2015 Keynote Juan Sepulveda

Juan Sepulveda head shotAs PBS’ Senior Vice President, Station Services, Juan represents the perspective of PBS’ independent member stations in the ongoing management and strategic direction of PBS to ensure that PBS programs, products and services support each station’s connection to its community and audience. He also works closely with stations, the PBS Board of Directors, station affinity groups and other national public media organizations to focus on issues of sustainability.

Prior to joining PBS, Juan served as the Senior Advisor for Hispanic Affairs at the Democratic National Committee (DNC).  He led the DNC portion of the Latino Obama 2012 team that helped re-elect President Obama with a record-level of Hispanic support (75%).  He also helped set record-level Hispanic participation at the 2012 Democratic National Convention including record-number of Latino delegates; national standing committee members and leadership positions; and national Hispanic organizations attending convention and testifying before platform drafting committee.   Juan also helped build a national Latino community leaders network (approx. 110,000) and organized a national Hispanic surrogate network consisting of local and state community leaders, most who had not previously participated in a presidential election.

In the Obama Administration, Juan led the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics for two-and-a-half years, having been appointed on May 19, 2009 to the position of Executive Director.  In this position, he built a national Latino education network of Latino leaders and key community stakeholders by convening half-day Community Conversations in more than 100 communities in 35 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., with more than 10,000 people participating.   Juan designed and facilitated the first-ever White House Hispanic Policy Conference. Co-sponsored with the White House Office of Public Engagement, 160 Hispanic leaders from 25 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico joined over 100 Administration officials over two days to discuss the President’s agenda and its impact on the Hispanic community and more importantly, to strategize together on how to best move forward together to improve outcomes and access for the Hispanic community. Building on the success of the White House Policy Conference, Juan helped create a series of White House Hispanic Community Action Summits, day-long Open Space Process gatherings held across the country where representatives of White House offices and federal agencies worked together with Latino community leaders: developing their own agendas, establishing relationships, sharing information and building partnerships to tackle key community issues. Twenty (20) summits were held in the following states: AZ; CA; CO; FL; MD; NC; NM; NV; NY; OH; PA; TX; VA and WI.

Before joining the Obama Administration, Juan had been a senior executive, strategist, and advocate in the nonprofit and philanthropic communities, with a focus in community development, capacity building, and transformational management for more than 20 years. He was president of The Common Enterprise (TCE), which he founded in 1995 as an outgrowth of a national Rockefeller Foundation initiative to help build stronger communities across America by making nonprofits, philanthropic organizations, governments, businesses, and communities more effective as they tackled significant critical social issues in more than 35 states and nationally.  The focus of the work was the interplay of policy, politics, process and innovative problem-solving.

Examples of communities Juan worked with nationally and key issues they were confronting and approaches used include: Jacksonville, Florida (Strategic Philanthropy; Youth Development; Nonprofit Sector Community Coaching); The Turtle Mountain Chippewa, North Dakota, The Cheyenne River Sioux, South Dakota, and the Lummi Nation, Washington (Long-Term Poverty Reduction; American Indian tribes; Inclusive Community Planning); Billings, Montana, Portland, Oregon, Rapid City, South Dakota, and Seattle Washington (Long-Term Poverty Reduction, Urban American Indian Communities; Inclusive Community Planning); Santa Ana, California, Providence, Rhode Island, and Honolulu, Hawaii (Community Leadership; Civic Engagement; Faith-Based Work, Service and Volunteerism); San Diego, California (Family and Youth Issues; Immigration; Scenario Planning); Willmar, Minnesota, Jerome, Idaho, Marshalltown, Iowa, and Hood River, Oregon (Long-Term Poverty Reduction; Community Asset Mapping; Rural Latinos); San Antonio and Central Texas (Government Reform; Government and Community Planning; Citizen Participation; Youth and Neighborhood Leadership Development); Fort Worth, Texas (Workforce Development; Service and Volunteerism; Community Economic Development); Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Jackson, Mississippi (Community Economic Development; Strategic Planning); Kentucky (Statewide Community Organizing; Coal Mining—Mountain Top Removal); Lumina Foundation’s “Achieving the Dream” national community college reform (national network of 83 institutions in 15 states; community engagement); and Kellogg Foundation’s “Rural People, Rural Policy” national public policy initiative (worked with network of national public policy organizations; network analysis).

Having grown up in a working class Mexican-American neighborhood in Topeka, Kansas, Juan has been involved in community organizing and politics since the age of 16, when he was the first high school student hired to work for the Kansas Secretary of State. He also worked closely with the late Willie Velasquez and the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project and permanently moved to San Antonio, Texas, in the late 1980s, making it his new home. He completed a political biography of Willie and an organizational history of Southwest Voter, The Life and Times of Willie Velasquez—Su Voto Es Su Voz (Your Vote is Your Voice), published by Arte Público Press.

From 2004 to 2009, Juan was the host of the weekly KLRN public television series “Conversations,” focused on the people and organizations making positive and innovative contributions to communities in San Antonio, South Texas, and the U.S.

In 2008, Juan served as the Texas State Director for the Obama for America campaign.

Juan received a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard University. The third Latino ever to be awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, he graduated with a combined degree in politics, philosophy, and economics from the Queens College of Oxford University. He received a J.D. from Stanford Law School and has been admitted to the Texas Bar.

He is married to Teresa Niño, Director of the Office of Public Engagement at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at the Department of Health and Human Services. They have two children, Michael, a DePaul graduate, and Victoria, a Harvard graduate—both are alumni of City Year—Chicago. Juan and Teresa currently live in Washington, D.C., but San Antonio, Texas, remains home for them.

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