Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.
Chairman of the Board
TAMACC President & CEO
Pauline E. Anton
Justice Gisela Triana
Sonia Quirino Canales
Kimberly Avila Edwards MD, FAAP
Adriana Rocha Garcia Ph.D.
J.A. Gonzalez Ph.D.
The Honorable Royce West
Texas State Senator
Biographies of Participants
Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, where he oversees an extensive research portfolio focused on infectious and immune-mediated diseases. As the long-time chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation, Dr. Fauci has made many seminal contributions in basic and clinical research and is one of the world’s most-cited biomedical scientists. He was one of the principal architects of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program that has saved millions of lives throughout the developing world.
Justice Gisela Triana has served as a judge in Texas for over 24 years. She has served on every level of trial court and currently serves on the Texas 3rd Court of Appeals. Justice Triana was the first Latina elected as a Travis County District Judge and is the only Hispanic to have served on the Texas 3rd Court of Appeals. Justice Triana graduated from the University of Texas School of Law at the age of 22 and began her legal career as a prosecutor. At the Travis County Attorney’s Office, she represented victims of domestic violence and later served as the Director of the Trial Division. Justice Triana also served as a Staff Attorney in the Texas Secretary of State’s Election Division and ran her own private law firm, Hanko & Triana. Justice Triana is the proud recipient of the 2020 Judge of the Year Award presented by the Hispanic Issues Section of the State Bar of Texas which is given for exceptional leadership and consistent dedication to justice. When not busy with work, Gisela is a soccer mom who devotes her time and energy to raising and enjoying her five children ranging in ages from 12-25.
Samuel Guzman – Since graduating from Texas Tech University with a BA in Sociology, Samuel Guzman has dedicated his entire life, both professionally and civically, to programs and projects which involve people and the community. His knowledge, expertise, breadth and depth in working with communities are vast and notable for accomplishments and contributions. Mr. Guzman possesses an extraordinary ability to communicate and connect with people from varying walks and stations in life.
Mr. Guzman’s professional career which started while in college, as Director of a Community Action Agency Youth Program and led to the position of Deputy Executive Director of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, has traversed community youth programs, community action agencies, community economic development, community organizer, and numerous others. In addition, his entrepreneurial spirit which led him to small business endeavors and ownership, also resulted in his rise to the positions of Chairman of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and several terms as Chairman and President/CEO of the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce. His civic involvement and leadership are clear and impressive evidence of his dedication to the improvement of the community’s quality of life.
Having been elected by the community, Mr. Guzman served two terms on the Austin Independent School District Board of Directors. He has served as a consultant to the Mexican American School Board Association (MASBA) and has consulted and performed business development (procurement) functions for small businesses.
Business and work experience include: Executive Director, Austin Economic Development Corporation; Deputy Executive Director, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs; Vice President of Business Development, ERO Architects; Vice President of Business Development, Ramirez Industrial Corporation; President/CEO, Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce; Licensed Commercial/Residential Real Estate Consultant; Interim Executive Director, Guadalupe Economic Services; Others.
Civic Involvement (past and present) include: Leadership Austin; Austin Sports Commission; Austin Arts Museum Board; Travis County Housing Finance Board; Travis County Appraisal District; Travis County Grand Jury; East Austin Optimist Club; City of Austin Human Relations Commission; Youth Advocacy Program, Founder and Board Chairman
Pauline E. Anton became the Executive Director for the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC) in 2011; then President & CEO in 2015. The oldest of ten (10) children Anton is a second generation American whose grandfather, at the age of 14, immigrated to the United States from Greece.
Anton was raised in a conservative family. As a child she had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout the United Stated, Canada, and other parts of North America, because of her experiences and time spent traveling she was able to see the diversity of this country and recognized that equality was not enjoyed by all. One of Anton’s early efforts to initiate change was running for School Board right out of high school. Although she did not receive the majority of the vote against an incumbent banker she was recognized by the leaders of the community as a community activist and a person who would get the job done.
The first in her family to attend college, Anton attended Texas State University – then Southwest Texas State University – while at the university she was involved in Student Government, Pre-Law Society, and the Young Democrats. She was also honored as the First Runner-Up Homecoming Queen. After college she moved to Austin, Texas to work at the Texas Capitol for two Texas State Representatives during the 67th Legislative Session.
Being an entrepreneur at heart Anton successfully started several businesses. One was an advertising and public relations firm and the other a private security and investigations company. The security company was successful for over 15 years, until the devastation of September 11, 2001 that changed the dynamics and liabilities of the private security industry drastically.
While holding a commissioned security license and private investigators license Anton still wanted to excel and serve the community. She attended the Sheriff’s Academy where she became president of the class, third highest ranked shooter with a handgun, and held the highest grade point average in her academy class. Anton earned her Texas Peace Officer license and utilized the license as a reserve patrol officer for the Elgin Police Department. Even though her superiors did not expect a female officer to last more than a few weeks, Anton not only exceeded this expectation, but she put in the time and was soon promoted to Sargent and became a Field Training Officer for new officers.
Since then she has been involved in many organizations to provide diversity education to communities. Anton was elected as the National Secretary for the National Hispanic Professional Organization, parliamentarian and Precinct Chair in Travis County, and for many years worked and volunteered with TAMACC. Anton is the organization’s first female Executive Director and CEO of the prestigious organization.
J.R. Gonzales, Founder and President of JRG Communications, his knowledge and expertise in analyzing Hispanic markets and trends, have earned him local and national recognition as a leading authority on reaching Hispanic markets.
Gonzales has been cited as a source in major media outlets such as CNN Financial, National Public Radio (NPR), CBS’ Public Eye, PBS, The Washington Times, Hispanic Business, Hispanic, and Hispanic Trends, to name a few.
The network, clients and business contacts Gonzales has goes beyond the continental United States. Gonzales has been a speaker and trainer in China, Mexico, Canada and parts of Central America.
From high schools to Fortune 500 companies, Gonzales can deliver a message that puts today’s issues into perspective, inspires people to do more and to become better at what they do.
Gonzales’ extensive experience in running local, state and national organizations have given him a unique perspective on the growing and ever changing Hispanic market. He has served in top leadership positions in Hispanic based organizations. From 1996 – 1998 Gonzales was elected and served as the Chairman of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; 1999 – 2001 he served as Chairman of the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC); and 2002 – 2004 was Chairman of the Board of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Gonzales was then hired as President and CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC).
Today Gonzales is a certified John Maxwell speaker, coach and trainer working with both nonprofit and business organizations developing leadership programs, business strategies and professional development of key staff and executives.
Sonia Quirino Canales is the Diversity & Inclusion Manager for H-E-B where she develops, implements and manages the company’s diversity and inclusion programming and strategies that align with H-E-B’s business goals. She is responsible for ensuring workplace diversity and inclusion awareness and education across Texas and works collaboratively with the company’s corporate and regional diversity leadership councils to execute signature events and strategic initiatives. Additionally, she executes the department’s charitable giving and works to strengthen relationships with diversity advocacy groups and community-based organizations.
Quirino-Canales currently serves on the Texas Diversity Council’s Greater San Antonio Advisory Board, the UT Dallas Diversity Advisory Council, she is a board member of the San Antonio Independent School District Foundation board and she is the Immediate Past Chair of the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas-San Antonio Chapter. She is a graduate of the Latina Leadership Institute (LLI) of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and currently serves on the LLI Steering Committee. She received a bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Our Lady of the Lake University. She is also a National Diversity Council Certified Diversity Professional.
Quirino-Canales is married and has three children. In her spare time she enjoys singing and learning guitar.
Cindy Ramos-Davidson has been the Chief Executive Officer of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for the past 22 years. Ramos-Davidson is a bold and dynamic executive director who has taken the organization she manages to astounding new heights. Her encouraging and empowering leadership reflects on the vast variety of achievements and recognitions she has received throughout her 43-year chamber career.
Ramos-Davidson and the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has become a powerhouse in the southwest border region. The accomplishments achieved by the organization under Ramos-Davidson’s 22-year leadership have garnished local, state, and national attention and recognition. Ramos-Davidson is an active participant with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (U.S.H.C.C.) and has had a seat on the U.S.H.C.C. President’s Advisory Council. The brilliant combination of both a director and organization have received the 2008, 2009, 2010, 2017 and 2019 U.S.H.C.C. Large Chamber of the Year Award, as well as the U.S.H.C.C. Chief Executive of the Year Award in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Additionally, the combination of both a leader and organization have proven to be a winning match at a state level with the first ever Texas Association of Mexican American Chamber of Commerce’s Latina Leadership and Advocacy Award due to Ramos-Davidson’s work with SBA’s HUB Zone Empowerment Contracting Program and obtaining the U.S. SBA’s Women’s Business Border Center Grant in 2001.She was just recognized with SBA as the Small Business Women in Business Champion Since then, the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has won the TAMACC Texas Large Hispanic Chamber of the year in 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Respectively, Ramos-Davidson herself won the TAMACC Chairman Leader Award in 2006. Being at the forefront has allowed Ramos-Davidson to take the organization she manages to higher levels each additional year. She was named the first recipient of The Joe M. Rodriguez Leadership Award for her forward thinking and steadfast dedication to the Chamber and our community’s small, minority, women, and veteran owned businesses.
Aside from championing small minority, veteran, and women-owned businesses, Ramos-Davidson has been and continues to be a significant leader and an excellent role model to the general El Paso community. She was appointed to the State of Texas’ Auto Theft Prevention Task Force by Governor Rick Perry. She was also appointed to be on the El Paso Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Board of Directors for six years. Two of those years, 2012 and 2013, she served as the Chair of the highly esteemed national institution of the Eleventh District. In 2015 Cindy Ramos-Davidson has been appointed to the City of El Paso Sub-Committee on the Hispanic Cultural Center. Ramos-Davidson is also a partner member of the Libre Institute on Economic Empowerment.
In all, Cindy Ramos-Davidson’s ultimate mission is evident throughout her career. She has played an integral role in championing for the business community. Every effort she puts forth has been in order to improve and advance the borderland’s economy. Her dedication to entrepreneurship, her commitment to business development, and her overall passion for the El Paso community has driven her to accomplish the remarkable. Even with 22-year tenure, Ramos-Davidson’s vision for all that can be reached is still in progress. Always looking towards the future, the borderland business community is an everlasting prospect of opportunities.
Kimberly Avila Edwards MD, FAAP is a practicing pediatrician and the Director of Advocacy and External Affairs at Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas. She practices primary general pediatrics onboard the Dell Children’s Medical Center mobile clinic, where she serves as medical director. Dr. Avila Edwards is a graduate of Harvard College, where she graduated magna cum laude with an A.B. in Biochemistry, and Harvard Medical School. She completed her pediatric training at Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children’s Hospital. Prior to joining Dell Children’s Medical Center, Dr. Avila Edwards served as a part-time general pediatric practitioner and urgent-care provider at Austin Regional Clinic, a multispecialty group practice in the Austin area. Dr. Avila Edwards co-founded the Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity at Dell Children’s Medical Center in 2010; served on the editorial board for America Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Active Living for Families project; and was on the steering committee for the Institute for a Healthy Childhood Weight from 2012-2016.
Dr. Avila Edwards has spent almost two decades in various roles with the state chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Texas Pediatric Society (TPS), and nationally in the American Academy of Pediatrics. She chaired the Obesity Committee of TPS from 2007 to 2011. Dr. Avila Edwards also served as the co-chair of the TPS Legislative Committee and has actively participated in Texas legislative sessions, sharing her content expertise and testifying before various state legislative committees on behalf of the Texas Pediatric Society, the Texas Medical Association, and the Texas Academy of Family Physicians on various obesity and other child health-related bills. In 2012 Dr. Avila Edwards served as the youngest and first Hispanic President of the Texas Pediatric Society. She then served from 2013 to 2015 in the national role as the Texas Alternate Chapter Chair for the American Academy of Pediatrics. In January 2016, she became Chapter Chair for Texas in the American Academy of Pediatrics, a position she held until Sept 2019. In March 2019, Dr. Avila Edwards assumed an American Academy of Pediatrics District leadership position, serving as the AAP District VII Chapter Forum Management Committee member, a role she holds to date.
Adriana Rocha Garcia, Ph.D. – A life-long resident of San Antonio, Adriana Rocha Garcia, Ph.D. was raised in and continues to call Southwest San Antonio home. Dr. Garcia has a passion for working with organizations that help San Antonio’s most underrepresented demographics. Raised in a Spanish-speaking household to parents with a first- and second-grade Mexican education, she became the first in her family with a college degree.
Dr. Garcia received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, to stay in town to care for her parents. Upon graduation from Incarnate Word, she was offered a job in the university’s Office of Public Relations and completed her Master’s degree from the same university one year later. In 2004, she was in a cohort of 12 students accepted into the University of Texas at Austin’s Doctoral Advertising program, where ten years and many miles later, she became one of the first Hispanics to earn a Ph.D. in Advertising from UT’s prestigious Moody College of Communication.
Throughout her career, Dr. Garcia has held various administrative and consulting communications and marketing positions throughout her life, in organizations like
SAMMinistries Furniture for A Cause, the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the City of San Antonio, Southwest ISD, and Project QUEST. Today, Dr. Garcia is
molding tomorrow’s leaders as an Assistant Marketing Professor at Our Lady of the Lake University, where she teaches marketing in the School of Business and Leadership.
As part of the first women-majority elected City Council, Dr. Garcia chairs the Alamo Area Council of Government’s Committee of Six, an executive committee of the
Workforce Services Alamo board and serves on the following committees: Governance; Intergovernmental Relations, Economic and Workforce Development, including the small business subcommittee. Before serving as District 4 representative to City Council, Dr. Garcia served as the Chair of the City of San Antonio’s Ethics Review Board for nearly three years, where she was responsible for leading a team of ten representatives appointed to represent their districts in the recently passed changes to the Ethics and Municipal Finance Code that further enhance the public’s trust in local government.
In 2018, Dr. Garcia joined the board of Communities in Schools – San Antonio and was also named to the San Antonio Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. She was accepted into Leadership San Antonio 300, where she was a member of the Best Day Ever, the Civic Engagement Day team. Dr. Garcia is a single mom to her son Steve, who is a student at Our Lady of the Lake University. Dr. Garcia visits her octogenarian parents daily in the home where she grew up in Southwest San Antonio, even if it is just to get a good night’s blessing from them before heading home.
Dr. J.A. Gonzalez became McAllen ISD’s Superintendent in 2016, overseeing a district that’s characterized as a District of Champions, with amazing standings, including state-ranked academic and finance programs, as well as nationally ranked high schools, music program, health and PE program, and so much more.
A veteran educator of 23 years, Dr. Gonzalez has been at the helm as McAllen ISD earned the state’s highest rating, an ‘A’ for two straight years. It has also earned the state’s Post-Secondary Readiness Distinction three years in a row, plus the School FIRST award for financial integrity 16 times in the past 17 years. In fact, only three districts in all of Texas, with an enrollment of more than 20,000 students, earned all three of those awards. McAllen ISD is one of those three and the only one of the three from the Rio Grande Valley.
Dr. Gonzalez initiated the creation of STEAM-Plus in Pre-Kinder through 12th grades. This learning framework places a great emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, including coding, rocketry, and robotics. In addition, STEAM-Plus systematically addresses a child’s emotional intelligence.
McAllen ISD also continues to support the highly acclaimed International Baccalaureate Teaching and Learning Framework at elementary, middle, and high school levels.
He led the transformation in March to address the pandemic’s impact on our educational community in a way that kept instruction at the forefront, while keeping our students and staff safe. Through it all, we continued providing meals for our community.
In June this year, we learned that our Dr. Gonzalez was named the Region One Superintendent of the Year. He is now one of just five finalists for the state Superintendent of the Year award.
Royce West was first elected to the Texas Senate in November 1992. Since taking office, he has represented the 23rd Senatorial District on behalf of the citizens of Dallas County in the Texas Legislature. During his tenure, Senator West has been named by Texas Monthly as one of the 25 most powerful people in Texas politics, been selected for the magazine’s biennial “Ten Best Legislators in Texas” list, and has twice been named as an “Honorable Mention.” Senator West has also received mention on the Associated Press’ “Movers and Shakers” list, as well as the Texas Insider’s “Best Legislators” list.
Senator West is Vice Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee and is a member of Senate committees on Education Finance, and Transportation. He was appointed to the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting after the 86th Legislative Session (2019).
Senator West’s key initiatives include the creation of college admission opportunities for all students, including the establishment of the University of North Texas at Dallas, Dallas’ first state-supported, four-year university, with a law school in downtown Dallas, and authorization for a Pharmacy school. Increasing financial aid for college students and funding for the TEXAS grants programs have been priorities for Senator West as well. His legislation created the Texas Juvenile Crime Prevention Center at Prairie View A&M University; increased funding for at-risk youth programs, awarded greater compensation to victims of violent crime, established new standards for child care, enhanced enforcement of protective orders and made better use of criminal justice resources through legislation that created a system of progressive sanctions.
Senator West passed legislation which created a kinship care program whereby qualified relatives can receive state support to help raise children who could otherwise become part of the foster care system..
Senator West is a champion for public education, including new programs that provide curriculum choices for public schools. He has promoted school and student accountability efforts, opposed A-F implementation and fights tirelessly for more funding and educational resources for Texas school children.
As one of the original authors of the Top 10% Rule that provides automatic admission to state universities for Texas high school students who graduate at the top of their classes, Senator West has continued his advocacy for the program and has successfully lead efforts to oppose those who would abolish it.
Senator West passed the original legislation that placed in-car video in Texas law enforcement patrol vehicles and body-worn cameras.
Senator West’s advocacy for public safety and criminal justice reform includes passage of a bill providing grant money to law enforcement agencies for the purchase of high-grade, bulletproof vests and passage of SB30 that instructs citizens and officers on how they should respond during traffic stops and other interactions.
To promote inclusiveness in the procurement practices of state agencies in working with Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs), Senator West created the “Doing Business Texas Style – Spot Bid Contract Fair” and regularly sponsors procurement workshops and seminars. And with the goal of creating greater employment opportunities for Dallas County residents, in 2015 Senator West instituted the D23 Goes 2 Work Job Fair, which connects employers with those seeking work.
In addition to his senatorial duties, Senator West is the managing partner in the law firm of West & Associates, L.L.P. He is also a caring father to his children, a grandfather and devoted husband to Carol R. West, CPA, as well as an active deacon of Good Street Baptist Church.