Cristóbal Alex is the President of the Latino Victory Project, an ambitious effort to build Latino political power so that the faces and voices of Latinos are reflected at every level of government and in the policies that drive our country forward. Prior to launching the Latino Victory Project, Cristóbal spent more than five years in philanthropy serving at both the Open Society Foundations and the Ford Foundation. During that time Cristóbal led more than $60M in investments designed to increase political participation in communities that have been historically excluded from our democracy. While at the Ford Foundation, Cristóbal managed the Promoting Electoral Reform and Democratic Participation initiative, the second largest initiative within the Foundation, working to increase voter participation through voter registration and mobilization, and by removing structural barriers to political participation through litigation, advocacy and public policy reform. While at George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, Cristóbal managed the civic engagement portfolio and supported a range of strategies to inspire public participation in underrepresented communities. Previously, Cristóbal served as Director of the National Campaign to Restore Civil Rights, where he led a coalition of more than 100 organizations to raise awareness of the civil rights rollback and develop strategies to win in the federal courts. He also practiced civil rights law with Seattle-based MacDonald Hoague & Bayless, one of the nation’s leading law firms. A native of El Paso, Texas, Cristóbal received his J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law, where he served as the student body president. Cristóbal currently sits on the boards of the Environmental Defense Action Fund, Working America Education Fund and Every Voice.
Sara Le Brusq came from the Ford Foundation where she oversaw operations for the Democratic Participation and Governance department, a diverse program focused on electoral reform, government accountability, transparency and the strengthening of civil society. Prior to that, Sara worked in the Investments department of the Ford Foundation, managing projects and planning for the Asset Allocation and Risk and the Investment Administration divisions for a $10+ billion portfolio. Sara obtained her M.S. in Global Affairs from New York University while working in the office of philanthropist and global financier George Soros, and her B.A in International Relations from Syracuse University. Sara has also lived and worked in multiple countries, and believes the strength of any democracy relies on a fully engaged constituency.
César is serving his first term as a State Representative for Texas House District 76 in El Paso, Texas. He was named by Texas Monthly Magazine as one of the best legislators in Texas. César served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Representative Pete Gallego. Previously he served as the Arizona State Director for Obama for America for the 2012 Presidential Election. He was the Western Region Political Director for the Democratic National Committee (DNC), serving as the Democratic Party’s principal liaison and political advisor for the West while working with 13 state parties and coordinating with the White House, Cabinet members, and the DNC Chair and Vice Chairs. In 2010, he managed the campaign of Congressman Ciro Rodriguez (TX-23) and previously served the Congressman in a variety of capacities, including Chief of Staff and District Director. He is a former Chief of Staff to Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) of Houston and Caseworker and Field Representative for Congressman Silvestre Reyes (TX-16) from El Paso. Cesar served as a Congressional Relations Officer for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and started his career as a Military Intelligence Analyst in the U.S. Navy. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso.
Martín joins Latino Victory Project to continue fighting for and with communities and causes near and dear to his heart. As Director of Campaigns, Martín is focused on encouraging, recruiting and supporting candidates to seek public office who share Latino Victory’s vision and values. He leads the organization’s endorsement process and leadership development programs.
Before joining Latino Victory’s team, Martín consulted on numerous campaigns for LGBT candidates, candidates of color, independent expenditures, ballot initiatives and advocacy campaigns at The Campaign Workshop. He advised winning campaigns all over the country on strategy, messaging, direct mail and digital advertising. In addition, he developed training programs for potential candidates on running effective campaigns for public office.
Prior to joining The Campaign Workshop, Martín was part of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute’s political team, endorsing, supporting and training LGBT candidates running for office all over the country and at all levels of government. Martín continues to work with the Victory Institute’s acclaimed candidate and campaign training program, helping to train hundreds of LGBT candidates and staff.
Martín is a Southern California native and graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara receiving degrees in Political Science and Theatre Studies. He’s also a graduate of NOI’s New Media Bootcamp, a CLP New Leaders Fellow Alumni, a Congressional Chorus member and was chosen as one of IMPACT’s 2014 Leaders.
Pili Tobar is a first generation Guatemalan American. Pili was born in Florida and raised in Guatemala City. In 2004, Pili returned to the United States and attended University of Miami where she earned a Bachelors in Science and Masters in Public Administration.
Pili moved to Washington DC in 2010 where she worked for the advocacy organization America’s Voice to advance comprehensive immigration reform. Most recently, Pili worked for the Democratic National Committee as National Director of Hispanic Media and Western Regional Press Secretary, and as Communications Director for Congressman Ruben Gallego (AZ-07).
Born to a family of Mexican migrant workers, Maria R. Gonzalez spent her formative years in four states—Texas, Wisconsin, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas—an experience that cemented her passion for multiculturalism and desire to help the Latino community.
Gonzalez became the first member of her family to earn a university degree when she graduated from Texas A&M International University with a Bachelor of Arts in history. She earned a Master of Arts in mass communication from Texas State University, where her love for writing led her to successfully pursue a graduate research assistant position at the University News Service. Gonzalez produced press releases in English and Spanish as well as feature stories for the university’s publications, including features from interviews with literary icon Isabel Allende, film legend Edward James Olmos, and Mexico City 1968 Olympian and activist John Carlos.
Gonzalez was also a reporter for The Rio Grande Guardian, an online political news publication specializing in South Texas politics, where she covered United States- Mexico border issues including border security, trade and business, and education. She went on to work in the office of her congressman and one of her childhood role models, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, where she served the district’s constituents as a community outreach coordinator and press secretary. Working in this office, Gonzalez had the long sought-after opportunity to work to help improve the vibrant communities in one of Texas’ predominantly Latino congressional districts.
Gonzalez’s determination to help give Latinos a voice continues now that she has joined the Latino Victory Project, where she will work as an executive administrative assistant.
Maria Virginia immigrated from Guatemala to Georgia with her family when she was five years old. As a DREAMer in the rural South, MV is familiar with the many social, economic and civic challenges facing the immigrant community. MV became the first in her family to graduate from high school and went on to receive her BJA from the University of Georgia and her MA in Film and Video from American University in Washington, D.C.
She has worked as a freelance filmmaker across the Southeast since 2010 collaborating and providing support on projects ranging from feature films to social issue documentaries that engage audiences on veterans’ rights, mental health, environmental issues, immigrant rights and education equity.
Now a naturalized citizen, MV has remained active in the undocumented student movement in the South. As a professor and mentor to student activists and allies fighting for education equity in Georgia, she saw the need both for national policy change and for more Latino voices at the decision-making level. MV is excited to apply her experience in storytelling, digital media and social advocacy to Latino Victory’s mission of empowering the Latino vote.