News Column

2008 Woman of the Year Event Filled with Hope and Inspiration

June 11, 2008

Hispanic Business magazine staff

WOY Finalists and HB Publisher Jesus Chavarria

The Hispanic Business 2008 Woman of the Year Award Gala took place in Phoenix last month in a whirl of copper and amethyst and hope and celebration.

Dr. Sandra Hernandez, CEO of the non-profit San Francisco Foundation, received the award from Hispanic Business Publisher and founder Jesus Chavarria in front of an enthusiastic crowd of about 500 supporters at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa. The audience came from across the nation to attend the prestigious gala.

Moderator Sarah Acevedo. Photo by Matt Graves. Click for larger image.
The entire event, moderated expertly by KSAZ News Anchor Sarah Acevedo, was an ongoing celebration of the impressive and inspiring accomplishment of Hispanic women across the nation. The mood was relaxed and upbeat with evening gowns and jewelry and tuxedos and gentle networking helping to give the event a graceful and uplifting turn. Everyone was energized by the immense sense of purpose and the substantial accomplishments being recognized. It was a night to celebrate inclusion and diversity and courage and the belief in achieving dreams. It was a night to appreciate accomplished women who see adversity as an opportunity.

It was HB's sixth annual WOY Gala, which was reflected in the amethyst table candles, purple orchids and soft magenta lighting. The Marriott Hotel proved a perfect venue, as the large ballroom added elegance to the procedures. But, it wasn't elegance that was being honored -- it was a universal attitude of hard work, perseverance and a willingness to overcome all obstacles. As one celebrant said "You could hear a pin drop when Dr. Hernandez gave her acceptance speech. She was unassuming and warm and had everyone enthralled with her stories."
Woman of the Year, Dr. Sandra Hernandez, with Hispanic Business Publisher Jesus Chavarria. Photo by Matt Graves. Click for larger image.

The WOY Finalists with Hispanic Business Publisher Jesus Chavarria. Photo by Matt Graves. Click for larger image.
Dr. Hernandez, a tireless and relentless supporter and advocate of health care for the disenfranchised and those without a voice in our society, was honored for her work in the public sector. The CEO of the San Francisco Foundation, one of the largest non-profit organizations in the U.S., she was also the first woman and Hispanic to serve as director of health of a major city -- her tenure was in San Francisco.

She won over the crowd with her humility and authentic concern for those less fortunate. Friends and family were there to support her, and an especially warm moment occurred when she was surprised by the appearance of ten of her colleagues who flew in from San Francisco to be part of the event.

The day's agenda, which included symposiums and keynote speeches, was in marked contrast to the mood of the evening. The symposiums were educational, with notes being taken and topics discussed and serious networking taking place.
Winners' Circle Scholarship Recipients with Hispanic Business Publisher Jesus Chavarria (l to r): Bianca Serrato (Affiliated Computer Services); Monica Marmolejo (Microsoft); Emily Matos (AstraZeneca). Photo by Matt Graves. Click for larger image.

The audience looks on during a daytime presentation. Photo by Matt Graves. Click for larger image.
"The takeaway from the entire event was that, although the road for Hispanic women can be difficult, no one is alone," said Brynne Chappell, HB event coordinator. "During the symposiums, the professional women there were encouraged to reach out to mentors and seek alliances. The speakers were adamant that success requires an enormous amount of work and sacrifice, but they made it clear that in the long run, it is one hundred percent worth it. There was so much hope in that room that night it was amazing and incredibly inspiring."
For in-depth coverage of the 2008 WOY
Click Here

Source: (c) 2008. All rights reserved.

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters