Denisse C. Lamas, Founder & CEO of Hispanic Family Counseling Inc, Top 10 Inspiring Women Leaders of 2022 Profile

Denisse C. Lamas
Founder & CEO
Hispanic Family Counseling Inc

Denisse C. Lamas, Founder & CEO of Hispanic Family Counseling Inc, Top 10 Inspiring Women Leaders of 2022

"An Advocate of Love & Kindness"

Denisse C. Lamas was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She grew up in Barrio Nuevo, Bayamon, where the neighbors were part of every family.

Going to college was a big deal for Denisse’s family, considering that one of her grandmothers only completed first grade. “She might have lacked formal education, but she taught us the importance of love, wisdom, and kindness toward others. My other grandmother worked for over 30 years as a janitor in a hospital. From her, I learned that you should never be ashamed of the work you do.”

Denisse went to “El Colegio” to study engineering just like her sister but quickly realized that engineering was her sister’s calling, not hers. A couple of years later, she moved to Orlando, right next to Mickey Mouse, the place where dreams come true. She majored in social work at the University of Central Florida and completed her bachelor’s and master’s degree, alongside obtaining her clinical license for social work in 2006.

“In Florida, I had to work two or three jobs while going to school. I struggled with English, which made it harder to find a more stable job. After graduation, I continued to work two to three different jobs. This taught me to spend my time wisely, it also gave me an opportunity to practice my English and get out of college debt,” she elucidates in an article in Orlando Business Journal.

While working for different agencies, Denisse's curiosity grew to understand better the reasoning as to why certain paperwork was filled out and used. During this time, she witnessed how cultural incompetency can damage a relationship between two people, especially as a therapist with her clients. “I remember discussing my concerns with one of my supervisors, who quickly dismissed them. I was told I could receive a warning for insubordination. Ironically enough, she was Hispanic. At that moment, I realized how quickly we can become afraid to speak up or share our concerns — due to a fear of being misunderstood, not following what the policies state (even if those are unfair, unpractical, and everyone thinks they are ineffective) or even the fear of losing our jobs.”

In 2012, Denisse decided to follow her dream and created Hispanic Family Counseling, Inc. in July of that year. Today, Denisse provides counseling services to a diverse population of clients and families and serves as the Executive Director for the agency.

For the past few years, Denisse has been an active advocate for suicide prevention. She served as the President of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention - Central Florida Chapter - from 2014 until early 2019. Currently, she serves as the member of the National Board and the Leadership Council Diversity Workgroup Chair. Also, she is the founder of the AFSP Puerto Rico Chapter. Additionally, Denisse is a former adjunct professor at the University of Central Florida. Denisse is also registered to supervise Clinical Social Work Interns and regularly supervises employees while working towards licensure.

She inspires women by leading by example. “I am a board member for the Women’s Entrepreneur Center at Seminole State College. I have spoken at connections for urban professionals for the females’ entrepreneurs elevating their communities. I have mentored other females’ entrepreneur on their process,” she says. “My strong advice is to treat everyone with respect and work hard to achieve desired goals.”

Winning the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando's 2017 Don Quijote Awards, the 2018’s Prospera Success Stories Business in Central Florida, the Partners In Advancing International Education by the Council on Social Work Education and Commission on Global Social Work Education in 2018, and most recently winning one of 50 GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch 2021 are all the achievements Denisse is proud of, and there are more to come.

Denisse wants to become a one-stop-shop for mental health services in the days to come. She and her team are working on developing other departments at the agency. “Personally, I am working in obtaining my doctoral degree. For the company, I hope we can continue to grow and impact our community as we have had thus far, without losing our goal of treating everyone with care and respect.” WL


Hispanic Family Counseling Inc


Denisse C. Lamas
Founder & CEO
Hispanic Family Counseling Inc


Hispanic Family Counseling Inc was founded in 2012 with the hope of providing mental health services tailored to the specific needs of the Hispanic community. As of March 2022, we have serviced over 10,000 clients in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Brevard Counties in Florida.

Inspiring Women Leaders Special Magazine