator in Texas.

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