2016 Honorees


Rosa Maria Gonzalez, BA, JD, CWLS


Rosa Maria Gonzalez, BA, JD, CWLS has devoted her career as an attorney to obtaining fairness and justice for the disenfranchised and the voiceless. She is also committed to insuring that women have a seat at the policy making table of their respective communities of origin. She has received the Adele Advocate for the Poor Award, has been inducted into the Order of Barristers, and is a recipient of the Presidential National Leadership Award. She is a past Commissioner on the Hispanic National Bar Association’s Commission on the Status of Latinas in the Legal Profession and has served on multiple non-profit and educational boards, as well as acts as a consultant to women seeking political/public office. She is also a board certified attorney/specialist in the area of Child Welfare Law by the National Association of Counsel for Children. Board Certified in Child Welfare Law National Association of Counsel for Children American Marriage Ministries Ordained Minister & Marriage Officiant.


Dr. Cynthia Teniente- Matson


 Dr. Cynthia Teniente-Matson is the second president of Texas A&M University-San Antonio. Established as a stand-alone university in 2009, A&M-San Antonio is the first of the Texas A&M System universities located in a major metropolitan city. Since her tenure at A&M-San Antonio, she has formed a vital leadership direction for the University to become a National Model for Student and Academic Success.

Dr. Teniente-Matson, who was born in San Antonio, has more than 25 years’ experience in higher education with a track record of accomplishments that support campus growth, including: faculty and student success, economic development, financial stewardship and broad-based entrepreneurial leadership. Dr. Teniente-Matson is deeply involved in the San Antonio community across various organizations including serving as the Tricentennial Commission-District 4 Appointee for the City of San Antonio and the P16Plus Council of Greater Bexar County. She also has extensive community service and leadership experience on numerous national higher education associations and boards, including former board chair of the National Association for College and University Business Officers and Governor for City University of Seattle


Herlinda Sifuentes


Herlinda Sifuentes serves as Operations Director Hispanics Inspiring Students Performance and Achievement (HISPA). HISPA is a non-profit 501(c)3 that encourages students' success by recruiting, supporting and coordinating Latino professionals' participation in educational programs in the communities where they live and work. In the last two years, Herlinda has successfully implemented the HISPA model in schools in San Antonio and has developed relationships with leaders from the private and public sector engaging them as active role models for our youth.

Born and raised in San Antonio, Herlinda was the first of eight children to attend college. She has an Associate of Public Administration from San Antonio College, BS in Disciplinary Management from Texas State University and an MBA in Business Administration from Wayland Baptist University. After graduating from Edgewood High school in 1968 she began her career with AT&T in 1969 and retired with 41 years of service in August 2010. She held various positions and retired as Manager, Business Services Sales Agency.


Congressman Henry Cuellar


Born as one of eight children to migrant farm workers in Laredo, Texas, Congressman Cuellar was raised with strong family values and an unwavering work ethic to attain an advanced education. As the most degreed member of Congress, he points to education as the platform for his two decades of public service to Texas.

After earning his associate’s degree from Laredo Community College, he graduated Cum Laude from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.  When he returned to Texas, Congressman Cuellar completed a master’s degree in International Trade at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) and earned a law degree and Ph.D. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin.

In 1981, Congressman Cuellar opened his own law firm and became a licensed customs broker in 1983. He worked at his beloved alma mater, TAMIU, as an adjunct professor for International Commercial Law from 1984 to 1986. The following year, Congressman Cuellar decided to fully dedicate his life to public service and served as a Texas State Representative from 1987 until he was appointed as the Texas Secretary of State in 2001.

Belinda Menchaca

Cultural Arts

Education director Belinda Menchaca has worked at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center since 1992 in various capacities including Dance Program director, Programs Manager and PR/Marketing Director. She created the Guadalupe Dance Academy as a training ground for all ages and continues to teach Flamenco dance for children and adults. She now serves as Education Director overseeing all Academy classes, educational outreach programs, school tours and visits as well as workshops and summer camps. Over the years Menchaca has developed successful outreach programs, which provide educational lecture demonstrations for elementary, middle and high school students. A native of San Antonio, Belinda graduated from Trinity University in 1984 where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Journalism.

Pauline Aurora Rubio


Pauline A. Rubio is currently the Vice President of Education & Leadership at the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. In addition to facilitating the Education Committee's initiatives and educational public policy efforts for the Chamber, she is also primarily responsible for organizing the annual CORE4 STEM Program. Prior to joining the Hispanic Chamber, Pauline was the Assistant Vice President of Public Affairs at the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.  Pauline graduated with her Master of Business Administration from Texas A&M University - San Antonio.  She continues as a strong alumnus for the university and maintains her position as the president of the Delta Mu Delta international business school honor society and regularly references her academic publishing on the importance of the arts in education.

Mae Escobar


 In 2004, Mae Escobar founded aMAEzing Marketing Group after an intensive training period with Arcos Communications in New York city.  From 2001-2004 she was Vice President National Marketing Manager for all new bank branches in the 12-state footprint of the former Bank One, N.A. (now Chase). 

Under Escobar's direction, aMAEzing Marketing Group is a full-service agency. The firm has worked on projects of all different sizes and budgets. Escobar's work, along with the team, have won three national Clarion awards, awards from the American Marketing Association and International Association of Business Communicators-San Antonio chapters for excellence in Marketing and Communication campaigns.

A native of San Antonio she is a graduate of Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) in San Antonio where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Media Communications. In 2005 she was honored as Outstanding Alumni for her service to the community. Her office is located east of downtown San Antonio.

Angela Salinas


Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas (GSSWT) named Major General Angela Salinas, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret) as chief executive officer on July 1, 2015.

Salinas served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 39 years. She was the first Latina selected and promoted to the general officer ranks in the U.S. Marine Corps. At the time of her retirement in September 2013, she was the senior ranking woman and Hispanic in the Corps.

A Girl Scout alumna, Salinas is a role model to girls and women seeking to break through the glass ceiling. She was the first woman to command the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and the Western Recruiting Region, the first woman assigned as an Assistant Chief of Staff for plans and policy of a major combatant organization and the first woman assigned as a ground major's combat service support monitor. Her personal decorations include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal; the Defense Superior Service Medal; the Legion of Merit with gold star; the Meritorious Service Medal with two gold stars; the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal; the Army Commendation Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two gold stars. Salinas' accolades extend past her military experience. She is a 2016 San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame inductee and will serve as Honorary Grand Marshal for the Battle of Flowers Parade in April. She was named as an inaugural Top Latino Leader by the National Diversity Council and was awarded the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award; the Hispanic Heritage of Texas Estrellas de Texas; Lifetime Achievement awards from Latina Style Magazine and North Star; the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Leadership Award; Women's International Center's Living Legacy Award; as well as being named one of 15 Phenomenal Women by Latina Magazine and one of six Power Latinas in 2015 by Vivala.com.

Salinas serves on the board of directors for the Admiral Nimitz Foundation, Young Marines, The First Tee of Greater San Antonio and Prospera Housing Community Services. A native of Alice, Texas, she holds a Master of Arts from the Naval War College and a bachelor's degree from the Dominican College of San Rafael California. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Dominican University in 2015.

Monica Taylor

Mistress of Ceremonies

Prior to joining the CPS Energy team, she was the Morning News Anchor and co-host of FOX San Antonio’s morning show, Fox News First.

Prior to joining FOX 29, Taylor was the Director of Corporate Communications for Spurs Sports & Entertainment, where she made countless appearances as the face and voice of the San Antonio Spurs.

Monica is a San Antonio native that graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations.  She loves being part of and having the chance to connect to the San Antonio community.

Monica is married, has a daughter, and has two Cairn Terrier dogs (yes, they are the same breed as Toto from the Wizard of Oz).

Dr. Patsy Torres

Special Appearance

The gifted and versatile Patsy Torres is one of the most important and influential Tejano entertainers of our time. She has performed for live audiences of more than 100,000 people, appeared on national television for millions of viewers, and traveled all over the world winning countless awards for her musical talents and community works. She has graced the covers of national and international publications. Billboard Magazine proclaimed Patsy Torres as one of the “Top Female Tejano Stars” while Vista Magazine selected her to represent “What’s Hot in Texas”. Latin Style Magazine described Patsy as “El Sonido del Futuro”, the sound of the future. 

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