Hispanic Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program – Speaker biographies

Eliseo Ramos-Feliciano
Supervisory Patent Examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office

Eliseo Ramos-Feliciano currently serves as one of the semiconductors and memory technology supervisory patent examiners in Tech Center 2800 at the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) headquarters in Alexandria. The semiconductor industry is the backbone of all modern-era digital devices as well as many other emerging technology segments and future technologies.

In 2017, Ramos-Feliciano received the United States Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award for Superior Federal Service, the highest award presented by the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. During fiscal year 2016, he served as one of four resource supervisory patent examiners selected to help lead and manage patent operations at the USPTO’s Rocky Mountain Regional Office in Denver.

Two years before being appointed to the position in the “Mile-High City,” Ramos-Feliciano served in the same capacity at the USPTO’s Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional Office in Detroit, the first regional office established in the USPTO’s more than 225-year history.

Ramos-Feliciano joined the USPTO in 1999 as a patent examiner in the field of telecommunications. In 2005, he was granted master’s level status at the USPTO and, during the same year, was approved to assume full responsibility as a primary examiner. Only one year later, he was promoted to serve as a supervisory patent examiner. In that role, he has overseen a variety of technological areas, including measuring, testing, and calibration.

Through his years of public service, Ramos-Feliciano has developed a solid understanding of intellectual property law and policy and is now a resource to various USPTO programs, including Outreach and Stakeholder Engagement, the Patent Examiner Technical Training Program, and the Site Experience Education Program.

Ramos-Feliciano graduated magna cum laude from the University of Puerto Rico with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering. During his spare time, he enjoys numismatics—the study of coins, paper currency, and medals—a field in which he has authored several publications.

Oscar Garcia Managing
Director of Training for Manos Accelerator

Oscar Garcia is the managing director of training for Manos Accelerator, a startup accelerator focused on helping Latino entrepreneurs with early-stage capital, mentorship, and training. Garcia’s career journey includes founding Aspira Consulting, business development roles at five startups, co-founding a nonprofit, serving as a chamber president and CEO, and tenure as the Community Partnerships Manager at LinkedIn. A fun fact is that he is an introvert turned international speaker.

James Foy
Founder of Hispanics and Technology

James Foy got tired of being the only Hispanic in the room, so he put his 20 years in technology to use in making a difference in his community. His technical career has focused on enterprise software, specifically in Big Data and analytics, at both the global and domestic levels. He has worked with many trailblazers throughout his career, including those who started the Open Source revolution and those who helped change the way we make every financial transaction. He has also worked with domestic and international startups and spearheaded efforts involving lead generation and small- to mid-size enterprise (SME) sales.

Foy is using his problem-solving skills to address the reasons why there are so few Hispanics working in technology and why so few Hispanic startups get funded. He founded Hispanics and Technology to support and promote Hispanic professionals and provide economic empowerment. Hispanics and Technology has grown to nearly 700 members in only two years.

Foy has been very active at both the state and local levels. He was the vice chair of a study by the Colorado Department of Agriculture on Blockchain and food safety. He has been recognized by the Colorado Hispanic Chamber as Volunteer of the Year, has served on various neighborhood boards, and is active in his local parish.

Sandi Mays
Founder, CIO, and Chief Customer Experience Officer at the Zayo Group

Zayo is a leader in global telecommunications, supplying bandwidth and connectivity over an exceptional network infrastructure. Founder Sandi Mays’s passion is providing an effortless experience for both internal and external customers. She is a champion for diversity in the tech community and serves on the board of the Latino Leadership Institute, the Salesforce CIO Advisory Board, and the Denver Metro Chamber Economic Development Executive Committee.

Mays is also a patron and supporter of the Denver Art Museum, the Colorado Ballet, the Denver Performing Arts Center, and Greenhouse Scholars. In addition, she is an active member of many diverse charities. In 2016, Mays was named the Most Inspiring Woman in Comms as part of the Women in Comms’s Leading Lights Awards. In 2018, she was named one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Colorado, and she received the Latinas First Foundation Trailblazer Award. She was named CIO of the Year in 2019 at the Colorado Technology Association Apex Awards.

Previously, Mays served in various management positions at ICG Communications, Level 3 Communications, MFS Telecom, WorldCom, Focus Enterprises, and Northern Trust. She earned a Bachelor of Science magna cum laude in finance from DePaul University.

Nicole Quiroga
President and CEO of the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Nicole Quiroga, a native of Washington, D.C., is the president and CEO of the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GWHCC). In this position, Quiroga provides strategic direction, vision, and management for the programs and personnel of the Chamber to promote and strengthen the economic growth and development of the region’s Hispanic business community.

Quiroga’s expertise in strategic planning, program management, nonprofit operations, finance, and fundraising plays a vital role in fostering the continued success of GWHCC members, partners, and sponsors. Her deep understanding of Hispanic market trends and multicultural communication allows her to help regional organizations develop business models that invest in culturally sensitive branding and outreach efforts that effectively serve and connect to the Hispanic super-consumer.

Quiroga is deeply passionate about educating and empowering Washington, D.C.’s Latino community and, while at the Chamber and during her 18 years at Telemundo, she has forged strategic partnerships with community and corporate organizations that allow her to execute community campaigns that provide Hispanic families access to critical information and resources. Quiroga is frequently invited to speak on topics such as understanding and harnessing the power of Hispanics, developing culturally relevant outreach campaigns, and attracting and retaining Hispanic professionals.

Prior to serving at the Chamber, Quiroga was the General Manager of Telemundo Washington, D.C., and Telemundo Richmond, Virginia. She is of Bolivian and Colombian descent and was the first in her family to be born in the United States.

Lu M. Córdova
Governor’s Advisor on Efficiencies and Digital Transformation

Lu M. Córdova is currently the advisor to Colorado Governor Jared Polis on Efficiencies and Digital Transformation. She was appointed by the Governor to his cabinet in 2019 to head the Colorado Department of Revenue, which oversees the divisions of tax, motor vehicles, lottery, and business services (marijuana, liquor, gaming, racing, and auto). She is also chair of CTEK, a global nonprofit breaking down barriers to entrepreneurship. Additionally, Córdova is the chair of Corlund Industries LLC, a diversified holding company specializing in operations management, strategic planning, business development, and capital finance. Corlund Industries also manages the Almacen Storage Group, which provides self-storage and small business warehousing in Mexican resort areas. She holds both U.S. and Mexican citizenship.

Currently, Córdova is on the board of directors for the Kansas City Southern Railroad, the largest cross-border U.S.-Mexican railroad, along with the Panama Canal Railroad. She is a member of the Audit and Nominating/Governance Committees and chairs the Finance and Strategic Investments Committee.

As a five-time CEO/president, Córdova brings 30 years of experience in navigating companies through the startup phase to maturity and international scope. She was formerly an advisor to the state of Wyoming, serving on its investment committee selection panel. She also served with Euronet Worldwide, an international payments company, on audit, governance, and compensation committees. Córdova is retired from the 10th District Federal Reserve Bank, where she was chair of the board of directors. She began on the bank’s Economic Advisory Council in 2002 before joining the board in 2004. Her board strengths are in technology, security, finance, international operations, and succession planning.

Formerly, Córdova was the president of the Techstars Foundation, and before that, she was president of Colorado Venture Centers, which earned international recognition and awards as one of the most distinguished business catalysts in the country. Sister organization CTEK Angels, which Córdova founded and chairs, became the largest group of individual investors in the Rocky Mountain region.

Córdova also developed several companies, including Acteva (TixToGo), @Home Network, MMS International, the Center for Economic & Monetary Affairs, and Accent Design. She consulted with TixToGo as their Chief Development Officer before becoming CEO, renaming the company Acteva and growing the e-commerce service for event planners more than 100% per quarter from concept to revenue production and second-round financing before the company’s sale. As part of @Home Network’s (later Excite@Home) original team, Córdova co-founded the company’s @Work Division, which accounted for 45% of total sales during its first year. She then went on to create @Home’s Online Services before becoming the principal architect of its business portal, Work.com, with strategic funding she raised from Excite, Dow Jones, and AT&T.

Córdova spent 10 years in the financial markets, participating in joint ventures in emerging data networking technologies. She was Senior Vice President at MMS International, a startup in the real-time fixed income analysis area that was sold to McGraw-Hill. She then became Vice President of Corporate Development with McGraw-Hill’s Standard & Poor’s Corporation. She spearheaded Standard & Poor’s drive to deliver financial market analysis on the internet and authored one of McGraw-Hill’s first studies on worldwide internet security. Previously, Córdova held the positions of CEO of the Institute for Economic & Monetary Affairs and Executive Editor of the Journal of Economic & Monetary Affairs, now called Geonomics. She worked at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors Office, conducting empirical research on foreign exchange rate expectations, and for the California State Attorney General.

Córdova was appointed to and served three terms on the Business Research Advisory Council of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. She has been a judge for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the Boulder County Business Report’s IQ Awards, and the Colorado Software and Internet Association’s Apex Awards. Córdova has served on the board of directors for the National Association of Business Economists, where she chaired its Roundtable Committee, co-founded the Corporate Planning and Technology Roundtables, and was a member of its Economics Education Committee. Córdova founded GenXangels in California served on the board of the Silicon Valley Roundtable, where she was awarded “Silicon Valley Guru” status.

Córdova attended the University of California, Berkeley and earned degrees in political science and economics. At Berkeley, she was advanced to doctoral candidacy in the Ph.D. program in economics (all but dissertation), was awarded Rockefeller and AEA scholarships, became president of Students for the Arts, was elected as a lifetime fellow of the Order of the Golden Bear, and served as chair of the Graduate Economics Association. Córdova is a frequent speaker on business management, emerging technology, private equity investing, and entrepreneurial ventures. She has been an expert witness on matters of business development, entrepreneurship, and capital finance.