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La Liga de Las Americas

Conference celebrates Michigan’s Latinas and HHM


Troy, MI: More than 200 business Latinas attended the Latina Pioneer Summit on October 2, 2006 at the Troy Marriott.  The second annual event honored outstanding Latinas who have made a difference in the Latino business world. 


The summit offered Latinas an opportunity to learn, network and gain valuable insight into becoming a successful business person in today’s competitive market.  In addition, the inaugural Hispanic Career Fair turned out to be a great success.  Career fair attendees included both job seekers as well as those interested in owning their own business. 


The event was held during Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15 every year.


“The panel discussions featured some of Detroit’s most respected Latinas,” said Ray Lozano, executive director of the Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.  “Their real life experiences provide a road map for other Latinas who want to become successful in business and respected in the community.”  


Panelists included: Carmen Weimer and Josephina Hooker of General Motors, Casilda de Benito of DaimlerChrysler, Blanca Fauble of Ford Motor Company, Leslie Quasarano of Fifth Third Bank, Faye Caballero of Black River Plastics, Lydia Gutiérrez of Hacienda Foods, and Georgette Borrego Dulworth of Tech-Line Automation.


During the luncheon and awards ceremony, the following individuals were honored for their contribution to the Latina culture:


  • Executive of the Year, Diane De Hoyos, General Motors Corporation

  • Entrepreneur of the Year, April Diez, J.I.T.

  • Community Leader of the Year, Alicia Villareal, Latino Family Services

  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Maggie Garcia, Maggie’s Kitchen

  • Media Advocate of the Year, Lourdes Duarte, Fox 2 News


With the Latino buying power exceeding $700 billion, Latinas in the U.S. have become a significant economic and social group.  Latinas represent the fastest growing segment of the small business community generating over $67 billion in sales and they are primarily responsible for all major household purchases. 


Latinas are also one of the fastest growing groups of women in the labor force numbering 7 million and projected to increase another 37% to 9.2 million by 2010.  More than 150,000 Latinos live in the Detroit area and have an estimated annual purchasing power of nearly $2 billion.


General Motors was the title sponsor of the event.  Additional sponsors included: DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Company, Fifth Third Bank, and Comerica.  Career fair sponsors included: Wayne State University, Comcast, DTE Energy, Compuware, State Farm Insurance, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Detroit Medical Center.


The event was hosted by LATINA Style Magazine, the Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (MHCC) and the National Society of Hispanic MBA’s (NSHMBA).  Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch, Founder and President of Educational Achievement Services, Inc. (EAS), delivered the keynote address.


About MHCC

The Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit membership association dedicated to promoting economic development in the Hispanic community through the growth of its member companies.  The mission of the MHCC is “to enhance Hispanic-owned businesses and member companies by providing resources and services that aid in business development while contributing to the community and adding to its voice.”



The National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) is a professional organization that was created in 1988 to “foster Hispanic leadership through graduate management education and professional development in order to improve society.”  The organization has over 8,300 members nationally with approximately 300 in the Detroit chapter.






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