New Economic Development Foundation leader breaks barriers; first Latina, woman in role

Jenna Saucedo-Herrera hired to attract new companies to city

SAN ANTONIO – At 29, not only is Jenna Saucedo-Herrera the youngest to be hired as president and CEO of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, she’s also the first woman and the first Latina to hold the position.

“Taking myself out of the equation and looking at what’s happening in San Antonio, it’s so exciting,” Saucedo-Herrera said.

Raised in Elmendorf and a graduate of St. Mary’s University, Saucedo-Herrera is coming from CPS Energy where she oversaw public affairs, corporate communications and economic development initiatives.

In a few weeks, she will take the place of SAEDF’s longtime president and CEO Mario Hernandez, who retired after 26 years. During his tenure, Hernandez helped attract hundreds of new companies and thousands of jobs to San Antonio.

Saucedo-Herrera also says being the first millennial to run the foundation will be to her advantage.

Noting the need to attract younger professionals to the city, “As we look to grow that workforce, what better way to communicate and to attract that group than a millennial herself?” she said.

While serving on the EDF executive committee, Saucedo-Herrera said her predecessor often talked about “horizon sectors.”

“He coined the phrase,” she said. “Cybersecurity is one of those and energy is (one of) the others.”

Saucedo-Herrera said when it comes to economic development, “It’s not about picking winners and losers. It’s really investing in each different segment that will make the difference and drive us forward.”

Both Mayor Ivy Taylor and City Manager Sheryl Sculley said Saucedo-Herrera is well-prepared for her new position.

“It shows not only that women can lead, but women of all ages,” Sculley said. “She has great leadership skills and she’s wise beyond her years.”

Bob McKinley, UTSA vice president for economic development, said he agrees.

Choosing Saucedo-Herrera to be the “face of San Antonio business,” will send a strong message,” he said.

“I think it’s indicative of the inclusiveness and diversity of San Antonio and I think we’re ahead of the country in that respect,” McKinley said.