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The Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (PMAHCC) is the principal regional advocate for the Hispanic business community’s civic and economic interests. It is our mission is to develop, promote and advocate on behalf of Hispanic businesses & professionals in the Pittsburgh region, while encouraging the advancement and economic growth of Pittsburgh’s Hispanic community.

The PMAHCC is a member
of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC).

The PMAHCC Board of Directors represents a diverse tapestry of well respected, successful business and community leaders who  execute a practical approach to the needs of the business community.  

Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce activities include:
  • Networking opportunities with Pittsburgh’s Latino business & professional community
  • Access to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and other national Latino organizations
  • Assistance with public contracting opportunities
  • Brokering discussions with Pittsburgh corporations and elected officials
  • Educating and advising Hispanic business owners and professionals
  • Updating demographic statistics and other Hispanic community and business information 
  • Member access to Micro Loans


Melanie Marie Boyer Executive Director

Melanie Marie Boyer serves as the Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. A CALU and Duquesne University alumna, is a Colombian & United States Citizen. Melanie is a devoted mom to two handsome young boys, ages 9 and 3.

An entrepreneur at heart, she is a business owner, previously working in freelance marketing, production, recruiting, speech coaching and brand management, among other things. She further serves the community through being a participating member of the RAD advisory Board, WPXI Gets Real Advisory Board, Port Authority Stakeholder Advisory Group, Neighborhood Allies Asset Building Network, CCAC Community Equity and Diversity Council  and the UPMC Community Health Partnership. Melanie Marie was also awarded the 2021 NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award, 2021 Distinguished Leader award by Pittsburgh Professional Women, and a 2021 Black History Achievement Award from the The Pastors Wives of the Churches of God in Christ’s Second Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of Pennsylvania for her work in the Hispanic community.

Mrs. Boyer is passionate about helping businesses to reach their full potential and getting funding into the undeserved American entrepreneurial ecosystem. Her goal is to enable rapid success, defined as self-sustaining job and revenue generating businesses that can improve underestimated communities and the region at large.

During the Covid-19 Pandemic Melanie immediately implemented a plan to ensure the sustainability and long-term effectiveness of the Pittsburgh Hispanic Chamber securing the chamber's first ever capacity building grant from the Heinz Endowments. She was one of the first to create a digital speakers series featuring local leaders, government agencies, tech founders, venture capitalists and more! She hosted online events ranging in topics from using Google to reach customers, how to understand, qualify and apply for the Paycheck Protection Program, how to apply for jobs online, and inspirational success stories from successful leaders in the Hispanic Community and continues to share these items today. Additionally, Melanie led the charge in providing underestimated community members with a platform to apply with the PPP with live support in multiple languages and worked one-on-one with business owners and professionals to provide resources.

In all aspects of her life, Melanie Marie strives every day to be the catalyst of forward movement and positive growth, seeking progress, prosperity and positivity through partnership.

Follow Melanie on Linkedin

Board of Directors

Chairman of the Board

Carmen Malloy Peoples Natural Gas, Consultant, Customer Relations Specialist

Carmen Omaira Malloy has worked at Peoples for the last 27 years. Here, her primary responsibilities include: assuring the company’s compliance with mandated programs, responding to inquiries requested by the regulatory body and she is committed to the Peoples mission of "making life better" in our community and advocating for those who are less fortunate.

Carmen joined the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (PMAHCC) in 1999 and in 2013 she was elected President of the executive board. Malloy supports the PMAHCC mission of contributing to making Pittsburgh the city of opportunity and growth for our future generations by managing the Chamber’s Foundation Scholarship program. This program has provided 97 students with scholarships totaling more than $142,000 since the initiative began in 2011.

Carmen, an advocate for volunteering, is active with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh and sits on the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh Community Advisory Committee. Ms. Malloy is a member of Saint Richards, Guatemala Mission group whose focus is to support an orphanage in Patzún, Guatemala. Carmen has visited the orphanage as a volunteer, translator and group coordinator with Saint Richard Parish as well as Oakland Catholic School.

In 2017 Carmen was honored for her commitment to the community by the Pittsburgh Steelers and National Football League (NFL), as the recipient of the "NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award" as well as the Pittsburgh Magazine, "Spirit of Giving Award". In 2016 she was recognized by the Talk Minority Action Group who presented her with the "Minority Achiever’s Award" as featured in Talk Magazine.


Ivan Usero  AVP, Property & Casualty at USI Insurance Services 

A native of Miramar, Santurce,  Puerto Rico Ivan Usero is a graduate of Duquesne University (Undergrad) and Robert Morris University (Masters) respectively.  Having lived in Illinois as a child, while his father was obtaining his PHD in Geotechnical Engineering, Ivan is no stranger to being an outsider in a different land.  It is for this reason that Ivan feels compelled to serve and go above and beyond.  Professionally Ivan is the only full service, Spanish speaking insurance broker in Western Pennsylvania, working as Vice President for the Daniel Carinci Agency.  This role has let Ivan help countless individuals, families, and business owners, while establishing himself as the go to expert in his field.  As a former basketball player, Ivan’s competitive drive shines through in everything he does.  Having served on the board for the passed 5 years, Ivan is extremely passionate about the organization and its mission.  As President, Ivan will continue to lead recruiting efforts to expand membership, create new opportunities for all to get involved, and help the Chamber establish itself as the go to resource for companies wanting to impact our growing community!


Joe Eliza Owner and CTO, CE Leadership Group

Joe Eliza is a Mexican American who attended the MTY Institute of Tech, State of Mex University and CO Tech University. Joe earned his Masters Degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering and is the Founder and CTO of the CE Leadership Group which provides trainings that enrich the development of the right attitudes and work habits that will make people the driving forces that is needed to meet the goals in operations and initiatives. Notably, they provide training to federal employees in the SW PA region.

The CE Leadership Group provides trainings that enrich the development of the right attitudes and work habits that will make people the driving forces that is needed to meet the goals in operations and initiatives.


Angela Cruz Strategy Analyst at HM Health Solutions 

Angela Cruz has lived in Pittsburgh since 2016, previously living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Richmond, Virginia, Wilmington and Mooresville, North Carolina.

She currently works in business planning and performance with HM Health Solutions, where she helps develop strategy and goals for the company, and then analyzes performance to determine progress to key metrics.

Angela received her BFA from University of North Carolina at Wilmington and her MFA from Lesley University. Both degrees are in Creative Writing, Nonfiction.

Born to a Mexican father who is a small business owner, she understands the critical role Hispanic chambers of commerce play in the community and looks forward to supporting the mission of developing, promoting, and advocating on behalf of Hispanic businesses & professionals in the Pittsburgh region.

Membership Chair

Andrea Vasquez Dollar Bank, Group Banking Representative

Andrea Vasquez is a Pittsburgh-born native who is excited to witness and partake in the astounding changes in this revitalized city.  She is a 2002 graduate from Plum Senior High School, and went on to further her education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She graduated in 2006 with a Bachelors of Science in Fashion Merchandising and Minors in Business Administration and Journalism.  She was a Board of Governor’s full Scholarship Recipient, which was awarded based on academic performance and a minority background. She is a fourth-generation Mexican and Polish mix. She is currently a resident in the city of Pittsburgh.

She obtained an eight-year career in the fashion industry with such corporations as H&M, Macys and JCPennys. Her most recent position was Merchandise Execution Manager, in which she oversaw storewide operations. After this endeavor she began a career in financing. During her first three years in this industry she was the Branch Manager for the mutual and historic Dollar Bank. Over the last three years she has worked as a Group Banking Officer, and oversees business development in the regions covering twenty branches.

Andrea currently serves as a leader for the Next Generation Council through Vibrant Pittsburgh, and is focusing her efforts on collaborating organizations dedicated to retaining diverse talent in the city. She is a Board Member and Membership Chair for the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce ( She is active in many chambers throughout the city, such as the North Chamber, Airport Chamber, Southpointe Chamber, and attends events on behalf of the bank to increase overall business development in various regions. She is also a member with the Pittsburgh Human Resource Association. Over the last year she was elected to serve on the Equal Opportunity Review Committee of behalf of the Mayors office. This committee reviews city bids which are presented in order to ensure compliance with Minority, Women and Disabled businesses throughout Pittsburgh.  Andrea also serves on an advisory Board for Powerlink, which helps small businesses develop and implement strong business plans to increase revenue and implement strategy change.

Events Chair

Monica Malik Allegheny Health Network, Program Manager of Community Health and Innovations

Monica Malik was born into the business world. By the time she was a teenager, she was a key component to the success of the seven McDonald’s restaurants owned by her father. She was fully immersed in all aspects of the family run business and gained skills that would serve her well as she carved out her career and life’s work.

This diversity of experience and knowledge led Monica to be intrigued by and to pursue work in many different arenas. She was the Director of Operations for McDonald’s, where she managed over 500 employees at a time and she moved on to become a franchisee for the Checker’s/Rally’s Corporation by the time she was in her early 30’s. In addition to being an entrepreneur, she is also the events committee lead for the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, on the Low Income Assistance Advisory Committee for the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, board member at Radiant Hall, on the Culinary Arts Advisory Board at the Bidwell Training Center, a Grow With Google Coach, the Executive Director for #ATU Athletic Trauma Unit, as well as a business operations and non-profit consultant.

Monica is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and a dual minor in Information Sciences and Spanish. She specializes in community outreach programs, team building, conflict resolution, leadership training, talent management and business consulting. She has been a member of the East Liberty Chamber of Commerce and has represented a previous employer at NorthSide Chamber of Commerce events.

Monica’s current position with the Allegheny Health Network, as a Program Manager of Community Health and Innovations, is the perfect union of her professional experience and her deep interest and commitment to the community.

Whether it is through helping someone with business consulting or assisting someone in securing a meal, Monica is always connecting with and assisting those around her.

Kenia Acioly  Mooka Entertainment

The artist was born Kenia Acioly into a family of Italian origins in the city of Nova Iguaçu, a distant working class suburb of Rio de Janeiro. When she was six, Kenia’s family moved to Copacabana. Later, she lived in Niterói, Rio’s sister city across Guanabara Bay, and Leblon, one of the city’s most upscale neighborhoods. Each stop along the way provided opportunities to explore the local cultural peculiarities that go into making Rio and its neighboring environs one of the world’s most exotic locales.

An interest in music came early; she studied piano and learned to play the guitar by ear. Singing however, became her path to success in music world. Influenced by such Brazilian greats as the late Elis Regina, she also began listening to such North American artists as Sarah Vaughn, Carmen McRea and George Benson. And her choice of music to interpret came not from the bossa nova of the 1960s but from the talents of the generation of composers that followed and put the Brazilian sound on the world map once again.

Arriving in the U.S. in 1980, Kenia quickly established herself as the new Brazilian singer on the scene and recorded her debut in the States with trumpeter Claudio Roditi on his album Red on Red. Several years later, she launched her solo recording career, producing four popular and critically-acclaimed albums for the MCA and Denon labels between 1987 and 1991. She also established herself as one of the most popular and successful U.S. based Brazilian musicians since the heyday of Sergio Mendes and Brazil ‘66. In 1997, Kenia launched her own label, Mooka Records, with a particularly ambitious effort; Project Ivan Lins, a tribute to the one of Brazil’s most prolific and popular contemporary songwriters, featuring Lins himself as a special guest.

Wilfredo (Fred) Ramos   Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, Highmark Health, Pittsburgh PA

 Fred Ramos is a senior business executive, administrator and strategic counselor to senior management with Global Communications, Public Relations, Marketing, Stakeholder Engagement, Strategic Planning, and Operations Management expertise and Thought Leadership. Fred has held numerous senior leadership positions at several Fortune 100 and Most Admired companies – where he has had a successful 25+ year track record of applying his expertise and Thought Leadership to help drive and support strategic, operational and Brand Image and Reputation Management business goals and objectives.

As Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, Fred serves as the Chief Communications Officer for the Highmark Health enterprise. In this enterprise senior leadership role, Fred has overall responsibility and accountability for leading a multidisciplinary Corporate Communications team focused on building a strong company reputation and integrated communications strategy across Highmark’s health, diversified and provider businesses, and for leading, designing and executing integrated Communications and Public Relations strategies to position the company as a leading health and wellness organization with key government, internal and external stakeholders.

Prior to this, at Zurich Insurance Co. Ltd, Fred served as Global Head of the Employee Communications CoE, a core unit of the global Employee & Executive Communications team above the BU level, a Group level, senior leadership and Executive Staff role within the merged Group Marketing & Communications function. Responsible for leading and managing a team of employee communications business partners located across the globe, Fred helped to ensure the direction and coordination of employee communications activities across the Group, and the development, delivery and measurement of the Group employee communication strategy to drive employee engagement and commitment and to enable and support the execution of Zurich’s business strategy and brand repositioning.

Before that, Fred was the Global Chief of Staff and Head of Strategy, Group Communications, where he served at a Group level, senior leadership and Executive Staff role as the Global Function’s COO and Chief Administrative Officer and directed its day-to-day administrative/operational processes, oversaw budget and agency management, and helped to set its strategic direction. This included driving the development and execution of the function’s multi-faceted, Strategic Framework and Operating Model focused on Group Communications delivering a simpler, more efficient and more effective value proposition to the business at the Group, Segment and Regional/Country level.

Fred joined Zurich in 2011, serving as Vice President/Head, Corporate Communications, and Chief Communications Officer, Zurich North America - General Insurance (GI). In this regional senior leadership role, he led the ZNA-GI communications function and team; multiple, integrated communications channels; and key message platform development – directing and governing Internal/Employee Communications, Public/Media Relations, Crisis Communications, and Executive Communications, and helping to drive enterprise Employee Engagement and Change Management efforts.

In addition, Fred has served as:

  • ·         Senior Vice President of Communications, Public Relations, Community and Government Relations at Advocate Healthcare, in Chicago, IL;
  • ·         Global Head of Internal and Executive Communications at Merck & Co., Inc., in Whitehouse Station, NJ;
  • ·         Corporate Marketing and Communications Officer at Nationwide Insurance and Financial Services, in Columbus, OH;
  • ·         Global Head of Corporate Communications and Public Relations at Phillips Petroleum Company, in Bartlesville, OK; and
  • ·         Senior Director of Corporate, Internal and Executive Communications, and Executive Director of The Allstate Foundation, among numerous Public Relations and Communications leadership roles held during a 16-year career, at Allstate Insurance Company, in Northbrook, IL, where he directed companywide communications measurement and best practices initiatives –cutting-edge work for which Allstate and Fred became well recognized.

Fred holds a B.A. in Communications and an M.B.A., from Northern Illinois University, in DeKalb, IL.

Guillermo Velazquez  Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation, Director Special Projects

Guillermo Velazquez is the Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation (PHDC). As Executive Director, Mr. Velazquez is responsible for the operations of PHDC and for implementing its mission in economic and community development. A Business Incubator, Housing, Employment, Investment, Training, and Career Development are activities of the Hispanic Corporation.

Mr. Velazquez began his career at Desarrollo Empresarial Mexicano (DESEM), an entrepreneurship program in Mexico City (also known as Junior Achievement Mexico), where he was a member for ten years. The program teaches entrepreneurs how to start, manage, and operate a new business. Mr. Velazquez has a wealth of experience assisting U.S.-based companies in expanding internationally and foreign companies seeking to develop their local and international markets. His specialty is market entry strategies and market penetration. Mr. Velazquez's involvement in the Latino community of Pittsburgh is since 1998. He has served as a board member on various organizations such as the Community Justice Project, the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, LACU - Latin American Union Culture, and COESA, the Brazilian Association of Pittsburgh. Mr. Velazquez also serves as a commissioner of the LGBTQA+ Commission of the City of Pittsburgh.

Mr. Velazquez has worked at Nissan Motor's Headquarters Office in Mexico City, the World Trade Center Pittsburgh, and Conco Services Corp as Manager for Latin America. Guillermo Velázquez has an MBA in Global Management and Business Administration from Point Park University, a Bachelor's Degree in Business Relations, Marketing, and International Business. Furthermore, he also holds a diploma in computer systems and an English diploma as a second language. He is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and English.

Mr. Velazquez served from 2002 – 2004 as President of the Western Pennsylvania Hispanic Chamber of Commerce promoting commerce for Hispanic-owned businesses in the region. Currently, Mr. Velazquez continues serving as a board member executive committee member and chair of the Latino Business Initiative of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. In October 2016, Mr. Velazquez became the president of LACU - Latin American Union Culture, the oldest Latino membership organization in Pittsburgh with 30 years of existence, and he serves on the board of COESA, the Brazilian Association of Pittsburgh.  

Omar Khan Vice President of Football & Business Administration, Pittsburgh Steelers

Omar Khan is in his 21st season in the NFL and 17th season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, having served in numerous positions within the organization.

In his current role, Khan works with the day-to-day overall management of the Football & Business Operations Departments, working closely with President Art Rooney II, General Manager Kevin Colbert and Head Coach Mike Tomlin. He is in charge of overseeing many different areas and functions of the organization.

Prior to joining the Steelers, Khan worked with the New Orleans Saints for four years. In 2000, he served as Football Operations/Coaching Assistant where he supervised the overall operation of the football program and assisted the offensive coordinator in the day-to-day operations of the offense. From 1998-99, Khan served as New Orleans’ Player Personnel Assistant. His duties included assisting in pro scouting, negotiating player contracts, government affairs and football administration, as well as serving as interim Player Programs Director during the 1998 season. In 1997, Khan was a Player Personnel Intern, primarily working with scouting and research.

Khan joined the Saints after spending the 1996 season as an undergraduate assistant with the Tulane University football program.

Khan is involved in many activities and organizations throughout the Pittsburgh region, including serving on the executive board of Visit Pittsburgh, the executive board of the Pittsburgh Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and on the advisory board of FNB Community Bank.  In 2005, Khan was selected to attend the NFL Manager Program at Stanford University Executive Education Graduate School of Business. In 2013, he was selected to attend the NFL Career Development Symposium for front office personnel at the University of Pennsylvania.

Khan, a graduate of Tulane, was born in New Orleans, La. He and his wife Kristen reside in Mt. Lebanon, Pa. The couple has one daughter, Sophia

Ana María Caula P.h.D.  Department of Modern Languages and Cultures. Slippery Rock University, Chairperson and Associate Professor.
Ana María Caula has lived in the Pittsburgh area for the last 21 years. She is from Caracas, Venezuela, born to Argentine parents. She is currently Chairperson and Associate Professor in the Modern Languages and Cultures Department at Slippery Rock University where she created a Spanish Professional concentration which prepares students to use the language in their future careers. She obtained a doctorate in Latin American Literatures and Cultures (2002) from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a BA in Letras (1996) from the Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas, Venezuela. She currently serves as the Revision coordinator of Slippery Rock University’s Liberal Studies Program (General Education) committee. Her research interest is Women prose narratives from the 19th and 20th Century in Latin America and also Hispanic children’s literature. She has published in the area of language teaching pedagogy and technology as well as articles about Latino American literature and film.  Her book Luchas por la independencia: género y nación en la obra de Teresa de la Parra is currently in print in Venezuela with the publishing house El perro y la rana

Yvonne Campos Founder and President, Next Act Fund LLC 

Yvonne Campos is a nationally recognized businesswoman, speaker, focus group facilitator and consultant. Yvonne founded Next Act Fund in 2016 to help women grow their personal wealth by investing in early-stage, womenowned/led companies, thereby positively impacting women, the region and the nation.

Yvonne’s career includes founding and growing Pittsburgh’s premier research company, Campos Inc. Never one to sit still, Yvonne then noticed an opportunity to support other women entrepreneurs and investors with Next Act Fund. Under Yvonne’s leadership, Next Act Fund has rapidly grown its board and membership with leaders from Pittsburgh’s business and investing community, all of them visionary women and men. Yvonne also founded two Pittsburgh chapters of the Women President’s Organization, a peer-to- peer learning model for women owned business with revenues over one million dollars.

Yvonne is a very active member of the Pittsburgh business community and has been recognized locally, regionally and nationally for her entrepreneurship and community involvement. Her community involvement spans professional organizations like American Marketing Association (AMA), Executive Women’s Council (EWC), International Women’s Forum (IWF), Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA), and many non-profit board positions and committees. She is a CEO Diamond Award recipient, presented by the Pittsburgh Business Times in recognition of her business leadership and civic engagement.

She currently serves on the board of Quantum Theatre, Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, Highmark Health, Chatham University - Center for Women's Entrepreneurship, and the Pittsburgh Dance Council. She continues on the honor boards of WQED Multimedia and Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Yvonne received her BS in Psychology at the University of Utah, and is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh’s Class XI, Tepper School of Business’s Donald H. Jones Entrepreneurship Program, Tuck Executive Education Program and Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education Program.

Jonathan Encarnacion Administrative Director, Medical Assistance UPMC

Jonathan Encarnación serves as the Administrative Director for UPMC for You, a division of UPMC Health Plan. In his capacity as Administrative Director, Encarnación is responsible for leading efforts of the UPMC Health Plan and its affiliates to develop product markets in Central PA through the identification and engagement of key stakeholders with goals of building a positive market presence and commitment to new communities, identify critical players in community leadership, professional groups, ethnic communities, consumer groups and others who are able to support the effort.  In addition, Encarnación is the host of “A Su Salud—To Your Health.” This monthly bilingual TV program is aimed at educating disadvantaged consumers about health and wellness issues impacting quality of life. Prior to this position, Encarnación directed the Hispanic Center of Reading and Berks County, also known as El Centro Hispano Daniel Torres, which targets the acculturation and self-sufficiency of citizens and non-citizens of Hispanic heritage.

In 2011 Encarnación was appointed by Governor Corbett to serve on the Board of Trustees for Wernersville State Hospital and as a Commissioner for the Sunset Taskforce. Other gubernatorial appointments include Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs (GACLA) during the Ridge administration, Gov. Rendell transition team for the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and Commissioner at the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD). Encarnación is also involved in trusteeship positions at various community-based organizations.

Most recently, Encarnación was appointed to the Regional Health Equity Council (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services), the Latino Taskforce of the Pennsylvania Advisory Council on Drug & Alcohol Abuse (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol) and the Managed Care Delivery System Subcommittee (Pennsylvania Department of Human Services).

Encarnación earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Spanish from Texas A & M University, and his Master of Business Administration degree from Alvernia University.   In addition, Encarnación has participated as a Fellow at John Hopkins University and Harvard Business School.

Brent Rondon Senior Consultant for International Trade

University of Pittsburgh Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, Small Business Development Center, Innovation Institute

Brent G. Rondon is currently the Senior Consultant for International Trade for the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, Small Business Development Center and Innovation Institute. He consults on export-import and start-up topics as well as assists international entrepreneurs to open a business in Pittsburgh. He has managed a 5-year project to bring U.S. manufacturers of infrastructure-related equipment into the Pacific Alliance markets of Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile delivering sales up to $30 million. One of his clients has just won the 2019 Export of the Year Award making it the 7th company who wins such an award under his portfolio. Previously, he has led trade missions to Panama, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Germany.

He received a Master’s Degree of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) and a Graduate Certificate in Latin American Studies from the University of Pittsburgh and a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture Engineering from the La Molina University in Peru. He is a Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) from NASBITE International. He is in the board of Global Pittsburgh, Welcoming Pittsburgh’s initiative from the Mayor of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Sister Cities International and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Diverse Communities Group. He is fluent in Spanish and intermediate Portuguese.

Linda Jo Thornberg Administrative Director, Medical Assistance UPMC

Linda Jo Thornberg is the founder and creator of the Women Who Embrace Life Conference and President of the Pittsburgh Business Show but her passion lies in Brand Awareness, PR and Social Media for Business Development. She is the Vice President of Corporate Communication and PR at Higher Images, a 20 year old Full Service Digital Marketing Advertising Agency in Pittsburgh, PA She works with businesses of all sizes including, small, medium and multi-location businesses. She specializes in brand awareness, local PR and social media integration, as well as online reputation, online review and testimonial generation.

Someone once asked her for her elevator pitch and she replied "Hmm. my elevator pitch...interesting... I think it goes deeper for me... It is passion. I have the honor of helping businesses build and promote their image and reputation... I love working with a business finding out what their goals are and working together as a team. There are so many options out there from blogging and digital PR, search engine optimization, and mobile marketing APPS. My job is to educate the business owner. It is a whole new world of how buyers buy and what influences them. It is all about how a company makes them feel even more now than ever."

Her experience in her professional life and her education has given her the tools to be able to see companies not only from a business perspective, but as the consumer as well. She believes in treating every client as if she is their partner. She commented "There are no two businesses that are alike; of course they all have similarities." She feels her success has been in researching and listening to her clients business history, identifying the business strengths and weaknesses, researching competitors and demographics and listening to the goals and the future plans for her clients. Then working with businesses in laying out a customized marketing plan to reach business owners strategic goals.

Over 20 years of experience within various industries including event creation, event marketing, recruiting, sales training, retail, restaurant/hospitality, training and customer service. Exceptional at managing multiple projects from conception to completion.

Legal Representation

Lourdes Sanchez Ridge Partner, Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP

LOURDES SÁNCHEZ RIDGE is a Partner at Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP. She practices in the areas of government enforcement, corporate compliance and internal investigations, government related civil litigation, and the False Claims Act. She counsels and investigates corporations and individuals on matters of domestic and international concerns such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), health care fraud, bribery and corruption, securities fraud, ethics and fraudulent conveyances. She also practices in the areas of municipal law including land use, civil rights, employment law, zoning, code enforcement, First Amendment matters, permits and licenses, building code violations, and the Torts Claims Act.

She has substantial trial experience in both state and federal court where she has tried numerous bench and jury trials in a multitude of jurisdictions. She has also represented a myriad of clients before state and federal grand juries.

Prior to joining Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP, Ms. Sánchez Ridge was the Chief Legal Counsel/City Solicitor for the City of Pittsburgh where she was responsible for all legal matters concerning the City of Pittsburgh while supervising the law department. She has substantial experience in representing elected and appointed officials in high profile matters and has experience in handling the media.

Ms. Sánchez Ridge served as a Federal prosecutor in Washington, DC where she handled a myriad of cases including financial crimes, narcotic rings, violent crimes and homicides. As an Assistant United States Attorney, she conducted numerous grand jury investigations, argued motions, conducted bench and jury trials and sentencings. In the mid-1980s, Ms. Sánchez Ridge served as a prosecutor in Miami-Dade County, Florida also handling violent crimes and narcotic prosecutions.

Ms. Sánchez Ridge has spoken on a variety of topics before varied audiences. She has spoken on internal investigations, the FCPA, the False Claims Act, financial fraud and constitutional issues before local, national and international audiences. Ms. Sánchez Ridge has also served as a Subject Matter expert and lecturer at Carlow University’s Fraud and Forensic Master’s Degree Program.

Ms. Sánchez Ridge is also deeply involved in the community. She serves as a Governor for the Allegheny County Bar Association, as well as a Board Member of the Board of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. She served as the Chair of FamilyLinks, a social service non-profit organization, the Chair of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce where she was the Founder of the Hispanic Scholarship Program; she was a Trustee at Carlow University; a Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs; and, a Director at the Allegheny County Community College Foundation and Global Pittsburgh. Ms. Sánchez Ridge has also earned several awards: the Carol Las Mansmann Helping Hand Award, National Football League (NFL) Hispanic Leadership Award and the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Hispanic Bar Committee El Sol Award.

Gina Florez Attorney at Law, Elliott & Davis

Ms. Florez earned her LL.M. in intellectual property from George Washington University Law School in 2010. She completed her M.A. in international affairs from American University in 2005, with a joint J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law in 2004. She earned her B.A., cum laude, in criminal justice from Duquesne University in 2000.

Gina also served in the U.S. Air Force Reserves for eight years as an Intelligence analyst, where she was deployed to several countries and participated in humanitarian and peace-keeping missions and well-known engagements in Iraq and Kosovo. She earned several military awards, including the Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.

Prior to joining Elliot & Davis, Gina practiced as a solo practitioner and general counsel of her own business, Paper Reign, a custom invitation and stationery store in the south hills of Pittsburgh. Prior to her own practice and business venture, she was an Associate Attorney at Morgan Lewis & Bockius in Philadelphia. Before joining Morgan Lewis, Ms. Florez worked at a small firm in Washington, D.C. where she provided general counsel to nonprofit organizations, tax-exempt organizations, trade associations, professional societies, and private corporations in the metropolitan area. Ms. Florez also served as an Associate Director of a not for profit organization created by a united group of the world’s largest and most well-known art publishers, working together to combat the illegal copying of artists’ works by manufacturers around the world. Ms. Florez also previously held a position at the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office.

Gina Florez has experience in intellectual property, general corporate and business structural matters, and supports clients with their entity formation, including limited liability companies, partnerships, limited partnerships and corporations, and not for profit organization formation and management. Her practice also includes immigration law ranging from family and employment related matters to asylum, naturalization, and citizenship matters with an emphasis on family immigration and visa processing. Ms. Florez is the current director of the Beverly Road Business Association.

Gina volunteers with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, which provides pro bono and low cost legal assistance, educational programs, and business counseling to artists and arts and cultural organizations. She also takes on asylum and special immigrant juvenile cases pro bono. Gina is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, Florida, and the District of Columbia. She is affiliated with the Allegheny County Bar Association, International Trademark Association.

Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization

1555 Broadway Avenue Second Floor  Pittsburgh PA 15219 U.S.A.

Phone: (412) 533-9300  ● email:

*The PMAHCC Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization 

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