One of the most important Latino organizations in the country has put a Venezuelan-Lebanese woman at the helm , setting an example for other such organizations to advance women to leadership positions.
The Latino Victory Project, a progressive organization working to grow Latino political power by increasing Latino representation at every level of government, has announced the appointment of Nathalie Rayes as its new President and CEO.
Co-founded by Eva Longoria and Henry R. Muñoz III, the Latino Victory Project has embarked on a nationwide strategy to encourage Latino voter participation in the November election and beat Donald Trump.
“After months of an extensive search for the president and CEO, the Latino Victory Project board welcomes Rayes, who brings more than 20 years of experience in public affairs, politics, government, and philanthropy,” the organization said in a press release.
“Rayes previously served on the Latino Victory Project Board of Directors and was instrumental in boosting the organization’s political and fundraising profile during her tenure,” it read.
“We will double down and ramp up our efforts. It is up to us to guarantee that Latinos are a pivotal and meaningful part of our success in 2020. I am proud to join Latino Victory to continue to build the bench of Latino leaders and to ensure we are part of the decision making in our country,” Rayes wrote in an open letter in Medium.
Born in the small town of Anaco in Venezuela, Rayes is a Venezuelan-Lebanese immigrant who arrived in the United States at the age of 10, not speaking a word of English and having to face the early death of her father.
Thanks to her mother’s sacrifice, Rayes attended UCLA, where she earned her Bachelors of Arts in Sociology and a Masters in Public Policy with concentrations in International Relations and Education,.
Rayes started her career as a Senior Policy Advisor to Los Angeles Councilmember Mike Feuer, heading all aspects of the councilmember’s of citywide legislation and ordinances impacting the Fifth Council District She also served as a Department of State Fellow in the Economic/Political Section of the United States Embassy in Cairo, Egypt.
Rayes presently serves as a United States Presidential appointee to the Board of Trustees of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Hispanic Federation, as well as Chair of the National Advisory Group for Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) Binational Fellowship, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood Action Fund and the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI).
Prior to joining the Latino Victory Project, Rayes served as Vice President of Public Affairs for Grupo Salinas in the U.S., in charge of the group’s philanthropic activities in the United States, and always focused on improving the quality of life of Latinos in the country through collaborations with other organizations and nonprofits.
“I am only able to address you as President of Latino Victory today because of the dreams of my mother and father — and all of the Latino leaders that came before me,” she wrote. “My dreams would not be a possibility in today’s Venezuela, but they are in the United States. And when I received my citizenship to this great country, I did so with a solemn vow to serve the American people and the Latino community that helped advance my dreams,” she wrote.
“We cannot allow a world that builds walls of any kind– physical, social, or figurative walls of fear of who we are or where we came from. Our diversity is our strength– and embracing it can be our forward-leaning strategy to political victory,” she added.
“I could no longer sit on the sidelines. I have a moral obligation to ensure that everyone is engaged and active in the political process in this high-stakes election,” Rayes said.