Congratulations to our 2021 Honorees!
2021 YHPAA Legacy Leader Award
Committed to education and equity, Linda currently serves as an Associate Director of State and District Partnerships for the College Board. Her work allows her to connect Texas high school students to scholarships, colleges and universities. She serves as the National Chair of the College Board's Latino Employee Resource Group. Her drive and leadership have created successful organizations, initiatives in education and in the community.
Born and raised in El Paso, TX, Linda earned her Bachelor's from the University of Texas at El Paso and Master's in Education with Honors from Concordia University in Austin. In 2006, Linda founded the Young Hispanic Professional Association of Austin (YHPAA), a non-profit that provides leadership and professional development opportunities for young Latino professionals. With a strong belief in high education, YHPAA provides college scholarships for rising high school seniors. A year later, in 2007, she co-founded the El Paso in Austin Network.
Linda is currently the Chair of Somos Austin 2021, a fundraising campaign that invests in the economic security and advancement of Latinos in Central Texas. She has served on numerous boards including Leadership Austin, City of Austin Commission for Women, SXSWedu Advisory Council, UTEP Alumni in Austin Association, Concordia University Alumni Association and was 2010 Chair of the See Jane Give Philanthropy Luncheon. Linda has been recognized as a 2015 Women of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of Central Texas, a 2010 Austin Under 40 Education Winner and in 2007 made the Austin's Most Influential Latinos List.
Associate Director State & District Partnerships,
Past Legacy Honorees
2014 Andy Martinez; 2015 Mike Martinez; 2016 Paul Saldana
2017 Nora Comstock; 2018 Ernesto Nieto & Gloria de Leon; 2019 Manny Flores & Rosa Rios Valdez; 2020 Rosie Mendoza
2021 YHPAA Young Distinguished leaders
Community Ally Award
Assistant District Attorney, Travis County
Pedro A. Villalobos is an Assistant District Attorney for the Travis County District Attorney's Office. He is currently assigned to the Family Violence Division where he handles some of the most serious types of crimes. Pedro was previously assigned to the Juvenile Division. Before becoming an Assistant District Attorney, Pedro was an Assistant County Attorney at the Travis County Attorney’s Office where he served in the Intake Division, Trial Court Division, and was a Team Lead in the Family Violence Division.
Pedro is a board member of ADL (Anti-Defamation League) and has served on the City of Austin Commission on Immigrant Affairs and the Ethics Commission. Pedro is also Chair of Capital Area Progressive Democrats, a position he has held for four years.
While in law school, Pedro was a political consultant and helped numerous local winning candidates. Most recently, Pedro served as Chair for Texans for Biden, a grassroots group, and was on the National Finance Committee for the Joe Biden for President campaign.
Pedro is the first DACA-mented person to be licensed by the State Bar of Texas. He has been previously awarded the “Prosecutor Award for Excellence in Criminal Law” by the Austin Bar Association and has been called one of the “Best Young Prosecutors in Texas” by Texas Monthly. He has been previously featured on KXAN, KVUE, The Austin American-Statesman, USA Today, NPR, Univision, Telemundo, and the BBC, among many other news outlets.
Rising Star Award
LaRessa Quintana is a 5th generation Tejana raised in Austin, Texas. In 2020 she served as campaign manager for now Councilwoman Vanessa Fuentes for Austin's District 2 seat.
In 2019 she worked in the office of state Rep. Mary Ann Perez (D-Houston) as a Mexican-American Legislative Caucus Fellow. She is a past participant in the Blue Leadership Collaborative, a national program dedicated to training and building a pipeline of women of color campaign managers.
LaRessa holds B.A.s in Latin American and Borders Studies and Feminist Studies from Southwestern University. She is a graduate of Austin's Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders.
Associate, The Bingham Group
Past Young Distinguished Leader Honorees
2014 Karen Siles & Gerardo Castillo; 2015 Vanessa Fuentes & Chris Rios
2016 Bianca Garcia & Dr. Joey Alamo; 2017 Leticia Mendoza & Celso Baez
2018 Lizzie Velasquez & Greg Casar; 2019 Tony Aguilar, Victoria & Sofia Avila, Ruben Cantu & Salwa Yordi; 2020 Denise Hernandez