HISPANIC Magazine’s 2003 Latina Excellence Awards luncheon, an annual tradition now for 12 years, celebrated the successes of Latina women at a gala event April 29 in New York City’s prestigious St. Regis Hotel.

Mistress of ceremonies Maria Perez – Brown author of Mama: Latina Daughters Celebrate Their Mothers, and keynote speaker Leslie Sanchez, executive director of The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, set the tone for the event. Many recipients spoke of their own mother’s self sacrifice and support, which led them to their career successes today.

Some of the recipients, such as Maria Arita, said they were the first in their family to obtain a college degree. Others, like Claudia Agudelo, got a “lucky break” when a big client noticed her talents and quality products. And yet many, such as Debbie Delgado, overcame health obstacles or family distress to bring awareness to a worthy cause.

In turn, many of the women said they now are giving back to their children and their communities, to make sure they have the necessary tools and skills to obtain the American Dream. HISPANIC Magazine proudly honors these women, and our readers, who continue to strive for excellence.

Award Winners

Communications – Maria Arita, hostess of Hispanics Today. Sponsored by Absolut.

Young Entrepreneur – Maria Rodriguez president of Vanguard Communications, Sponsored by Aetna.

Community Service – Hilda Polanco founding partner of Fiscal Management Assoc., LLC. Sponsored by American Airlines.

Health – Debbie Delgado president of Latino Organization for Liver Awareness (LOLA). Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson.

Diversity – Linda De Jesus president of the Bravo Group. Sponsored by New York Life.

Business – Claudia Aguedelo, president and cofounder of EXEX. Sponsored by Pitney Bowes.

Civic Leadership – Anne Escobedo Cabral, president and CEO of Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR). Sponsored by Prudential.

Leadership – Colonel Victoria Revilla, ROTC. Sponsored by ROTC.

Journalism – Darlene Rodriguez, reporter for WNBC – Channel 4 in New York. Sponsored by HISPANIC Magazine.

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