LATINA Style Recognized Latina Heroes at 15th Annual National LATINA Symposium

Contact: Johnny Quezada –
(LCDR, USN-LDO-RET), Director of Special Programs & Military Affairs
Phone: 214-357-2186
LATINA Style Recognized Latina Heroes at 15th Annual National LATINA Symposium

Washington, D.C. – September 15, 2018- On September 6th, LATINA Style Inc., the premier company addressing the needs of Latina professionals, civic leaders, entrepreneurs, college students and the Armed Services, in partnership with Parents Step Ahead, a non-profit community outreach initiative designed to increase parental involvement in a child’s educational development, celebrated the 15th Annual National LATINA Symposium and the Distinguished Military Service Award Ceremony, honoring Latina military and civilian personnel who through their service have enhanced the role of Latinas in their organizations.

Presenting the only national awards program honoring Latina military and civilian personnel, the National LATINA Symposium serves as a platform for Latina professionals to address the most pressing issues affecting the Hispanic woman in the United States. Sponsor remarks were delivered by Mr. James Schenck, President and Chief Executive Officer, Pentagon Federal Credit Union., who began congratulating all attendees for their achievements, highlighting the important contributions Latinas make to our country and the military service. The Symposium featured cutting-edge workshops. Speakers included panelists from the CIA, FBI, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. State Department, Federal Communications Commission, AT&T, Nationwide, USAA, General Motors, Hilton, UPS, General Officers from the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.

A series of panel discussions aimed at recognizing, celebrating, and advancing the Latina agenda followed. In “Celebrating Latina Contributions in the Workforce” Moderated by Keyla Hernandez-Ulloa, FCC; panelists included Ilka S. Rodriguez-Diaz, CIA; Dena Perkins, FBI; Carmen G. Cantor, U.S. Dept. of State and Ashlee M. Hoban, U.S. Secret Service. They each shared their experiences and insights into their successes and becoming strong Latina leaders.

The second panel “Veteran Employee Resource Group (V-ERG)…Understanding the Cultural Differences; featuring Johanna Martinez, AT&T; Marc Lopez, Nationwide; Lauren Bacon, Hilton; Alice Garcia, USAA; Keith Nattrass, General Motors; Kevin Garvey, UPS, discussed issues affecting veterans in the workforce and the cultural gap that exists between military and corporate entities.

Following was  the Cybersecurity Threat Presentation by Special Agent Laz Andino, FBI, in which he provided insight into today’s threat in Cybersecurity.

The last panel of the day “Diversity in the Military today…Woman Blazing the Trail for Future Flag Officers” featured Colonel Lina M. Downing, USMC, Major General Linda Urrutia-Varhall, USAF, Rear Admiral Melissa Bert, USCG and Brigadier General Irene M. Zoppi, USA. Panelists offered advice on leadership and self-development, and ways to maximize the visibility of leadership skills.

The National LATINA Symposium culminated with the celebration of the Distinguished Military Service Awards Dinner. Mistress of Ceremony Bianca Barcelo, Assistant General Counsel Library of Congress introduced Mr. Robert Bard, who delivered welcome remarks to the audience. Also delivering remarks was Clarence “CJ” Johnson, Director Office of Diversity at DoD. A salute to “Fallen Heroes” was presented by LCDR Johnny Quezada, USN, LDO, Retired and the 2018 Distinguished Military Service Award recipients. The keynote speaker and recipient of the President’s Achievement Award for his service to the community and his country was Lieutenant General Jay Silveria, USAF, Air Force Academy Superintendent. LtGen Silveria provided uplifting remarks that touched upon diversity in the military and the military academy.

The Award ceremony honored 16 Latinas representing each branch of the military, including civilians and the Military Academies. The 2018 Honorees are:

U.S. Army:  Sergeant First Class Carole M. Alonzo-Mercado and Mrs. Denisse Szmigiel

U.S. Marine Corps:  Major Amber Coleman

U.S. Navy:  Lieutenant Kimberly Rios; Petty Officer First Class Brenda V. Chavez and Mrs. Michelle E. Rosa.

U.S. Air Force: Captain Gloriemar Torré Santiago, Captain Michelle Cazares, Technical Sergeant Sasha Alejandro and Dr. Sonia Esquivel

 U.S. Coast Guard:  Yeoman Second Class Rita M. Martinez

U.S. National Guard:  Captain Elsa E. Canales

U.S. Naval Academy:  Midshipman 1/C Jocelyn Rodriguez

U.S. Air Force Academy: Cadet 1/C Sharon Dominguez and Cadet 1/C Sarah Kreiser

U.S. Coast Guard Academy: Cadet 1/C Valentina Giraldo Torres

We would also say Thank You to our sponsors. Without their support this program would not exist. Nationwide, AT&T, UPS, PepsiCo, U.S. Secret Service, Department of Defense, Walmart, USAA, AAFES, CIA, General Motors, Kaiser Permanente, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, Hilton and METRO Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

For further information about the Symposium visit or call
(214) 357-2186.

About LATINA Style Inc. LATINA Style Inc., headquartered in Dallas, TX, is the publisher of LATINA Style Magazine, a lifestyle magazine for the professional Hispanic woman. The magazine has been published for 24 years and has a national circulation of 150,000 and a readership of nearly 600,000. LATINA Style Inc. is host of the LATINA Style Business Series, the LATINA Style 50 Report, the National LATINA Symposium, and the LATINA Style HERO Initiative.

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