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Be the lead.

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2019 Annual Report

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Our Mission

To inspire and engage the next generation of philanthropic and civic-minded leaders in the community they call home.



Letter from

our President

Built on the principle of shared stewardship and driven by the aspirations of our members,

the Young Leaders Society (YLS) provides the socially-conscious and ambitious young professionals of El Paso the connection needed to have an impact on their personal, and professional lives. Since 2008, our members and community have benefited from United Way of El Paso County's efforts to invest in our city's next generation philanthropists and civic-minded leaders.

Throughout 2019, YLS maintained its commitment to providing the best experiences and learning opportunities for our members. Together, we learned the power of collective action through our Big Build event, honed our professional skills and expanded our networks with the YLS Cohort by REALIZE Board Training Program and Turbo Networking event; opened ourselves to the wisdom of others with our Wine & Wisdom series; and celebrated the strength and achievements of our community at the ENGAGE Summit and annual Holiday Mixer.

It's been an absolute pleasure to watch YLS grow alongside our city and community. I look forward to seeing the incredible and inspiring things our donor network and community will achieve in the year to come. The vision for 2020 is clear.

Christopher Montoya

Advisory Board President

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Advisory Board


Thomas Gabriel

Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Wealth Management


Paulina Chavez

Census Bureau

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Chelsea Lynch

The Hospitals of Providence East Campus


John Mack


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Nick Seckerson

El Paso Chihuahuas


David Valenzuela

Texas Gas


Alex Yu



Christopher Montoya

Wells Fargo


Adrian Santiago



Ruben Ahedo

Federal Reserve Bank

of Dallas - El Paso


Alejandra Chavira

El Paso Electric

Our Approach

Our Events

The ENGAGE Young Leadership Professionals Summit is the convergence of our region's influential leaders, entrepreneurs, and artists ready to fuel creativity and inspire action among young professionals. Featuring a keynote speaker and three carefully curated panel discussions, attendees walk away with real-world, practical knowledge that can transcend any sector. Bonus - guests are guaranteed to make unexpected connections with peers. This year, attendees explored notions surrounding our region's bi-national identity, the reawakening of El Paso and the complex perception of our community.

Our Main Event

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Crossing Borders

  • Emma Schwartz - President, Medical Center of the Americas

  • Oscar Herrera - Proprietary Chef, Taft-Diaz, Maria Chuchena, Flor de Nogal

  • Luis Mendoza - Deputy Director, Fundación Paso del Norte

  • Mario Porras - Director of Binational Affairs, El Paso Community Foundation

Ambassadors of El Paso

  • Mike Guerra - Director of Business Development, Guerra Investment Advisors

  • Bryan Crowe - General Manager, Destination El Paso

  • Patrick Gabaldon - Local Artist

  • Jessica Walgenbach - Financial Professional, Prudential & Steering Committee Member, El Paso in Austin

Reimagining El Paso

  • Shea Herman - Operations Coordinator, MIMCO

  • Matthew Hernandez - Director of Inside Sales, Operations, and General Manager, Fivestars

  • Kassi Foster - Business Services, Franklin Mountain Management

  • Leila Melendez - Chief Operation Officer, Workforce Solutions Borderplex


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Our Vision

YLS in 2020 is optimistic, driven, and purposeful. We continue our proud legacy as stewards of our community and our careers. As we grow, we remember what motivated us to action over a decade ago; to provide the tools and opportunities young professionals need to be the architects of their own destinies. With each gathering, we build a community of partners shaping tomorrow. Our aspirations are not limited to one year. Instead, we look to the possibilities of the next decade and beyond. The future of YLS is 2020.