Agenda

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Day 1

Tuesday

MAY

28

10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Offsite Tours

Watch this space for information about a diverse range of tours. Each tour is capped at a maximum number and will also need a minimum signup. Tours will be offered in the morning and afternoon.

  • Cultural Tours
  • Gastronomy Tours
  • Thematic Tours

Day 2

Wednesday

MAY

29

All Day
Registration

Details will be published soon.

9:00 AM to 3:30 PM
Municipal Best Practices and Technical Exchange Seminar

Join municipal government officials as they discuss topics of common interest and concern to municipalities throughout the Americas. The session is aimed at local government employees and elected officials and is by invitation only. Key topics may include Cybersecurity, Ethics and Transparency, Economic Development, and Community Policing.

Speakers:

10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Sister Cities International Leadership Academy


SCI Academy is a program unique to each Sister Cities International Summit experience.  Structured to highlight SCI’s history and current goals, provide tools for success, share effective tips on strengthening existing partnerships and establishing new ones, Sister Cities International Academy is a powerful platform to showcase best practices for emerging, new, and current sister cities  – locally and globally!

Speakers:

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Mayor’s Welcome Reception at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts

Join Mayor Ron Nirenberg on May 29 as he hosts the Sister Cities International All Americas Summit Welcome Reception at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts and encounter the unique architectural, artistic, and sensory experience of this exceptional facility. Guests will be treated to an amazing variety of outstanding local musicians.

About the Venue
Originally built 98 years ago in the colorful Spanish Colonial Revival style, the Municipal Auditorium was transformed in 2014 into the state-of-the-art Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.
Situated along the banks of the San Antonio River in the heart of the city, the historic Auditorium, with its preserved original facade and a new modernistic “metallic veil,” has been transformed into a beautiful world-class venue.  High tech sound, lighting, and seating systems allow remarkable flexibility in its multiple performance spaces, including the 600-seat outdoor plaza that descends to the lush and lively Riverwalk.

Day 3

Thursday

MAY

30

All Day
Exhibit Hall

Exhibit Hall (Exhibition Space with Booths)

Trade / Tourism / Education

8:30 AM to 9:30 AM
Opening Ceremony: Parade of Flags & Honor Guard

Please join us in a time-honored Sister Cities tradition as we begin our Summit with the Honor Guard and join youth from across the world celebrating our organization’s diversity and strength with flags from cities and countries from across the Western Hemisphere.

Speakers:

9:30 AM to 11:00 AM
High Level Mayoral Dialogue
 "City Diplomacy is the New Diplomacy"

Listen to an in-depth dialog between Americas’ Mayors about pressing issues for their cities regardless on topics including resilience & sustainability, economic development & trade, immigration, transportation, among others.

Speakers:

11:00 AM to 11:15 AM
Break

15 Minutes Break.

11:15 AM to 12:30 PM
International Trade and Investment in the Americas


Learn from industry leaders and organizations about the future direction of business and investment in the Americas.

Speakers:

11:15 AM to 12:30 PM
Humanitarian Cooperation and Security in the Americas

This session explores how different organizations respond to humanitarian issues and crises throughout the Americas. Learn how partnered cities across the Americas work interdependently, alongside humanitarian cooperation initiatives aimed at enhancing quality of life in the Western hemisphere.

12:30 PM to 2:00 PM
Lunch Plenary: 
Diplomacy Across the Americas
 Strengthening Hemispheric Bonds

Join us as we navigate the world of diplomacy, promoting harmony and cooperation within the Americas. This enlightening session delves into the intricate dynamics of inter-American diplomacy, exploring avenues for building stronger bonds, fostering mutual understanding, and addressing shared challenges.

2:00 PM to 3:15 PM
Water Across the Americas: Challenges and Solutions

Water is the basis for so many communities, yet it is often overlooked. Listen to experts from a variety of fields talk about the challenges with our water supplies and what communities across the Americas are doing to deal with water challenges.

Speakers:

2:00 PM to 3:15 PM
Sports Diplomacy Across the Americas

This panel aims to explore the intersection of sports and diplomacy within the Americas region. This discussion brings together experts and leaders to examine how sports can serve as a powerful tool for building bridges, fostering international cooperation, and addressing common challenges in the region.

Speakers:

2:00 PM to 3:15 PM
How to Leverage the US Commercial Service in Sister City Relationships for Business Development

At a time when subnational relationships are more critical than ever to growth and stability, city leaders are seeking dynamic and innovative partnerships to keep their local communities healthy and thriving. This session aims to discuss U.S. Commercial Service’s resources, how foreign posts engage with local offices and clients/cities, and how international entities can access these services. Attendees will also hear testimonials from panelists about how they have leveraged these services into growing economic development opportunities with their sister city portfolio.

Speakers:

3:15 PM to 3:30 PM
Break

15 Minutes Break.

3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
Sister City Market Place & Ceremonials
 Cultivating New City Partnerships & Formalizing City Partnership Agreements & Networking Event

Step into this networking zone designed for cities eager to explore and forge a new Sister City partnership. The Marketplace is an ideal setting for city officials, representatives, and community leaders to engage in brief but impactful discussions that allow for exploring shared values, cultural affinities, economic opportunities, and collaborative initiatives (akin to speed -dating that provides a fast-track avenue for cities from across the Americas to discover each other).

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
"The Future is Here" Reception
at Boeing Tech Port

Connect with cutting-edge innovation and experience an evening of interactive tech, music, and e-sports at Boeing Center at Tech Port, the most technologically advanced entertainment venue in the world. Guests can explore Tech Port’s “San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology,” its LAN Gaming Center, and much more.

About the Venue
Established in 1917 as Kelly Field, Port San Antonio has redeveloped this former Air Force Base to focus on the continued evolution of global technologies.  Today, marquee names in aerospace, manufacturing, cybersecurity, robotics, and other technologically advanced industries conduct an array of projects on this large and dynamic site.
Located at the heart of Port San Antonio, the 180,000-square-foot Boeing Center at Tech Port boasts a reconfigurable 3,100-seat arena and gaming hall, a 60-by-20-foot LED wall, and the largest array of musical Tesla coils which can be incorporated into the lighting and sound design for live music with 7.1 surround sound. A LAN gaming center and interactive tech museum will also be open for enjoyment and play during the Reception!

Day 4

Friday

MAY

31

All Day
Exhibit Hall

Exhibit Hall (Exhibition Space with Booths)

Trade / Tourism / Education

9:00 AM to 10:30 AM
People Centered Smart Cities across the Americas

The “People Centered Smart Cities Across the Americas” panel is a pivotal session that aims to delve into the evolving landscape of smart city development, with a unique focus on human-centric approaches. The panel brings together esteemed thought leaders, urban planners, technologists, and policy experts from various cities across the Americas. It seeks to explore how emerging technologies and smart city solutions can be leveraged to enhance the quality of life for residents, while ensuring that these advancements are accessible, inclusive, and sustainable.

The session promises to offer a dynamic and interactive platform for sharing best practices, discussing challenges, and envisioning the future of urban living in the Americas. It will particularly emphasize the importance of putting people at the heart of smart city initiatives, ensuring that technological advancements lead to more liveable, equitable, and connected urban environments.

Speakers:

9:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Supply Chains and Transportation in the Americas

We live in an interconnected world where communities and cities are connected to each other. Come learn how our goods and products are connected throughout the Americas and arrive in our communities.

Speakers:

9:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Transformative Impact of Arts in the Americas

The impact of the Arts is often misunderstood and underappreciated. Come share in spirited conversations with curators  and arts professionals who discuss the evolution and power of the Arts throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Speakers:

10:30 AM to 10:45 AM
Break

15 Minutes Break.

10:45 AM to 12:00 PM
Travel and Tourism in the Americas

This session delves into the potential of tourism to serve as a unifying force across the Americas, fostering synergy and providing a platform for collaboration and communication among tourism cities, enterprises, and practitioners within the region.

Speakers:

10:45 AM to 12:00 PM
Immigration in the Americas


Go beyond the headlines and learn directly about immigration trends in the Americas and what cities are doing to  embrace the movement of people throughout  the Americas.

Speakers:

10:45 AM to 12:00 PM
Creative Cities Collaborating Across the Americas

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) launched in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. The Network now counts 350 cities in more than one hundred countries, representing seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts, and Music.

Join representatives from several Creative Cities from across the Americas to learn how they cooperate at the local, national, and international level to share best practices, develop partnerships that promote creativity and the cultural industries, and foster a strong commitment to integrate culture and creativity in their work. 

12:00 PM to 1:30 PM
Lunch Plenary:
Food as Love: a Conversation on Culture & Cuisine in the Americas

Food means so much to cultures and families across the Americas. Join us for a spirited and insightful conversation led by Texas Monthly’s Taco Editor Jose Ralat with culinary practitioners and companies about the food we love across borders.

Speakers:

1:30 PM to 2:45 PM
Compassionate Americas

What is a Compassionate City? What is happening in those cities that connects to and enhances the work of a Sister City? What could happen globally if the ~1700 Sister Cities also became Compassionate Cities with ~650 Compassionate Communities? What is CompassionateUSA and could it be CompassionateAMERICAS? A panel of Sister City Mayors from all the Americas that are also Compassionate City Mayors will be discussing and dreaming these questions into future legacy. Marilyn Turkovich, Executive Director of the International Charter for Compassion, will be facilitating this prestigious panel. Mayors on the CompassionateAMERICAS

Speakers:

1:30 PM to 2:45 PM
Resilience and Sustainability in the Americas

This session focuses on the importance of cooperation in addressing the issues of resilience and sustainability. You will explore case studies and effective strategies for cross-border cooperation toward a more sustainable and resilient future for the Americas, emphasizing the interconnectedness of nations in addressing our shared environmental challenges. Key topics may include regional collaboration in resilience and sustainability endeavors, innovative partnerships, and community engagement.

Speakers:

1:30 PM to 2:45 PM
Leveraging the Diplomatic Corps to support sister city engagement

Aimed at city officials, diplomats, and community leaders, this session will explore inspirational ways to leverage the diplomatic corps to foster connections between sister cities in the Americas. You will learn about successful diplomatic initiatives that have maximized the influence of diplomatic channels to enrich sister city programs and elevate cultural exchanges, economic partnerships, and mutual understanding between cities across borders. Key topics will include diplomatic roles and influence; cultural diplomacy, and economic partnerships.

2:45 PM to 3:00 PM
Break

15 Minutes Break.

3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Texas Gateway of the Americas

The state of Texas has greatly benefited from its commercial and cultural relationship across the Americas. As a gateway to global trade, and as the nation’s top exporting state, its strategic location and extensive infrastructure provide seamless access to international markets and position the state as a prime destination for foreign direct investment. With its large manufacturing base and well-established trade corridors with Mexico, Central, and South America, the state is well-positioned to broaden its connections throughout the Americas, reinforcing its already robust network of partnerships. This panel will explore key economic regions in Texas and discuss a broad range of topics and economic opportunities.

Speakers:

3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Africa Connection to the Americas

6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Closing Remarks and Farewell at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Plaza México

On the final evening, the Summit culminates in the spirit of citizen diplomacy with final remarks at the Instituto Cultural de Mexico. Make time to bid new friends and old a memorable farewell and take final group photos at nearby historical landmarks. Guests will enjoy refreshing, locally made aqua frescas. Leave time for a stroll to one of San Antonio’s newest art installations with citizen diplomacy at its core – Alas de México (Wings of Mexico) – an interactive bronze sculpture by artist Jorge Marín, which was “A gift from the Citizens of Mexico City to the Citizens of San Antonio.”

Enjoy all that San Antonio has to offer! Visit San Antonio can help you make your discoveries and adventures.

About the Venue:
The Mexican Cultural Institute is the Permanent Cultural Representation of the Mexican Government in San Antonio and the first such one established in the world, outside of Mexico. Since its creation in 1968, the Institute has organized vibrant exhibitions, high caliber performances, and engaging public events to promote the cultural and aesthetic richness of Mexican arts and traditions. With these outstanding artistic, academic, and cultural activities, the Institute has become an iconic cultural reference in San Antonio and beyond.

Session Topics

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Amir Samandi

Founder and Executive Director of Students of Service (SOS)

Amir Samandi is the founder and Executive Director of Students of Service (SOS), a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to developing
global citizenship in youth through local servicelearning and meaningful travel abroad experiences. He founded SOS in 2014 with the goal of empowering young people to make a positive difference in the world. His background in international affairs and education, including working in the San Antonio public school system and at St. Mary’s University, informs his
leadership at SOS, allowing him to use his firsthand knowledge to mentor the next generation of global leaders.

Amir was a 2020-2021 German Marshall Fund Memorial Fellow and was named one of San Antonio’s 40 Under 40 by the San Antonio Business Journal in 2018. He lives in San Antonio with his wife and two sons, and they enjoy traveling together!

Amir Samandi

Founder and Executive Director of Students of Service (SOS)

Amir Samandi is the founder and Executive Director of Students of Service (SOS), a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to developing
global citizenship in youth through local servicelearning and meaningful travel abroad experiences. He founded SOS in 2014 with the goal of empowering young people to make a positive difference in the world. His background in international affairs and education, including working in the San Antonio public school system and at St. Mary’s University, informs his
leadership at SOS, allowing him to use his firsthand knowledge to mentor the next generation of global leaders.

Amir was a 2020-2021 German Marshall Fund Memorial Fellow and was named one of San Antonio’s 40 Under 40 by the San Antonio Business Journal in 2018. He lives in San Antonio with his wife and two sons, and they enjoy traveling together!

Patsy Boozer

Chief Security Officer (CSO) and Director of the Alamo Regional Security Operations Center (ARSOC) for the City of San Antonio.

Patsy Boozer, CISSP is the Chief Security Officer (CSO) and Director of the Alamo Regional Security Operations Center (ARSOC) for the City of San Antonio. Responsibilities include cyber, data, application, and facility physical security systems.  Retired Naval Officer with 18 years in Federal, DOD and Commercial Information/Cyber and Physical Security consulting and management. In the private sector she served as Operations Manager responsible for over 150 security engineers and analyst including a 24×7 Security Operations Center as well as Director of IT Security for a FORTUNE 500® scientific, engineering, and technology company. Served as Director of Information Security Assurance at Methodist Healthcare System in San Antonio. Graduate of the University of South Carolina and earned her master’s degree in computer science from the Naval Post Graduate School.

Patsy Boozer

Chief Security Officer (CSO) and Director of the Alamo Regional Security Operations Center (ARSOC) for the City of San Antonio.

Patsy Boozer, CISSP is the Chief Security Officer (CSO) and Director of the Alamo Regional Security Operations Center (ARSOC) for the City of San Antonio. Responsibilities include cyber, data, application, and facility physical security systems.  Retired Naval Officer with 18 years in Federal, DOD and Commercial Information/Cyber and Physical Security consulting and management. In the private sector she served as Operations Manager responsible for over 150 security engineers and analyst including a 24×7 Security Operations Center as well as Director of IT Security for a FORTUNE 500® scientific, engineering, and technology company. Served as Director of Information Security Assurance at Methodist Healthcare System in San Antonio. Graduate of the University of South Carolina and earned her master’s degree in computer science from the Naval Post Graduate School.

Marisa Calder

Director of Operations for Students of Service (SOS)

Marisa Calder is the Director of Operations for Students of Service (SOS), a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to developing global citizenship in youth through local service-learning and meaningful travel abroad experiences. She leverages her professional background in international education, as well as her own high school study abroad experience as a Rotary Youth Exchange student in Hungary, to manage SOS’s programs, run day-to-day operations, and cultivate new partnerships.

Marisa attended Trinity University, where she majored in Political Science and Chinese Language and participated in the State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship Program. She went on to earn her Master’s degree in Global Policy Studies from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin with a focus on Nonprofit Management. Previously she served as a Consular Fellow at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and held roles in international student affairs and study abroad at ISEP Study Abroad, University of Texas at Austin, and the University of the Incarnate Word.

Marisa Calder

Director of Operations for Students of Service (SOS)

Marisa Calder is the Director of Operations for Students of Service (SOS), a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to developing global citizenship in youth through local service-learning and meaningful travel abroad experiences. She leverages her professional background in international education, as well as her own high school study abroad experience as a Rotary Youth Exchange student in Hungary, to manage SOS’s programs, run day-to-day operations, and cultivate new partnerships.

Marisa attended Trinity University, where she majored in Political Science and Chinese Language and participated in the State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship Program. She went on to earn her Master’s degree in Global Policy Studies from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin with a focus on Nonprofit Management. Previously she served as a Consular Fellow at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and held roles in international student affairs and study abroad at ISEP Study Abroad, University of Texas at Austin, and the University of the Incarnate Word.

Carlos Ealy

Assistant Secretary for Mexican and Border Affairs, Texas Secretary of State

Carlos was born in Mexico and has spent half of his life in the United States, which has given him a unique perspective encompassing both nations and cultures. He has successfully leveraged this perspective to build strong business and state relationships across borders. Carlos has held several positions in both the private and public sectors, gaining experience and expertise along the way.

Carlos has an extensive professional background, working as the Director of Economic Development at Cross-National Advisory Partners in San Antonio. In the early days of his career, Carlos gained valuable knowledge through various international experiences, including ones at Kargocard in Shanghai, El Universal Newspaper in Mexico City, and the Hispanic Chamber of
Commerce in San Antonio.

Currently, Carlos serves as the Assistant Secretary of State for Mexican and Border Affairs at the Texas Secretary of State. He has held this position since 2022. In this role, some of his responsibilities include working with Mexican federal, state, and local officials as well as companies and organizations on issues affecting Texas, Mexico, and the border region. He also serves as an advisor to the Governor’s Office and other agencies on issues that affect Texas-Mexico relations. Furthermore, he is a member of the Rio Grande Minute Negotiating Team and oversees the coordination of the Border Trade Advisory Committee meeting.

Carlos has recently completed his MBA in Strategy/Entrepreneurship and Finance from Southern Methodist University. Before this, he earned two bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration (majoring in International Business) and Economics from Trinity University. During his MBA, Carlos developed a keen interest in public finance management and microeconomics for policy analysis.

Carlos Ealy

Assistant Secretary for Mexican and Border Affairs, Texas Secretary of State

Carlos was born in Mexico and has spent half of his life in the United States, which has given him a unique perspective encompassing both nations and cultures. He has successfully leveraged this perspective to build strong business and state relationships across borders. Carlos has held several positions in both the private and public sectors, gaining experience and expertise along the way.

Carlos has an extensive professional background, working as the Director of Economic Development at Cross-National Advisory Partners in San Antonio. In the early days of his career, Carlos gained valuable knowledge through various international experiences, including ones at Kargocard in Shanghai, El Universal Newspaper in Mexico City, and the Hispanic Chamber of
Commerce in San Antonio.

Currently, Carlos serves as the Assistant Secretary of State for Mexican and Border Affairs at the Texas Secretary of State. He has held this position since 2022. In this role, some of his responsibilities include working with Mexican federal, state, and local officials as well as companies and organizations on issues affecting Texas, Mexico, and the border region. He also serves as an advisor to the Governor’s Office and other agencies on issues that affect Texas-Mexico relations. Furthermore, he is a member of the Rio Grande Minute Negotiating Team and oversees the coordination of the Border Trade Advisory Committee meeting.

Carlos has recently completed his MBA in Strategy/Entrepreneurship and Finance from Southern Methodist University. Before this, he earned two bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration (majoring in International Business) and Economics from Trinity University. During his MBA, Carlos developed a keen interest in public finance management and microeconomics for policy analysis.

Ramiro Cavazos

President & CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Ramiro A. Cavazos, President & CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, is a champion for bipartisan solutions that generate wealth to advance economic opportunity for the Hispanic community. With a steadfast commitment to promoting prosperity, Mr. Cavazos has emerged as a prominent advocate for  equitable growth for Hispanics in business.

Prior to his position at the USHCC, he served as the President & CEO of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, where he played a pivotal role in fostering entrepreneurship and innovation in the region for more than 10 years. Under his leadership, the organization experienced remarkable growth and was recognized for its impactful work in empowering Hispanic-owned businesses.

His career has spanned a variety of industries, including large corporations, government service and higher education, as well as worked at the City of San Antonio, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Levi Strauss Company and Levi Strauss Foundation, InterContinental
Bank Shares Corporation. He also taught at University of Texas at San Antonio.

A native of Weslaco, TX, Cavazos is chairman of the board for the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility, based in Washington, D.C., that advocates for Fortune 500 companies to invest in more equitable and fair representation for Hispanics on corporate boards and publicly traded companies. He also serves on the board of Sister Cities International, LiftFund, and is a member of Council on Foreign Relations and Bank of America’s National Community Advisory Council. Cavazos has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Time, Newsweek, CNN, the Associated Press, The Economist, The Washington Post, El País, El Heraldo and many other media outlets. He has also been recognized by Latino Leaders Magazine as one of America’s “101 Most Influential Latinos” for the last six years. In recognition of his work, in 2015 Spain bestowed on him the Order of Isabel the Catholic, its highest award granted to foreigners.

With his innovative approach, Cavazos is shaping the future of the Hispanic business community and contributing to the overall economic vitality of the nation. His vision for USHCC centers on strengthening the bridge between Hispanic businesses and the broader American economic landscape. He continues to be a powerful advocate for policies and initiatives that create a level playing field for Hispanic-owned enterprises, advocating for the interests of more than 5 million Hispanic-owned businesses throughout the U.S.

Cavazos earned his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from St. Mary’s University, where he received the honor of Distinguished Alumnus, and his Bachelor’s Degree in Government from the University of Texas at Austin. A 7th generation Texan, he and his wife Christa are the proud parents
of two teenage boys.

Ramiro Cavazos

President & CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Ramiro A. Cavazos, President & CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, is a champion for bipartisan solutions that generate wealth to advance economic opportunity for the Hispanic community. With a steadfast commitment to promoting prosperity, Mr. Cavazos has emerged as a prominent advocate for  equitable growth for Hispanics in business.

Prior to his position at the USHCC, he served as the President & CEO of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, where he played a pivotal role in fostering entrepreneurship and innovation in the region for more than 10 years. Under his leadership, the organization experienced remarkable growth and was recognized for its impactful work in empowering Hispanic-owned businesses.

His career has spanned a variety of industries, including large corporations, government service and higher education, as well as worked at the City of San Antonio, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Levi Strauss Company and Levi Strauss Foundation, InterContinental
Bank Shares Corporation. He also taught at University of Texas at San Antonio.

A native of Weslaco, TX, Cavazos is chairman of the board for the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility, based in Washington, D.C., that advocates for Fortune 500 companies to invest in more equitable and fair representation for Hispanics on corporate boards and publicly traded companies. He also serves on the board of Sister Cities International, LiftFund, and is a member of Council on Foreign Relations and Bank of America’s National Community Advisory Council. Cavazos has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Time, Newsweek, CNN, the Associated Press, The Economist, The Washington Post, El País, El Heraldo and many other media outlets. He has also been recognized by Latino Leaders Magazine as one of America’s “101 Most Influential Latinos” for the last six years. In recognition of his work, in 2015 Spain bestowed on him the Order of Isabel the Catholic, its highest award granted to foreigners.

With his innovative approach, Cavazos is shaping the future of the Hispanic business community and contributing to the overall economic vitality of the nation. His vision for USHCC centers on strengthening the bridge between Hispanic businesses and the broader American economic landscape. He continues to be a powerful advocate for policies and initiatives that create a level playing field for Hispanic-owned enterprises, advocating for the interests of more than 5 million Hispanic-owned businesses throughout the U.S.

Cavazos earned his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from St. Mary’s University, where he received the honor of Distinguished Alumnus, and his Bachelor’s Degree in Government from the University of Texas at Austin. A 7th generation Texan, he and his wife Christa are the proud parents
of two teenage boys.

Linda Stone

Executive Director of Texas Water Mission

Linda Stone is Executive Director of Texas Water Mission, a San Antonio based nonprofit facilitating safe water access and health and hygiene education for communities in rural Honduras and the Navajo Nation.

Linda is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area where she graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a bachelor’s in architecture. A few years later, Linda moved to New Orleans where she continued her education and earned a master’s in urban and regional planning from the University of New Orleans.

The theme running though Linda’s career is environmental preservation. She has worked to help the planet through efforts ranging from recycling and reuse to energy policy, from green building to a green business, and currently, finding localized solutions to world water issues. In addition, Linda has studied and traveled in Spain and Mexico, and in her current position, leads annual trips to Honduras.

Significant accomplishments include founding The Green Project, a nonprofit that recycles paint and building materials; serving as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Affairs; and co-creating Casa Borrega, a B-Corp taqueria and mezcaleria – all in New Orleans. In San Antonio, Linda served as inaugural Executive Director of the Metropolitan Partnership for Energy where she founded Build San Antonio Green, San Antonio’s first green building program.

Linda Stone

Executive Director of Texas Water Mission

Linda Stone is Executive Director of Texas Water Mission, a San Antonio based nonprofit facilitating safe water access and health and hygiene education for communities in rural Honduras and the Navajo Nation.

Linda is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area where she graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a bachelor’s in architecture. A few years later, Linda moved to New Orleans where she continued her education and earned a master’s in urban and regional planning from the University of New Orleans.

The theme running though Linda’s career is environmental preservation. She has worked to help the planet through efforts ranging from recycling and reuse to energy policy, from green building to a green business, and currently, finding localized solutions to world water issues. In addition, Linda has studied and traveled in Spain and Mexico, and in her current position, leads annual trips to Honduras.

Significant accomplishments include founding The Green Project, a nonprofit that recycles paint and building materials; serving as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Affairs; and co-creating Casa Borrega, a B-Corp taqueria and mezcaleria – all in New Orleans. In San Antonio, Linda served as inaugural Executive Director of the Metropolitan Partnership for Energy where she founded Build San Antonio Green, San Antonio’s first green building program.

Mayor Jim Ross

Mayor of Arlington

Jim Ross was elected to the office of Mayor at the City of Arlington in June 2021. Jim has spent decades serving his community and his country.  As a proud resident of Arlington for nearly forty years, he has witnessed the growth, and growing pains, this community has endured.

From 1979 to 1983, Jim served this country as a United States Marine. With assignments at home and abroad, he served the Marines in numerous capacities.  Having received his Honorable Discharge in 1983, Jim moved to Texas where he was soon hired by the Arlington Police Department.

During his thirteen-year career as a Police Officer, Jim was a member of Arlington’s first full time Special Operations Unit (SWAT), taught self-defense and physical fitness at the police academy and spent over six years investigating illegal narcotics trafficking, both locally and with the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force.  His commendations and accomplishments as a Marine and police officer are numerous.

In 1996, Jim decided to make a career change and go to law school, which he completed in twenty-eight months.  He studied and passed the State of Texas Bar exam on his first attempt and was licensed as an attorney in May 1999.  During his first ten years of practice, Jim represented thousands of clients while working environmental exposure cases for some of the country’s most prestigious law firms. In 2009, Jim left the larger firms to pursue private practice and established The Jim Ross Law Group, P.C.

In November 2017, Jim opened the Mercury Chophouse – Arlington, a fine dining steakhouse. In 2023, he opened the Hearsay Arlington lounge and restaurant in Choctaw Stadium.

As an active and proud resident of Arlington, Jim has served on the board of directors for the Arlington Police Foundation, the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce, the Margarita Society, Special Olympics, and the American Heart Association.  As Mayor, he serves on the boards of the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation, Gene and Jerry Jones Family Arlington Youth Foundation, Texas Municipal League, and National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation; as a member of the Tarrant County Workforce Governing Board, North Central Texas Council of Governments’ Regional Transportation Council, Tarrant Regional Transportation Council,  and Downtown Arlington Management Corporation; and is the co-chair of the US Conference of Mayors’ Infrastructure Law Implementation Task Force and the Veterans Affairs Task Force.

More than a passionate lawyer, businessman, and advocate for all, Jim is a family man with four children and five grandchildren.

Mayor Jim Ross

Mayor of Arlington

Jim Ross was elected to the office of Mayor at the City of Arlington in June 2021. Jim has spent decades serving his community and his country.  As a proud resident of Arlington for nearly forty years, he has witnessed the growth, and growing pains, this community has endured.

From 1979 to 1983, Jim served this country as a United States Marine. With assignments at home and abroad, he served the Marines in numerous capacities.  Having received his Honorable Discharge in 1983, Jim moved to Texas where he was soon hired by the Arlington Police Department.

During his thirteen-year career as a Police Officer, Jim was a member of Arlington’s first full time Special Operations Unit (SWAT), taught self-defense and physical fitness at the police academy and spent over six years investigating illegal narcotics trafficking, both locally and with the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force.  His commendations and accomplishments as a Marine and police officer are numerous.

In 1996, Jim decided to make a career change and go to law school, which he completed in twenty-eight months.  He studied and passed the State of Texas Bar exam on his first attempt and was licensed as an attorney in May 1999.  During his first ten years of practice, Jim represented thousands of clients while working environmental exposure cases for some of the country’s most prestigious law firms. In 2009, Jim left the larger firms to pursue private practice and established The Jim Ross Law Group, P.C.

In November 2017, Jim opened the Mercury Chophouse – Arlington, a fine dining steakhouse. In 2023, he opened the Hearsay Arlington lounge and restaurant in Choctaw Stadium.

As an active and proud resident of Arlington, Jim has served on the board of directors for the Arlington Police Foundation, the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce, the Margarita Society, Special Olympics, and the American Heart Association.  As Mayor, he serves on the boards of the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation, Gene and Jerry Jones Family Arlington Youth Foundation, Texas Municipal League, and National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation; as a member of the Tarrant County Workforce Governing Board, North Central Texas Council of Governments’ Regional Transportation Council, Tarrant Regional Transportation Council,  and Downtown Arlington Management Corporation; and is the co-chair of the US Conference of Mayors’ Infrastructure Law Implementation Task Force and the Veterans Affairs Task Force.

More than a passionate lawyer, businessman, and advocate for all, Jim is a family man with four children and five grandchildren.

Shahrzad Dowlatshahi

Chief Diplomacy & Protocol Officer for the City of San Antonio

Ms. Dowlatshahi serves as Chief Diplomacy & Protocol Officer for the City of San Antonio heading up the Global Engagement Office from within the Economic Development Department.  She oversees international business, protocol, and official global relationships.  More specifically, she advises, assists and supports San Antonio elected officials and executives on matters of international affairs, public diplomacy and diplomatic procedure and protocol; is responsible for coordinating official foreign travel of Mayor and Council as well as planning the program of visits for high-level foreign dignitaries, consular & diplomatic corps members working closely with Mayor and City Council; ;and public engagement with local community business, cultural, civic, and higher education, diaspora and ethnic groups.  She manages the award-winning San Antonio Sister Cities Program and works closely with Sister Cities International as well as community stakeholders to foster and maintain San Antonio’s official relationships.

She has been recognized with Spain´s King Felipe VI Order of Civil Merit with rank of Officer’s Cross as well as the Government of Mexico´s prestigious Ohtli Award, and is the 2024 recipient of the World Affairs Council of San Antonio’s International Citizen of the Year award.

She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the World Affairs Council of San Antonio, the San Antonio Mexico Friendship Council, and the San Antonio Mexico Foundation for Education.  Additionally, she serves on the Global Advisory Council of Musical Bridges Around the World; is an Advisory member of the US Mexico Business Association (AEM) San Antonio Chapter, Anuja SA-San Antonio Chennai Sister City Alliance; Communities Aligned Baguio-San Antonio sister city alliance; and the San Antonio Creative City of Gastronomy Advisory Council.  Furthermore, she is involved with international education initiatives in San Antonio serving on the Advisory Council of the CAST Schools’ Advanced Learning Academy, and the Alamo Colleges International Advisory Council. She is a member of the San Antonio Rotary Club serving on its International Service and Program Committees. She serves on the Honorary Board of Sister Cities International and represents the City of San Antonio in the German Marshall Fund’s City Directors of International Affairs Tran-Atlantic Network.

Ms. Dowlatshahi completed her undergraduate and graduate education in the UK at the University of Westminster in London and the University of Cambridge with study abroad at Alexandria University, Egypt, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico in Mexico.

Sherry Dowlatshahi

Chief Diplomacy & Protocol Officer for the City of San Antonio

Ms. Dowlatshahi serves as Chief Diplomacy & Protocol Officer for the City of San Antonio heading up the Global Engagement Office from within the Economic Development Department.  She oversees international business, protocol, and official global relationships.  More specifically, she advises, assists and supports San Antonio elected officials and executives on matters of international affairs, public diplomacy and diplomatic procedure and protocol; is responsible for coordinating official foreign travel of Mayor and Council as well as planning the program of visits for high-level foreign dignitaries, consular & diplomatic corps members working closely with Mayor and City Council; ;and public engagement with local community business, cultural, civic, and higher education, diaspora and ethnic groups.  She manages the award-winning San Antonio Sister Cities Program and works closely with Sister Cities International as well as community stakeholders to foster and maintain San Antonio’s official relationships.

She has been recognized with Spain´s King Felipe VI Order of Civil Merit with rank of Officer’s Cross as well as the Government of Mexico´s prestigious Ohtli Award and is the 2024 recipient of the World Affairs Council of San Antonio’s International Citizen of the Year award.

She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the World Affairs Council of San Antonio, the San Antonio Mexico Friendship Council, and the San Antonio Mexico Foundation for Education.  Additionally, she serves on the Global Advisory Council of Musical Bridges Around the World; is an Advisory member of the US Mexico Business Association (AEM) San Antonio Chapter, Anuja SA-San Antonio Chennai Sister City Alliance; Communities Aligned Baguio-San Antonio sister city alliance; and the San Antonio Creative City of Gastronomy Advisory Council.  Furthermore, she is involved with international education initiatives in San Antonio serving on the Advisory Council of the CAST Schools’ Advanced Learning Academy, and the Alamo Colleges International Advisory Council. She is a member of the San Antonio Rotary Club serving on its International Service and Program Committees. She serves on the Honorary Board of Sister Cities International and represents the City of San Antonio in the German Marshall Fund’s City Directors of International Affairs Tran-Atlantic Network.

Ms. Dowlatshahi completed her undergraduate and graduate education in the UK at the University of Westminster in London and the University of Cambridge with study abroad at Alexandria University, Egypt, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico in Mexico.

Michael Rosales

U.S. Commercial Service Director for the Central & South Texas Region

Mr. Michael Rosales is the U.S. Commercial Service Director for the Central & South Texas Region, which covers 81 counties and 14 Congressional Districts and is a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. He is a visionary and strategic leader that works directly with American exporters to advance their global market share with the support of his colleagues at U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide.  Driven by professional integrity, Michael is committed to serving all members of each unique ecosystem.  He listens directly to the needs of his stakeholders, customers, and global industry partners alike. He zealously leads America’s workforce, building unique and lasting relationships, and leverages the U.S. Commercial Service as the backbone of the American economy.  Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Michael is 100% committed to this business community and advancing international trade for the State of Texas.  Mr. Rosales earned both his BA and MBA from the University of Texas – San Antonio.

Michael Rosales

U.S. Commercial Service Director for the Central & South Texas Region

Mr. Michael Rosales is the U.S. Commercial Service Director for the Central & South Texas Region, which covers 81 counties and 14 Congressional Districts and is a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. He is a visionary and strategic leader that works directly with American exporters to advance their global market share with the support of his colleagues at U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide.  Driven by professional integrity, Michael is committed to serving all members of each unique ecosystem.  He listens directly to the needs of his stakeholders, customers, and global industry partners alike. He zealously leads America’s workforce, building unique and lasting relationships, and leverages the U.S. Commercial Service as the backbone of the American economy.  Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Michael is 100% committed to this business community and advancing international trade for the State of Texas.  Mr. Rosales earned both his BA and MBA from the University of Texas – San Antonio.

Emily Royall

Smart Cities Administrator in the Information & Technology Services Department for the City of San Antonio

Emily works at the intersection of public administration and technology to build inclusive futures for cities. She is currently Smart Cities Administrator in the Information & Technology Services Department for the City of San Antonio (her hometown), where she leads a team to execute San Antonio’s “Smarter Together” Smart Cities initiative and supports a multi-stakeholder smart city partnership called “SmartSA”. Emily currently serves as Vice Chair of United for Smart and Sustainable Cities, an international collaborative platform led by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), UNECE and UN-Habitat. She is also Co-Chair of the Policy Working Group for the GovAI Coalition, a network of over 150 public agencies in the United States working to promote responsible and purposeful AI in the public sector.

Previously Emily advised UN-Habitat’s “People-Centered Smart Cities Flagship Program” and authored six UN playbooks on smart cities for local governments. Emily’s professional experience spans academic, non-profit, and government agencies including working at City Form Labs a Singapore-based smart cities laboratory, the Massachusetts Office of Information Technology (MassIT), and as Data Director for a local newsroom “The San Antonio Report”. She has several years of public sector experience in digital services, data governance, public participation, and smart city strategy.

Emily has published and presented her work in national and international forums including UN-Habitat, StateScoop, UrbanAI, and GovTech Magazine, as well as the World Urban Forum 11th Session and Smart City World Expo. Across her portfolio, Emily strives deliver public services that maximize transparency, security, equity, and accessibility for all. She believes people should be at the center of smart cities, and her work focuses on creating greater public oversight over smart city technologies and the data that powers them. Emily holds a Masters in City Design & Development at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Emily Royall

Smart Cities Administrator in the Information & Technology Services Department for the City of San Antonio

Emily works at the intersection of public administration and technology to build inclusive futures for cities. She is currently Smart Cities Administrator in the Information & Technology Services Department for the City of San Antonio (her hometown), where she leads a team to execute San Antonio’s “Smarter Together” Smart Cities initiative and supports a multi-stakeholder smart city partnership called “SmartSA”. Emily currently serves as Vice Chair of United for Smart and Sustainable Cities, an international collaborative platform led by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), UNECE and UN-Habitat. She is also Co-Chair of the Policy Working Group for the GovAI Coalition, a network of over 150 public agencies in the United States working to promote responsible and purposeful AI in the public sector.

Previously Emily advised UN-Habitat’s “People-Centered Smart Cities Flagship Program” and authored six UN playbooks on smart cities for local governments. Emily’s professional experience spans academic, non-profit, and government agencies including working at City Form Labs a Singapore-based smart cities laboratory, the Massachusetts Office of Information Technology (MassIT), and as Data Director for a local newsroom “The San Antonio Report”. She has several years of public sector experience in digital services, data governance, public participation, and smart city strategy.

Emily has published and presented her work in national and international forums including UN-Habitat, StateScoop, UrbanAI, and GovTech Magazine, as well as the World Urban Forum 11th Session and Smart City World Expo. Across her portfolio, Emily strives deliver public services that maximize transparency, security, equity, and accessibility for all. She believes people should be at the center of smart cities, and her work focuses on creating greater public oversight over smart city technologies and the data that powers them. Emily holds a Masters in City Design & Development at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Rachel Mukai Stark

Smart Cities Program Manager, City of Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Rachel is an urban designer and landscape architect with over 15 years of experience solving problems in the urban context. With a background in environmental science, effective data and its use is key to her work. She has used this and her expertise of working directly with the community to build up a people-centered smart city approach in Charlotte. She leads the City of Charlotte’s strategy to deliver investments that close the digital divide and build civic innovation. She leverages the Smart Cities program of putting data to work through technology and innovative approaches to achieve community goals and advance digital inclusion. She has authored the “5 Tactics of the Co-Created Smart City” for the Knight Foundation and City of Charlotte as a reference for connecting technology initiatives and community.

Rachel Mukai Stark

Smart Cities Program Manager, City of Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Rachel is an urban designer and landscape architect with over 15 years of experience solving problems in the urban context. With a background in environmental science, effective data and its use is key to her work. She has used this and her expertise of working directly with the community to build up a people-centered smart city approach in Charlotte. She leads the City of Charlotte’s strategy to deliver investments that close the digital divide and build civic innovation. She leverages the Smart Cities program of putting data to work through technology and innovative approaches to achieve community goals and advance digital inclusion. She has authored the “5 Tactics of the Co-Created Smart City” for the Knight Foundation and City of Charlotte as a reference for connecting technology initiatives and community.

Cintia Smith

Secretary of Innovation and Open Government of the Government of Monterrey

Dr. Cintia Smith is the Secretary of Innovation and Open Government of the Government of Monterrey.

She holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy with a focus on Political Science from the Autonomous University of Nuevo León, Mexico; a Master’s degree in Communication Sciences from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Mexico; and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the Catholic University of Córdoba, Argentina.

She is the author and co-author of publications on political communication and public policy in specialized journals from Mexico, Spain, and Argentina.

In 2016, she was awarded the UANL 2016 Research Prize (Social Sciences).

Currently, from her position as Secretary of Innovation and Open Government of the Municipality of Monterrey, she leads the implementation of open and digital government practices at the local level. Among the strategic projects of her administration, highlights include end-to-end digitization of procedures and services, the management and exchange system of geospatial data, the open data system, participatory budgeting, citizen councils on the subject, and the construction of the Local Open Government Action Plan in partnership with the Government of the State of
Nuevo León. She is also a Member of the Government Advisory Council of the Open Wallet Foundation. In the academic field, during the current year, she has completed high-level programs, such as the “Implementing Public Policy Executive Program” at the Harvard Kennedy School and the “Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative.” These achievements underscore her commitment to excellence and continuous education to lead innovative initiatives in the public sphere.

Cintia Smith

Secretary of Innovation and Open Government of the Government of Monterrey

Dr. Cintia Smith is the Secretary of Innovation and Open Government of the Government of Monterrey.

She holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy with a focus on Political Science from the Autonomous University of Nuevo León, Mexico; a Master’s degree in Communication Sciences from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Mexico; and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the Catholic University of Córdoba, Argentina.

She is the author and co-author of publications on political communication and public policy in specialized journals from Mexico, Spain, and Argentina.

In 2016, she was awarded the UANL 2016 Research Prize (Social Sciences).

Currently, from her position as Secretary of Innovation and Open Government of the Municipality of Monterrey, she leads the implementation of open and digital government practices at the local level. Among the strategic projects of her administration, highlights include end-to-end digitization of procedures and services, the management and exchange system of geospatial data, the open data system, participatory budgeting, citizen councils on the subject, and the construction of the Local Open Government Action Plan in partnership with the Government of the State of
Nuevo León. She is also a Member of the Government Advisory Council of the Open Wallet Foundation. In the academic field, during the current year, she has completed high-level programs, such as the “Implementing Public Policy Executive Program” at the Harvard Kennedy School and the “Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative.” These achievements underscore her commitment to excellence and continuous education to lead innovative initiatives in the public sphere.

Rachel Connell

President & CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Rachel has been an integral part of NASCO since 2005, currently holding the position of Vice President. With a passion for fostering connections across North America, she collaborates closely with her NASCO colleagues to develop and implement programs that facilitate meaningful connections among members and partners, fostering business opportunities throughout the continent.

In her role as Vice President, Rachel oversees a wide range of responsibilities, spanning from operational management and advocacy to spearheading marketing campaigns and communications efforts. She meticulously plans and executes meetings, events, and collaborative projects, all aimed at serving NASCO’s members and enhancing the organization’s visibility and success. Notably, Rachel leads the coordination and programming efforts for the annual NASCO Reunion, a flagship event that rotates between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, drawing participation from prominent figures in both the public and private sectors across North America.

Rachel earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations with a minor in Marketing from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Rachel resides in Dallas with her family, where she continues to make a positive impact in both her personal and professional spheres.

Rachel Connell

Vice President of NASCO

Rachel has been an integral part of NASCO since 2005, currently holding the position of Vice President. With a passion for fostering connections across North America, she collaborates closely with her NASCO colleagues to develop and implement programs that facilitate meaningful connections among members and partners, fostering business opportunities throughout the continent.

In her role as Vice President, Rachel oversees a wide range of responsibilities, spanning from operational management and advocacy to spearheading marketing campaigns and communications efforts. She meticulously plans and executes meetings, events, and collaborative projects, all aimed at serving NASCO’s members and enhancing the organization’s visibility and success. Notably, Rachel leads the coordination and programming efforts for the annual NASCO Reunion, a flagship event that rotates between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, drawing participation from prominent figures in both the public and private sectors across North America.

Rachel earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations with a minor in Marketing from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Rachel resides in Dallas with her family, where she continues to make a positive impact in both her personal and professional spheres.

Antonio Arelle Barquet

Director of the Museo de Arte de Querétaro

Antonio Arelle, born and raised in Mexico City, is the Director of the Museo de Arte de Querétaro, the city where he has lived for the past 15 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, another in Business Administration in UNAM, and a master’s degree in Visual Arts and Museology. He did an internship at Christie’s in NYC, where he resided for five years, and since then, he’s been auctioning art for nonprofit organizations and the museum’s yearly galas. For the past 38 years, he’s been pushing forward the career of emerging artists at his own art galleries and is now applying all his knowledge and experience at the museum. He’s also been promoting the arts in his home country and internationally. Mr. Arelle has a strong passion for figurative and modern art. He dedicates all his time to bringing great art to the people of Queretaro, Mexico.

Antonio Arelle Barquet

Director of the Museo de Arte de Querétaro

Antonio Arelle, born and raised in Mexico City, is the Director of the Museo de Arte de Querétaro, the city where he has lived for the past 15 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, another in Business Administration in UNAM, and a master’s degree in Visual Arts and Museology. He did an internship at Christie’s in NYC, where he resided for five years, and since then, he’s been auctioning art for nonprofit organizations and the museum’s yearly galas. For the past 38 years, he’s been pushing forward the career of emerging artists at his own art galleries and is now applying all his knowledge and experience at the museum. He’s also been promoting the arts in his home country and internationally. Mr. Arelle has a strong passion for figurative and modern art. He dedicates all his time to bringing great art to the people of Queretaro, Mexico.

Paul Bardwil

Economic Development at Duran HCP

Paul Bardwil is a graduate of Southern Methodist University where he gained degrees in business and political science. He had a successful real estate career before moving to Sacramento to study law where he practiced criminal and transaction law. As an internationalist starting in 1995, Paul has lived in Mexico, Cuba, and Spain leading trade missions and creating international study programs for universities, hospitals and numerous other special interest groups. He has successfully  worked with the Cuban ministry of culture (one of few Americans) and was recently asked to lead classes and workshops in Havana in entrepreneurship, with its newly evolving program in Cuba’s newly evolving economy. Paul has also worked with the San Diego Sister Cities society exploring the opportunity of sister cities and friendship cities with Cuba.

Paul Bardwil

Economic Development at Duran HCP

Paul Bardwil is a graduate of Southern Methodist University where he gained degrees in business and political science. He had a successful real estate career before moving to Sacramento to study law where he practiced criminal and transaction law. As an internationalist starting in 1995, Paul has lived in Mexico, Cuba, and Spain leading trade missions and creating international study programs for universities, hospitals and numerous other special interest groups. He has successfully  worked with the Cuban ministry of culture (one of few Americans) and was recently asked to lead classes and workshops in Havana in entrepreneurship, with its newly evolving program in Cuba’s newly evolving economy. Paul has also worked with the San Diego Sister Cities society exploring the opportunity of sister cities and friendship cities with Cuba.

José Luis Falconi

Assistant Professor of Art and Human Rights at the University of Connecticut

Born in Lima (1973), José Luis Falconi is Assistant Professor of Art and Human Rights at the University of Connecticut. He is also the President of Cultural Agents, Inc, an NGO which aims to showcase, study and promote the recognition of the arts as resources for positive change, and its efficacy in social interventions.

He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2010. From 2001 to 2011 he was Art Forum Curator at the David Rockefeller for Latin American Studies at Harvard University, curating more than thirty shows of cutting-edge Latino and Latin American artists in an academic setting.

Besides UCONN,  he has taught in the United States at Brandeis University, and Boston University. In Latin America, he has been “Bicentennial” Visiting Professor of Aesthetics at the University of Chile (Santiago de Chile, 2012 and 2019), “International Professor” at the National University of Colombia (Bogotá, 2013), Visiting Professor at the Center for Latin American Studies “Manuel Galich” at the Universidad San Carlos of Guatemala (2016) and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Costa Rica (2017).

His latest academic publication, Pre-Text International (2023), co-edited with Doris Sommer, has just been released by Harvard University Press.

José Luis Falconi

Assistant Professor of Art and Human Rights at the University of Connecticut

Born in Lima (1973), José Luis Falconi is Assistant Professor of Art and Human Rights at the University of Connecticut. He is also the President of Cultural Agents, Inc, an NGO which aims to showcase, study and promote the recognition of the arts as resources for positive change, and its efficacy in social interventions.

He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2010. From 2001 to 2011 he was Art Forum Curator at the David Rockefeller for Latin American Studies at Harvard University, curating more than thirty shows of cutting-edge Latino and Latin American artists in an academic setting.

Besides UCONN,  he has taught in the United States at Brandeis University, and Boston University. In Latin America, he has been “Bicentennial” Visiting Professor of Aesthetics at the University of Chile (Santiago de Chile, 2012 and 2019), “International Professor” at the National University of Colombia (Bogotá, 2013), Visiting Professor at the Center for Latin American Studies “Manuel Galich” at the Universidad San Carlos of Guatemala (2016) and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Costa Rica (2017).

His latest academic publication, Pre-Text International (2023), co-edited with Doris Sommer, has just been released by Harvard University Press.

Felipe Cardenas

President of the LGBT Chamber of Merchants of Colombia

Colombian, strategic business advisor to Executive Committees and Corporations about Strategic Planning, Financial Models, and D.E.I. Issues.

In 2012 with the support of the US Embassy In Colombia, I Co-founded the Colombian LGBT Chamber of Commerce, since then this organization has enabled economic empowerment programs for +500 LGBT Business owners as well as supported +200 major corporations in Latin America to advance in their Diversity, Equality & Inclusion Strategies.

Joined IGLTA as Ambassador for Colombia in 2013 and since 2017 is a board member of the Association in which acted as Treasurer for 4 years. In September 2021, I was elected Board Chair as the first South American and Colombian in this role.

Felipe Cardenas

President of the LGBT Chamber of Merchants of Colombia

Colombian, strategic business advisor to Executive Committees and Corporations about Strategic Planning, Financial Models, and D.E.I. Issues.

In 2012 with the support of the US Embassy In Colombia, I Co-founded the Colombian LGBT Chamber of Commerce, since then this organization has enabled economic empowerment programs for +500 LGBT Business owners as well as supported +200 major corporations in Latin America to advance in their Diversity, Equality & Inclusion Strategies.

Joined IGLTA as Ambassador for Colombia in 2013 and since 2017 is a board member of the Association in which acted as Treasurer for 4 years. In September 2021, I was elected Board Chair as the first South American and Colombian in this role.

Dona Regis-Prosper

Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)

Dona Regis-Prosper is Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).  She is the first woman to assume leadership of the intergovernmental body.

With a distinguished career spanning more than 22 years, Regis-Prosper is the also the first female leader to hold the dual role of Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of the CTO, which serves as the Caribbean’s tourism development agency.

Hailing from St. Lucia, Regis-Prosper is an exceptionally dynamic and transformative leader who has cultivated and nurtured a robust network of professionals spanning both the public and private sectors. Her collaborative efforts extend to working closely with regional government officials, tourism stakeholders, and industry experts worldwide.

Her professional journey includes pivotal roles such as Director of Marketing and Product Development at the St. Lucia Air and Seaports Authority; Director of Business Development for Margaritaville Caribbean Group in Jamaica; CEO of the Tortola Pier Park in the British Virgin Islands; and General Manager of the Antigua Cruise Port.

She holds a Master of Business Administration from Durham University Business School and is a Certified Professional Marketer. Her expertise ranges from management, business development, strategy, marketing and communications to customer service and cruise port management.

As the leader of the CTO, she serves as the organization’s chief spokesperson and bears the responsibility of translating its vision into reality, guided by the strategic direction set forth by the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism and the Board of Directors.

Her purview extends to ensuring the success of the CTO’s strategic planning, business development, policy formulation and implementation initiatives, and the development and execution of innovative strategies to enhance the competitiveness of the Caribbean tourism product on national, regional, and international stages.

She was recently  honored by the Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx) with its 2023 Leadership award in recognition for her contribution to Tourism development in the Caribbean

Regis-Prosper is married and lives in Barbados.

Dona Regis-Prosper

Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)

Dona Regis-Prosper is Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).  She is the first woman to assume leadership of the intergovernmental body.

With a distinguished career spanning more than 22 years, Regis-Prosper is the also the first female leader to hold the dual role of Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of the CTO, which serves as the Caribbean’s tourism development agency.

Hailing from St. Lucia, Regis-Prosper is an exceptionally dynamic and transformative leader who has cultivated and nurtured a robust network of professionals spanning both the public and private sectors. Her collaborative efforts extend to working closely with regional government officials, tourism stakeholders, and industry experts worldwide.

Her professional journey includes pivotal roles such as Director of Marketing and Product Development at the St. Lucia Air and Seaports Authority; Director of Business Development for Margaritaville Caribbean Group in Jamaica; CEO of the Tortola Pier Park in the British Virgin Islands; and General Manager of the Antigua Cruise Port.

She holds a Master of Business Administration from Durham University Business School and is a Certified Professional Marketer. Her expertise ranges from management, business development, strategy, marketing and communications to customer service and cruise port management.

As the leader of the CTO, she serves as the organization’s chief spokesperson and bears the responsibility of translating its vision into reality, guided by the strategic direction set forth by the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism and the Board of Directors.

Her purview extends to ensuring the success of the CTO’s strategic planning, business development, policy formulation and implementation initiatives, and the development and execution of innovative strategies to enhance the competitiveness of the Caribbean tourism product on national, regional, and international stages.

She was recently  honored by the Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx) with its 2023 Leadership award in recognition for her contribution to Tourism development in the Caribbean

Regis-Prosper is married and lives in Barbados.

David Vequist

Founder and Director of the Center for Medical Tourism Research

David G. Vequist IV, Ph.D., the founder and Director of the Center for Medical Tourism Research – the premier academic Medical Tourism research institute. Dr. David G. Vequist IV is also a Full Professor and tenured faculty of Management in the H-E-B School of Business & Administration at the University of the Incarnate Word (3rd largest private university in state of Texas, USA). In his previous career, Dr. Vequist was an executive at the Methodist Healthcare System, a multi-billion-dollar healthcare provider (also a joint venture with HCA- the largest hospital system in the U.S.). Before that, Dr. Vequist was a consultant for Ernst & Young, LLP working with Fortune 500 companies. He is also an entrepreneur that sold a training business to Bloomberg. Professor Vequist has been a featured keynote at many conferences, worked with companies/governments/NGOs (such as the UN), and been featured in the media (e.g., the New York Times, Reuters, CNN, Washington Post, Forbes, NPR, and many more). He received his Ph.D. and master’s from the University of Tulsa and his B.S. from Northern Arizona University. Dr. Vequist is a well-known speaker, presenter, and futurist on subjects such as medical tourism, training, and human resources and the author of many articles, books and chapters.

David Vequist

Founder and Director of the Center for Medical Tourism Research

David G. Vequist IV, Ph.D., the founder and Director of the Center for Medical Tourism Research – the premier academic Medical Tourism research institute. Dr. David G. Vequist IV is also a Full Professor and tenured faculty of Management in the H-E-B School of Business & Administration at the University of the Incarnate Word (3rd largest private university in state of Texas, USA). In his previous career, Dr. Vequist was an executive at the Methodist Healthcare System, a multi-billion-dollar healthcare provider (also a joint venture with HCA- the largest hospital system in the U.S.). Before that, Dr. Vequist was a consultant for Ernst & Young, LLP working with Fortune 500 companies. He is also an entrepreneur that sold a training business to Bloomberg. Professor Vequist has been a featured keynote at many conferences, worked with companies/governments/NGOs (such as the UN), and been featured in the media (e.g., the New York Times, Reuters, CNN, Washington Post, Forbes, NPR, and many more). He received his Ph.D. and master’s from the University of Tulsa and his B.S. from Northern Arizona University. Dr. Vequist is a well-known speaker, presenter, and futurist on subjects such as medical tourism, training, and human resources and the author of many articles, books and chapters.

Eva A. Millona

Assistant Secretary for Partnership and Engagement, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, USA

Eva A. Millona is currently serving as the chief of the inaugural Office of Citizenship, Partnership and Engagement(OCPE) at USCIS in the Department of Homeland Security. Prior to this, she served as the DHS Assistant Secretary for Partnership and Engagement. In that role, she served as the Secretary’s primary advisor on the impact of the Department’s policies, regulations, processes, and actions on state, local, tribal, territorial (SLTT) governments, SLTT elected officials, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and the academic community, ensuring a unified approach to external engagement.

Before joining DHS, Ms. Millona was president and chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) for over 13 years. MIRA is the largest organization in New England promoting and enhancing integration for new Americans. In 2010, she co-founded the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), a national organization focused on immigrant integration at the local, state, and federal levels, and served as a co-chair for 11 years. She co-founded and co-chaired the Massachusetts Business Immigration Coalition and chaired the 2020 U.S. Census Statewide Complete Count Committee in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

A native of Albania, Ms. Millona practiced civil and criminal law before becoming the youngest district judge ever appointed to Tirana’s District Court, where she served from 1989 to1992. After immigrating to the United States, she directed the refugee resettlement program in central Massachusetts. She served on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights for over 7 years, served as the co-chair of the Massachusetts Governor’s Advisory Council for Refugees and Immigrants under four governors, served on the Attorney General’s Council for New Americans, and the Advisory Board for the Boston Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement. Ms. Millona taught global policy as an adjunct professor of practice at Boston College School of Social Work.

Ms. Millona has received numerous awards for her leadership and impact, including the prestigious USCIS Outstanding American by Choice Award in 2009. She is a graduate of Clark University where she obtained a Master of Arts in political science and holds a law degree from the University of Tirana.

Eva A. Millona

Assistant Secretary for Partnership and Engagement, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, USA

Eva A. Millona is currently serving as the chief of the inaugural Office of Citizenship, Partnership and Engagement(OCPE) at USCIS in the Department of Homeland Security. Prior to this, she served as the DHS Assistant Secretary for Partnership and Engagement. In that role, she served as the Secretary’s primary advisor on the impact of the Department’s policies, regulations, processes, and actions on state, local, tribal, territorial (SLTT) governments, SLTT elected officials, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and the academic community, ensuring a unified approach to external engagement.

Before joining DHS, Ms. Millona was president and chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) for over 13 years. MIRA is the largest organization in New England promoting and enhancing integration for new Americans. In 2010, she co-founded the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), a national organization focused on immigrant integration at the local, state, and federal levels, and served as a co-chair for 11 years. She co-founded and co-chaired the Massachusetts Business Immigration Coalition and chaired the 2020 U.S. Census Statewide Complete Count Committee in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

A native of Albania, Ms. Millona practiced civil and criminal law before becoming the youngest district judge ever appointed to Tirana’s District Court, where she served from 1989 to1992. After immigrating to the United States, she directed the refugee resettlement program in central Massachusetts. She served on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights for over 7 years, served as the co-chair of the Massachusetts Governor’s Advisory Council for Refugees and Immigrants under four governors, served on the Attorney General’s Council for New Americans, and the Advisory Board for the Boston Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement. Ms. Millona taught global policy as an adjunct professor of practice at Boston College School of Social Work.

Ms. Millona has received numerous awards for her leadership and impact, including the prestigious USCIS Outstanding American by Choice Award in 2009. She is a graduate of Clark University where she obtained a Master of Arts in political science and holds a law degree from the University of Tirana.

José Ralat

Author of American Tacos: A History & Guide

José R. Ralat is Texas Monthly‘s taco editor, writing about tacos and Mexican food. He is the author of American Tacos: A History & Guide. Ralat has written for Eater, Imbibe, Dallas Observer, D Magazine, Vice, Cowboys & Indians magazine, Gravy, and other national and regional online and print media outlets. He is a two-time James Beard award winner.

José Ralat

Author of American Tacos: A History & Guide

José R. Ralat is Texas Monthly‘s taco editor, writing about tacos and Mexican food. He is the author of American Tacos: A History & Guide. Ralat has written for Eater, Imbibe, Dallas Observer, D Magazine, Vice, Cowboys & Indians magazine, Gravy, and other national and regional online and print media outlets. He is a two-time James Beard award winner.

Marilyn Turkovich

Executive Director at the International Charter for Compassion

Marilyn Turkovich started with the Charter for Compassion in 2013 as the education director and since that time has moved into a number of different roles with CFC. Marilyn’s background has been primarily in higher education and most specifically in directing teacher training programs for the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, and chairing Columbia College-Chicago’s master’s program in multicultural and global education.  She has done a considerable amount of curriculum writing through the years, much of it related to international and cultural topics. She worked with Independent Broadcasting Associates on a series for airing on National Public Radio, BBC and the Australian Broadcasting organizations. There was a period of time in the 1990s when she worked in organizational development and specialized in instructional design work, strategic planning and leadership development.  She also wrote and developed training on race and social justice initiatives.

Marilyn Turkovich

Executive Director at the International Charter for Compassion

Marilyn Turkovich started with the Charter for Compassion in 2013 as the education director and since that time has moved into a number of different roles with CFC. Marilyn’s background has been primarily in higher education and most specifically in directing teacher training programs for the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, and chairing Columbia College-Chicago’s master’s program in multicultural and global education.  She has done a considerable amount of curriculum writing through the years, much of it related to international and cultural topics. She worked with Independent Broadcasting Associates on a series for airing on National Public Radio, BBC and the Australian Broadcasting organizations. There was a period of time in the 1990s when she worked in organizational development and specialized in instructional design work, strategic planning and leadership development.  She also wrote and developed training on race and social justice initiatives.

David West

Mayor of Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada

David West has served the residents of Richmond Hill since 2013, first as Ward 4 Councilor until 2022 at which time he was elected as Mayor in a by-election and re-elected in October 2022. His interest in the City of Richmond Hill and commitment to the community has been demonstrated throughout his more than three decades as a resident, during which time he has been a local business owner and has demonstrated leadership through various volunteer community positions.

As Mayor, during his 2022-2026 term David represents Richmond Hill Council on numerous committee including Chair of the Affordable Housing Strategy Implementation Committee (AHSIC), Vice-Chair of the Budget Committee of the Whole (BCW), member of the Audit Committee, Economic Development Committee (EDC) and Heritage Centre Advisory Committee (HCAC).

As a member of Regional Council he is Chair of the York Region Housing Affordability Task Force, and sits on the Committees for Public Works – Environmental Services, York Region Rapid Transit Corporation, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and TRCA’s Partners in Project Green Executive Management Steering Committee.

A husband and father, David has called Richmond Hill home for more than 30 years. He is a passionate patron of the visual arts.  As lifelong learner, David enjoys reading on a wide range of topics and he appreciates any opportunity to be in the outdoors. Watch for him at community events, he loves to meet and speak with Richmond Hill constituents.

David West

Mayor of Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada

David West has served the residents of Richmond Hill since 2013, first as Ward 4 Councilor until 2022 at which time he was elected as Mayor in a by-election and re-elected in October 2022. His interest in the City of Richmond Hill and commitment to the community has been demonstrated throughout his more than three decades as a resident, during which time he has been a local business owner and has demonstrated leadership through various volunteer community positions.

As Mayor, during his 2022-2026 term David represents Richmond Hill Council on numerous committee including Chair of the Affordable Housing Strategy Implementation Committee (AHSIC), Vice-Chair of the Budget Committee of the Whole (BCW), member of the Audit Committee, Economic Development Committee (EDC) and Heritage Centre Advisory Committee (HCAC).

As a member of Regional Council he is Chair of the York Region Housing Affordability Task Force, and sits on the Committees for Public Works – Environmental Services, York Region Rapid Transit Corporation, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and TRCA’s Partners in Project Green Executive Management Steering Committee.

A husband and father, David has called Richmond Hill home for more than 30 years. He is a passionate patron of the visual arts.  As lifelong learner, David enjoys reading on a wide range of topics and he appreciates any opportunity to be in the outdoors. Watch for him at community events, he loves to meet and speak with Richmond Hill constituents.

Commissioner Laura Dominguez

Miami Beach City Commissioner

Laura was born in Miami-Dade County and resides in Miami Beach. She attended local schools and graduated from the University of Miami and Miami-Dade College. She was elected Commissioner in December 2022 when she ran in her late partner’s seat to complete his term. Laura is a business professional who spent her corporate career in strategic, marketing, and account development roles in the tourism industry before launching her digital marketing firm. As Commissioner, she recently sponsored to bring the management of the Sister Cities program back to Miami Beach and helped host one of their Sister Cities including resiliency focused meetings.

Commissioner Laura Dominguez

Miami Beach City Commissioner

Laura was born in Miami-Dade County and resides in Miami Beach. She attended local schools and graduated from the University of Miami and Miami-Dade College. She was elected Commissioner in December 2022 when she ran in her late partner’s seat to complete his term. Laura is a business professional who spent her corporate career in strategic, marketing, and account development roles in the tourism industry before launching her digital marketing firm. As Commissioner, she recently sponsored to bring the management of the Sister Cities program back to Miami Beach and helped host one of their Sister Cities including resiliency focused meetings.

Jesus Saenz

Director of Airports, City of San Antonio

In January 2020, Jesus H. Saenz Jr., IAP, was appointed to serve as the city’s Director of Airport’s. In this role, he oversees the day-to-day operations of the San Antonio Airport System, made up of the San Antonio International Airport and Stinson Municipal Airport. Combined the airports account for economic impact of more than $ 5.2 billion annually and support approximately 46,000 jobs in the region. The Airport System is embarking on one of the largest capital programs in the City of San Antonio’s history with the design and construction of a new terminal facility set for completion at the end of March 2028.

Mr. Saenz brings a strong focus on strategic planning initiatives to enhance customer experience, shepherd the airports capital improvement projects and increase the international airports air service, both domestic and international. In September 2023, the San Antonio International Airport announced its first transatlantic service set to start in May 2024.

Previously, Mr. Saenz was Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the Houston Airport System (HAS). As the COO, Mr. Saenz oversaw strategic and business plan development, business process re-engineering, implementing of technologically complex projects and airport operations.

Jesus Saenz

Director of Airports, City of San Antonio

In January 2020, Jesus H. Saenz Jr., IAP, was appointed to serve as the city’s Director of Airport’s. In this role, he oversees the day-to-day operations of the San Antonio Airport System, made up of the San Antonio International Airport and Stinson Municipal Airport. Combined the airports account for economic impact of more than $ 5.2 billion annually and support approximately 46,000 jobs in the region. The Airport System is embarking on one of the largest capital programs in the City of San Antonio’s history with the design and construction of a new terminal facility set for completion at the end of March 2028.

Mr. Saenz brings a strong focus on strategic planning initiatives to enhance customer experience, shepherd the airports capital improvement projects and increase the international airports air service, both domestic and international. In September 2023, the San Antonio International Airport announced its first transatlantic service set to start in May 2024.

Previously, Mr. Saenz was Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the Houston Airport System (HAS). As the COO, Mr. Saenz oversaw strategic and business plan development, business process re-engineering, implementing of technologically complex projects and airport operations.

Gene Lindgren

President & CEO of Laredo Economic Development Corporation

Gene Lindgren is the President and CEO of the Laredo Economic Development Corporation (previously known as the Laredo Development Foundation).  Gene was chosen to continue the successes of the organization’s now 57-year history in July of 2020.  He drives the staff of seasoned professionals, with the oversight of the Board of Directors, and in accordance with the City of Laredo’s Viva Laredo Comprehensive Plan.

Gene transitioned to the LEDC after completing a 35-year career with a leading global automotive supply company in several diverse areas such as manufacturing, logistics and technology that operates in North America with more than 25 maquiladora plants throughout Mexico including distribution centers in El Paso and Laredo, Texas.

Gene has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Akron and an MBA from Lake Erie College in Ohio and has been a Laredo resident for over 25 years.

Gene is active in boards and committees such as the North American Strategy for Competitiveness (NASCO), South Texas Workforce Solutions, City of Laredo Port of Entry Advisory Committee, The Laredo Rotary Club, Binational Riverfront Conservation Project Working Group, Laredo College Bachelor of Applied Science in Organizational Leadership Advisory Council, and Laredo Chamber of Commerce.

Gene and his wife have two daughters, enjoy their many DIY projects, and travel to spend time with extended family in Ohio and Torreon, Mexico.

Gene Lindgren

President & CEO of Laredo Economic Development Corporation

Gene Lindgren is the President and CEO of the Laredo Economic Development Corporation (previously known as the Laredo Development Foundation).  Gene was chosen to continue the successes of the organization’s now 57-year history in July of 2020.  He drives the staff of seasoned professionals, with the oversight of the Board of Directors, and in accordance with the City of Laredo’s Viva Laredo Comprehensive Plan.

Gene transitioned to the LEDC after completing a 35-year career with a leading global automotive supply company in several diverse areas such as manufacturing, logistics and technology that operates in North America with more than 25 maquiladora plants throughout Mexico including distribution centers in El Paso and Laredo, Texas.

Gene has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Akron and an MBA from Lake Erie College in Ohio and has been a Laredo resident for over 25 years.

Gene is active in boards and committees such as the North American Strategy for Competitiveness (NASCO), South Texas Workforce Solutions, City of Laredo Port of Entry Advisory Committee, The Laredo Rotary Club, Binational Riverfront Conservation Project Working Group, Laredo College Bachelor of Applied Science in Organizational Leadership Advisory Council, and Laredo Chamber of Commerce.

Gene and his wife have two daughters, enjoy their many DIY projects, and travel to spend time with extended family in Ohio and Torreon, Mexico.

Jenna Saucedo

President & CEO of greater: SATX

Jenna Saucedo-Herrera is the President & CEO of greater: SATX, a regional economic partnership charged with growing and diversifying the eight county San Antonio-New Braunfels MSA.

In this role, Jenna and her team work closely with the regional businesses and public sector partners to recruit new companies, foster global business relationships, help local companies grow and build the local talent pipeline.

During her tenure at the helm of San Antonio’s economic development team, greater:SATX has secured over thirty-two thousand new jobs and $7.3 billion in capital investment for the region through recruitment and expansion projects that include: JCB, Ernst & Young, Victory Capital, Navistar, and Aisin.

Jenna has received accolades including the “2015 Women in Leadership Award” and the “2017 40 Under 40: Woman of the Year Award” from the San Antonio Business Journal, acknowledgment by the San Antonio Express-News in their “2016 Women Who Run San Antonio” feature, and recognition in Culturemap’s “Top Texans Under 30”.

She is an alumna of St. Mary’s University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing Management. She is also a member of the Texas Women’s Forum, the Texas Lyceum, and the International Women’s Forum.

Jenna also serves on several community boards and councils including Visit San Antonio (2022 Chair), BioBridge Global, San Antonio Medical Foundation, UP Partnership, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) Advisory Trustee, Texas Association of Business (TAB), and Texas Biomed.

Jenna Saucedo

President & CEO of greater: SATX

Jenna Saucedo-Herrera is the President & CEO of greater: SATX, a regional economic partnership charged with growing and diversifying the eight county San Antonio-New Braunfels MSA.

In this role, Jenna and her team work closely with the regional businesses and public sector partners to recruit new companies, foster global business relationships, help local companies grow and build the local talent pipeline.

During her tenure at the helm of San Antonio’s economic development team, greater:SATX has secured over thirty-two thousand new jobs and $7.3 billion in capital investment for the region through recruitment and expansion projects that include: JCB, Ernst & Young, Victory Capital, Navistar, and Aisin.

Jenna has received accolades including the “2015 Women in Leadership Award” and the “2017 40 Under 40: Woman of the Year Award” from the San Antonio Business Journal, acknowledgment by the San Antonio Express-News in their “2016 Women Who Run San Antonio” feature, and recognition in Culturemap’s “Top Texans Under 30”.

She is an alumna of St. Mary’s University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing Management. She is also a member of the Texas Women’s Forum, the Texas Lyceum, and the International Women’s Forum.

Jenna also serves on several community boards and councils including Visit San Antonio (2022 Chair), BioBridge Global, San Antonio Medical Foundation, UP Partnership, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) Advisory Trustee, Texas Association of Business (TAB), and Texas Biomed.