Cynthia T. Cruz-CHCI Alumnus August 2011
Hometown: San Marcos, TX
Current City: Arlington, TX
Current Job: Director, Public Relations, Lopez Negrete Communications
CHCI Program/Year: Ford Foundation Fellow of CHCI Public Policy Fellowship – 1987-1988
What have you been doing since you finished the CHCI program(s)?
It's been an interesting journey! CHCI was the launching pad for a variety of amazing career building experiences. I interned at CNN as part of my CHCI Ford Fellowship since my background is in journalism. When the program was over, I stayed in Washington and worked for Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez for five years as a Legislative Assistant. Then I moved to North Carolina where I worked for RJ Reynolds in public relations, community relations and public affairs. I earned my MBA in the executive program at Wake Forest University and traveled to China. I then moved to Miami and worked with Levi Strauss two years in their Latin America hub. After 15 years, I returned to my home state of Texas, where I headed up the Corporate Communications department at Valor Telecom, a start-up telecommunications company based in Dallas.
My original plans were to return to Texas immediately after my nine-month fellowship. And, life took some fascinating turns! Looking back, each of these adventures allowed me to gain immense insight into government, politics, business and the interplay among these society-shaping forces. More importantly, I was able to build a dynamic expertise in communications and public affairs, that's an amalgamation of these collective experiences.
What impact did your CHCI experience have on your career and development as a leader?
CHCI facilitated an unmatched learning experience and exposed me to the world. I often tell college students that regardless of their field of study, they should spend a year in Washington, D.C. There's no other place in the world where you can get this level of access, exposure to all forms of leadership and points of view, and begin building a solid network of national Latino leaders and valuable, lifetime connections. An environment like Washington and Capitol Hill allows you to understand the many faces of leadership, which will be extremely valuable as you begin to define your own style of leadership and move into your career and life work.
How have you stayed engaged in community service?
Yes! And, I've learned over the years that community service can be defined in numerous ways. Throughout my career, community service takes the form of creating a voice for and representing our community's interests within corporate and business interests. I've also served as a bridge and interpreter for our community within large mainstream environments, advocating that corporate social responsibility programs and philanthropic support be directed to Latino nonprofit organizations focused on improving the well-being of our communities. Most recently, I've begun volunteering, speaking with high school students, and sharing my stories. The beauty of our communities is that there are ample ways to give and receive in the name of service throughout a lifetime. The important thing is to find your way.
What advice would you give current and future CHCI participants?
Be open to all experiences and take full advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. CHCI has given you a unique opportunity. And, it's always a historical time in our nation's capital. Gather as many resources as possible. This is the magic you'll use throughout your lifetime, and in ways you can't even imagine just now.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
Similar to many of my CHCI colleagues, I've challenged myself and have achieved many of my personal goals – some known and some revealed along the way. I come from a family with strong migrant roots. In many ways, I see myself as a modern migrant, working many of the same fields, but at a different level.
Past Alumni of the Month
Desiree Flores - June 2015 Alumna of the Month
Guillermo Raya - May 2015 Alumni of the Month
Nathaly Arriola - April 2015 Alumnus of the Month
Miguel A. Blancarte, Jr. - March 2015 Alumni of the Month
Martha L. Bahamón - February 2015 Alumni of the Month
2013-14 CHCI Alumni Executive Board - January 2015 Alumni of the Month
Mariana Kihuen - December 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Henry Fernandez - November 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Ricardo Zavala - September 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Miryam Catherine Granthon-Gerdine - August 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Angelica Reza Wind - July 2014 Alumna of the Month
Ray Mateo - June 2014 Alumni of the Month
Hayde Calderon - May 2014 Alumni of the Month
Arnoldo Avalos - April 2014 Alumni of the Month
Elizabeth Cedillo - March 2014 Alumni of the Month
Marvin Figueroa - February 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Cris Garza - January 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Jaden Felix - December 2013 Alumni of the Month
2013 Distinguished Alumni - October/November 2013 Alumni of the Month
Fabiola Carrion - September 2013 Alumnus of the Month
Juan C. Otero- August 2013 Alumnus of the Month
Norma Dominguez - July 2013 Alumni of the Month
Francisco Heredia - June 2013 - Alumnus of the Month
Raymond Rico - May 2013 Alumnus of the Month
Alejandra Castillo - April 2013 Alumnus of the Month
Yara Lorenzo - March 2013 Alumnus of the Month
Antonio E. Sandoval & Milagros “Mimi” Aledo-Sandoval - Alumni Couple of the Month
Abel Herrero - January 2013
Jessie Mosqueda - December 2012
Kenia Seoane Lopez - CHCI Alumnus November 2012
Hon. Liza Rodriguez - 2012 Distinguished Alumnus & October 2012 Alumnus
Melissa Chabran - CHCI Alumnus June 2012
Jessie Ulibarri - CHCI Alumnus May 2012
Congressional Staff-CHCI Alumni April 2012
Anthony Alcoser-CHCI Alumnus March 2012
Diana Mendoza-CHCI Alumnus February 2012
Betsaida Alcantara-CHCI Alumnus December 2011
Orson Aguilar - CHCI 2011 Distinguished Alumnus & September 2011 Alumnus
Cynthia T. Cruz-CHCI Alumnus August 2011
Miguel Lopez - CHCI Alumnus July 2011
Alejandro Becerra - CHCI Alumnus June 2011
Staff Members for the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy - CHCI Alumnus May 2011
Happy 30th Anniversary CHCI Fellowship Program!
Raul Magdaleno - CHCI Alumnus March 2011
Carlos Elizondo -- CHCI Alumnus December 2010
Ana M. Polanco -- CHCI Alumnus April 2010
Sami Hamed -- CHCI Alumnus March 2010
Couple Edition -- CHCI Alumnus February 2010
CHCI Alumni Association Chapters' Special Edition - October 2009
Edith Rocío Robles -- CHCI Alumnus August 2009
Silvia Inéz Salazar--CHCI Alumnus July 2009
Francisco J. Uribe CHCI Alumnus June 2009
Heidy Servin-Baez CHCI Alumnus April 2009
March 2009: White House Edition
William (Bill) Arce CHCI Alumnus February 2009
Stephanie Valencia CHCI Alumnus January 2009
Miguel Ayala CHCI Alumnus December 2008
Eric Rodriguez-CHCI Alumnus November 2008
Sonia Ramirez CHCI Alumnus October 2008
Mildred Otero CHCI Alumnus September 2008
Juan Ciscomani CHCI Alumus August 2008
Leo Prieto CHCI Alumnus July 2008
Octavio Saenz CHCI Alumnus June 2008