As we kick off Latine/X Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15, 2023), we’re spotlighting and celebrating some of the inspiring Latine/x women who’ve joined the Girl Geek X community as SPEAKERS and THOUGHT LEADERS at our various Girl Geek Dinners and ELEVATE Virtual Conferences over the past 15 years.
#1 – Aubrey Blanche-Sarellano – Culture Amp Senior Director, People Operations & Strategic ProgramsAubrey is The Mathpath (Math Nerd + Empath), Senior Director of People Operations & Strategic Programs at Culture Amp, and a startup investor and advisor.
Through all her work, she seeks to question, reimagine, and redesign the systems and practices that surround us to ensure that all people can access equitable opportunities and build a better world. Her work is undergirded by her training in social scientific methods and grounded in the fundamental dignity and value of every person.
Her professional expertise covers a broad range of equitable enterprise operations, from talent lifecycle programs and accessible product development to event design and communications & media. She is the inventor of the balanced teams approach to building proportional representation and a culture of belonging in the workplace, as well as the Balanced Teams Diversity Assessment in the Atlassian Team Playbook. She works to open source these methods for all practitioners and business leaders, and releases thought leadership and tools to create positive change at aubreyblanche.com.
She is an advisor to a variety of groups seeking to build a more just world, including Aleria Research and Joonko. Her work has been featured in Wired, the Wall Street Journal, the Australian Financial Review, USA Today, Re/Code, First Round Review, and more. She also has previous academic affiliations with Stanford and Northwestern, and an appointment at the Equity by Design Lab at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Despite the accolades listed here, she asks that you engage with her work to judge her competence: traditional proxies of merit and/or competence help reinforce the systems that keep incredible people from the opportunities they deserve.
#2 – Cindy Alvarez – Microsoft Director of UX, PowerPointCindy is the author of “Lean Customer Development: Building Products Your Customers Will Buy” and Director of UX at PowerPoint (Microsoft). Previously, she was the Director of Customer Research at GitHub, and also served as Director of User Experience for Yammer (a Microsoft company).
She has over a dozen years’ experience leading design, product management, user research, and customer development for startups, and used that background to drive intrapreneurial change within Microsoft.
#3 – Citlalli Solano Leonce – Palo Alto Networks Director of Engineering
Citlalli is a Director of Engineering (Network Security) at Palo Alto Networks. She has also worked as Director of Engineering at Splunk, where she oversaw the Enterprise Security team. Citlalli previously served as Director of Cloud Security Engineering at Palo Alto Networks, where teams develop the backend of the Public Cloud Security service that protects enterprises as they unleash the power of the cloud.
Citlalli has navigated her teams through M&A integrations while successfully building highly distributed API-based SaaS security platforms.
Earlier in her career, she developed software for CirroSecure, Cisco, Apple and The Central Bank of Mexico. Citlalli holds a BS in Computer Systems Engineering from Tecnolgico de Monterrey in Mexico, and an MS in Information Security Technology and Management from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh PA. She’s also an advisor at Techmmunity.
#4 – Diane Gonzalez – Amazon VP of TechnologyAs a pioneering woman in tech, Diane began her tech career at Hewlett-Packard as a Senior Software Engineer in the 80’s. Diane is a proven, respected technology executive, currently serving as Vice President of Technology at Amazon, and she previously oversaw Amazon’s AWS Commerce Platform in a VP role.
Prior to joining Amazon, she was Vice President/GM of Platform Services at VMware. She was also Vice President of Engineering for the Online Services Division at Citrix. She has worked as an Executive Consultant with several start-ups where she functioned as the Vice President of Engineering, and served as VP of Product Development at Intuit. She is an active member in various women and minority forums.
#5 – Geysa Dantas – ServiceNow VP of Product Management
Geysa is the Vice President of Product Management at ServiceNow. Previously, she served as Senior Director of Product Management, Customer Experience at AppDynamics. She also worked at Adobe and Get Satisfaction as a Director of Product Management.
Originally from Brazil, Geysa graduated in the top 5% of her class from Universidade Federal da Bahia with a degree in Computer Science. She started her career as a programmer, but later went back to school to get her MBA in Marketing and Finance and then switched careers to move from development to Product Management. Through a series of big and small companies, Geysa found herself at AppDynamics to rejoin their CEO David Wadhwani who she worked closely with at Adobe, to build AppDynamics Customer Experience.
#7 – Jomayra Herrera – Reach Capital Partner
Jomayra has experience working with early and growth-stage companies both as an investor and an operator. She is currently a Partner at Reach Capital, and sits on the Board of Directors at both SomosVC and WorkWhile. Previously, she was a Principal at Cowboy Ventures, and prior to that, she spent nearly 3 years as an investor at Emerson Collective.
As an early hire on the investing team, she played an important role in creating internal processes, building key investment theses, and helping to grow the team. During her time there, she worked on a diverse range of investments, including traditional venture investments and buyouts, and developed a special interest in companies tackling issues related to the Future of Work. She also worked at BloomBoard, an early-stage education technology company, where she focused on customer success and growth.
She is incredibly passionate about partnering with entrepreneurs to help grow and scale their companies.
#8 – Lili Gangas – Kapor Center Chief Technology Community Officer
Lili is the Chief Technology Community Officer at the Kapor Center for Social Impact. In her role, Lili helps catalyze Oakland’s emergence as a social impact hub of tech done right – where tech, diverse talent, and action driven partnerships can tackle pressing social and economic inequities of our communities head-on.
Lili advises inclusive tech entrepreneurship ecosystem building activities Oakland initiatives such as Oakland Startup Network, TechHire Oakland, Latinx in Tech, Kapor Center Innovation Lab.
Before coming to the Kapor Center, Lili was an Associate Principal at Accenture Technology Lab’s Open Innovation team, based out of Silicon Valley, building bridges between startups and commercial clients. She was also a founding member of the Innovation Services team at Booz Allen specializing in crowdsourcing, prize challenges, and open data solutions at the federal level. Before that, Lili could be found in the lab working on software and hardware solutions for the aerospace industry as a Senior Multi-Disciplined Software Engineer at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems.
Lili is a proud immigrant from Bolivia who believes in fostering inclusive tech ecosystems for all. She’s been an active Startup Weekend organizer – helping launch Women’s Edition, Impact Edition, and Latinx in Tech Editions. She also helped organize the first ever TEDxOakland. She is an advisor to tech focused nonprofits such as AI-4-All.org, 1Degree.org and Dreamwakers.org.
Lili holds an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business, a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California and Systems Engineering Certification from UCLA Extension.
#9 – Luiza Pena – Cadence Lead Application Engineer
Luiza is a Lead Formal Verification Engineer at Cadence Design Systems in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. She is working in the Semiconductor industry by driving usage success and business across several top notch US-based companies remotely. She believes women can boost their career through good strategies and overcome the networking challenges of remote work. With this mindset, she has worked with mentorship and career counseling volunteer projects for STEM women inside and outside Brazil.
#10 – Maria Lucena – Fidelity Investments Director of Architecture
Maria is a Director of Architecture at Fidelity Investments, and has been in Software Development for over a decade. She started as a freelance web developer in 2009, with only a Web Development Diploma.
Once she had a solid portfolio, she landed a compelling opportunity at Santander Bank in Boston. After working with Java, Oracle, Microsoft SQL servers, and Angular 1, Maria was ready for her next adventure.
In 2015, she was going to school part-time for her Associate’s in IT and landed a job at Fidelity Investments. Here’s where Maria’s career took off. She is a full-stack engineer, but her best work has been backend work, which is where she prefers to spend her days. In the last two years, she has applied for two patents with a college at Fidelity, one of which has been accepted.
#11 – Rocio Montes – Github Senior Engineering Manager
Rocio is a Senior Engineering Manager at Github. She leads the Actions Compute team, ensuring the massive capacity required to power Actions runners. Prior to this role, she was engineering manager and tech lead for inner source and open source at Intuit. She is a true community builder, and works to connect and collaborate with software engineers to deliver amazing end-to-end solutions.
She is also currently Co-Chair for Grace Hopper Conference’ Open Source Day.
Outside of work, Rocio is the Co-founder of “Emar”, a small business with a mission to connect US small businesses with technology needs to software engineering interns in Peru.
#12 – Sandra Lopez – Microsoft GM / VP / CMO
Sandra is an internationally recognized business leader, currently serving as GM/VP/CMO at Microsoft. Prior to joining Microsoft, she built an impressive career at Intel spanning nearly 16 years and leading multiple departments. Most recently, she held the role of Vice President for Intel Sports and Media, responsible for partnering with the sports and media industry to provide the future fans and consumers with the next generation of immersive media experiences. Her team at Intel was focused on leading the business, marketing, and market development efforts of Intel Sports and Intel Studios.
She also previously worked within Intel’s New Technology Group, leading and managing the Fashion wearable business. In this role, she was a vocal advocate for the convergence between fashion and technology. Earlier in her Intel career, she held various roles within corporate marketing, including director of new business marketing and director of consumer marketing. In the latter role, she led Intel’s brand repositioning work to earn an Intel Achievement Award in 2010. She also earned industry honors.
Before joining Intel in 2005, she worked at Adobe Systems Inc., Macromedia, Computer Associates International Inc. and several other technology companies where she earned a reputation for transforming and growing businesses. She holds a bachelor’s of science degree in economics and textiles and clothing from the University of California at Davis. In addition, she attended the Stanford Intel Accelerator Program. As part of contributing to the community, she is focused on building the next generation of women leaders and is a vocal advocate for equality.
Since 2018, Sandra has co-chaired the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on AR/VR. She has been recognized as one of the “Most Powerful Latinas” (ALPFA), Most Powerful Women in Tech” (National Diversity Council), “Top Women in Media” (Cynopsis), “Top 10 Latina Executives” (LatinaStyle), “Top 100 Most Influential Latina” (Latino Leaders) , “Most Influential and Notable Hispanic Professionals in Information Technology” (HiTec) and “Game Changer” (Sports Business Journal).
Honorable Mentions – Latine/X Women We’d Love to Hear From!
The above list is just a snapshot of the dozens of remarkable Latine/X leaders and innovators who’ve joined us at Girl Geek X / Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners over the past 15+ years. There are many more we’d love to invite back to speak again, or feature at a Girl Geek event for the first time!
Adriana Rojas Garzón – Vice President & Assistant General Counsel, Bain Capital
Alejandra Meza – Head of Product Design, Huckleberry Labs
Alma Islas – Global Deployment Manager & Co-Founder of Oracle Latinos Alliance, Oracle
Amy Jiménez Márquez – VP of Experience Design, Zillow
Ana Arriola – Director of Product Design, AI & Insights, Cloud + AI, Microsoft
Ana Corrales – Chief Operating Officer, Google Consumer Hardware
Ana Pompa Alarcón – CEO, Founders Registry
Annie Benitez Pelaez – Vice President of Product Management, Genesys
Beatriz Copelli – SVP, CIO North America, Danone
Carolina Barcenas – Head of Platform Data Science, Airbnb
Carolina Galleguillos – Senior Machine Learning Engineer, Google
Catalina Laverde – Engineering Manager at Spotify
Christina Cuarón – Managing & Chief Operating Officer, Core Technology Infrastructure, Bank of America
Claudia Barrera – Senior Vice President Global Applications, Colgate-Palmolive
Cristina Rodriguez – VP / GM, Wireless Access Network Division, Intel Corporation
Cristina Rufeisen – Senior Director IT, Program Management, Electronic Arts (EA)
Cynthia Maxwell – Vice President of Software Engineering, Disney Entertainment and ESPN Technology
Dena R. Jones – Vice President, Office of the CIO, Fannie Mae
Denise Hernandez – Program Manager, Artificial Intelligence, Meta
Diana Centeno-Gomez, Chief, Smart Sensing and Electronics Systems Branch, NASA Glenn Research Center
Diana Toscas – Director of Engineering, Developer Productivity & Operations, PayPal Checkout
Diana Trujillo – Aerospace Engineer & Flight Director, Artemis Program, NASA
Élida Cruz – Vice President, Head of Business Experience Design, Capital One
Elizabeth Agosto – COO, Global Cybersecurity, BNY Mellon
Ester Peña – VP, Software Engineering, Travelers
Evelyn Miralles – Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Xploration LLC
Gloria Candelario Hossri – Associate Vice President, Digital Supply Chain, Merck
Grecia Castaldi – Director of Community, Women Who Code
Gretel Perera – Co-Founder, Latinas in Technology
Guayente Sanmartin – General Manager, Global Head of Commercial Systems & Displays Solutions, HP
Gyssela Moreno-Stephens – Strategy and Integration, Business Execution Director, Wells Fargo
Ina Fried – Chief Technology Correspondent, Axios
Irma Olguin Jr. – Co-Founder & CEO, Bitwise Industries
Jacqueline Guichelaar – Customer Experience Officer, APAC, Cisco
Julie Acosta – Senior Web Analytics Manager, AutoZone
Katia Beauchamp – CEO, Victoria Beckham Beauty & Co-Founder, Birchbox
Katty Coulson – Vice President IT & CIO, Oracle NetSuite
Keria Bermúdez-Hernández, PhD – Principal Data Scientist, Sonos
Kristen Sonday – Co-Founder, Paladin
Lidia Fonseca – Chief Digital and Technology Officer, Executive Vice President, Pfizer
Lidiane Jones – CEO, Slack (Salesforce)
Lidia Santos – Vice President of Information Technology, UPS
Lilian Rincon – Senior Director of Product Management, Google
Lisa Morales-Hellebo – Co-Founder, The Worldwide Supply Chain Federation / Co-Founder & General Partner, REFASHIOND Ventures
Liz Munoz – Chief Creative Officer, Torrid
Loni Olazaba – Director, Technical Recruiting, Robinhood
Lori Castillo Martinez – EVP & Chief Equality Officer, Salesforce
Lynette Midy – Senior Director Of Engineering, SpotHero
Marcela Escobar Alava – Deputy CIO, White House, Executive Office of the President
Maria Cuba – Director, Community Partnerships, Airbnb
Mariely Bandas-Franzetti – Vice President, Information Technology, Cisco
May Garcia – Senior Producer, Internal Game Studios, Netflix
Megan Hogan – Global Head of Talent & Chief Diversity Officer, Goldman Sachs
Miriam Flores – Software Engineer III, BlackRock
Monica Caldas – EVP, Global Chief Information Officer, Liberty Mutual Insurance
Monica Esparza Younger – Vice President, Dell Financial Services IT, Dell Technologies
Nellie Borrero – Managing Director, Senior Strategic Advisor – Global Inclusion & Diversity, Accenture
Patty Arvielo – Co-Founder & President, New American Funding
Pilar Manchón, PhD – Senior Director of Engineering, AI Research Strategy, Google
Rachel ten Brink – General Partner & Co-Founder, Red Bike Capital
Roasanna Durruthy – VP, Global Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging, LinkedIn
Rocío Medina van Nierop – CEO & Co-Founder, Latinas in Tech
Rosa Gonzalez Welton – Director of Product Management, Intuit
Sandra Mosquera – Vice President & API Marketplace Product Manager, JP Morgan Chase
Sandra Rivera – Executive Vice President & General Manager of the Data Center and AI Group, Intel Corporation
Sarah Ricketts – Director Business Solutions, Intuit Mailchimp
Susan Doniz – Chief Information Officer, Boeing
Tanya Menendez – Co-Founder & CEO, Snowball Wealth
Tatiana Dominguez – Deputy Chief Technology Officer, Deloitte
Thamara Ramirez-Walker – Global Vice President Sustainability ESG Marketing, SAP
Want to speak at a future Girl Geek X event or know someone who should?
We’re always looking for inspiring stories, unique voices, and helpful insights from both new and established speakers! We host IRL events in the San Francisco Bay Area, plus virtual events every quarter, and submissions are accepted on a rolling basis. Read about what types of talks we’re looking for, then submit your speaker proposal here!
We also accept speaker suggestions/nominations, so if there’s an awesome Latine/X woman or non-binary individual you think we should invite to speak at a future Girl Geek X event, head on over to our LinkedIn post and tag her in the comments!
Plus We Have Bay Area Volunteer Opportunities for Latine/X Month!
On Monday, October 2, 2023 (1:00pm-2:30pm), Girl Geek X Community Volunteers will read books to 2-3 elementary school classes that celebrate Latine/x culture in a 90-minute volunteer shift. Books and sample questions to guide conversations are provided by the nonprofit Oakland Public Education Fund.
Volunteers do not need to identify as Latine/x to participate, and those who do identify as such are encouraged to participate and share about their culture with students.