Nearly 150 guests gathered at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, California, on August 20th to celebrate nonprofit #LatinaGeeks 10th Anniversary and honor four individuals making a transformative impact in our world through technology.
The memorable evening was a culmination of # LatinaGeeks’ 10 years of advocating for more diversity in the technology sector and educating and empowering Latinas working in or pursuing careers in technology.
The glitzy gala began as attendees walked up the red-carpet photo for opportunities to capture the momentous occasion and were entertained by a professional mariachi upon entering the beautiful venue.
As people found their seats, they joined friendly faces in the community they’ve connected with at previous events and met new individuals eager to make meaningful connections and support the mission of #LatinaGeeks.
The event kicked off with a delightful array of appetizers and a hosted bar, followed by welcoming remarks from the #LatinaGeeks Board Chairwoman, Bracy Fuentes, who reflected on how far the organization has come, and the path to the future. Executive Director and Co-Founder LaLa Castro then took the stage and spoke passionately about her journey into tech and how taking non-traditional paths can still lead you to the career of your dreams.
The Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening was Emmy-award-winning reporter Claudia Botero, who set the tone for the evening’s festivities and introduced the panel discussion, aptly titled “Latinas Shaping the Future of Technology.” Speakers included powerhouse women Valeria Martinez, Venture Capitalist at Vamos Ventures; Tanya Menendez, Co-Founder and CEO of Snowball Wealth; and Daniela Corrente, Co-Founder and CEO of Reel.
These inspiring ladies were dropping some serious gems:
“Knowing that if I’m suffering, ideally that makes it easier for the next Latina, because I am able to be a good representative for our community and that’ll make it easier for the next Latina coming.” – Tanya Menendez, Co-Founder and CEO of Snowball Wealth
“You have to look in the mirror and know that you are the best that you can be, that nobody’s bringing this idea the way that you’re bringing that idea and you walk in and you own it because that’s the way that we can do it.” – Daniela Corrente, Co-Founder and CEO of Reel
“Speak up, raise your hand for the projects that maybe seem hard, ask for that promotion. Really, truly advocate for your great work.” – Valeria Martinez, Venture Capitalist at Vamos Ventures
After the dinner that boasted some cultural delights, guests had the opportunity for more networking and a stand-out Silent Auction (including a J-lo collectible, LA Dodgers signed memorabilia, a Prince collectible album, and a Mexico beach retreat for two) to help raise funds to support the work of #LatinaGeeks.
It was then time for the gran final – the first ever Inspirada Awards ceremony, which honored fierce Latinas in the following categories:
Rising Star in STEM:
- Liliana Rodriguez, Engineer I at LPL Financial
- Diana Segura, Intern at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
- Fernanda Sulantay Vargas, Graduate Student Researcher at Yale University
Congratulations to the 2022 Inspirada Award Recipient, Diana Segura.
- Cecilia Corral, Co-Founder & VP at CareMessage
- Martha Hernandez, Founder & CEO at MadeBOS, Inc.
- Maria Oliveira Tamellini, Co-Founder & COO at GamerSafer
Congratulations to the 2022 Inspirada Award Recipient, Maria Oliveira Tamellini.
- Jannie Fernandez, Tech Coalition Program Manager at Reboot Representation
- Diana Iracheta, Founder & Executive Director at Latina Engineer
- Sophia Valdez, Early Careers Technical Recruiter at TikTok
Congratulations to the 2022 Inspirada Awards Recipient, Diana Iracheta.
The final set of nominees was for the Social Impact award:
- Laura Cancel, CEO & Founder at Neddie
- Martha Montoya, CEO & Founder at AGTools
- Caeley Looney, CEO & Founder of Reinvented, Inc.
Congratulations to the 2022 Inspirada Awards recipient, Martha Montoya.
Presenting the awards for the evening was #LatinaGeeks Managing Director Denyse Cardozo. Huge congratulations to all the award nominees and honorees for the incredible impact they are making- and for keeping the light burning for our future Latina leaders.
Finally, the night closed out as DJ REAPR played favorite Latin tunes, and the guests danced the night away.
The spectacular event brought much-needed awareness that nonprofits such as #LatinaGeeks need support from their community to continue to drive impact and realize their vision for a more equitable future for Latinas in the technology industry. The generous contributions and donations received at this fundraising event will help secure future programming to benefit more Latinas working in STEM.
Thank you to everyone who attended the 10th-anniversary celebration either in person or in spirit! The outpouring of support for the mission and the appreciation for all that #LatinaGeeks has accomplished over the past years resounded throughout the entire night. (So cool to find out that people flew in from across the states to attend!)If you missed the in-person event, you could still watch the highlights from our Livestream (courtesy of KNEKT.tv) here.
Special thanks and gratitude to all the fantastic volunteers who worked tirelessly on the gala and, through their hard work, remind all of us why community is so vital to the work of #LatinaGeeks.
#LatinaGeeks would like to thank all the gala sponsors: Western Governors University (WGU), Cox Communications, California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Intuit, and Microsoft.
Are you interested in sponsoring the next Inspirada Awards? Contact email@example.com for information.
Find out more about #LatinaGeeks here.
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