The list 101 top leaders of the Latino community in the U.S.

Author:Allen, Kerri
Position:Cover story

Here they are again: one hundred and one of the most compelling, dedicated and successful examples of leadership in this country. Most are Latinos, some are not, but all of them share one common denominator: they are the forces currently setting in motion every single change and advancement that affects the Latino community in the U.S. today. For the fourth year in a row, and this time coming to you in the heat of summer, here is our compilation of the creme-de-la-creme leaders of the Hispanic society today.

Where are they? California = 32 Florida = 13 Illinois = 4 New York = 12 Texas = 9 Washington, D.C. = 13 Other * = 18 * Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, Arkansas, Idaho, Pennsylvania, New Jersey What is their Gender? Men - 81 Women - 18 Groups * - 2 * One family, one musical group Where do they come from? Mexico = 53 Cuba = 16 Puerto Rico = 10 U.S.A. = 7 Other * = 15 * Egypt, Panama, Spain, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Honduras and Venezuela What are their ages? 28-39 = 6 40-59 = 61 60-75 = 33 75+ = 1 What's their level of education? Secondary/High School = 13 Bachelor's Degree = 34 Master's Degree = 20 Doctoral Degree = 29 Other * = 5 * Some Elementary, Some Secondary, Some College Note: Table made from pie chart. 2007 New Arrivals:

Isabel Allende

Linda Chavez-Thompson

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Deirdre Connelly

Alfonso Cuaron

Guillermo Del Toro

Don Francisco (Mario


Bill Gates

Rudolph Giuliani

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Pedro Greer, Jr.


Harry Reid

Gustavo Santaolalla

Lionel Sosa

Juan R. Torruella

2007 Departures:

George W. Bush

Sandra Cisneros

Alvaro de Molina

Andy Garcia

Aida Maisonet-Giachello

Steny Hoyer

Ismael Leyva

Douglas Patino

J. Christopher Reyes

Robert Rodriguez

Carlos Santana


Alejandro Silva



Federal Government

National Border Patrol Chief, U.S. Customs and Border Protection


U.S. Border Patrol


Highest Academic Level: Graduate

J. F. Kennedy School of Government

Age: 62

Residence: Washington, D.C.

Who he is:

Born in South Texas' Rio Grande valley, Aguilar served as Patrol Agent in charge of thee different Border Patrol Stations in Texas from 1988 to August 1996. He was first promoted to Patrol Agent in Charge of the Dallas Border Patrol Station in January 1988 and was promoted to the Rio Grande City Border Patrol Station in 1992 The Rio Grande City Station is one of the most active stations for narcotics interdiction along the Texas-Mexico border. He was promoted to the Brownsville Station in July 1995, then the largest Border Patrol Station in the Central Region.

Why he made the list:

Aguilar was named Chief of the Border Patrol, in May 2004, and assumed the position July 1, 2004. As the nation's highest ranking Border Patrol officer, Chief Aguilar directs the enforcement efforts of more than 12,000 Border Patrol Agents nationwide. Chief Aguilar brings to the job the Knowledge and expertise gained from more than 26 years of service with the Border Patrol, along with a clear understanding of the demands of the force he is in charge of.

Our Prediction:

Expect Aguilar, on the wake of President Bush's newly signed "Secure Fence Act", to spend more time and effort developing new policies for the agency to handle the new challenges that building the fence will bring along with its completion.



Health & Sciences

Mental Health America Chairman of the Board


UC Davis


Highest Academic Level: M.D.

Autonomous University of Guadalajara

Age: 53

Residence: Sacramento California

Who he is:

Originally from Mexico, Aguilar-Gaxiola is the founding director of UC Davis' Center for Reducing Health Disparities, where he guides a multidisciplinary, community-focused, collaborative approach to studying and solving inequities in health access and quality of care.

Why he made the list:

In June of 2006, Dr Aguilar-Gaxiola was named Chair of the board of Mental Health America, where he is expected to provide direction and leadership to the national organization and its over 320 Affiliates nationwide. Since 1993, he has been the Director of the Mexican-American Prevalence and Services Survey (MAPSS) Project. Since 1999, the Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean of the World Health Organization's World Mental Health Consortium. In early 2006, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office honored Dr Aguilar-Gaxiola with a Minority Health's National Minority Health Hispanic Community Leader Award.

Our Prediction:

As the head of the nation's oldest and largest nonprofit organization addressing all aspects of mental health, Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola will devote his best effort to increase the understanding and treatment of mental illness, and as usual, he will succeed.






Isabel Allende Foundation


Highest Academic Level: Doctor of Letters

Bates College

Age: 64

Residence: San Rafael, California

Who she is:

Allende is a Chilean writer in the "magic realism" tradition, who is considered one of the first successful women novelists in Latin America. She has written novels based in part on her own experiences, often focusing on the experiences of women, weaving myth and realism together. She has lectured and done extensive book tours and has taught literature at several US colleges. After the overthrow and assassination in 1973 of her uncle, former Chile president Salvadar Allende, she, her husband and children fled to Venezuela for safety. In 2003, Allende obtained U.S. citizenship.

Why she made the list:

Allende's impact on not only Latin American literature but also on world literature cannot be underestimated. The Los Angeles Times has called Isabel Allende "a genius," and she has received many international awards, including the prestigious Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, granted to writers "who have contributed to the beauty of the world." She is also the founder d the Isabel Allende Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting programs that promote and preserve the fundamental rights of women and children to be empowered and protected. Literary legend is on overused term and few living writers are accorded such a reputation, but in Isabel's case, it is a perfectly befitting title.

Our Prediction:

With the continued devotion of her legion of fans and three movies of her books currently in production--Aphrodite, Eva Luna and Gift for a Sweetheart--Allendes continued success and popularity seem assured.




Radio Personality, Host of "El Cucuy de la Manana" Radio Show


97.9FM--La Raza

(310) 229-3210

Highest Academic Level: Secondary

Age: 53

Residence: Los Angeles, California

Who he is:

Born in Honduras, Almendarez began his radio career at the age of 15 and moved to the United States in 1982 where he is currently the top radio personality in Southern California. In 2003, he wrote "El Cucuy: En La Cumbre de la Pobreza " an autobiography of his humble childhood in Honduras to his eventual success as Los Angeles's top, and hottest, Spanish speaking Radio host.

Why he made the list:

Unquestionably, "El Cucuy" has become an icon of the Latino community in the west coast. But what makes Almendarez such an inspiring leader is his commitment to the community, whether it is marching for immigration reform, registering new voters or raising millions for disaster relief in Central America, Indonesia and the United States through the El Cucuy Foundation, a non-profit organization Almendarez created in 2002. A man of very strong convictions who is not afraid to let them show, he is the quintessential "leader of the trenches".

Our Prediction:

Renan has been quite outspoken against the proposed immigration reform going so far as to organizing marches to protest it and urging the people to vote in order to effect change. Now that the Democrats are in charge of the house, expect Almendarez efforts to begin yielding results.



Business Owners

President and CEO, Alvarado Construction, Inc.


Alvarado Construction, Inc.


Highest Academic Level: B.A. in Economics

Pomona College

Age: 54

Residence: Denve, Colorado

Who she is:

Born in Albuquerque of Mexican descent, Alvarado was the only girl in a family of six children with a mother who helped support the family by taking in laundry and ironing work. She graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, California, guided by her mother's philosophy of "start small, but think big." Alvarado's first job was on a construction site as a project accountant. Now, Alvarado is the president and CEO of Alvarado Construction Company, one of the fastest-growing commercial general contracting firms in the United States, with over $41 million revenues per year.

Why she made the list:

At a time when women made up less than 1% of the construction workforce, Alvarado became a site manager and decided to start her own construction company in the mid-1970s. Today Alvarado Construction boasts more than 450 employees and annual revenues in excess of $41 million. Under her purview, Alvarado Construction erected the Denver Broncos Stadium and Denver international Airport. She was the first woman and the first Hispanic to co-own a professional major league baseball team. She serves as Chairman of the Board of the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as Commissioner of the White House Initiative for Hispanic Excellence in Education.

Our Prediction:

Though Alvarado Construction keeps on growing, Linda has dedicated more and more time to promoting leadership and success among Latinos. Expect her business to continue to skyrocket, as Linda reveals her philanthropic side by spending even more time and money teaching and inspiring Latinos.



Corporate Leaders

President and COO, McDonald's Corporation


McDonald's Corporation


Highest Academic Level: B.B.A.

University of Miami

Age: 57

Residence: Oak Brook, Illinois

Who he is:

Born in Cuba and raised in...

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