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Northern Nevada

 

Lonnie Feemster
President, NAACP

Lonnie Feemster has lived in Nevada for 61 years. He worked in the utility business for 27 years as an Energy Consultant and Public Relations specialist. He is the Broker / Owner of Lonnie L. Feemster Realty which is involved in financial, investment and market  analysis, real estate sales, property management and marketing. He currently serves as the President of the Reno Sparks Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).  Additionally he has served as Chair of the Nevada Commission on Minority Affairs, Board of Directors, Public Broadcasting System Channel 5 (KNPB); Hispanic Business Council; UNR Black Alumni Association; University and Community College System of Nevada, Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs; Washoe County School District, Mathematics Curriculum Advisory Committee/Gang Violence Task Force/Financial Advisory Committee; Reno Police Department Gang Task Force Community Advisory Committee; and the Gang Alternatives Partnership Board. He lives in Sparks, Nevada with his wife, Debra A Feemster, Ed.D.

Dr. Carlos Romo
Education Consultant

Dr. Carlos Romo has resided in Nevada since 1972.  He has held the positions of Assistant Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures (Spanish and Portuguese), University of Nevada, Reno; Operations Manager for the Comprehensive Employment Training Act; he was an appointee of former Governor and Senator Richard H. Bryan as Administrator of the Nevada State Youth Services Division.  He served as the Assistant Administrator for the Nevada Equal Rights Commission and Training Manager at the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. In October 2004, he became the Director of Equity and Diversity at Truckee Meadows Community College until his retirement on July 1, 2008.  During the past two years, 2009-2010, Dr. Romo has been the Director/Chair for the Northern Nevada Human Resources Association’s Diversity Committee/Conference.  His Ph.D. and M.A. degrees are from Tulane University and his B.A., from the University of New Mexico, his native state.  He was a Fulbright-Hayes scholar in Lisbon, Portugal; a Woodrow Wilson Honorary Scholar, as well as the recipient of an NDEA Title IV Fellowship.  Dr. Romo has conducted over 800 training sessions in all areas of Equal Employment Opportunity, including investigations; multiculturalism and diversity and inclusion.  He has taught Spanish classes for TMCC and he hosts and moderates a public affairs bilingual television program, El Mundo Hispano, through KOLO-TV.

Sherry Rupert

Sherry L. Rupert
Executive Director, State of Nevada Indian Commission

Sherry is the Executive Director of the Nevada Indian Commission, appointed by Governor Guinn September of 2005.  With over 20 years of tribal, public and private business experience, she possesses a strong background in accounting, finance, business administration and Indian Affairs.  Mrs. Rupert is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and is currently the President of the Native Alumni Chapter of the University of Nevada, Reno Alumni Association.  She has presented at numerous tribal, state and regional conferences and was elected to her first term as President of the Governors’ Interstate Indian Council, and was formerly the Treasurer for two terms. Sherry is the Chairwoman of the Indian Territory, a marketing arm of the Nevada Commission on Tourism, and was awarded the 2007 and 2009 Excellence in Tourism Award from the Nevada Commission on Tourism for her success in promoting and advancing tourism in Indian Country.  She was also awarded the 2009 Human and Civil Rights Award from the Nevada State Education Association.  Most recently, Sherry was elected to serve a three year term as the Southwest Representative on the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association Board of Directors.  Sherry is an American Indian of Paiute and Washoe heritage.  She is also a proud Native Nevadan, born in Carson City and raised on the Washoe Reservation in Gardnerville, Nevada.   Now residing in Carson City, she is a wife and mother of two, with her eldest son proudly serving in the United States Navy. 

 

Dr. Angela Taylor

Dr. Angela Taylor
Business Consultant

During a 20-year career at the University of Nevada, Reno, Dr. Angie Taylor served as Associate Vice President for Student Success Services, Assistant Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations and Senior Associate Director of Athletics. She also served as a partner/consultant for Diversity 2000, conducting workshops and trainings on the management of cultural diversity in the work place. She is currently a diversity and leadership consultant for Guardian Quest, Inc. Angie has earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership, a Master’s degree in Public Administration and Policy and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Serving on numerous committees, task forces and boards, she has received many awards and recognitions for her leadership and community service. Angie is also an ordained minister and serves as the assistant pastor for administration at Greater Light Christian Center in Reno, Nevada.

 

Southern Nevada

Karen Bennett-Haron
Judge, Department 7, Las Vegas Township Justice Court

Judge Bennett-Haron is a native Nevadan. She graduated from Western High School, received her Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia and received her Juris Doctorate degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law.  Judge Bennett-Haron clerked for the Honorable Thomas Foley and thereafter served as Assistant Federal Public Defender, District of Nevada. She engaged in the practice of private law from 1991-96, specializing in the areas of criminal defense, municipal finance and housing. She was also General Counsel to the Las Vegas Housing Authority and associate bond counsel for the Clark County School District during this time.  In 1996 Judge Bennett-Haron accepted the full time position of General Counsel for the Las Vegas Housing Authority, where she worked until her appointment to the Las Vegas Justice Court Bench. In May 2002, Judge Bennett-Haron was appointed to the Las Vegas Justice Court Bench, and became the first African American female ever appointed to the State's justice system at any level. Since the May 2002 appointment to the bench, Judge Bennett-Haron was elected by the voters in the Las Vegas township in November 2004, to serve a six year term as Justice of the Peace in Department 7.  Her professional and civic affiliations include the Las Vegas Chapter National Bar Association, National Bar Association Judicial Council, American Bar Association, American Judges Association, Nevada Judges Association and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.  Judge Bennett is the daughter of the Reverend Marion D. Bennett and is married to Fredrick C. Haron.

Hannah Brown

Hannah Brown
President, National Coalition of 100 Black Women - Las Vegas Chapter

Relocated as a child from the segregated Deep South, Hannah Brown grew up in the Las Vegas of the 1950s. She began a lifetime in the workforce at the age of 15 as a salesperson at Larry Wilburn’s Sight and Sound Center. Working her way up the corporate ladder starting as a reservation agent with Western Airlines, Ms. Brown became Delta Air Lines’ regional manager after Delta absorbed Western in 1987. Leaving the corporate world to make a difference in her community, Ms. Brown was elected President of the Urban Chamber in 1999. Under her stewardship, the Chamber secured $2.2 million to build an incubator/multipurpose business center and permanent headquarters. Ms. Brown has been named one of the “Most Promising Black Women in Corporate America” by Ebony magazine; one of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s “Black Women of Achievement;” and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s “Small Business Champion of the Year” for the State of Nevada; and received the Achievement Award from the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, among many honors. She has served as a member of Valley Hospital’s Board of Governors, on the Executive Steering Committee for Las Vegas’ Centennial Celebration, and as Grand Marshal of the 2005 Martin Luther King Day Parade. She currently serves as President of the Las Vegas chapter of 100 Black Women, and has been membership chair for 100 Black Women’s National Coalition.

Vida Chan Lin

Vida Chan Lin
President, Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce

Vida Lin is President of the Asian Chamber of Commerce in Southern Nevada where she is distinguished as the first woman to hold the position in the organization’s 24-year history.  An integral contributor to the growth of the Asian business community in Southern Nevada, she has worked for 15 years as an executive in the insurance industry where she currently oversees multi-lingual staffs.  She is a recipient of numerous awards for community and professional achievement.  Vida is a member of the National Association of Professional Women and was recognized by the Las Vegas Business Press with its 2010 “Women Who Mean Business” award.

 

Randy Garcia

Randy A. Garcia
Chief Executive Officer, The Investment Counsel Company of Nevada

Randy A. Garcia is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the oldest and largest Nevada based investment management consulting firm, The Investment Counsel Company.  Since 1978, he has assisted corporations, endowments, and individuals with establishing investment goals and risk parameters, structuring and implementing investment plans to match individualized needs, and monitoring investment performance in relation to clients’ stated objectives.  The Investment Counsel Company has raised the standard of service for all institutional investors within the State of Nevada since its establishment in 1987.  Mr. Garcia has been a resident of Las Vegas since 1957 and is a 1977 honors graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Following graduation, he attended the University of Santa Clara, School of Law, as a scholarship recipient.  He completed post graduate classes at Harvard University and Wharton School of Business. He is Nevada’s first Certified Investment Management Analyst and holds over five National Securities Industry professional licenses. Mr. Garcia has also received the Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst designation from the Center for Fiduciary Studies.  Mr. Garcia is currently serving the community in the following capacities: Board Director and Investment Committee member of the Nevada Community Foundation, Board Director and Educational Committee member of the Council for a Better Nevada, Board Director and Trustee of the Nevada State College Foundation, Board Director and Vice President of Scoutreach Program for the Las Vegas Area Council of the Boy Scouts, member of the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce, Board Director of the Service Campaign Corporation and Deposit and Loan Committee member for the Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas, current member and former Board member of the Nevada Development Authority, former Board member of the Las Vegas Southwest Rotary, and former Chairman of the Nevada State Taxicab Authority (Governor appointee).  Mr. Garcia and his wife of twenty years, Staci, have two sons and a daughter.

Lori Harrison

Lori Harrison
Executive Vice President, Bank of Nevada

Lori Harrison began her career in 1983 and joined Bank of Nevada in 2000 as the vice president and commercial lending officer. From there, Harrison advanced to senior vice president and regional chief lending officer. She remained in that position for five years until she was promoted to executive vice president and regional president of the Sahara region. In this position, Harrison manages the $600 million regional office and Grand Central Parkway satellite office. She is in charge of production, including quality loan growth, deposit growth and managing budgetary goals to meet the bank’s goals and objectives. Harrison is very active in her community. As a member of the Citizens Priority Advisory Board for the city of Las Vegas, Harrison advises the city finance committee on budgetary concerns, sources and uses of revenue. She is a former board member for the Las Vegas Indian Center and was on the selection committee for the People of the Fire scholarship, a memoriam scholarship to assist Native Americans in obtaining higher education. Harrison was an honors graduate from Pacific Coast Banking School in 2005.

Debra Nelson
President, Urban Chamber of Commerce
Vice President for Corporate Diversity & Community Affairs, MGM Mirage

Debra Nelson is the Vice President of Corporate Diversity and Community Affairs at MGM Mirage. Under her leadership, MGM Mirage is now ranked on nationally prominent lists for diversity performance. Nelson has held diversity, public affairs and communications positions at the former DaimlerChrysler and Mercedes-Benz companies in New Jersey and Alabama, where she helped introduce the M-Class sport utility vehicle to the global market. In Nevada she founded the Las Vegas Women of Color Conference, as well as the Diversity Professionals Network. Her board appointments include the College of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas Urban League, Boys & Girls Club, Nevada Hand and the Urban Chamber of Commerce, where she is president. In Business Las Vegas named her among its “Women to Watch,” Casino Enterprise Management presented her with its Rising Star Award, and the National Association of Women Business Owners honored her with its Women of Distinction Award.

Duy Nguyen

Duy Nguyen
Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer, Asian Chamber of Commerce

Duy Nguyen's career spanned from non-profit management, sales executive, to building strategic relationships for major Fortune 500 companies. He is currently the Executive Director/CEO of the Asian Chamber of Commerce (ACC) and the Asian Chamber of Commerce Foundation in Nevada. He was appointed to this inaugural post in October of 2009 after serving on the chamber’s board of directors for 4 years. Under his leadership, many of the local fund-raising programs took new form, increased attendance, and became "must-see" events. He is a member of the Clark County Business Development Advisory Council, UNLV Diversity Commission, Colleges of Southern Nevada Business Advisory Council, and an Executive Committee Member of the Water Conservation Coalition. Nationally, Duy is currently serving his second term as National Vice President for Chapter Development for OCA, a national civil rights and education organization for Asian Pacific Americans with 82 chapters and affiliates across the United States. Recently, Duy received admission to the prestigious America’s Leaders of Change program by the National Urban Fellows. Duy is a graduate of the University of Phoenix with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management, and a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.)

Linda Rivera

Linda Rivera
Bureau of Reclamation & SNHEP Southern Nevada Hispanic Employment Program

Linda Rivera is the Special Emphasis Program Manager for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. She is also a founder, former president, and mainstay of the Southern Nevada Hispanic Employment Program.

SNHEP empowers Hispanics to become viable contributors to the community through employment, education, promotion of cultural awareness, leadership and business development. SNHEP’s goal is to be a valued/comprehensive community resource that educates, employs, and develops the Hispanic community, thereby enhancing the economic development of Southern Nevada. SNHEP develops and conducts an annual training conference that includes skill-based training regarding leadership development; resume writing; preparation of the SF 612 for Federal employment; interview techniques; small business opportunities; conflict management; gender communications; intergenerational issues; diversity; civil rights and human resource management. SNHEP provides financial assistance to Hispanic students through scholarships. The scholarships are presented during the annual training awards luncheon ceremony. Additionally, the SNHEP partners with secondary schools, which have a high enrollment of Hispanic students, to enhance the students’ educational experiences by providing and/or sponsoring a Technology/Career Day to introduce mathematics, science, technology and skill-based training, and invite the students to the annual SNHEP conference. To share experiences or current and future employment information about the respective member organizations with area elementary, middle and high schools, the SNHEP maintains an Hispanic Speakers Bureau staffed by SNHEP members selected on the basis of their areas of expertise. Also, it continues to participate in the Roundtable discussions with other community and congressional leaders and the Superintendent of the Clark County School District.

In 2007, Ms. Rivera was honored by CCSD with the Crystal Apple Award for facilitating, through SNHEP, over $500,000 in scholarships to Southern Nevada Hispanic/Latino students in the previous year alone.

Tom Rodriguez

Tom Rodriguez
Executive Director of Diversity & Affirmative Action Programs, Clark County School District

Thomas Rodriguez is presently employed as the Executive Director, Diversity and Affirmative Action Programs for the Clark County School District, currently the nation’s 5th largest school district and one of the largest employers in the State of Nevada.  Rodriguez has served in this position since October of 1989. Mr. Rodriguez previously worked as a Senior Analyst at the Clark County Manager’s Office where he handled cable television issues and worked at modernizing the County’s outlying Justice Court System.  Rodriguez received his undergraduate degree in Psychology from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, and his Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Kansas, where he also worked on his Ph. D. in Political Science prior to moving to Las Vegas, Nevada in April of 1981.  Since moving to Las Vegas, Rodriguez has a long history of community and civic involvements to include serving on the Nevada Goals 2000 Education Reform Committee, the 2nd Governor’s Commission on Excellence in Education, and the University and Community College System of Nevada Blue Ribbon Task Force on Minority Affairs.  In his many years of service to the Hispanic community, Rodriguez served as President of the Hispanics in Politics, Inc., Chairman of the Latin Chamber of Commerce Career Day Scholarship Committee, Co-Founder of the Latino Youth Leadership Conference, Co-Founder of the Southern Nevada Language Issues Coalition, and wrote the three grants applications that led to the construction of the Arturo Cambeiro Senior Center.  In 2006, Mr. Rodriguez was honored by the Latin Chamber of Commerce with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Service to the Hispanic community in the State of  Nevada. 

Tony Sanchez

Tony F. Sanchez, III
Senior Vice President, Government & Community Strategy, NV Energy

Tony F. Sanchez III joined NV Energy in 2007. He oversees the Company’s government, regulatory, communications and community strategies. He previously served as associate legislative counsel handling energy and natural resource issues for Nevada’s then-U.S. Senator Richard H. Bryan (1992-1995) in Washington, D.C., before practicing law as assistant general counsel for the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada. In 1998, he became executive assistant to then-Nevada Governor Bob Miller and thereafter joined the statewide law firm of Jones Vargas, where he practiced law for close to 10 years before joining NV Energy.  Tony is a 1988 graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a B.A. in Political Science. He received his law degree from Arizona State University in 1991.  Over the past two decades Tony has served on numerous non-profit boards and committees. He recently retired from the Latin Chamber of Commerce Board after 10 years, having served as President in 2003-2004 and is now active as Vice Chair of the Latin Chamber of Commerce Foundation. During his tenure on the Latin Chamber Board, Tony Chaired the organization’s Government Affairs Committee and is the founder of IMPACTO, the pre-eminent political action committee focusing on Latino(a) public policy issues. He also currently serves as the Vice Chair for Nevada Partners, which focuses on job training, the Nevada Tourism Alliance, the Clark County Public Education Foundation, and the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth. He also serves as a member of the Nevada State College Diversity Board and the UNLV Task Force on Equity and Diversity. Additionally, he has served on the boards of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and United Way of Southern Nevada and has been recognized as the Latin Chamber’s Hispanic of the Year, and the American Diabetes Association’s Person of the Year. He has been named to the 2007 and 2008 list of "The Best Lawyers in America."  Sanchez and his wife, Elaine, reside in Las Vegas with their four children.

 

Lynette Sawyer
Founder and Executive Director/ CEO
Hispanic Museum of Nevada  - Museo Hispano De Nevada

Lynnette Arvelo Sawyer is currently serving as the executive director/CEO of the Hispanic Museum of Nevada, which she founded in 1991 to promote awareness, education, and resources of the diverse Latino cultures of the world. She has held positions in the field of education as an assistant principal, learning strategist, art teacher, and K-7 math, language arts, Spanish and general education Instructor.

Ms. Sawyer holds a master's degree in education with an emphasis on curriculum and instruction-Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), a bachelors degree in education, and a license in educational administration and leadership.

She has served as chairperson for the Nevada Association of Latin Americans, as a trustee for the North Las Vegas Library Board, and as general manager for the Las Vegas Sentinel Voice newspaper. She has received numerous community awards and commendations for her tireless advocacy, education, and cultural arts work in the expanding Latin community of Nevada.

Some of her citations include the Professional Business Women's Associate of the Year Award, the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce Award for Cultural Contributions, the Clark County School District Education and Cultural Contribution Award, and the Foundation for an Independent Tomorrow Community Contribution Award.

Dr. Johnnie Woodson

Dr. Johnnie Woodson
Woodson Dermatology

Dr. Woodson attended Wayne State University of School of Medicine, and is the Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine for the University School of Medicine, Las Vegas. Currently, Dr. Woodson is a Dermatology Instructor of Internal Medicine, and Family Medical for physician assistants and medical students.   He has participated in numerous research trials (i.e. Plaque Psoriasis, Psoriatic Arthritis, and Actinic Keratosis).  Woodson Dermatology is a busy office that consists of five providers who actively provide for over 4,000 psoriasis patients yearly.   Dr. Woodson has been treating patients in the Las Vegas Valley for over fifteen years specializing in treatment of Psoriasis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Acne, Shingles and Skin Cancers.  He lectures throughout the country to Dermatologic, Family and General Practice Groups on advances in Dermatology and the treatment of Psoriasis and related diseases.  Woodson Dermatology also conducts a number of clinical trials of new treatments for skin conditions every year.

 

 

 

 

Nevada System of Higher Education Contacts

Chancellor Dan Klaich

Daniel Klaich
Chancellor

Daniel Klaich was appointed by the Board of Regents to serve as the NSHE's tenth chancellor on June 18, 2009. He previously held the positions of executive vice chancellor, vice chancellor for legal affairs and administration and chief counsel.  Mr. Klaich is an attorney, admitted to the bar in Nevada and California and was in private practice for almost 30 years prior to joining the NSHE.  He is a native Nevadan and a 1972 Graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Washington School of Law in 1975, and in 1978 received a Masters Degree in Taxation from New York University.  Mr. Klaich served on the Board of Regents of the NSHE from 1983 to 1997, including two terms as Chairman of the Board.  He has served on numerous legislative and executive blue ribbon boards and commissions dealing with educational and quality of life issues in Nevada.  Mr. Klaich is married to the former Denise Woods (University of Nevada, Reno 1973). They have four children and eight grandchildren.

Renee Yackira
Vice Chancellor for Administration and Operations

 

Renee Yackira was appointed by Chancellor Dan Klaich to serve as executive director of government relations in October 2011 and was promoted to vice chancellor for administration and operations in August 2012. In this position, she is responsible for NSHE's day-to-day administrative functions as well as supervises communications, government relations, and community relations.
 
Prior to joining NSHE, Yackira served as deputy general counsel and executive for business law for NV Energy.  In the 10-year period prior to joining NV Energy, she served as chief of staff to Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall, deputy chief of staff and general counsel to Former Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn, and as chief deputy secretary of state to Former Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller. Yackira also served as a policy advisor and assistant general counsel to the Nevada Public Utilities Commission.  Previous to state employment, Renee was an associate at the law firm of Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro LLP (now known as Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP) where she specialized in corporate and securities law.
 
She earned a juris doctor (summa cum laude) from Santa Clara University School of Law in 1996.  She also earned a Bachelor of Science degree (magna cum laude) in economics from Santa Clara University in 1992.
 

Magdalena Martinez
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic & Student Affairs

Dr. Magdalena Martinez is Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs for the Nevada System of Higher Education. Prior to joining the Nevada System of Higher Education, Dr. Martinez worked at the National Forum of Higher Education for the Public Good at the University of Michigan. In her role she was responsible for contributing to the research, planning and implementation of multiple national dialogues which focused on issues related to postsecondary access, equity and student success. In addition, she served as a program evaluator for a three-year, W.K. Kellogg Foundation funded leadership program to prepare individuals for the presidency at Minority Serving Institutions. The program was spearheaded by the Alliance for Equity in Higher Education. Other professional experiences include serving as a community college administrator at the College of Southern Nevada and policy and management analyst at the City of Las Vegas. Dr. Martinez’s interests encompass three interconnected areas focused on underrepresented students’ educational experiences, the role of community colleges and persistence, and leadership and public policy to increase postsecondary access and success. Dr. Martinez holds a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Michigan, Master of Education from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.