Our Mission is to build positive relationships between clients and communities.

We design innovative programs that inform, support and empower residents through the public engagement process. Our firm acts as a liaison between clients, partners and communities to bridge diverse stakeholders. We incorporate culturally inclusive practices that builds trust between our clients and the communities they serve.

Our goal is to ensure that all individuals, particularly residents traditionally left out of the conversation, have spaces to engage and give input in meaningful ways on projects taking place in their communities. We utilize innovative and forward-thinking community engagement techniques in our outreach efforts because we believe to make a difference in a community, we have to do things differently.


Cortez Consulting Services Founder & CEO Laura J. Cortez

Our Founder & CEO

Laura J. Cortez, M.B.A., Ph.D.

Laura is from the Rio Grande Valley and came to Austin in 1999 as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. She earned her B.S. in Environmental Science from Drake University, and later went on to earn her MBA from St. Edward’s University and PhD in Higher Education from the University of Texas at Austin. In 2012, Laura served as a postdoctoral fellow at UT’s Community Engagement Center as the Director of Public Engagement. In this role, she led one of Austin’s most comprehensive public engagement projects known as the Colony Park Sustainable Community Initiative. Laura credits this experience with changing her professional trajectory and after completing the project she launched Cortez Consulting.  

Today, Laura is designing new ways to effectively engage the public, particularly those individuals who are traditionally left out of the conversation. Cortez Consulting is certified as a Women and Minority-Owned Business (MWBE) and Historically Underutilized Business (HUB). The organization is a member of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GAHCC) and involved with an array of projects across the City working to build positive relationships within the community. 

During her free time, Dr. Cortez stays active in the community. She is a recent graduate of Leadership Austin Essential Program and serves on the board of the Austin Parks Foundation and the Cathedral School of St. Mary’s.  

Our Team

Lilianan Ordonez Director of Community Relations at Cortez Consulting Services.

Liliana Ordonez

Director of Community Relations

Liliana oversees external and community relationship development. She leads our communication team and creates plans to serve our mission. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Concordia University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Julia Molina-Zarate Community Outreach Specialist at Cortez Consulting Services

Julia Molina-Zarate

Community Outreach Specialist

Julia works to build strong partnerships with stakeholders in our community and supports our clients with community event organization. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Texas A&M Corpus Christi and has a passion for serving others.


Ofelia M. Cortez

Administrative Associate

Ofelia provides office management support and works with our team to facilitate outreach and logistics. She is originally from the Rio Grande Valley and recently retired to support Laura fulfill her dream of starting Cortez Consulting. During her free time she enjoys spending time with her two grandchildren.

Our Interns

Jodie Elderton Headshot Image

Jodie Elderton

Marketing Intern

Jodie is a Senior at St. Edward’s University and majoring in Graphic Design. She joined our team in June 2019 and has played a significant role in supporting our marketing efforts. Jodie will continue to work with our firm as an Intern in the Fall.

Image Public Engagement Intern at Cortez Consulting Services, LLC.

Carolina Hernadez

Public Engagement Intern



Interested in joining our team?

Learn more about our available positions here.