WHO WE ARE
In response to the Coronavirus emergency and its disparate impact on Maryland’s Latino community, Maryland Latinos Unidos (MLU) was established in 2020 to unify statewide efforts supporting Latino and immigrant populations. Latino and non-Latino leaders are convening to form this collective, which is led by Executive Director Dr. Gabriela Lemus and guided by a Steering Committee.
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis highlight the ruptures in Maryland State’s government benefits system where services are not being rendered. Latinos have been impacted disproportionately by the COVID-19 pandemic. This crisis has highlighted the need for cohesion and support systems amongst organizations and individuals working to support and advocate for the quickly growing Latino and immigrant community in Maryland. Although the establishment of this organization was rooted in addressing emergency needs, our intention is to operate to reduce the various disparities and barriers affecting these communities.
Maryland Latinos Unidos has entered into an agreement with Maryland Nonprofits and operates as one of the association’s programs.
STAFF & STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Dr. Gabriela Lemus
Founder, Cool & Associates
President and CEO, Dream Management, Inc.
Managing Attorney, The Morales Law Firm
Senior Counsel at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan
EMD Sales, Inc.
Executive Director, Maryland Legislative Latino Caucus
Monica Guerrero Vasquez
Executive Director, Centro SOL
Elizabeth Ysla Leigh
Director of Government Relations and Legal Affairs, Society of Professional Benefit Administrators
Maria Pilar Rodriguez
President/Founder, MPR Business Solutions, LLC
Executive Director, Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Executive/Human Resources, Johns Hopkins Medicine
- Dr. Gabriela Lemus, Executive Director, Maryland Latinos Unidos
- Veronica Cool, Chair, Maryland Latinos Unidos Steering Committee
Veronica@CoolAssociatesLLC.com | (443 )854–1444
- Heather Iliff, President & CEO, Maryland Nonprofits
Hiliff@mdnonprofit.org | (443) 438-2348
DR. GABRIELA LEMUS
Gabriela Lemus is the Executive Director of Maryland Latinos Unidos and the CEO of Revolution Strategy, a management and communications strategy consultancy. Prior to Revolution Strategy US, she was the President of Progressive Congress and adviser to the co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Raul Grijalva and Rep. Keith Ellison. As an Obama Administration appointee, she served as Senior Advisor and Director of Public Engagement for Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis and was appointed by Mayor Vince Gray to serve as a Trustee of the University of the District of Columbia – an HBCU. Dr. Lemus is a passionate advocate for justice – social, economic, environmental, gender – whose career spans more than 15 years in senior strategic leadership roles in congressional and government affairs, non-profit management, policy advocacy and community/civic-engagement. She has built and managed non-profits, has a wide range of experience in building multi-racial coalitions and advocacy campaigns, advancing public policy and civic engagement. She is an innovator in voter engagement and civic participation for the Latino community. Gabriela has a PhD from the University of Miami, where she studied international political economy and political theory and wrote her dissertation on the drugs war and the US-Mexico border, implications for bilateral relations.She serves on numerous boards. She is the President of the Mi Familia Vota Education Fund (MFVEF), the co-Chair of the Center for Common Ground, and sits on the board of American Family Voices (AFV). Gabriela serves as the Chair of the Development Committee at Netroots Nation and the Chair of the Audit Committee at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. She is a certified Climate Reality Leadership Trainer.
Walter Saba joined Maryland Nonprofits in August 2021 as Campaign Manager for the Mid-Atlantic Latinx Vaccine Equity Coalition (MALVEC) a program of Maryland Latinos Unidos.
Walter has been working in public health for the last 30 years managing health communication programs, building partnerships for health, and providing technical support in more than twenty countries. During most of his career, Walter worked with Johns Hopkins University as a Senior Program Officer implementing behavior and social change communication programs on HIV and AIDS, maternal health, family planning, malaria in pregnancy, youth promotion, and prevention of violence against women. He has also worked in the Department of State / Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator as Team Leader for Latin America and the Caribbean supporting the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in the Region. In 2009, Walter joined United Nations as Regional Consultant for UNICEF/West and Central Africa Office on Global Polio Eradication and worked with the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) on technical support, community mobilization, and partnerships.
He completed a Master of Health Sciences (MHS) degree at the Johns Hopkins University / Bloomberg School of Hygiene and Public Health (1993), and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the Johns Hopkins University / School of Business (2008).
Dominican-born Veronica founded Cool & Associates, a consulting firm to connect organizations to the Hispanic community, offering strategy, training, marketing/PR & language services.
She and her team published the first of its kind: Hispanic Heritage Month: Essential Toolkit to facilitate the acknowledgment and engagement of the Latino segment in the United States. Committed to empowering our community, she established the Latino Innovators Pitch to scale Latino businesses profitably; along with two Facebook Groups: Yo Quiero Trabajo and Emprendedores Exitosos, that provide resources and opportunities for job seekers and entrepreneurs.
Additionally, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Governor Hogan appointed Veronica as part of the Small Business task force of MD Strong: Roadmap to Recovery. She also serves on the boards of MedStar Good Sam Hospital, Open Society Institute, ALPFA-Baltimore, Governors Workforce Development Board, AHCC, and Montgomery College HBTI. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Veronica was invited to serve on Governor Hogan’s Reopening Business Taskforce.
She’s been recognized by First Lady Michelle Obama and is the proud recipient of various awards, including the LATINA Style Entrepreneur of the Year, NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership award, Innovator of the Year, and US Hispanic Chamber Corporate Leader of the Year. She lives near Baltimore with her husband and two teenagers, keeping busy with writing, reading and donating firetrucks.
Luis Gutierrez is an entrepreneur originally from Nicaragua. Luis is a co-founder of the Baltimore Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Maryland Hispanic Business Conference. He is always looking for ways on how to foster the unification of the minority organizations in the region to promote common goals and achieve successful cooperation in the business arena, as well as in the legislative participation process.
Luis is the owner and President/CEO of Dream Management, Inc. (DMI). DMI plays a significant role in transporting employees and patrons of the federal and state governments. The company’s foreign language division provides telephonic, on-site and video remote interpretation; translation and transcription in 240 languages serving as a bridge between the client and the limited English proficient community.
Luis has a bachelor’s degree in Military Science from Frunze-Malinowski Military Academy in Moscow, Russia, and a Masters’s of Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD. Luis is fluent in Spanish and Russian.
Joe Morales is a registered patent attorney. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) in biochemistry and molecular biology and a law degree from the University of Baltimore. He served in active duty with the United States Army and in the Maryland Army National Guard as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot. He is a former president of the Maryland Hispanic Bar Association and former Secretary of the Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He is committed to supporting the growing Latino population in Maryland.
Alberto Grosmark recently retired from the process management consulting area after 20 years of work in Federal agencies “around the DC Beltway”. After a successful career as an Argentinean businessman and Federal Consultant, Alberto and his family immigrated to the United States in 1992. Always interested in giving back some of the good that he has benefitted from, MLU is the realization of a dream to re-orient resources and leverage the growth of the Latino in Maryland. Alberto believes that this work will keep him vital, solidify the roots of the Latinos in Maryland, and will finally boost the overall growth of the US economy. “I want to devote myself to this synergistic cause.”
Mr. Grosmark is also a bilingual Mediator with the Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County. Thanks to his voluntary support with this Center, he was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award by the White House and Americorps in 2021.