Jolt Staff

Jolt is led by Latinx who have fought, marched and organized for our community. We’ve come together to build a movement in Texas that has the power to win our community the respect we deserve. Combined, our team has over 30 years of experience organizing, advocating, and defending the Latino community.

Cristina Tzintzún, Executive Director

Cristina Tzintzun is a nationally recognized advocate and leader in the Latino community. She was named “Hero of the New South” by Southern Living Magazine and hailed by the New York Times for her success with Workers Defense Project (WDP). At just 24, Cristina co-founded WDP and helped pass half a dozen local and state laws to protect the rights of hundreds of thousands of workers, guaranteeing them higher wages and safer working conditions. Cristina was also named a “changemaker” by the Texas Observer, and her work has been featured on NPR, USA Today, Univision and MSNBC’s Up Late with Alec Baldwin. Cristina is the author of the book “Presente! Latino Immigrant Voices in the Struggle for Racial Justice” and other works on race, class and gender.

David Sanchez, Civic Engagement Director

David brings over eight years of organizing and electoral  experience to Jolt. Most recently David worked as the Outreach and Engagement Coordinator for the Democracy Initiative, where he helped pass Automatic Voter Registration in Illinois and Fair Elections in Washington D.C. Prior to his work with the Democracy Initiative, David was DMV Coordinator for the People’s Climate Movement (PCM) and helped bring over 200,000 people to march for climate change in the streets of Washington D.C. Previous to his work with PCM, David worked across southwest states in a senior level capacity for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, and served as the Texas Deputy State Director. David earned a Bachelor of Science at the University of North Texas, and Masters in Public Administration from DePaul University.

Tess Ortega, Lead Organizer

Tess has been volunteering with the organization since February, 2017 and is a Jolt Organizing Institute Graduate. Before joining Jolt, Tess worked as a College Readiness Advocate at Austin Partners in Education helping low income students meet state college readiness standards and apply to institutions of higher education. During the summer of 2017 Tess was a lead organizing fellow in Texas for Planned Parenthood’s Summer of Defiance campaign focused on preventing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Tess got her start in non-profit work in college as a member of the 2015 Texas 4000 for Cancer team, she helped organize and participated in a bike ride from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska to raise money for cancer research and support programs. Tess holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin.

Board of Directors

Kandace Vallejo, President
Lesley Nowlin-Blessing, Secretary
Elsa Reyes, Treasurer
Bob Dailey, Member
Teo Tijerina, Member

Leadership Council

Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood
Dr. Hector Ruiz, Advanced Nanotechnology
Frank I. Sanchez, Needmor Foundation
Sara Gould, Smith College
Dr. Manuel Pastor, University of Southern California
Nona Niland, Niland Foundation
Bonnie Mills, Mills Family Foundation
Carmen Rojas, Worker’s Lab
Julene Perez-Gonzalez, Hispanics in Philanthropy (formerly)