Honoring the maestros among us.

Author:Jaime, Kristian

For the past 10 years, honoring the Hispanic magnates among us has taken the form of the Maestro Awards, presented by Latino Leaders magazine.

With the decade anniversary being celebrated at a recent ceremony at the Scottish Rite Temple in Dallas, the award has taken on a life of its own, with similar events taking place in Los Angeles and Chicago. While the recipients come from every discipline--including business, education, civil service and entrepreneurship --they all have a lifetime of achievement to celebrate.

"[We celebrate] the success stories and accomplishments and the triumphs of many leaders that have made history and continue to make history in our community," said Jorge Ferraez, the magazine's publisher.

It seemed only fitting that Dallas be the location for the milestone ceremony, as it was the original home of the first Maestro Awards. Also celebrating a notable landmark was Latino Leaders, which turns 16 this year.

Recipients for the Dallas awards were as follows: Antonio R. Flores, president and CEO of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) as Maestro of Leadership; Jose "Pepe" Hermosillo, vice president and founder of Casa Noble Tequila as Maestro of Entrepreneurship; Manny J. Fernandez, managing partner of KPMG as Maestro of Professional Achievement; Carlos F. Orta, vice president of Corporate Affairs of Carnival Corporation as Maestro of Diversity Advancement; and Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Sheriff of Dallas County as Maestro of Community Service, who received a standing ovation from the over 250 attendees.

In usual fashion, the trailblazing publication took an unusual approach to handing out the honorary hardware. For Ferraez, the medals came with a brief conversation about the challenges and triumphs of each of the recipients in their respective fields.

While the list of past winners is surely distinguished, they represent the changing face of Latinos in the United States. With an ever-increasing number of Hispanics entering colleges, graduate-level programs and the executive workforce, there is no shortage of trailblazers raising the profile of Latino professionals.

"We need to ask how long it will be before our population is where it needs to be in terms of education and jobs to be equal with the [market] as a whole. We need to be ready to compete for jobs in a global marketplace," Ferraez said.

In 2016, the Maestro Awards were celebrated in Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas.

Recipients for the Chicago awards included Dr. Andrew Sund, president of St. Augustine College as Maestro of Community Service; Ezequiel "Zeke" Flores, CEO of Flying Concessions LLC as Maestro of Entrepreneurship; Jose R. Sanchez, president and CEO of Norwegian American Hospital as Maestro of Professional Achievement; and Neli Vazquez-Rowland, president and CEO of A Safe Haven Foundation as Maestro of Leadership.

The Maestro Awards were sponsored by Southwest Airlines, St. Augustine College and Mi Sueno Winery.

Ferraez also acted as emcee for the ceremony in Los Angeles, which was sponsored by Southwest Airlines, Mass Mutual Financial Group, Delgadillo Cellars and Mario Bazan Cellars.

Award recipients included Dr. Cynthia Ann Telles, director of the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute Psychosocial Clinic as Maestro of Professional Achievement; Luis Maizel, president of LM Capital Group as Maestro of Entrepreneurship; Dr. Sandra R. Hernandez, president and CEO of California Healthcare Foundation; Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as Maestro of Leadership.

Patrons were also treated to unique insight into the rise of each of these medal winners with questions pertaining to lessons learned early in their careers and how they overcame their trials throughout their long tenures. Moreover, the recipients offered a glimpse into a world where Latinos had to make...

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