Estrellas of Tejas 

Each year at our State conference, HWNT honors women, from among its membership, who have made significant contributions to their community, and are role models for their fellow members.

To be an Estrella (a star), a woman must:
  • Be a member of HWNT in good standing for at least one year
  • Have demonstrated Leadership (Star) qualities
  • Have had an impact in her community
  • Be a role model for women
  • Be present to receive the award at the HWNT State Conference

The following HWNT members were selected as the 2010 Estrellas de Tejas for their significant contributions to their local chapter and community.


Alicia Maldonado

Alicia Maldonado is the Director of Marketing and Communications for Registered Agent Solutions, inc (RASi). Recently employed by RASi, Alicia focuses on planning, developing and executing strategic marketing initiatives.

Prior to RASi, Alicia was the Director of Internet & Business Relations for the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Alicia managed several Chamber initiatives during her tenure, including marketing, media relations, social media engagement and website development.

Alicia first joined HWNT-Austin in 2007 as the Vice Chair of Public Relations.  Under her leadership, the chapter newsletter and website were revitalized, updated and shared more frequently with a growing number of contacts.  She was elected Chair Elect in 2008 and began her Chair term in 2009 which she is currently still serving.  As Chair Elect, she chaired the chapter’s annual fundraiser where she raised funds to support the scholarship fund.  Her fundraiser event was the inaugural Loteria event, where members enjoyed playing an all time favorite pastime of Loteria (or Mexican bingo).  Members also received the opportunity to listen to local leaders speak about Hispanic issues including diabetes and teen pregnancy.  Members love this event and it has now become a must within the chapter calendar.

Alicia has taken her HWNT involvement to the next level as she is also currently serving as Secretary of the HWNT State Board where she continues to support this organization and its mission.


Betty Jean Longoria
Corpus Christi

Commissioner Betty Jean Longoria has a history of extensive volunteerism, community involvement and public service. Betty Jean serves as a Nueces County Commissioner for Precinct 2 and on the Board of: Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, American Heart Association, Friends of the CC Public Libraries and Council of Governments, also serving on the boards of the National Conference for Community & Justice, Goodwill Industries, Nueces County Community Action Agency, Westside Business, CC Chamber, CC Hispanic Chamber, HWNT, Region II Texas Municipal League (President), State Municipal League Association of Mayors, Council Members and Commissioners (President), and the Texas Municipal League Legislative Policy Committee on Environment (Vice-Chair).  She enjoys playing Mrs. Santa for the Westside Business Association “Navidad de Los Ninos”.

Longoria, was the first elected Hispanic woman to the Nueces County Commissioner Court in 2002 and re-elected.  She served as the first Hispanic woman on the Corpus Christi City Council and the Tuloso Midway School Board.  Her unique record of service, leadership, and advocacy has won her numerous awards from the local business and non-profit community.

Commissioner Longoria is a strong advocate for HWNT, allocating Commissioner Budget dollars for HWNT efforts to educate and raise awareness about heart disease and stroke prevention by providing educational forums and activities.

Her guiding quote, “I expect to pass through this world but once.  Any good thing that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow human being let me do it now… for I shall not pass this way again.”


Vielka-Lee Heitz

Vielka-Lee Heitz is a Senior Systems Engineer at Sirius Computer Solutions, an IBM Premier Business Partner.  Her responsibilities include pre and post sales technical support by designing and implementing sound mainframe solutions for customers in Texas, Colorado and Louisiana.  Previously, Vielka-Lee worked at IBM for twelve years where she held various Worldwide and local positions.  She co-chaired ‘La Red’, a key IBM Diversity Initiative focused on developing Hispanic women and earned various performance awards.

Vielka-Lee earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Southern Methodist University.  International coursework included studying abroad at ESC Rouen School of Management in France, Belgium and Mexico.

She serves as the 2009-2010 Chair of the Dallas Chapter for the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas, a nonprofit organization that promotes the advancement of women in public, corporate and civic life.  She also serves as an active member of the Committee of the Board for Power Pipeline, a young emerging leaders program hosted by the Foundation of Women’s Resources.  Participated in Power Pipeline 2009 and currently participates of Leadership Texas 2010 and Leadership America 2010.  She is a member of MANA, NSHMBA and an active member of the Junior League of Dallas where she volunteers at various capacities in organizations like Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, Genesis Women’s Shelter and the North Texas Food Bank.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, she currently resides in Grapevine, Texas with her husband.


Christina Elbitar
Fort Worth 

Christina Elbitar owns and operates, Chadra Mezza and Grill, a successful Lebanese restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas. She manages over 40 employees and oversees the daily operations while maintaining its strong presence in the community. Her restaurant boasts many awards and recognitions for its unique Mediterranean cuisine and contributions towards neighborhood revitalization. Chadra Mezza is known for its Southern Hospitality and Mediterranean Flavor.

A native of Fort Worth, Christina graduated from the High School of Medical Professions at North Side. She received a BBA in Finance from the University of North Texas.  Christina was employed as a full time accountant at Bimbo Bakeries USA, a national bakery, responsible for the corporate financial reporting for the company’s U.S. operations.  Later, she was a cost accountant at Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Company in Fort Worth.

Christina is currently serving a two year term as Chair of the Fort Worth Chapter of the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas (HWNT).   She oversees the chapter of 75 members, and 80 students. She has served and chaired many committees and events of HWNT, since 2003. She has been instrumental in promoting higher education by mentoring young girls, through the Latinas In Progress program. She also serves on the Marketing Committee and Arts Goggle committee for Fort South Incorporated, a non-profit organization working to sustain the revitalization of the Near Southside.

Christina enjoys spending time with her husband, Nehme Elbitar, co-owner of Café Chadra Inc. Christina believes in living your passion and searching for it until you discover it.


Daisy Morales

Daisy Morales is VP of Sales and Marketing, for Community Health Choice, Inc. She was hired to implement a 3-Share Program, a new health care product targeted at minimum wage employees, enabling them to have health insurance at a price they could afford.  Daisy has been instrumental in networking with financial brokers, community leaders, enlisting their support to make the 3-Share endeavor possible.  We all know that so many Americans do not have medical insurance simply because they cannot afford it.  Daisy's networking abilities, years of experience in marketing and sales, has successfully made the 3-Share Program a reality and kicked off Tex Health Harris County, on October 1, 2009.  Daisy is the key person responsible for the success of the Tex Health Harris County becoming a reality.

Daisy has championed many worthy causes and is an active member of many organizations, particularly those focused on the wellness and betterment of women and children; Chair of The Health and Wellness Committee of HWNT, The Women’s Fund for Health, on the Board of Trustees for Education and Research, active in her church and community related fund raisers, particularly those targeted for under-privileged children.   

Daisy encourages her staff to take ongoing educational courses and to join organizations for self-improvement and community networking opportunities, enables staff to implement innovative ideas, keeps them motivated and supports them.  Daisy never falters to show appreciation of a job well done, is sensitive to her staff’s morale, stresses teamwork, dedicated to her staff and their needs for career growth and improvement.

Hope Torres
Rio Grande Valley

Hope G. Torres, a McAllen native, has been a member of HWNT since 2005. She is currently the Treasurer of the McAllen chapter. She has been involved in all of the fundraising activities as well as other club projects.  These projects include the McAllen Police Toy Drive, Sacred Heart Church food pantry drive, and other HWNT community programs.

Hope is an independent insurance agent and has been self-employed for the past 24 years. For several years, Hope was the Secretary-Treasurer of the Upper Valley Association of Life and Financial Advisors, and has served in various capacities with many valley organizations.

Hope’s association with HWNT has provided her the opportunity to support and give back to her community. As an independent business woman, Hope encourages others to take advantage of available opportunities. She believes that perseverance and hard work pay off.


Dora Trinidad-Campos
San Antonio

Dora currently serves as the Chair for the San Antonio Chapter. She is passionate, dedicated and a great motivator.  In the past two years that she has served as chair, Dora has had several accomplishments that deserve to be recognized and qualify her to be our 2010 Estrella.  In her first year of leadership, HWNT-SA First Annual 5K/10K Run and Fun Walk was established, raising a little over $4000.  Dora was successful in implementing the Latinas in Progress Program for our local chapter, while creating The Wise Latina Scholarship in memory of our previous HWNT member and state board chair-elect, Barbie Hernandez.  She was able to reach out to family and friends to fund this scholarship with a little over $6000 in the first year of being established!  All of these events assisted our chapter with local media and community exposure, in the importance of educating Latinas as well as providing a forum for women to come together and help make a difference.

In addition to her work with HWNT, Dora has been awarded The Presidents Volunteer Service Award for the past two years, recognizing her for over 1400 hours of documented volunteer work in the community.

Dora has been with Citibank for 14 years and is currently a VP, Financial Center Manager.

She and her husband, David, have a three and a half year-old daughter, named Ashley Ann, who also likes volunteering with mommy. 

Thanks to her employer and her supportive husband, she’s been able to maintain "balance" in her life.

2009 Estrella de Tejas
23rd Annual Conference

Luisa Gaviño-Martinez - Austin 
Linda Benavides - Corpus Christi
Ivonne Acero - Dallas
Dr. Tanginika-Simone Cuascud Vega - Fort Worth
Anna Marie Guzman Protz - Houston
Diana Cantu - Rio Grande Valley
Elizabeth Garza Soto - San Antonio

2008 Estrellas de Tejas
22nd Annual Conference

Caroline Hernandez - Austin
Margie (Magdalena) Ortiz - Corpus Christi
Jacqueline Scimemi - Dallas
Elisa Castillo Najera - Fort Worth
Sally Morin - Houston
Rosie Wilkinson - Rio Grande Valley
Gloria Rodriguez - San Antonio
Lupe Morin - Austin - Chair's Award

2007 Estrellas de Tejas
21st Annual Conference 

Judge Orlinda Naranjo - Austin
Rosaena Garza - Corpus Christi
Mary Ann Kellam - Dallas
Eva Bonilla - Fort Worth
Joyce Carolyn Zeldis - Rio Grande Valley
Martha Tijerina - San Antonio
Karina Ramirez - Dallas - Chair's Award

2006 Estrellas de Tejas
20th Annual Conference
Corpus Christi

Velia Saenz Williams - Austin
Vilma Luna - Corpus Christi
Carmen Garcia - Dallas
Adela N. Gonzalez - Fort Worth
Manuelita Gutierrez Pena - McAllen
Lupe G. Ochoa - San Antonio

2005 Estrellas de Tejas 
19th Annual Conference
San Antonio

Elizabeth Gonzalez - Austin
Peggy Banales - Corpus Christi
Rita Rodriguez-Utt - Fort Worth
Queta Garret - Dallas
Lila Aguirre - San Antonio

2004 Estrellas de Tejas
18th Annual Conference

Lupe Morin -  Austin
Connie Muñoz - Corpus Christi
Betty Swinners - Dallas
Bonnie S. Y. Escobar - El Paso
Adriana Giraldo - Fort Worth
Judge Aida Salinas Flores - Rio Grande Valley
Christine Hernandez - San Antonio

2003 Estrellas de Tejas
17th Annual Conference

Terrie Rábago - Austin
Elia G. Gutierrez - Corpus Christi
Maricela Aguilar (Hernandez) - Dallas
Irma G. Perez - Fort Worth
Alida S. Hernandez - Rio Grande Valley
Mary Espiritu - San Antonio