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Modern Healthcare Recognizes Angela Lalas as 2017 Up and Comer

LOMA LINDA, CA- Modern Healthcare, the industry’s leading source of health care business and policy news, research and information, has named Angela Lalas, MBA, senior vice president for finance at Loma Linda University Health, to its list of Up and Comers for 2017.

This year, the publication selected 15 outstanding individuals from among thousands of health care executives in the United States age 40 and younger. In choosing the 37-year-old Lalas, it reported that she has provided financial oversight for the $2 billion, 1,071-bed academic health system. 

The publication also pointed out that under her financial leadership, the hospitals have improved financial performance for two consecutive years, citing an increase in combined net operating income from $14.4 million in 2014 to $104.7 million in 2016.

Lalas has previously been recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as a Rising Star in Healthcare — in both 2016 and 2017 — and one of 150 Hospital and Health System CFOs to Know in 2016.

Loma Linda University Health president, Richard H. Hart, MD, DrPH, said the latest honor for Lalas is a testament to her knowledge and ability to navigate the financial challenges in the health care field.

“Angela is a leader who exemplifies excellence, integrity and professionalism in everything she does,” Hart said. “She is a valued asset to this organization, and we are proud of her accomplishments.”

Lalas, who grew up in a Seventh-day Adventist family, told the publication that her choice of career in health care was a matter of faith, and that it is in the health care industry that she is able to positively impact the most lives. “I help support our providers in delivering top-quality care through faithful fiscal stewardship,” she said. 

She added that she is honored and humbled to be chosen to represent Loma Linda University Health on the Modern Healthcare list. “I am so grateful to God for blessing me with the privilege of serving with an outstanding team of mentors, colleagues and coworkers here at Loma Linda,” Lalas said.

The complete list is available at  www.modernhealthcare.com/community/up-and-comers/2017/.

When Students Return to Campus as Staff: A San Bernardino Valley College Story

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- When Alma Lopez of Moreno Valley was a student at San Bernardino Valley College, she received guidance and encouragement from English instructor Dolores Moreno and counselor Laura Gomez.

Today, she works alongside them both as an English instructor and Co-Coordinator of the Puente program with colleague Elizabeth Banuelos, who is also a former student and mentee of the program.

At 19 years old, Alma knew that she wanted to work with adult learners at the community college level, but she was far from certain about her future. After a “disastrous” year at another local college, Alma switched schools to attend Valley.

“I didn’t seek academic counseling while I was at Chaffey,” Lopez said. “I didn’t feel any kind of connection to the campus. I knew I had to change when I came to SBVC. I had to do things differently if I wanted to be successful.”

It was the right move for Lopez, who “loved” her time as an SBVC student.

“I was always a quiet person in high school, and I slowly came out of my shell by being involved in student government, MEChA, working in the library, successfully completing my year in Puente, studying abroad in Spain, and being selected Homecoming Princess?—?I still can’t believe that one! Because I wasn’t involved in high school, it was important to me to be involved with my college.”

Lopez had wanted to study history, then sociology, but being a member of Puente, a program that works with under-represented students to make them leaders and mentors, and working with English Professor Dolores Moreno, made Lopez switch her focus to literature when she transferred to UC Santa Cruz. There, she earned her bachelor’s in literature, then her master’s in English from UC Riverside, and was excited to return to SBVC as an adjunct instructor in English in 2007. She became a full-time instructor in 2012, and earned tenure in 2016.

“SBVC is my home,” Lopez said. “SBVC is also my mother’s home?—?she studied at SBVC from 1955 to 1957 before transferring to the University of Redlands to earn her BA and her lifelong teaching credential. That’s my favorite part?—?these are my stomping grounds.”

Lopez has also enjoyed forging new relationships with her former professors and counselors, who are now her colleagues, and jokes that she “can even call them by their first names now. I can’t express how much it means to still have Laura Gomez and Dolores Moreno as my support system. They helped me realize my potential and claim my education when I was a student. They continue to offer their support, encouragement, and consejos as I navigate through my career.”

She also credits Dr. Horace Alexander and Prof. Colleen Calderon with her success, as their “passion for their subjects helped plant the teaching seed in me, too.”

For students who, like her, knew what they wanted to do after college, Lopez has some suggestions: Get to know your professors, get involved with student associations in your chosen field, and attend academic conferences. Most of all, “Don’t give up on your dream,” she said.

Lopez appreciates that she was able to come full circle.

“That I get to teach at my alma mater and my mother’s alma mater is one of the largest blessings of my life,” she said. “SBVC has saved me several times. I must give back what I have been given?—?I must.”

Alma Lopez (left) and Elizabeth Banuelos (right), SBVC’s Puente Coordinators, are both alumni of the program they now lead at San Bernardino Valley College.

Alma Lopez (left) and Elizabeth Banuelos (right), SBVC’s Puente Coordinators, are both alumni of the program they now lead at San Bernardino Valley College.

Alma’s colleague in the Puente program, Elizabeth Banuelos, has a similar story.

Banuelos, who lives in Fontana, attended four colleges during her educational journey, but it was her experience at San Bernardino Valley College that made her return as a counselor to inspire others.

A native of Tijuana, she had moved to San Bernardino from Perris, and went with her mother to enroll in college classes at SBVC. Once she arrived, she was blown away by the kindness she encountered.

“Everyone was so warm, so it created a positive impact to stay at SBVC,” Banuelos said. As a first-generation college student, she said it took a “strong village” of faculty, staff, and tutors to help with her “success not only in academics, but in life as well.”

While an SBVC student, Banuelos was part of MEChA and Puente, which work to promote and increase the number of under-represented students at colleges and universities. She credits Laura Gomez and Mary Beth Barrios?—?another Puente counselor?—?for being the mentors who prepared her to succeed in higher education, including the possibility of transferring to a UC.

After continuing to work with Puente’s outreach program, she witnessed firsthand the incredible impact community college counselors make in the lives of so many students. “I was able to connect to my own experience, and decided to enroll in a counseling program,” she said.

Banuelos earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Riverside, and went on to receive a master’s degree from the University of Redlands. When she completed her counseling internship at Chaffey College, she felt inclined to return to the positive environment at SBVC.

Banuelos applied for an adjunct counselor position at SBVC, and has held that position on campus for the past two years. She also serves as a co-coordinator for the Puente program. “My experience at SBVC was remarkable,” she said. “I found it to be the most positive higher education environment I have experienced in my life. Everyone was willing to go above and beyond to support me in many ways.”

She now loves welcoming students into her office so that she can give the same encouragement she received as a student years ago. Banuelos says the counselors are making students “feel that this is a place that is so involved in their success, making a positive impression of faculty and staff, and reassuring students that they can and will complete their goals at SBVC.”

She also finds enjoyment from working alongside the same faculty members that helped her as a student, including her former counselor Laura Gomez, who “has been so supportive of my professional journey,” Banuelos said. “Laura has been a very important person in counseling and she has been so helpful since day one. Even if she has appointments booked, she will make the time to give a smile and answer any questions or share advice.”

Banuelos wants students to always keep their eyes on the prize, to know that it is possible to finish their degrees and find their dream jobs.

“I enrolled for my first semester in college somewhere else and SBVC made a difference between giving up or staying motivated to achieve my goals,” she said. “Everyone makes a difference. Please, let’s make a positive impact!”

Eva Longoria Foundation Dinner Empowers Latinas Through Education and Entrepreneurship

LOS ANGELES, CA- On Thursday, October 12 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, celebrities gathered to support the The Eva Longoria Foundation’s (ELF) work to empower Latinas through education and entrepreneurship. Attendees included: Eva Longoria, Terry Crews (“Brooklyn Nine Nine”), Felicity Huffman (“American Crime”), Melanie Griffith,  Mario Lopez, Jaime Camil (“Jane The Virgin”), Angelique Cabral (“Life In Pieces”), Edward James Olmos (Blade Runner), Bernard David Jones (“The Mayor”), Chandler Kinney (“Lethal Weapon”), Eva Gutowski (Influencer/YouTuber), Ana Brenda Contreras (“Blue Demon”), Eva LaRue (“CSI: Miami”), Robin Antin (“The Pussycat Dolls”), Kendall Schmidt (“Big Time Rush”), Diana Maria Riva (“Man With A Plan”), and Alex Meneses (“Telenovela”).

Guests arrived at The Four Seasons Beverly Hills for cocktails and h’ors d’oeuvures followed by a sit-down dinner and program. Mario Lopez introduced Eva Longoria, who spoke about the foundation’s work to reach girls facing education inequality, and language, immigration and economic barriers. Bernard Boudreaux, Director of Corporate Responsibility for the Target Corporation, and the event’s premiere sponsor, spoke about Target’s continued support for the foundation’s programmatic work reaching low-income Latina girls in south Texas. Actress Alex Meneses introduced participants in ELF’s Latina mentorship program at Gertz-Ressler High School in Los Angeles. “Jane the Virgin’s” Jaime Camil spoke about the importance of supporting minority women business owners, and a local Latina entrepreneur spoke about receiving capital from the foundation’s microloan fund.  Together Longoria and Mario Lopez orchestrated a Call-to-Donate and gave closing remarks. Other event sponsors included College Track, The Gilbert and Jacki Cisneros Foundation and Somos Healthcare. 

The Eva Longoria Foundation was established in 2012 by actress, activist and philanthropist Eva Longoria. Latinas are a rapidly growing group with extraordinary potential, yet they disproportionately lack educational opportunities and face economic challenges. Latinas will make up nearly 15% of the United States population by 2060, and their success is critical to the future of the country. However, nearly one-third of Latinas live below the poverty line. By providing Latinas with the resources to succeed in school and business, the foundation works to improve their lives, empower their communities and shape the national conversation about leveling the playing field for minority girls and women.

If you would like to donate to the Eva Longoria Foundation, please visit www.evalongoriafoundation.org/donate.