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Latin Proffiles

Latinas consideradas Orgullo Latino!

Grace Leiblen, the executive director of global manufacturing for General Motors, was honored by the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corporation at its 16th annual conference in Pasadena, Calif., in October, for her achievements in the engineering field.

In October, State Farm Life Insurance Company honored Beatriz S. Gonzales at its inaugural Embrace Life Awards. Gonzales, one of five honorees, was recognized for her strength and perseverance following the death of her husband, with a cash prize of $5,000. After husband Juan’s death in a car accident in 1975, Gonzales assumed responsibility for the family’s construction business, rising above the challenges of a male-dominated work world.

In October, U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida was honored by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) with a 2004 Exemplary Policy/Advocacy Leadership Award at HACU’s 18th Annual Conference. Ros-Lehtinen was the first Hispanic woman elected to the U.S. Congress and is a founder and chair of the Congressional Hispanic Conference.

Delia Garcia

One of many Latino election success stories this year, Delia Garcia became the first Latina to be elected to the Kansas State legislature. Garcia, a native of Wichita, knew from an early age that she had political inclinations, and her life so far has been leading up to this stage. When she was still in her mother’s womb, Garcia attended President Jimmy Carter’s inaugural ball; in 1994 she received an outstanding Youth Community Service Award from President Bill Clinton; she was coordinator of the national Latino Vote Campaign in 2000, sponsored by the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute; and she has been involved in various presidential, congressional, state and local campaigns—most recently, of course, her own.

Garcia attended Wichita State University, where she was president of the Hispanic American Leadership Organization and a member of the College Democrats and the Political Science Organization. In 2000 she was recognized at the United States Hispanic Leadership Conference in Chicago as the first recipient of the Outstanding Youth of America award.

In August 2004, in the midst of her campaign for Kansas state legislature, Garcia completed her master’s degree in political science from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.

Rosa Pilar Rivas

In 2000, Venezuelan attorney Rosa Pilar Rivas came to the United States to join the Pharmed Group (PMG) as an international legal coordinator. In a mere four years, she has climbed the ranks and was recently named the chief marketing and operations officer for Olí, the Pharmed Group’s new skin care line, which launched in August.

Olí is an olive oil and olive leaf extract based anti-aging skincare line. Currently available in 10 U.S. markets, it will expand into 50 more in January 2005. At the same time that Rivas is introducing Olí and completing a long-time business dream of hers, she is also pursuing a personal dream with the creation of a foundation for autism in honor of her son.

Cynthia Lopez

Cynthia Lopez was recently promoted to vice president of P.O.V., a division of American Documentary Inc., and a PBS television showcase for independent, non-fiction filmmaking. Lopez has over 16 years of television, communications and media experience under her belt; in addition to her role as vice president, Lopez will continue to oversee P.O.V.’s communications and marketing department.

While she was director of communications at P.O.V. from 2000 to 2003, Lopez increased national coverage of P.O.V. documentaries in the media by 465 percent. Says P.O.V. executive director Cara Mertes, “Cynthia Lopez’s leadership and experience have greatly enhanced the organization’s national profile, and we are excited about her future contributions.”

Lopez is an active member of the board of directors of Reel NY, and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers NALIP. She has served as an advisor to the Paul Robeson Fund, the Ford Foundation’s Americans for the Arts initiative, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Latino Public Broadcasting.