The Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program Welcomes New Board Chair and Advisory Board Member

October 28, 2019

Transition in leadership and addition to the Advisory Board will bring new perspectives and counsel to the work of the Latinos and Society Program

Contact: Maria Samaniego
Program Manager
The Aspen Institute
202-722-3549 |

Washington, DC, October 28, 2019– The Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program (AILAS) announced today that former U.S. Ambassador and former Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez has been named chair of the AILAS Advisory Board. 

Mr. Vasquez, who is a founding member of the AILAS Advisory Board, succeeds Monica Lozano, a respected businesswoman, president of the College Futures Foundation, and co-founder of AILAS. In her five-year term as chair, Ms. Lozano has guided the organization, helped to establish a strong foundation, and advised the executive director. Ms. Lozano will remain on the board and continue to lend her expertise.

“I am thrilled that Ambassador Vasquez is taking on this leadership position on our Advisory Board and deeply appreciate his commitment to bring his cross-sector experience and counsel to the important mission of the Latinos and Society Program,” said Ms. Lozano.

In addition, the program welcomes a new Advisory Board member, Rodrigo Garcia, deputy state treasurer and chief investment officer for Illinois State Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs.

“Ambassador Vasquez and Rodrigo Garcia bring diversity of perspective to our board as well as first-hand experience with the Institute at a critical time in US history when the influence of Latinos is increasing and understanding of shared interests and future is needed more than ever before,” said AILAS Executive Director and Institute Vice President, Abigail Golden-Vazquez. “Their insights and experience are invaluable to helping us to execute our new strategy and expand our impact.”

The Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program provides a nonpartisan forum for conversation, learning, and idea generation on critical issues impacting Latinos and the nation. The program aims to identify, promote, and catalyze ideas and solutions that foster greater opportunity for American Latinos, enabling a more prosperous and inclusive America for all. The Advisory Board brings expertise, networks, and counsel to the work of the Latinos and Society Program.

Gaddi H. Vasquez
is the former senior vice president of Government Affairs for Southern California Edison (SCE), one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, and its parent company, Edison International. He was responsible for government relations activities at the Federal and State level, as well as Local Public Affairs. Prior to SCE, Vasquez served as U.S. Ambassador and permanent representative to United Nations Agencies based in Rome. From 2002 to 2006, Ambassador Vasquez served as Director of the Peace Corps.

Focusing my energy on institutions with influence to shape the national dialogue is a unique opportunity, and I see the Aspen Institute as one of those institutions. When the Institute says a focus on Latinos is necessary to building a good society, I want to support that commitment,” said Vasquez.

Rodrigo Garcia is deputy state treasurer and chief investment officer for Illinois State Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs. In this role, he directs the treasury’s combined $32 billion investment portfolio, $300 billion in related banking operations and financial services, and a $4 billion agency budget and financial reporting unit. Rodrigo was previously the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and a member of the Illinois Cabinet, and has also worked for Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc. and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Rodrigo holds an undergraduate degree with a major in finance from Northeastern Illinois University, two post-graduate degrees, one with a focus in finance from the University of Illinois and one with a focus in public policy from Northwestern University.

“The work AILAS does to bring more Latino leaders, voices and insights to the table and create economic opportunity for all is why I am excited to be a part of this initiative,” said Garcia. “I have seen first-hand, as one of the few Latinos at many decision-making tables, the need for our perspective. The work AILAS does to bring more Latino leaders, voices and insights to the table and create economic opportunity for all is why I am excited to be a part of this initiative.”

Garcia joins advisory board members Hector V. Barreto, Chairman, the Latino Coalition; Alejandra Y. Castillo, CEO, YWCA-USA; Cesar R. Conde, Chairman, NBCUniversal International Group and NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises; David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer, Comcast Corporation; Luis J. Echarte, Vice President, Grupo Salinas; Abigail Golden-Vazquez, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program; Monica Lozano, President and CEO, College Futures Foundation; Dr. Diana Natalicio, Former President at the University of Texas at El Paso; Andrew D. Plepler, Global Head of Environmental, Social, and Governance, Bank of America; and Francisco J. Sánchez, Chairman, CNS Global Advisors; Gaddi Vasquez Chair, Aspen Institute Latinos & Society Program; and Laysha Ward, Executive Vice President, Chief External Engagement Officer, Target.

About the Aspen Institute Latinos and Society ProgramThe Aspen Institute founded the Latinos and Society Program in 2015 to provide a unique, unbiased, and nonpartisan forum within one of the nation’s leading educational, convening, and influencer institutions for shared learning and collaboration on the critical challenges facing Latinos and the nation.

This policy program convenes diverse audiences and subject matter experts to promote the economic advancement and mobility of Latinos in the U.S. to strengthen the national economy for all Americans. The program is also connecting a pipeline of Latino leaders to Institute programs, fostering collaboration, and strengthening their networks.

To learn more, follow @AspenLatinos on Twitter, or visit our website.

About the Aspen InstituteThe Aspen Institute is a community-serving organization with global reach whose vision is the creation of a free, just, and equitable society. For 70 years, the Institute has driven change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the world’s greatest challenges. With headquarters in Washington, DC, the Institute has offices in Aspen, Colorado and New York City, as well as an international network of partners. Learn more at


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