Hispanicize, the nation’s premier gathering of Latino digital content creators, marketers, journalists, musicians, filmmakers and tech entrepreneurs, announced this year’s honorees for the Positive Impact Awards, including McCallie staff member and "culture philanthropist" Veronica Herrera.
Ms. Herrera, a resident of East Brainerd who is active in the Ridgedale Neighborhood Association, won in the Professional Empowerment division.
The national program is sponsored by Prudential Financial, Inc. The Positive Impact Awards celebrate individuals who volunteer their time and resources to make a difference in the lives of Hispanic Americans across the country.
Hispanicize 2016 Week is taking place April 4-8 in downtown Miami.
Officials said, "This year’s awards, hosted by CNN en Español host Ismael Cala and NBC UNIVERSO host Yarel Ramos, will honor four exemplary leaders who are making incredible strides in championing initiatives that promote community revitalization, STEM initiatives, professional development and financial literacy."
“It has never been more important to recognize the good deeds of Latinos in our nation,” said Manny Ruiz, founder and creative director of the Hispanicize event. “We received many heart-warming nominations for the Positive Impact Awards this year and cannot express how moving it is to learn about the compassion and determination of people in our community. Together with Prudential, we take great pride in creating a program that celebrates every-day heroes and disseminates their message of unity and accomplishment.”
“We are proud to help shine a light on all of these outstanding individuals, whose efforts are so closely aligned with our work to promote financial education, and building assets for economic and social mobility. Each of this year’s winners are leaders making a difference in the lives of others in their own unique way,” said Mammen Verghis, vice president of Multicultural Consumer Marketing at Prudential.
The Positive Impact Awards were created in 2013 in honor of the late Louis Pagan, co-founder of Hispanicize and a well-known social media entrepreneur, who passed away suddenly in February 2013. Louis was widely known for his kindness and commitment to giving the community a voice through his vast social media networks. In the same way, the Positive Impact Awards recognize those who contribute selflessly for the betterment of their community.
Ms. Herrera is a candidate for the Person of the Year, a higher award that will be given at the event in Miami.
Officials said of Ms. Herrera, "For many, the most challenging part of uprooting their family and life to another location is having to start from zero.
"Recognizing the many difficulties that families face during this time in their lives, Veronica Herrera has worked tirelessly to create initiatives that help the immigrant and multicultural community overcome obstacles and grow professionally.
"Since 1992, through her job as an educator, and through her own volunteer work in the community, she has created and grown a variety of programs that have provided job training and promoted diversity and inclusion throughout Tennessee and the northern Georgia region.
"Included among her initiatives, Veronica assists community members in building resumes, writing professional recommendations, mentoring, and job readiness, in addition to other workforce related initiatives. Additionally, she works to encourage community members to take on leadership roles such as serving on executive boards while motivating them to promote diversity through a variety of different programs. To date, through the support of her many programs, Veronica has helped thousands of people become job ready and secure employment.
"But her work doesn’t stop there. Veronica also plans numerous large, cultural and fundraising events in Chattanooga and plans activities for residents in underserved neighborhoods. Through this effort, she gives young people the chance to share their culture and talent, motivating what she calls “culture philanthropy,” connecting Chattanooga Hispanic-owned small businesses with the local workforce to identify opportunities for employment.
"Currently, she is conducting research around the use of social media to attain leadership skills, recognizing these as powerful tools that can help immigrants and refugees have job readiness.
"At her core, Ms. Herrera believes that small acts can make a world of a difference in the economic and social growth of a community. She plans to develop a motivation model that urges others in other cities to do the same. Her long-term goal is to demonstrate how the effects of local leadership can have a national impact as well."