2020 Cohort – Los Angeles

We would like to share some of their commitment to leading within their family, parish, community, and in business.

2020 Cohort – Los Angeles2020-07-07T22:47:20+00:00

Michael Sayegh

During these times, I feel our Catholic leadership is vital in Proclaiming the good news and truth about the Catholic faith and the importance of the sacraments. Being led by the Holy Spirit we are called to engage with our community and to Bring healing hope and justice to those who have open ears. TLI has utilized great tools and speakers especially in connecting like-minded Catholics. Our strength lies in our support, teamwork and knowledge. I plan to be involved where my presence can help. This means I’m carrying my Catholic Faith everywhere I go from work, school, social media to smallest encounters, Random acts of kindness, charity etc. Thank you TLI for being such a blessing and such a great support group.

Luis Sanchis

I commit to helping establish or support a mental health organization that will advocate, facilitate, and provide affordable services in Southern California. These resources will be specialized in connecting Catholics with mental health professionals that provide services within the context of human dignity as understood in the Catholic Magisterium.

Isabel Sanchez

In Pew Research Center telephone surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, people who described their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26% in the United States, up from 17% in 2009. And for every one convert to Catholicism, there are six who switch to another religion. My leadership commitment is to strengthen my formation by asking the tough questions. It’s when these doubts are left unanswered, that the roof starts caving in. I have joined the Word on Fire Institute. I commit to becoming an effective evangelist to transform our present culture.

Bryan Ruiz

My Jesuit education provided me with the tools to think conscientiously, be driven by integrity, bold and courageous in my convictions, and to always be compassionate. I commit to upholding these standards so that my future decisions are firmly rooted in positively impacting the world. TLI has educated me on the value of virtuous leadership as a lay Catholic professional and how to best apply that to the Church and secular society. I will actively seek out board service opportunities with the goal of establishing scholarship funds for Catholic education. I will also donate my time to mentor Latino youth in Los Angeles. In the future, I hope to serve my community through local politics.

Jose Rodriguez

Here is my Leadership Commitment. Because I care as a Financial & Health Insurance Advocate, Vice-President of Amor x Teco Foundation, Board Member of Pico Rivera Chamber of Commerce, Board Member of the Organization for the Physically Impaired and Blind, Founder and CEO of Optimized Financial and Insurance Services; I commit to be a Catholic Advocate, Leader, Moral, Ethical and Holistic Financial Educator Becoming a Trusting Loving and Giving Servant in all my current and future Leadership roles. Today I choose to live my TLI Resurrection.

Catherine Rivadeneyra

Today, in society, many young women have lost their true identity, self-esteem, and value as women of God. I feel passionate about helping women find their true beauty which I believe is within their hearts. Saint John Paul II left us the Theology of the Body, and I genuinely believe that if every woman learns about it, this can change their lives. As a catholic woman, I want to help women in my community to take care of their souls, their minds, and their bodies. We need women that do not feel ashamed of talking about God, of following his path and letting Him guide their lives.

Stephanie Rebollar

I have a desire to continue building the Catholic church through Catholic education. My commitment is to volunteer my time and talents towards schools and organizations that provide children the opportunity and support to attend a Catholic school. Catholic schools’ foster opportunities for students to know and strengthen their relationship with God, develop their academic knowledge, build community, and promote growth in virtue. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6)

Jesse Ramirez

Here’s my leadership commitment. I will do the following in no particular order: Start a nonprofit which A) educates others on how to lobby their elected officials. B) educates the Hispanic American population on the importance of not being considered a captured group under any political party as the case may be in California, so they can learn to be Catholics first, and choose according to their conscience. C) Help the needy in accessing government resources.

Christopher Plance

After reflecting on my experience in the TLI, my leadership commitment will be to become the program facilitator for TLI Los Angeles in 2021. I look forward to teaming up with TLI to advance lay leaders in the world. Along with the mission of TLI, I’m also passionate about seeing the Gospel advanced in the city of Los Angeles. Thus, this leadership commitment provides me with the opportunity to apply my skills and experience to the much larger mission of the sanctification of this wonderful city in which we live. I have no doubt in my mind that TLI is being used by God to advance the Church’s mission in the world. And I’m excited that I can play a small part in seeing that done here in Los Angeles.

Ariana Perfecto

President Thomas Jefferson stated, “kno[w]ledge is power…kno[w]ledge is safety, and… kno[w]ledge is happiness.” As a Catholic leader and firm believer in this truth, I commit to creating opportunities for others to gain knowledge so that they are empowered in their lives. Through the non-profit I founded this year, Forward, Countrymen, I will develop educational programs to inform the community, as well as opportunities to directly participate in local governance. As an attorney, I will write for legal journals, such as the California Trusts & Estates Quarterly, which recently published my article on the estate planning needs of Latino immigrants. I will work with advocacy groups, like the Patients’ Rights Action Fund – an organization I presented for on the ethical implications of the California End of Life Option Act.

Debby Ortega

Being a public-school teacher has many challenges and rewarding experiences. One challenge in particular that I have seen in my teaching career is the lack of social emotional training, which teachers require in order to work with children. I strongly believe that in order to teach a child we must first capture their heart with God’s love. The only way we can do that is by forming a strong nurturing environment for children. My mission is to advocate for social emotional programs in schools, be part of a social emotional organization for children and start a program at my school.

Stephanie Morales

I discovered the Theology of the Body teachings of Pope John Paul II in my adult life but so desperately wished I learned them earlier in my teens. There is a great need in my Hispanic community for youth to understand their identity in the modern world and the gift of self. With the help of Revelation and of the Church, I will be attending courses at the Theology of the Body Institute and initiate my leadership commitment to develop a Theology of the Body for Youth (TOBY) program in my parish. Partnering with experienced guest speakers to present these topics and igniting courage to the students to explore the purpose of their existence through themes of freedom, truth, gift, communion, dignity, and love. Discovering how we can make ourselves more in the pure image of our Creator.

Austin McElrath

For my leadership commitment I have elected to start an endowment for student scholarships at Servite High School, where I attended, and the roots of our faith took hold. I am currently sponsoring a rising senior, along with several of my classmates, and together we will ensure that this young man graduates, regardless of the financial situation facing his family. Furthermore, I will also work to endow a scholarship for the Tepeyac Leadership Initiative and to direct future participants to the program within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Diocese of Orange.

Alexander Leparulo

For my leadership commitment, I would like to start a “Bible smuggling” program that ships and expedites Bibles to countries that are the fastest growing in human population. With the exception of the United States, I would want to send Bibles to rapidly growing nations such as India, China, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Pakistan. By 2050, these nations are predicted to have the highest exponential growth. This will help the mission of Christ’s Church by supplying people in those areas with a Bible of their own to read and study, preferably in their native language.

Sindy Hernandez

First, I would like to thank God for the gift of faith. My commitment is to serve him and those around me, for his glory. My long-term goal is to open a retreat center where people’s lives will be transformed through the power of prayer and personal testimonies. I experienced this four years ago. Since then, Jesus has restored my life from the pain of abortion, abuse, rape, and a broken heart. He has given me a voice and the courage to speak on behalf of those who suffer in silence. To be a leader in a broken world I have to be willing to be vulnerable with the vulnerable. I want to open the Grace Retreat Center to help those in need.

Brenda Lorena Garcia

Having been blessed with a career in the Hollywood Film Industry, it is commonly understood that there’s a lack of community. Generally speaking, there isn’t enough camaraderie as it is, but this is especially true within Catholics in Entertainment. I will develop an organization with the potential of it expanding to an active production company called “Theotokos Productions,” named after the Great Mother of God, having her as our Patroness. I chose her because there is a great need for the gift of Feminine Genius in our culture.

Alex Emanuel

Consumer media’s approach to the Christian faith today is largely either one of scorn and derision in popular film and television or bland and blithe promotion in niche productions. I want to produce content that treats our faith as a serious, reasoned, and natural part of human existence; I must learn to better develop and finance mainstream projects so that in the future I might influence their production or spearhead my own. Therefore, I commit to working in content development while pursuing an MBA, so that I might gain the knowledge and network to bring some change to popular entertainment.

Melody Cruz

TLI has exposed me to ways lay Catholics can make meaningful impacts in the modern world by answering the call of evangelization. By opening my ears to listen better, my eyes to recognize Jesus around me, my mouth to speak the truth confidently with courage, and my heart to empathize with others, I hope to bring others closer to Christ by my example of living the faith. Therefore, I commit to developing a stronger prayer life and deeper understanding of our faith, which in turn will guide me as I continue to discern the path God has chosen for me.

Jonalyn Bridgeman

After finishing TLI, I am more committed to sharing more of my Time, Talent, and Treasure in my community back in the Philippines and anywhere else I am needed. It was an opportunity for me to validate and affirm that the teachings, values, and culture that I gained in my formation years with the guidance of my family, and my exposure in our diverse Catholic church, were all aligned. My leadership commitment is to pursue the formation of our youth through J-Dator Institute. I will help to provide better education with the right formation that is guided by the doctrine of our church. This is my lifetime commitment to making a difference in making my life blessed by blessing others.

Kathryn Bodenhamer

My leadership commitment is to use the creative arts to lead those lost out of darkness, to deepen their relationship with God, and to help them see their unique Goodness and Beauty in Light of God’s Truth. I will write screenplays encouraging others to ponder their spiritual existence and commit to starting a production company dedicated to creating such projects. I will also share my religious artwork centered around revealing God’s Grace and Glory. I will complete the UNBOUND Prayer training, which focuses on helping others find healing and deliverance. Last, I hope to enter discernment to become a Third Order Dominican.

Denise Barajas

I am passionate about changing the culture from mediocrity and passive feelings to action, greatness and freedom in truth. I want our generation to understand how morals and ethics do not contradict the change we all wish to see, but rather enhance our humanity in every facet of life. I am committing to writing for TLI’s blog and enhance TLI’s online presence. I am also committing to writing a mini-series on natural law and our culture. I will seek out to serve on various boards whose mission, in some way, include faith and professional life with high integrity and magnanimity.

Raquel Arce-Benitez

The TLI experience has touched me in very profound ways. The program has invited me to use my faculties as a leader to live a more intentional witness to Christ in my professional career and aspire to live a magnanimous life.  I will strive for professionalism and high standards to become a reputable and influential professional. I commit to develop a religious after school program for kids who are unable to attend Catholic school and need a safe place to be when not at home. 

Ricardo Anguiano

Participating in TLI has helped me to enrich my faith and grow in a deeper relationship with God. In addition, it has helped me strengthen the catholic foundations necessary to face any challenges in the professional field. For my leadership commitment, I intend to join the “Ahead Leadership Program” at Tilden Study Center as a mentor or speaker to contribute to the personal development of young men in High School. I will also be joining the “Napa Legal Institute” initiative, providing my business and finance knowledge at the service of the organization in its projects. Thanks to the TLI team for giving us the opportunity to be closer to God via this program.

TLI-Global-LogoLeadership for the World

Interested? Join our mailing list and we’ll keep you up-to-date.