LatinasRepresent, in collaboration with the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda‘s Latina Task Force, hosted the “Advancing Latina Leadership in Government: Demystifying the Federal Appointments Process” virtual event to call attention to the lack of Latinas in federal offices and to inspire more Latinas to seek out these opportunities.

Grisella Martinez, the Vice President of Government Relations at the National Association of Broadcasters, moderated the event, which featured Melody Gonzales and Ivette Fernandez, who both served as federal appointees, and Alma Acosta, the Executive Director of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The speakers provided information about the appointments process, talked about their experiences as appointees, and urged Latinas to apply for positions within the executive branch.

When discussing the appointments process, speakers urged Latinas to get acquainted with the “plum book,” which lists the positions that a president-elect and his staff can appoint. Speakers also encouraged Latinas to network and submit their resumes for consideration through efforts like the Latino Resume Bank, organized by Congressional Hispanic Caucus staff in their personal capacities. Anyone with questions about the Latino Resume Bank, should email: Latinoresumebank@gmail.com.

For access to the slideshow presentation used during this event click here.

To learn more about our speakers, please read their biographies listed below:

Moderator: Grisella M. Martinez currently serves as Vice President of Government Relations at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) where she represents radio and television broadcasters before Congress and within the media and telecom industry. She is a trusted resource for Members of Congress and their staff on both policy and political matters.  Before joining NAB she served as policy director for the House Democratic Caucus and also worked in the nonprofit space advocating for immigration reform. She currently serves on a number of boards that advocate for diversity and inclusion and the performing arts. Grisella holds an LL.M. from Washington College of Law at American University, a J.D. from Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, and a B.A. in English and Political Science from James Madison University.  

Former Appointee: Melody Gonzales currently serves as the Senior Advisor for Latino Community Advocacy & Partnership Engagement at the National Education Association. She has 18 years of experience in the union, nonprofit, campaign, and federal sectors. She served as a senior executive-level appointee in President Barack Obama’s administration, where she served as the chief of staff at the U.S Department of Labor Mine Safety & Health Administration and as the deputy chief of staff at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. She also has extensive experience on Capitol Hill and on the campaign trail. She serves on a number of boards, including Governor Ralph Northam’s Virginia Latino Advisory Board, where she chairs the Education and Workforce Committee. Melody holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies with minors in Environmental Studies, Spanish Literature and Theatre from the University of California San Diego, a master’s of public policy degree in international policy development from Georgetown University and a certificate in executive leadership coaching from Georgetown University.

Former Appointee: Ivette Fernandez currently serves as the Vice President of Government Relations for Endeavor- the parent of multiple entertainment companies. She has over 20 years of experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Prior to joining the private and non-profit sectors, she worked for President George W. Bush at The White House, as a political appointee at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She also worked in the U.S. Senate for two of Alaska’s senators. Ivette is also a Commissioner on the Nevada Equal Rights Commission and serves on a number of boards. She has been recognized for her contributions to the community by numerous entities. Ivette holds a bachelor’s degree from the George Washington University and a master’s degree from Georgetown University.

CHC Representative: Alma Acosta is the Executive Director for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus where she is responsible for creating a unified CHC policy platform on issues of relevance to the Hispanic community. She served as the CHC Executive Director in the 115th Congress under Chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham and is serving in the 116th Congressnow under Chairman Joaquin Castro. Prior to becoming the CHC Executive Director, she worked as a senior policy member for Chairwoman Lujan Grisham’s team. Alma originally joined Lujan Grisham’s office in 2013 as a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Graduate Fellow, beginning her work on policy issues that impact the Hispanic community, including immigration, housing, education, agriculture and the environment. Alma has a B.A. in sociology from the California State University, Long Beach, and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from California Polytechnical University Pomona.

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