Latinas awarded as a Hispanic Women of Distinction in South Florida


Women from Panamá, Colombia, Venezuela, Dominican Republic and Cuba are part of the group to be honored.

When the Venezuelan Karina Gomez Herrera, a survivor of domestic abuse, designed for the military industry of the United States, never imagined that -five years later- her experiences would lead her to be one of the 12 Latinas awarded with the Hispanic Women of Distinction because of her community achievements in south Florida. That’s exactly what happened. On the night of Wednesday 12 of July 2017, Karina, CEO of Karnna fashion & Company was applauded with the rest of her fellow reward recipients on the sixteenth edition of the award, where, once again, were recognized the hard labor of the proud Latina women from their origins, with their talents, contribute to the improvement of the life quality of the North-American society

The designer Karina Gomez Herrera within the award recipients in 2017.

“We were chosen as a living example of hardworking women, always demonstrating that the Latina women are intelligent and very valuable. In my case, for helping a lot of people that had suffered from domestic abuse to succeed again with their loved ones. No goal is impossible when u have God by your side”, Gomez implied, founder of the organization: “Survivors of Domestic Abuse”. To Elaine Vazquéz, founder, and a member of the organizing team, the objective of these awards is to “demonstrate that with their culture, traditions, and education” the Latina can be part of the community and “help others”. “To be the recognized here u need to have maintained your native language like Spanish with English because this is the only event that the pride of being Latino is highlighted”, she stated.


Within the best, the nominees of this year were selected in the month of April, about 69 candidates from different countries. Postulated by leaders of their community and winners of other editions. Also, by members of the Hispanic Women Advisory Council. A recognition that for Adriana Fazzano, executive director of Broward College and other award recipients, demonstrate the pride of being Latina. 

“I’m daughter of Colombians and my husband is from Venezuela, which gives me a big commitment to be part of this community” 

Elaine Vásquez, the founder of the awards and the master of ceremony, showed the value of the Latina in U.S.A. 

“El abanico de latino” of 2017, had representatives from Argentina, Panama, Perú, Colombia, Dominican Republic and Venezuela. In it were three feminine talents that aspire to reach a position as public servers in the next elections. 

“It’s hard to choose because the nominees are very talented. They’re chosen by how they implement their culture in their community and the projects they start in their businesses, while they maintain their traditions, their language. The nominees seem very proud of their origins and help other Latinos to fit in this society and we applaud to that”. Said Vásquez.

There’s much to offer, behind every recognition that the Hispanic Women of Distinction grants there’s a story of self-accomplishment. Most of them told by immigrant women that took the challenge of starting their life on zero, some of the in foul conditions, explained the founder.

“A lot of the women that have won this award were extremely poor in the past”, said Vásquez, for example, the life of a doctor that slept in a very tiny place but still managed to gain an education. 

“This is the majority, have a college degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and just with that they have an open road, because education helps u to flourish, and to emerge, this is why this event tries to break the stereotype that Latinos just begs by demonstrating and that they also have much to offer, because they also learn that when you come to America, you have to help people that u don’t even know and that’s what this even promotes”, she added.

The event was also an encounter for the winners of the last edition.

This event is promoted every year by the Hispanic Women Advisory Council

Like in the family the 2017 edition of Hispanic Women of Distinction that was celebrated in Signature Grand Hotel in Davie, was once again; according to the participants was a reunion of a family clan that keeps on growing every year. 

“It’s a space where the old winners get connected with the organization and we become a big family between all of us.  Many of them even have business between each other, their children know each other and work with one and other”, commented Vásquez, that with her husband a Venezuelan cardiologist that passes away six years ago, created this ceremony in 2001, to motivate Latinos that reside in South Florida, which she keeps up to this day as her legacy.

“That is something he wanted, to help the young Hispanic people to become part of this North-American society without them forgetting where they came from”

Because they all deserve to be recognized, meet the 12 Distinguished Hispanic Women of 2017:

  • Gloria Diaz-Daniels – Div. Sales Mgr Sales – Pharmacy – Walmart – Palm Beach,
  • Adriana Fazzano Ficano – Chief of Staff, Broward College – Broward County
  • Blanca Guerra – Broward County Schools – Curriculum Supervisor – Dade
  • Karina Gomez-Herrera – Pres. CEO Karnna Fashion & Company – Broward
  • Dra. Iveris Luz Martinez – Prof. Herbert Werthein College/Medicine FIU – Dade
  • Lorena Mastrarrigo – Chief Asst. Public Defender, Broward County – Broward
  • Christina Perez McDowell – Founder, Solutions by CPM, LLC – Dade
  • Jacqueline Nuñez – Co-owner, SOMA Medical Centers PA – Palm Beach
  • Dr. Jacqueline Peña – Dean Academic Affairs – Miami Dade College – Dade
  • Michelle Martinez Reyes – CMO, Greenspoon Marder – Broward
  • Marielle Sologuren – V.P. Pierson Grant Public Relations – Broward
  • Rachel Tourgeman – Community Relations – Florida National University – Dade


Photo Credits: Alejandro Alvarez Camino

About María José Martínez

María José Martínez
Periodista y bloguera con más de diez años de experiencia en diversos medios de comunicación en Venezuela. Actualmente, resido en Miami donde doy cobertura a la situación de los venezolanos en Estados Unidos.

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