Gloria Gonzales-Dholakia is the incoming Executive Director of Jolt Action and the Jolt Initiative.
The daughter of Mexican-American migrant parents, Gloria grew up working alongside her
parents and siblings to build a janitorial business that became a source of great pride for the entire family. The pride and strong work ethic she developed during that time have fueled the drive and foundation she has used to build her personal and professional life.
In the past, Gonzales-Dholakia has served as an adjunct professor at St. Edward’s University and
Austin Community College, Executive Director of a local education foundation, and Executive
Director of a foundation striving to help people with physical challenges live life to the fullest. In
2018, she became the first Latina to be elected as a school board trustee for the Leander
Independent School District, a position she continues to hold.
Gloria remains active in the community as a civic leader for multiple Texas State House Districts, the City of Austin, and Texas Public Schools. She is an active member of area business chamber organizations.
Gonzales-Dholakia has earned a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University, a master’s degree from the University of Phoenix, and a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin. She and her husband have three sons.
Jackie is a first generation college graduate. She attended the University of Houston Downtown where she obtained a B.S. in Criminal Justice and then obtained a M.A. in Criminology from the University of Houston Clear Lake.
Jackie is excited to be part of Jolt, an organization that empowers, equips, and mobilizes individuals to speak up not only for themselves but for those who are afraid to do so for fear of reprisal.
Maria is a proud Texas native, Chicana, and first-generation Mexican-American. She is the granddaughter of migrant farmworkers and daughter to immigrant mother from Monterrey, Mexico. Maria has been in the non-profit sector for 16 years working with underserved communities, single-parent households and at-risk youth to remove barriers while developing employment and educational opportunities. She is a proud mother of five and a hobby sugar artist/baker for local and national charities.
Through her personal experiences of the injustices facing the Latinx communities and political issues that were near and dear to her heart, she was drawn to become involved with Jolt. She wants to be a voice of empowerment and become a force for positive change in the Latinx community.
As the Organizing Director, she hopes to encourage, educate and mobilize the Latinx community to use their voting power for positive change in addition to advocating for those who cannot vote.
Before joining Jolt, Pedro was most recently the Organizing Director for the Warren Campaign in Northern California. Across nine states, Pedro has spent several years directing organizers in building electoral and advocacy campaigns. Pedro joined Jolt because he believes in the organization’s vision that young Latinos in Texas are a political sleeping giant. His passion for empowering youth activists – especially in the Latinx community – brought him to Jolt.
Sonya Radtke joined Jolt in 2020 to lead the organization’s fundraising efforts. Sonya is an experienced fundraiser with a proven track-record of achieving multi-million dollar development goals for nonprofits in the arts, education, and human services spaces. Having lived in the Dallas area for most of her life, Sonya’s perspective on philanthropy is informed by an understanding of the systemic challenges of poverty and racism in Texas. As the daughter of a Spanish immigrant, Sonya is inspired by Jolt’s commitment to social justice and creating a more equitable future for all Texans.
Prior to joining Jolt, Sonya consulted for eight large and mid-size social service organizations across the United States, working with their senior leadership teams to develop and implement annual fundraising plans. She also spent over four years as the senior development manager at Big Thought, a youth development organization in Dallas. Sonya holds a BA from Emerson College and a dual MBA and MA from Southern Methodist University.
Marcy Miranda is a seasoned Communications expert with more than a decade of experience in media relations, crisis communications and public affairs across both the public and private sectors. Prior to joining Jolt in 2020, Miranda worked in political communications, serving as the Communications Director for a Congressional campaign in Texas and as a spokesperson for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. A writer at heart, she began her professional career as a journalist in Colorado.
A first-generation Mexican-American, Miranda is an avid reader and runner. She lives in Dallas with her husband and 1-year-old son.
Patricia Zavala is a Senior Policy Analyst at Jolt where she leads state and federal policy initiatives that support and uplift LatinX communities. Patricia is Peruvian-American and a native Texan; she believes in combining community organizing strategies with policy advocacy to build racial and economic equity. She has passed legislation that created more workplace protections for immigrant workers and successfully initiated a new green jobs program for youth, women and people of color.
During Patricia’s tenure as a Brumley Research Fellow, she conducted policy research for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and organized transnational climate actions with the UN Climate Vulnerable forum. Patricia holds two masters degrees in Public Affairs and Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and also serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Electric Transportation Resources Alliance.
María Reneé Morales is a social worker by education and by heart. She serves Jolt’s organizer in Austin, where she teaches the Latinx community best practices on utilizing their power to build momentum and change. She has always been passionate about helping people and educating the community.
María Reneé has experience in macro and clinical practice involving community engagement, program planning, evaluation, and case management. She has a Bachelor’s in Social Work from St. Edwards University and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Houston. She is originally from Guatemala and loves meeting new people and dogs.
Marlene Guerrero Plua joined Jolt as the Project Manager in January 2020. A Rio Grande Valley girl at heart, Marlene’s advocacy work is fueled by her own personal narrative growing up in a colonia, being raised by a single mother and having worked as a migrant farmworker. Marlene knows firsthand the inequalities and the hardships perpetuated by poverty.
Previously, she worked at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid as the Director of Community Outreach and Engagement. Marlene has led various campaigns representing the narratives of the borderlands and is a co-founder of FUERZA del Valle Worker’s Center. Marlene is a first-generation college graduate from Kalamazoo College where she received a BA in Anthropology/Sociology with a concentration in Media Studies and studied Spanish Language and Literature at the Universidad de San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador.
Marlene is a passionate and fierce leader fighting for a better world for her son and the next generations to come.
Matt is the grant writer at Jolt. Prior to working at Jolt, he had been working in translation services and publishing. He began to get involved with Jolt as a volunteer in 2019 after moving back to Texas. A native Austinite, Matt is committed to building the power of Latinos to affect change in Texas and be fairly represented in our political system. He is a strong supporter of Jolt’s core belief that in order to empower the Latino community, we must change the narrative and uplift the voices of young people.
Currently located in San Marcos, Texas, Elysia Perkins is a photographer and writer with a deep passion for creating meaningful, eye-catching content. She recently graduated from Texas State University after earning her BA in English with a minor in journalism. Inspired by Texas’ deep need for reform in healthcare, climate change, voting rights, and equal government representation for all Texans, Elysia entered public service to aid progressive change in Texas. Elysia is proud to act as Jolt’s Digital Content Specialist to spread Jolt’s message and empower Latinx voices across the state. She is excited to use her communication and design skills to make positive change in Texas.
Carmen Ayala serves as the Culture and Events Manager at Jolt. Prior to joining Jolt, she served as the Executive Director of the Dallas County Democratic Party. She is working to shift cultural tides by harnessing the power of Latino culture to create a new generation of civically engaged Latinos. She is a proud Mexican American with ties in Michoacan, Mexico. She graduated from El Centro College in Dallas and the Texas Women’s University in Denton.
Vanessa is responsible for establishing and supporting Jolt student chapters in North Texas. While attending Roosevelt University, she worked as a scholar/activist for the Mansfield Institute for Social Justice. Vanessa became interested in finding how Latinx students with disabilities where being directly affected in Chicagos’ public school system. Through her research and advocacy, Vanessa realized her desire to apply her education to empower her community in Texas.
LaShun Roy is a graduate of The University of Texas at Tyler where she received her BA in English and minored in Political Science. She is a strong servant leader and activist with a passion for community organizing. She has served in multiple leadership roles and worked for various statewide and national organizations such as: VoteRunLead, NEW Leadership TX, Ignite National, and MOVE Texas. LaShun fights for racial justice, gender parity, and bringing better opportunities for civic and political engagement to rural communities. Coming from a multiracial family, LaShun has a strong commitment to advocating for the LatinX community and amplifying black and brown voices in this country. Prior to coming to JOLT, LaShun worked on Tom Steyer’s 2020 Presidential Campaign as the Statewide Volunteer Engagement Director. She currently serves her community as a precinct chair, President of the Smith County Democratic Club and a VDR to register voters across the state of Texas.
Antonio Arellano is a multi-media journalist and human rights advocate who has been nationally recognized as one of the most influential young Latino voices in the United States, by Hispanicize. Originally from Michoacán, Mexico he served as a social media correspondent for KTRK ABC13 in Houston, Texas prior to joining Jolt in September 2018
His social media accounts combined reach an estimated 100 thousand millennial voters. He uses his platforms to engage and empower the youth to fight for immigration reform, racial equality, LGBTQI issues, and civil rights. Antonio’s consistent innovation has garnished national attention, and he has been featured in national publications such as the Washington Post, Vice News, Huffpost and USA Today.
Zoila Cabera serves as Logistics Coordinator at Jolt. Prior to joining Jolt, Zoila Worked at Job Corps as an Outreach Admission Counselor, and also worked as an HR Generalist. In December 2018, she graduated from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, with an associate’s degree in accounting. She was born from immigrant parents and is the first in her family to graduate from college. She is passionate about helping the Latino community specifically, empowering Hispanic women.
Gabrielle is a native Southeast Houstonian. She first fell in love with public service when she volunteered for the Obama ’08 campaign as a phone banker. While in high school, she lobbied for and won a larger selection of books on the Mexican-American history of Texas in her school’s library. Gabrielle graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Political Science and the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Masters of Public Administration. Her experiences includes interning for Congressman Joaquin Castro and working for State Rep. Roland Gutierrez as a field organizer.
Ambar Mendez is the Digital Media Manager for Jolt where she will be leading campaigns that will elevate, engage, and educate our communities. She graduated from the University of Houston – Downtown with her B.A. in Corporate Communications. Her primary experience comes from freelancing and working in nonprofits where she learned and mastered how to build digital media strategies that lead to executing social media campaigns and advertising. Her passion is in educating and being thoughtful in her creativity. She’s excited to expand on her skills with an organization that aims to put the voices of Texas Latinos on the forefront.
As Poder Quince Outreach Specialist, Keyli focuses on making connections with local Latinx businesses, Latinx influencers, and uplifting young Latinas who are preparing to be part of this culture-shifting campaign. Before joining Jolt, she helped Houstonians overcome day-to-day obstacles as an intern for District C with Mayor Pro-Tem Ellen Cohen. That experience inspired Keyli to help elevate her community, which spurred her volunteer efforts at nonprofits including Loaves and Fishes, the Houston Food Bank, and Jolt.
She is a senior at the University of Houston-Main Campus working towards obtaining a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Law, Values and Policy. Keyli is also a proud dog mom of a fierce Chihuahua named Bambi.
Kelvin is a recent transplant to Texas; he previously resided in Wichita, KS where he graduated with a degree in Political Science at Wichita State University. Realizing the potential to civically engage the Latinx community in Texas, he was eager to make the move. Kelvin first began his involvement with Jolt in September of 2018 as a canvasser and then transitioned to become the Houston Organizer. Before working for Jolt, Kelvin participated in various city-wide organizing for immigrant’s rights and working to make his campus and hometown more welcoming to immigrants and the Latinx community. Most notably, in September of 2017 when the President announced the termination of the Obama-era DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, Kelvin mobilized over 400 people at a rally in support of DACA recipients exactly one week later.
Leslie Hernandez is a recent first-generation college graduate and a native to the East End community of Houston, TX. The lack of resources for and investment in Latinos in her community encouraged her to pursue a degree in sociology with a concentration in Latino and Mexican-American studies at THE Texas A&M University. During her time there, Leslie served as a leader for various diverse organizations, pushed for progressive legislation through Student Government, and advocated for the rights of organizations composed of minority students on campus. As census organizer, Leslie will engage and build relationships with individuals and marginalized populations who have previously been undercounted on the census to ensure they receive the resources they need.
Elizabeth is responsible for supporting Jolt’s Executive Director and serving as a liaison to fellow staff members. Elizabeth is a first-generation Texas native with a vibrant Texas upbringing! She is a proud Houstonian and supporter of Latinx-centered engagement, sparked from her upbringing in a rural Texas town, that highlights the underserved Latinx community. She has applied and developed her knowledge in communications to provide the utmost support to Executive Director Antonio Arellano in the creation of organizational systems and daily support.