Who is Latinitas?

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Empower all girls to innovate through media and technology.


Create courageous leaders.

Who We Are

Latinitas was founded in Austin, TX in 2002. Latinitas provides media and technology programs for all girls throughout Central Texas.

Austin Staff

  • Laura Donnelly

    Founder and CEO
    Laura Donnelly is the founder/CEO of Latinitas. She has been a journalist, book publicist and documentary filmmaker. She majored in English and minored in Computer Science at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey and received her masters in journalism at the University of Texas in 2003 where she co-founded Latinitas magazine and outreach in a class. Laura's been honored as an Austin Under 40 winner, the YWCA's Woman of the Year Leader of Promise and Austin Women in Tech's Innovator award for her service empowering Latina youth.
  • Sylvia Butanda

    Deputy Executive Director
    Sylvia Butanda is Latinitas Deputy Executive Director. She manages Latinitas’ programs, partnerships, and operations. Originally from Brownsville, TX, she graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor's degree in Journalism. In 2018, she was recognized by Congressman Lloyd Doggett as an Out of School Time Champion Award by the Learn all the Time Network for her work in empowering girls in Central Texas. She is also a graduate of the 2019 Class of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's Hispanic Austin Leadership Program and serves as board member for the Young Hispanic Professional Association of Austin (YHPAA) and the Austin Young Chamber.
  • Bailey Pownall

    Development & Engagement Director
    What you first notice about Bailey Pownall is that he is easy to talk to. He’s a person with a variety of interests such as community action, politics, art, and connecting cultures, making it easy to find common ground with most. That is why Latinitas is excited to announce Bailey’s joining the Latinitas staff team as its new Engagement Manager. After years working in programs that focused on tutoring and workforce development, as well as founding his own nonprofit that created a successful formula for increased millennial giving, Bailey will be using that acumen to handle the day to day duties of volunteer management and coordination, but with a twist: he will be working on how that all ties into Latinitas development ecosystem.
  • Elisa Garcia

    Magazine Editor
    Born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, Elisa is a Program Leader and writes for Latinitas Magazine. She's a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Journalism. She is passionate about teaching young girls what they are capable of and where they can go in life. She loves cats and hopes to one day adopt special needs cats who have trouble finding their forever home!
  • Liliana Cortez

    Program Director
    Born in El Paso and raised in Laredo, Liliana is a Texas border town girl born and raised. She graduated from Texas A&M International University with a Bachelors in Communication and Minor in Marketing and is now the Programs Director at Latinitas. Being raised in a very traditional Mexican American family, Liliana is no stranger to the inequalities that arises from such a gender biased upbringing. She understands first hand the importance of the work Latinitas does to empower girls to become autonomous and assertive young women. Liliana lives in Round Rock, Texas with her husband, 2 boys, and dog Luna where she previously started and directed a Spanish Immersion preschool. She has a proven track record in developing strong relationships with strategic community organizations and the families she serves. Liliana believes in a perfectly balanced, work and family time lifestyle. When she and her family are not out discovering new trails to hike in the Austin area, you might find her off road biking with her boys at Walnut Creek. On a relaxing day Liliana enjoys hanging out on her hammock and reading a good Historical Fiction novel, or cooking up a storm in her kitchen.
  • Karla Bruciaga

    Program Coordinator
    Karla is a recent graduate from The University of Texas at Austin, with a double major in English and Sociology and a minor in Visual Media. She is excited about coming onto the team and being able to share with the girls her passion of media— from photography to videography and graphic design. When she's not at her computer, you can find her outside reading a book or taking some photos.
  • Beatriz Castillo

    Program Coordinator
    Beatriz Castillo is a Program Coordinator for Latinitas. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Public Relations. During her free time she enjoys the outdoors and browsing local bookstores in Austin. As a Program Leader for Latinitas, Beatriz hopes to empower the younger Latinx community and show them that the sky's the limit.
  • Ariane Stier

    Program Coordinator
    Ariane is a Program Leader at Latinitas. She recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a double major in Theatre and Public Relations. Her thesis project, centered on Latina representation and empowerment, won the Senior Thesis Award in the Latino Media Arts & Studies Awards at the Moody College of Communication. As a Program Leader, Ariane hopes to create positive, welcoming, and inclusive spaces for girls to authentically express who they are. In her free time, she enjoys relaxing in nature, cooking, and listening to music or a good podcast.
  • Christina Castro

    Communications Manager
    Christina is a headstrong, goal setting, social media savvy, Latina leader. She is a photographer with over 6+ years of experience and continues to pursue and grow in her artistic & professional endeavors. Her professional skill set includes graphic design, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Indesign, Adobe Lightroom, Procreate, retail sales, B2B sales, online advertising/media sales, event planning, social media handling, brand management, content creation, analytics, product photography, artist etc. She strives to inspire future generations of Latinitas to take up as much space in media and technology and follow every and any artistic dream they may have.
  • Nataly Mata

    Program Leader
    I am an undergraduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in Biomedical Engineering. I enjoy playing sports with my family, painting, and exercising. I love volunteering in my community and helping others around me, because it is heart-warming to see the love and support it brings to others. I love helping children and being a role model for them to look up to. I encourage the girls to go for their dreams and believe in themselves. I believe the girls have unique talents and ambitions that will let them be eager for more learning opportunities. Empowering young girls to use their assets and aspirations are traits that will create leaders for tomorrow.
  • Tatiana Hernandez

    Program Leader
  • Brenda Moctezuma

    Program Leader

Austin Board of Directors

  • Sammy Morales

    CO-CHAIR, HR Business Partner, AllClear ID
    Born and raised in San Antonio, TX, Sammy Morales is a seasoned human resource professional currently working at AllClear, Inc. He's been a recruiter at St. David's Healthcare and both a business development and project coordinator at Goodwill Industries. Sammy graduated with a bachelors in social work at UT Austin and achieved his Masters in Business Administration at Texas State University in 2016.
  • Karen Mariela Siles

    CO-CHAIR, Delivery Manager for Security Encryption, IBM Cloud
    Karen Siles is an emblem of Latina leadership in tech. An engineer and project manager at IBM for almost 15 years, Karen has a long history of mentoring and community leadership. In addition to serving as Latinitas' board chair she also serves on the board for Austin healthcare access nonprofit Community Cares and has been the president of local and regional SHPE chapters (the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) where she was honored this year as Manager of the Year out of 1000s of members. Karen is also a graduate of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's Hispanic Austin Leadership program, Latina Public Policy bootcamp and has been nominated for Austin Under 40 repeatedly. She graduated George Mason University with a degree in engineering and recently achieved her masters in the inaugural class of the University of Texas MSTC program (Masters in Science in Technology Commercialization) out of the McComb's school of business.
  • Bianca Perez

    Software Sourcing Buyer – Packaged Software Procurement Team Lead, IBM
    As a Software Sourcing Buyer at IBM, Bianca Perez helps other IBMers purchase software for business use. Bianca is energized by volunteering and has done so through her commitment at IBM in their Hispanics in Philanthropy employee group where she has tutored students through Austin Partners in Education and other empowerment non-profits. She is new member of the Junior League of Austin and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. She was born and raised in Houston into a tight-knit Mexican American family.
  • Marissa Palmer

    IT Security Compliance Analyst III, VRBO part of Expedia Group
  • Ricky Murray

    Director of Marketing and Partner Relations, Zpryme
    Ricky Murray is the Director of Marketing, Events, and Partner Relations at Zpryme. Ricky has a background in education administration and served as the communications chair for the Central Texas Afterschool Network. At Zpryme, Ricky is tasked with the creation and implementation of Zpryme’s digital and physical marketing strategies and manages strategic partnerships & community outreach opportunities. Prior to Ricky’s current position, he worked in Del Valle ISD, as their secondary Enrichment Program Specialist where he made day-to-day operation decisions for campus enrichment and tutoring programs. Ricky also served as the communications chair for the Central Texas Afterschool Network where he created bi-weekly email blasts with communication updates for networking opportunities/events, managed social media messaging, and developed press releases and marketing campaigns around events.
  • Ana Villegas

    Vice President for Global Marketing, National Instruments
    National Instruments, Vice President for Global Marketing Senior Marketing Leader with +25 years of Global marketing and digital experience in B2C and B2B in tech and finance. Currently responsible for Global B2B Demand generation, campaign, field, ops and events across all products/solutions and customer tiers. Among her achievements: launched NI brand to demand campaign, launched the Next Generation Dell.com, launched Marketing Dell University, lead digital innovation for Dell B2B demand efforts, evolved field/sales/demand organization at BCP Ana earned an MBA from Kellogg School of Business, a Master in Finance and a BS in Industrial Engineering from Pontificia Universidad Catolica (Peru). Ana is a speaker at Marketing conferences, focused on B2B Marketing, Digital Innovation, Demand generation and customer journey
  • Veronica Peñaloza Wolfermann

    Account Manager, Facebook
    After graduating from UT Austin, I took my love for advertising, tech and social good to the next level with Facebook. As an Account Manager working with nonprofits, I build social value every day by helping large and small NGOs meet their fundraising goals through Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. As an entrepreneur, I care about building brands and products that empower communities and sustain over time. I am a proud Latina, born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela.
  • Ramiro Diaz

    Senior Software Engineer, Under Armour
    Ramiro was born and raised in Northeast El Paso, TX. He came to Austin to study at The University of Texas at Austin where he got his bachelor's and master's degree in Computer Engineering. Along the way Ramiro served on the board of several organizations including The Creative Fund, Un Sabado Gigante in Engineering (USGE), Club Red of The American Red Cross. He also led the local latino organizations of The Society of Professional Engineers (SHPE) student and professional chapters and the Young Hispanic Professional Association of Austin (YHPAA). Ramiro is a proud Leadership Austin Emerge alum and you will find him on the dance floor, or at a concert when not at his job at Under Armour where he is a Senior Software Engineer and Co-Chair of the Under Armour Latino Alliance Employee Resource Group.
  • Esther Audelo

    Esther’s 20+ years career has been in Technology. She was born and raised in Oaxaca, Mexico, moved to Monterrey to study and then stayed to develop her career. She was initially an academic, teaching, researching and consulting in Information Systems for Manufacturing environments. During this period, she published a textbook and four cases that she used to teach her students; she also developed and delivered educational training for other educators and was a program advisor for graduate students . She made a change in careers when she moved to Austin in 1999, working for tech companies such as IBM and Dell.
  • Asif Ali

    Asif Ali was born and raised in Beaumont, Texas by immigrant parents. His father is from Burma and his mother is from Pakistan. Asif is currently a Solution Principal for Oracle NetSuite where he helps rapidly growing businesses to utilize the Oracle NetSuite software to sustain next level growth. He has worked with businesses in the Manufacturing, Wholesale Distribution, and Social Impact/Nonprofit industries. In addition, Asif is passionate about Diversity and Inclusion and Entrepreneurship. At Oracle, Asif has collaborated with the Oracle Diversity and Inclusion division to help implement D&I initiatives at work. He also helped kickstart the Oracle for Startups program in Austin, Texas by organizing events, analyzing startups, and conducting deal sourcing. During his free time, Asif is passionate about volunteering, diversity, Rumi’s poetry, food, fashion, design, and technology. Asif helped lead the 1st Annual Austin Tech Pro-Bono Day, where tech companies gave their services for free to minority small business owners. He has also worked with Jim Harrington, founder of the Texas Civil Rights Project, to help keep Norman Elementary School open in East Austin.