Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University has named María Teresa Kumar, founding CEO of Voto Latino and Voto Latino Foundation and an Emmy-nominated on-air analyst for MSNBC, as its 2022 Flinn Foundation Centennial Lecturer.
Kumar’s keynote, titled “Our Changing America,” will take place at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 27, in the Carson Ballroom at Old Main on the ASU Tempe campus. The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are available online.
A Colombian-American, Kumar deeply understands and is personally part of the fastest-growing demographic group in America. This has given her a unique platform to address some of the most pressing issues of our time, including police reform, gender pay equity, immigration, diversity and inclusion in tech, protecting the vote and climate justice. She has dedicated her career to engaging the public to build democracy and protect human rights.
Kumar is a former host for Changing America on msnbc.com and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.
In 2013, Elle Magazine named her one of the 10 most influential women in Washington, D.C. Washington Life Magazine named her to the Power 100 in DC.
Hispanic Business listed her among the 100 most influential Latinos in America. Fast Company called Kumar one of the top 100 Creative Minds for her work at Voto Latino using technology, celebrity voices, media and youth themselves to empower a generation of young voters.
Under her leadership, Voto Latino has become a key factor in national elections by directly registering over a half million voters and influencing millions more through viral, celebrity-driven campaigns.
As the country’s largest Latino voter registration and mobilization organization, Voto Latino has played a decisive role in American elections and been a major voice countering disinformation in the Latino community. Under Kumar’s leadership, this work has garnered numerous awards and recognitions.
In the 2020 election, Voto Latino and Voto Latino Foundation raised $34 million combined — the most of any Latino organization in American electoral history — and registered 612,000 voters, also a record. Since its founding in 2004, the entities have raised more than $75 million and directly registered 1.1 million voters. 79% have gone on to vote.
Kumar is known for applying consumer marketing strategies to civic engagement. Voto Latino has pioneered the use of technology (including artificial intelligence best practices and data modeling), social media and celebrity influencers to effectively register voters and counter disinformation at unprecedented scale.
Kumar serves on the national boards of Planned Parenthood, Emily's List and the Latino Leaders Network, and is a Hunt Alternative Fund Prime Mover and a Council on Foreign Relations Life Member.
She is a frequent guest analyst on NPR and PBS, and was a recent panelist on Bill Maher’s HBO show. She has been an opinion writer for national publications and a speaker at major conferences, including for GE, Prudential, Intel, SXSW, NetRoots Nation, Personal Democracy Forum and TEDx.
She started her career in 1997 as a legislative aide for then-Democratic Caucus Chair Vic Fazio. Kumar earned a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of California at Davis.
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