New Jersey Program Logo

100 Hispanic Women: New Jersey Program



New Jersey Scholars


A woman with black curly hair smiling for a picture

Luisa Rodriguez-Aponte


Luisa Rodriguez-Aponte is a first-generation Latina, born and raised in New York City with nearly 10 years of project management experience in youth development and the field of education. Luisa has worked on a number of programs and services within the non-profit, public, and private sectors focusing on policy, research, and data analysis. At edBridge Partners LLC, she is an Account Manager for the education consulting firm, responsible for developing long-term strategic partnerships with clients, and providing customized solutions and advisory services to higher education institutions. In her previous role as a Reporting Analyst and Consultant for the New York City Department of Education, Luisa worked closely with program managers and administrators in managing, reporting and analyzing data that supports students with disabilities. Prior to this work, Luisa held roles in a large charter school network managing special education compliance and data management, and a city-funded workforce development program providing out-of-school youth with internship opportunities. A lifelong learner and advocate for youth, Luisa believes that education opens doors and it is our duty to ensure that the next generation can become empowered by their own abilities and gain the confidence to fulfill their potential.

Luisa holds a BA in Political Science from Queens College, City University of New York and a Master of Science in Public Policy from The New School.

A woman with straight hair wearing a pink color suit

Monica Castano

Vice President

Social Media Chair

Monica Castano is a dynamic leader with 26 years of leadership experience in the HealthCare industry. As the Regional Operation Manager for the New York Metro Market at Labcorp she is highly regarded for leading large teams, driving performance improvement initiatives and overseeing the daily workflow of her operations team. Living by the motto of “We are the Leaders We've Been Waiting for” Monica is passionate about the development of the next generation of leaders. Hija de un padre Puertorriqueno and a Costa Rican mom this first gen business professional is enthusiastic about sharing her journey to success as a Hispanic woman in corporate America.

Her career has seen great advancements towards an inclusive environment over recent years, and she is devoted to raising awareness on why this is extremely important. Her mission is to create an inclusive work environment where all individuals are respected, and where our diverse workforce is effectively managed to improve business performance and enhance our competitive advantage. Her work as the Global ERG leader for Humanos has allowed her to hosted many events over the past few years where she has created a safe space for individuals to be open and have conversations recognizing and celebrating their differences. As a member of WEN ERG (Women Empowerment Network) she has facilitated yearly IWD workshops for her leadership team, to support them in leadership development, DEI, and empowering women in leadership. She believes in the importance of women helping each other with the right tools, resources, and training to open doors for one another.

She thrives at giving back to the community and host serval community outreach events throughout the year. She’s extremely proud of creating Diversity classroom libraries in underserving schools. Monica is a strong believer that children deserve to see themselves in the books they read. Her goal is to continue to motivate, support and inspire our future leaders and in doing so, assist in making a stronger community.

Co-founder of MYSUNSHINE Events she proclaims it as her favorite accomplishment as it has allowed her to enter the entrepreneurship world with her daughter.

Ayanelis Rodriguez

Ayanelis Rodriguez


Ayanelis Rodriguez is an entrepreneur with a passion for promoting positive mental health and encouraging overall well-being through creativity. With over 15 years of experience in the Family Services field and a background in community mental health, Ayanelis brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her work. Throughout her career, she has dedicated herself to working with families in underprivileged communities, advocating for their well-being and providing support where it’s needed most.


As founder and CEO of Embellished Ribbon, a gifting company specializing in soy candles, personalized gifts, and events, Ayanelis channels her passion for mental health and creativity into uplifting others. Through Embellished Ribbon, Ayanelis drives to uplift, inspire, and empower others by creating gifts that make them feel loved, appreciated, and understood. By leveraging her experience in community mental health and her entrepreneurial spirit, she aims to create experiences that not only celebrate special occasions but also nurture relationships and foster a sense of belonging.


Beyond her work with Embellished Ribbon, in her free time, she enjoys exploring her creative side through crafting and DIY projects. She also values spending quality time with family and friends, finding joy in simple moments and meaningful connections. Ayanelis Rodriguez is deeply honored and humbled to join the Board of Directors for the 100 Hispanic Women NJ Program. With a strong commitment to advocacy and empowerment, she is excited about the opportunity to champion the educational and professional progression of Latina women and to inspire tomorrow’s leaders through creativity, innovation, and vision.

Teresa Montero

Teresa Montero


Teresa Montero is a Regional Manager at LabCorp and a passionate leader who strives to inspire future leaders to reach their full potential. In addition to her managerial role, she is the creator and co-host of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion podcast called “Diversity Matters,” Powered by Labcorp. To enhance her leadership skills, Teresa has taken courses in DEI, Women in Leadership, Leveraging Leadership Styles, Workplace Respect, Emotional Well-being, Assessment, and Mindfulness, and is also a green belt in Six Sigma.


Teresa Montero not only excels in her professional role but also actively contributes to her community, personal growth, and self-care, with her diverse interests and commitment to continuous learning. During her leisure time, Teresa engages in activities that promote her well-being. She practices meditation, and yoga, spends time at the sauna, and enjoys outdoor pursuits such as hiking, running, and bicycling. Teresa also actively participates in community outreach programs, with a particular focus on supporting individuals reentering the workforce through her involvement with the NJRC program. Teresa not only understands the importance of giving back, she also values a strong support network. Teresa considers herself fortunate to be surrounded by a network of supportive and powerful women who not only uplift and inspire her but also share a strong sense of faith.


Traveling and attending retreats are sources of joy and growth for Teresa. She believes that the world is not just a playground but a school of knowledge, and she embraces every experience as an opportunity to learn and develop personally and professionally. Teresa advocates for a holistic approach to medicine, emphasizing the interconnectedness of the body, mind, and spirit. Her belief in the power of holistic healing further reflects her dedication to overall well-being.


Teresa is a devoted mother to her son, Isaiah Pedroza, and her main focus is to ensure his success in the world. She leads by example, demonstrating the values and qualities she hopes to instill in him





Please enter your name.
Please enter a message.