More than 200 attendees filled the Mountain City Club for the awards banquet. Fifteen finalists were honored, and two were recipients of the “Chattanooga’s Choice” and the “Latino Leader of the Year” awards. In addition to the awards portion of the ceremony, Andy Berke, Tennessee State Senator, and his wife, Monique Prado Berke, Vice President of Human Resources for Global Services at Unum, addressed the audience. Mr. Berke discussed the impact of leadership on community development, while Mrs. Berke detailed her experiences as a successful Latina professional.
“Leaders are people who don’t just wait for someone to tell them what to do, but take it upon themselves to act and inspire others to act as well,” said Marisol Jimenez in her acceptance speech, where she commented on the historical importance of the event. “I believe in Chattanooga because it is a place that embraces diversity.”
The “Chattanooga’s Choice” award was given to Angela Garcia, Managing Editor of Noticias Libres, the local Spanish-language publication. She was voted for by the broader Chattanooga community as the Latino who best demonstrates outstanding leadership qualities, service, and a commitment to community enrichment. The awards ceremony recognized her as a marketing expert and the creative force behind Chattanooga’s Spanish-language media. Marisol Jimenez was awarded the “Latino Leader of the Year,” for her years of service in the Hamilton County Department of Education, as well as her volunteerism. She was selected by La Paz Chattanooga board members and staff. Jimenez supports English as a Second Language programs for Hamilton County Department of Education and was recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty to make students successful.
“We are extremely happy that today’s event was successful,” said David Martin, Development and Communications Manager at La Paz. “We have been thrilled to honor these exemplary folks, and we are already looking forward to hosting this event next year. Since Latinos are projected to comprise nearly fifteen percent of the area’s population by 2020, this demographic will play a large part in Chattanooga’s future accomplishments, and we aim to keep a spotlight on those who are making this city a great place to live.”