Future Chica Spotlight: Meet the Committee

May 3 · 5 min read

Meet the Austin professionals who have worked to make Future Chica, our inaugural innovation conference, a success! With their support, our mission to empower girls to innovate through media and technology would not move forward. They’ve contributed their networks, skill sets and ideas to help diversify the technology industry on the ground level and plant the seed of interest for girls to be courageous leaders.

Monica Morales, Partner and Vice President of Development for DivInc

Monica Morales

Monica is Partner and Vice President of Development for DivInc, a start-up accelerator specifically designed for underrepresented entrepreneurs in tech. She’s focused on developing revenue generating strategies, fundraising, and building community engagement. Monica’s past experience includes serving as Interim Executive Director and Market Director for the American Diabetes Association in Central Texas, Director of Marketing at Market Vision Culture Inspired Advertising and Account Executive at Montemayor y Asociados Hispanic Advertising. She’s passionate about bringing diversity, inclusion and equity to the tech ecosystem. Monica lives in Austin with her husband and two children.

What got you interested in helping with the planning of Future Chica?

I’ve been wanting to get involved with Latinitas ever since I first learned about the organization. So when Laura asked, I jumped. I love its mission, and wish I had something like Latinitas when I was growing up. I never realized a career in tech was even an option for me. It’s so important to empower young Latinas so they can not only dream big, but also know it’s possible to achieve.

Karen Siles, Deliver Manager at IBM and Board Member for Latinitas

Karen Siles

Karen Mariela Siles is a Delivery Manager at IBM Corporation in Austin, TX. Her current role involves leading the delivery and development of a new Block and File IBM Cloud Service. Karen has been with IBM since 2007 where she has held several positions from Software Development to her current role within the Cloud Business Unit. Karen’s achievements at IBM include filling four patents and publishing three, leading her to achieve her first Patent Plateau last year.

In addition to her professional experience at IBM, Karen has also been a part of the Hispanic Employee Resource Group at IBM Austin for the past 10 years and served as the Chair the last two. Karen received her bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from George Mason University in May 2007 and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Technology Commercialization at University of Texas- Austin — McCombs School of Business. Karen is also a 2012 graduate of the Hispanic Austin Leadership program. Last summer she began serving as the Chair for the National Academic Committee for Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Inc.

Why is the future “chica”?

As a software developer manager, I see the need for more diversity in STEM. I realize that hosting events like this can change the story.

Why is it important to have diversity in innovation?

We cannot create diverse products, for diverse customers if we have a non diverse engineering or development team.

Arely Valenzuela, Program Leader at Latinitas

Arely Valenzuela

Meet Arely Denise Valenzuela, a program leader at Latinitas. She is a third-year Management student at the McCombs School of Business with a minor in Educational Psychology and a Bridging Disciplines Program Certificate focused on Entrepreneurship & Nonprofits. She is a first-generation student born in the border city of El Paso, TX and raised in its sister city Cd. Juarez, Mexico. She is a proud sister of Sigma Lambda Alpha Sorority Inc. that is dedicated to promoting the importance of community service, academic achievement, and excelling the stance of Latino cultures in this diversely enriched society.

What does “the future is chica” mean to you?

For me, “the future is chica” represents reframing the traditional ideals and stereotypes that come with being a girl. When people say “fight like a girl” or “be a lady,” I want people to know that this doesn’t mean weakness. I want them to know that fighting like a girl means to fight with strength and courage. That behaving like a lady represents professionalism and compassion rather than inferiority. We are women that empower women, and we are the future!

Luis Veloz, Business Development Consultant at Oracle

Luis Veloz

Luis Veloz started working in local advocacy at 16 years old. His work has taken him from leading campaigns in the State of Texas for grassroots initiatives to working inside the White House during the Obama administration. Currently Luis works as a Business Development Consultant at Oracle. When he is not working, Luis enjoys listening to Ariana Grande and trying out new taco places.

What got you interested in helping with the planning of Future Chica?

As a gay Latino, I grew up surrounded by powerful mujeres that taught me about self-respect, perseverance, and always fighting for what is right. Investing in our young Latinas is the right thing to do, and I am happy I get to do it with Latinitas. The future is female and the need to invest in our young Latinas is now.

Latinitas’ Future Chica Conference is on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at Oracle. Throughout the day, girls ages 9–18 will have the opportunity to explore their own innovative ideas through the latest 21st century technologies including VR, 3D printing, drones, circuits, and more. For more information, visit futurechica.com.


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Empowering all girls to innovate through media and technology. www.latinitasmagazine.org

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