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National LATINA Symposium 2006

On Sept. 7, LATINA Style hosted the third annual National LATINA Symposium, a unique event that celebrates Latina success in Congress, the military, the corporate and business world. Hispanic women from all areas of endeavors gathered in Washington D.C. to celebrate Latina achievements and success.

On Sept. 7, LATINA Style hosted the third annual National LATINA Symposium, a unique event that celebrates Latina success in Congress, the military, the corporate and business world. Hispanic women from all areas of endeavors gathered in Washington D.C. to celebrate Latina achievements and success.

Guests arrived at the Capitol Hilton Hotel in Washington D.C. for a day of professional and personal enrichment. The morning began with a refreshing breakfast where Robert Bard, president and CEO of Latina Style Magazine welcomed the audience with inspiring words about the growing number of Latina entrepreneurs locally and throughout the nation.

Event chair, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez gave opening remarks. She informed the audience about the different ways Latinas are working to excel in the United States. “The future of America sits in the hands of Latinas in a positive manner,” said Sanchez. “We have those leadership skills.” Special tribute was made to Congresswoman Grace Flores Napolitano

The first panel “Celebrating Latina Leadership” moderated by Congresswoman Grace Flores Napolitano featured Lupita Colmenero, president of the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP); Rosa Rosales, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC); Marisa Rivera-Albert, president of the National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI); and Edie Fraser, president of the Public Affairs Group, Inc. Panelists shared their stories of accomplishment in their professional and personal lives with the audience. “We should reach out,” said Rosales. “It’s not one person who makes the community, it’s several and keep on trying.”

“Young women, get educated,” said Napolitano. “Be proud of who you are and don’t ever burn away opportunities, even with your adversaries.” These successful Latina entrepreneurs also shared their obstacles in life and how to overcome them. “Challenges are many,” said Rivera-Albert. “Latinas have progressed but it’s been a slow progress.” According to Rivera-Albert, there are three keys to success: “Persistence, performance, and mucho corazón.”

Jenny Sevilla Korn, associate director at the White House Office of Public Liaison, moderated the second round of panels, under the theme “Celebrating Latina Contributions in the Workplace.” Panelists included Dr. Archelle Georgiou, executive vice president of Strategic Relations for UnitedHealthcare Group; Laura J. Hernandez, executive director of Public Affairs Communications for AT&T; Rosa Gist, operations manager for McDonald’s; and Jessica P. Montoya, executive assistant to senior vice president of External Affairs & Public Policy at DaimlerChrysler Corporation. The panel emphasized the importance of balancing personal life, career, family and civic participation. “It is important to balance your home life and work life,” said Montoya. “I’m always being pulled in two directions.” Montoya also advised the audience to communicate with their superiors, be committed, love your job and be able to plan in advance. “Be prepare for the unexpected,” she reaffirmed.

The final panel of the morning “Celebrating Latina Entrepreneurship” provided useful resources to start a small business and suggested ways on how to face issues in small business ownership. Moderator Elizabeth Lisboa-Farrow, president of LISBOA, Inc., was joined by panelists Belinda Garza, manager of Healthcare & Financial Services and Federal Government Relations for Wal-Mart Store, Inc.; Wilka Toppins, president and CEO of Toppins Law Firm; Angela De Jesus, vice president for the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance & Accounting and Martha Montoya, president of Los Kitos Entertainment, LLC. “There are four components to start a good business,” said Toppins. “Have a good lawyer, banker, insurance person and bookkeeper.” According to Toppins, there are 10 steps to consider when owning a business: organize your business/organization, protect your business, develop a discipline of contracts, buy insurance, and create appropriate labor relations, such as employee manuals. Protect your confidential information, read before you sign, advertise legally, update all your permits and pay taxes. On the other hand, the reasons why businesses fail are: lack of financing and non-payment of taxes.

Following the panels, guests made their way to the Capital Hilton’s Presidential Ballroom for the luncheon themed “A Celebration of Latinas in the Armed Forces Luncheon,” which honored Latinas in the armed forces.

Yolanda Maldonado, deputy for Outreach and Special Emphasis Programs for the Equal Employment Opportunity and Civil Rights of the U.S. Army served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the luncheon.

Special remarks were given by Robert Bard, president and CEO of Latina Style; Clarence Johnson, principal director and director of Civilian Equal Opportunity at the Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity Under Secretary of Defense; and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez.

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch delivered the keynote address, expressing in her speech her love for the military. “To the honorees, congratulations,” announced Kickbusch. “To the women who will come on stage, I’m a woman in uniform like you, and I will serve for the rest of my life.”

Robert Bard assisted Johnson in presenting the Symposium ’s awards to 11 Latinas in the armed forces. Two outstanding Latinas from each branch of the Armed Forces - one Latina in military service and one Latina civilian were honored. They are: Major Melissa Rodriguez and Ms. Ernestine Moya of the U.S. Army, Senior Chief Irene Rivera and Ms. Grace Gabaldon of the U.S. Navy, Sergeant Dilia Paredes and Ms. Sandra P. Switzer of the U.S. Marine Corps, Technical Sergeant Marie L. Villegas of the U.S. Air Force, Sergeant Stephanie Valle of the National Guard Bureau, Lieutenant Pamela Garcia of the U.S. Coast Guard, and Ms. Famia Magaña and Dr. Elizabeth Rodriguez-Johnson of the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency.

The 2006 Honorees

“Celebrating Latina Leadership” panel (left to right) Lupita Colmenero, Grace F. Napolitano, Edie Fraser, Marisa Rivera-Albert and Rosa Rosales.

Lupita Colmenero of NAHP and Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitan

Marisa Rivera-Albert, president of NHLI (left) and Rosa Rosales, president of LULAC (right)

Panelist (left to right) Lupita Colmenero, Edie Fraser, Grace F. Napolitano, Marisa Rivera-Albert and Rosa Rosales.

Dr. Archelle Georgiou, executive vice president of strategic relations for UnitedHealthcare Group

Mr. Clarence Johnson

“Celebrating Latina Contributions in the Workplace” panel. (Left to right) Dr. Archelle Georgiou, Laura J. Hernandez, Jenny Sevilla Korn, Rosa Gist and Jessica P. Montoya

Angela De Jesus and Belinda Garza

(Left to right): Dr. Archelle Georgiou, Edie Fraser, Grace F. Napolitano and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez

Rosa Rosales, president of LULAC and Leonard James, manager of Multicultural Marketing at ExxonMobil

Rosa Gist, Jaime G. Gonzalez, regional business development manager at UnitedHealthcare Latino Health Solutions, and Dr. Archelle Georgiou

Rafael Toro of “Goya” poses with conference attendees

Martha Montoya of Los Kitos Entertainment, LLC.

“Celebrating Latina Entrepreneurs” panel. (Left to right) Martha Montoya, Wilka Toppins, Elizabeth Lisboa-Farrow, Angela De Jesus and Belinda Garza

 

Luncheon keynote speaker Lt. Col. (Ret.) Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch

Laura J. Hernandez (left) and Jenny Sevilla Korn (right)

 
 
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