Celebrating Southside Leaders in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month

In San Antonio, we are fortunate to have many inspiring Hispanic individuals making significant contributions to our community. At Live from the Southside Magazine, we have the privilege of getting up close and personal with these unique innovators, creators, business owners, and community advocates, all of whom we consider true leaders. As someone recognized as an influential Latina by KSAT 12, I am deeply motivated to spotlight these remarkable individuals shaping the Southside community.

From September 15th to October 15th, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to honor the rich tapestry of cultures and the invaluable contributions of Hispanic and Latino individuals in our Southside community. Their influence touches every facet of our lives, from advocacy and entertainment to finance, technology, and beyond. Let us unite as a community to embrace this diversity and pay tribute to the enduring legacies that have enriched our global heritage. Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!

Janie M. Gonzalez is a trailblazing visionary in the world of technology. As the founder of Webhead, she played a pivotal role in harnessing Internet technologies to create innovative web-based applications, setting the stage for e-commerce, mobility, and cloud services. Her journey began in 1994, on the Southside, at the very advent of the Internet. Since then, Webhead has maintained its position at the forefront of Product Modernization, Cloud Technologies, AI, and Cybersecurity. www.webheadtech.com

Smiley Orosco is a native San Antonian, proud Southsider (loyal to the soil), and realtor who builds lasting relationships while providing great service during every client’s buying, selling, and investing process. “I’m at your service,” — Smiley. smileysellssa.com/contact.




Sara Pruneda Beesley, Director of Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, oversees the 1,200-acre Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, a nature center and wildlife refuge dedicated to protecting birds and the places they need while connecting the community to nature through conservation and education. sbeesley@audubon.org




Aj Rivas- Content Creator/Comedian/Influencer From making people laugh during the pandemic with his “Selena/Yessica210” videos to launching his own entertainment business, “Aj Rivas Presents.” His comedic platform has led him to many new adventures and partnerships to grow as an entertainer. He mentions feeling blessed to continue to show out to represent San Antonio, especially his stomping grounds on the south and west sides of San Antonio. https://direct.me/ajrivas



Sara Briseño Gerrish, Broker Associate Sara is a second generation REALTOR® at RE/MAX Unlimited, the city’s largest real estate office on our Southside. She is passionate about San Antonio and a proud Southsider. She is currently serving as Chairman of the San Antonio Board of REALTORS® and the Chair-Elect of the South Texas Business Partnership. http://saragerrish.com



Jesse Garcia Jr. For almost 30 years, he has worked in the public education environment. During that time, he had the opportunity to help connect community partners with our school districts and establish relationships to benefit our community. Despite making a recent change in his work, his goal is to continue to help the Southside community with anything he can to ensure it continues to grow and opportunity always lives on the Southside of San Antonio.



Steve Perez Jr. is a blue-collar worker by day and a family man at night, and he began hustling his own business, TBC, on the weekends in 2017. His brand, TBC, represents the hard-working, bearded man and has grown and ventured to host community and give-back events while raising awareness of Southside small businesses. Follow him on social media.


Erica Valadez, Banking Center Manager and Bank Officer, was born and raised and still resides on the Southside of San Antonio. Utilizing her 25 years of banking experience and her passion for serving her community, she educates aspiring entrepreneurs on starting a business and helps small business owners reach their financial goals. She has become a “go-to” for small mom-and-pop businesses. https://www.lonestarnationalbank.com



Attorney Desi I. Martinez, founder of Martinez & Associates PLLC, has been chosen by Scene in San Antonio magazine as one of their “Best Lawyers” every single year since 2009. He was honored in 2021 and 2022, and again in 2023 when thousands of San Antonio Express News readers voted the firm of Martinez & Associates, PLLC, as the “Best Law Firm” in all of San Antonio, from amongst every law firm in the city. Desi has earned a reputation for taking cases to court that other attorneys may feel are not winnable. https://www.martinez-law.com/attorneys



Article by April Monterrosa

April Monterrosa is an author, speaker, radio personality at KLMO 98.9 FM, and community advocate based in San Antonio, Texas. She is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Live From The Southside Magazine, the first woman-owned publication in Southside San Antonio. She serves on multiple boards, including Brooks Gives Back, San Antonio Women’s Business Center, The Pink Berets, San Antonio Water System’s Community Experience Committee, the Palo Alto College Cosmetology Committee, the San Antonio District 3 & 4 Small Business Committee, the VIDA Arts Council, The Boardroom Project, and is the chairwoman for Mitchell Lake Audubon Center. She was also honored by the 87th Texas Legislature for her achievements as a civic leader and community advocate.