Board of Directors 2020 - 2021

We're excited to announce the incoming UCLA Latino Alumni Association 2020-2021 Board! This incoming volunteer board is excited to continue bringing our community together. Gracias to our 2019-2020 out-going board for their hard work, commitment, and amor. 

Our Mission

To be a gathering place for UCLA alumni, family, and friends for the benefit and advancement of the Latino community.

Our Objective

  • To provide opportunities for our network to take advantage of the resources of the University of California, Los Angeles.
  • To provide opportunities for our network to take advantage of the resources of the University of California, Los Angeles.
  • To encourage and assist Latino students to enter and succeed at UCLA.
  • To provide financial, academic, social, and professional support to Latino students, faculty and staff.
  • To promote access to UCLA’s academic, administrative, and economic resources for the advancement of the Latino community.
  • To promote the recruitment and success of Latino faculty, staff, and administrators.
Professional Network Social Gatherings Intellectual Resources
Cultural Resources Educational Resources  

Letter from 2020 President: 

I am profoundly honored by the opportunity to serve as the President of the UCLA Latino Alumni Association (ULAA) for the next two years.  This year I succeed the president position from Soleil Delgadillo ‘09 & U.N.E.X. ’19.  I thank Soleil for all her hard work and leadership as president these past 2 years and reinvigorating our association.

Having previously served as Vice President of ULAA, I’m committed to maintaining our momentum that we have gained over the years moving forward in working with our new Alumni Board who is enthusiastic and dedicated to UCLA, ULAA and its students.

As a proud alumnus of UCLA and prior beneficiary of ULAA, I could not be prouder of our association’s accomplishments.  ULAA has successfully provided more than $1.5 million in scholarships to Latino students over the past 30 years!  Our goal is to continue ULAA’s legacy by developing fundraising opportunities to provide more scholarships to students, and building a stronger presence of the alumni association regionally, increasing our membership base, and promoting exciting activities and events during this pandemic, and after restrictions are lifted.

Our new board has an ambitious year ahead implementing goals and strategies to increase our service to the alumni despite the current challenges presented which unfortunately limit us to virtual events for the time being. We will need our alumni’s participation and commitment to helping us carry out our goals.  There are many ways to give back, and we encourage you to get involved, whether it be monetarily, serving on a committee, becoming a career and academic mentor, or participating as a speaker on a panel discussion.

Thank you to all the alumni that have supported ULAA in the past! I look forward to your commitment in supporting us this year.  Your engagement encourages continued success for our students and promotes our goals.

Go Bruins!

Janette Palacios ’98, MURP ‘01
2020-2022 President
UCLA Latino Alumni Association

'20-'21 Board Bios:

President - Janette Palacios, ‘98 & M.U.R.P. ‘01

Janette Palacios was born and raised in Holtville, California, a small agricultural town in the Imperial Valley. In 1996, she left her community to pursue her studies at UCLA, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with a Specialization in Chicana/o Studies in 1998, followed by a Master’s degree in Urban Planning in 2001.   After graduate school, she was hired as a Project Manager for the UFW’s National Farm Workers Service Center, Inc., in the Housing and Economic Development Office where she managed and oversaw the construction of affordable housing for farm workers and low-income families in the cities of San Francisco and Gilroy. Janette has spent the last 17 years working in municipal government.  Currently, she handles real estate and economic development matters as a Project Manager for the City of Alhambra. A proud UCLA Alumna, Janette developed a passion for giving back to UCLA. In 2014, she co-founded and served on the board for the UCLA Alumni Los Angeles Southeast Network. Building on this positive experience, Janette also founded the UCLA Beachside Alumni Network where she served as President.  She is also a member of UCLA Gold Shield and Latina Golfer’s Association. Her involvement with the UCLA Latino Alumni Association started during her undergraduate studies. She volunteered at several events which included golf tournaments and Fiesta de Inspiración, and was very fortunate to have been a double scholar of the ULAA scholarship. In 2018, Janette was elected Vice President for the UCLA Latino Alumni Association, and re-elected in 2019. She oversaw the Community Relations Committee and Scholarship Committee, and served as the ULAA representative for the UCLA Diversity Advisory Committee, and University of California Chicanx Latinx Alumni Association. Janette will be serving as President for ULAA for the 2020-2022 term. As a proud UCLA alumnus and prior beneficiary of this great organization, she looks forward to advancing ULAA’s mission of providing mentoring and scholarships to students, and encourage Alumni strategic participation.


Vice President - Laura C. Romero, '88, M.A. '89 & Ph.D. '95

Laura C. Romero is Founder and President of her consulting firm, Brillante Strategies, where she advises organizations on professional development and public affairs.  Prior to Brillante Strategies, Laura worked at Child 360 focusing on corporate relations.  During her UCLA tenure, Romero promoted the University’s mission of research, teaching and public service by working with elected/government officials, corporate and community leaders, university administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni.  She worked in the Office of Government & Community Relations, the Higher Education Research Institute’s Cooperative Institutional Research Program, the Extramural Programs and Opportunities Center, and taught the new “Civic Engagement in Los Angeles” seminar.  Before UCLA, Laura worked as Acting Director of Public Affairs at Univision Los Angeles and National Mentoring Coordinator of the award-winning Communities In Schools, Inc./Univision Mentoring Initiative.  Dr. Romero is currently a member of the California State Summer School for the Arts Board of Trustees, LA’s BEST Advisory Board, and Public Media Group of Southern California Community Council.  Laura C. Romero received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from UCLA.  As a proud Bruin, Laura is honored and excited to serve as UCLA Latino Alumni Association Vice President.  Go Bruins!


Secretary - Carlos Almendárez, J.D.‘17

Carlos Almendárez was raised in Los Angeles by immigrant parents from El Salvador. He is the product of the Los Angeles Unified School District and the University of California system. He was a first-generation student at Berkeley and is a graduate of the UCLA School of Law where he was President of the Class of 2017, Executive Editor of the Chicana/o-Latina/o Law Review, Co-chair of the Workers Rights Project, and a Mentor in the Law Fellows Program. Carlos is currently a Senior Labor Representative at SEIU Local 721, Southern California’s largest public-sector labor union. As part of the labor movement, Carlos advocates for workers and holds a belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide and is dedicated to improving the lives of workers, their families, and the communities they serve. 


Treasurer - Adrian Meza, ‘04

Adrian was born and raised in the City of Bell, California, located on the west bank of the Los Angeles River. With over 15 years of experience in various areas at UCLA he has an extensive knowledge of the inner workings of the University and once served as Director of Finance and Business Development for the UCLA Alumni Association. As Finance Director he worked closely with ULAA which eventually led him to serve as ULAA Treasurer for FY 2019-2020. 

Adrian graduated from UCLA with a B.A in Sociology. He is an advocate for mental health awareness as a volunteer program leader for the NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) Family-to Family educational class. 


Past President - Soleil Delgadillo, ‘09 & U.N.E.X. ‘19

Soleil's leadership focuses on underserved communities in Los Angeles County, where she was born and raised. Currently, she serves as the Volunteer & Community Engagement Manager at the Children's Institute, Inc. (CII) where she utilizes her talents to engage the corporate, student and individual community to give back by way of volunteering, corporate sponsorship, in-kind donations and most importantly helping various sectors grow together.  She currently serves as an advisory board member to Fostering Dreams Through Dance. 

Soleil most recently finished her term as President of the UCLA Latino Alumni Association (ULAA) between 2018-2020. During her term, ULAA received "2019 Network of the Year" from the UCLA Alumni Association. Between 2013-2018 she served as the Scholarship Chair where she oversaw the scholarship process and OrgullOSO Mentor Program. She will continue to support the new board in reaching the $1M scholarship endowment goal. 

Soleil graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in sociology and minor in women’s studies and earned an M.S. in school counseling with a Pupil Personnel Services Credential from California State University, Long Beach. Soleil is the recipient of the UCLA 2017 Young Alumni Volunteer of the Year Award, and a graduate of the UCLA Anderson Riordan MBA Fellows Program.  She completed UCLA's Fundraising Certificate Extension program in 2019 and hopes to obtain her Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) in the near future. 


Membership Chair - Christina Hernandez, ‘13 & M.S.W ‘17

Christina is a proud double Bruin earning two degrees from UCLA: Master’s of Social Welfare from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, and a Bachelor’s in Sociology and Chicana/o Studies. Her passion to support other Latinx students derives from her own experiences navigating the higher education system as a first-generation, Mexican-American, Latina student. To facilitate this process, she currently serves as the Field Instructor for MSW students and UCLA Luskin undergraduate students. Most recently, she participated in a panel on Diversity for UCLA Luskin where she shared her experiences as a student, and also throughout her career, with the goal of uplifting current and future students. She is currently Community Outreach Coordinator at the non-profit, Freedom for Immigrants, where she develops programming and supports immigrants coming out of immigrant detention centers. Prior to joining Freedom for Immigrants, Christina worked at Harbor UCLA Medical Center with outpatient adults practicing Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). She was also the Civic Innovation Strategist for the City of Long Beach working with the Bloomberg Philanthropies Innovation Team (i-team) to reduce recidivism through a Justice Lab. She was also the Program Administrator for the UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge as a liaison between the organization and the City of Los Angeles to elevate sustainability and social justice issues. She will serve as the Membership Chair for the UCLA Latino Alumni Association FY 2020-2021. 


Scholarship Chair - Angela M. Sánchez, ‘13, M.Ed. ‘15 

Angela M. Sánchez is a program officer for the College Success team at ECMC Foundation, a national funder focused in postsecondary education. In her role, Angela oversees grants that increase college persistence, two-year transfer and bachelor degree completion for students from marginalized backgrounds. Angela is also the co-chair for Grantmakers for Education’s Postsecondary Access and Attainment (PSA2) Group, which provides collaborative learning opportunities for funders in postsecondary education nationwide. Prior to ECMC Foundation, Angela supported UCLA’s then-new Alumni Diversity Programs. Outside of her current work, Angela serves on the board of directors for the Los Angeles-based nonprofit School on Wheels, Inc., which provides academic support to K-12 students experiencing homelessness. On the subject of family homelessness, Angela has guest lectured at USC’s Price School of Public Policy and also written a children’s picture book series. In 2018, Angela received the UCLA Alumni Award for Community Service.

 A double Bruin and first-generation graduate, Angela earned her Master’s in Education with a focus in student affairs and a bachelor’s in history from UCLA. Angela has served on the UCLA Latino Alumni Scholarship Committee from 2015-2017 where she served as the architect for the OrgullOSO Mentor Program and will serve as the incoming Scholarship Chair for 2020-2021.


Finance Chair - Lena Hines, ‘99 & J.D. ‘02 

Lena is a principal in EY’s National Tax Department and is based in Los Angeles, California.  She has over 15 years of experience in the taxation of financial transactions and instruments in the fixed income, equity, commodity and currency markets.  Lena consults on domestic and international tax-planning opportunities involving financial products.  She provides tax advice on routine financial transactions, including financing of portfolio companies and hedge funds investments; supports the audit function in connection with tax provision reviews; consults on tax issues related to foreign currency tax regimes; and drafts formal and informal written advice of the analysis of tax issues.  Lena has experience related to IRS audits, requests for method of accounting changes, private letter rulings and closing agreements involving financial derivatives, original issue discount, market discount, bond premium and deductible repurchase premium related to debt repurchases.   She also prepares and conducts lectures on technical issues for client and internal training programs.

Lena develops and presents tax discussions on technical issues at programs sponsored by the American Bar Association, the District of Columbia Bar Association, the Practising Law Institute and the Tax Executives Institute.     Lena is a member of the District of Columbia Bar – Taxation Section / Financial Products Committee (Chair 2017 – 2019); the American Bar Association; and the State Bar of California - Taxation Law Section.  

Lena holds degrees from UCLA (B.A.), UCLA School of Law (J.D.) and Georgetown University Law Center (LL.M. / Taxation).  She is a member of UCLA’s Council for the Academic Advancement Program, the National Association of Black Accountants and the Association for Latino Professionals for America. She will serve as the Finance Chair for the UCLA Latino Alumni Association FY 2020-2021. 


University Relations Chair - Cesar Pacheco, ‘18

 Cesar grew up in Fresno, California and is a young real estate professional in Los Angeles. As a commercial real estate agent, he primarily focuses on finding development deals for developers who are looking to build mixed-use projects and multifamily owners who are looking to sell their apartments. He focuses on finding Transit-Oriented Communities (TOC) properties, locating and connecting with owners through traditional and creative means, and finally negotiating with these owners to sell or participate in joint-ventures by putting up their land at a predetermined cost basis.  He is also a bookkeeper for a small property management company that primarily operates multifamily properties. 

 Cesar received his bachelor’s degree of Arts in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2018 and also graduated from the USC Ross Minority Program in Real Estate in 2019. He is a member of UCLA Bruin Professionals, the UCLA Real Estate Alumni Group and the West Los Angeles Chancellor’s Society. Cesar looks forward to serving as the University Relations Chair and hopes to strengthen the UCLA Latino Alumni Association’s (ULAA)  presence on campus. In his freetime, Cesar enjoys reading, exercising, and traveling.


Community Relations Chair - Nicki Beltranena, ‘02

Nicki was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala and moved to California when she was 3. She graduated UCLA in 2002 with a BS in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics and went on to complete her MFA in Writing for Film and Television at Loyola Marymount University in 2007. In Entertainment, she has worked for companies such as Dark Light Pictures, ICM, CBS and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. In addition to UCLA and LMU, Nicki has studied with Joan Scheckle in her Film Lab Series, she has completed the Baron and Brown 2-Year Vital Acting program with DW Brown as well as four Master Classes with JoAnne Baron, she studied at the Howard Fine Acting Studio, The Groundlings. and is currently enrolled on weekends at LATTC in Fashion Design. She continues regularly train in multiple styles of dance. Nicki served on the UCLA Latino Alumni Board as Secretary in 2019-2020 and will serve as the incoming Community Relations Chair for 2020-2021.

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