Jessica Ortiz was named a 2019 LCLD Fellow. Launched in 2011, LCLD's landmark Fellows Program works by identifying high-potential attorneys from diverse backgrounds and setting them on the path to leadership of their organizations. Props to Jessica!

Erica Gomez will be one of the New York City Bar's 2019 Jeremy G. Epstein awardees for outstanding pro bono service.

Nitza Milagros Escalera Fordham's Assistant Dean of Student Affairs was selected by the Council on Legal Education and Opportunity as one of the ten winners of the CLEO EDGE award. She is being recognized for her outstanding diversity and inclusion work at Fordham Law. Congrats Nitza!!

Cafechicas who presented at this year’s HNBA convention held here in NYC include:
Grissel Seijo spoke on the panel entitled Grit and Mindset.
Elle Nieves spoke on the panel Executive Presence.
Judge Carmen Velazquez spoke on the panel Pathways to the Judiciary.
Stephanie Robayo, Jahaira Zagarell and Jessenia Vazcones-Yagual all spoke on the panel 2019 #MeToo in the Workplace and Beyond.
The Honorable Jenny Rivera spoke on the panel The Wise Latina Judge.
Gelvina Stephenson spoke on the panel We Need to Chat: Essential Feedback from In-House Counsel.

Tomasita Sherer was a speaker at the Corporate Counsel for Women conference in Chicago.

Rosevelie Márquez Morales is being honored by L.O.V.E

Judge Patria Frias-Colon on this You Tube video interview!

Laura Rodriguez was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Forte Preparatory Academy Charter School.

Veronica Relea is being honored as attorney of the year at the upcoming PRBA Scholarship Gala! Congrats to her!

Zoila del Castillo has made a move over to the New York Attorney General's Office in the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau. We wish her every success there!

Jeanne Ortiz, who is a Disaster Response Fellow at Pro Bono Net, was recently a guest speaker on Legal Talk Network’s Lawyer 2 Lawyer Podcast on the topic of Natural Disasters & Dealing with the Aftermath. Congratulations on lending your voice to this important issue, Jeanne!

Anilu Vazquez Ubarri, the Chief Human Resources officer for TPG and her TPG colleague Anna Erwin, were the featured guests in a recent edition of 'The Future of Work Podcast with Jacob Morgan'. When asked to name a book she would recommend, Anilu mentioned The Difference by Scott E. Page.

Brenda Gill and Adrienne Valencia Garcia spoke on a panel entitled "Blockchain, Bitcoin – Why Should We Care and What Should We Know" at the National Bar Association Convention in New York last week.

Ana M. González, an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP became co-chair of S&C’s Network of Black and Latinx Lawyers and, in turn, a member of the firm-wide Diversity Committee, which is comprised of members of S&C’s Management Committee, practice and office heads and the leaders of the firm’s other affinity networks.  Felicidades, Ana!

Natacha Carbajal Evangelista has joined the Workers’ Compensation Board as Deputy Director. She will oversee all aspects of regulatory affairs within the Board, including Paid Family Leave, Disability and Risk Management. Congratulations, Natacha!

Elizabeth de Leon Bhargava has joined the board of directors of The New York Women's Foundation: Felicidades, Elizabeth!

Maria Melendez was elected a member of the American Law Institute: Congratulations, Maria!

Diana Santos has gone in-house and is now Associate Counsel at the NY Genome Center.

Evelyn M. Pérez-Albino started a new role as Director, Employment & Labor at JetBlue Airways.

Anilu Vazquez-Ubarri was profiled in this Alumni Society piece:

Mayling C. Blanco joined the white-collar crime, investigations and tax practice group at Norton Rose Fulbright as a partner: .Best wishes on your new professional venture, Mayling!!

Wandaly Fernandez was honored with a Future Leader- Minority Lawyers Award at the Chambers Diversity & Inclusion Awards: USA 2019: Congratulations, Wandaly!

Damaris Hernandez was featured in the New York Times describing how she spends her Sundays: Thank you, Damaris, for giving us the opportunity to read this sentence in the NYT: "I was raised by my Puerto Rican, rosary-carrying, sorullo-making grandmother in Brooklyn."

Rose Cordero Prey was selected as a 2019 Rising Star by the New York Law Journal: and

Julissa Reynoso was named a 2019 New York Law Journal Trailblazer:

Olivia Gonzalez published her first law review article on legal approaches to encryption and cybersecurity: Olivia Gonzalez, Cracks in the Armor: Legal Approaches to Encryption, 2019 J. of L., Tech. & Policy 1 (2019), available at

Tanya K. Hernandez received the Teacher of the Year Award from Fordham Law School's Student Bar Association on May 20. The award recognized her "excellence inside and outside the classroom and the highest level of dedication to her students". The award was based on the votes of the entire graduating class for “mastery in teaching.” 

Shary Sanchez was honored as one of  Westchester County's Business Council's 'Rising Stars 40 under 40'. . Shary is Attorney in Charge at Legal Services of the Hudson Valley-Peekskill office.

Lisa Vicens was honored with an ASPIRA Circle of Achievers award. The award recognizes achievers who have made a difference in the Latinx community.

Berta A. Matos has been promoted to Legal Senior Director for PepsiCo Beverages North America. In this role, she is the lead attorney for multiple areas within the PepsiCo Foodservice and Retail sales organizations. 

Adrienne Valencia Garcia is the co-chair for the NYC Chapter of Diversity in Blockchain, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower everyone from all walks of life to engage with blockchain technology to ensure equal participation and distribution.

The Rockefeller Foundation has named Maria Santos Valentin as its new General Counsel.

Melissa Rivero published her first novel, The Affairs of the Falcons, on April 2. An interview of Melissa Rivero about her recently published novel appeared in the New York Times:

Camila Amaral Surcan, Head of Legal and Corporate Affairs at Pirelli North America, was included in Global 500's GC Powerlist 2019:

Lourdes Rosado has a new gig as Program Director at the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU). In this new role, she oversees and coordinates the legal, policy, and field organizing departments, NYCLU’s recently-launched Education Policy Center, and NYCLU’s chapters and regional offices, and also serves as a member of NYCLU’s senior leadership team.

Carol Robles-Roman became General Counsel of Hunter College. Carol is Secretary of the ERA Coalition and part of its Executive Board.

Jennifer Munoz is now Associate General Counsel at, Inc.

Nicole Bernier authored an article on the history of Puerto Rico particularly regarding its relationship with the US, published in a legal publication associated with the National Coalition of Concerned Legal Professionals.

Melissa Colon-Bosolet was promoted to partner at Sidley Austin. Melissa represents clients in high-risk business disputes in both federal and state courts, arbitrations and international investigations.

Vianny Pichardo Paulino was promoted to Shareholder at Anderson Kill. Vianny's practice areas are insurance recovery, corporate and commercial litigation and environmental law.

Julissa Reynoso was appointed to serve on the 24 member board of trustees of Columbia University.  The trustees "select the President, oversee all faculty and senior administrative appointments, monitor the budget, supervise the endowment, and protect University property."

Linda Maria Wayner joined Lateral Link  / Cadence Counsel as their new Senior Director of Diversity Initiatives, where she works with law firms and companies that are committed to promoting inclusion and equity in the legal profession.  She routinely publishes on Above the Law.

Celina Caban was the recipient of the 2019 Ms.JD Woman of Inspiration Award, which goes to "a woman who, regardless of her practice area or type of practice, inspires others by her commitment and passion to her work."  She was selected based on her work as the Founder of the Sonia & Celina Sotomayor Judicial Internship Program and current work as the SCS JIP High School Division Vice President.

Lara M. Rios and Yaneris M. Rosa were named to the 2019 HNBA Top Lawyers under 40 list.

Here is a sampling of news about our members in 2018:

-Nancy Ahern started a new position as a matrimonial and family law attorney at the law firm of Parmet & Zhou LLC. 

-Neysa Alsina is Senior Policy Advisor for Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez in Washington DC. Neysa is working on Puerto Rico, health care and women’s issues

-Linda Aristondo was selected as a Fellow in the inaugural cohort of the Encore Public Voices Fellowship, supporting twenty thinkers working at the intersection of aging, longevity and social justice (racial, gender, economic and beyond.) Learn more about this initiative, the partners behind it, and Linda’s profile at

-Melissa Colón-Bosolet was elected to the partnership at Sidley Austin on December 12. Melissa’s practice area is commercial litigation and disputes.

-Doralyn De Dios was elected to be President-elect for the Dominican Bar Association for 2019 and President of DBA for 2020. 

-In April 2018, Izel Fortunato was appointed by the Board of Parole to the position of Administrative Law Judge for parole revocation adjudications.  She also tied the knot on February 22, 2018 and she and her husband are expecting their first child in May of 2019! 

-Patria Frias-Colón became the first Dominican-born judge ever elected to the Civil Court in Kings County in November 2017. Her induction was held in 2018 and she is currently assigned to Family Court. Patria is grateful for the support of her family and friends. 

-Yolanda E. Figueroa has started a new position as an Insurance Coverage Litigation Associate at the law firm of Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck LLP in their Manhattan offices.

-Brenda L. Gill joined Sandata Technologies, LLC, as its Deputy General Counsel in October.  In this role, she drafts/negotiates all subcontractor/vendor contracts, provides legal advice to the Payer Sales team on its state RFPs, is Chair of the Compliance Committee, and advises HR, among other activities.  In addition, Brenda has been asked to join the Fordham University Alumni Board, which is Fordham's overarching alumni board for all of its universities. 

-Allison Grein was promoted to Counsel, Legal Affairs, Cable Entertainment at NBCUniversal in September.  

-Tanya Katerí Hernández, the Archibald R. Murray Professor of Law at Fordham University Law School, published the book “Multiracials and Civil Rights: Mixed-Race Stories of Discrimination” (

-Adela Hurtado created a photography project, The Colors of Trujillo, about her family’s hometown in Peru. She published a photo book with the same title and the photos and the book were exhibited at Soho Photo Gallery over the summer. The project was featured online on a Peruvian website, here: Adela also published an academic article, Protecting the Mickey Mouse Ears: Moving Beyond Traditional Campaign-Style Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in China, in the Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal, She was also selected to attend the 2018 Duke-UNC China Leadership Summit in North Carolina,

-Grissel Mercado became a partner at Shearman & Sterling effective January 1, 2018. Grissel, a capital markets attorney, is the first Latina elected to the partnership at her firm.

-Lourdes Olvera-Marshall became the President of the Mexican Professional Network (“MexPro”) Board of Directors in May. MexPro is a new organization officially linked with the Mexican Consulate that aims to connect and empower Mexican and Mexican-American professionals, entrepreneurs and community leaders in the private and public sectors. 

-Bernice Ordónez received the New York City Bar Association’s Thomas E. Dewey Award Medal on December 4. This Medal is awarded to outstanding assistant district attorneys in each of District Attorney’s offices within New York City and the Office of Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York. 

-Silda Palerm launched Vestry Laight with three colleagues in December 2018.  Vestry Laight is a consulting firm that partners with organizations to assess and address sexual misconduct and advise companies and boards on workplace culture issues. For more information, see

-Guillermina Passa shared the following ‘Power of Cafecito’ story:  “ Recently, LatinoUSA aired a podcast called "In the Hands of the State" ( which talks about the foster care system in NYC and it is the result of a collaboration that emerged from one the Cafecitos held this summer, where Antonia Cereijido was the guest speaker.  At the Cafecito we talked about family separation nationwide--as a public defender in Family Court, this is an issue that is very close to my heart.  I approached Antonia and she ended up introducing me to one of the LatinoUSA journalists that was going to work on a foster care story and they ended up doing the whole story on one of our clients (Brooklyn Defender Services). This podcast has shed an incredible amount of light to a very important issue that does not get as much attention as it should, and it has meant the world to me.  As such, I wanted to share this with you since none of it would have happened without that Cafecito where Antonia and I met.” 

-In November, LatinoJustice and Sonji Patrick received awards from CLEO on their 50th Anniversary.   LatinoJustice was one of the Greater Equality honorees; and Sonji was one of their Education honorees. (CLEO's pillars are known as the CLEO EDGE: Education, Diversity and Greater Equality.)

-Evelyn Perez-Albino was selected as a Fellow in the 2018 Council of Urban Professionals (CUP) Fellowship Program, was promoted to Counsel at Advance/Conde Nast and had a beautiful baby boy named Alexander (“AJ”) Albino.

-Antoinette Rangel accepted a federal district court clerkship with the Honorable Joseph Bianco of the E.D.N.Y.

-Melissa Rivero was promoted to Associate General Counsel at Boxed. She also sold her novel, The Affairs of the Falcóns, to Ecco/Harper Collins. Her book will be published in April 2019. For more info, visit:

-Stephanie C. Robayo, an attorney at the Counsel's Office of the New York Department of Labor, has been selected as a 2019 fellow for the New Leaders Council (“NLC”) Institute. The NLC Institute is a leadership and professional development program for young professionals. Anchored by its six-month training program, the NLC Institute equips leaders with the skills to run and manage campaigns, create start-ups and networks of thought leaders. NLC provides community members with opportunities to engage with – and challenge – current policymakers, to create blueprints to tackle current and future policy issues and to support one another along their individual path to a more progressive political and cultural landscape. Visit to learn more about NLC.

-Alissa Rodríguez was appointed to sit as an Administrative Judge for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington, DC.  As a Judge with the EEOC, Alissa hears civil rights cases and makes determinations regarding discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Equal Pay Act, and other Federal laws and regulations.

-While going through breast cancer, Alexis Ruginis (who encourages us to get checked/ do breast self-exams!) and her sister decided to start Veoleo ( because they realized there are very few baby board books written in Spanish in the US market and wanted to celebrate Latin America and the Caribbean. They got to work and in less than 8 months had a hand illustrated book Donde Está el Coquí?, which spreads the love for our heritage and our language by using simple but repetitive sentence structure (to encourage Spanish learning), colorful and textured illustrations depicting native fauna, and with reader assistance in English. 

-Shary Sánchez was promoted to Attorney-in-Charge of the Peekskill Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV) office and was appointed to serve on the board of directors for The LOFT LGBT Community Center. Shary will be the first Attorney-in-Charge of LSHV’s Peekskill Office, which serves Northern Westchester and Putnam County.

-Edda Santiago completed an Advanced Professional Certificate in Estate Planning from NYU Law School. In August, she started a new position as an Associate in the Private Client Group in Day Pitney LLP and in October, she got married!

-Carmen Segarra published her book “NONCOMPLIANT: A Lone Whistleblower Exposes the Giants of Wall Street” ( 

-Wendy Silva left Her Justice after 13 years as a Senior Staff attorney and is now working at the Bronx County Surrogate’s Court as an Associate Court Attorney charged with opening and running their new Help Center.

-Camila Amaral Surcan left Debevoise in June to take a position as Head of Legal and Corporate Affairs at Pirelli North America, Inc. 

-Adrienne Valencia García, Senior Lead Counsel, Blockchain Solutions at IBM, was promoted to the Executive ranks of the IBM Legal Department effective August 1.

-Lourdes M. Ventura was recently elected as Judge of the Civil Court in Queens County. Her induction ceremony was held on December 18.