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NHLI  2009 Executive Leadership Training Conference & Mujer Awards

2009 Mujer Award Recipients

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As the premier executive leadership organization preparing Latinas for positions of national and international influence, public policy impact, and to contribute to the advancement of the Hispanic community, NHLI pays tribute through its prestigious Mujer Awards to the achievements and contributions of exceptional Hispanic women who have served their communities. The Awards are presented on Friday, November 6, at the Gala closing of the 2009 Executive Leadership Training Conference.

The Mujer Awardees are fundamental examples of the remarkable work Latinas are doing every day across the country. This year’s honorees are:

(Click on the recipient's name to view a video biography.)

Chair’s Award: Rosie Perez, actress, singer, choreographer and community activist

National Award: Patricia Diaz Dennis, three-time Presidential government appointee and corporate executive.

Regional Award: Emma Sepulveda, Ph.D., Professor at the University of Nevada and award winning author.

Join us at NHLI’s 2009 Executive Leadership Training Conference and Mujer Awards to celebrate Latina leadership and “Our Time in History”

More About the Honorees

Rosie PerezRosie Perez, Academy Award-nominated actress and Emmy Award-nominated choreographer, will receive the prestigious Chair’s Award for her activism to advance Latina political power and her advocacy on behalf of inner-city youth and fight against HIV/AIDS.

Throughout her career, Perez has been a vocal activist for a number of causes, especially those related to AIDS and inner-city youth. She is the head of the Artistic Board for the Union Arts Partnership (formerly known as Working Playground), an arts education organization that brings dance, theater, film, poetry and fine arts to students in Harlem, the Bronx and the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Perez also served as the National Spokesperson for Comite Noviembre Puerto Rican Heritage and was honored in New York during Puerto Rican and Hispanic Heritage Month. She joins the Women for Peace & Justice in Vieques, Puerto Rico in demanding the removal of the US Navy from Vieques and the end of the Navy's use of that island as a test bombing site.

An Academy Award-nominated actress and Emmy Award-nominated choreographer, Rosie Perez shines in her varied roles in front of the camera, as well as behind it.

On the big screen, Perez has starred in comedic and dramatic roles with both ease and acclaim, including Fearless (which garnered her a Golden Globe and Academy Award nomination), Human Nature, Riding in Cars with Boys, Do the Right Thing, Night on Earth, White Men Can’t Jump, Untamed Heart, It Could Happen to You, among other movie hits.

Perez made her Broadway debut in the hit revival of Terence McNally's Frankie & Johnnie in the Clair de Lune, and went on to star in Craig Lucas’ Reckless in Fall 2004.

She received critical acclaim for her directorial debut, Yo Soy Boricua Pa’Que Tu Lo Sepas! – a documentary which celebrates Puerto Rican pride. The documentary premiered at the Miami International Film Festival and was featured at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival. It was the highest attended film at Tribeca. As a producer, Perez's credits include The 24-Hour Woman, HBO’s Rosie Perez Presents Society’s Ride, and Subway Stories.

Patricia Diaz DennisPatricia Diaz Dennis served as Girl Scouts of the USA’s Chair of the National Board of Directors from 2005-2008. As the highest ranking volunteer within Girl Scouting, she led the Board in guiding and overseeing the world’s preeminent organization for girls’ leadership development.

As GSUSA’s Board Chair, Patricia was dedicated to diversity and inclusion in Girl Scouting and believed strongly in helping girls become self-confident leaders of their lives. During her tenure, membership among Latina girls increased 15.2%, and she helped lead the organizational transformation and revitalization of the Girl Scout Movement.

Now retired, Patricia was also Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for AT&T in San Antonio, Texas. A three-time presidential appointee, Patricia worked in the U.S. State Department, on the Federal Communications Commission, and on the National Labor Relations Board. She also served on the Texas State University System Board of Regents and the Texas-Mexico Relations transition team. Diaz Dennis is licensed in California, Texas, and the District of Columbia, and admitted to practice law before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 2007, the Hispanic Women’s Corporation honored Patricia for the inspirational role she plays in girls’ lives with the Latina Excellence Award, and MANA—a National Latina Organization which empowers Latinas through leadership development–also named her a 2007 Las Primeras Award recipient for Community Service. Diaz Dennis has also received the 2006 Spelman College Legacy of Leadership Award; 2003 MALDEF Corporate Responsibility Service Award; 2002 Cuban American National Council Leadership Award; 2002 San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame Award–Law; 2001 Association for Women in Communications’ Public Endeavor Award; 2000 Bexar County Women’s Bar Association Belva Lockwood Outstanding Lawyer Award; 1999 San Antonio Women’s Chamber of Commerce Corporate Executive of the Year Award; 1999 UCLA Latino Alumni Association Alumna of the Year Award; 1999 National Hispanic Employee Association Executive of the Year Award; and the 1992 Houston YWCA Hispanic Woman of the Year Award. Hispanic Business Magazine named her to its “100 Influentials” List in 1987, 1988, 1990 and 1996 and listed her in the “80 Elite Hispanic Women Directory” in 2002, and in 2004, the Top 25 Elite Women and 2005 Elite Women. Hispanic Magazine named her to its 100 Top Latinas list in 2004 and 2003.

Born in Santa Rita, New Mexico, Patricia holds a law degree from Loyola University of Los Angeles and an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Los Angeles. She and her husband, Michael, are the proud parents of three adult children and one granddaughter.

Emma SepulvedaEmma Sepulveda, Ph.D., professor at the University of Nevada, and an award-winning author and co-author 22 books, including Can You Hear My Accent When I Write, will receive the Regional Mujer Award which honors a leader who has had a significant impact at the regional level.

Sepulveda was the first Latina to become full professor in the more than one-hundred-year history of the University of Nevada. Her contributions to the Latino community include educating non-Latino communities about the strengths and values of Latino immigrants who live in the US. Additionally, in 1995 she founded Latinos for Political Education (LAPE), a non-profit organization devoted to empowering Latinos through voter registration, voter education and get-out-the-vote programs. Born in Argentina, Sepulveda migrated to Chile escaping political unrest there, and later moved to the United States in 1974.

Past Mujer Award Recipients

Click on the year to meet our Mujer Award Recipients

2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 |
2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | 1995 | 1994 | 1993


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