Lakeshore Latinas


Create a network of Latinas along the Lakeshore to foster advocacy, service, authentic relationships, and opportunities for personal and professional growth.



Liz DeLaLuz

ChairpersonCommunity Member

Leticia Gonzalez-Ortiz

Vice ChairCommunity Member

Alma Valenzuela

TreasurerCommunity Member

Jackie Parra

Social Media ChairCommunity Member

Yadah V. Ramirez

SecretaryCommunity Member

Dawn Ward

Founding MemberCommunity Member

Juanita Bocanegra

Founding MemberCommunity Member


Founding members Dawn Garcia Ward and Judge Juanita Bocanegra had an idea to organize social events that would bring the local Latina community together. Dawn states “We had no idea how many talented, interesting and successful Latinas live and work right here in our community.”

The group’s first meeting was held at Butch’s Dry Dock in Holland, where only five individuals attended. They shared dinner, wine and shared stories; they sympathized, laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. The group decided to meet regularly to build relationship, inspire and support one another.

The group continued to meet over the next year inviting new Latinas along the way. They grew to about twenty members and starting to plan for the future and what the group might look like. The group was approached by the Michigan West Coast Chamber, they offered administrative support and promotion of the group. The partnership allowed the Professional Lakeshore Latinas (PL2) became more formalized as well as created a mission statement: To foster relationships and empower Latinas through advocacy, service, and professional development. PL2 was able to grow to 55 members during that next year.

One of the most memorable and inspiring gathering was at Boatwerks in Holland, November 2016. There were approximately 25 members who shared their concerns, accomplishments and ideas in a safe environment. It was validating and empowering for all who were able to attend. Within the next year, the group decided that in order to be inclusive, they would drop the “Professional” from the group’s name. 

Over the next couple of years, the group continue to meet with the Chambers help on a regular basis. The group learned more about each other as well as financial well-being, self-care, there were inspiration talks and opportunities to learn about non-profit organizations serving the Latino population in our community.

In 2022, Lakeshore Latinas moved from the Michigan West Coast Chamber to Tri-Cities Puentes Initiative. This change allows the group to move meetings up and down the lakeshore and invite friends from the Muskegon area to participate in group activities. The group relaunched in early 2022 with a new logo and group structure. We updated our mission statement and strategic plan. We are excited to see where the future takes us.