Our Leadership

Founder: Alberto B. Mendoza

Alberto B. Mendoza is a managing director for the world renowned John S. Knight Journalism (JSK) Fellowships at Stanford University. The program trains, develops and supports emerging and veteran journalists around the world. Alberto’s expertise areas are in non-profit management, mentorship, DEI initiatives, fundraising and entrepreneurship. Prior to joining JSK, he was the Executive Director for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) nearly six years.

At NAHJ, he launched several new initiatives, including several multi-million dollar fundraising drives, the Hispanic Cultural Competency Handbook for newsrooms and palabra, a multimedia outlet that hires freelance journalists to tell stories of the Latino community. The organization also expanded its partnerships and reach to provide mentoring, leadership development and training for it’s 4,000 + members.

Alberto is also is a coach for several journalism and fundraising training programs and is an alumnus of the Poynter Institute’s Media Transformation Challenge (MTC) executive fellowship program.

Prior to joining NAHJ, Alberto held leadership positions in nonprofit education, environmental and health organizations. Among his major roles: western regional vice president of Jumpstart, an early childhood education nonprofit organization and president and CEO of the Coalition for Clean Air (CCA), a California policy and advocacy organization.

Alberto is founder of Honor41.org, a 10 year old online non-profit organization that promotes Latinx LGBTQ role models through social media, education and storytelling. Alberto was inspired to launch Honor 41 because of his personal experience of being bullied and teased in high school for being gay. Honor 41 is an extension of his work as a leader in LGBTQ advocacy, community organizing and HIV/AIDS organizations, work he has been doing for over 30 years.

Alberto was born in Mexico and was raised in Puerto Rico and San Diego. He is a graduate of California Polytechnic University in Pomona, California.

Candice Cobarrubias

Candice is a Santa Monica Police Sergeant and is an active member of the LGBTQ community in the LA/Long Beach Area. She has been in law-enforcement for over 18 years and worked for the CA State Legislature for 5 years prior beginning her career with the LAPD. Candice earned a Master’s Degree from USC and a BA from California Polytechnic University, Pomona. She is an East LA native and was an honoree (#4) on the 2013 41 List.

Mariana and Maria Almaraz Perez

Mariana and Maria are long time LGBTQ advocates in San Diego, CA. They are active in SD’s PFLAG and participated in the documentary “Mi Familia”. They are 2013 41 honorees (#14) and work for a local union. After 14 years together they got married on Sept 2013.

Cesar Portillo

César is Vice President of Clinic Advancement for the Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic. For over two decades, César has served in senior staff positions for leading non-profits in their respective fields. As Chief of Public Affairs at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation he launched its Latin America bureau, with outpatient clinics in Mexico and Honduras. As Vice President for Strategic Development for BIENESTAR he spearheaded growth initiatives including revenue development and strategic partnerships. He is an alumnus of Princeton and Santa Clara Universities, is a life long resident of Los Angeles County and was honoree (#11) on the 2013 41 List.

Maria Roman

Maria is an activist, Trans Beauty Pageant title-holder, model, actress, and HIV prevention case manager. She appeared in the feature documentary Trantasia, Showtime’s reality hit-show Wild Things and has held multiple beauty titles such as Queen of The Universe and CA Panache Show Queen Goddess. She also serves on the Los Angeles HIV Commission and the West Hollywood, CA Transgender Advisory Board. A native of Puerto Rico, Maria was 2013 41 List honoree (#2).

Daniel Vasquez

Daniel is the Operations Manager/Human Resources at Beyond Emancipation in Oakland, CA. He received his B.S. in Business Administration from San Jose State University. After an eleven-year career in banking, Daniel transitioned into the social change sector by working with former foster and probation youth in Alameda County. Daniel regularly volunteers for non-profit organizations such as Puente, SF’S LGBT Center and Running for a Better Oakland. He currently resides in Oakland, CA and was honoree (#35) on the 2013 41 List.