Who is Latinitas?

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Empower all girls to innovate through media and technology.


Create courageous leaders.

Who We Are

Latinitas was founded in Austin, TX in 2002. Latinitas provides media and technology programs for all girls throughout Central Texas.

Austin Staff

  • Laura Donnelly

    Founder and CEO
    Laura Donnelly is the founder/CEO of Latinitas. She has been a journalist, book publicist and documentary filmmaker. She majored in English and minored in Computer Science at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey and received her masters in journalism at the University of Texas in 2003 where she co-founded Latinitas magazine and outreach in a class. Laura's been honored as an Austin Under 40 winner, the YWCA's Woman of the Year Leader of Promise and Austin Women in Tech's Innovator award for her service empowering Latina youth.
  • Sylvia Butanda

    Deputy Executive Director
    Sylvia Butanda is Latinitas Deputy Executive Director. She manages Latinitas’ programs, partnerships, and operations. Originally from Brownsville, TX, she graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor's degree in Journalism. In 2018, she was recognized by Congressman Lloyd Doggett as an Out of School Time Champion Award by the Learn all the Time Network for her work in empowering girls in Central Texas. She is also a graduate of the 2019 Class of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's Hispanic Austin Leadership Program and serves as board member for the Young Hispanic Professional Association of Austin (YHPAA) and the Austin Young Chamber.
  • TC Waugh

    Marketing and Development Director
    With over 20 years of experience in marketing and fundraising, T.C. Waugh is a passionate and energetic team builder. He is at his best when he is supporting dynamic leaders and is currently the Director of Marketing and Development at Latinitas. With a long history in Latin America that spans back to his childhood, T.C. is dedicated to bridging cultural divides, most recently tackling the "digital divide" that is separating communities and organizations. He began his career at LatinWorks and in 2003 joined a family business that produced high-end personalized jewelry. In 2016, T.C. turned his expertise to the social impact sector, where he has found his new home. Finally, T.C. loves people and their stories and considers fundraising as a form of matchmaking between people and causes.
  • Bailey Pownall

    Engagement Manager
    What you first notice about Bailey Pownall is that he is easy to talk to. He’s a person with a variety of interests such as community action, politics, art, and connecting cultures, making it easy to find common ground with most. That is why Latinitas is excited to announce Bailey’s joining the Latinitas staff team as its new Engagement Manager. After years working in programs that focused on tutoring and workforce development, as well as founding his own nonprofit that created a successful formula for increased millennial giving, Bailey will be using that acumen to handle the day to day duties of volunteer management and coordination, but with a twist: he will be working on how that all ties into Latinitas development ecosystem.
  • Gabryella Desporte

    Program Coordinator
    Born and raised in Austin, Gabryella is a Program Coordinator at Latinitas. Gabryella is passionate about Digital Inclusion within the community they serve because they have seen firsthand how technology-based literacy benefits people of all ages. They currently hold a B.A. in Latin American Studies and Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin.
  • Rita Olivares

    Program Coordinator
    Rita is a Program Coordinator and writes for the Latinitas Magazine. She is a graduate from the The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Language and Mexican American and Latina/o Studies. Her love and passion for her culture and roots stems from being born and raised in Laredo, Texas. Rita has pet roosters and chickens back in her hometown and hopes to one day become a published author.
  • Jasmine Juarez

    Program Leader
    Jasmine is a first generation undergraduate student at St. Edward’s University majoring in International business and double minoring in Spanish and Computer Science. She is currently a Youth Program Leader at Latinitas and loves to work with and empower young girls to pursue a college degree and embrace their culture to the fullest. Raised in Austin, Texas, she gives back to the community she grew up in and hopes to be a good role model for everyone who crosses her path. She is unsure of what the future holds, but is sure that helping people in every culture will be one part of it.
  • Andrea Morales

    Program Leader
    Andrea is an undergraduate student at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in Special Education with a minor in Educational Psychology. She loves working with children and her passion is guiding students to feel confident and successful in their endeavors. She enjoys cooking, making DIY's, and I hopes to one day move to the Northeast to teach in a multilingual school.
  • Elisa Garcia

    Program Leader
    Born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, Elisa is a Program Leader and writes for Latinitas Magazine. She's a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Journalism. She is passionate about teaching young girls what they are capable of and where they can go in life. She loves cats and hopes to one day adopt special needs cats who have trouble finding their forever home!
  • Kirsty Brewster

    Program Leader
    Kirsty originally worked as a multimedia intern for the El Paso chapter of Latinitas when she was still an undergrad at UT - Austin. She has since graduated with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Music. As a Program Leader for Latinitas, she is passionate about instilling an excitement for learning in the girls that she teaches. She also dabbles in filmmaking and is currently in the post-production process of her first short film
  • Vanessa Batz

    Program Leader
    Vanessa is a Program Leader at Latinitas and writer for the magazine. She is passionate about seeing the youth open to new and current themes that even adults are still comprehending ."It's all about educating the youth to keep them from repeating older generation's habits." She recently earned her B.S in Public Relations at Texas State University. She is a first generation student and the first to graduate from college in her family. Originally from Houston, Texas she is proud to be an advocate for the Latinx community and all underrepresented communities. She is working towards being a creative director and making strives in the Latinx/POC communities. She loves to thrift, dance, and anything she can be creative with.

Austin Board of Directors

  • Endrica Galvan Hardwick

    ITIL/CSPO Strategist & Planner, Dell
    Raisied in the Rio Grande Valley, Endrica Hardwick has been in the technology industry for more than 20 years and has held professional roles including IT Manager, Software Quality Manager, and IT Operations Service Manager Her top core values are faith, family, love, joy, peace, compassion, and helping others. She has a big heart and is a semi-professional salsa dancer. Endrica and her husband of 9 years, Kelly, have four children and two grandchildren who are their gift, heritage, and reward.
  • Sammy Morales

    CO-CHAIR, HR Business Partner, AllClear ID
    Born and raised in San Antonio, TX, Sammy Morales is a seasoned human resource professional currently working at AllClear, Inc. He's been a recruiter at St. David's Healthcare and both a business development and project coordinator at Goodwill Industries. Sammy graduated with a bachelors in social work at UT Austin and achieved his Masters in Business Administration at Texas State University in 2016.
  • Gissela SantaCruz

    Dir. of Community Engagement & Communications, Austin FC
    Gissela SantaCruz is a 20 year veteren of journalism first as a reporter, then editor at the Austin American Statesman and its Spanish language counterpart Ahora Si. Gissela has been honored for outstanding journalism by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors and the National Association of Hispanic Publications and she is also a graduate of Hispanic Austin Leadership a community leadership program out of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
  • Karen Mariela Siles

    CO-CHAIR, Delivery Manager for Security Encryption, IBM Cloud
    Karen Siles is an emblem of Latina leadership in tech. An engineer and project manager at IBM for almost 15 years, Karen has a long history of mentoring and community leadership. In addition to serving as Latinitas' board chair she also serves on the board for Austin healthcare access nonprofit Community Cares and has been the president of local and regional SHPE chapters (the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) where she was honored this year as Manager of the Year out of 1000s of members. Karen is also a graduate of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's Hispanic Austin Leadership program, Latina Public Policy bootcamp and has been nominated for Austin Under 40 repeatedly. She graduated George Mason University with a degree in engineering and recently achieved her masters in the inaugural class of the University of Texas MSTC program (Masters in Science in Technology Commercialization) out of the McComb's school of business.
  • Sandie Taylor

    TREASURER, Communications and Operations Director, Together for Girls
    Sandie Taylor was one of Latinitas first volunteers when she was an undergraduate student of journalism at the University of Texas over 18 years ago. She has since worked in publishing and is currently the COO of Together for Girls, a global nonprofit focused on ending violence against women and girls. Sandie graduated with a journalism degree at the University of Texas at Austin and achieved her Masters in Business at Wake Forest University and was integral in the launch of Latinitas teen reporter program.
  • Bianca Perez

    Software Sourcing Buyer – Packaged Software Procurement Team Lead, IBM
    As a Software Sourcing Buyer at IBM, Bianca Perez helps other IBMers purchase software for business use. Bianca is energized by volunteering and has done so through her commitment at IBM in their Hispanics in Philanthropy employee group where she has tutored students through Austin Partners in Education and other empowerment non-profits. She is new member of the Junior League of Austin and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. She was born and raised in Houston into a tight-knit Mexican American family.
  • Marissa Palmer

    IT Security Compliance Analyst III, VRBO part of Expedia Group
  • Jessica Castilleja Dunn

    Associate Attorney at Law Firm of McFerrin & Zayed, PLLC