Attorney and entrepreneur
--Company: Looper Reed & McGraw
--Currently: "My story is one of intense work, passion, and, truly, a little luck," says Sofia Adrogue, a Houston-based attorney. "I have sought to return in multiples all the opportunities the United States has provided me – whether through my professional or my community endeavors. As an immigrant, I feel an obligation to give back." Ms. Adrogue, who emigrated from Buenos Aires with her family at age 9, practices law in Texas [she is also licensed in the District of Columbia] as one of fewer than 5,000 Hispanic attorneys. She handles business, health care, international litigation, and is a prolific author and speaker of more than 50 publications and 90 speeches. She graduated from Rice University and received her J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center. In 2006, Ms. Adrogue was accepted to the Harvard Business School Owner/President Management Program. She's scheduled to graduate in 2008.
Manager for NASCAR Nextel Cup program
--Company: General Motors Racing
--Currently: Ms. Colon is leading a crew of engineers who design cars for the GM Racing team, and she's still beaming after her squad's victory at the NASCAR Daytona 500. Ms. Colon was born in Spain and received a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Puerto Rico. GM hired her in 1994 as a data acquisition engineer for GM's Oval Track Group, which was then composed of NASCAR Winston Cup, Craftsman Truck, ASA, and Busch Grand National programs. Ms. Colon was named to her current position in 2001. She said she manages to juggle her hectic work schedule with her private life. "When I was younger, I was thinking about work 24 hours a day," she says. "But, as you get older, you learn to disconnect yourself from work and make time for your private life. I'm married, but it takes a very understanding person because my weekends are very busy."
Director of Fashion
--Company: Elle Magazine
--Currently: Landing her first job in the highly competitive fashion industry was as tough as moving up the ranks of the business, Ms. Garcia recalls. "I couldn't apply to certain companies because they weren't looking to hire people in a very junior capacity and who didn't have papers," says the Columbia-born fashion editor. "I did get sponsored, but I really had to prove myself." Her perseverance paid off when she arrived at Elle magazine, where she was named fashion director in 2000. Being bicultural, once her biggest obstacle, has turned out to be her biggest asset in an industry that thrives on individuality. "I really think it gives you a way of looking at things that is not in the expected way," Ms Garcia explains. "That's what's so wonderful about America, that you have all these inputs from other nationalities, especially in a creative business." Ms. Garcia can be seen weekly as a judge on the TV series "Project Runway."
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