Who is Latinitas?


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 the Deputy Director where she manages Latinitas’ programs, partnerships and operations. Originally from Brownsville, TX, she graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor's in Journalism. In 2018, she received the Out of School Time Champion Award from 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.
  • 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. A self-described "professional wingman," he is at his best when he is supporting dynamic leaders, and is currently the Director of Marketing and Development at Latinitas, a social impact organization in Austin, Texas that is creating tomorrow's future female leaders. T.C. learned to sing opera professionally at Boston University and then went on to receive his MBA from the Universidad de Belgrano in Buenos Aires Argentina, where he met his wife. 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, organizations, and even countries. A career storyteller, he began his career at LatinWorks, an advertising agency that focused on the emerging Latino consumer base in the US, and in 2003 joined a family business that produced high-end personalized jewelry. In 2016, T.C. turned his expertise and energy 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.
  • Gabryella Desporte

    Program Coordinator
    Born and raised in Austin, Gabryella is a Program Leader 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.
  • 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.
  • Rita Olivares

    Program Coordinator
    Rita is a program leader 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.
  • Karla Lugo

    Communications Coordinator
    Karla is responsible for handling Latinitas' digital marketing as well as all things social media. Originally from El Paso, Texas and raised in Juarez, Mexico, she earned her B.A. in Media Advertising and Marketing from UTEP. She loves her pug, Olivia, and listening to true crime podcasts.
  • Jasmine Juarez

    Program Leader
  • 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.

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