Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Latina takes on entertainment world

Daughter of a President and executive producer for Comedy Kings, Luisa Leschin is a writer, an actress, and a renaissance woman extraordinaire
By Al Carlos Hernandez on December 6, 2009


Determined Latina realizes her dreams

To Become Someone
A determined woman’s quest to realize her dreams
The Latino Journal E-News, Vol. 2, Issue 7

Oxnard, CA – Immigrants come to the United States each year with the hope of creating a better life for themselves. No matter what their aspirations, they bring with them a determination and drive to work hard to become someone. Author Norma Madrigal was one of these people. A Mexican citizen, Madrigal left her home and headed to Los Angeles with the hope, faith and confidence to create a successful and satisfying life. Her novel, To Become Someone in some ways parallels the road she took to get to where she is today.

Amy, the story’s main character, leaves her father’s house and embarks on her adventure to attend school in Los Angeles. Like many college students, Amy works to support herself and attend class full-time. Encountering obstacles along the way, she never gives up on her dreams and is determined to prove to her father that she can make it on her own.

Named the most successful in her graduating class, Amy leaves to complete her internship requirement in a clinic headed by Dr. Brett Zuk. She is instantly taken back by his good looks and charming personality. The chemistry between each of them is evident as she and others notice his eyes always looking her way. Amy is confident that she has met the man of her dreams.

Amy’s feelings and budding relationship with Dr. Zuk begin to cause a rift between her and her best friend, Lana. Jealous of Amy’s new-found love, Lana begins lashing out at Amy and devises a plan in hopes of destroying her friend’s romance. As the plot thickens, Amy begins to question Dr. Zuk’s motives. She is left with feelings of doubt about their relationship, his love for her and wonders if she is a pawn in his game.

To Become Someone
Trade paperback, soft cover
Approximately 148 pages
ISBN: 978-1438918143
$17.99 retail price
Available at and

About the Author
Norma Madrigal spent her childhood years in Michoacan, Mexico, where she realized her passion for writing. Her love for drafting short stories, songs and poems earned her The International Library of Poetry’s “Editor’s Choice Award” in 2008. The author has plans to continue writing and publishing novels, with the goal of catching Hollywood’s attention, and seeing her novels acted out on the big screen. Madrigal resides in Oxnard, California where she works as a medical assistant and certified phlebotomist technician.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Latina appointed Digital Equality Board

Alliance for Digital Equality Appoints Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Northwestern University to Board of Advisors
The Latino Journal E-News, Vol. 2, Issue 6

The Alliance for Digital Equality (ADE) has announced the appointment of Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto, Ph. D., to its Board of Advisors. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto serves as Assistant Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University and a Faculty Fellow at Northwestern's Institute for Policy Research.

Dr. DeFrancesco Soto's research focuses on race and ethnic politics, immigration, and campaigns and elections. Her academic research has been widely published in scholarly journals and edited volumes. Her current work examines how Latino political candidates are evaluated by both Latino and non-Latino populations. Her research and teaching portfolio links race and ethnicity with political psychology to understand how 'cognition' and 'affect' shape how individuals process information in dynamic political environments.

Dr. DeFrancesco Soto also brings public opinion expertise to understanding presidential elections. Presently, Dr. DeFrancesco Soto is examining how the 2008 presidential campaign ads shaped public opinion and vote choice. In this analysis, she applies an Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) approach to understanding how ethnically targeted ads influence political choice. In 2008, Dr. DeFrancesco Soto was Northwestern's University principal investigator for the Big Ten Battleground Poll, a public opinion survey of voters for the 2008 Presidential Election.

In addition to her current role at Northwestern, Dr. DeFrancesco Soto is in the media sphere, regularly contributing to national media outlets. In 2008, she served as a primary expert and analyst for CNN en Espanol's 2008 Presidential Election coverage. She has also been featured on the Today Show and NPR.

Latina hired as economic development director

City hires Belinda Ortiz
By Juliana A. Torres, OSC News Gazette, Nov 25, 2009

Belinda Ortiz – a Buenaventura Lakes resident, former state senate candidate and local business representative – will be Kissimmee’s first economic development director starting Dec. 1, the city announced Friday.

The position, the only personnel increase to this year’s budget that had a net decrease of 17 full time employees, first was introduced in April as a way to promote the city’s development of Vine Street, the airport corridor and its downtown.
Commissioners said that they felt the position could eventually pay for itself with revenue from additional business development.

Since then, the city has been seeking a candidate who had strong relationships within the local business community and could hit the ground running in promoting the city.

“As the city continues to grow, it's imperative we make businesses aware that Kissimmee is an ideal location if they are interested in either starting up or relocating to our area,” City Manager Mark Durbin stated in a press release announcing the decision. “Ms. Ortiz is highly skilled in business development, which will foster the goodwill relations needed to facilitate strong ties within the business community.”

In April, the commission approved hiring the economic development director right away and even approved additional funds be set aside for salary and benefits of the position prior to the new budget period that started in October.

However, delays in the hiring process prevented the new position from being filled until now. The city had hired a director, whose first day was to be in July, but who didn’t end up taking the job, Deputy City Manager Mike Steigerwald said. After considering the other candidates, the city decided to re-advertise for the position in October, starting the process over again, he said.

The 2009 fiscal year budget included $112,000 in salary and benefits for the new economic development director as well as expenses, travel and training for the new operation. Ortiz will make $75,000 a year.

“She has a breadth of experience on a variety of levels,” Steigerwald said. “Really what impressed us about her was that she was out there in the community (and) had lot of contacts in business development. She’s very professional, a very good communicator and very enthusiastic. She’s going to be a good salesperson for the city.”

The city has been represented by the county’s economic development department, contributing about a $50,000 annual fee – waived the last few years in the economic downturn – as well as economic development funds toward the incoming businesses, Steigerwald said.

Ortiz will be tasked with promoting the city’s redevelopment of the downtown, Vine Street and the area around Kissimmee Gateway Airport, areas the county office doesn’t target specifically.

“Our goal with this position was to supplement the services the county economic development department provides,” Steigerwald said.

Commissioner Jerry Gemskie said he pushed for the city to hire an economic development advocate in 2004 and was pleased with the decision to hire Ortiz.

“She presents herself well and she’ll represent the city well,” he said. “We need a people person that can go out and make people feel comfortable. You want someone to bring in some good quality business.”

Ortiz has represented Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association, one of the region's strongest workforce engines. Before that, she worked for Orange County's Business Development office, assisting small business start-ups, promoting contract opportunities at the county and managing contracts worth more than $65 million. She also has served on a number of boards, including the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund.

Ortiz is nationally certified as a economic development finance professional and has earned a master’s degree in public administration.

Aside from her business experience, Ortiz unsuccessfully ran for state senator against Gary Siplin in 2008.

Latina makes being bilingual easier

Creating bilingual children using a unique approach
The Latino Journal E-News, Vol. 2, Issue 6

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Census Bureau estimates there are 46.9 million Spanish-speaking people living in the United States today. In this era of globalization, there are significant advantages for those who are able to speak more than one language, and in particular Spanish and English. Recognizing this reality, parents are looking to give their children every competitive edge.

Author Celina Penovi offers children a never-before-seen, fun, easy and effective way to become bilingual in her new series of English/Spanish storybooks. An international lawyer from Argentina and mother of four, Celina knows first-hand the importance of communicating fluently and effectively in both Spanish and English – while making the endeavor fun.

“Learning a second language is not as hard as it seems,” says Celina. “Reading books that are interesting and fun makes everyone more open and relaxed, so learning becomes smoother and more pleasant.”

The series of English/Spanish books includes:
- Scramble Breakfast (Alboroto a la Hora del Desayuno), a tale of hilarious breakfast table mishaps that occur between the food and utensils at the table.

- The Clumsy Stork (La Cigüeña Despistada), the story of a stork exhausted after a night of partying and the humor of delivering babies the next morning.

- Guess it if you can! - School Time! (¿Adivinarás, quizás? - ¡Hora de ir a la escuela!), eight riddles about activities taking place during the school day.

All books are written with matching stanzas in English and Spanish to make learning even easier, and are beautifully illustrated. The books are reminiscent of Dr. Seuss, with it’s fun, snappy rhymes. An excerpt of a riddle from Guess it if you can! - School Time!, reads:

En la cartuchera In the pencil box
yo me escondo I hide
junto a la lapicera. with the pen standing at my side.

Pinto con la crayola With the crayons
sobre el papel the paper we seek
bailando cola con cola. to paint while dancing cheek to cheek.

Visit to get a sense of Celina’s unique approach.

The series of books can be purchased at,, or

About the Author
Celina Penovi was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She received her masters degree in International Law from UC Berkeley and is a licensed attorney in Argentina and California. At present, she is senior counsel at the World Bank. In her spare time she assists in charitable work, and enjoys playing sports and guitar. She currently resides just outside of Washington, D.C. with her husband and four boys.