2022 GALEO Institute for Leadership Profiles

Anayely Moreno

Anayely Moreno was born and raised in Gainesville, GA. Thanks to her mother’s hard work,  support and sacrifices, Anayely obtained a bachelor’s degree of International Affairs from the  University of Georgia. She is currently a Development Administrator for No Longer Bound, a  non-profit addiction treatment center. 

Through her experiences with non-profits like, including the Athens Area Homeless Shelter and  the Hispanic Organization Promoting Education, Anayely has seen the importance and dire  need of community support. Anayely is passionate about serving others and helping create a  community that is more inclusive and empathetic. Anayely hopes to one day make positive  legislative change in immigration rights, racial justice, and human rights.  

In her spare time, Anayely enjoys reading, writing, spending time with her family and friends,  trying new restaurants and traveling.

Andres Rincon

Andres Rincon, Jr. is a first generation Mexican American, born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He is currently a case manager with the Antonini and Cohen Immigration Law Group, handling cases involving victims of crimes, adjustments of status, DACA, asylum, consular visas, etc. Andres is passionate about his work and helping his community due to his personal experience with the immigrant journey.

Andres received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Georgia State University with a Pre-Law concentration and later completed the Emory University Paralegal Certificate program. While in college, Andres volunteered with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and helped provide the resources and information high school students need to pursue higher education through outreach events.

Since graduating, Andres has continued to be involved in the community through volunteering events. Andres plans on pursuing a J.D. this year to become an immigration attorney and advocate for immigration reform in vulnerable communities. In his free time, Andres enjoys cycling and traveling. He is fluent in English and Spanish.

Alex Castillo

Alex Castillo was born in Mexico City, Mexico and moved to the United States with his mother at young age. He grew up in Griffin, Georgia and graduated as the Valedictorian from Spalding High School in 2016. 

He went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude from the University of Georgia in 2021, earning a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance with an emphasis in Pricing and Valuation. While at UGA, he was involved in various organizations such as the Corsair Society, Goizueta Ambassadors, ALPFA, and the Hispanic Student Association.

Today, Alex is pursuing a career in banking as a Diversified Industries Credit Product Analyst at Regions Bank. He is part of the bank’s Atlanta Diversity Equity and Inclusion Subcommittee, which specializes in diverse talent acquisition and retention. Alex is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment and hopes he will not only be able to be more involved in his community, but also encourage others to do the same.

Bianca Landaeta

Bianca Landaeta was born in Lilburn, Georgia though she has family roots reaching from Bogota, Colombia and Arecipo, Puerto Rico. She graduated from Chattahoochee High School in Alpharetta, Georgia then went on to follow a Track and Field scholarship to Georgia Regents University for a year. She later graduated from the University of North Georgia with a Bachelor of Science where she majored in Psychology and minored in Criminal Justice. Not long after, she earned her state certification as a Registered Behavioral Technician. Since graduation, Bianca has been working in the field of Substance Abuse recovery, where she works to support the advancement of culturally and linguistically appropriate resources for the immigrant, refugee and Hispanic/Latin communities across the state. Currently, she is halfway to completing her MBA in Project Management from the Louisiana State University at Shreveport.

In her free time, Bianca enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, camping, rafting and rock climbing as well as stays active through jogging and yoga.

Danny Arencibia

Danny Arencibia was born in Los Angeles, CA to a Cuban-born father, and a Mexican-born mother. Growing up in a multi-cultural environment with different customs and traditions has made Danny uniquely qualified to speak of immigration influence from the East and West of our southern border. As a first-generation college graduate from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, and with his study abroad at the InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico, he has expanded his cultural appreciation even further. 

Danny is a longtime Columbus, Georgia resident, a husband, and a father of four. He founded/operated a local youth music venue, city-wide music festivals, and homeless-centered ministry work in the downtown Columbus area. For almost the entire last decade, Danny has been serving as a finance manager working to secure loans, guard assets, and write financial contracts. Transitioning into a new career in real estate, he is excited to be back out to full-time daily community engagement. 

He Has recently been appointed the Muscogee County Democratic Committee Latinx Caucus Chair. He will focus on growing the Democratic Party voter base by leveraging the Latinx community as a present and viable votership. Danny’s parents have shown him what real hard work can truly accomplish, and he is proud of his heritage and proud to be a part of a city that is beginning to learn to embrace its diversity.

Eduardo Zamora

A Georgia native, Eduardo Macias Zamora obtained his bachelor’s degree in Biology and Agriculture from The University of Georgia. After realizing that helping others was his true passion and seeing a major need for improvement in his own community, he decided to use the education he received to serve others. Hoping to curb the challenging learning experience he faced growing up he works to be a staunch advocate for the Hispanic/Latino community. 

Eduardo plans to pursue a career in the federal government or non-profit sector. He aspires to harness everything he has learned in the GALEO 2022 Institute for Leadership to enact change and make a difference in his community.

Enrique Borjas

Enrique was born in Honduras, but moved to Orlando, FL with his family when he was 7 years old. He graduated from the University of Georgia in 2019 with a degree in Economics and German Studies. While at the university, Enrique took active roles in multiple organizations such as the Hispanic Student Association, Goizueta Ambassadors, and Student Toastmasters. 

Since graduating from the University of Georgia, Enrique has been working for Carter’s in their Human Resources department. In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer, reading, writing, playing video games, and learning new languages. Ultimately, Enrique believes in supporting immigration rights, making higher education more affordable and accessible, and impacting his local community in positive ways.

Eric Benavidez

Eric is an executive recruiter for a top global executive search firm and is based in Atlanta, GA.He is originally from California and grew up in a Mexican/Salvadoran household. His father fled El Salvador during the Civil War and worked in several labor-intensive roles including construction and agriculture (picking almonds and grapes). Eric’s mother came to the U.S. to pursue an education she couldn’t afford in her rural Mexican village. They set Eric’s foundation for working hard and striving for higher education.

Eric’s first job was picking grapes when he was 11 years old. From there, he worked every summer in landscaping and construction/demolition so he could afford school supplies. He moved to GA in 2007 during his Senior year in high school, and immediately had to fight discriminatory school administrators to stay in Honors and AP courses. After high school, he graduated from the University of Southern California with a BA and later from Kennesaw State with an MPA, both while working full-time. Although he was the first person in his family to graduate from undergrad and graduate school, he works hard to make sure he isn’t the last.

During his free time, Eric likes to volunteer with Atlanta-based nonprofits which afford children opportunities he didn’t have as a child. Some of the nonprofits he works with include the Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta and Soccer in the Streets.

Jacqueline Garcia

Jacqueline Garcia is a First generation Mexican-American student. Born to immigrant parents from Michoacán, Mexico, she is pursuing her goals to make her family proud and pave the way for her younger siblings. Jacqueline is currently a Junior, pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing at Kennesaw State University. Jacqueline is a sister of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Incorporated at Kennesaw State, previously served as Recruitment and Retention Advisor and Orientation Advisor for her chapter. She was the former Vice President of the KSU Multicultural Greek Council, member of the Organization for Latin American Students (OLAS), and a member of the Recruitment, Retention, and Progression to graduation program for Hispanic/Latino students (RRPG). 

Jennifer Silva

Jennifer Silva (She/Her/ Ella) is a Mexican-American Spring 2022 Intern for GALEO. Jennifer is currently a senior at Kennesaw State University pursuing her degree in Public Relations with a minor in Marketing. Born to immigrant parents from Jalisco, Mexico, Jennifer strives to accomplish her goals while making her parents and younger brother proud. Jennifer is a sister of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Inc. at Kennesaw State where she has served as chapter secretary and parliamentarian for the Multicultural Greek Council. Outside of her academics, Jennifer has worked part-time at Lenscrafters, where she has gained knowledge in the optical field and customer service.

Jesse Perez

I am a proud Hispanic born in Dallas, TX. At age 3 we relocated to Georgia with parents, 3 siblings, and 10 uncles and aunts due to my father’s construction business boom.

Throughout high school I was heavily involved in church and community both local and abroad. Right out of high school I joined the US Army 25th ID to serve my country that gave so much to my immigrant family. I was a Squad Designated Marksmen with 200+ hrs in Sniper training and deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004. In that tour I sustained radical injuries to my left leg which required 2+ years of surgeries and PT in order to walk and stand without the use of assistive devices. This injury detoured my military career and I had to reorganize my plans.

As any father or husband would do, I needed to provide for my family and fast. I found work wherever I could and at whatever times they offered. My wife encouraged me to go to college but how could I with the responsibilities I had. I was, however, able to attend technical school and did this in between jobs. I studied to be a certified Emergency Medical Technician, then a Certified Nurse, and lastly a Licensed Practical Nurse. This drive to find my niche in the world, and my ability to work in anything and everything, led me to a change in careers yet again, Leadership. In my pursuit of the “perfect job”, I failed to see the path of success I was trailing behind. I had positively led several successful teams in various industries whilst trying to become a nurse and my employees were happy, valued, and successful!

I currently work and serve as the Leader of Georgia Powers Bilingual Team. I serve as a Committee Member in Community Engagement with Georgia Power’s AMIGOS employee resource group and Hispanic Leader Network. I am the Chairperson of a team that simply focuses on bringing Joy back into the workplace.

I enjoy exercising, outdoors, technology, and Sci-Fi. I love spending time with my family, it brings me happiness. I also like working with my hands around the house, or helping friends, being it brings me peace.

I am a firm believer that Joy and Blessings are literally everywhere. We just have to view obstacles differently in order to see them and we have to help others remove theirs.

Jimena Somilleda

Jimena Somilleda was born and raised in Athens, Georgia, and is the first-generation Mexican-American student in her family. Through her immersion in her rich culture and the inspiration from her parents’ sacrifices, Jimena has found a passion for advocating for Latinx and minority communities.

 Jimena is currently a second-year honors student at the University of Georgia, pursuing a Bachelor of Art in Public Relations from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. At UGA, Jimena serves as Communication Chair for First-Generation Dawgs, a student-run organization that works diligently towards the success of first-generation students at UGA. She also serves as a student mentor with Latinos Invested in the Students of Tomorrow (LISTo).

In addition to her on-campus involvement, she also works as the Communications Coordinator for the Hispanic Organization Promoting Education (HoPe Inc.), where she trains and educates students across the country on promotional efforts for HoPe. In early 2022, Jimena also began working with Mi Familia Vota as an Administrative Fellow in advocacy efforts for Latinx communities across Georgia. 

Juan Carlos Ordonez

Karla DeSantos

Karla DeSantos is a Bi-lingual Research Nutritionist for Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. She is a Mexican-American first-generation graduate with a Master’s degree in Health Sciences with a Concentration in Nutrition, achieving cum laude.

She has completed over 1200 hours of graduate-level supervised practice at more than 20 different rotation sites throughout the greater Atlanta area. Worked in various community settings, food service management, and clinical settings such as acute care, ICU, diabetes, and renal. Completed chosen enrichment rotations in student wellness, children’s health education, and Chinese Medicine. She has a two-year-old son, which she had while she was in graduate school. The most fun experience she has ever had, sarcastically. Nevertheless, would not have changed a thing.

Her passion is to educate the parents and the Hispanic community on how to eat healthier as a family while considering our cultural preferences. Her goal is to bring awareness about cultural competency to all healthcare aspects and bridge the gaps between Hispanic families and nutrition health literacy. She loves to educate and inspire the youth and parents that nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all, and is easier than we think and unique to you.  

Leslie Pinon Rodriguez

First-generation Chicana, Leslie is currently a 4th grade teacher for Gwinnett County public schools. Leslie earned a Bachelor of science in Elementary Education at the University of West Georgia in 2018. A strong love for education and the young population, Leslie has spent over 5 years working with youth in non-profit organizations and/or programs throughout the community such as the Boys & Girls Club, Latin American Association mentoring program, Trio Programs, and many more. Always looking for the next exciting thing, Leslie is a self-proclaimed “foodie” who enjoys traveling, coffee shops, and all outdoor activities in the sun.

Maria Britez

Maria was born in Paraguay. She moved to the United States about 10 years ago and has lived in Lawrenceville- Georgia, ever since. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a  Master of Public Health degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She is currently working as an Epidemiologist at the Georgia Department of Public Health at District 2 -Gainesville. She is involved in helping and educating the Hispanic population about the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the Hispanic population. 

She has a passion for working and helping our communities to improve health outcomes.

Marielena Gutierrez

Marielena Gutiérrez was born in Utah to Venezuelan parents, and raised in Barquisimeto, Venezuela

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies from Yacambú University.

Marielena is an experienced community professional who has worked in different projects with diverse population including farmers, rural communities, children, and Latinx immigrants in the U.S. and Venezuela, including Yacambu Hydraulic System, FUDECO, and the Latin American Association.

She is currently an Outreach Coordinator with AECOM and her primary project is Georgia Safe Routes to School with the GA Department of Transportation. She’s in charge of Clayton, Fulton, Dekalb, and Rockdale counties.

“Moving to the U.S. as an adult and being able to work directly with immigrants at the LAA showed me the different faces of the immigration process. There’s a lot to do in this regards”.

During her free time, she loves traveling, connecting with nature, learning from different cultures, culinary experiences, art, and working out.

Michelle Quintero

Michelle Quintero is a Bilingual Community Services Associate at the Center for Leadership in Disability in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University. In her current role she supports Spanish speaking families and underrepresented communities in finding the best resources for their children especially those with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Michelle earned her Master’s in Early Childhood Education in 2020 where she developed a passion for assisting families in understanding the importance of a child’s early foundational years. Michelle is a former Elementary school teacher where she taught in Las Vegas, Nevada. In this role, Michelle provided behavioral, emotional, and academic support for students and parents, especially providing support for Spanish speaking families.

Michelle was a Teacher for America 2018 Corps member focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion in teaching practices. She is passionate about education ranging from building strong foundational skills in early years to higher education advocacy for underrepresented communities. Michelle has worked with educational nonprofits, youth leadership development, and family engagement and is proud to serve her community.

Nancy Camacho

She was born and raised in Moroleon, Guanajuato, Mexico. She moved to the U.S at the age of 17, and is currently a junior at the University of North Georgia pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services in hopes of one day using her degree to inspire and help others succeed in the face of adversity while promoting migrant and immigrant excellence.

Nancy is a CAMP (College Assistance Migrant Program) alumni, and she was a mentor in the same program for other incoming first-year migrant college students at UNG. During her first and second year at college, she worked as the HEP (High School Equivalency Program) financial and administrative intern. She found her passion in activism, specifically in the school system. Nancy was also part of the Spanish Debate Team. In addition, she was the Migrant Student Union’s former secretary and recruiter, where she advocated for migrant and Latinx students to make a difference in their campuses and communities.

Currently Nancy works as a Community Organizer for GALEO, where she hopes to do more work to advocate for migrant and Latinx people in Georgia, and around the country.

Nelson Romero-Diaz

Hello! My name is Nelson, and my family is from Honduras. Both of my parents migrated over 20+ years ago and because of their hard work & sacrifice, it allowed me to have the opportunities I have today. I’ve grown up in Lawrenceville GA all my life and recently graduated last year from GA state university with a bachelor’s in computer information systems. 

I currently work for a healthcare company as an Information Security Analyst but have been working for GALEO since Feb of 2020. I’ve never felt like I was contributing enough to the Latinos struggling in our communities including those in my own family. GALEO has allowed me to learn about the challenges we’re facing and the obstacles we’ve had to overcome. 

In my free time, I like to explore different food spots, read, play my video games, and exercise when I can!

Dr. Nelva Lee, PhD

Dr. Nelva Lee is the founder and developer of the Medical Interpreting and Translating Institute Online (MiTio). Dr. Lee is a native of Panama and speaks fluent Spanish as certified by the Language Testing International.  Dr. Lee was the Director of the Grady Health System’s Interpreter Program in 2002. Dr. Lee was a Subject Matter Expert in the creation of the CMI exam for the NBCMI and was respectively its first Chair.

Dr. Lee has over twenty years of Healthcare experience and has worked in various medical settings (outpatient, inpatient, private, and public institutions). Dr. Lee has also worked as professor for over 20 years both for graduate and undergraduate courses. Dr. Lee has a Bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration, a Masters in Health Services Administrations and a Ph.D. in Health Care Administration. 

While a director at the Grady Health System, Dr. Lee was responsible for revamping the Interpreting Program system wide. To do this, Dr. Lee sought to train all of her current and future interpreters and translators. It was through this venture that Dr. Lee became aware of the lack of flexible learning opportunities for interpreters and translators and lack of Certification nationwide. That recognition and Dr. Lee’s passion for quality delivery of healthcare, lead her to found and develop the Medical Interpreting and Translating Institute Online (MiTio) in 2004 and become involved in Certification efforts. Dr. Lee was the first Chair of the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (NBCMI).

Olivia Rios

Olivia Rios is an Indigenous Latina born and raised in New Mexico.  Olivia moved to Georgia to attend college, eventually marrying and settling in Atlanta. Olivia is a marketing tech guru, data nerd and master connector. While her career path was not traditional, it was always intentional. As a people person passionate about helping others achieve their goals, she launched her business – Cold Mountain Consulting – in 2019 to provide marketing and technology solutions to support businesses with a focus on the legal industry. Additionally, she co-founded Cold Mountain Foundation to continue building a program she developed years ago – “The Pathway to Law” high school internship program.  CM Foundation provides underserved high school students with an immersive, hands-on experience within law firms and legal organizations. In part, Olivia’s success is attributed to her unwavering discipline and perseverance, coupled with the “power” support system she has built around her.  

Selena Chavez-Gomez

Selena Chavez-Gomez was born and raised in Gainesville, Georgia. After graduating from East Hall High School ‘17, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with P.O.S.T. Certification ‘20 from the University of North Georgia and a Master’s in Public Administration from Valdosta State University ‘22. She is pursuing a career in the non-profit sector focusing on child abuse and related services. Chavez-Gomez is committed to serving children and plays an active role in trying to better protect and serve children in her community by volunteering at local victim advocate organizations. She also volunteers for organizations that better serves the Latinx community and is a member of FreeChapel. Chavez-Gomez is a proud Latina, daughter to immigrant parents from Durango, Mexico.

Shenita Binns

Shenita Binns is Global Activist, a proud mother of a Hispanic son & a daughter, a native of Georgia, and has also been working as a federal employee for over a decade now. She has been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, the New York Post, Ibraspal, and many other prominent media outlets for her activist efforts. Shenita is known worldwide for her strong advocacy and undeniable passion for social justice, equality and human rights.  She brings a wealth of advocacy knowledge to the organization, including her efforts advocating for children’s rights within the education system, acting as a Guardian Ad Litem in juvenile courts, marching at the March on Washington, the freedom ride, bus captain for the Poor Peoples Campaign, and Founder of Absolutejusticenow a non partisan advocacy group.

Stephanie Gomez

A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Stephanie Gomez holds a B.A. cum laude in Political Science with a minor in Philosophy and a concentration in Pre-Law from Georgia State University.  

While attending Georgia State, she had the opportunity to expand her knowledge regarding politics, laws, and nonprofits by interning at the Georgia General Assembly, GALEO, and a law firm. She hopes to use this experience to help bridge the gap between the immigrant community and access to legal resources.

She is currently studying law, where she intends to pursue a career in immigration and public interest law. She plans to use her degree to advocate for underrepresented and marginalized communities. In the future, she hopes to work on immigration and education reform.

Viola Martinez

Viola Martinez is very passionate about diversity inclusion within Georgia Power and her community.

For nearly two decades, Martinez has acted as an on-call Spanish interpreter for Georgia Power. She started her career as a bilingual Customer Service Representative within the company.  Viola is fluent in Spanish and English with the ability to read, write, and speak both languages.

Martinez has made it her personal mission to mentor members of the Hispanic community by participating in career day at local schools and mentoring youth through her organization affiliations such as Junior Achievement and Boys & Girls Club of America.

“I have hands-on experience in learning all the roles within Georgia Power as an acting interpreter for Spanish-speaking customers and clients. This has given me the ability to enter each classroom with a real-world approach. I have relatable work experience to share with students,” says Viola Martinez. 

“When I’m invited into the classroom, I encourage students that they can accomplish everything they want. It’s important to me that they know they have a future with Georgia Power whether it’s as an employee, customer, or both,” says Viola. 

Viola is a graduate of Shorter University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Leadership.

She’s also served in leadership roles within local environmental organizations such as Georgia Power Green Team (Northwest Region) and Keep Dalton-Whitfield Beautiful.

Martinez serves the following counties: Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gilmer, Gordon, Murray, Pickens, Walker, and Whitfield.

When she’s not encouraging students or serving on Georgia Power Employee Resource Groups for Diversity Inclusion, she’s spending time at home with her teenage son, Sammy and their two pets; Simba, (Husky and Great Pyrenees mix) and a cat named Cheeto.

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