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Maria Teresa Kumar

Host of MSNBC’s Changing America; President & CEO, Voto Latino; Emmy Nominated MSNBC Contributor; Pioneering Thought Leader on Diversity and Demographic Opportunities

Travels From:
District Of Columbia
Fee Range:
$15,000 - $25,000

Lauded as one the most influential American Latinos under 40 and as among the top Latinas in Government and Politics, Maria Teresa (Petersen) Kumar is the founding Executive Director of Voto Latino, a leading national civic engagement organization targeting acculturated American Latino youth.

Maria Teresa’s expertise and intimate understanding of the Latino population and culture within the U.S. has made her an invaluable resource – not only to political movements, but to the business community as well.

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Lauded as one the most influential American Latinos under 40 and as among the top Latinas in Government and Politics, Maria Teresa (Petersen) Kumar is the founding President & CEO of Voto Latino, a leading national civic engagement organization targeting acculturated American Latino youth. She is also an Emmy-nominated contributor with MSNBC and the host of MSNBC.com’s new show, Changing America.

In the 2008 presidential election, Voto Latino won wide recognition and praise by leveraging social media and celebrity participation in five battleground states, all of which saw Latino voter participation increase 5% or more above the national average. Its innovative initiatives – including launching the first national mobile voter registration campaign were seen as groundbreaking, and today, Voto Latino is expanding its civic engagement to include issue based advocacy such as green jobs, education, and healthcare.

A widely sought-after political analyst, Maria Teresa appears regularly as a commentator on several programs including HardBall with Chris Matthews and Morning Joe. She is also a frequent guest on such media outlets as NPR and Telemundo, a frequent opinion writer for national publications, and a widely sought-after speaker at major international conferences.

Kumar has been named by Fast Company as among the most 1000 Creative Minds in Business Worldwide for her unique use of technology, media and celebrity to make transformative change and mobilizing the fastest growing group of Americans. In 2013, Elle named her one of the 10 Most Influential Women in Washington, DC. A dynamic community leader, María Teresa was named by Hispanic Business as among the 100 most influential Latinos in America.

Maria Teresa Kumar owned a successful corporate and political consulting business when she realized that her clients -- Fortune 500 companies and nonprofit organizations -- were both failing to connect with the fastest-growing demographic in the United States: young Latinos. Believing that Latinos can improve their quality of life as well as contribute to building a healthy, strong America by understanding the electoral process, Maria Teresa co-founded Voto Latino in 2004 to increase this population’s involvement in civic life. Voto Latino, says Maria Teresa, was the first organization to recognize that many US-born Latinos identify themselves as American: “They want to be part of the system, only no one has asked them.” Maria Teresa expanded Voto Latino from a public service announcement campaign to what is now a full-fledged organization that leverages new media, technology, and celebrity spokespeople to mobilize Latino voters, encourage civic participation, and change negative cultural stereotypes.

Maria Teresa is a recipient of numerous leadership awards including from The White House Project, Imagen Foundation, and the New York Legislature. Last year, Washington Life magazine placed Maria Teresa on the cover of their issue highlighting the most influential Washingtonians under 40. She is a Council of Foreign Relations term member, an Ambassador Swanee Hunt Prime Mover Fellow, a Women’s Media Center Fellow and a Woodrow Wilson Public Policy International Affairs Fellow.

Maria Teresa received a masters degree in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a bachelors degree in international relations from the University California at Davis.

From immigration to education, economic policy, voter registration, and congressional redistricting, these are just a few of the many paramount issues that come to mind when discussing perhaps the most dramatic shift in American demographic.  Few people are more informed and better equipped to speak on the changing landscape of American society – and most importantly, what it means for political campaigns, elections, economic prosperity, and business growth – than Maria Teresa Kumar.  Highly sought out by business leaders, economic advisors, and campaign managers alike, Kumar shares with audiences her deep understanding of these issues, and how to successfully navigate through such unprecedented change.


With over $1.3 trillion dollars in purchasing power and a young, desirable demographic the growth opportunities for businesses are staggering.  Kumar shares with audiences how this increasingly bi-lingual, 50 million plus Latino population within the U.S. presents enormous possibilities for organizations.  Kumar illuminates audiences on how to embrace, cultivate, and cater to this unparalleled consumer base – and why organizations that do, will be far more prosperous than those that do not.


In this well-informed, lively, and compelling presentation, Kumar addresses many of the issues driving our national discussion. From the ever-changing demographics in the U.S., to the business, economic, and political ramifications of such a shift.  A reflection of her MSNBC show by the same name, Kumar engages audiences on some of the most important political, social, and economic topics facing us today.


Named by Fast Company as among the most 100 Creative Minds in Business Worldwide for her unique use of technology, media and celebrity to make transformative change and mobilizing the fastest growing group of Americans, Maria Teresa Kumar intimately understands how to utilize innovative approaches to build movements and bring people together.  Under her leadership, Voto Latino launched the first ever national mobile voter registration campaign and directly registered over a quarter-million voters, while influencing countless more, during the 2008 election.   In this presentation, Kumar shares with audiences how to utilize social networks, technology, and other viral sharing resources to build and maintain buzz – whether for products, services, campaigns, or social causes.


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  • "A tour-de-force with a pulse on Latinos!"

  • "Kumar's political and business acumen is undeniable…"