Denise Hernandez is a lawyer and social entrepreneur dedicated to public service in every aspect of her life. Through grit and perseverance, Denise became the first person in her family to go to college. The adversity she faced at a young age inspired her to become an advocate for those in need. Denise currently serves as an Assistant District Attorney in the Special Victims’ Unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, fighting for survivors of domestic violence and child abuse. Before starting her criminal law career, she was lead counsel for a women’s shelter in west Texas helping survivors of domestic violence obtain protective orders. Denise is also the Co-Founder of three social impact organizations including:
-Hustle for the Cause, a social enterprise that offers socially-responsible business consultation and content production;
-Wedding Party Love, a LGBTQ+ Inclusive wedding planning company; and
-KDH Giving Fund, a philanthropic fund that uplifts marginalized communities through inclusive and diverse grant giving.
Denise is deeply dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts; creating spaces of empowerment; mentorship for Black, Indigenous, People of Color; trauma advocacy; and helping marginalized communities build generational wealth. These passions led Denise to start Chingona Fest Texas, an annual female empowerment festival that highlights Latinx culture, entrepreneurship, and inclusive philanthropy. The festival provides grants for Latinx nonprofits and business grants for Latina entrepreneurs.
These passions also fuel Denise’s community service. She currently serves as the Chair-Elect for Con Mi MADRE, Vice Chair for the New Philanthropists, and Co-Chair for the LGBT Law Section of the Austin Bar Association. She previously served as the Chair of the KLRU Community Advisory Board, and Commissioner for the Mexican American Cultural Center Advisory Board. Denise’s commitment to public service has been recognized locally and nationally, including receiving the PBS American Graduate Champion Recognition for mentorship; HABLA Con Orgullo Community Leader Award for public service; and the Anne McAfee Award for leadership in cultural change.
Motivated by her humble beginnings and passion for advocacy, Denise continues to build authentic community relationships to create social change. Her community projects in 2020 include raising funds to help immigrant populations impacted by COVID-19 and addressing racial inequities in the criminal justice system. Denise’s life vision is to create spaces and experiences that inspire young people of color to become ChangeMakers!