2023 Leadership Award Honorees

Marla Bilonick
President & CEO
National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders

Marla Bilonick is NALCAB’s President & CEO and also serves as CEO of NALCAB’s subsidiary asset management company Escalera Community Investments.

A seasoned veteran in the arena of economic and community development, Ms. Bilonick brings over 20 years of expertise in small business development, community-based financial services and international aid with an emphasis on Latin America and the U.S. Latino population. Prior to joining NALCAB, she served as the Executive Director of the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) in Washington, D.C., leading regional efforts to drive the economic and social advancement of low- to moderate-income Latinos by equipping them with the skills and tools to achieve financial independence.

Ms. Bilonick is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison with a B.A. in Political Science, and she received her M.A. in International Economics and Latin American Studies from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Prior to her tenure at LEDC, Ms. Bilonick worked for DAI managing multimillion-dollar international development contract opportunities funded by USAID and other donor agencies in countries such as Bolivia, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, and her native Panama. She also served as the Director of Seedco’s Upper Manhattan Business Solutions Center in Harlem — an initiative in collaboration with the New York City government to provide consulting and access to financing to local businesses. In addition, she helped Seedco develop and implement its long-term small business services approach after they were chosen to participate in the City’s September 11, 2001 small business crisis response.

Ms. Bilonick is a board member of the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the National Housing Trust, Self Help Ventures Fund, Smart Growth America, and was a founding member of the National League of Minority Voters’ board. She is a former Aspen Institute Emerging Leaders in Microbusiness-ELM2 Fellow and a graduate of the Citi/OFN Leadership Program for Opportunity Finance at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Ms. Bilonick serves on Capital One Bank’s and PNC Bank’s respective Community Advisory Councils and was an advisor to Wells Fargo’s regional “Where We Live” initiative. She was named a Community Champion for the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area by Capital One Bank in 2015.

Most notably, Ms. Bilonick was appointed by President Biden to serve on the Department of Treasury’s CDFI Fund Community Development Advisory Board and is the first Latina (or Latino) to be elected Chair of that Board and only the second female to Chair the board in its 27-year history.


Patrice King Brickman
Founder and Managing Director
Inspire Capital, LLC

Patrice King Brickman is the Founder and Managing Director of Inspire Capital LLC, a venture fund that invests in predominantly women and minority-led businesses with social impact. Ms. Brickman is also a founder and investor in WE Capital and a founding member of the Conscious Leadership Forum and Soul Circle. She is a member of TIGER 21 and the Economic Club of Washington.

Ms. Brickman has served on several nonprofit boards both locally and nationally. While her primary passion has been centered on poverty and homelessness, as she has worked most intimately with that population, she has also been involved with the arts and education.

She currently serves on the boards of Halcyon, Wolf Trap and Ascend at the Aspen Institute, and has served on boards for the Children’s National Hospital Foundation, the National Center for Children and Families, Peer Health Exchange, and the Washington Area Women’s Foundation.


Anna Gomez
Federal Communications Commission

Anna Gomez is a telecommunications attorney with extensive experience in domestic and international communications law and policy. 

Ms. Gomez serves as a Senior Advisor for International Information and Communications Policy in the Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy. In this capacity she will lead U.S. preparations for the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23).

Ms. Gomez served as the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Deputy Administrator from 2009-2013. She also served for 12 years in various positions at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), including as Deputy Chief of the International Bureau and as Senior Legal Advisor to then-Chairman William E. Kennard.

Prior to joining the State Department in 2023, Ms. Gomez had been a partner in Wiley LLP’s telecommunications media and technology group and co-chair of Wiley’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems practice, where she specialized in a wide range of spectrum licensing issues and regulatory, policy, and transactional matters related to domestic and international telecommunications.

Ms. Gomez has always been committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), serving in various capacities on DEI committees. Most recently, she chaired the FCC’s Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment and served as Chair Emeritus of the FCC’s Communications Equity and Diversity Council (CEDC). 


Michele Jawando 
Senior Vice President
Omidyar Network

As Omidyar Network’s first senior vice president of programs, Ms. Jawando oversees the organization’s programmatic work focused on the three major, interconnected issues that are at the heart of an equitable and inclusive society: the economy, technology, and our need for a culture where everyone belongs.

Before joining Omidyar Network, Ms. Jawando was the head of U.S. strategic engagement and public policy partnerships at Google. As an executive leader and senior member of Google’s public policy team, she was responsible for developing strategic relationships and partnerships with elected officials, think tanks, nonprofits, and thought leaders across the U.S. In that capacity, she helped to direct more than $80 million in resources to issues related to elections, cybersecurity, gender equity, disability rights, and more.

Prior to Google, Ms. Jawando served as vice president at the Center for American Progress, a think tank dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action. Building on the achievements of progressive pioneers such as Teddy Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, her work at CAP addressed 21st century challenges such as national security, climate, race and gender equity, economic growth and opportunity, civic participation, and health care.

Ms. Jawando has also served as general counsel and senior advisor to United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand as well as Foreign Relations Chair and Congressman Gregory Meeks. She spearheaded bipartisan legislative achievements on behalf of each of the members, including passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act, and the confirmations of Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, among others.

A regular commentator for international and U.S. television, print, and radio, Ms. Jawando is an author, serial entrepreneur, and afro-tech futurist who believes that we can create and build the future we desire across our differences.

She received her J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law and a B.A. from Hampton University. She is the wife of the Honorable William Jawando, Esq. of Maryland, and the mother of four young children.


Debra Lopez
Senior Bilingual Program Coordinator
Crittenton Services of Greater Washington

Debra Lopez, Senior Bilingual Program Coordinator, delivers SNEAKERS and PEARLS programs at three Montgomery County High Schools. She is a bilingual education professional with more than 30 years of experience motivating students in a multicultural environment. Ms. Lopez is a passionate advocate who specializes in supporting young women with assertive communication, creating healthy relationships and making responsible decisions that lead to their success. In 2002, she received the Outstanding Community Partner Award from Centro Tepeyac, honoring her dedication to Latina women in crisis pregnancies. In 2011, she was honored by the Washington Mystics with the Inspirational Women Award for being a role model who “ignites the dreams and aspirations of young people.” Ms. Lopez holds a master’s degree in psychological services in education from the University of Pennsylvania. She joined Crittenton Services in June 1993.

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