National Hispana Leadership Institute - Celebrating 20 Years of Latina Leadership Search
Member Login
NHLI Home Page
About NHLIProgramsConferencesAlumnaeSponsors

Executive Leadership Training & Mujer Awards Conference

About the Conference
2009 Nomination Form

Schedule of Events
2008 Recipients
Featured Artist
Sponsor Opportunities
Registration Information
Exhibitor Information
Past Highlights
Past Recipients
Call for Nominations



2001 Mujer Award Recipients

Linda Chavez Thompson





The recipient of the 2001 National Mujer Award was Linda Chavez-Thompson, Vice President, AFL-CIO. She was elected Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO at the federation’s 1995 convention and was reelected to a new four-year term in 1997. She is the first person to hold the post of AFL-CIO executive vice president, and she is the first person of color to be elected to one of the federation’s three highest offices.A native of Lubbock, Texas, Chavez-Thompson is a second-generation American of Mexican descent. She brings to her work 34 years of experience in the labor movement, beginning in 1967 with her first work for the Laborers’ local union in Lubbock. She went on to serve in a variety of posts with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in San Antonio, Texas, and she became an AFSCME international vice president in 1988, a post she held until 1996. She also served from 1986 to 1996 as a national vice president for the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, AFL-CIO. In 1993, Chavez-Thompson was elected as a vice president of the national AFL-CIO, serving on the Executive Council. As Executive Vice President of the federation, Chavez-Thompson represents the labor movement in a wide variety of national organizations, including her service as the chair of the National Committee on Pay Equity, as a member of the executive committee of the United Way of America, as a vice chair of the President’s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities, as a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, and as a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.


Lena Archuleta


Lena Archuleta, lifetime educator and civil rights activist from Denver, CO was honored as the 2001 Regional Mujer Award recipient. Lena Archuleta has worked tirelessly for over fifty years on behalf of the Latino community. It is easy to see why she was the first Latina inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame. Lena L. Archuleta was born in New Mexico and began her long career in education in her native state. She left New Mexico to attend the University of Denver where she earned her bachelors and master’s degrees.From 1961 until 1979, Ms. Archuleta worked in education administration and became Denver Public Schools first Latina principal. As an educator and administrator she not only excelled in her field, she was a committed advocate for children of all races and specifically fought for the rights of Latinos. "Education is the only way that people can rise to their full potential. Working with young people is the most satisfying work you can do," Lena Archuleta said about her long tenure in the Denver Public School system. Ms. Archuleta was an influential educator in the Denver community during the days when "machismo" attitudes prevailed and the civil rights movement was underway. She served as Bilingual Education Program Director for the Denver Public School system, serving as a strong advocate for school integration and bilingual education. She pushed to get art, history and Latino culture taught in the classroom and reflected in the textbooks, and helped to hire more Latino teachers. She continues to advocate for Latino education, specifically the need to address the high drop out rates for Latinas in high school. Lena Archuleta retired from the Denver Public School System in 1979, but she continues to be extremely involved in civic and community organizations. She extensive involvement as a volunteer and Board member spanning a variety of interests including: religion, parks and recreation, childcare, women’s leadership and training, education, and intergenerational concerns. From 1990 to 1996, Ms. Archuleta served as the first Latina Vice-President on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). Her efforts brought much-needed attention to the plight of the ethnic minority elderly. Currently, Lena is involved with The Denver Foundation, the Public Council on Drinking Water Research, and Adelante Mujer Focus Group, which assists with strategic planning on behalf of Latinas. She also continues to volunteer her time with the AARP at the state level.Lena Archuleta has been an exemplary role model for Latinas who have learned from her during her tenure as an educator, administrator, and principal in the Denver Public Schools System. She has touched the lives and paved the way for many Latinas, including Graduates of the National Hispana Leadership Institute. Lena Archuleta is most deserving of this award and NHLI proudly honors her dedication to the Latino community for over 50 years.