Leadership Team


LLI’s staff members have backgrounds in the highest levels of public, private, and non-profit work. The LLI is led by a unique and accomplished team of individuals who share a passion for socially responsible leadership.

Joelle L. Martinez

President & CEO

Joelle is a highly respected and accomplished executive, strategist, speaker, and facilitator who has earned national recognition. Prior to launching the LLI, she had a 15-year career crafting impactful strategies for communication, business development, and public affairs across private and public sectors. Joelle's areas of expertise include Neuroleadership, Latino identity, civic engagement, demographic shifts, and workplace diversity and inclusion. In recognition of her achievements, Joelle was named one of the most powerful women by the Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce in 2017. Her remarkable contributions to the Latino community were honored with the prestigious NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award in 2019. Notably, Joelle has made significant contributions to various community and business organizations, actively serving on the Hispanic Advisory Council for Coca-Cola, multiple non-profit boards, for-profit advisory committees, and executive committees.

Aliena Martinez

Chief Operating Officer

After a highly successful private sector career, Aliena transitioned to the LLI, driven by her desire to make a meaningful impact in the Latino community. Her passion lies in creating a more equitable future for all by paving the way for generations to come. Aliena plays a significant role in the organization's strategic development efforts. Her portfolio of work oversees the design, development, management, implementation, and go-to-market strategy of the LLI's programming.

Harry Hollines

Chief Strategy Officer

Harry believes that the future growth of the U.S. economy hinges on the success of Latino entrepreneurship and the growth of Latino-owned companies. After a career leading corporate and business development with private equity and venture capital-backed companies, Harry joined the LLI to address the persistent barriers that hinder Latinos from fully realizing their economic potential. Harry leads LLI's business and corporate development, strategy, and legal functions. He is responsible for developing strategic business growth plans, executing critical capital projects, and establishing strategic partnerships.

Michelle Martinez-Cardon

Director of Programs

With extensive experience in Learning and Development within the private sector, Michelle is committed to designing programs that strengthen the collective power and influence of the Latino leadership community. Michelle is responsible for the development, strategy, and delivery of LLI's core program Ignite, including client engagement and facilitator success. Michelle is also responsible for the management and execution of LEAP (Latino Entrepreneur Access Program).

Graciela Gonzales

Communications & Engagement Director

(She/Her/Hers) Graciela is a passionate advocate for the Latino community, dedicated to amplifying their voices and influence through compelling storytelling and impactful reporting. A key team member, Graciela is responsible for the strategic development and implementation of the LLI's internal and highly successful external communications. Her work ensures that the Institute's messaging is consistent, engaging, and reaches its target audience across all media platforms, fostering greater awareness and engagement.

Yesenia Ramirez

Administrative Associate

Yesenia joined the LLI because of her lifelong aspiration to work with an organization that empowers Latino leaders and entrepreneurs. She plays a crucial role in establishing connections with LLI's alumni and prospective members, nurturing relationships that maintain a strong leadership network. Through her role as Administrative Associate, Yesenia strives to create an inclusive and efficient professional environment by supporting LLI staff in all administrative and operational functions.


The Latino Leadership Institute is led by a board of accomplished leaders who represent multiple sectors and industries. Board members are invested and engaged, bringing a vast range of knowledge and experience to the Institute.

Tonette Salazar

Tonette Salazar

LLI Board Chair

Senior Vice President Government Relations - Colorado

Strategies 360

Karen Ancira

Chief People Officer


Robert Doore

Inclusive Communities & Stakeholder Engagement - Principal

Marathon Petroleum Corporation

Sandi Machuca Lewis


Zayo Group

Alfonso Martinez

Global Chief Human Resources Officer


Marcia Romero

VP, Community Affairs Manager

U.S. Bank

Peter R. Villegas

Peter R. Villegas