Get Involved: Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

by Linda Castillo

Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley (LCSV) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that has been providing Latinas with civic engagement and leadership development in Silicon Valley for more than 14 years. Jaqui Guzman, the LCSV Past President shared how being part of LCSV has impacted her life and provided more information about how you can get involved.

Jaqui Guzman, past president of LCSV. Image courtesy of

Jaqui Guzman, past president of LCSV. Image courtesy of

1) As past the president for LCSV, tell me how being a part of this organization has impacted your life?

Being a part of Latina Coalition has impacted me personally and professionally. I joined shortly after moving to San Jose and being a member helped me find a sense of community. I met countless likeminded Latinas striving to grow professionally and at the same time very committed to giving back to their community.

Through my participation on the LCSV Board, I have learned the role and responsibility of serving on a nonprofit Board. I’ve made important connections and built relationships with key leaders in our community. I’ve developed my own leadership skills by serving on the Executive Committee and leading the organization as President in 2014. I gained the confidence to take bigger risks at work that resulted in two promotions in the last five years. More importantly, I’ve been able to mentor and train young emerging Latina leaders through LCSV’s ELLA Program.

2) Tell me about the sisterhood experience that LCSV has brought into your life?

I still remember my first LCSV luncheon featuring a former Latina Google executive. I walked into a room full of Latinos in suits, most of them Latinas. I had never experienced that in my life. It felt like home. Everyone was welcoming and I was blown away at the caliber of women that were involved with this organization: attorneys, political staffers, government administrators, nonprofit and business leaders.

Not since college have I felt so connected with women that have the same values. My closest friends are the women I have met through this network. We practice sisterhood in action as our commitment to serve creates lasting friendships as we engage in community issues and develop as leaders.

3) What are some of the events that LCSV hosts? How often are the events? Do you have a favorite event?

LCSV hosts luncheons featuring prominent Latina leaders or issues that are affecting Latinas. We also organize workshops focused on professional development and civic engagement. My favorite events are LCSV’s networking mixers. I love connecting with my LCSV sisters and meeting new Latina leaders that are committed to creating a leadership pipeline. Last year, we held luncheons on the overrepresentation of Latinas in the criminal justice system and the lack of Latinas in STEM fields. To promote civic engagement we held a training on getting appointed to a public Board or Commission and also ran a voter registration campaign in collaboration with Voto Latino and Univision.

LCSV’s signature program is the ELLA (Engaged Latina Leadership Activist) program, which trains Latinas between the ages of 19 – 26 to advocate and serve on behalf of their community. To date, we have graduated nearly 100 ELLAs from our program. These leaders have gone on to run for elected office, join public Boards and Commission, join nonprofit Boards, and thrive in their careers.

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

4) How much does it cost to be a member? What does a membership include? How else can Modern Latina readers get involved with LCSV?

Membership is $50 per year. Members get free or reduced prices to networking events, educational forums, lectures & workshops. In addition, members in good standing can access scholarship to fund leadership development opportunities.

More importantly, by becoming a member of LCSV you are demonstrating your support of a movement dedicated to developing a Leadership pipeline for Latinas in Silicon Valley. Members “pay it forward” through the Engaged Latina Leadership Activist (ELLA) program, civic engagement events, and leadership development workshops. Members gain personally and professionally from this powerful network.

2013 Ella Class. Image courtesy of

2013 Ella Class. Image courtesy of

5) Do you have any upcoming events where Modern Latina readers could attend to learn more about LCSV?

We have an upcoming Membership Mixer at the exclusive Capital Club in downtown San Jose on March 11th from 5:00 pm-7:00 pm. Amazing things happen when you are in a room full of powerful Latinas, so be prepared.

6) Is there anything else you would like to share about LCSV?

The Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley (LCSV) is a nonprofit organization that educates and prepares Latinas in the areas of civic engagement and leadership development. Since 1998, LCSV has created a leadership pipeline for Latinas through luncheon speaker series, professional development workshops, leadership trainings, networking events, and our signature Engaged Latina Leadership Activists (ELLA) program which has graduated almost 100 emerging Latina leaders. This work is a labor of love as the organization is run by an all-working Board with no full-time staff. I invite you to learn more about us on our website: and keep up to date with us on twitter and Instagram ( ♦

Linda Castillo is the Founder and Executive Editor of She writes on topics that empower and inspire Latinas including art, motherhood, green living, culture, travel, and issues transforming the Latino community. Linda has earned a B.S. in Business and a M.S. in Mass Communications from San Jose State University.