ORTENSIA LOPEZ, the second of 11 children born to parents from Mexico, was the first to graduate from college and has never forgotten her roots. She has two B.A. degrees, in psychology and in Chicano studies, an M.A. in Urban Social Planning and is pursuing a Ph.D. in psychology. Meanwhile, she has been Chief Executive Officer at the North Peninsula Neighborhood Services Center since 1977. She is currently on leave from that post to serve as executive Director of Bay Area Latino Non-Profit Association (BALNA) which promotes and develops Latino leadership among service providers in the Latino community. She has been co-founder of the Hispanic Concilio of San Mateo County, the Latino issues forum, and the Sur San Francisco Unidos and has served on countless boards and commissions, including the State and local Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Chicana/Latina Foundation (formerly known as the Chicana Foundation of Northern California), the AIDS Advisory Task Force, Seton Hospital, the YWCA, the civil Service Commission, Legal Aid Society, San Francisco Bay Girls Scouts, the United Way, and the Parole Commission. She has received the Bank of America Hispanic Heroes and the Heroines Award, the United Way of the Bay Area Volunteer of the Year award, and the Hispanic Yellow Pages Community Recognition award among many others.