La Paz Chattanooga will kick off Hispanic Heritage Monthon Monday September 15 by hosting the 2014 Latino Leadership Awards at the Chattanoogan Hotel from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The event will recognize and honor Latino leaders from the Chattanooga area. Throughout the month of July, La Paz will accept nominations for the awards ceremony.
The keynote speaker for this year's awards banquet will be Fuad Reveiz, former University of Tennessee football standout and NFL Pro Bowl selection. Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Fuad moved with his family at a young age to Miami, Fla. After earning the nickname "Fuad-o-matic" in Knoxville as an All-SEC placekicker, Fuad spent 11 years in the NFL playing for the Miami Dolphins, San Diego Chargers and Minnesota Vikings.
"We are extremely excited that Fuad will be our keynote speaker this year, and our Latino Leadership Awards selection committee is looking forward to sorting through the avalanche of awards nominations we'll receive," said Stacy Johnson, Executive Director of La Paz Chattanooga. "Since we launched this event two years ago, we have been thrilled at the number of nominations the community has submitted, as well as the quality and diversity of those nominees. We are very proud to host this event-one that lets us put a spotlight on area leaders who are working to make Chattanooga a stronger, better city."
A selection committee will whittle the list of nominees down to 10 leaders who will be honored at the awards banquet. Of those 10 leaders, one will win the "Latino Leader of the Year" award, and another will take home the "Chattanooga's Choice" award. The Latino Leader of the Year is voted on by La Paz board, staff and selection committee. The Chattanooga's Choice award will be selected by the community, via online vote, in August.
La Paz will begin accepting nominations online on Tuesday, July 1. The nomination platform will remain open throughout the entire month.
Last year, each of the finalists represented a healthy balance between professional success and community involvement. They were:
Marco Diaz - Brainerd Church of Christ
Mario Duarte - Volkswagen
José Luis Loa Garcia - Carnicerías Loa #6, 7, 9
Ani Hernandez Johnson - Richmont Community Counseling Center
Fabiola Ortiz - Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union
Nahomi Ortiz - Chattanooga State Community College (Student)
Jorge Perez - Unum
Marco Pérez - Chalmers Center at Covenant College
Geovanny Ragsdale - Southern Adventist University
Ivette Rios - Tennessee Small Business Development Center