And in June of 2000, she claimed another first when the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) honored Elma by naming her as one of its first inductees into its newly created "Hall of Fame".
Elma's roots dig deep into Texas soil because her ancestors lived in the state when it was Spanish territory. She was born and raised in Texas and graduated from the University of Houston with degrees in English and Spanish literature.
After finishing college, Elma went to Mexico City for three years and worked for a variety of businesses including the American Embassy. She returned to Houston and worked at the Magnolia YWCA where she helped organize the National Hispanic Women's Conference that some Hispanic historians believe made an impact on the "Chicano" movement during the 70's.
Before coming to KTRK-TV, she worked at KAUM radio, producing a weekly documentary and at Houston's Public Television, producing and anchoring Houston's first television news program in Spanish. During her earlier years with 13 Eyewitness News, Elma was chosen by the White House as one of four local volunteers to help organize the first International Women's Conference in Houston. The importance of the Conference was evident when it became the cover story of Time magazine the following week.
Elma also blazed a trail as one of the founders of Houston's first Spanish television station, Channel 45 and as a founder of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
In addition, she is one of the founders of the Houston Association of Hispanic Journalists which raises money for students majoring in journalism. And she is a member of the National Hispanic Journalists Association.
Elma is especially proud to have been honored as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Yates High School.
Generously giving time to the Houston community, Elma has been privileged to sit on many boards including the Houston Alzheimer's Association and the Baylor College of Medicine Children's Vaccination Project. She has also served on the Advisory Boards of the Teatro Bilingue - a community theater in east Houston that promotes the arts to students in the Hispanic community; and as an advisor (and co-founder) of Hispanic Women in Leadership.
As a reporter for Eyewitness News, Elma has covered both local and international stories. She was in Central America for the coverage of the country's major earthquake that left hundreds dead and thousands without homes. She covered the Pope's first trip ever out of Italy in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. And she was the only reporter to gain entry into a Vera Cruz, Mexico prison to interview a local radio personality who was jailed and later released without charges. But it is the local day-to-day stories that she covers that have made Elma so well known to Houston viewers.