Nilza R. Serrano
Owner/CEO at Serrano & Associates
If communities are built from the ground up, then Nilza Serrano can definitely be considered a builder. A successful entrepreneur and community activist, Serrano’s career has centered on bridging the gap between private enterprise and public service. Over twenty years ago, she founded TMS Production and Post Production firm and, through that successful enterprise, today has an extensive client network that includes such corporate giants as General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Mobil Oil Company, Tenet Healthcare Corporation, Paramount Studios, The Walt Disney Company, Warner Brothers, Universal Pictures, and DreamWorks Pictures. Serrano's client base has crossed international borders as well, with successful projects completed in China, Peru, Mexico, Guatemala, and Canada.
On the community side, in 2014 Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed Ms Serrano to the Board of Administration of the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System (LACERS). She concurrently serves on LACERS Benefits Administration Committee and Governance Committee. As a LACERS Board Member, she manages and administers the City of Los Angeles’ Employees’ Retirement Fund, invests the fund’s assets, determines health providers and coverage for retired employees, and approves members’ applications.
Serrano is on the national board Association of Latino Professionals For America ALPFA, the first national Latino professional association in the United States, established in Los Angeles in 1972. 47-year history we have experienced steady growth and demonstrated consistent value. ALPFA continues to build upon its proud legacy with a mission: To empower and develop Latino men and women as leaders of character for the nation, in every sector of the global economy.
In 2017, Ms. Serrano was selected to serve as a Trustee to the Board of the California State University – Los Angeles Foundation. The mission of the foundation is to advance the educational, cultural, scholarly, and creative activities of California State University Los Angeles, as well as the role of community service, by increasing private funding, responsibly managing donated resources and supporting the University and its diverse and distinct nature.
Ms. Serrano was also appointed to the California Architects Board in 2018, which aims to protect public health, safety, and welfare through the regulation of the practice of architecture and landscape architecture. She was subsequently accepted, as the first and only Latino in its 99-year history, as an Advisory Board member to the National Architects Board.
A strong believer in political activism and empowerment, Serrano served as treasurer for HOPE-PAC - A Political Action Committee, whose mission is to assist Latina women to rise to elected office in California. With the rising Latino population and corresponding buying power, Serrano states: "Latinas play a vital role in the infrastructure of the family and in business; it is now long overdue that Latinas play a role on the political stage.”
Additionally in 2018, she was appointed by U.S. Congressman (later named California State Attorney General) Xavier Becerra to serve as a delegate for the California State Democratic Party. In 2019, she was named female Democrat of the Year for her Assembly District by the Los Angeles County Democratic Party.
Her many awards and recognitions include the Latin Business Association’s Latina Entrepreneur of the Year in Media in 2003, considered a very prestigious award in both the Latino, media and business communities; and the National Latina Business Women Association’s 2004 Business Woman of the Year, recognizing her for her groundbreaking achievements in the business of entertainment and media.
Beyond her professional life, Nilza Serrano is an active supporter of opportunity, education, and outreach for Latinos and Latino Culture. She is widely respected for her work in the Latino community, locally and nationally, particularly in the areas of education, arts and culture, business advocacy and political activism. Her love for Latino culture propelled her to continue her work with Latino Heritage L.A. - which she launched under the administration of former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan - an organization that engages, inspires and highlights contributions made by the Latino community to our nation. As the Executive Event Producer for Latino Heritage L.A., she is responsible for the overall logistical and creative management of cultural events, forging strategic partnerships with top brands to create, execute and promote unique and free events for the public during Latino Heritage Month. Under her leadership, Los Angeles’ Latino Heritage Month has flourished and become the most successful series of events in town.
Her love for Latino culture and film also propelled her to serve as co-founder of the Los Angeles International Latino Film Festival, a successful event that brought Latino films from around the world to the City of Los Angeles during the celebration of Latino Heritage Month.
Serrano’s community involvement also includes proudly serving on the Board of Directors of Plaza De La Raza, the oldest Latino arts-focused nonprofit organization in the nation. Her excellent fundraising skills have made her the leading force on the Board, bringing in much needed funds from major corporations. She also developed an innovative program that provides the children at Plaza with a complete book bag filled with all the essentials to start the school year with a winning attitude. A total of 600 children per year benefit from this program.
In other community work, Serrano also served as President of the Board of Amanacer Mental Health Services, one of the largest mental health centers in the County of Los Angeles, serving over 25,000 cases per year. Serrano also served as the Board’s Secretary and Fundraising Chair.
Her love for children gave the President of the Los Angeles School Board the incentive to appoint Serrano as a Commissioner to LATCH, a program that oversees school-based medical clinics, where she also served as the Secretary of the LATCH Board.
California had not experienced the tenacity of Latin Jazz prior to Serrano acting as Vice President of the Los Angeles International Latin Jazz Festival. She was instrumental in introducing Latin Jazz to the Greek Theater, along with other Festival committee members such as Andy Garcia, Hector Elizondo, Angelica Huston, Herb Alpert, the late composer Lalo Shifrin, and many more.
Serrano has also served as the Director of the Advisory Board of Humanitarian Outreach Programs Esperanza (HOPE). Developed in 1991, the program’s objective is to raise funds to build orphanages in underdeveloped countries around the world. Based in Southern California, the program solicits equipment and funding from hospitals and healthcare organizations, where it is put to use to set up medical teams on goodwill missions worldwide.
Serrano’s public service extends beyond greater Los Angeles. She has spent countless hours volunteering her time on the Board of Directors for the Orange County Chapter of the American Lung Association.
Ms. Serrano has also served as Board President for Navidad en El Barrio, a non-profit organization that was created over 25 years ago to bring food manufacturers and corporate leaders in unison to feed over 20,000 needy families during the holiday season.
She is also a member of the Advisory Board of Los Bomberos, a group of Los Angeles City Latino firefighters who volunteer their free time collecting toys, food, and clothing for victims of fire, and assisting with the mentorship program.
Serrano is a graduate of the HOPE (Hispanas Organized for Political Equality) Leadership Institute that focuses on State and National policy affecting the lives of Latinas in the country.
Raised in the community of Lincoln Heights in North East Los Angeles, Serrano has embraced the Latino experience from a local perspective. A graduate of Lincoln High School, she began her collegiate education at East Los Angeles College and California State University - Los Angeles. She has earned certifications in Executive Leadership from The Wharton School of Business at The University of Pennsylvania, Harvard Medical School, and the Pepperdine University Graziadio Executive Center.