2018 SPEAKERS

Our speakers represent the Culture, the Community, and the Identity of our Rio Grande Valley (RGV).They are all different, but united on one central belief: Our Youth needs to be engaged in conversations about our RGV.

 

Basically, they were selected because they possess magic powers… No Joke.

 

You can tell these people NO and they find a way to make it a YES. They are the luchadores of change, the Walter Mercados of community development, and the cuentos of our current generation.

GERMAN MADRAZO

OLYMPIAN

Germán Madrazo Baca  is a businessman and Mexican cross-country skier. He competed in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Madrazo is the owner of The Valley Running Company in McAllen, Texas, where he resides.

 

Prior to competing in the 2018 Winter Games, Madrazo was a triathlete who competed professionally in a number of events. He became interested in cross-country skiing after reading an article about Peruvian cross-country skier Roberto Carcelan in a sports magazine.

At the opening ceremony in PyeongChang, Madrazo acted as the flag bearer for team Mexico. Sporting a traditional charro hat, Madrazo received praise for his high "level of happy"  at the opening ceremony.

 

KRISTIN LEONG

ROLL CALL Founder

Kristin Leong, M.Ed. is the founder of ROLL CALL (RollCallProject.com), which is an international portrait and interview project humanizing the gaps in race, gender, and sexual orientation separating students and teachers.

She is a former middle school Humanities teacher and Washington State Teacher Leader. Kristin is currently Town Hall Seattle's Community Programs Curator. Her popular and provocative annual Town Hall event #EducationSoWhite is fueling conversation about the culture gaps in our schools.

Connect with Kristin on Twitter @kristinleong and see videos of her performances at kristinleong.com.

 

Dani Hi

Creator of "Dani Marr"

Dani Marrero Hi is the creator of "Dani Marr", her independent blog that addresses immigration, culture and all things revolving around the LGBTQ community. The bilingual blog is full of impactful posts such as: "Free Knowledge: Using Social Media for Social Justice in the Rio Grande Valley" and "Fronteras Que No Se Cruzan".

She has also worked with big name organizations such as USA Today College and Aqui Estamos RGV.

Connect with Dani on Instagram @marrdani and check out her blog at www.danimarr.com

 

Marianna Wright

Executive Director of National Butterfly Center

Marianna Trevino Wright is the executive director of the National Butterfly Center, a sanctuary of wildlife catered to the conservation and education of butterflies in the Rio Grande Valley.

As a Columbia University graduate Marianna Trevino Wright came back to her hometown where she spends her time advocating for social justice and caring for the environments around her.

You can connect with Marianna on Twitter @mtwrighter.

 

Alberto Altamirano

CEO and Founder of CityFlag Inc.

Alberto Altamirano is the CEO and founder of CityFlag Inc., an app that allows anyone to upload photos of municipal problems such as a pothole or graffiti. Alberto is a graduate from our local university, UTRGV, he took his education and put it to good use to further better his community.

Alberto is also recognized on the Forbes 30 under 30, a list that presents 600 of the brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers.

You can connect with Alberto on Twitter @betoaltamirano

 

Juanita Valdez-Cox

Executive Director of LUPE

Juanita Valdez-Cox is the executive director of LUPE (lupenet.org), which is an association that believes that members of the low-income community have the responsibility and the obligation to organize themselves. LUPE also believes in the idea that by working together, people can make a change.

 

She grew up in a migrant farm worker family, first handedly experienced the struggles of farm workers as she worked in multiple farms around the country, and now dedicates her time to help other farm workers and immigrants.

Robert Rosell

President/CEO, Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce

In April of 2017, Robert Rosell accepted the position of President and CEO with The Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce in Mission, TX.  Prior to joining the Chamber, Robert worked as a Corporate Compliance Officer with BBVA Compass, a top 25 financial institution in the United States. Robert supported the Credit Card and Loan Division for bank, which encompassed about 700 branches.

 

Robert has completed leadership programs such as Leadership McAllen and RGV Leadership.He has been involved or is involved with community organizations such as the South Texas Literacy Coalition, BBVA Compass Volunteers McAllen Chapter, Deep South Texas Financial Literacy Alliance, United Way of South Texas and Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas and RGV Partnership’s Leadership Committee.

 

Lastly, he graduated with a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Texas Pan American, now known as UTRGV. He also received his Bachelor’s Degree from UTPA double majoring in Political Science and English.

Cristal Hernandez Tapia

Beauty Blogger, Inspirational Blogger

Some may call her a beauty blogger, but everyone can agree that she is a inspirational blogger. She treats everyone like family and teaches her followers that beauty is not only skin deep and motivates  them to love themselves as they are. She works in marketing for Bert Ogden and spends her free time helping the Valley by organizing events to help those less fortunate while bringing her followers along for the ride.

 

You can connect with Cristal on Instagram @cristalhdztapia and subscribe to her YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/criistalhernandez

Jonathan Medina

Motivational Youth Speaker

Jonathan Medina is a former collegiate Division I football player and a nationally recognized Latino Motivational Youth Speaker. He is known as “America’s #1 Youth Motivator” and has created multiple programs and presentations that teaches students about leadership, chasing dreams, social media, and more.

 

Jonathan was raised by his grandfather, a migrant farm worker, in a low income community. After being told that his dreams were unachievable by his educators, he was accepted into Georgetown University and now devotes his time to helping students realize their dreams and helping educators see the potential that their students have.

 

Connect with Jonathan on Instagram @jmedinaspeaks and check out his website at www.jmedinaspeaks.com to see his videos.

Rene Ballesteros

MOST Program Officer

Since 2015, René A. Ballesteros has served as Programs and Events Officer at the Museum of South Texas History in Edinburg, Texas. In total, René has worked at the museum for over 8 years and received a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Texas Pan-American.

 

Originally from Monterrey, Mexico, René grew up and attended school in McAllen, Texas. Being native to the Rio Grande Valley has inspired him to develop a range of interests. René is the current captain of RGV Tlacuaches Ultimate team, drummer for local band South of Sarita and an avid bicyclist who has solo toured through much of Texas.

 
 
Connect with the STXi team.

Where the chisme starts