OCF Initiatives


Conexiones Summit: Transforming Communities Together

  • About


    A gathering of Latinos and partners in education, nonprofits, business and government working together to improve the lives of Latino Oregonians.


    In different corners of the state Latinos and Latino-serving organizations work to improve education, business, housing, health, civic engagement, youth support, parent involvement, and advocacy among other fields. Yet few opportunities exist to connect, learn from each other and to collaborate for actions.


    The 2017 Latino-focused Conexiones Summit is designed to be an opportunity to connect, share, learn, and commit to a specific and measurable action, right here in Oregon.  The Conexiones Summit will be held from October 5-6 in Salem, and will focus on topics of education, leadership and engagement, small business and entrepreneurship, and health and well-being for Latino Oregonians.


    The Conexiones Summit will take place October 5 through October 6 at 1:30 p.m., at the Salem Convention Center.

    A United Latino Voice for Oregon, a pre-summit session hosted by The Ford Family Foundation, will take place on October 4, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    This session will focus on the priorities for the Latino community in Oregon. Individuals and groups responding to these priorities are diverse and distinct with multiple approaches and strategies.  Is it possible to create out of the different approaches and strategies a larger umbrella that unites the many voices representing Latinos in Oregon? What would it look like in order to be inclusive of the many voices and faces of Latinos in Oregon? These and other questions will be the focus of this session and will help us jump start the Conexiones Summit: Transforming Communities Together.

    Registration for this pre-summit session is now closed.


    2017 Conexiones Summit is for Latino professionals and partners working through the spectrum of education (K-12, college and career), promoting business and entrepreneurship, increasing Latino leadership, and promoting health for Latinos. We invite those working and learning in nonprofit organizations, government and business sectors, and educational institutions.  


    The core of the 2017 Conexiones Summit will be a working group model which consists of five-topic specific groups, each bringing diverse industry leaders and practitioners on education, leadership and engagement, business and entrepreneurship, and health. Each group will convene several times over the course of the summit to identify and discuss specific sub topic issues, to share knowledge, build collaborations and create points of action. Each group will be led by a facilitator who will help guide working group participants through the process.


    • Promote knowledge and understanding of diverse Latino communities in Oregon
    • Gather emerging, established industry leaders, and subject matter experts to have thoughtful conversations, build partnerships and cross collaborations to generate different levels of commitment to action or practical solutions to challenges
    • Elevate dialogue about relevant topics, including civic participation, education, entrepreneurship, and health for Latino Oregonians

    Because ultimately, the success of Oregon Latinos and the state as a whole are intertwined, and this is determined in large part by Latinos and their partners’ contributions and achievements.

  • Agenda

        Conexiones Summit Agenda

    Please note that the below agenda is subject to change.

    Wednesday, October 4

     4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

     Pre-Summit Session: A United Latino Voice for Oregon

     Hosted by The Ford Family Foundation

     6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

     Reception with The Ford Family Foundation and OCF NWV Leadership Council


    Thursday, October 5

     7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

     Registration and Breakfast Networking

     9:00 a.m. to 9:55 a.m.

     Welcoming Remarks:

     Summit Opening Keynote Address – Luis Avila, 270 Strategies

     10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

     Summit Instructions and Break

     10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

     Concurrent Working Groups:

     12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.


     Moderated Panel – Connecting Our Voices

    • Vanessa Dominguez
    • Humberto Calderón

    1:30 pm to 3:00 pm

     Continuing Concurrent Working Groups

     3:00 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.


     3:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

     Continuing Concurrent Working Groups

     5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

     Evening Reception - Meet your Elected/Appointed Latino Leaders!


     Dinner on your own

     8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

     Celebration & Social Night with Dina y Los Rumberos


    Friday, October 6

     7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

     Breakfast and Networking

     8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

     Keynote Address – Teresa Alonso Leon

     9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

     Working Groups Wrap Up

     11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

     Working Groups Presentation

     12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.


     Summit Closing Keynote Address – Maria Hinojosa

     1:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

     Closing Remarks and Adjourn


  • Speakers

    Conexiones Summit Speakers and Group Facilitators


    National Speakers

    Maria Hinojosa Luis Avila

               Maria Hinojosa                                        Luis Avila


    Local/Regional Speakers - Coming soon!

    Teresa Alonso Leon               Vanessa Dominguez              Humberto Calderon

           Teresa Alonso Leon                                Vanessa Dominguez                              Humberto Calderón


  • Working Groups

                                                                              Working Groups

    The goal, and at the heart of the summit utilizing a work group model, is to bring diverse industry leaders working with Latino communities to share knowledge and practices, to build partnerships and cross-collaborations, and to generate any level of commitment to action. At 10:30 a.m., attendees will select which work group they would like to join. Each work group will have a lead facilitator and assistant/associate who will facilitate discussion, participation and any decision/outcome.  The work group meets several times (4) during the summit to dwell and drill on the subtopics. The end result should be something tangible, a commitment to action. 




              Pre k - 12

    Pre K - 12



      College and Career

    College and Career Readiness


        Small Business

    Small Business and Entrepreneurship



    Leadership and Community Involvement

    Health and Wellness

    Health and Wellness



    Pre K - 12

    A child’s first five years are critical for success in school and in life so ensuring that they start school ready to learn is imperative. Then, as these students grow, test scores, attendance and credit accumulation become critical predictors of an important next step: high school graduation. Participants in this working group will identify and discuss opportunities to help ensure Latino students are ready for school and continue to succeed through middle and high school.

    Group leader: Dani Ledezma

    College and Career Readiness

    More Latino students are graduating from high school than ever before. But in today’s economy, that’s often not enough. To provide for oneself and family and to be successful in an ever-expanding global and competitive economy may require post-secondary or college education and training. This working group will identify and discuss pathways to a quality post-secondary education and a meaningful career.

    Group leader: Whitney Swander

    Small Business/Entrepreneurship  

    Although the number of Latino-owned businesses in Oregon is still small compared to the Latino population as a whole, it is increasing. The growth of Latino businesses is now outpacing the growth in the Latino population, 250 percent compared to 170 per cent. Attendees to this working group will seek promising opportunities or practices that can help generate, support and protect Latino businesses and entrepreneurship.

    Group leader: Janet Soto Rodriguez

    Leadership/Community Involvement

    Oregon’s Latino population is growing at a rate faster than the national average. A young and growing Latino population means that Latinos will play an increasingly important role in the state’s future. Mainstream and traditional civic engagement and leadership structures will need to undergo transformations to better reflect the increasing diversity of the state. The question is about the role that Latino Oregonian must play in this transformation. This working group will identify and discuss strategies that can help increase Latino representation and involvement in diverse community sectors.

    Group leader: Roque Barros

    Health and Wellness

    Access to health care for Oregon’s large and growing Latino population is vital for our community’s economic and social prosperity. A healthy labor force means not only higher productivity but also greater community engagement. We must ensure that Oregon’s Latino youth are healthy as they become tomorrow’s workforce, community members and leaders. The attendees in this work group will identify and discuss practices, collaborations, and strategies that ensure Latino Oregonians have access to the health care opportunities they need to thrive.

    Group leaderMaria Elena Campisteguy