NJ Latina leaders announce launch of Latina Civic PAC 

Statewide Latina leaders Dr. Patricia Campos-Medina, Laura Matos and Andrea Martinez-Mejia recently announced the launching of a newly formed organization – Latina Civic. 

On Twitter, the organization announced that Latina Civic will be a rebrand / spin-off of LUPE PAC, an organization that began in 1999 in collaboration with the Hispanic National Bar Association to organize a national training event for Latinas interested in running for public office. This initial event led to the official launch of LUPE in 2001. 

Latina Civic

NJ Latina Leaders announce launch of LUPE PAC rebrand / spin-off, Latina Civic PAC. (Image source)

For years, LUPE helped Latinas through training and networking opportunities. Then, after successfully graduating many Latinas from campaign training, it became clear that LUPE needed to expand its work beyond training and networking opportunities, and in 2009 LUPE PAC was launched. The  non-partisan political action committee, focused solely on providing financial support to progressive Latinas who make the leap and run for office, is now launching a rebrand / spin-off, Latina Civic PAC, which will work to continue the mission of supporting Latinas’ pursuits in civic life and leadership. 

With an eye on the growing Latina engagement in civic and electoral activities in the state of New Jersey, Latina Civic forms three separate entities that creates diverse opportunities for participation and engagement of Latinas in all aspects of the political process. From education and training to issue advocacy & electoral candidate support the ultimate goal is getting Latinas’ voices heard at the ballot box and in the public sphere.

Dr. Patricia Campos-Medina, LUPE PAC board member and Latina Civic Action President. (Image Source)

“Supporting women will continue to be at the forefront of our organization’s mission. New Jersey is a state with so much opportunity and potential for Latinas; our growing numbers as a population also means that we must enhance our capacity to generate policy ideas, advocate on behalf of our families and engage voters to vote for our issues and our candidates. We look forward to working with our partners to increase equity of opportunity and political power for Latinas across the state,” said Dr. Patricia Campos-Medina.

“We are very excited that this incredible group of women will continue to collectively address the dire need for increased representation in all levels of elected and appointed office in New Jersey,” adds Laura Matos. “This continued effort and coordinated approach will be fundamental in making tangible change in the demographics of our elected and appointed officials.” 

Increasing numbers of Latinas in civic leadership

As a non-partisan political action committee, Latina Civic PAC’s mission is to increase the number of Latinas in elected and appointed office in the State of New Jersey. The committee promotes and supports progressive leaders who stand up for an agenda that invests in Latina political leadership and advances critical issues that matter to Latinas in New Jersey. The PAC will also continue to distribute tens of thousands of dollars every election cycle to endorsed Latinas throughout the state.

“Many of us have worked for over twenty years to empower Latinas across the state to be civically engaged. Our community represents over 19% of the population in New Jersey, and we look forward to the day that our representation in elected offices is reflective of that number,” said Arlene Quinones Perez, who will serve as General Counsel.

LUPEPAC’s fact sheet reports that there are over 831,000 Latino eligible voters in New Jersey–the seventh largest Hispanic statewide eligible voter population nationally, and 52% of eligible Latino voters in NJ are Latinas.

Additionally, according to the Center for American Women and Politics, Latina representation in New Jersey’s government is as follows: 

NJ driver's licenses, Senator Teresa Ruiz

Senator Teresa Ruiz (L) with Susana G Baumann, Latinas in Business Inc. at the 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo.

Out of 120 seats in the legislature, only 8 Latinas occupy those seats:

Out of 137 County Freeholder seats, only 4 Latinas occupy those seats:

  • Germaine Ortiz (D-Bergen)
  • Carmen Rodriguez (D-Camden)
  • Caridad Rodriguez (D-Hudson)
  • Blanquita Valenti (D-Middlesex)

Out of 65 County Constitutional Officers in NJ, only one Latina serves in those seats: Bernice Toledo (D-Passaic). Out 74 cities with population over 30,000 residents, only one Latina serves as Mayor: Wilda Diaz, Perth Amboy. No Latina from New Jersey has ever served as a U.S. Congresswoman or US Senator.

You might be interested: “I’m tired of waiting”: Latina Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz runs for Mass. Governor 

Latina Civic’s mission will be to increase these numbers through education and training. 

“Educating and training Latinas to be civically engaged will be paramount in all that we do at the Foundation. We will work hard to ensure that Latinas receive the necessary tools to be competitive in New Jersey, which has been a difficult process thus far,” added Andrea Martinez-Mejia.

female leadership women helping each other

Female Leadership: Why women do not support each other?

I wanted to share some personal reflections about our very successful and recent Female Leadership event we conducted in the New Jersey/New York region. These opinions are my own and in no way reflect the opinions of others who participated at the event.

female leadership women helping each other

Contrary to what often happens in social media, where people usually post their most successful moments, I want to bring some reflections that I hope will generate productive discussions moving forward.

The GOOD: The event got great reviews from participants, as we have profusely shared on social media. I would say the best part was the energy in the room, the discussions generated by guest speakers and coaches, and the friendliness. Please see photo gallery and testimonials!

The BAD:
It was a Saturday and a long day! Even if most attendees agreed that it was worthwhile, it was a very long day. Thanks to our volunteers and all the people who helped us put the event together, we pulled it through but I felt I had been run over by a truck the next day … and the next! We will definitely review our format for a more productive day.

The white elephant in the room is, why women do not support each other? We discussed it at the event and with some of the speakers, and there is always a dose of extreme judgment about each other in women in any position or role.

Arlene Quinones-Perez female leadership

Arlene Quinones-Perez, Esq.. Partner at DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick, Cole and Giblin, LLP and Pres Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

In the words of Arlene Quinones-Perez, partner at the hosting Corporate Sponsor and one of our speakers, ““Other women would judge harshly their female counterparts –even more than men do,” she said. “Being a woman is like having a cross on your back that makes you more visible.”

In my own experience, men are usually more readily eager to give a hand, open a door, say a word of support or  are even more forgiving than women. I have found it difficult to deal with women who have the power to make decisions to support me and still choose not to –people that know me personally, not talking about strangers.

I understand that conditions are not always in favor of supporting a project or an initiative –I do not expect positive results 100% of the time but… Send me a nice response acknowledging my efforts. Pick up the phone and get to know me better -after all, I am one of you! Tell me NO with a reason and a smile, for God’s sake!

And then, of course, there are the great exceptions to this rule, and those who ALWAYS take the time to answer an email or pick up the phone, no matter how high in the structure or how busy they are –and you know who you are!

You might say I am venting with you and yes, I am! Because we need to bring these topics to the table if we are authentic in our promises to rising together. I’ve been in large Latina leadership meetings in which final conclusions of the meeting were around supporting and empowering each other and then… nothing!

So today I want to share with you a fantastic NO response I got from a company based in New Jersey. It is an example of professional courtesy and exceptional vision, in my view, because it talks about the culture of a company. I knew nobody in the company and my request was a total “cold call.”

And here it is:


My name is Flor Wickham, I support Rita Mitjans and the ADP Foundation. Thank you for your email.

As you can imagine, the ADP Foundation receives many more requests to participate in funding endeavors than our limited resources will permit. This leads to difficult decisions in establishing priorities and means that a number of important activities and requests, such as yours, cannot be supported by the Foundation.  Our focus is to support our associates philanthropic giving by matching associate donations, supporting education through scholarships for children of ADP Associates and giving to key education partners, and with the remainder we try to focus giving where there is significant associate engagement.  Our sponsorships are based on a more national/global reach aligned with our CSR pillars.

Best of luck to you and we commend you for the work you are doing with female leaders worldwide.

Kind regards,

Flor Wickham | Director
Corporate Social Responsibility

Kudos to you, Ms Wickham, and for raising the bar on professional courtesy!

There is no one person who can do this alone- you might think you can but reality is, we all need to work together! Be willing to open doors for other women, because others have opened doors for you! That is the practice of true leadership!


What is your experience on women supporting each other?  Do you find it more often in certain environments than in others? And what can we do to make it better?

Arlene Quinones-Perez with Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz.

Arlene Quinones-Perez opening speaker at Female Leadership Business Retreat

Arlene Quinones-Perez is a Partner at DeCotiis, FitzPatrick, Cole & Giblin, LLP, a recognized law firm with offices in Teaneck, Jersey City and Princeton in New Jersey, and in Spring Valley, New York. She is also the President of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey. Arlene’s extensive labor law, government and political experience make her uniquely qualified as a female leader in New Jersey. She will be the Opening Speaker at “The 3 Pillars of Effective Female Leadership” Power Breakfast on June 3rd at Glenpointe in Teaneck, NJ.

Arlene Quinones-Perez female leadership

Arlene Quinones-Perez, Esq.. Partner at DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick, Cole and Giblin, LLP and Pres Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

In an open conversation with, Arlene explained the reasons behind her strong support for this Business Retreat.

“I don’t think of myself as a leader; I just aspire to do what is right and help the community. As the President of the Hispanic Bar Association, I speak up when it is necessary and become the voice of many,” she told

Arlene knows her voice is important and people follow her because she is honest, straightforward and she believes in making a difference. “Women have some distinct traits that make them unique leaders. However, we have to be vigilant of our public persona because we are judged by different standards. If a woman is aggressive, she will be called ‘a word’ while being aggressive would be an admired quality in a man” she added.

“Other women would judge harshly their female counterparts –even more than men do,” she continued to share. “Being a woman is like having a cross on your back that makes you more visible. For instance, we are judged by our image, how we behave and how we present ourselves –dress, makeup, hair – and other women might judge us by those standards instead of by our ideas or contributions.”

Arlene is excited to be part of this Female Leadership Business Retreat. “It is important that we put some powerful women in a room to discuss these issues and find ways to solve these obstacles; ways in which we can build and support each other instead so that we can create the empowerment momentum women need to reach the places we deserve,” she concluded.

Arlene Quinones-Perez

Prior to joining DeCotiis Law, Arlene Quinones-Perez served as General Counsel to the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters (“NRCC”), a skilled trade organization representing carpenters in New Jersey and New York State.

Her private practice experience includes being an Associate with Kroll Heineman Carton, LLC, where she focused on labor law, securities fraud, and election law; being an attorney with Murphy Orlando, LLC; and a registered lobbyist with Impact NJ, LLC.

Arlene’s extensive government and political experience includes her service as a Councilwoman in the Town of Clinton, NJ, where she was the youngest member of the municipality’s governing body and the only Hispanic woman to serve as an elected official in Hunterdon County. She also served as an aide to the Governor and Attorney General of New Jersey. In 2015, Mayor Wilda Diaz appointed the Hunterdon County Democratic chairwoman to be the city’s new acting law director.

Arlene Quinones-Perez with Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz.

Arlene Quinones-Perez with Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz.

She has been a member of the Supreme Court Committee on Women in the Judiciary and the Board of Directors for the Girls Scouts Heart of New Jersey.

Arlene was featured in the Hispanic Executive Magazine, listed by Politics NJ on the 40 Under 40 Power List, as one of New Jersey’s top 50 rising stars, and featured in the Star-Ledger as a Person of Interest.

In 2009, Arlene received the National Association of Women Lawyers Award. While in law school, she completed a judicial externship with the Honorable Jose L. Linares, a United States District Judge. After graduating, she served as a Law Clerk in the Appellate Division of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and a Judicial Term Law Clerk to the Honorable Lisa P. Thornton in the Superior Court of New Jersey.

For additional information and to register: “The 3 Pillars of Effective Female Leadership

Corporate Sponsor 

DeCotiis logo female leadership

female leadership

Female leadership business retreat, a must for aspiring women leaders

Welcome to the Female Leadership 2017 Business Retreat !

As a national leading digital platform that advocates for the economic empowerment of Latinas in business and the workplace, represents the voice of the Latina working woman.

female leadership

Our entrepreneurs, career and professional Latinas deserve recognition for the value they bring to their businesses, their workplace, their families and their communities.

We believe women in general and Latinas in particular need support in exploring and acquiring new leadership strategies that better adjust to their natural talents and skills. They have been trying to climb the leadership ladder by following male models, with skills and values that, in many cases, are contrary or even opposite to their very best female qualities.

Under the 2017 slogan “Disrupt to Unleash the Latina Economic Power,” we aim at working in changing behaviors, developing those best talents and finding the qualities that make women unique leaders.

For additional information and to register, please visit:

The 3 Pillars of Effective Female Leadership to Advance your Career or Business, in partnership with Mindful Consultants, LLC, a work site wellness boutique firm that specializes in the neuroscience-based practice of mindfulness and conscious business, announced their 2017 Business Retreat “The 3 Pillars of Effective Female Leadership.”

The training and mentoring session will be held in Teaneck, NJ at DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick, Cole and Giblin, LLP, their corporate sponsor’s headquarters, on Saturday June 3rd 2017.

Anthony Lopez, National Chair Prospanica

Anthony Lopez, National Chair Prospanica

female leadership Arlene Quinones Perez

Arlene Quinones-Perez, President of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

Confirmed speakers at the business retreat are Arlene Quinones-Perez, President of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey and Anthony Lopez, National Chair of Prospanica (former NSHMBAs). Univision 41 and Latino Motion are among the media strategic partners for the event.

The one-day Female Leadership Business Retreat has been designed for all aspiring women leaders in corporate mid-management, entrepreneurship and independent professionals, and is limited to 45 participants, which will give the coaches the opportunity to work one-on-one with attendees.

Dayana Cabeza, a Career Transition and Professional Development Expert for professionals and businesses, Executive Coach and Mentor, and Facilitator, has joined the coaching team that brings over 35 years of combined experience to the training and mentoring session.

“Our fast-paced society prevents us from being and living in the moment. A vast majority of us are overextended, functioning on autopilot and stretched to our limits,” said Clarisa Romero, CEO and founder of Mindful Consultants, LLC. “Our purpose is to guide participants to reset and retrain their brain, which will enable them to focus, lead, and perform with clarity instead of operating from a reactive default state of mind,” Clarisa said.

Participants will be encouraged to take control of their career or business goals based on the three pillars of personal and professional confidence: Personal Branding, Career Planning, and Mindfulness Techniques and Emotional Intelligence. Coaches will combine the three aspects in a personalized Female Leadership Power Plan to follow by attendees after they leave the business retreat.

For additional information and to register, please visit:


Promotional partners support female leadership

Several organizations have stepped up to help promote the event among their members including Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, Feria de Negocios Hispanos de New Jersey, LUPE Latinas United for Political Empowerment, New America Alliance, the Latino Institute, Mujeres de HACE (Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement), and Strategic Influence LLC.

“We cannot emphasize enough how grateful we are to our speakers and promotional partners, who are bringing together their cloud to make this much needed business retreat a real success,” Baumann said. “Members of these organizations should contact them to receive special rates for their participation at the business retreat.”

For additional information and to register, please visit:

For special rates through Strategic Promotional Partners, please contact your professional association or chamber.

Corporate Sponsor 




Media Strategic Partners

Univision 41 logo         Latino Motion logo




Strategic Promotional Partners






Strategic Influence LLC

anti bullying Arlene Quinones Perez

Lawyers in New Jersey respond to President Trump’s immigration EO

Recent President Trump’s immigration Executive Orders were the matter of a joint statement made by a number of Lawyers and Bar Associations of New Jersey. We interviewed the President of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, Arlene Quinones-Perez to expand comments on this resolution.

Arlene Quinones Perez President Trump's immigration

Arlene Quinones Perez, HBANJ President during an interview with Jersey Matters

“The Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey, the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New

Arlene Quinones Perez immigration

Immigration protest during the Women’s March on Washington 2017

Jersey, the Garden State Bar Association, the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, the New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association, and the South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey denounce President Trump’s EO authorizing federal funding for building a wall on the south border, withholding of federal funds for sanctuary cities that fail to comply with the execution of federal immigration laws, blocking the entry of refugees and suspending the entry of individuals from Arab countries.

“… We join the grassroots social movement to defend the civil rights and uphold the Constitution, and we will continue to mobilize our members to get involved at all levels. We again applaud the action of elected officials who, following principles instead of politics, are speaking out against these injustices, and call upon elected officials at the federal, State and local levels to take action against these unconstitutional and bias-driven attacks on our communities. Something is wrong, and we need to speak up.


Arlene Quinones-Perez, President of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (HBANJ), informed that several similar statements were released by the organization she represents.

“We kept an email chain among several organizations in New Jersey because we were concerned by the legal implications President Trump’s immigration Executive Orders would have on our system and the population. As attorneys, we believe this is a direct attack not only on immigration and immigrants but on the Judiciary as well,” she said.


President Trump’s immigration Executive Orders have cause fear and uncertainty among the immigrant population

According to ABC News, President Trump’s immigration comments about the U.S. district court’s order blocking the president’s executive action and an appeals court upholding that ruling were not only inappropriate but also inaccurate.

Trump’s tweets mentioned a “court breakdown” as responsible for a surge in people coming from the seven countries: Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Iran, Sudan, Libya and Yemen. However, he never mentioned that those halted by his orders were either permanent American residents with green cards or have gone through an already-extensive vetting process.

“We need to raise our voices to let everybody know that this language and this environment caused by President Trump’s comments are unacceptable,” Quinones-Perez said.

She also remembered Trump’s disqualifying comments on United States District Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel during the campaign, as a “Mexican” who couldn’t be objective in his judgment of Trump University fraudulent maneuvers.

Deportation and raids are not new for immigrants

anti bullying Arlene Quinones Perez“Raids and deportations were conducted in previous Administrations; however, President Trump’s immigration measures have made the issue one of great visibility, creating fear and uncertainty in the population in New Jersey and around the country,” Quinones-Perez said.

This aggressive environment has created harsh situations for immigrant children in schools, adults in the workplace, neighborhoods and other places were they go to work, worship, receive education or healthcare, and other activities.

Some even have been attacked or profiled by police just because of the way they look. Stories about children being bullied in schools by other students and even teachers have been circulating around the country.

How this situation affects us all, immigrants or not

“As a descendant of a Puerto Rican family, I feel this language affects me personally and my family. We are citizens of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a status that recognizes our citizenship since birth. But what if this President decides to make the Island an independent state?” she reflected.

Luckily, Quinones-Perez also reminds us that the American system of checks and balances set up by the US Constitution ensures that no one branch of government would become too powerful.

Where immigrants and their families can find information

The HBANJ has been partnering with organizations and working with several cities around the state –such as Trenton and Perth Amboy– to set up educational workshops about immigration issues. They can also provide additional information to the public by contacting their offices.

“Another excellent source of information is the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), where qualified lawyers and professionals can be found for specific cases of deportation or other procedures,” Quinones-Perez informed and she concluded, “This situation is not going to go away too soon or easily. That is why we need to keep raising our voices.”