Lili Gil Valletta, Claudia Romo Edelman, and Yari Blanco were each awarded for their trailblazing work in building more Latina leaders. Also pictured: Daniel Villao, Board of Directors chair for ALPFA & Damian Rivera, CEO of ALPFA. Photo Courtesy of Martin Alfaro
Lili Gil Valletta, Claudia Romo Edelman, and Yari Blanco were each awarded for their trailblazing work in building more Latina leaders. Also pictured: Daniel Villao, Board of Directors chair for ALPFA & Damian Rivera, CEO of ALPFA. Photo Courtesy of…

2019 ALPFA Convention: Journeys… Past, Present & Future


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The first and longest-standing national Latino professional association in the United States just wrapped up their 47th annual convention this past week.

ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals for America), established in Los Angeles, has been serving its mission to connect and inspire the next generation of Latino leaders for purposeful impact in their community since 1972.

The annual convention, which took place Aug. 3-6 in Nashville, TN, attracted more than 3,000 attendees and 75+ companies, and provided ample opportunities for colleagues to connect and diversify their network.

More than 60% of the attendees were professionals, and more than 80% of the student attendees hold a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The convention featured more than 90 workshops for both professionals and students. 

The theme of the 2019 ALPFA Convention was: “Journeys… Past, Present & Future.”

“When we were considering possible themes for this year’s convention, we wanted to focus on people feeling empowered by their personal stories, their own hero’s journey and to take action,” ALPFA CEO Damian Rivera, said in a statement. 

Each of the panels, sessions and speeches throughout the convention functioned as a way to pinpoint just that — empowerment and taking action. 

Adria Córdova, president of ALPFA Philadelphia, called the convention “remarkable.”

“We heard from many inspiring leaders who encouraged us all to be loud and make our voices heard and be proud of who we are as a Latino community,” she said in an email. “Given the current state of our country, it was encouraging to be with thousands of other Latinos empowering and supporting one another.”

The featured speakers from the convention were: Sekou Andrews, CEO & Founder of SekouWorld Inc.; Claudia Romo Edelman, Founder of the We Are All Human Foundation; Joe Brusuelas, Chief Economist at RSM US, LLP; and Luis Visoso, VP Finance Worldwide Consumer Amazon. 

The ALPFA convention also provided an opportunity to recognize the 45 professional chapters and 160 student chapters working to connect and build the next generation of Latino professionals. 

The Philadelphia professional chapter was named the 2019 Chapter of the Year.

“[This] is an accomplishment we are extremely proud of and would not have been possible without the support of our partners, sponsors, and dedicated members,” said Córdova. 

Members and representatives of ALPFA Philadelphia's professional and student chapters. Photo: Melva Torres

Córdova, who just recently took on the role of the president of the Philadelphia chapter in July 2019, has been a ALPFA member for 10 years, and is eternally grateful for all the organization has given her both as a student and a professional.  

“As a college student, ALPFA exposed me to corporate America and gave me a glimpse of the endless opportunities that I didn’t know existed. As a professional, ALPFA has been my connection to the cities I have lived in and has allowed me to make lifetime friendships across the country that I will cherish forever,” said Córdova.

“As a way of giving back to the organization that has given me so much, it was time for me to lead as the Chapter President to hopefully inspire and make an impact on other Latinos and our community in any capacity that I can,” she added. 

Women of ALPFA (WOA), an initiative dedicated to the professional success of Latina women, also played a significant role in the convention. The WOA program at the convention included several panels for all levels — early career, mid-career, and executive level. It also featured a luncheon panel where three esteemed Latina leaders were awarded for their trailblazing work.

Claudia Romo Edelman was awarded with the 2019 Latina Excellence Award; Lili Gil Valletta, co-founder of CulturIntel and CIEN+, was awarded with the 2019 Latina Entrepreneur Award; and Yari Blanco, senior manager of cultural & diversity at The Wing was awarded with the 2019 Rising Emerging Leader award. 

For the third straight year at the convention, the organization also announced the Top 50 Most Powerful Latinas list. The announcement of the list will then culminate in a 50 Most Powerful Latinas Summit on Oct. 3 in Jersey City, NJ. The women who made up the top 50 list came from positions ranging from the corporate to entrepreneurial to the nonprofit sectors. 

In addition, more than $100,000 total in scholarships were awarded to 30 deserving students across the country throughout the convention. 

Student Chapter President of Villanova University, Jaivian Gaetan, was part of the winning team for the ALPFA Technology Challenge powered by Deloitte, where he competed on a team of four against other students across the country to solve a need in the Latino community. The team was awarded $7,500.

The annual convention is just one small part of ALPFA’s mission, however. 

“The ALPFA Convention is just the start of empowering the Latino community,” said Rivera, noting that their objectives are centered on igniting inspiration and empowerment for Latinos to take action and use their voice to create change. 

The 2020 ALPFA Convention will take place in Las Vegas, NV.

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