14:38 PM

Latinas Take Over Main Street at the Power on Heels 4th Annual Conference & Scholarship Awards

On Nov. 11, 2022, Latinas (and a few others) descended on Main Street, with and without heels, to “take over” for the Power on Heels 4th Annual Conference & Scholarship Awards.

Ivette-Mayo-gray-suitLed by Power on Heels Fund, Inc. (POH) Founder and CEO Ivette Mayo, the event gathered Latina luminaries and students to talk about the gender pay gap facing Latinas. Mayo notes that Latinas on average earn 54 cents per every dollar earned by a white, non-Hispanic male; in Texas, Latinas earn 44 cents per dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic male. 

POH hopes to change this dramatic disparity through specialized programs, mentorships, and—importantly, for UHD students—scholarships. (Last July, the Marilyn Davies College of Business [MDCOB] hosted POH for their first leadership program. Read the story online.) “Since 2018, we have made the commitment to enhance every Latina’s ability to lead at a higher level, to create meaningful connections with others, and to master their financial future,” said Mayo.  scholarship recipients cropped

Partnering with local businesses and institutions like UHD, POH was able to award 15 scholarships to undergraduate and graduate Latinas from across Houston. Three MDCOB students—MBA candidate Irene Nuñez, Marketing senior Alejandra Perez, and International Business senior Anayansi Rendon—each received a $1,000 scholarship to support their educational journeys. (Watch their stories below.)

Mendoza-AlvaradoThe day-long program included a welcome from UHD President Loren J. Blanchard and a lunchtime “fireside talk” between Anna Alvarado, Chief Legal Officer & Corporate Secretary of Texas Capital Bank, and keynote speaker, UHD alum, and former UH Regent the Honorable Paula Mendoza, CEO of Possible Missions. 

Mendoza’s career journey serves as a model for young Latinas on a leadership path. She offered words of wisdom from her own experience as a Latina businesswoman to inspire the audience to pursue their goals regardless of hardships and barriers. Her best piece of advice for the audience: “Don't give up on yourself. Don’t do it.” Alvarado agreed and added her own twist: “Act as if. In any situation, act as if you’ve been there. Act as if you belong. Because you do.”

Community awards were given for a variety of Latina supporters, including UHD’s very own Christine Poleski, J.D., Assistant Dean at MDCOB, who took home the Power Supporter Community Award. 

Christine Poleski Power SupporterOther award recipients included:

Power Advocate Christina Morales, Texas State Representative of House District 145

Power Game Changer Luz Elena Rivers, CEO of Amera Solutions

Power Influencer Yvonne Guidry, Influencer & Entrepreneur behind SpoiledLatina

Power Legacy Graciela Saenz, Founder & Owner of the Law Offices of Graciela Saenz, PLLC

Power Partner Baldemar Rodriguez, Alley Theatre Manager of Community Partnerships

The important event was further commemorated by Mayor Sylvester Turner declaring Nov. 11, 2022, Power on Heels Scholarship and Awards Day in Houston. U.S. Senator John Cornyn sent a congratulatory letter to Mayo, and Texas Senator Borris L. Miles sent a proclamation, proudly displayed by Poleski and Mayo in the photo.

Christine Poleski & Ivette Mayo Show Off Proclamation

The event highlighted the value of community partnerships for UHD students. Raising awareness of UHD and showcasing the quality of UHD students to local enterprises are just two ways the event supports the University. Students’ exposure to potential employers can play a key role  in garnering future internships and job interviews.

In addition to the Marilyn Davies College of Business, sponsors and partners included Æolian Manor Foundation, Alley Theatre, Arnold Ventures, B Creative, Buchanan’s, CenterPoint Energy, Chase, Chicanos por la Causa, Deloitte, Goya Cares, Grow with Google, H-E-B, Hydro, National Diversity Council, Raul Yzaguirre Schools for Success (RYSS), Tejano Center for Community Concerns, Texas Capital Bank, and Vibrantz Technologies. 

To learn more about Power on Heels and related events, visit poweronheelsfund.org.


By Laura Wagner

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.