Friday, October 19, 2012

Unity in Diversity: 8th Annual Business and Community Awards

by Cindy McCain

Unity in diversity, tenacity and teamwork were themes threaded through speeches at the 8th Annual Business and Community Awards given by the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. On October 11, 2012 suits and sneakers converged on the 27th floor of the Waller building to celebrate the culmination of Hispanic Heritage Month and the non-profit’s recognition of a year of achievements. Among guest speakers were Mayor Karl Dean who said:
We all know this is an exciting time to live and work in Nashville… We all know that the overall economy is doing well here. Things are turning …. We need to be sure everybody is included as this city recovers from the deep national recession. This success is due to the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit of professionals like you.
He commended the NAHCC for their “great reputation on both the regional and the national level.” Under the leadership of Yuri Cunza, President and CEO, Nashville was recently chosen as one of only four US cities for a new pilot program between the Small Business Administration and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The partnership will connect Hispanic small business owners and entrepreneurs with local lenders and business counselors for growth and new jobs. Last May Javier Palomarez, President and CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, leading advocate for over 3 million Hispanic owned- businesses, likewise praised the NAHCC at their May meeting.

Judge Alberto Gonzales, speaking for Waller who hosted the event, said Hispanic Heritage Month “is a celebration of what’s good and right in America… the diversity that exists in this country.” FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Keith Moses, commended contributions of Hispanic Americans working for the FBI as special agents, linguists, analysts, and professional staff:

A diverse workforce gives us deeper connections to the citizens we are sworn to protect…a diverse workforce means we can quite literally talk to and hear from communities that would otherwise be closed to the FBI.

Councilman Fabian Bedne delivered a proclamation presented by Frank Harrison from the Metro Council Minority Caucus recognizing significant social, cultural, and civic contributions in the city, state, and country by Hispanics.

Accepting the Outstanding “Embracing Diversity” Achievement Award for MAPCO Mi Tienda, Tony McLarty, Vice President of Community Relations at Delek, shared his simple secret of growing sales to Hispanic customers by 600%. He asked neighbors in a mile radius of his store what they wanted, then delivered. He advised: “Stop, talk, listen and everyone will see success.”

Maria Mercedes Suarez, owner of El Cabrito Mexican Restaurant, recipient of the Emerging Hispanic Business Award and single mom of four children, said: “I am thankful to God…For other single women I want to be a good example and say, ‘Keep going and one day we’ll reach our goals.’”

Music during the reception was provided by Juan Alonzo who received the Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Artistic Contributions in Support of Causes.  After the ceremony Explosion Negra from Medellin, Colombia rocked the room with their mix of Afro-Colombian music, hip hop and dancehall. Other awards and recipients were as follows:

 Fifth Third Bank--Outstanding ‘Community Building’ Achievement Award

 Mapco Mi Tienda--Outstanding “Embracing Diversity” Achievement Award

 George Uribe of Professional Achievement Award - Media

 Lipscomb University--Outstanding ‘Leadership & Advocacy in Education’ Achievement Award

 El Cabrito Mexican Restaurant--Emerging Hispanic Business Award

 Lourdes Castro--Hispanic Entrepreneur Achievement Award

 Delfine Fox--Outstanding Volunteer Service Award

 The Honorable Walter Hunt, Metropolitan Council of Nashville & Davidson County--NAHCC’s AMIGO Award

 DHPM PC, “Breakfast with the Lawyers”-- Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Contributions to Hispanic Business Literacy

ONE Nashville--Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Contributions in Education Advocacy

NAHCC's 8th Annual Business & Community Awards from AJ Media Services LLC on Vimeo.

Delfine Fox-Russell, Maria Mercedes Suarez, Mario Manuel Ramos, Walter Hunt

Mayor Karl Dean

Photos by Julie Brinker, George Uribe, Holly Spann, Eunice Loraine Segovia Paz, Yarisbet Navarro, Hugo Reyes, La Noticia Newspaper, David Tiller, and Yuri Cunza. 

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