Our Moderator & Panelists

Joanna Velarde

Panel Moderator — Joanna Velarde

Founder & Executive Producer
Escape Plan Media

A film, TV, digital content, and event producer with 20+ years experience, Joanna is a natural connector and communicator. She’s produced non-scripted programming for Fox, AMC, Travel Channel, Style Network, and broadcast news for Univision and 3 seasons of “A Place of Our Own”, a Peabody and Emmy award winning English and Spanish language talk show for PBS. With Emmy nominated Director husband Kico Velarde she founded Escape Plan, producing “The Shooting Star Salesman,”, nominated for Imagen Award for Best Short Film and distributed on Fuse TV, and have worked with leading brands like Hasbro, Apple, MotorTrend, Jay Leno, and The George W. Bush Presidential Center. They are in their 5th year producing a micro documentary series Lowrider Roll Models for Discovery Communications. Joanna holds a bachelor’s in Communication from the University of Southern California.

Kiren Bansal

Kiren Bansal

Associate Vice President of Development
Population Media Center

Kiren oversees PMC’s development operations, charged with shaping the strategy for contributed income as the organization strives to expand business operations to new countries by 2025. She has over 15 years of nonprofit management experience including business operations, branding, marketing and communications, program management, and fundraising for local, regional, and international organizations. Kiren is passionate about social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion issues as well as climate action, the arts, and youth and women’s empowerment. She was drawn to PMC because of its unique melding of the creative arts, storytelling, and scalable impact in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. Kiren holds a Master in Global Affairs from George Mason University with a specialization in Culture and Society and a BA in Environmental Studies from University of Southern California. @kirenbansal

Cecilia Orvañanos

Cecilia Orvañanos

Resident Representative, Mexico
Population Media Center

Cecilia leads PMC’s partnerships with Univision and Televisa for the 2020 production of Vencer el Miedo as well as other projects and research in Guatemala and Mexico since 2015. Cecilia has worked at the intersection of media and behavior change for over 30 years, including roles with the World Health Organization and BBC World Service Trust. She holds an MA in Educational Research from the Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla, a BA in Communication Research from the Universidad Iberoamericana Mexico City, and diplomas in Business from IPADE, Poverty and Exclusion from AUSJAL, and Fundraising from Indiana School of Philanthropy.

Jessie Medina

Jessie Medina

Founder & CEO
FEMX

Jessie is a social entrepreneur, female empowerment influencer, and speaker. She is the Founder & CEO of FEMX which is dedicated to female empowerment and creating resources for women to thrive. FEMX branches include FEMX Quarters (feminine and diverse coworking and event space), FEMX Podcast (a bilingual empowerment podcast), FEMX University (online classes for female entrepreneurs and creators), and the annual FEMX Summit. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Jessie rose through the ranks of Corporate America as a marketing and communications executive. She has a B.S. in Communications and a B.S. in Business Marketing. Jessie is passionate about building community, equality, and social entrepreneurship. She loves traveling, spending time with family, cooking, and writing. Follow her journey on IG @JessieMedinaOfficial.

Gladys Mendoza

Gladys Mendoza

DirectoR for Special Initiatives in the Office of the President
National Alliance for Hispanic Health

Gladys has been with the Alliance 10 years and is responsible for board relations, donor initiatives, and incubating Alliance program initiatives, including oversight for programmatic and financial operations of several multi-state initiatives. As a Certified Application Counselor she has  provided counseling in Spanish and English to over 500 persons during the first two ACA open enrollment periods. Gladys has coordinated media support and led special projects like “Diabetes Se Puede Controlar: Community Health Champions,” in Los Angeles and New York. Gladys received her Master's in Health Care Administration from the University of Maryland.

Alejandra Cortez

Alejandra Cortez, LCSW

Founder
The Social Changer LLC

For the past 12 years, Alejandra's mission has been to give back to her hometown of Northeast Los Angeles, CA through social work. She has a passion for serving diverse populations by utilizing human motivation and community-based problem-solving to empower and see positive change. Alejandra has worked in education, mental health, government leadership, and program implementation. Alejandra currently works as a Program Administrator at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles with their Substance Use Prevention and Treatment program, where she is developing a youth leadership group to prevent substance use in the community she grew up in. @TheSocialChanger

Jorge Narvaez

Jorge Narvaez

Public Speaker & Content Creator
@RealityChangers

Jorge Narvaez, public speaker and content creator at @realitychangers has over 800,000 followers and 223 million views on social media. The viral success started from a cover he and his daughter performed of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros’ song “Home” which eventually caught the attention of Ryan Seacrest, Univision, Telemundo, The Huffington Post, CNN, Time Magazine, America’s got Talent, and lead to a performance on the Ellen Show as well as the opportunity to meet President Obama. His channel focuses on 5 themes: family, community, art, music, and fatherhood. Jorge was featured with Youtube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki and has won a Premios Tu Mundo award. Jorge is a first-generation graduate of high school and college with a degree focused in Ethnic Studies, Visual Arts, International Migration Studies, and Poetry from the UC San Diego. Jorge is originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, and grew up in San Diego, CA.

Carolina Rosas

Carolina Rosas

Director, Corporate Social Responsibility & Social Impact Content & Production
Univision Communications Inc.

Carolina oversees the creation of original content for Univision’s Corporate Social Responsibility department. Working in CSR for the last 8 years has allowed her to immerse in the needs of the Latinx community and utilize her production background to deliver an effective message aimed at social change. She is currently focusing much of her attention on Civic Engagement initiatives, creating inspirational content meant to educate people living in Hard to Count communities on the importance of the U.S. Census and participating in the 2020 election. Carolina has a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism and a B.S. in Organizational Communication from Barry University. This fall she plans to continue her education, as she pursues a master’s degree from Florida International University. She is a passionate advocate on the importance of early childhood education and is always looking forward to her next road-trip.

 

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