23rd Annual LATINA Style 50 Awards & Diversity Leaders Conference, 2021

By Gloria Romano-Barrera

On the evening of April 28th, LATINA Style, Inc., the premier company addressing the needs of professional Latinas in the United States kicked off the 23rd Annual LATINA Style 50 Awards & Diversity Leaders Conference virtually with a leadership reception. Mistress of Ceremonies Josefa Salinas, CEO Salinas Media & Communications, on-air Personality Old School 104.7 & the Power of Voices.com welcomed attendees as they were joined by award recipients, speakers and sponsors. Attendees heard from Eugene Kelly, Vice President, Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Colgate – Palmolive; Veronica Moreno, Janssen R&D La Jolla Campus Sr. Manager, Business Strategy, Governance and Communications, Johnson & Johnson; Marlene Potter, Resource and Vendor Management Executive, Global Technology & Operations, Bank of America; and Lu Yarbrough III, AVP, Enterprise Diverse & Cause Marketing, Nationwide.

The awards conference began the morning of April 29th with sponsor remarks provided by Brenda Durham, SVP & Regional General Counsel, Marriott International, Inc. Welcoming remarks were provided by Co-Chairs Deborah Rosado Shaw, Founder, Rosado Shaw Group, LLC, and Lory Burgos, Sr. Consultant, Diverse Marketing, Nationwide. In addition, Barbara Borgonovi, Vice President, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems, Raytheon Intelligence & Space, and Patty Juarez, Executive VP, Head of Diverse Segments, Commercial Banking, Wells Fargo provided welcoming remarks. Wanda Bryant Hope, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, Johnson & Johnson provided title sponsor remarks as well.

After the warm welcome, the opening breakfast awards honoring the 2020 Top 10 LATINA Style Corporate Executives of the Year Awards and the 2020 Employee Resource Groups of the Year presentation followed. In its 12th consecutive year, the LATINA Style Corporate Executive of the Year program honors influential Latinas, selected by their peers, as leaders and examples for the Hispanic community and for the professional women in the U.S.

This year, Claudia San Pedro, President, Sonic Drive-In was named the 2020 Corporate Executive of the Year.

LATINA Style also presented the 11th Annual Employee Resource Groups of the Year Award in which Wells Fargo was awarded 2020 ERG of the Year.

Panel sessions followed the awards presentation in which attendees virtually heard from the first panel of the day titled: “The Future of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Corporate America.” Evolving, adapting and advancing in the business environment are essential to lead with a competitive edge. Panelists shared their journey as they adapt and lead into the future in Corporate America. Introduction was presented by Angela Bretz, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Nationwide.

Speakers included Claudia San Pedro, President, SONIC Drive-In; Patty Juarez, ERG President, Executive VP, Head of Diverse Segments, Commercial Banking, Wells Fargo; and Cynthia Bowman, Chief Diversity Officer, Bank of America. The second panel of the day titled “The Essentials for Women Success in the Corporate World” opened a discussion on the triumphs and struggles of successful leaders. Moderated by Carolina Cardoso, Market Unit I&D Lead – US South, Accenture, speakers included Ines Rodriguez Gutzmer, Vice President of Strategic Communications, Aflac Incorporated; Maria Zehnder, Director, Head of MOPAR Finance North America, Stellantis; Alexandra Contreras, Global Workplace Initiatives, Colgate-Palmolive; and Luli Chaluleu, Director, Talent Acquisition, Amazon.

During the third panel of the day “Finding the Key to the Door of a Corporate Board,” panelists discussed what it takes to secure a seat at a corporate table.  Moderated by Esther Aguilera, President & CEO at Latino Corporate Directors Association, speakers included Kimberly Casiano who sits on the following boards: Ford Motor Company, Mutual of American Financial Group, LCDA Board Member; Janet Wong, Boards: Lumentum Holdings, Enviva Partners, Allegiance Bancshares; Gale V. King, Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, Nationwide Insurance, Board Director AutoZone, and Joe Griesedieck, Vice Chairman, Board Advisory Services at Korn Ferry. ­­

The tremendous and increasing pressures faced during the COVID-19 pandemic have created an environment where our health and wellness are constantly under severe challenge. Experts provided a plan of action to help attendees recognize the signals of stress and the tools on how to address the issues during the “How Mental Wellness Affects You, Your Work and Your Business,” panel. Moderated by Elena Rios, MD, MSPH, FACP, President & CEO, National Hispanic Medical Association, speakers included Jennifer Posa, Ph.D., MS, Global Head, Employee Mental Wellbeing & Workplace, Effectiveness, Johnson & Johnson; Sheri Pensinger, Sr. Well-being Manager, CVS Health, and Carmen Villar, VP Social Business Innovation, Merck. Company of the year remarks were provided by Sofia Santos, Managing Director, Head of Consumer & Small Business Strategy, Bank of America. Keynote remarks were provided by Raul A. Anaya, President, Business Banking, Bank of America.

LATINA Style is thrilled to count on the support of Johnson & Johnson, Colgate – Palmolive, Marriott, Raytheon Technologies, American Airlines, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Nationwide, Aflac, Accenture, Stellantis, Hilton, CVS Health, AT&T, Cardinal Health, METRO, Amazon, DFW International, GM, State Street, Ford, ­­JCPenney, Conagra, AIG, SONIC Drive-In, and Merck.

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