SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The California Latino Legislative Caucus, in conjunction with Governor Schwarzenegger and the California Legislature, will be honoring Maria Contreras-Sweet at the 6th Annual Latino Spirit Awards ceremony at the California State Capitol in Sacramento on Monday, May 7, 2007. Governor Schwarzenegger, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, Senate Pro Tem Don Perata, and Assembly member Joe Coto, Chair of the Latino Legislative Caucus will serve as co-hosts of the event.
Contreras-Sweet is the former Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing for the State of California and is the Founder and Chairwoman of Los Angeles' newest bank and the first Latino-owned bank in Los Angeles in 30 years. Promerica is a full service commercial bank which specializes in serving the small business community with a focus on Hispanic entrepreneurs.
Contreras-Sweet was selected for the award due to her pioneering work in the State of California and for her many achievements in government, business and community which have established her as a role model for Latinos/as. She will be sharing company with other prominent honorees this year: Edward James Olmos, Victor Villasenor, The Molina Family, Supervisor Blanca Alvarado, Raul Vargas, Supervisor Gloria Molina and Congressman Esteban E. Torres.
Past honorees include: Carlos Santana, Grammy Award-winning recording artist; Oscar de La Hoya, world boxing champion; Andy Garcia, Academy Award-nominated actor; and Rita Moreno, Oscar winning actress.
"It is truly a privilege and very humbling to be recognized by the Latino Legislative Caucus and to be included in the ranks of such important contributors to our culture," said Contreras-Sweet. "California is a pace-setting state. One in three is of Hispanic descent. One in every two new businesses is Hispanic owned. In order to energize our economy, we have to lift the entire population. Access to capital is essential for our future prosperity and economic well-being. My hope is that our efforts at Promerica Bank will serve to expand opportunities, create jobs and build family wealth.
About Maria Contreras-Sweet
Maria Contreras-Sweet is Founder and Chairwoman of Promerica Bank, which is dedicated to building family wealth through a business consultancy model. She is also the President and Co-Founder of FORTIUS Holdings, LLC. a private equity and venture fund specializing in providing California's small businesses with quicker access to capital.
Prior to founding FORTIUS, Contreras-Sweet was the first Latina to serve on a Governor's cabinet as the Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing for the State of California, where she managed 42,000 employees and was responsible for a $14 billion budget. Under her aegis were 14 departments, including the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the Highway Patrol (CHP) and the banking and real estate departments, to name a few. Part of Contreras-Sweet's legacy is the creation of the new Department of Managed Health Care which regulates HMOs and the passage of the largest housing bond, Prop. 46.
Prior to her position as Secretary, Contreras-Sweet served as one of the founding directors of The California Endowment and is the founding President of HOPE (Hispanics Organized for Political Equality). Contreras-Sweet serves as a member of the board of the Los Angeles Children's Hospital and on the Women's Leadership Board at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
About Promerica Bank
Promerica Bank was formed to serve the Los Angeles business community and ultimately to become the leading financial services provider for Latino entrepreneurs. As the first Latino-formed business bank to debut in downtown Los Angeles in the past 30 years, Promerica Bank is dedicated to building family wealth by empowering entrepreneurs with the requisite financial services and capital infusion for the success of their small to mid-size businesses. Promerica Bank, a member of the FDIC, is located at 888 South Figueroa Street, Suite 100, Los Angeles, CA 90017. Telephone: 213/613-5000; http://www.promericabank.com/. Spelling Communications on behalf of Maria Contreras-Sweet
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