Who We Are

Jolt is led by Latinos who have fought, marched and organized for our community. We’ve come together to build a movement in Texas that challenges the status quo and innovates civic participation in one of the largest states in the country.

Antonio Arellano
Interim Executive Director

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.

Brigid Hall
Chief Operating Officer

Brigid Hall is a leader in the civil rights movement who has dedicated her career to ensuring marginalized communities have a seat at the table in the decisions that impact their lives. She has helped take immigrant and racial justice organizations to scale in Texas, impacting the lives of millions of people across the state. Her niche is in the finance, fundraising, and operations of million-dollar entities. Brigid has worked at organizations in Texas, California, and Chile, and brings her unique leadership style wherever she goes.

Jackie Bastard
Operations and Human Resources Director

In her role as operations and human resources director, Jackie will drive Jolt’s talent acquisition, training and development initiatives, and human resources responsibilities.

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 Tolentino
Organizing Director

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.

Shantel Suárez Ávila
Interim Development Director

Shantel joined Jolt as Interim Development Director in September 2019. She most recently worked at Rush University Medical Center’s Office of Philanthropy in Chicago, Illinois. Shantel has a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy in Urban Studies from DePaul University in Chicago, is bilingual (fluent in Spanish) and bicultural, and has worked on political campaigns and at non-profit organizations since 2012. She is a human-centered leader and values freedom, harmony, family, community, commitment to equity, and kindness. When she’s not raising money for Jolt, she’s listening to an audiobook, listening to Spotify, exploring the food scene in Austin, indulging in political and philosophical dialogue with friends (and strangers), and/or training for a triathlon. Lastly, she loves her morning coffee and waking up to the sun rising.

Austin Staff

María Reneé Morales
Austin Organizer

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.

Dallas Staff

Carmen Ayala
Culture and Events Manager

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 Martinez
Dallas Organizer

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.

Houston Staff

Nadia Tamez-Robledo
Digital content specialist

Nadia Tamez-Robledo is a native of San Benito in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. She has a background in journalism and, prior to joining Jolt, worked as a reporter on U.S.-Mexico border in Brownsville and the Coastal Bend in Corpus Christi. Nadia strove to amplify the voices of immigrant and underserved communities through her work, which included reporting through a grant from the International Center for Journalists on the lives of American-raised youth in Mexico City. She also brings experience in nonprofit communication and initially became involved with Jolt as a volunteer in 2017. Nadia holds a degree in mass communication from the University of Texas-Pan American (now UT Rio Grande Valley).

Zoila Cabera
Logistics Coordinator

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 Cruz
Houston Voter Registration Manager

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.

Keylie Sandoval
Poder Quince Outreach Specialist

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.

Leslie Hernandez
Census Organizer

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.

Ashley Segura-Gonzalez
Digital Organizer

Ashley Segura-Gonzalez is a native Texan born in San Antonio and raised in Houston. Her background is in content creation and social media strategizing. Prior to joining Jolt, she worked as a full-time influencer for her website New Mom in a New Era, where she was dedicated to creating a positive narrative around being young Latino parents through sharing stories about her family’s lifestyle. She also worked as a Public Relations Specialist for Big Oak Tree Media and is a former Intelligence Analyst for the Texas Army National Guard.

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