Latinas in Tech and Telecom
Every year during Hispanic Heritage Month, we pause, as a nation, and celebrate Latinx culture and the many accomplishments of the Latinx community that have so profoundly and positively impacted our wonderful nation. Members of the Latinx community work in every industry and are a vital part of every community across the country and have been since before the United States existed as we know it today. It is vitally important that we take this time to reflect on the Latinx community’s accomplishments as we remember that the community is intricately woven into the fabric of our nation. As Hispanic Heritage Month begins to wrap up, we at ALLvanza are especially proud of, and want to recognize, Latinas because of the incredible strides toward equality that have been made in recent years within every major industry, including politics. So as Hispanic Heritage Month comes to an end, ALLvanza is paying special homage to the amazing Latinas making history every day and helping advance the technology and telecommunications industries.
ALLvanza is committed to taking action to help increase diversity and generally raise awareness about the need for diversity in every industry, with special focus on industries closely tied to technology and telecommunications. ALLvanza is very encouraged to see Latinas among the ranks of so many prestigious companies and we applaud those companies leading the charge in diversity and inclusion. It is important that members of the Latinx and other underserved communities have role models they can look up to that represent their cultural experience. Below are some highlights of amazing Latinas doing incredible work in their respective industries:
In her role as Senior Director of Policy and External Affairs at Charter Communications, Laura Berrocal specializes in policy and communications strategy. In this capacity, Ms. Berrocal enables the company to work collaboratively with industry stakeholders and leading, national organizations to drive public policy solutions that benefit customers, the communities Charter serves, and the company’s business development objectives.
Prior to joining Charter, Ms. Berrocal served as Director of External Affairs at CTIA, where she managed the association’s grassroots, grasstops and third party relationships and developed communications strategies to educate communities on CTIA’s work across the wireless and tech sector. Ms. Berrocal also served as Vice President of Public Policy and Legislative Affairs for Net Communications, where she managed legislative, business development, and communications strategies for Fortune 500 companies and industry trade associations spanning the tech and energy sectors. Ms. Berrocal has also worked with several leading, national nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C., where she has provided public policy counsel in the areas of technology, minority entrepreneurship, energy, education, and health.
Ms. Berrocal holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from The George Washington University Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration (TSPPPA) and a B.A. in Political Science and Professional Studies in Spanish from Temple University.
Walt Disney Company
As president of Advertising Sales for the Walt Disney Company, Rita Ferro leads advertising sales for the Company’s entertainment, news, sports and kids linear and digital TV and Radio businesses (ABC Entertainment, ABC Daytime and ABC News; Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Radio Disney; Freeform, FX Networks, National Geographic Networks) and the ESPN portfolio which includes ESPN’s domestic networks, ESPN on ABC, ESPN.com, ESPN3, ESPN Radio, ESPN International, ESPN+ and ESPN Mobile. She also leads the integrated sales team for the Disney Digital Network, the Company’s online, mobile and social offerings. Additionally, Ferro directs National TV Ad Sales for ABC’s eight owned local TV stations. She has been in this role since September 2018.
Under her leadership, Disney now offers advertisers a one-stop approach to leverage the breadth of Disney’s portfolio and reach audiences across all of the Company’s media properties. Her direction has transformed Disney’s advertising strategy and influenced the industry at large – resulting in a consultative and insights-led sales approach that allows clients to drive maximum growth in their businesses. Across Disney’s robust portfolio of platforms, she’s championed advanced advertising and data science to push the boundaries of outcomes that marketers and advertisers can achieve in their campaigns.
Among her many industry honors, Ferro will make history as the first Latinx woman, and third woman in 35 years to receive the prestigious Frank Stanton Award for Excellence in Communication, next month. Last year, she was named to Variety’s 2018 Power of Women New York Impact list, honoring women across all aspects of the entertainment industry who are making an impact; in 2017, she was recognized to The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power 100, in addition to being featured on AdvertisingAge’s Women to Watch power list, which celebrates the most powerful women in advertising. In 2015, Ferro was selected as part of Multichannel News’ Wonder Women — “Women to Watch,” and for eight consecutive years (2012-19), Ferro has been named one of the Most Powerful and Influential Latinos by the Imagen Foundation. The Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) Commissioner, Julie Menin appointed Ferro to the Latin Media and Entertainment Commission (LMEC) in efforts to cultivate the next generation of New York City-based Latinx media and entertainment professionals; promote enhanced Spanish language content on mainstream and emerging media platforms; attract and retain major Latinx media events in New York City; and expand the audience for premier Latinx cultural content in New York City.
Ferro began her career with The Walt Disney Company 22 years ago with ESPN International, where she held several posts including vice president, International Ad Sales leading the ESPN International Ad Sales offices in Miami, Argentina, Mexico and Brazil. She ultimately added ad sales management for Disney Media Network’s kid-driven and family-inclusive portfolio – Disney Channel, Disney XD and the then-named Playhouse Disney – in Latin America. Additionally, she has held the positions of executive vice president, Disney Media Sales and Marketing for Disney Channels Worldwide and vice president, Advertising Sales, Disneymedia+.
In an industry historically dominated by men, Ferro is at the top of her profession and continues to be a disruptor and pioneer in the advertising space. In addition to her professional successes, her commitment to mentorship is paving the way for other women – especially Latinx women – to advance in the field.
Ferro currently sits on the board of the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau), the AAF (American Advertising Federation) and the VAB (Video Advertising Bureau). She earned a Bachelor of Science in advertising and a master’s degree in International Business from Florida International University, and currently lives in Short Hills, NJ with her husband and daughter.
Motion Picture Association (MPA)
For more than a decade, Arlen Valdivia has led policy advocacy strategies in the City of Los Angeles, California statewide, and across all 50 states. She is currently Director of State and Local Government Affairs for the Motion Picture Association (MPA), where she advocates on behalf of the six major Hollywood studios – Disney, Netflix, Paramount, Sony, Universal, and Warner Bros – at the state and local levels. She leads MPA’s greater Los Angeles-area advocacy and directs strategy on issues affecting film and television production and studio facility operations throughout all 50 states.
Prior to joining MPA, Valdivia was a Vice President for the Edelman Public Affairs team in Washington, D.C., where she focused on issue management campaigns, third party stakeholder relations and influencer engagement across various industries, in addition to developing and implementing corporate and crisis communications campaigns. Valdivia was also a member of Edelman’s multicultural team, where she worked to develop media relations campaigns on behalf of clients across the English and Spanish media landscape. She was a founding member of the Edelman’s Inclusivo employee network.
Before joining Edelman, Valdivia was a Latino Outreach Specialist in the Orange County office of FSB Core Strategies. Her role at the firm included managing Latino media and community relations throughout greater Los Angeles for the firm’s Fortune 10 corporate clients, focusing on building brand reputation and purchase consideration throughout California in the automotive industry. She also worked extensively on building statewide relationships with community groups and business organizations, as well as planning and executing corporate events.
Previously, Valdivia provided tactical and strategic support for the Campaigns and Issues Management practice at Cerrell Associates, Inc. She specialized in coalition building, alliance development, and organizing community events.
Valdivia graduated from the University of Southern California with a Masters in Public Administration and holds a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from University of California, Santa Barbara.
Univision Communications Inc
Jessica Herrera-Flanigan is Executive Vice President of Government and Corporate Affairs for Univision Communications Inc., the leading media company serving Hispanic America. In this role, she spearheads the Company’s government relations efforts, corporate social responsibility, social impact and empowerment initiatives including Univision Contigo as well as cross-platform diversity and community efforts. Herrera-Flanigan oversees the Univision Washington, D.C. office, which focuses on developing strategies to address the key public policy issues that impact the Company and the U.S. Hispanic community. She leads a first-class team that works to enhance Univision’s presence among policymakers and influencers, as well as extend the Company’s communications with key stakeholders, such as business and trade associations, consumer groups, think tanks and partners.
Before joining Univision, Herrera-Flanigan served as a partner at Monument Policy Group, where she led the firm’s technology, media and crisis communications practices, as well as advised on such issues as national security, privacy, immigration, and sports. Previously, Herrera-Flanigan served as the Staff Director and General Counsel for the House Committee on Homeland Security, where she was the first Latina to lead a major Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. She has held various other government service positions, including serving as senior counsel in the Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division and as Special Assistant U.S. Attorney working on fraud and public corruption cases in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C. She started her career as a communications and energy lawyer in private practice.
Herrera-Flanigan has deep ties to the Hispanic community, having served as president of the Hispanic Bar Association of D.C. and regional vice president for the Hispanic National Bar Association. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and currently serves on the National Association of Broadcasters Television Board and the U.S. Center for Safe Sport Board of Directors. A sought-after speaker and recognized with multiple industry accolades, HerreraFlanigan was named to Cablefax Magazine’s 2018 Top Women in Cable and Media, honored as Multichannel News’ Wonder Woman, named one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States three times by Hispanic Business Magazine, received the President’s Award from the Hispanic Lobbyists Association in 2015, and has been featured in The Hill’s Top Lobbyists list multiple times.
Herrera-Flanigan received her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School and her Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Yale University.
3M’s Health Information Systems Division
Barbara Venegas-Donato is a Senior Software Engineer at 3M’s Health Information Systems Division, where Barbara leads and develop cloud solutions focusing on Business Intelligence Analytics.
Prior to joining 3M, Barbara worked for over 10 years designing, developing, enhancing, and aligning highly transactional front-end and back-end systems for government entities; including the Department of Defense and Department of Commerce.
Barbara is passionate about empowering women and minorities to pursue careers in technology through mentoring. She is a volunteer for The Hour of Code, member of the Women Who Code DC chapter and member of 3M’s Diversity and Inclusion committee.
Barbara holds a B.S in Information Technology Management from the University of Puerto Rico. She currently lives in DC with her husband James and their three pets and soon will be welcoming their first child.
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)
Teresa Ramírez, Ph.D., is a scientific influencer, mentor, and community role model that inspires many to obtain their dreams and goals regardless of any challenges. She has no limits and mentors many students from coast to coast. She actively participates in the Latinx community as an advocate for Latinx in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). She works to empower future Latina leaders through her service work with the Mujeres de HACE (Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement) DC/McLean Alumnae Board as Chair and as part of the board of Latinas Leading Tomorrow (LLT). She works alongside board members to develop and execute professional development events tailored to Latinas professional and young Latina students in the DC/MD/VA area. Dr. Ramírez is currently the program manager at the Office of Sponsored Programs, Diversity and Grants Administration at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), in addition to also working in the Office of Public Affairs at FASEB. Dr. Ramírez is a first-generation Mexican-American that earned her B.S. degree in General Biology from California State University, Dominguez Hills in 2004. In 2004-2006, she participated in a postbaccalaureate program at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Frederick, MD. Dr. Ramírez earned a doctoral degree in Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology from Brown University and was a post-doctoral research fellow at the National Institutes of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from 2014-2016. She then transitioned to becoming the 2016-2017 American Society of Human Genetics/National Human Genome Research Institute (ASHG/NHGRI) Genetics and Education Fellow. During her tenure as a Genetics and Education Fellow, Dr. Ramírez started a partnership between the NIH and Wheaton High School (Bioscience Academy) in Silver Spring, Maryland to help encourage and guide first-generation students to participate in NIH summer paid internships. Dr. Ramírez, imparts knowledge and expertise based on research and professional experience in student speaking engagements at different STEM events around the DC area and across the nation such as with the Society for the Advancement of Hispanic/Chicano and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) as well as in her hometown of Compton, California. She has been a member of SACNAS for the past 18 years. In 2012, she established and was the first president of the Brown University SACNAS Chapter, which received the 2013 Role Model Award for Outstanding New Chapter at the SACNAS National Conference in San Antonio, Texas. In 2017, Dr. Ramírez served as the NIH SACNAS Chapter President. She is passionate about sharing her love for science and firmly believes in the importance of mentorship and how it can create a positive impact in the lives of others as it did on hers