Sell-out Crowd honors Hispanic Women of Distinction of South Florida

The 18th anniversary of the Hispanic Women of Distinction Charity luncheon held on August 23rd at the Signature Grand in Davie, Florida drew more than 900 guests including corporate partners, business leaders, media sponsors and more than 35 elected officials including Lt. Governor of Florida, Jeanette Nunez, who was a 2007 Hispanic Woman of Distinction.

 Presented by Bank of America in partnership with Latina Style national magazine and AARP Florida, the Signature Grand was transformed into a ‘fiesta” beginning with a complimentary “mojito” and a fun-filled cocktail hour and business expo.  Co-presenting sponsors included Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Latin Biz Today, Baptist Health, Holy Cross Hospital, Rick Case Automotive Group, State Farm Insurance and Memorial Healthcare Systems.

More than 60 past honorees opened the event with the annual PARADE of PAST HONOREES proudly waving an American flag down the runway.

During an elegant lunch, a fabulous runway fashion show was presented by Karnna Fashion Group, by designer Karina Gomez Herrera, a past honoree and Angela Posillico, CEO of the Ms Latina International organization.  Karina born in Venezuela, and a resident of Pompano Beach, was a victim of domestic violence and she took her extensive fashion talent and expertise to not only train and help new designers, but also created a fund to assist victims of abuse move forward and learn a new profession.

The silent auction that benefited Take Stock in Children raised over $19,000 in just one hour.  Take Stock in Children is the Broward County affiliate of a statewide Florida non-profit organization that provides a unique opportunity for low-income and at-risk students to escape the cycle of poverty through education. They offer students caring volunteer mentors, student advocacy, college readiness, and college scholarships.

Raffles benefited March of Dimes and $5000 was donated to the Light of the World Clinic, a free healthcare facility founded by the late Dr. Erwin Vasquez and founder of the luncheon in 2001, and $500 check presented to Kakes 4 Kids, a charity that provides birthday parties for over 400 foster children, founded by Mistress of Ceremonies, Myriam Mashihy of NBC 6 and Telemundo Ch. 51.  The event was covered LIVE of Facebook generating more than 17,000 views in one hour!

12 Honorees honored on stage and walked the 140 foot runway were:

  • Andrea Apa – Academic Associate Dean, Broward College (Hollywood)


  • Diana Arteaga –VP Government Relations/Public Affairs Broward Health (Ft. Lauderdale)


  • Ana Castilla – VP Fla Regional Community Development TD Bank (Coral Gables)


  • Mirylsa Colon-Martinez, MD, FAAOS – Orthowellness Boca Raton (Boca Raton)


  • Marianela Collado –CEO & Co-Owner, Tobias Financial Advisors (Weston)


  • Amanda Laird Frey – Executive Director, Take Stock in Children Broward (Sunrise)


  • Belinda Leon, Ed.D. – Consultant, Premier Educational Consulting (Doral)


  • Myrna Maysonet – Partner, CDO, Greenspoon Marder (Fort Lauderdale)


  • Aurora Ortiz – Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County (Palm Beach)


  • Jasmin Ortiz-Batir – OMS Associates- Vice President and Administrator (Plantation)


  • Graciela Valdes, CPP – Graciela Valdes Fine Art Photography – (Fort Lauderdale)


  • 2019 Latina Pioneer of the Year: Betty Alonso, President CEO, ConnectFamilias (Miami)

“I am thrilled that each year the community comes out to support these fantastic ladies. It’s a tribute to my late husband, Dr. Erwin Vasquez who believed that bringing these women to the forefront will show the diversity and contributions of each of them, “said Elaine Miceli Vasquez, producer.  “His legacy lives on.”

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