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National LATINA Symposium 2007

This year’s fourth annual National LATINA Symposium held September 6 drew White House executives, Members of Congress, Latina entrepreneurs, business and civic leaders from across the country to celebrate Latina achievement and success in the military, Congress, the corporate and business world at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington D.C.

With 600 plus attendees, this unique gathering entitled “Power, Politics & Pumps – Conversations & Stories on Money, Men & Management” offered workshops and skills essential for today’s and tomorrow’s professionals of all areas.

During breakfast, Robert Bard, president and CEO of LATINA Style Magazine presented Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen with the “Glass Ceiling Award.” With enthusiasm and respect attendees gathered and listened to insights on issues that impact the Hispanic Community. “When I was elected in 1989, there were only 32 women members of Congress,” she reflected. “I was the first Hispanic woman and today, a record number of women serve in both chambers-with 16 women serving in the Senate and 73 women serving in the House.”

Patricia Richards, manager of Supplier Diversity at Shell Oil Company (left) and Congresswoman Grace Flores Napolitano (D-CA)

Among her many topics she mentioned the importance of passing several pieces of legislation that address the needs of the Hispanic community such as the Microloan Modernization Act and the SBA Trade Programs Act. “Both of these bills will be extremely helpful to our growing Hispanic business community—a growing force in the American economy,” she said. “The Hispanic community has made incredible milestones in recent years. In congress, we have seen a Latina assume the gavel as Chair of the Small Business Committee and there is even a Hispanic woman as ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and the best is yet to come.”

After such motivational remarks were given, Patricia Richards, manager of Supplier Diversity at Shell Oil Company informed everyone about the “new political regime” and what women are capable of doing in this new century. “The Latino community is the largest group and the most dynamic community in the market place,” she said. “I feel that Latinas can meet challenges and assure possibilities better than any other sector.”

Wondering if our country is ready for the upcoming elections? Attendees were updated on the race for the U.S. Presidency, and the pivotal role Hispanics, especially Latinas play in the upcoming elections during the first panel “Elephants & Donkeys – Who Will Govern the Nation in 2009?” moderated by Lydia Camarillo, vice president for the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project featured Congresswoman Grace Flores Napolitano (D-CA), Robin Read, president of the National Foundation for Women Legislators, and Leslie Sanchez, author of “Los Republicanos – Why Hispanics & Republicans Need Each Other.”

Leslie Sanchez (standing), author of "Los Republicanos–Why Hispanics & Republicans Need Each Other" talks to attendees during first panel

Attendees converse about the program of the day

Patricia Richards, manager of Supplier Diversity at Shell Oil Company and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Lupita Colmenero, publisher of El Hispano News and Roger Guzman of Wal-Mart

Lydia Camarillo, vice president for the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project

Robin Reed, president of the National Foundation for Women Legislators

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