The Santa Barbara Latina Leaders Network was co-founded by Guille Gil-Reynoso, Executive Special Projects Assistant to the President & CEO, Santa Barbara Foundation, and Teresa Albizu, Ed.D., Co-President, R-A Pinnacle Group. Having met during the National Hispana Leadership Institute’s (NHLI) 2012 Executive Leadership Program (ELP), the Co-Founders became aware of the benefits of being part of a network of “Hermanas” helping each other in a myriad of ways, to realize their personal and professional goals. Their conversations then led to the question “Where are our Santa Barbara Hermanas?; Who are they?; and How can we come together locally to cultivate and strengthen our collaborations in achieving increased personal and professional success?” A sense of responsibility hence emerged in identifying Latinas’ needs and challenges, as well as the resources that would impact their ability to continue to grow and contribute to everything they do at the service of others at the professional, personal, and civic levels.
The SBLLN is the only program in Santa Barbara that addresses the under-representation of Latinas in leadership positions and responds to a critical need in the community – personal and leadership development, and relationship building via a strong network. In over one year, the SBLLN grew from 45 to 200 members, representing various professional sectors: nonprofit, government, media, education, business, as well as University undergraduate and graduate students. The SBLLN has increased Latina professional visibility in Santa Barbara and is strengthening alliances and collaborations among community leaders.
The Mission of the Santa Barbara Latina Leaders Network (SBLLN) is to promote the leadership, personal development, and relationship building resources that emerging and established women leaders need for their continued success in their professional, personal, and civic lives.
The SBLLN evolved out of an “organic” and strictly volunteer effort led by the Co-Founders, with the assistance and support of several community leaders, volunteers, and sponsors. The steering committee now consists of five members that meet on a weekly basis to discuss programs and offerings, and who look forward to securing the sponsorships, funding and support required for the organization’s continued growth.
Teresa Albizu, Ed.D. (R-A Pinnacle Group)
Cinthia Chicas (Intern, University of California, Santa Barbara)
Julissa Garcia-Corona (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Guille Gil-Reynoso (Santa Barbara Foundation)
Daisy Gonzales (UCSB Doctoral Student)
Marty Ortiz (Yardi Systems)
Danielle Quinones-Ortega (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Luz Reyes-Martin (City of Goleta)
Dr. Teresa Albizu is the Founder and Co-President of the Rodriguez-Albizu Group, a Psychological Services and Relationship Counseling practice. Dr. Albizu believes that it is important to live life with joy and enthusiasm, and view one’s future with hope and optimism in order to achieve ones personal and professional goals. Dr. Albizu’s goal is to help clients understand their strengths and virtues, allowing them to live a more complete and fulfilling life.
Dr. Teresa Albizu is also the Founder & Co-President of the R-A Pinnacle Group where she serves as a leadership and organizational consultant, executive coach, and mentor. Through her consulting firm, she provides services geared at helping business and education leaders achieve lasting, distinctive and significant improvements in their personal, professional and organizational development.
Formerly, Dr. Albizu served as a higher education leader for over 20 years, and held a faculty appointment teaching courses in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is an alumna of the National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI), the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Executive Education Program, and the Center for Creative Leadership’s Leadership Development Program. Dr. Albizu co-founded the Santa Barbara Latina Leaders Network, and served as a Founding Advisory Board of the ELLA Leadership Institute.
Dr. Albizu possesses a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in Higher Education Leadership from Nova Southeastern University, and a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Carlos Albizu University. Her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology is from Florida State University. She is a native of Puerto Rico and is bi-literate in both Spanish and English.
Cinthia Chicas is the eldest sibling of three and daughter of immigrant parents of Guatemalan and Salvadoran ancestry. She grew up in Watts, California where she volunteered in places such as the Orthopedic Hospital of Los Angeles and the Bradley Milken Foundation, upon other organizations, where she enjoyed participating in community outreach. After graduating from Orthopaedic High School as an honors student, she began attending the University of California, Santa Barbara as a first generation college student. Now a second year at UCSB, she is pursuing two degrees in Sociology and Communication.
She enjoys learning about people of color and their communities and is especially interested in contributing to organizations, such as the Santa Barbara Latina Leaders Network, that provide safe spaces and learning environments for these communities.
Guille Gil-Reynoso is co-founder of the Santa Barbara Latina Leaders Network, a volunteer organization dedicated to providing leadership training, personal development, and relationship building resources to established and emerging leaders in Santa Barbara. She also serves as executive special projects assistant to the Santa Barbara Foundation’s president & CEO and is the liaison to the foundation’s board of trustees.
Previously, Guille worked as a landscape architectural designer for Wallace, Roberts & Todd, an urban design planning firm in San Diego and at George W. Girvin Associates in Santa Barbara. She expanded into the nonprofit sector where she worked for Santa Barbara Channels, helping nonprofit organizations place arts, culture, and education programs on television.
Guille graduated from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor of Science degree in landscape architecture. She is an alumna of the National Hispana Leadership Institute Executive Leadership Program, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Executive Education Program, and the Center for Creative Leadership. In addition, Guille has served on the steering committee of the Partnership For Excellence conference, which brings together leaders from Santa Barbara County’s philanthropic sector to build relationships, explore ideas, and enhance organizations. Guille believes in collaborative, creative, and compassionate work, and values the opportunity to serve her community.
Daisy Angelica Gonzales is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She received a B.A. in Public Policy, Race and Ethnicity from Mills College, and an M.A. in Sociology and Gender from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is an experienced professional with a background in public policy, legislative relations and qualitative research methods. She is dedicated to transform community organizing into policy solutions.
Daisy is a 2009-10 Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellow and former Budget Consultant for the California State Assembly, where she was responsible for $9.7 billion in state and federal funds. Her dissertation, “Governing from Glass Offices,” examines occupational sex segregation in elected office, the intersectionality of race, class and gender, and models to diversify state legislatures nationwide.
Daisy is a 2014 Deans Fellow, 2011 SAGE Publications Fellow, and National Science Foundation M.O.S.T Award recipient. Daisy currently servers in the California State Council for Developmental Disabilities, which ensures that people with developmental disabilities and their families, receive the services and supports they need. Daisy is also the Vice President of Policy for the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee, a PAC dedicated to furthering gender equality and other feminist values through political, social, and educational activities. As a former foster youth, she dedicates her free-time to mentor foster youth and develop summer programs that emphasize leadership development and academic scholarship.
Luz Reyes-Martin grew up in the greater Los Angeles area and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Chicano/a Studies from Stanford University. She went on to obtain Master of Planning and Master of Public Administration degrees from the University of Southern California (USC). She has extensive experience working in local government and currently works as a Management Analyst with the City of Goleta. She previously worked as an urban planning, strategic planning, and community outreach consultant for a private firm. Luz is involved in various leadership activities including serving on the USC Price School of Public Policy Alumni Association Board of Directors, the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee Board of Directors, and as a Board Member for the Stanford Club of Santa Barbara. She is also an active member of her community and serves as a Trustee on the Goleta Union School District, a position that allows her to connect with the local community and work towards helping all students reach their highest potential. She lives in Goleta with her husband, Diego and their Corgi mix, Coco.
Julissa Garcia-Corona was born and raised in Santa Maria, Ca. She is the proud daughter of immigrant parents and a first generation college student. Her upbringing and the challenges she faced shaped her desire and passion for education and have motivated her to pursue a career supporting others in their pursuit for higher education. She attended Allan Hancock Community College, and then transferred to UC Santa Barbara where she graduated in 2007 with a BA in Sociology. As an undergraduate, she worked as a peer advisor for Cal-SOAP supporting community college students to pursue higher education.
Julissa is currently a Program Manager for the Orfalea Foundation’s REACH program, where she oversees the Post Secondary core area in which students explore post secondary options, navigates the college application process, and pursue ways for fund their education. She has had the privilege of working with adolescents in a variety of youth development programs in both Santa Barbara and Ventura County and is continuously inspired by them.
Julissa’s currently lives in Santa Barbara with her Husband Oscar Corona. Some of her personal hobbies include Stand up Paddle Boarding, spending time with friends and family, and watching Novelas!
Danielle Quiñones-Ortega is the eldest of three siblings who were raised in a family business (La Novia Fashions) established by her parents who immigrated to Santa Maria, Ca. in search of opportunities. With an informal background in business, she learned that retail was more than just selling goods to the customers but also was a form therapy for the community as clients arrived to check in and share life struggles. One common theme that continued to emerge was the value of higher education. She then attended the UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) as a first generation college student aimed to pave the way for her siblings. As soon as she arrived, she became very involved on campus and received her B.A. in Chicana/o Studies, Education and Applied Psychology. As an undergraduate student, she worked on campus for Residential and Community Living, Student Life, and Career Services serving her fellow Gauchos in areas of transition and development. It was through these experiences that she fell in love with the field of Student Affairs.
Following graduation, she attended San Diego State University and received her M.A. in Education with a concentration in Post-secondary Educational Leadership and a specialization in Student Affairs. Danielle currently serves as the Assistant Director for Leadership Development & First-Year Initiatives within the Office of Student Life at her alma mater, UC Santa Barbara. Lead by values of growth, service, achievement, success, and service, her passion for guiding students as they build community and move through college has magnified. In this role, she works with Gauchos in all walks of life succeed, with special attend to their co-curricular involvement and preparation for life after college. She loves the work she does so much that she commutes daily to UCSB from Santa Maria where she lives with her family.