Featured Speaker

Felix Sanchez

Felix Sanchez

Chairman and Co-founder, National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts

Mr. Sanchez is a principal with Terra Strategies LLC, a government affairs and public relations firm in Washington, D.C. Mr. Sanchez is also the co-founder and pro bono Chairman of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA), which he co-founded in 1997 with actors Jimmy Smits, Sonia Braga Esai Morales and Merel Julia. The non-profit foundation has become a leader in promoting Latinos in the media, entertainment and telecommunications industries.

In June 2015, immediately after Donald Trump announced his run for the Presidency, Mr. Sanchez became one of Trump’s staunchest critics, denouncing him repeatedly in CNN Opinion pieces and numerous media appearances for his bigoted remarks about Mexican immigrants.

For the last several years, Mr. Sanchez, as NHFA Chairman, led the fight to desegregate the Kennedy Center Honors, which resulted in major administrative and personnel changes at the Kennedy Center. The results of this effort has yielded the following Latino honorees: Carlos Santana, and Martina Arroyo, 2013; Rita Moreno, 2013; and Gloria Estefan, 2017. Mr. Sanchez's efforts, on behalf of NHFA, led to the induction of 22 new Latino members into the Association of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Oscars).

This summer, Mr. Sanchez worked with the Television Academy (EMMYS) to hold it’s first major Latino outreach program titled: The Power of Television: Latinx Inclusion. Mr. Sanchez also developed a 2019 diversity and inclusion partnership with the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE Miami) and the NAACP. Expanding NHFA’s reach, Mr. Sanchez has partnered since 2018 with the Latin GRAMMYS Cultural Foundation to advance music education in schools.

In November 2016, Mr. Sanchez launched PitchNY, with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Office of Motion Pictures and Television and NBCUniversal for undergraduate students in New York State. Mr. Sanchez also developed PitchDC a content pitch program--made possible through a community grant from the D.C. Mayor’s Office of Latino Affairs--established for NHFA’s graduate students principally at NYU, Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Northwestern, USC, UCLA UT Austin and Quinnipiac University. Mr. Sanchez also led the advocacy and strategy to convince Saturday Night Live to hire for the first time in 40 years, their first Latina cast members.

In 2013, Mr. Sanchez’s work was honored with the 2013 Advocacy Award by the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP). In 2016, the Government of Mexico presented Mr. Sanchez with the Ohtlí Award, its highest national honor presented to Mexican American and Latino philanthropy leaders. Mr. Sanchez serves on the Latino Jewish Leadership Council and the Kennedy Center Latino Advisory Board. Mr. Sanchez is a CNN contributor.

Mr. Sanchez is a former legislative assistant to then-U.S. Sen. Lloyd M. Bentsen, Jr.; former director of congressional relations for the American Gas Association and former vice president for government relations for the American Methanol Institute. Mr. Sanchez received his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and his M.A. and B.A. degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. Mr. Sanchez has two children, Isabella Sanchez a recent summa cum laude graduate from Boston University and Philippe Sanchez, a 3rd year cadet at West Point, Class of 2020.