Latinas: Making Healthy Choices One Step at a Time


by the Seton Healthcare Family 2016 Magna Cum Laude Corazón Award Sponsor and Mariposa Award Honoree “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”  – Martin Luther King, Jr. If the idea of getting healthy seems … Continue reading

Can You Hear Me Now? An Entrepreneur’s Path to Success

Dr Cuero

When you look into the eyes of Dr. Sonia Cuero, Au.D., Doctor of Audiology and owner of Audiology of Central Texas you see pride, accomplishment and drive. Born in Mexico and raised in Carrizo Springs, Texas, Cuero struggled in elementary school and was teased by classmates because she didn’t speak English. Two years of work in the school’s reading lab turned Sonia’s challenges into success in the classroom. For this Con Mi MADRE mom and entrepreneur, every obstacle and accomplishment has been a stepping stone on her path to finding and realizing her dreams.

Cuero can speak passionately about the impact Con Mi MADRE has had on her and her daughter Briana. “We’ve been a part of of the program since Briana was in the 6th grade at Hernandez Middle School. Now she’s a sophomore at Stony Point High School and is interested in studying computer engineering and maybe one day going to Mars. “Con Mi MADRE showed us how you can move forward and succeed. We heard speakers at conferences like the Leadership Summit who were wonderful examples for the girls, but I was listening too.” This was especially true when she heard Rosie Castro, mother of U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (Texas 20th District) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Julián Castro.

I loved hearing about her experiences and struggles – struggles that could have gotten in her way, but she didn’t let them.

Cuero was very good at math and entered the University of Texas at Austin (UT) to study business; however, Cuero’s love of language became a turning point when she learned about speech language pathology from another student. One of the required courses for speech language pathology is audiology – a branch of science that studies hearing, balance, and related disorders. “Once I took that first audiology course, it all clicked for me.” Armed with significant Spanish language credit from passing the CLEP test (College-Level Exam Program) and a curriculum that was the same for undergraduates, Cuero was on her way.

The art of networking and recognizing opportunities are key entrepreneurial skills Cuero learned on her journey.
One day at work she received a call from a UT connection letting her know about a paid Masters Fellowship program for which she was perfect because it required someone able to speak with bilingual clients. The only caveat was the deadline to apply was that day. She was faxed the application where she filled it out immediately by hand and faxed it back in time. Cuero was selected for the program and in 1997 she not only earned her Master’s in Audiology — she had practical skills from her direct work with clients.

After working for an ear, nose and throat (ENT) practice for a few years, Cuero contemplated earning her doctorate. She found a unique online program with the University of Florida in degreescollaboration with the University of Texas at Dallas. It allowed her to do much of the curriculum from home, going to Dallas on weekends to do presentations. Even having a baby, her son Etienne, in the midst of the program didn’t deter her from her goals. “By 2002, I graduated with my doctorate and became only the second audiologist in the Austin area to get my Doctor of Audiology degree.”

She continued working with the ENT group for a while then decided it was time for a change and decided to grow her own clientele starting with contract work for the Veteran’s Administration, the military and more, which led her to open her own office.

Cuero and sister

Dr. Sonia Cuero (left) with her sister Debra Mendiaz, Certified Occupational Hearing Conservationist.

If you walk into Audiology of Central Texas you’ll be greeted by her sister Debra who began as the Office Manager and is now a Licensed Fitter and Dispenser of Hearing Aids as well as a Certified Occupational Hearing Conservationist (CAOHC). Dr. Cuero’s husband, Fabian, also uses his CAOHC certification to help administer onsite hearing conservation tests. Did we mention her business is completely debt-free? It is. “I didn’t want to acquire any debt so I opened my business slowly.”

What is Dr. Cuero’s advice to future entrepreneurs? She believes there is no one formula to success.

“You can do it your own way. You know your own worth more than anyone else. Don’t settle. If you’re not happy with where you are, do something about it. Don’t let anyone get it your way. Show them what you can do. Once you believe you can do it. Then, anything is possible.”

Reg SUSL buttonIf you’re a Con Mi MADRE participant and ready to steer your own course to success, register now for the Soy Unica, Soy Latina Conference on April 23rd.

Meet your future now.


Register to Vote: Don’t Take This Right for Granted

I voted

“Let each person do his or her part. If one citizen is unwilling to participate all of us are going to suffer. For the American idea, though it is shared by all of us, is realized in each one of us.” – Barbara Jordan

Voting is not a choice unless you are a United States citizen. Yet citizens often don’t register to vote and miss the great opportunity to be a part of the conversation on local and national issues impacting our lives. NCLR (National Council of La Raza) reports over 10 million Latinos are currently eligible to vote but haven’t registered yet.

Karen Gonzalez, Program Director for Con Mi MADRE was one of those 10 million then everything changed. She became an American citizen on September 25, 2015, and then met a voter registration volunteer. “I was inspired to take her up on the invitation and registered to vote. With many of the issues impacting our country and the world, I wanted to take part.”

Karen voted for the first time at Ojeda Middle School on March 1st this year – adding her voice to the 673,169 Travis Country voters in the “Super Tuesday” presidential primary. The general election this November will be another first for Karen when she casts her vote for President of the United States. Karen’s advice to new voters?

Don’t take this right for granted and be sure to study the issues you’ll see on the ballet on Election Day. Before I didn’t have a say, but now I can express my right.

You are eligible to register to vote if …

  • You are a United States citizen;
  • You are a resident of the county where you submit the application;
  • You are at least 18 years old on Election Day;
  • You are not a convicted felon (you may be eligible to vote if you have completed your
  • sentence, probation, and parole); and
  • You have not been declared by a court exercising probate jurisdiction to be either totally mentally incapacitated or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote.

Become a voterReady to register? Click on this “Become a Voter” button, or visit any Travis County Tax Office. You can also text “REGISTER” to 48683 to get an application.

The next voter registration deadline is Thursday, April 7, 2016. It’s the last day to register to vote in the May 7, 2016 local election. Tuesday, October 11, 2016 is the deadline to register to vote in the Presidential election this November. Will you add your voice?

Travis County Tax Office
Travis County Clerk
NCLR (National Council of La Raza)


On the Road Again: 2016 Con Mi MADRE College Campus Tour


At the crack of dawn next Monday, March 14th, a full bus of 50 Con Mi MADRE mother-daughter teams and staff will be hitting the road for a campus visit to two campuses: Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi and Texas A&M University -Kingsville. The trip also includes lunch in Corpus Christi generously sponsored by Whataburger for all our travelers.

Con Mi MADRE Program Director, Karen Gonzales is excited about the visit to the South Texas campuses.

It’s a great opportunity for our mother – daughter teams to gather a lot of valuable information. We also want to peak our student’s curiosity about a career path.

With the memories of the Con Mi MADRE STEM conference on student’s minds, it will also be fun to explore Texas A&M’s degree programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Supported by AISD Hispanic Futures, this year’s participants have the opportunity to use this fact finding tour to see if their school is the right fit for them in the next step of their education career. US News & World Report, a valuable source for college and university rankings, says a college campus visit is a great opportunity to speak up and ask questions.

A campus visit will help you gather information about:

  • Academic degrees offered
  • Student to faculty classroom ratios
  • Financial aid, scholarships and tuition costs
  • Available academic support: tutoring, advisors, writing centers
  • Internship possibilities
  • Student life

What are some of the perks to being a student at Texas A&M Corpus Christi or Kingsville? Both schools are part of the prestigious Texas A&M University System. The Corpus Christi and Kingsville schools offer diverse populations with bilingual populations with close proximity to Austin, San Antonio, the Valley and other Texas cities. Plus …

Texas A&M – Corpus Christi

  • ccimagesHas more than 80 degree programs and 5 academic colleges in Business, Education, Liberal Arts, Nursing and Health Sciences, and Science and Engineering.
  • Has 11,661 students with a 23:1 student to faculty ratio.
  • Students can ride any Corpus Christi RTA bus free with a valid school ID.
  • Corpus Christi population is 316,381 and the area has over 113 miles of Gulf Coast beaches.

Texas A&M – Kingsville

  • TAMUKofficallogoHas approximately 67 degree programs and 5 academic colleges in Business, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, and the College of Agriculture, Agribusiness, and Environmental Sciences, Animal, Rangeland, and Wildlife Sciences and Human Sciences.
  • Approximately 71% of the faculty hold Ph.Ds.
  • Has 8,300 students with a 16:1 student to faculty ratio.
  • Awards more scholarships than any other college or university in the region.
  • Kingsville, population 25,000. Corpus Christi and their beaches are just 40 miles to the northeast with Mexico only 120 miles to the south at Brownsville or 119 miles to the west at Laredo.

Consider a campus tour to some of your favorite schools and do some fact finding to help you make your college choice easier.
Start with an online visit to a school’s website to find out how to schedule your campus tour. To make your visit an easier one, plan several weeks ahead and be sure to ask for a bilingual tour guide and other accommodations you might need, when you schedule your visit.

ButtonGet a head start and take the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi virtual tour online. Then follow Con Mi MADRE on Facebook and  Twitter to see updates of this spring’s campus visit.

Texas A&M – Corpus Christi
Texas A&M – Kingsville
US News and World Report
Corpus Christi Visitor’s Bureau


THANK YOU SPONSORS !! Con Mi MADRE’s 2016 Corazón Awards

Happy 2016! We hope you all had an AMAZING holiday season and a great 2016 so far!

Can you believe that Con Mi MADRE’s 2016 Corazón Awards are right around the corner?

Con Mi MADRE’s Corazón Awards honors individuals making a significant impact on our organization and the Austin community through individual excellence and high levels of accomplishment.

All funds raised by the Corazón Awards help support programming expenses and
participating families.

Seating is limited and will be assigned as reservations are received. Sponsors are
guaranteed reserved seating and individual tickets are open seating as available. Tables
and individual tickets are available for purchase online or by contacting us. Gala
tickets include admission to the After Party.

We would like to take a moment of our day to express our gratitude to our sponsors! None of this would be possible without your help!


Rohleder Family Foundation






Fayruz Benyousef Consulting
Hahn Public Communications
Univision Communications Inc.


Amigas de Austin
Blanca Garcia
Hon. Diana Maldonado
Hon. Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza
Rosie Mendoza
Judge Orlinda Naranjo
Association Member
Benefits Advisors
Bianca & Tom Bellavia
Capstar Lending
Estella Galan
First Citizens Bank
Jana Ortega
Skybeck Construction, LLC
Tara Martin & Bob Valentine
Texas Association of Latinos
Administration & Superintendents
Texas Gas Service
Vacek, Kieck, Currier, and Colmenero, LLP


Broadway Bank
Claudia & Michael Burnett
Hispanic Bar Association of
Kristin Alvarez
Lisa Altamirano
Marisa & Aaron Williams
Rodan + Fields
Alexis Adauto Ferguson
Sandy & Augie Alcalá
School of Social Work, University of Texas at Austin
South Austin Marine
The Junior League of Austin
Vanessa Fuentes
Vanessa & Mac McElwrath
Will Penny


Broadway Bank
Nationwide Insurance
with Kilgore Insurance Group


We would not be able to put on this event with out the help of our sponsors!


Save The Date

February 6, 2016

Brazos Hall

6:30 PM to 10:00 PM

After Party 10:00 PM to midnight

Click HERE to buy your tickets today!

You can also find the Facebook Event Page HERE!

For more information and for the latest updates on the Corazón Awards like us onFacebook, TwitterInstagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Google Plus.


Con Mi MADRE’s 2016 Corazón Awards Honorees

Con Mi MADRE’s 2016 Corazón Awards is almost here!!

Con Mi MADRE’s Corazón Awards honors individuals making a significant impact on our organization and the Austin community through individual excellence and high levels of accomplishment.

This year we will be honoring two amazing women as well as an amazing organization that do the most they can to contribute to Con Mi MADRE mission! Let’s meet the 2016 Honorees!

2016 Honorees:


The Con Mi MADRE Award

Our organization’s namesake award goes to a Latina who is living our mission; a role model who, through her experiences and life’s work, shows us what success can look like when we educate both the mind and the heart. This year, we have the honor of presenting the award to Dr. Teresa Lozano Long.


The Corazón Award

The name says it all. This award is presented to someone who puts all of his or her heart into empowering their community, especially Latina/o youth. This year, we are proud to recognize Sylvia Acevedo.

Mariposa Award

Seton Healthcare Family

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Save The Date

February 6, 2016

Brazos Hall

6:30 PM to 10:00 PM

After Party 10:00 PM to midnight

Click HERE to buy your tickets today!

Interested in becoming a Sponsor for this year’s Corazón Awards? If so, visit theSponsorship Page!

You can also find the Facebook Event Page HERE!

For more information and for the latest updates on the Corazón Awards like us onFacebook, TwitterInstagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Google Plus.

Join us for Con Mi MADRE’s 2016 Corazón Awards!

Con Mi MADRE's 2016 Corazón Awards

Save The Date

February 6, 2016

Brazos Hall

6:30 PM to 10:00 PM

After Party 10:00 PM to midnight

The Corazón Awards is Con Mi MADRE’s annual fundraiser. It is an evening full of food, fun, and festivities to increase awareness about Con Mi MADRE, further support the young Latinas and mothers in the program, and to honor those who have supported the organization and it’s mission over the years.

Con Mi MADRE’s Corazón Awards honors individuals making a significant impact on our organization and the Austin community through individual excellence and high levels of accomplishment.

Funds raised by the Corazón Awards help support programming expenses and participating families.​​​

Con Mi MADRE serves young Latinas who predominately come from low-income backgrounds (~62%) and will be the first in their family to pursue post-secondary education (~80%). In 2013, 100% of our seniors graduated high school, 77% of the graduates enrolled into a post-secondary institution, and less than 1% of the entire population we served experienced a teenage pregnancy. Every year we serve approximately 600 mother-daughter teams in the Austin area, but want to serve more.

Click HERE to buy your tickets today!

Interested in becoming a Sponsor for this year’s Corazón Awards? If so, visit the Sponsorship Page!

You can also find the Facebook Event Page HERE!

For more information and for the latest updates on the Corazón Awards like us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Google Plus.

2016 Honorees:

Con Mi MADRE Award

Dr. Teresa Lozano Long

Con Mi MADRE Award - Dr. Teresa Lozano Long

Corazón Award

Sylvia Acevedo

Corazón Award - Sylvia Acevedo

Mariposa Award

Seton Healthcare Family

Mariposa Award - Seton Healthcare Family

Latina Relevance: Con Mi MADRE Welcomes Our New Board President, Bianca Bellavia!

Bianca Rodriguez Bellavia (2)Bianca currently leads the communications team for the Seton Foundations, which raised nearly $30 million last year. In her role she provides strategic communications and support for fundraising campaigns within the Seton Healthcare Network, including the $50 million campaign to construct Dell Seton Medical Center at UT. Prior to joining Seton, Bianca was director of brand management at LIVESTRONG where she led various marketing, communications and fundraising efforts, including the launch of the yellow wristband campaign with Nike, which raised more than $55 million through worldwide sales during her tenure. Bianca’s professional career includes marketing and development roles at the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Austin, the National Hispanic Institute, and the YMCA of Austin. A fifth generation Texan, originally from McAllen, Bianca grew up in Georgetown and graduated from Texas A&M University.

Bianca says, “Every time I meet a Con Mi MADRE program participant and her mother, I see so much love, pride, hard work and dedication. I hear stories about big dreams and their passionate commitment to make those dreams a reality. I also feel the genuine gratitude these girls and their mothers have for the invaluable support and resources provided by Con Mi MADRE. In these girls, I see our future: teachers, writers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, engineers, policy makers, and community leaders. I am so proud of the work Con Mi MADRE does to empower young Latinas and their mothers through education and support, and I look forward to working with fellow board members, volunteers, and talented staff to further our mission.”

Increasing Graduates: Without Limits! Con Mi MADRE’s Bilingual College and Career Fair

DSCN8133It looked like the biggest pep rally ever at Mendez Middle School this past Saturday, when 12 Universities, 6 STEM Professionals, and 5 Public Service representatives came out to provide information to participants of the Annual Bilingual College and Career Fair called Without Limits!

And there were no limits on the critical information being provided that day by colleges and professionals! Students asked questions to the university representatives like “What % of applicants are accepted to your college and what are the deadlines?” and “What percent of students receive financial aid? Need-based aid? and Merit-based aid?”
We also had students asking the professional representatives about their career, how to prepare for a career after college, and what they needed to do now to become successful in a career after college.

DSCN8112   DSCN8109  DSCN8126  DSCN8128

It was a great day sponsored by DDCE and Concordia University!  See the link below for a full list of Universities present at this month’s fair!

College and Career Fair University List

Who Benefits From Your Donations? Our Girls!

How does Con Mi MADRE use the donations it receives?
Con Mi MADRE accepts donations from large organizations, corporations and individual donors. We offer three levels of merit scholarships to our Seniors and college students. Any donation of $500, $1,000, and $1,500 can contribute to our scholarship awards.  To be eligible for a scholarship, students and their mothers must participate in all of the Con Mi MADRE programs and conferences, in addition to providing 15 hours of volunteer service to the community.
Other than scholarships, how can my single donation be used?
Here is an abridged breakdown of different donation amounts and how Con Mi MADRE uses them to serve our mother daughter teams.
$1000 – Every $1,000 donation can provide scholarship to a Senior or college student in our program
$750   – Provides Con Mi MADRE programming for one deserving mother daughter team for one year
$500   – Provides inspiring experiences and networking opportunities at our Annual Leadership Summit Conference
$250   – Helps one Con Mi MADRE Senior attend Senior College Academy, the Bilingual College & Career Fair, and Alumni Events
$100  – Fund one mother-daughter team college visit in the Central Texas area
$50    – Help one Con Mi MADRE team pay the fee for one college application and one college entrance exam
$25    – Support training of volunteers in our Senior Advising Program

How does my donation serve the program directly?
Con Mi MADRE rarely turns away mother daughter teams. However, the more donations we receive, the more mother daughter teams we can serve. Our current program model is 1 programming staffer, serving 4 schools, assisting approximately 130 students. In order to serve more students, we need to hire more staff.  But we cannot hire more staff to serve more of the community without your help. Currently, there are over 8,000 young Latinas in AISD who are on the free & reduced lunch program.  These girls are our demographic.  These are the girls who could benefit most from Con Mi MADRE programs. Unfortunately, we are only scratching the surface by being able to serve LESS than 10% of them do to limited resources.

LAGC-imageThe Madrina/Padrino Giving Circle – What is it and who does it serve?

(Can someone help me out and let me know exactly what this is?)

Our goal for the Madrina/Padrino Giving Circle is $100,000 this year. We are only a quarter of the way there and that is because the Madrinas/Padrinos from last year have committed that money. We need more participants in this giving circle.

Donations support conferences too!
Programs cost money, scholarships cost money, and our conferences are no different! In order for us to provide keynote speakers like Mrs. Rosie Castro, and Democratic Representative, Celia Israel, we need to raise over $20,000 in donations and grants PER CONFERENCE. Con Mi MADRE holds 5 conferences a year; that’s over $100,000 that is necessary in order to offer leadership opportunities to our future Latina Leaders!
So you see, every dollar counts. In order for us to continue to offer STEM conferences, Civic Engagement opportunities, College Tours and academic scholarships, we need your donations. Con Mi MADRE has the opportunity to touch so many with so little. Donate today! Every little bit counts!