Friends of the American Latino Museum Announce New Executive Board Leadership


Former National Museum of the American Latino Commissioner, Cid Wilson, to Chair FRIENDS Board, joined by representative of NewsCorp, CNN Political Analyst and former Smithsonian General Counsel

Washington, D.C. – Friends of the American Latino Museum (FRIENDS) announce the new leadership of its board. As the only organization dedicated to creating the first national museum dedicated to the culture and history of Latinos in this country, the new FRIENDS executive members of the board will lead the advocacy, fundraising, and community engagement agenda for the organization.

The FRIENDS board will be led by new Chair Cid Wilson, who is an equity financial analyst and a board member of leading corporations and civil rights organizations. The new Vice Chair is Ivette Fernandez, the Director of Community Affairs in Corporate Diversity at News Corporation. Maria Cardona of the Dewey Square Group will remain as Treasurer, and the new Secretary is John Huerta, the former General Counsel of the Smithsonian Institution. Wilson was also a presidential appointee to the National Museum of the American Latino Commission, which developed plans for the museum in a 2011 report to the President and Congress.

“It is a great privilege to lead this historic effort and to work with people who have spent their careers preserving our nation’s heritage, building coalitions, and enriching the Latino community,” said Cid Wilson, the new Chair of the Friends of the American Latino Museum. “The momentum behind the museum initiative is extraordinary. Over 300,000 people support the museum online, and we have built awareness and fundraised in cities across the country. In 2013 we look forward to growing this support and pressing Congress to make the museum a reality.”

In 2012, FRIENDS hosted promotional events at the NCLR annual conference in Las Vegas, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute annual conference in Washington, the LULAC National Convention in Orlando as well as an event in Houston. The organization also held a poster design contest, which received entries from top artists and graphic designers from the Latino community nationwide. Copies of the winning poster, by UNO Branding, were given away at FRIENDS events this summer and fall.

FRIENDS Board Executive Committee Bios:

Cid Wilson – Chair

Cid Wilson has worked in the financial services industry since 1993. In 2006, Wilson was ranked #1 equity financial analyst in his field by Forbes in its annual ranking of the Best Wall Street Financial Analysts in America. He is an independent financial analyst focused on the automotive and consumer industries. He most recently served Managing Director for U.S. Equity Research at Princeton Securities Group. He serves on the Ethnic Advisory Board for PepsiCo Inc. and the Consumer Advisory Board for Verizon Communications.

In addition to his corporate energies, he serves on the boards of directors of some of the leading non-profit organizations in the nation including LatinoJustice PRLDEF since 2005, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) since 2008, and Dominicans On Wall Street since its founding. From 2004 to 2006 he was the National President of the Dominican American National Roundtable. He is a “Gold Life Member” of the NAACP. Wilson resides in Leonia, New Jersey where he is a dedicated statewide community leader. He is the Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Bergen Community College in Paramus, NJ and serves on the state board of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges in Trenton, NJ. In October 2012, He was named to the national board of directors for the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) where he serves as Chairman of the ACCT Diversity Committee.

Ivette Fernandez – Vice Chair

Ivette Fernandez serves as the Director of Community Affairs in Corporate Diversity at News Corporation. She is responsible for developing and managing partnerships with a wide range of strategic external advocacy, community and industry stakeholders to promote and expand community investment, business initiatives, supplier diversity and workforce representation. Additionally, she works closely with executives across News Corp.’s various business units on community reinvestment programs and the value proposition of diversity-related issues.

Ms. Fernandez is a native Alaskan with a long history of public affairs experience, including positions in The White House, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Senate. In April 2012, she was honored with the United Way of New York City’s “Women’s Leadership Council Woman of Distinction Award,” and was the feature of LATINA Style Magazine’s summer 2008 article “Inspirational Latina, Ivette Fernandez.” She is a Board Member of the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, Friends of the American Latino Museum and Comunilife Corporate Advisory Council; Mentor of a Soledad O’Brien + Brad Raymond Foundation scholar; and Member of New York Junior League. In 2000, she won the title of 2001 Miss Alaska USA.

Maria Cardona – Treasurer

Maria Cardona is a seasoned Democratic strategist, public affairs and communications professional with more than 18 years experience in the political, government, public relations, campaign, community and coalition building arenas. She currently is a Principal at the Dewey Square Group (DSG) – a premier national public affairs firm – where she heads the firm’s Public Affairs Practice. While at DSG, Ms. Cardona served as a key surrogate for the Obama for America general election campaign, appearing on all the major national news shows. A former Senior Vice President for the New Democrat Network (NDN) and Director of NDN’s Hispanic Strategy Institute, Ms. Cardona led NDN’s $6 million initiative to communicate effectively with Latinos across the country. Prior to coming on board with the NDN, Ms. Cardona served as Communications Director for the Democratic National Committee.

Ms. Cardona was named as one of the top 100 most influential Latinos by Hispanic Business Magazine. She serves on the Board of Directors of Hoops Sagrado, a non-profit organization that provides learning and leadership opportunities to DC youth through a basketball exchange program in the highlands of Guatemala. She also serves on the boards of New America Media, Citizenship Counts, PODER PAC, and the National Hispana Leadership Institute.

John Huerta – Secretary

John Huerta is the former General Counsel of the Smithsonian Institution, and he served in this position for 13 years where he provided legal advice to the Secretary and Board of Regents. Mr. Huerta also served as a counsel in Western Center on Law & Poverty in Los Angeles, where he specialized in housing, land use and rights of the homeless in class action litigation. He was a partner in Gronemeier, Barker & Huerta and an associate counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense & Education Fund where he focused in business and civil rights litigation. Prior to MALDEF, Mr. Huerta served as the deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and was acting Law Professor at the University of California, Davis. A graduate from the University of California Berkeley, School of Law and was a Law and Humanity Fellow at Harvard University. He was designated as a Super Lawyer in Super Lawyer’s Magazine in 2008 and has been listed in Hispanic Business 100 most Influential Hispanics on numerous occasions.


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