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This is your platform. These are your transformative conversations; your new and inspiring ideas that will progress the borderland region and beyond. 


Come ready to feed your curiosity, there is so much to discover.

This is BBI.


About Us

Borderland Big Ideas is an accessible ideas platform that aims to inspire curiosity and innovation by amplifying the big ideas already progressing the borderland region, and introducing big ideas from around the world.

This platform provides an opportunity to learn from leading subject experts and engage with big ideas through hands-on experiences.

It is a platform to expand the mind through connective and transformative conversation on all topics important to the borderland region and beyond.


A big idea brings together like-minded people from a multitude of backgrounds.


A big idea challenges your current understanding.


A big idea inspires you to follow your passions.


A big idea has the power to transform your city, your country, and the world.

What is a "Big Idea"?

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Women's Empowerment:

A Conversation with Mija, Yes You Can and Chica Chat

March 8, 2022

6:00 - 8:30 PM

Celebrate International Women's Day with us! Join this engaging conversation with Iris Lopez, founder of Mija, Yes You can, and Zoe Gemoets, President of Chica Chat.


In addition to the panel discussion, enjoy complimentary cocktails graciously provided by Makers Mark, a live performance from Hayley Lynch and Manny Lozano, and a networking hour open market. Learn more about the speakers below.

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Thank you to our partners!

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Meet the Speakers

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Iris Lopez

Founder & Executive Director - Mija, Yes You Can

Iris was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, and graduated from The University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelors in Multimedia Journalism and a Minor in Spanish. She began her broadcasting career in radio as ‘Lily Lopez’ on 104.3 Hitfm in El Paso, Texas. Iris then made the move to TV news where she was a reporter and weekend evening weather anchor for KVIA-TV and the proud creator of the on-air franchise, ‘KVIA Sunday Funday Moments'. Iris currently works as a digital content creator and on-air personality for KISS-FM radio in El Paso and continues providing feel-good stories for KVIA-TV every Sunday.

Her passion for empowering women was instilled in her at a young age by her parents, aunts, and grandmothers. Her passion grew even stronger after the relationships she developed with other young female broadcasters who were struggling to find a voice in a male-dominated business. 

Iris’ passion to inspire and motivate others is due in large part to her 11-year-old son, Jacob. For Iris, being a mom is one of her greatest accomplishments and it is what continues to motivate her to inspire our youth.

Iris serves as a board member for The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI El Paso). She was recently awarded Montwood High School’s 2021 Outstanding Alumnus award, and was also awarded the community spirit award for El Paso Community College’s 13th Annual Literary Fiesta. She was recently named one of EPCC’s Hispanic Heritage Mentors by the college's Diversity and Inclusion program for her work within the community. Iris was also presented with a House Resolution from State Representative Art Fierro and the Texas House of Representatives for her community service and advocacy work.

Learn more about Mija, Yes You Can here.

Zoë Gemoets

Founding President - Chica Chat

Zoë is proud to come from an El Paso pioneer family that has contributed to the entrepreneurial spirit of the community for several generations. She graduated from UTEP in 2017 with a Bachelors in General Management and a concentration in Entrepreneurship.

Zoë founded Chica Chat in 2019 to serve the local business women who were looking for support during the challenges faced when owning a small business. She looks forward to growing and expanding Chica Chat into something that lasts for many more generations outside of the founding team so that more women in the community can continue to benefit from its vision. When Zoë isn't spending time on Chica Chat, she is a style coach for women looking to amplify their presence.

Learn more about Chica Chat here.

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Marina Monsisvais

Founder & CEO - Barracuda Public Relations

Marina founded Barracuda Public Relations to be the megaphone for all the great things happening in El Paso. She has grown the company from a boutique PR agency founded around her kitchen table into one of the most recognized and respected small businesses in El Paso.

A graduate of New Mexico State University, Marina has leveraged her commercial media experience and her deep engagement in the El Paso-Juárez community to create an indispensable resource for local businesses, non-profit organizations and government institutions. Marina’s involvement in each client project ensures that everything we do is infused with the look, feel and optimistic attitude for which Barracuda is known. 

Marina achieved her Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas at El Paso in 2020 and serves on the board of directors of The Hospitals of Providence, YWCA Paso del Norte, Pioneers 21, and Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas. She is also host of "State of the Arts" on our local NPR station, KTEP 88.5FM.

Learn more about Barracuda Public Relations here.