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The 6th Annual National LATINA Symposium, 2009

On Wednesday, September 9th more than 300 attendees gathered in Washington D.C. to celebrate Latina empowerment at the 6th Annual National LATINA Symposium held at the JW Marriott Hotel. The Symposium gathered Members of Congress, White House executives, civic leaders and Latinas leaders from across the country to enjoy a full day of resourceful information.

“This year’s Symposium comes at an exciting time in history with the recent confirmation of our new Supreme Court Justice, the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor,” said Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-47), who served as the Honorary Chair. “I commend the Symposium for providing guidance and workshops toward the advancement of Latina women in all industries. Latinas continue to be the strength within our communities and our families, balancing their health, careers, and personal lives.”

Designed to unite, empower, and inspire Latinas, the first workshop of the day entitled “Leadership Under Fire,” was moderated by Captain Kathlene Contres of the U.S. Navy, the panel offered advice on leadership and self development in the Armed Forces.

(L-R) Lt. Kim Cota-Robles, USN; Keynote Speaker Commander Alicia Garcia Vantran, USCG; MC Ms. Alina Doreste-Johnson, DoD; Commander Mery-Angela S. Katson, USN and Capt. Kathlene Contres, USN.
Through panelists: Lt. Catherine Eyrich, U.S. Navy; Sgt. Maj. Irene O’Neal, U.S. Marine Corps; Lt. Colonel Patricia Rodriguez-Rey, U.S. Air Force and Lt. Commander Roxanne Tamez, U. S. Coast Guard, attendees learned how success and power can positively impact their community.
Military District of Washington Navy Drill Team.
Mr. Clarence Johnson, Department of Defense.
Escalating to the top is a difficult balancing act but is certainly possible. During the second workshop “Nurturing Latina Success,” attendees learned how successful Latinas made headway against the challenges and politics of corporate America. Moderated by political consultant, Jennifer Sevilla-Korn, panelists included: Adriana Comellas-Macretti, director-executive at State Farm Insurance Co.; Arisa Batista Cunningham, Johnson & Johnson and Mariana Brugger, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
USAFA Cadets: (L-R) C2C Nancy Chavez, MSgt. Anna Parker, C2C Stevie Puentes.
Salute to Fallen Heroes.
According to Batista Cunningham, Latinas bring a lot to the table in any organization or company. Whether it’s respect, responsibility, strong collaboration, flexibility between cultures and loyalty, these qualities will help any individual, especially Latinas move forward. “We need to use these strategies to present ourselves as global leaders,” she said as she mentioned how attitude makes her more effective. “Being a Latina has been a success and a special responsibility to give back.”
“Your Health, Your Future” panelists: (L-R) Neera Tanden, Senior Advisor to Secretary Sebelius and Lenys Alcoreza, UnitedHealthcare, Inc.
“Leadership Under Fire” panel: (L-R) Moderator Capt. Kathlene Contres, USN; Lt. Col. Patricia Rodriguez-Rey, USAF; Lt. Commander Roxanne Tamez, USCG; Lt. Catherine Eyrich, USN; and Sgt. Maj. Irene O’Neal, USMC.
Leadership dinner sponsored by Bloomingdales.
During the third panel, experts addressed ways health issues continue to disproportionately impact many aspects of a Latina professional’s life. “Your Health - Your Future” was moderated by Maria Gomez, RN, MPH, Mary’s Center; panelists included: Neera Tanden, Senior Advisor to Secretary Sebelius; Lenys Alcoreza, UnitedHealthcare, Inc., and Miryam C. Gerdine, MPH, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Following the edifying workshops, attendees gathered to network and exchange information during the “Business Opportunity Expo.” The Symposium followed by the Distinguished Service Awards Luncheon, co-hosted with the Department of Defense.

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