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Name: Stephanie Valencia

Hometown: Las Cruces, New Mexico

White House, Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs

CHCI Fellowship 2004-2005: Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee

1. What have you been doing since you finished the CHCI program(s)?

Press Secretary, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez; Special Assistant to the Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus; Press Secretary, Congressman John B. Larson; Press Secretary, U.S. Senator Ken Salazar; Deputy Latino Vote Director, Obama for America;

2. What impact did your CHCI experience have on your career and development as a leader?

CHCI exposed me to a wide range of leaders and a network of Latinos and Latinas that had already helped pave the way. I learned that we must work twice as hard to prove ourselves and that as we climb up the ladder we must bring more behind us. I learned that communications/press is a place where we need more Latinos and Latinas and it has since become my part of my purpose to help recruit, train and keep Latinos and Latinas in the communications field. I also learned that hard work and a good attitude are two of the most important skills anyone can bring to the table.

3. How have you stayed engaged in community service?

President Obama has really challenged our country to serve in our communities and serve one another. We have an abundance of blessings and now that I am back from the campaign, I want to reconnect in our local community of Silver Spring and dedicate time to helping newly immigrated families navigate their way through society. I also want to help mentor young Latinas and show them that the sky is the limit if you work hard and set your sights high.

4. What advice would you give current and future CHCI participants?

Take in as much in as you can. Meet as many people as you can. Learn as much as you can. Find a long-term mentor that will give you honest advice and good guidance. Treat everyone with respect and kindness and don’t burn any bridges. You never know who you will have to ask for help from. Treat the person that cooks your food and picks up your trash with the same dignity and respect that you would treat your boss.

5. Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?

In the second term of an Obama Administration, continuing to work toward change and making America all that it can be for its people. Happily married and hopefully with a nice little dog too :)