|The 8th Annual National LATINA Symposium, 2011
By Gloria Romano
In its 8th consecutive year, the National LATINA Symposium gathered talented and successful Latinas from across the nation on Thursday, September 8th at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Virginia. A celebration of Latina empowerment in various sectors, including the military, the event addressed the concerns of the Latino community in one forum. Additionally, LATINA Style highlighted the contribution of Latinas in the military service by recognizing them with the Distinguished Meritorious Service Awards during the eventful luncheon.
“On behalf of PepsiCo and the LATINA Style corporate advisory board I want to welcome all of you to the 8th LATINA Style Symposium,” said Marie Quintana, SVP, Multicultural Sales, PepsiCo, and Chair of the LATINA Style Corporate Advisory Board. “Today we are celebrating the LATINA Style military initiative, she stated. “LATINA Style stands for Latina empowerment in all aspects: business, finance and total support in all of the industries. I want to thank all of you for being here today and congratulations to everyone who is going to receive an award.”
2011 Awardees: (L-R) Ms. Erika J. ColÃ³n, U.S. Navy; Ms. Nadine Santiago, U.S. Coast Guard; Lieutenant Commander Angelina Hidalgo, U.S. Coast Guard; Lieutenant Lisseth C. Calvio, U.S. Navy; SGT Andrea Chica, U.S. Army; Gunnery Sergeant Marisa Gonzales, U.S. Marine Corps; Major Elaine M. Bryant, U.S. Air Force; Ms. Frances R. QuiÃ±ones, Defense Logistical Agency; Dr. Heidi R. Ries, PhD, U.S. Air Force; Ms. Irma P. Finocchiaro, U.S. Army.
Honorable Loretta Sanchez (D-CA,47), United States Congress during the Distinguished Military Service Awards.
Introductory remarks by Marie Quintana, SVP, Multicultural Sales, PepsiCo, Chair of the LATINA Style Corporate Advisory Board.
Awardees and feature speakers: (L-R) Brigadier General Linda R. Urrutia-Varhall, U.S. Air Force; Brigadier General Camille Nichols, U.S. Army; Rear Admiral (Select) Raquel C. Bono, U.S. Navy.
As the crowd applauded her for her words Robert Bard, president and CEO of LATINA Style walked to the podium to give his opening remarks thanking everyone for joining him in celebrating Latina success. “Women and men as well have accomplished what they have accomplished by incredible perseverance, hard work,” he said as he introduced feature speaker Brigadier General Linda R. Urrutia-Varhall, U.S. Air Force, “Hispanics are not new in the military,” she expressed as she spoke about the underrepresentation of Hispanics in intelligence community and the importance of role models. “Today our children can have careers, they can be somebody. You can also be role models, my biggest role model was my father, who was a janitor, and after 35 years he was running a Pepsi plant.”
Similarly, Brigadier General Camille Nichols, U.S. Army shared her success story during her speech. “I am honored to be here,” she expressed. “On this day, I mind fold the strength, innovation and spirit of the American woman, especially Latinas. The United States is a superpower. The military men and women represent the unity and diversity we need as our nation confronts challenges at home and abroad. Thank you in being involved in advancing the cause of women in the participation at the symposium, stay engage and thank you.”
Mistress of Ceremonies Ms. Silvana Quiroz, Anchor, Romantica 900 AM.
LCDR Cesar Plaza, U.S. Navy (RET).
Sara Manzano-DÃaz, director of the Women's Bureau at the United States Department of Labor.
Honorable Joe Baca, (D-CA, 43) United States Congress during the Distinguished Military Service Awards.
Another inspiring Latina to acknowledge is Rear Admiral Raquel Cruz Bono, U.S. Navy, whom proudly shared the story of who she is and how she got to where she is today. “When I was younger, I had the opportunity to stay up and wait for my father after he worked long days at the hospital,” she continued. “My family is extremely important and that helped me define me. Family is so important and I would not be here if I had not been encouraged by my father whom instilled in me that I can do it. Being in the U.S. Navy has allowed me to advance and progressed because of my ability to show my skills. We all have a debt to serve a country, our family and to those behind us.
With enthusiasm, attendees welcomed the first panel entitled Nurturing Latina Success. This panel showcased the importance of leadership. Moderated by Betty Rengifo Uribe, president, Hispanic Outreach Taskforce, panelists included Rear Admiral (Select) Raquel C. Bono, U.S. Navy; Lieutenant Coronel Irene M. Zoppi, U.S. Army; Ms. Linda Jimenez, Chief Diversity Officer, WellPoint; Carla Grantham, U.S. Coast Guard.
“Leadership was something that wasn’t a conscious decision for me,” expressed Grantham when asked what leadership meant to her. “It became most obvious along the way as people would lift me up and put me into places and situations and in front of people and opportunities that I’d never thought of creating for my own. There must be something that I do, that I represent, that I believe therefore in that others are recognizing that want to nurture, to support, and advance so with that realization you gain understanding that you have a big responsibility to help meet the challenge.”
Presentation of Colors, Naval District Washington Color Guard.
U.S. Navy attendees.
Captain Kenneth J. Barrett, Deputy Director, Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity.
Honorable Juan M. Garcia, III, Assistant Secretary of the Navy.
The second panel entitled Translating Military Expertise into a Civilian Workplace was presented by Mr. Edmundo A. Gonzales, Office of the Asst. Secretary of the Air Force, Manpower & Reserve Affairs. The moderator LCDR Cesar Plaza, U.S. Navy welcomed panelists Rear Admiral Patrick Brady, U.S. Navy; Mr. Junior Ortiz, Deputy Assistant Secretary, United States Department of Labor; and Erica J. Colon, U.S. Navy.
This workshop focused on the integration of returning military into the civilian workplace, including challenges and opportunities for those in transition. “I see a lot of opportunities as we go through the military,” states Brady “The military in general is a good experience.
Similarly Ortiz believes it is important to educate the employer on what the veteran has to offer and also prepare the veteran for transition. “We’re taking care of them just like they are taking care of us,” he asserts.
Moving forward, the Distinguished Military Service Awards luncheon took place at the Regency Ballroom which initiated with introductory remarks by Representative Joe Baca (D - CA), Honorable Loretta Sanchez, U.S. Congress, welcoming remarks provided by Captain Ken, J. Barret, deputy director, Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity luncheon keynote speaker, Juan M. Garcia, III, assistant secretary, U.S. Navy whom touched upon the legacy of service of Hispanics in the U.S. military. “Five hundred thousand Hispanics served in World War II. They sweat, they bled, in some cases they made the ultimate sacrifice, right next to their counterparts from across the country,” said Garcia. “They served to save the world for democracy and returned back home. In certain parts of the country they found they still couldn't serve on a jury, have access to certain public accommodations and send their children to certain schools, yet they knew something had changed. They knew they'd earned a place at the American table.”
Award recipient SGT Andrea Chica, U.S. Army.
Award recipient Ms. Irma P. Finocchiaro, U.S. Army.
Award recipient LT Lisseth C. Calvio, U.S. Navy.
Award recipient Ms. Erika J. ColÃ³n, U.S. Navy.
Highlighting the luncheon was the Distinguished Military Service Awards Luncheon, during which Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead was awarded LATINA Style's President's Leadership Award and Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Juan M. Garcia received the organization's President's Recognition for their leadership in creating opportunities for Latinas and promoting diversity.
“During your watch, we have the first Latina admiral in the U.S. Navy,” said Robert Bard, president and CEO of LATINA Style, to Roughead when explaining the significance of the award. “During your watch, things have changed so dramatically because you innovated the thought of diversity as a national security issue. As the country's population and demographics change, where are the new leaders going to come from? They’re going to come from all of us. And as the population changes, the numbers and the people are going to change. But nothing gets done unless there is very strong direction from the top.”
“It is a great honor for me to be able to accept this award on behalf of the Navy,” expressed Adm. Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO). “To be recognized among so many distinguished members of the military, for their contribution, for their sacrifice, and passion. It is an honor to be recognized by an organization that values and epitomizes leadership, education, achievement and service. Thank you very much for this recognition.”
Salute to Fallen Heroes.
U.S. Coast Guard Silent Drill Team.
Adm. Gary Roughead, (RET) Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), LATINA Style's President's Leadership Award recipient.
Award recipient Major Elaine M. Bryant, U.S. Air Force.
Award recipient Dr. Heidi R. Ries, PhD, U.S. Air Force.
Award recipient Sergeant David Bravo-Martinez, U.S. Army National Guard.
Award recipient Captain Jose Salcido, U.S. Air National Guard.
Award recipient Lieutenant Commander Angelina Hidalgo, USCG.
Award recipient Ms. Nadine Santiago, USCG.
Award recipient Ms. Frances R. QuiÃ±ones, Defense Logistical Agency.
Rear Admiral Patrick Brady, U.S. Navy, receives award from Robert E. Bard, president, LATINA Style, Inc.
Rear Admiral Robert Bianchi, U.S.â€ˆNavy, receives award from Robert E. Bard, president, LATINA Style, Inc.