Last Thursday, I had the honor of attending the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality’s (HOPE) 28th Anniversary Awards Dinner in Los Angeles. I have always been a strong supporter of HOPE and the important work it does in advancing Latinas. I have always admired the mission of HOPE and think that they are doing wonderful work in ensuring political and economic parity for Latinas through leadership, advocacy, and education to benefit all communities and the status of women. This event had a special significance for me personally, because one of my dear friends was receiving an award. It was made even more memorable as I was joined by some Los Angeles-based CPCA members: Richard Veloz, CEO of South Central Family Health Center; Margie Martínez, Chief Executive Officer of ChapCare; and Dr. Anitha Mullangi, CMO of Saint John’s Well Child & Family Center.

Helen Torres, Executive Director of HOPE, is a powerhouse Latina doing wonderful work to develop future leaders for the state. Serving in this position for more than 17 years, Helen has dedicated her professional life to bettering the lives of Latinas through the advancement of important issues and personal empowerment.

Olga accepting the “Spirit of Hope” Award



I also had the pleasure of seeing my friend of many years Olga Talamante, Executive Director of the California-based Chicana/Latina Foundation, who received the “Spirit of Hope” Award that night. I was overjoyed to see Olga receive this award from HOPE – it is so well deserved. She has been such a trailblazer and a leader within the Latina community for many years now, spending nearly 15 years running the Chicana/Latina Foundation. Prior to that, she spent a number of years relentlessly working to improve and uplift the lives of Latinas. I have always been so inspired by Olga’s boundless energy and her tremendous leadership and dedication. She was entirely dedicated to the Chicana/Latina Foundation as a volunteer Board member long before she accepted a leadership role at the organization.


Olga and I

The Chicana/Latina Foundation has been a grantee of the Castellano Family Foundation (CFF) since its inception over 15 years ago. As a result, I’ve been able to witness Olga’s hard work from multiple perspectives. My mother is a former Board member of the Chicano/Latino Foundation, and she has always been extremely supportive of the organization. When my siblings and I transitioned onto the CFF Board five years ago, we continued that commitment to Olga and her organization and have enjoyed being able to work with her.


Margie Martinez, Myself, and Anitha Mullangi

HOPE and the Chicana/Latina Foundation are two organizations that are making a tremendous contribution to advancing and empowering Latina women. Through this event, I was able to celebrate Olga and HOPE, and all of the amazing work they do. But on a daily basis, I celebrate all the women who are involved and dedicated to advancing and bringing up the next generation of women leaders in our state.

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