Hometown: Las Vegas
Cause: Consumer protection
After moving to Nevada from Mexico in 2006, it occurred to Lira-Hickerson that her unfamiliarity with the U.S. way of life made it easier for businesses to take advantage of her. Partly because of that, Lira-Hickerson, a former energy-industry marketing executive, started up a firm with the goal of helping people settle consumer disputes, such as a problem with a landlord or lender. She now hosts a weekly radio show devoted to consumer protection on a local Spanish-language station, and last year was appointed to a state post focused on helping minorities guard against consumer fraud and deceptive trade practices.
I was a housewife when I first moved to this country, but very soon I realized I wanted to be a part of the system and help people out."