Latinas in Leadership Facilitators

Margarita Benítez’s lifelong involvement with higher education began at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), where she was born and raised. At UPR, she was a professor of Spanish Literature and Humanities, as well as Chancellor of UPR’s Cayey Campus, and Acting Chancellor of UPR’s Humacao Campus. After moving to Washington, DC in 1997, she held a number of senior positions in higher education organizations, such as the Office of Postsecondary Education in the U.S. Dept. of Education, the Institute for Higher Education Policy, Excelencia in Education, The Education Trust, and the American Council on Education. In 2013, Dr. Benítez was one of four educators in the United States selected by Lumina Foundation for Education as a Lumina Fellow, in recognition of her work for access and success for underrepresented students. In September 2018, Benítez returned to Puerto Rico to serve as executive director of the Puerto Rico Endowment for the Humanities.

Dr. Benítez holds an undergraduate degree in philosophy, and graduate degrees in Hispanic Studies from Vassar College (BA), Middlebury College (MA), and Columbia University (PhD).

Yvonne Martínez Thorne is founder and CEO of Cultivating Wholeness Counseling Associates. Located in Pennsylvania and Florida, her faith-based practice provides specialized services for ordained clergy and lay leaders.  She also provides secular and faith-based counseling and psychotherapy to people across faith, race, and culture.

Rev. Dr. Martínez Thorne served as a consultant for Area Ministry and Communications for the Philadelphia Baptist Association.  Her commitment to the church continues in her role as consultant to congregations, ecumenical judicatories, and Christian organizations seeking greater wholeness and wellness. She recently provided disaster relief to clergy and congregations traumatized by natural disasters in Puerto Rico and The Bahamas.

She currently serves as faculty at Lexington Theological Seminary, where she offers courses on clergy wellness and on the importance of healthy boundaries in ministry.  Rev. Dr. Martínez Thorne holds a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Palmer Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Education (EdD) in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University.  Rev. Martínez Thorne is ordained clergy of the American Baptist Churches USA.

She is married to Rev. Dr. Leo S. Thorne, former associate general secretary for Mission Resource Development for the American Baptist Churches USA.

Dr. Omnia Samra-Latif Estafan has been practicing Obstetrics & Gynecology for over 17 years but has had a progressing focus on personalized and integrated medicine.  She completed her Medical Degree from UMDNJ – NJ Medical School through the Seven Year Accelerated Program. In addition, Dr-Samra-Latif-Estafan obtained her Master’s in Public Health (MPH) with areas of focus on women’s health and preventive care, from Johns Hopkins University. She is a Certified Menopause Practitioner through the North American Menopause Society.

With this expertise, Dr. Samra-Latif Estafan’s has given numerous lectures both domestically and internationally regarding hormone imbalance, and Anti-Aging And Regenerative Medicine.

To that end, she finds great satisfaction in bringing focused medicine, health, and wellness, to her patients. Dr. Samra-Latif Estafan has a personable and intimate rapport with her patients throughout their inner and outer health journey.

Dr. Samra-Latif Estafan is committed to helping achieve wellness and total health through a holistic and integrative approach to dedicated healthcare. The foundation of her health management follows the principles of Regenerative Medicine by combining both traditional and evidence-based integrative medicine. She emphasizes her focus on the whole person including all aspects of their lifestyle.