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Recap: LíderCon 2023 Purpose, Action, Progress.

Updated: 4 days ago

LíderCon 2023, “Purpose, Action, Progress,” kicked off its third annual gathering, welcoming over 300 latinx and partners in solidarity for the second time in-person annual leadership conference.



This year's events were uniquely special as Governor Tim Walz joined the stage to share a few words of support with audience members. LatinoLEAD’s Executive Director, Irma Márquez Trapero, had the distinct honor of reading out a letter from Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, specifically addressing the impact of LíderCon and the importance of LatinoLEAD's mission of investing in the leadership development of the Latinx community.


Excerpt from Vice President Kamala Harris’s Letter to LatinoLEAD


"Since its founding in 2013, LatinoLEAD has established itself as a leading institution dedicated to fostering professional development and advancement for the Latino community. You bring together Latino leaders across all sectors, who collectively work to amplify the voices of Latino people and prepare them to step into leadership roles.


Today we take time to celebrate LatinoLEAD and the impact you have on communities across Minnesota and the greater region. As you continue to fight to remove barriers to success for the Latino community, please know that the Biden-Harrris administration is there to fight alongside you. Thank you for your ongoing partnership as we ensure all individuals across our country have the opportunity to thrive."


This year's conference was hosted by LatinoLEAD’s Board Vice Chair and LíderCon 2023 Emcee, Esther Ledesma Pumarol, Director of Human Resources, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Corporate Giving and Executive Director of the Xcel Energy Foundation. In a powerful testament to our collective mission, over 300 Latinos and allies gathered to participate, learn, and share. LatinoLEAD also welcomed to the stage 3M Executives including Jeff Lavers, Group President of 3M’s Health Care Business Group, Silvia Perez, the President of 3M’s Commercial Branding and Transportation Division and the Executive Vice President of Consumer Business Group at 3M, Karina Chavez. We are thankful to all of 3M’s team members who helped make this year such a success.



LíderCon Keynote Speakers


During the conference, we were honored to have several distinguished speakers who provided invaluable insights. Dario E. Collado, the Vice President of Strategic Development at the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, and Melody Gonzales, the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Hispanics, shared their vast expertise. Additionally, Wendy Unglaub, who serves as the Vice President and Chief Tax Officer at General Mills, as well as the three-time Emmy Award-winning author and entrepreneur, Gaby Natale, graced the event with their presence and knowledge.



LíderCon 2023 Breakout Sessions


For the first time at LíderCon, LatinoLEAD introduced a unique series of sessions each day, ensuring a diverse range of discussions and learning opportunities. This year's series of breakout sessions are listed below with the corresponding facilitators, moderators, and esteemed panelists.


  • "Embracing Risks: Unlocking Opportunities for Latinx Leadership" Louis Garcia, CEO of Media Garcia, delved into the significance of risks in shaping Latinx leadership.

  • "Leveraging Emotional Intelligence" Luis Moreno, a renowned consultant, demonstrated how a human-centric approach can amplify leadership effectiveness.

  • "Access & Opportunities for Latino Business Owners" moderated by Mónica Romero, Economic Development Specialist, CPED Business Development at the City of Minneapolis. Panelist Rosemarie Ndupuechi, Chief Advancement and Marketing Officer at Women Venture; Kailin Oliver, Associate Director of the Minnesota Cup Tony Tolliver, Vice President, Engagement and External Relations at Center of Economic Inclusion; Belén Rodríguez, Founder & CEO at Quebracho Empanadas; Robert Harper, Senior Director of Business Consulting, Metropolitan Economic Development Association

  • "Latinos and Hispanics in Corporate" moderated by Isaias Zamarripa, Consultant. Panelists include Marlene Lopez Ibarra, Strategy Director CG&S and Separation Management Office at 3M; Monica Diaz, Program Lead, Early Careers at Best Buy; Santi Strasser, Co-Founder of Carbe Diem (G-Works Venture Studio) at General Mills; Lola Velazquez-Aguilu, Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel, Neuromodulation at Medtronic.

  • "The AI Assistant" Best Buy's dynamic panel threw light on leveraging AI for optimizing workdays. Panelists include Best Buy's Randi De La Cruz-Johnson, Senior Product Manager; Ana Tafur, Associate Product Manager; Jess Malvin, Senior Product Manager; Ben Ortega, Associate Director of Engineering.

  • "Transforming Generational Curses into Legacies" facilitated by Isaac Alcantara of US Bank enlightened attendees on how to turn challenges into generational wealth.

  • "Follow the Money: Insights on How Philanthropy Works" moderated by Mirdalys Tweeton, LatinoLEAD Board Chair and Executive Director at Centro Tyron Guzman with panelists including Ambar Hanson, Executive Director of The Mortensen Foundation, Joanna Ramirez, Program Operations Director at Bush Foundation, Gloria Perez, President & CEO of Women’s Foundation of Minnesota.

  • "Lo Que Todo Latino Debe Saber Sobre su Crédito: Los Secretos" facilitated in Spanish by Jessica Aliaga-Froelke, President at Hispanic Solutions Group, Author, Credit Specialist and advocate.

  • “The Impact of Latine GenZ on the Future Workforce” facilitated by Patricia Conde-Brooks, Executive Director Student Engagement & Inclusion at St. Thomas University and Bradley Pulles, Associate Dean Of Students, Dougherty Family College

  • “Systemic Change in Higher Education” led by Dr. Beatriz DeSantiago-Fjelstad, LatinoLEAD's Board Member and Education Action Team Chair, who moderated two enriching panel discussions on ensuring equity in higher education. Panelist include Dr. Carla J. Gonzalez, Literacy Specialist at UST; Dr. Sandra Morán Pulles, Vice President of Equity & Inclusion at Serve Minnesota; Patricia Izek, Director of DEI & Accessibility, Libraries University of MN, Dr. Josefina Landrieu, Vice President of Equity and Inclusion at Metropolitan State University; Omar G. Correa, Enrollment Management and Student Success Leader at St. Thomas University; Dr. Mercedes Ramirez Fernandez, Vice President Equity and Diversity at University of Minnesota at the University of Minnesota; Dr. Suzanne Rivera, President of Macalester College.




Closing Ceremony


Attendees relished a refined networking reception, feasting on gourmet delights, and enjoying a heart-stirring Mariachi performance by Monserrat Santana. The highlight was the keynote by Richard-Abraham Rugnao who is known for bringing some of the brightest Latinx changemakers together. Richard spoke about the importance of putting the traditional on notice by being unapologetically authentic as we pursue our goals. It was an honor to host him in Minnesota for this light-hearted conversation about Latinidad, leadership and networking.



To close the night we celebrated the much-anticipated, LatinoLEAD Impact Award (LIA) Ceremony where we were able to, for the first time ever. The LIA’s highlight the impact of local Latinx leaders and allies who have led with a community-centered mindset, an inclusive approach, and who have worked tirelessly to eliminate institutional barriers and inequities. You can click this link to see Univision interviews with all awardees and honorees and read more about this initiative.


LatinoLEAD Impact Awards & Recognitions

The awards spotlighted local Latinx luminaries, including LatinoLEADer of the Year, Jovita Morales, and Emerging Latinx Leader 2023, Camila Mercado-Michelli. The Solidarity Award 2023 was bestowed upon Stan Alleyne, with Amalia Moreno-Damgaard, Mirella Ceja-Orozco, and Kenneth Ortiz being honored for their phenomenal contributions. Read more about their accomplishments in the linked blog post, click here for the full blog post.



¡Gracias a TODXS!


In wrapping up this recap, we would be remiss not to extend our deepest gratitude to our stalwart sponsors: 3M, Xcel Energy, Best Buy, the Minnesota Twins, Target, Vote Run Lead, Kipp Schools, United Natural Foods, Daire 2 Succeed, Special Olympics Minnesota, Fairview Health, CLUES, LEDC, The Minnesota Dept of Administration Equity and Procurement, Old National Bank, Community CPA, Children's Minnesota, PCL construction, The Carpenters Union, and PepsiCo Foundation. Your partnership underscores the importance and potential of our shared goals.


This year's LíderCon was not just a conference, but a celebration of Latinx leadership and tenacity. Our theme, "Purpose, Action, Progress," was vividly brought to life over the course of the event. Attendees embraced their unique purposes, shaping them into actionable strategies and shared visions. Together, we took decisive actions, each step rooted in authenticity and shared goals. And the progress? It was palpable in every session, every dialogue, and every connection made. We witnessed the evolution of ideas into impactful initiatives and celebrated the cumulative progress of our community. As we reflect on LíderCon 2023, it's clear that with a defined purpose and committed action, limitless progress awaits.


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