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Welcome to ELLA Sports Foundation

Empowering Leadership in Latina Athletes (ELLA)

A Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Organization WITH THE MISSION TO LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD FOR YOUNG LATINA ATHLETES AND YOUNG WOMEN OF COLOR.

 

Countdown to ELLA ANNUAL RECEPTION- September 16, 2023

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ELLA IN THE NEWS

About ella

The Story behind “ELLA”

The story of ELLA begins with Lilly Travieso, who began playing sports at a young age. Over the years, she became passionate about playing softball and dreamed of playing the sport at a top university someday. Lilly embarked on a strenuous mental, physical, and academic journey to achieve her dream. However, along the way, she discovered the many obstacles and disparities faced by Latina athletes culturally and economically. With the help of her parents, Lilly received an award to play D1 Softball at Cornell University.

Lilly wants young Latina athletes like herself to have the same opportunities, but mostly, she wants all young female athletes to have the mentorship and support they need as they embark on their own athletic, academic, and professional journey. Lilly and her Mother, Patty, founded Empowering Leadership in Latina Athletes (ELLA) Sports Foundation with a mission to support young Latinas to become leaders of tomorrow through sports and academic excellence.

ELLA seeks to develop strong Latina leaders that will positively impact their communities while establishing their own legacy. The ELLA network provides young female athletes with opportunities to prepare themselves with college preparatory courses, high quality training, valuable networking, athletic and college mentorship, and exposure to leadership opportunities.

ELLA provides guidance and resources to young female athletes from all ages based on three principles:

ATHLETICS

  • Camps & Showcases
  • College Recruitment Guidance
  • Coaching Podcast/Seminars

EDUCATION

  • Empowerment Workshops and Conferences
  • Career Workshop and Guidance

COMMUNITY

  • High School Ambassador Program
  • Team Equipment Donation
  • Advocacy for Women in Sports

PROGRAMS OFFERED & WAYS TO SUPPORT ELLA

  • REmpowerment Workshops Conferences
  • RLeadership Development
  • RACT/SAT Preparation Guidance
  • RCollege Recruitment Guidance
  • RAthletic Mentorship
  • R Trainings
  • RSkill Development
  • RCommunity Outreach Programs
  • RScholarships & Sponsorships
  • RVolunteer Opportunities
  • RProfessional Networking
  • RGuidance in Finding Internships and Jobs
  • RJr High to HS School Guidance
  • RELLA High School Clubs

ANNUAL RECEPTION

ELLA will celebrate members, friends, sponsors and donors at the Annual RECEPTION.

Next GALA EVENT will be celebrated on October 15, 2022 for Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month. To join us, become a sponsor, or donate please email co-founder, Patty Godoy at [email protected]. See you at the gala!

Our team

Founder & Co-Founder

Lilly Travieso

Founder 

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Lilly was always athletically inclined and played different sports from a very young age. Over the years, she became passionate about playing softball and aspired to play softball in a top university. This required her to embark on a extraneous physical, mental and academic journey. She faced many challenges and adversities but learned to become a leader in and out of the field and traveled throughout the United States and internationally, such as Cuba to play softball. She also had the honor to play for Puerto Rico’s Junior Olympic team.

Lilly is thankful for all the opportunities that have come her way and the immense support and guidance her parents provided for her. She would like young athletes and Latina athletes like herself to have the same opportunities and support. Therefore, the idea and vision of ELLA was created.

Lilly is humble to say she has committed to play softball at Cornell University in the fall of 2020.

Patty Godoy

Co-Founder & CEO 

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Patty Godoy is ELLA’s Co-Founder and CEO. She was born in El Salvador and has resided in Los Angeles, CA since the age of 12 years old. She has been a Registered Nurse for 30 years and she currently is the Director of Nursing at Correctional Health Services in Los Angeles County. Throughout her life she has embraced education and continuous learning. As a graduate of California State University, Fullerton, she holds a Masters in Health Administration and Masters in Nursing.

In the softball community, she was the vice president of Firecrackers Media City/Hollywood for four years. She was influential in the development of competitive softball platform for athletes in the San Fernando Valley. She worked with Coaches in developing budgets and planning the softball schedules for four seasons. As a Vice President she collaborated and led many projects related to media development and fundraising events. College recruiting was another aspect of her job while in Firecrackers Media City/Hollywood. She worked with teams, coaches and players in creating the appropriate recruiting plan and recruiting profile to maximize each player’s athletic potential.

Ms. Godoy has passion for leadership development and is a strong advocate for empowering leadership in Latina athletes.

Board of directors of ELLA

Rocio Herrera

Board Member

Program Director-Community

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Rocio Herrera was born in Chicago, Il. and has resided in LA County for the past 25 years; she was the chief executive officer for an excavation company and then started her own small business. She gave all that up in 2007 to pursue her calling; nursing after experiencing firsthand poor nursing care. She entered nursing school and received her Registered Nursing license in 2012. In 2015 she was injured by a patient and had to undergo two lifesaving neurosurgeries. Rocio used her recovery time to pursue higher education. She enrolled in the bachelor’s program at Azusa Pacific University and completed the bachelor’s in nursing program in 2017. She since has worked as an educator, worked for universities in student health, and currently works for the Department of Public Health as a Health Facilities Evaluator Nurse. Her role with the Department includes overseeing the management of long-term care facilities, relicensure, certification, and complaint investigations.

Growing up Rocio played multiple sports. Being the daughter of a single mother who worked multiple jobs to support her and her sister, Rocio’s mother was never able to attend a practice or watch a game. Much less purchase new equipment, Rocio played with borrowed and donated equipment. She was awarded a scholarship for softball but had to give it up due to a family emergency in which she relocated to California. Once in California Rocio could not play travel ball or High School Softball because her mother could not afford it. Her softball dream ended there because of the lack of resources available to her.

Rocio is the mother of three daughters (21, 15, and 2 years old). Her two older daughters both play softball and she has been actively volunteering for the past 15 years for various softball programs. She is currently the Softball Booster President for her local High School and has been on the board for the past 7 years (4 as President). Her role as President encompasses running the program from the financial aspect. She has also been very active in her daughter’s travel ball teams and assisted in the travel arrangements, event scheduling, fundraising, recruitment letter writing, and parent education.

Rocio has experienced the ramifications of disparity and oppression in sports firsthand and is very passionate about utilizing her experience with education, leadership, fundraising, program management, and community resources to help Empower Leadership in Latina Athletes.

ana maria gaona

Board Member

Program Director-Education

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Ana Maria Gaona brings over 26 years of public sector experience and knowledge of working with multiple disciplines and providing time-tested practical ways to address the inherent complexity of real-world problems and issues with sophisticated, multi-dimensional solutions. Gaona recently retired from her position as the Director of the Office of Government Relations & Policy for the Department of Health Services, second largest health system in the nation.

Through Gaona’s professional experience, combined with her academics, centers on public administration, organizational leadership, cross-cultural/cross-generational, interpersonal, and team communication with a focus on professional outcomes and student success.

Gaona is transitioning into her “third act” as a master connector, strategic coach, and educational/social advocate using her expertise of interdisciplinary leadership in high profile, fast-paced environments. Her career journey can be described as having taken a bit of a scenic route, blending careers, family, and lifestyle changes all at once.

Through personal development, Gaona has learned the importance of staying committed to one’s goals while remaining flexible in the approach. She is passionate about empowering the next generation and guiding to influence, impacting the inner self by developing a personal road map to encourage excitement about future adventures. She firmly believes everyone is uniquely designed to spark change and determined to show them how.

She has first-hand experience to the complexities and realities women leaders face in the workforce. Her strong interpersonal and communication skills and attention to details have afforded her a better understanding of the importance of building professional relationships.

She encourages to think across boundaries, crossing traditional boundaries, to create new opportunities and address a new way of business, both professionally and academically. As a Cal State-Northridge graduate, she holds an MPA, and most recently received the Dr. Davidds’ Leadership Institute Resilient Leadership Negotiation Certificate and is an honors recipient of the USC Multicultural Women Executive Leadership Program.

Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, she is a proud first-generation, bilingual Latina. Gaona appreciates working with a variety of like-minded individuals and has connected with many women who have become a network of support and encouragement, but most importantly developed genuine friendships.

ROBERTO ACOSTA

Board Member

Program Director-Financials

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Robert Acosta has over 30 years of Public Safety experience. Robert recentlyretired from the Orange County Fire Authority where he served as a Firefighter, Paramedic, Engineer, Fire Captain, Battalion Chief and Division Chief. The primary role of a Division Chief is to act as the local fire chief for cities within the assigned division, which included Westminster, Los Alamitos and Seal Beach. As Division Chief Robert managed and led over 100 sworn and civilian personnel with focus on developing working relationships while maintaining professional integrity.  In addition to operational duties, Robert provided oversight to a budget of over $18 million.  Post retirement, Robert has worked as an Emergency Services consultant for both the public and private sectors.

 

Robert is a second generation Mexican-American born and raised in Santa Ana, California. His family was active in Santa Ana City Politics where he learned the value of community activism. The Acosta Family Scholarship Fund was founded to sponsor Hispanic students on their journey to become firefighters.  His studies include Business at California Coast University, and vocational curriculums for the National Fire Academy’s Chief Officer Certification,  California State Fire Marshalls Fire Captain Curriculum, and California State Paramedicine Curriculum.   

 

Robert is passionate about sports and recognizes the value that they bring to a community. He has served on multiple sports-related Committees and coached youth sports, including baseball, soccer, softball and basketball. In his spare time Robert enjoys surfing, snowboarding and cycling.    

Program Managers of ELLA

Manny Travieso

Athletic Director

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Coach Manny was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Los Angeles, California.

Manny has coached competitive softball for the last 12 years. As a travel ball coach, his teams have played in tournaments across the US, such as Triple Crown, PGF, USSSA, and USA Softball. Currently, he is the Director of The Triple Crown International Challenge. He was also the assistant coach to the Jr. National Olympic Puerto Rico softball team. One of his memorable career highlights was being the Head Coach for the 1st USA travel softball team to travel and play against the National Olympic Cuban Team in Havana, Cuba.

For the last 7 years, coach Manny has worked endlessly with Firecrakers organizaiton, Firecrackers Hollywood to create a travel softball program that opens doors and provides a better softball foundation for young athletes in the San Fernando Valley/Burbank/Hollywood area. Taking the role of the head coach enables him to bring quality softball opportunities to young athletes in this area. He has been able to achieve this and has provided young athletes in this area the opportunity to play softball in college, as all his travel ball players have committed to playing in college.

Coach Manny is the Head Coach for Providence High School Softball. His goal is to provide his team a strong softball foundation, play competitively, and help bring a title to the school. Last season Providence HS Softball was 1 game away from the CIF championship game and came in 2nd in their league.

Coach Manny attended Long Beach State University. He has been married to his wife Patty for 22 years and they have 2 daughters, Lilly, 20 years old that plays softball at D1, Cornell University and Giselle, 15 years old that’s a great student and artist. His family resides in Burbank, CA. 

Julie Wolfsohn

Program Manager, Education

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Julieta Maria Wolfsohn-Hurley was born in Mexico to a Mexican mother and a German father.  She moved around a lot as a child, from Mexico to California, all the way up to Alaska. Julieta is a Registered Nurse with 34 years of experience in ambulatory clinics, case management, nursing informatics, intensive care units, and educational settings. She went to nursing school at Pasadena City College. Julieta has a master’s degree with emphasis in education in Nursing, from the University of Phoenix. She is a Senior Nursing Instructor for LAC+USC Medical Center. Julieta creates educational programs and projects for the hospital, coordinates with various high level multi-disciplinary professionals to develop hospital policies, standards and procedures. She mentors and instructs novice and seasoned nursing staff alike. Ms. Wolfsohn-Hurley is the Program Manager of Education for the ELLA Sports Foundation, a non-profit that works on empowering leadership in Latina athletes. Julie loves teaching as well as having a good laugh. Her joy is her family, her husband, Andrew Hurley, and her kids, Joshua and Elizabeth. 

Rosa Navarrete

Communications Consultant

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Rosa Lisbeth Navarrete is a Los Angeles based multimedia artist who works on independent film projects, theater productions, and supports arts non-profit organizations. She is a filmmaker, writer, director, and actor – and uses these storytelling skills to aid her work in communications. Her creative and administrative experiences range from Producing Promotional Videos, Documentation, Video Editing, Social Media Engagement, Website Management, Publicity Writing, Design, Copy Editing, Creative Writing, and Community Engagement. Rosa is also a Teaching Artist in Southern California working with Casa 0101 Theater, Invertigo Dance Theatre, The Muckenthaler Cultural Center and Justice for My Sister. She has participated in Undoing Racism workshops led by The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (pisab.org). In 2020 she completed her training with Los Angeles County Arts Ed Collective program – The Art of Leadership: From Individual Voice to Collective Impact. Rosa serves on the Board of Casa 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights. | Email: [email protected]. | Bilingual: English and Spanish. | www.rosastory.com

Gabriel Reyes

Public Relations Specialist

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Gabriel Reyes is considered one of the pioneers of Hispanic marketing in the Entertainment Industry.  He has led Reyes Entertainment, a boutique PR agency based in Hollywood for over two decades. He won the Digital Campaign of the Year Award from the Hispanic Public Relations Association (HPRA) as well as a Prism Award from PRSA for Outstanding Multicultural Campaigns for ABC’s “Ugly Betty” and “George Lopez.” He also won several MarCom Awards for creative excellence in communications. Reyes has been featured on CNN’s Latino in America as well as one of the “50 Most Powerful Latinos in Hollywood” by The Hollywood Reporter as well as The “100 Most Influential Latinos” by Hispanic Business Magazine.

Reyes is President and Founder of Reyes Entertainment, one of the premier marketing and public relations firms focused on the bilingual media markets.  Reyes Entertainment has worked with many Hollywood studios, networks and Latino stars promoting major film releases, network and cable TV series, DVD launches, concert and special event publicity as well as corporate communications.

Reyes Entertainment roster of past and present clients includes ABC-Disney TV Group, CBS Daytime, Nerium International, Charo, Coca-Cola, PBS Networks, Warner Bros. Pictures and WWE, among others. Reyes was also Lecturer at The University of Texas at Austin, teaching Integrated Communications in Latino Entertainment. He recently spoke before Tik Tok Latinx creatives on the art of media relations and is a regular guest speaking to university public relations classes.

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