Girls Can Be What They Can See

The Latinas First Foundation celebrates and elevates the Latina community by focusing on the cultural and historical contributions of Latinas in Colorado.

8th Annual Latinas First Foundation Luncheon
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DENVER – March 12, 2019:  The Latinas First Foundation will hold its 8thAnnual Luncheon on Friday, May 3, 2019 at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Seawall Ballroom.  The Foundation will honor eight Latina Leaders at the luncheon, while also providing participants and sponsors an opportunity to network with more than 800 of Colorado’s Latino leaders.  The Foundation will award 22 scholarships to Latina high school, college and graduate students and host over 100 high school students at the Luncheon.

“We are excited to honor Latina leaders who have illuminated a path for emerging leaders to emulate.  This year we build on that legacy and will honor women in diverse fields from international business, communications,health care, government and education. We continue to believe in the importance of highlighting their work, efforts and results so all Latinas understand how it is possible to achieve great things,” said co-founder Meshach Rhoades. The 2019 Honorees include Deborah Quintana, Patty Salazar, Jordan Sauers and Gloria Schoch.

Deborah Quintana was the first Latina to establish, own and operate a Foreign Currency Exchange in any major airport in the United States.  For the last 28 years, Deborah has been the CEO of World Wide Money Exchange, where she built a successful airport concessionaire business. Patty Salazar is currently the first Latina to serve as the Executive Director of the Department of Regulatory Agencies, the first Latina to lead the Division of Financial Services at the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies and the first Latina to be appointed as Banking Commissioner overseeing the Division of Banking at the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies.  Jordan Sauers is the first Latina elected official as Ward 1 City Council representative in the City of Northglenn.  This election also made her the youngest elected official in Colorado at the age of 23. Gloria Schoch is the first Latina to lead Molson Coors’ Global External Communications and Community Affairs.  In that capacity, she develops all external communication strategies and messaging to enhance Molson Coors’ reputation with key stakeholders to advance the Company’s business strategy, community partnership and corporate responsibility goals.

“Welookforwardto honoringourtrailblazers fortheir visionanddrive.Wearealsothrilled to honor ourUnsungHeroinesfortheir passionandextraordinarycontributionstothecommunity,”remarkedco -founder JuanitaChacon.“Eachyearwesearchforthose womentohonor that fulfill our missionandhavecontinuouslygivenbacktothe communityinimmeasurableways.” The 2019 Unsung Heroines are Magdalena Aguayo, Judy Diaz Bonacquisti, Rachel Griego and Kathy Maestas.

For more than 25 years, Magdalena Aguayo was a physician assistant at Denver Health’s Sam Sandos Westside Family Health Center where she provided high-quality health care to predominantly low-income Latino patients.  Along with her work as a PA, she administered Denver Health’s Reach Out and Read program at the Westside Family Health Center, which was the largest of the 80 Reach out and Read sites in Colorado. For more than two decades, Judy Diaz Bonacquisti has developed programs and policies to expand college access and advance students toward college degree completion.  She currently serves as Associate Vice President at Regis University and before that she was the Associate Vice President of Enrollment at Metropolitan State University of Denver, where she worked to pass discounted tuition policies for undocumented immigrants.  Rachael Griego is the Vice President of Programs and Initiatives at Latino Community Foundation of Colorado, an initiative of Rose Community Foundation.  As an experienced project manager, she has served key national entities to connect them with diverse audiences with a focus on the Latino Community.  Kathy Maestas has spent more than 25 years supporting nonprofits and small businesses as an independent consultant and small business owner herself, as well as program coordinator, operations manager and interim executive director.  Through each engagement, her passion and strategic planning has helped the organizations grow and focus on their mission.  Many of those organizations focus on the Latino community, including the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, Latina American Educational Foundation, HCC Diversity Leader’s Contractor Academy and Latinas First Foundation, among others.  In addition to this work, Kathy volunteers on Boards and councils for the Autism Society of Colorado, Florence Crittenton Services Hispanic Advisory Council and the Colorado Community of Practice Advisory Council on Cultural Linguistic Competence.

The Latinas First Foundation celebrates and mobilizes the Latina community, while focusing on the cultural and historical contributions of Latinas to Colorado. The Foundation also provides critical opportunities and scholarships for future Latina generations. “We are proud to build a community for other women to thrive by providing a critical network and support for Latinas to reach their highest potential through nontraditional scholarships. We look forward to continuing to partner with the community to fulfill our mission,” echoed Meshach Rhoades.

Andrea Flores, a reporter at CBS4, will serve as the Mistress of Ceremonies for the 2019 Luncheon. All proceeds raised from the luncheon will support the organization’s scholarships and programs. Since the organization was founded in 2011, the Latinas First Foundation has honored more than 65 women and awarded 49 non-traditional scholarships. The Latinas First Foundation is a 501c (3) nonprofit organization and generates its funding from corporations, foundations and individual contributors.

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Congratulations to Our
2018 Latinas First Foundation
Scholarship Recipients

Jocelyn Garcia-Moreno
Arianna Sanchez-Aguilar
Elizabeth Gutierrez-Gutierrez
Evelin Mojica
Sierra Romero
Genavee Gonzales
Erica Gallegos
Elide Rojo-Gutierrez
Clara Magallanes
Esperanza Medina-Andrade
Yesica Chavez
Diana Rios-Martinez

Latinas First Community Event Calendar

Submit your event to the community calendar!

Trailblazer and Unsung Heroine Honorees

Sandi Mays | 2018 Trailblazer

Dr. Patricia Baca | 2018 Trailblazer

Dustin Gurule | 2018 Unsung Heroine

Benita Olivas | 2017 Unsung Heroine

Lilia Cervantes | 2017 Unsung Heroine

Yoli Casas | 2017 Trailblazer

Maria Garcia Berry | 2018 Trailblazer

Belen Deleon | 2018 Trailblazer

Michelle McDaniel | 2018 Unsung Heroine

Jen Cuesta | 2017 Unsung Heroine

Denise Maes | 2017 Trailblazer

Crisanta Duran | 2017 Trailblazer

Carmen Morales | 2018 Trailblazer

Marcela de la Mar | 2018 Unsung Heroine

Mary Ontiveras | 2017 Unsung Heroine

Jeanette Trujillo-Lucero | 2017 Trailblazer

Irene Griego | 2017 Trailblazer

Latinas First Foundation 2018 Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor

Pioneer Sponsors

Trailblazer Sponsor

Unsung Heroine Sponsors

Student Table Sponsors

We All Lead Sponsors

If you need to contact the Latinas First Foundation Office:

(720) 625-8833

Latinas First Foundation
3000 South Jamaica Ct, #145
Aurora, CO. 80014