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 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.

    Laura Donnelly

    Founder and CEO
  • Sylvia Butanda manages Latinitas’ media and technology enrichment programs for girls in Austin. 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 was a judge for the 2019 SXSW EDU Student Startup Competition for high school students, speaker for Latinas in Tech mentorship panel at their monthly meetup, speaker at the 2018 Latinx in Tech Summit at Capital Factory presented by LULAC and commencement speaker for the 2019 graduating class at Harmony School of Excellence. She is also a graduate of the 2019 Class of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's Hispanic Austin Leadership Program.

    Sylvia Butanda

    Deputy Executive Director
  • Alyssa is responsible for recruiting and managing groups of volunteers for Latinitas programs and events. Born and raised in San Marcos, TX, she graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and a minor in Business Administration. Alyssa enjoys music, drawing, and binge-watching.

    Alyssa Gonzales

    Volunteer 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.

    Gabryella Desporte

    Program Coordinator
  • Karla Lugo

    Program Leader
  • 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.

    Rita Olivares

    Program Leader

Austin Board of Directors

  • Endrica Galvan Hardwick

    ITIL/CSPO Strategist & Planner, Dell
  • Sammy Morales

    CO-CHAIR, HR Business Partner, AllClear ID
  • Venus V. Piñeyro de Hoyos

    Sr. Manager, Facebook
  • Gissela SantaCruz

    Dir. of Community Engagement & Communications, Austin FC
  • Karen Mariela Siles

    CO-CHAIR, Delivery Manager for Security Encryption, IBM Cloud
  • Sandie Taylor

    TREASURER, Communications and Operations Director, Together for Girls
  • José A. Velásquez

    Marketing and Communications Specialist, Austin Independent School District
  • T.C. Waugh

    Co-Founder & Director of Marketing, Decentra Group
  • Jessica Castilleja Dunn

    Associate Attorney at Law Firm of McFerrin & Zayed, PLLC

El Paso Staff

  • Isis Portillo has been in the communications field since 1955. The El Paso native is an advocate for women and Latinos and has shown that support through her career. Portillo is a University of Texas–El Paso alumna.

    Isis Portillo

    Latinitas El Paso Executive Director

El Paso Board of Directors

  • Rocio Chacon

    Implementation Specialist II, Core IS
  • Ana Haro, M.A.

    Volunteer Coordinator, Make-A-Wish Foundation North Texas
  • The Honorable Michelle P. Morales

    Municipal Court Judge, El Paso
  • Ginger Raya, Ed.D., MHA

    Market Manager, Hospital Corporation of America
  • Diana Renteria

    Branch Manager, Wells Fargo