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 is a strategic leader in the fields of Latino community development, corporate community relations, and communications. She is a multiple award-winning television producer and media production director with decades of senior leadership experience in the private and non-profit sectors, as well as government.

Currently she is the President & CEO Elect for the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC). Brenda champions the policy and practices that bring Latinos online, advocates for U.S. Latino media owners and content creators, and helps to diversify the news and entertainment industry in Hollywood and across the nation. She is also the head of operations for the NHMC and is responsible for its multi-million dollar budget.

At British Petroleum (BP) America she was responsible for shaping and implementing BP’s community diversity programs such as KCET-TV’s “A Place of Our Own” and “Niños En Su Casa”, which garnered a prestigious Peabody Award; and was responsible for the West Coast $12.4 million budget.

As the Diversity & Community Outreach Director at the American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles (ARC), she created and produced partnership campaigns such as CBS2/KCAL9’s “Safe at Home” and ABC7’s “ABCs of a Safe Summer”. Brenda was ARC’s single point of contact for the Latino community and public affairs during 9-11.

Her professional experience began as a Producer for KTLA Channel 5 Television where she won a Los Angeles Emmy as a producer and was nominated for a dozen more. Throughout her career there, she brought extensive media attention to health, politics, and issues significant to minority communities in Southern California.

Brenda has served on numerous boards and commissions including the California Teaching Credentialing Commission, Coalition Against Hate, Salvation Army of Orange County, California Women’s Lead, American Red Cross of Long Beach, Hispanas Organized for Political Equality, South Gate Rotary Club, USC Latino Advisory Board, Hispanic Outreach Taskforce, KCET Community Advisory Board, Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Asian Pacific Legal Defense Fund Advisory Board.

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.

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.

Cruz Castillo | Manager, External Affairs & Social Media

Cruz Castillo is a part of the team’s external affairs, creating networks and building bridges with organizations, individuals, and the overall community. He helps to coordinate and strategize NHMC’s social media in order to best serve Latinx, and all POC, and promote all the hard work of the team.

Before joining NHMC, Cruz has worked various jobs ranging from NBCUniversal to CTV Canada. He has years of experience in the entertainment industry ranging from production crew to social media.

Cruz grew up in Whittier, California and is one of many in his family to graduate from a university, the bar is set high with the Castillo’s. Cruz is an advocate for the underdog, fighting for those not often thought of or given opportunity.

Cruz graduated from Cal State Los Angeles, where he earned his B.A. in Interpersonal Communication. He is a proud Indigenous Native living on stolen land. When not at NHMC, he enjoys spending his time reading, being active in the community, and filmmaking.

Felicia Mora | Manager, Special Events

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 | Executive Assistant & Office Manager

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.