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Spotlight | National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures

Spotlight | National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures

The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) is excited to announce the appointments of Mari Hernandez as Chief Strategy Officer and Luis Garza as Chief Operations Officer. Hernandez and Garza join Jennifer Guel, who celebrates one year since her appointment as NALAC’s Chief Financial Officer, to complete the organization’s executive leadership team, strengthening NALAC’s capacity to serve the Latinx arts and culture sector.

These announcements come as the organization begins a restructure under the direction of Interim CEO and President F. Javier Torres-Campos. NALAC welcomed Torres-Campos as the interim CEO and president in August 2023 as María López De León, NALAC’s current CEO and president, shared her intent to retire after serving the organization for over twenty-five years.

“María and the NALAC staff have established a solid foundation, and I’m honored to continue this legacy of service to the Latinx cultural community,” said Torres-Campos. “Jennifer, Mari and Luis are each a key part of NALAC’s ongoing and future success. They are thoughtful and visionary leaders that will help guide NALAC toward new possibilities.”

Mari Hernandez joined the organization in 2022. She is an alum of the NALAC Leadership and Advocacy Leadership Institutes and a recipient of the NALAC Fund for the Arts. She has over twenty-three years of arts administration experience and previously served as NALAC’s Program Manager of Leadership Institutes and Convenings and as Deputy Director, overseeing the planning and production of NALAC’s professional development programs. As Chief Strategy Officer, Hernandez will provide leadership support to NALAC’s grants and institute programs, fundraising strategies, research, and organizational communications.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to be a part of NALAC’s continued evolution and to serve the organization and our communities in this expanded role,” said Hernandez. “As our world evolves, it’s critical that we do as well.”

Luis Garza joined the organization in 2013 and is an alum of the NALAC Leadership and Advocacy Leadership Institutes. He previously served as NALAC’s Director of Technology and Innovation, overseeing the organization’s web-based platforms and digital security. As Chief Operations Officer, he will provide leadership support to NALAC’s information technology infrastructure, facilities and campus development, and human resource processes.

“I’m honored to serve in this new role alongside Jennifer and Mari, who share my commitment to exploring innovations and opportunities that will strengthen our organization,” said Garza.

Jennifer Guel joined the organization in 2022. She has over ten years of finance and accounting experience working in nonprofit and organizational management. As NALAC’s Chief Financial Officer, she provides leadership support, oversees all aspects of the organization’s accounting policies and procedures, and ensures strategic use of the organization’s funds.

“I’m thrilled that as we head into strategic planning in 2024, this expanded leadership team will help balance the strong financial infrastructure we have in place with refined programs and strong systems,” said Guel.

Additionally, NALAC wishes to share announcements in the organization restructure, including the appointments of,

    • Jose Castillo Rocha, Grants Manager. Castillo Rocha previously served as Interim Grants Manager. In his new role, he will oversee the refinement and ongoing operations of NALAC’s grantmaking programs.
    • Lucha López, Executive Assistant. Lopez previously served as Operations Manager. In her new role, she will support NALAC’s executive leadership team with planning and administration.
    • Armani Martinez, Interim Technology Manager. Martinez previously served as Technology & Digital Media Specialist. In her expanded role, she will manage NALAC’s technology infrastructure and digital programming.
    • Alyssa Pineda, Convenings Manager. Pineda previously served as Leadership and Convenings Program Associate. In her expanded role, she will manage the coordination of NALAC’s leadership and advocacy institutes and regional convenings.
    • Penny Marie Rodriguez, Director of Communications. Rodriguez previously served as Manager of Communications. In her expanded role, she will manage all strategic communications with media and press relations and guide NALAC’s communications with the field.

NALAC envisions a cultural landscape that fully values and integrates the essential contributions of an expanding Latinx/é cultural sector and its dynamic workforce. These new and expanded roles offer opportunities for reflection and iteration on NALAC’s tremendous legacy. NALAC is excited to announce the following open positions that will join our team and support our work during this time of exciting change:


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