GALEO Institute for Leadership Graduated the LARGEST Class in the Program’s History

GALEO Institute for Leadership Graduated the LARGEST Class in the Program’s History
Graduates join 604 alumni of the GALEO Institute for Leadership
Press Release

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:  Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director of GALEO,
(Atlanta, Georgia) – November 20, 2017 –  GALEO graduated 44 new leaders from the GALEO Institute for Leadership (GIL), which held a graduation reception on Saturday, November 18, 2017 at the Kilpatrick Townsend in midtown Atlanta.

This is the 18th group of graduates resulting from GALEO’s leadership development efforts. The total number of GALEO Institute for Leadership alumni now stands at 604 people from across the state.

GALEO Institute for Leadership graduates heard inspiring words from GALEO Executive Director Jerry Gonzalez and Honorable Judge Dax Lopez from Dekalb County, District 6.

Jerry Gonzalez spoke on the need for leadership development and rising leaders to continue work in community betterment. He reminded them of the work ahead of them in the coming year and how their leadership development can help with today’s pressing issues.  “Leadership with passion and heart is what is needed in our world today.  Your love of community needs to continue to show as we make progress towards the changes we need to see in our lifetime,” said Jerry Gonzalez.

Judge Dax Lopez’s graduation speech inspired the guests with his narrative of past leaders in the social justice movement. He reminded the 2017 graduating cohort that there are various roles to play in today’s world in leadership, of which work on the sideline does not leave a place in historical narratives of success. Judge Lopez asked all GIL graduates to continue to move forward and take on issues “one bite at a time.”

The graduation ceremony ended with both speakers urging the graduates to continue their leadership development and to get more involved in their communities through service leadership.

The graduation follows a serious commitment to a year-round program that develops basic leadership skills while also exposing the participants to other community leaders and potential opportunities for continued leadership development.  The participants were exposed to the following community leaders:

  • Adolfo Santos, Ph.D., Georgia Gwinnett College
  • Beverly Iseghohi, BMI & Associates
  • Brenda Lopez, Georgia State House Representative for District 99
  • Brian Nunez, GALEO
  • Cassandra Johnson, Atlanta International Group
  • Celia Sandoval, State Farm
  • Christian Bello Escobar, University of North Georgia Migrant Services
  • Cristian Ramos, GALEO Leadership Council
  • Greg Bautista, GALEO Leadership Council
  • Ivette Betancourt, GALEO Leadership Council
  • Juliana Henao, GALEO Leadership Council
  • Julie Sneath, GALEO Leadership Council
  • Donna Arriaga Edmonds, Beyond 12
  • Elizabeth Sanford, Atlanta Regional Commission
  • Estela Martinez, GALEO Leadership Council
  • Genny Castillo, Georgia House Democratic Caucus
  • Gigi Pedraza, Latino Community Fund
  • Harvey Soto, GALEO
  • Karla Vazquez, Trees Atlanta
  • Katherine Vega, Global Payment Systems
  • Kyle Redner, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta
  • Laura Murvartian, Equifax
  • Leri Argueta, Beyond 12
  • Mark Reynolds, Georgia Gwinnett College
  • Jaime Rangel, GALEO Leadership Council
  • Jerry Gonzalez, GALEO
  • Kelli Persons, Formerly with League of Women Voters
  • Maria Palacios, GALEO
  • Omar Carrillo Camacho, GALEO Leadership Council
  • Pegui Mariduena, StarMar Consulting
  • Roberto Gutierrez, Healthcare Specialist
  • Sam Park, Georgia State House Representative for District 101
  • Yara Parada-Aguirre, State Farm Insurance Company

The GALEO Latino Community Development Fund has implemented the GALEO Institute for Leadership to focus upon the leadership development of the Latino community across our state. As part of the GALEO Institute for Leadership, GALEO formed a strategic partnership with the University of Georgia’s Fanning Institute to expand and develop our joint efforts for the Community Leadership Program.

The graduates dedicated more than 89 hours during 2017 to complete eight modules, additional presentations and a community group project. In addition, this GALEO Institute for Leadership Class of 2017 represented a diverse class with participants from various heritage/national countries including the following:

  • United States
  • Colombia
  • Brazil
  • Ecuador
  • Mexico
  • Puerto Rico
  • El Salvador
  • Honduras
  • Italy
  • Venezuela
  • Peru
  • Syria
  • Nicaragua

The graduates represented fourteen counties of our state:

  • Barrow
  • Clayton
  • Cobb
  • Coweta
  • DeKalb
  • Fayette
  • Forsyth
  • Fulton
  • Gwinnett
  • Hall
  • Paulding
  • Stephens
  • Sumter
  • Walton
The graduates were also encouraged to engage with the GALEO Leadership Council (GLC), which is made up of alumni from previous GIL sessions, as well as active GALEO Members.  Several of the graduates are already serving leadership roles within the GLC and plan to contribute to significant plans in place for 2018.

Profiles of the 2017 GALEO Institute for Leadership cohort can be found here.

This leadership program was made possible in part by the Sapelo Foundation, University of Georgia-Fanning Institute, Kilpatrick Townsend, Georgia Power, State Farm Insurance Company, GALEO and individual donors.

Recruiting has already begun for the GALEO Institute for Leadership class of 2018.   For information on the 2018 sessions and the application process, please visit

For other questions regarding the upcoming GALEO Institute for Leadership, contact Maria del Rosario Palacios at 678.897.3153 or


Pictures of the graduation are available upon request and are posted on GALEO’s Facebook page.

Click here for the album link for this year’s graduation.

Sponsorship opportunities for the 2018 sessions are available to invest in Georgia’s future leaders.  Please contact Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director, GALEO, at or 678.691.1086.

About GALEO:

GALEO’s mission is to increase civic engagement and leadership development of the Latino/Hispanic community across Georgia.  CORE BELIEFS: Inclusive, Non-Partisan, Diversity, Responsive
Copyright © 2018 | Galeo