First Army Officer Speaks at Latina Leadership Conference

Major Kelly Guerra Inspires Others With Her Story

November 8, 2019

 Natalie Rubalcava, MAJ Kelly Guerra, Carmen Lawrence, and Jessica Patterson at Latina Leadership Conference
Moderator and Guest Panelists from Left to Right: Natalie Rubalcava, MAJ Kelly Guerra, Carmen Lawrence, and Jessica Patterson (courtesy photo)

IRVINE, California — First Army’s Maj. Kelly Guerra, SP, MPAS, APA-C, recently returned home to her native California to attend the Concordia University-Irvine Latina Leadership Conference as a guest panelist.

Guerra, a certified PA, spoke about her experiences growing up as a first-generation American, the values and sacrifice of her Salvadorean parents, who inspired her to become a strong, successful Latina, and the lessons she learned along the way.

She spoke to approximately 150 Latina high school students about graduating high school in Santa Ana, attending college at the University of California, Irvine, enlisting in to the U.S. Army Reserve to help her reach her goal of becoming a nurse, and then continuing to grow professionally by becoming a PA and a leader as a commissioned officer.

Maj. Guerra also said she wished she had the opportunity to attend a conference like this as a high school student to help guide her to achieve her aspirations.

MAJ Guerra posing with Jacquelyn Moran and Bella Meza
MAJ Guerra posing with Jacquelyn Moran and Bella Meza, both high school juniors in Santa Ana (courtesy photo)

Back at First Army headquarters in Rock Island Arsenal, Guerra reflected on the experience in California.

“It was such an honor to come back to my hometown and mentor young Latinas who reminded me so much of myself at that age,” she said. “It was incredible to look out at the audience and see young Latinas full of hopes and dreams taking in all of the advice from the panel.”

Guerra found the unique opportunity rewarding.

“It was truly humbling to get so many compliments after the event from the attendees who said they didn’t know me but they were so proud of me after hearing my story.”

This was the fourth Latina Leadership Conference hosted at Concordia University.  The conference featured Latina leaders from the community who were also first-generation college graduates – in addition to Maj. Guerra, PA-C, other speakers included a senior public information officer, a chairwoman of the California Republican Party, and an executive vice president.

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