Staff

Alex Nogales  | President & CEO

Alex Nogales co-founded the National Hispanic Media Coalition in 1986 with two colleagues in response to profound underrepresentation and misrepresentation of the Latino community in the media. He was elected NHMC president in the late 90s, after a decade challenging the broadcast license of any station that failed to hire Latinos in FCC mandated numbers. Today, Alex champions the policies and practices that bring Latinos online, support Latino media owners and content creators and diversify the news and entertainment industry.

Alex and the Multi-Ethnic Media Coalition brokered the first-ever signed agreements with each of the four major TV networks in the country to publicly disclose the number of people of color making decisions on content at every level of their studio operations. NHMC convened concerned groups representing communities of color to form the Multi-Ethnic Media Coalition, which negotiated for the inclusion of a diversity commitment from the networks in these historic Memorandum of Understandings. It created a lasting effect still felt in Hollywood today and led the Washington Post to write, “If TV looks far more diverse today than film, it’s due in large part to the work of Nogales and his colleagues.”

When Latinos in English and Spanish language television were undercounted by the ratings giant Nielsen, Alex led the National Latino Media Council fight to force the company to address the inaccuracies so the use of the data would not lead to limiting Latino employment opportunities in English-language television or discourage the development of Latino-themed programming.

Alex has grown NHMC into a leader in the fight against hate speech and the preeminent media watchdog for Latino communities. NHMC led demonstrations against ABC, and its parent company, Disney, for its lack of diversity and boycotts of advertisers supporting radio programs, like the “Howard Stern Show”, “John and Ken Show”, and the “Jose Luis Sin Censura” program that served as platforms for hate. NHMC regularly engages in high-level talks with top cable and broadcast television executives, urging them to ensure fairness and accuracy in their stories touching on the Latino community.

After repeatedly calling for a government analysis of the connection between hate speech and hate crimes against Latinos, NHMC commissioned its own landmark studies and polls on the harmful effects of the underrepresentation and misrepresentation of Latinos in the media. Following the NHMC-organized protests of Disney, the company has hired Latinos who have graduated from NHMC’s TV writers program and produced Elena of Avalor, the first Latina Disney princess series. Lou Dobbs left CNN after Alex met with CNN president Jonathan Klein to discuss the host’s irresponsible fear-mongering about Latinos and prominent corporate advertisers withdrew their support of shows airing hate speech as a result of NHMC campaigns.

Alex was profiled in the Los Angeles Times’ Diverse 100, as an individual that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences should nominate to their ranks to achieve greater diversity in Hollywood. Alex has been called on to comment on diversity in entertainment, open and affordable communication policy and hate speech as a guest on TV programs, including PBS Newshour and CNN Tonight, and in top print outlets including the Associated Press, the New York Times and USA Today. He frequently writes opinion pieces for Fox News Latino and, prior to his work with NHMC, earned multiple Emmy awards as a TV producer. His childhood experience as a migrant farmworker, at a time when businesses posted signs reading “No Dogs or Mexicans Allowed”, drives Alex in his work to ensure that Latinos are able to walk in any door.

Brenda Victoria Castillo  | President & CEO Elect

Brenda Victoria Castillo, President & CEO Elect of NHMC, also serves as station manager and producer of NHMC’s KHBG-LP 101.5 FM radio station and NHMC’s Podcasts where she develops content programming to be broadcast and streamed on various mediums. She is also the host of Straight UP! Brenda is a Los Angeles Emmy award-winning producer and media production director. She is co-chair of the NHMC’s Business Advisory Board. Brenda is a strategic leader in the fields of Latino community development, diversity and inclusion, and media and community relations in the corporate and nonprofit sectors.

Sylvia Baca | Vice President, Human Resources & Donor Relations

Sylvia V. Baca oversees human resources, operations and donor relations for the NHMC. She is a seasoned executive with distinctive experience in global corporate operations, corporate community relations, and senior public sector service at the municipal, state, and federal levels.

She was appointed to several U.S. Department of Interior sub-cabinet level positions over nine years of service, including Assistant Secretary for Land and Mineral Management, Acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management and Deputy Assistant Secretary. In these roles she oversaw a wide range of department functions, including policy formation, analysis, and implementation; budget proposals and audit processes; legislative and regulatory analysis and review; and, extensive outreach with constituency groups, state and local government officials, and members of Congress.

Ms. Baca served eight years in progressively senior positions of key BP (formerly British Petroleum) North America operational and strategic functions in health, safety, emergency response, and environmental policy. These roles included Vice President, Health, Safety and Environment (HSE); Director, Regional HSE (Los Angeles); Director, Global HSE & Emergency Response - BP Shipping (London); and, Director, Strategic Policy Implementation (Houston). Ms. Baca’s career at BP culminated with leadership of that firm’s National Community Outreach/Relations and Social Investment Programs, where she guided corporate philanthropy and social investments strategy.

Ms. Baca held several senior positions in state and municipal government agencies in New Mexico, including Director of the state’s Minority and Small Business Procurement Assistance Program, Senior Fiscal Analyst for New Mexico’s Legislative Finance Committee and Director of Finance and Management for the City of Albuquerque. In these roles, she was instrumental in working with complex public budgets, inter-departmental policy and administration, and communications with appointed and elected officials and the business community.

Ms. Baca earned a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor of University Studies from the University of New Mexico, and completed BP’s Executive Program in Sustainable Business and Corporate Social Responsibility at the University of Cambridge, BP’s Executive Development at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business Education, and BP’s Executive Education in Strategic Planning at Rice University.
She is a board member of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, and has served as a board member of the California Climate Action Registry, Pew Center’s Climate Change-Business Executive Leadership Council, the Natural Resources Council of America, NatureServe, University of Colorado Natural Resources Center at Boulder, the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, and the University of New Mexico’s School of Public Administration (Chair).

Francella Ochillo | Vice President, Policy & General Counsel

Francella Ochillo leads the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s policy and government affairs office in Washington, D.C. and is responsible for developing policy and legal strategies that encourage open and affordable communications, innovation, competition, and diversity. Francella represents NHMC in meetings with decision makers in Congress and at federal regulatory agencies. Her expertise and advocacy have been featured in outlets including USA Today, Law 360, and ColorLines Magazine.

Francella coordinates organizational responses to regulatory proposals that threaten to widen the digital divide and has co-authored several notable filings documenting opposition to the FCC’s Net Neutrality repeal, proposals to gut Lifeline, and further media consolidation. Francella has expertise elevating the public dialogue and developing Congressional outreach strategies. For example, she has organized and moderated briefings to educate House and Senate staffers on a range of issues related to Lifeline, media diversity, the extreme vetting immigration initiatives. Francella also supervises NHMC’s legal fellowship program, which provides an opportunity for select students throughout the country to experience media, technology, and telecommunications law and advocacy.

In her prior role at NHMC as policy counsel, Francella analyzed and helped implement communication policy initiatives for the National Hispanic Media Coalition, while coordinating government outreach and public engagement efforts that bring Latinos online and on the airwaves. She developed strategic relationships with organizational allies to amplify the voices of Latinos in Washington and was a critical part of the team analyzing the more than 50,000 consumer complaints received from the FCC in response to NHMC’s Freedom of Information Act requests that drew renewed attention to the importance of preserving the 2015 Open Internet Order.

Francella earned a B.S. in Marketing from Morgan State University and a J.D. from John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois. During her studies, she excelled as a moot court competitor and went on to represent the city of Chicago in administrative hearings. Before joining the National Hispanic Media Coalition, Francella worked on securities fraud investigation teams at the Department of Justice where she helped prosecute banks for corporate misconduct under the False Claims Act and Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act.

Daiquiri Ryan | Policy Counsel

Daiquiri Ryan serves as the policy counsel at the National Hispanic Media Coalition where she leverages her policy expertise to advocate on behalf of the Latino community on Capitol Hill and beyond. She monitors, reviews and analyzes policies, programs, regulations and proposals to identify ways to close the Latino digital divide and expand access to communications for all Americans, regardless of their income or home zip code. Daiquiri’s advocacy work includes preserving net neutrality, strengthening privacy protections, and increasing diversity in media ownership.

Previously Daiquiri served as policy fellow at Public Knowledge, where she created and led the Broadband Connects America rural broadband coalition, engaged online creators in the fight to restore net neutrality, led litigation against the FCC’s repeal of the 2016 Tech Transitions order, and advocated for policies to close the digital divide. Her other fellowships have included time at Amazon, the DC Office of Attorney General, and the Arizona Department of Education. She is a member of the inaugural class of Google Next Gen Policy Leaders, where she co-leads a working group focused on creative policy solutions for intellectual property and social justice.

Daiquiri also serves as Vice President and co-founder of the Joey Ryan Foundation, a 501(c)(3) created in honor of her late brother that focuses on empowering young people with disabilities. She received her Juris Doctorate from George Washington University Law School, Bachelors of Art in Political Science and Media Relations from Arizona State University, and is admitted to the state Bar of Texas. In her spare time, Daiquiri is a fierce college football fan and dog mom to a fluffy one-eyed Shihtzu named Bobo.

Alison Sotomayor | Director, Communications

Alison Sotomayor is an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker, producer, writer and researcher. She produced "The Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo" (PBS, San Francisco Latino Film Festival, March on Washington Film Festival, 2018), an exploration of the life and legacy of Chicano activist, attorney and author Oscar Zeta Acosta, directed by veteran content creator Phillip Rodriguez and executed produced by Academy Award-winning actor Benicio Del Toro.

She was producer for "Two Party Animals" (2017), a political/comedy TV pilot hosted by Pulitzer-Prize winning Los Angeles Times journalist Patt Morrison and comedians Ben Gleib & Alonzo Bodden, and was producer/researcher for the documentary "Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race" (PBS, Los Angeles Film Festival & Pan African Film Festival, 2015), which explores the life of the first African American mayor of a major U.S. city with an overwhelming white majority.

Previously, Sotomayor worked at KCET-TV, California’s flagship PBS station, as a producer for the critically acclaimed news and public affairs series, "Life & Times in Los Angeles" for ten years. Since 2000, she has produced short films on the contributions and accomplishments of Latino Americans for media advocacy and civil rights organizations nationwide, including the National Hispanic Media Coalition, La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, and the Mexican American Opportunities Foundation.

Some of her notable works include: "Sal Castro & the 1968 East L.A. Walkouts," "Out of the Picture: Minorities in Network Primetime Television," "Heroes in the Hood: Father Gregory Boyle," "Bert Corona: The Life and Legacy of a Mexican American Labor & Community Activist," "Culture Clash: A 24-Year Theatrical Retrospective" and its Impact on America, and "Revolving Door: California’s Mentally Ill."

Alison participated in the inaugural CPB/WETA News Academy in Washington D.C. She has two Emmy Awards, five Golden Mikes, a Telly Award, and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at UCLA.

Felicia Mora | Special Events Manager

Felicia Mora supports the planning and execution of the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s events throughout the year and serves as the organization’s community liaison, representing the organization at events and conferences within the Los Angeles area.

Before joining NHMC, Felicia worked at various non-profit educational institutions, advocating for low-income people of color. Most recently, she managed Irvine Valley College’s multicultural event programming within their Equity and Diversity Department. There she organized large events including their Día Del Los Muertos and Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Felicia grew up in Whittier, California and is the first in her family to graduate from college. Originally headed toward the fashion industry, she eventually discovered a passion for understanding intersectional multiculturalism.

Felicia graduated from Cal State Fullerton, where she earned her B.A. in American Studies and a Minor in Art. She is a proud Chicana and Filipina-American. When not at NHMC, she enjoys spending time with her two-year-old son or attending local events, supporting artists in the surrounding community.

Araceli Velasco

Araceli Velasco is the Executive Assistant and Office Manager at the National Hispanic Media Coalition headquarters in Pasadena, CA. In her role, Araceli not only handles the day-to-day operations of the office, but also participates in the production of the NHMC’s KHBG-LP 101.5 FM Radio station and podcasts, and coordinates the NHMC Writers Programs.

Prior to joining the NHMC family, Araceli worked at Alma Family Services, in the Community Integration Training (CIT) program in East Los Angeles. Araceli helped launch the Supported Employment pilot program for adults with developmental disabilities. Through assessments with clients, and networking with local businesses for potential employment, Araceli sought to bring diversity into the workforce of the community and bring equity and inclusion for people with unique abilities.

Before Alma, Araceli worked at Camino Nuevo Charter Academy - Sandra Cisneros Learning Academy in Echo Park. Here, she provided support and resources to students and their families, as well as health and wellness, and leadership trainings to parents. She also planned and executed special events, managed the campus website and social media, and all aspects of communications. Araceli supported in the outreach for parent engagement and promoted a positive organizational culture for faculty and staff.

Araceli grew up in Koreatown in Los Angeles, California. She is the daughter of Mexican immigrants from Oaxaca, Mexico. Very early in her life, Araceli noticed the injustices in our society, especially in education and in the media. She is an advocate for early media literacy and Ethnic Studies in K-12, and for the fair representation of all people in the media. She received her Bachelors of Arts Degree in Organizational Communication and Public Relations from California State University, Los Angeles.

Wishing to bring a voice to people of color (especially to women), she started a podcast along with a few colleagues, where they discussed topics of intersectionality, and the lack of representation in the film and television. She now happily continues this journey at NHMC.

Outside of work, Araceli enjoys watching her favorite show, Doctor Who, painting, or running her photo booth and event photography business.

She is obsessed with her pups Flower the Pekingese and Pepper the Terrier.

Mairead Coogan

Mairead Coogan serves as the NHMC's communications consultant for the policy team in Washington, D.C. where she focuses on expanding NHMC’s footprint in telecom policy. She pitches articles, manages social media, drafts newsletter content, and manages press publications with the specific goal of helping the public, lawmakers, and policymakers understand the need for including Latino voices in policy discussions.

Born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Mairead received her B.A. from Marquette University and M.B.A. from Tulane University. She has experience managing social media, fundraising campaigns, and communications strategy for nonprofit organizations. Her experience working on governmental oversight hearings and draft legislation has also extremely helpful in expanding NHMC’s Congressional outreach.