President: Jasmine Quillares, State Farm Insurance
Jasmine Quillares was born and raised in Southern California. In 2012, she moved to Orange County from Mexico City. She studied Criminology and Spanish Literature at the University of California, Irvine where she graduated with honors.
While in Mexico City she proceeded to obtain her teaching credential from the University Iberoamericana. Living in Mexico for 10 years allowed for total immersion in the language and the culture; thereby, becoming not only bilingual but bicultural as well. Her great love of language and teaching led her to open her own small business in translation services and English classes.
Jasmine is currently a Commercial Account Executive at Eddie Quillares State Farm Agency in Downtown Santa Ana. She specializes in assisting business owners to protect their investments by minimizing risk. She understands how important it is to surround yourself with positive and professional advisors. As the President of the National Hispanic Business Women Association, her goal is to ensure that the Association can contribute to the success of any business regardless of size and scope.
Vice President: Cecilia R. Novella, Past President (2003-2004), Business Partner
Cecilia Novella is a recent 36-year retiree from the County of Orange. For the last 19 years, she worked in the Auditor-Controller’s office spearheading key projects. She worked closely with division directors and senior management on a variety of operational and staff initiatives in collaboration with stakeholders, partners, elected officials, and county executives. Throughout her career, she had excelled through increasingly important positions in multiple County departments including Internal Audit, First District-Board of Supervisors, Clerk of the Board, Health Care Agency, and OC Public Works (formerly EMA).
A strong advocate of community non-profit service, Cecilia is an active member of the National Hispanic Business Women Association (NHBWA) of Santa Ana since its inception in 1997, where she has held the board positions of President, Treasurer, and Secretary. She currently serves as Vice-President and was the Scholarship Chair for the last 13 years. She has been honored with awards from the U.S. Congress, California State Senate and Assembly, Orange County Board of Supervisors, and the City of Santa Ana. She was named “Remarkable Woman” by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) for her leadership role as NHBWA’s President. Cecilia, a supporter of women’s health, is a twice cancer survivor and was co-chair for the Santa Ana Cancer Relay for Life event.
Mrs. Novella received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science with an emphasis in Public Policy and Administration from California State University in Long Beach, and an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from Irvine Valley College. Her education includes a Public Employee Advanced Leadership Certificate from California State University, Fullerton, and is an alumnus of the Orange County Leadership Academy (Class XII) from Chapman University. She is also a Toastmasters International Charter Member of Club 583774 and received the Competent Toastmaster (CTM) certificate of completion. She had recently utilized her speaking and presentation skills in the mentorship program at the County.
Cecilia is an Orange County native, a graduate of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, and an active member in her church community at Calvary Chapel of Tustin. She is a mother to three sons and a proud grandmother to six. She resides in Tustin with her husband of 39 years and is a business partner in their family’s 30-year contracting business. In her spare time, Cecilia enjoys traveling, camping at the river, and spending time with her family at their desert vacation home in Arizona.
Treasurer: Vanessa Alcantar, Southern California Gas Company
Vanessa Alcantar is currently employed at Southern California Gas Company as a Sr. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Analyst. Her primary role is to conduct quality control on various high-pressure pipeline data requests. She has prior experience, working in environmental consulting as a GIS associate, and previously served as GIS Research Assistant at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA). She is passionate about the environment and sustainability she volunteers a member of Southern California Gas Company’s Sustainability Council in order to promote both cost efficient sustainable best practices throughout the company. For the past several years, Vanessa has been an active member of the National Business and is currently serving on the executive board as the treasurer.
Vanessa is a Downtown Los Angeles native; she grew up in the Pico-Union neighborhood. She holds a bachelor’s degree from UCLA in Environmental Studies/Geography, minor in Geographical Information Systems and Technologies. Vanessa holds master’s in business administration, with an emphasis in project management from Mount Saint Mary’s.
Immediate Past President: Elizabeth Arteaga, Santiago Canyon College
With over thirteen years of experience, Mrs. Arteaga has worked in the California Community College system and has focused her career on workforce development, economic development, and career education. Currently, she is the Interim Associate Dean of Business and Career Technical Education at Santiago Canyon College, where she works with program development, grant management, faculty, and special projects.
Previously, Mrs. Arteaga worked at the Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD), most recently as the Small Business Deputy Sector Navigator for Orange County. She worked together with industry and education to improve and expand business and entrepreneurial curriculum to better deliver a job-ready workforce and entrepreneurial leaders needed to ensure California’s economic growth and global competitiveness. She has provided training and counseling to entrepreneurs over the last thirteen years. One of her areas of expertise is assisting businesses and entrepreneurs with business planning, marketing, market research and starting a business.
Mrs. Arteaga served as Associate Director of the Orange County Small Business Development Center from 2009 to 2015 where she was responsible for managing the marketing, outreach, training programs and corporate development of the Orange County SBDC. She developed and implemented marketing strategies to promote the Center’s services; oversaw the entrepreneurial training programs; and coordinated special projects associated with Orange County SBDC partnerships. Prior to joining the Orange County SBDC, she served as the Executive Director of the National Hispanic Business Women Association (NHBWA) where she was responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the Association, securing and coordinating ongoing and growing opportunities for grants and sponsorships, growing membership, partners and entrepreneurship training. She also led the outreach and educational programs, developed and distributed marketing, oversaw media relations and coordinated business and entrepreneurship seminars, workshops, training sessions, and annual events. Mrs. Arteaga began her career at the Social Science Research Center at California State University, Fullerton, where she was a Project Assistant Manager and focused on market research, annual reports, research management, hiring, compiling industry information with occupational trends, conducting the Orange County Labor Market for 2000-2003, aiding in the preparation of final reports for studies conducted, translating documents in Spanish, developing and implementing goals and objectives, and negotiating various types of contracts.
She belongs to several associations and has built impressive networks within the business community. She currently serves as Immediate Past President of the National Hispanic Business Women Association (NHBWA), member of the Association of the Latino Professional Finance and Accounting (ALPFA), and a member of the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
She joined Rancho Santiago Community College District in 2004 and served in multiple economic development programs of the district such as the Center for International Trade Development, Workplace Learning Resource Center, and the Digital Media Center and she was also an adjunct faculty for the Business Department of Santa Ana College from 2014 – 2017. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and Business Administration from the California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), and her Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Redlands.
Mrs. Arteaga was awarded the 2014 Women Making a Difference Excellence Award from the Office of former Senator Lou Correa, and the Michael R. Jones Business Impact Award in 2013 from the Orange County Black Chamber of Commerce and the Team Choice Award in 2012 from the Orange County/Inland Empire SBDC Lead Center.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Mavel Ramos, Wells Fargo
Mavel Ramos is a seasoned financial educator with extensive experience in providing financial education to LMI communities, an extensive background working with community partners, and a deep commitment to Wells Fargo’s visions and values. Mavel is responsible for managing outreach events, organizing volunteer activities, special programs and representing the company in community relations and outreach activities.
In Orange County, Mavel has been able to partner with numerous non-profits to teach financial literacy on behalf of Wells Fargo. Additionally, she works closely with business organizations and helps coordinate various small business training workshops for the local small businesses. In addition to her outreach duties, Mavel is a board member of the National Hispanic Business Women Association, High School Inc., and Chair of the Latin Connection team member network.
Mavel began her career at Wells Fargo in 2005 as a teller. Since then she has served as a Personal Banker where she began volunteering and creating strong ties in the community. Her bilingual skills and ties with local nonprofits helped move her to her current position.
She earned her Bachelors of Science Degree in biology with a minor in women’s studies from the University of California at Irvine. Mavel is currently working on her Masters of Science in Leadership and Management at La Verne University.
A resident of Orange, Mavel is married to a Wells Fargo Team Member and enjoys running marathons for good causes.
HONORARY BOARD MEMBERS
Co-Founder, Past President: Marie Moreno, OC Parks
Marie Moreno is a founding member and past president of the National Hispanic Business Women Association (NHBWA). She served as President of NHBWA during 1999-2002. During her presidency, Ms. Moreno founded NHBWA’s educational scholarship program and the NHBWA’s Outstanding Business Woman of the Year program.
Ms. Moreno was also the second woman elected as President of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Orange County (HCOC) (1996-1997), and served on the Board of Directors from 1995 to 2000. Marie was formerly with the Orange County Probation Department as Staff Analyst III, Program Support & Research Division, and the Anaheim Angels Baseball Club as Manager of Civic Affairs. She is currently with OC Parks as Customer Relations Manager.
Past President: Teresa Mercado-Cota, Santa Ana College
Teresa Mercado-Cota is Assistant Dean in the Office of the President at Santa Ana College (SAC). She is responsible for public affairs, governmental relations, professional development, and special programs. She collaborates with organizations and stakeholders that enhance favorable partnerships and relations among the college and business, civic, educational, legislative, community-based organizations and residents.
Mercado-Cota has served on several boards, including Orange County Sheriff’s Advisory Committee, Chapman University Advisory Council, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Orange County, PUENTE, Rueben Martinez LEAP Board, and Santa Ana Community Leadership Institute. She currently serves on the boards of the National Hispanic Business Women Association, Santa Ana Public Schools Foundation, Relampago del Cielo, Inc, Teammates for Life, and KinderCaminata, Inc.
Mercado-Cota earned an M.S. in Education/Counseling from CSU, Long Beach, dual B.A degrees in Communications and Sociology from CSU, Sacramento, and an A.A. in Liberal Arts from Saddleback College. She is married to her best friend, Dr. Victor Cota; together they have three sons, two daughters-in-law, and three wonderful grandchildren.