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Women of 2007

AND THE WINNER IS.............

VIVIAN RUIZ, WINNER OF THE 2007 HISPANIC WOMEN OF DISTINCTION LUNCHEON FASHION SHOW TO RECEIVE SCHOLARSHIP AND RECEPTION IN HER HONOR

WINNING STUDENT DESIGNER
TO SHOWCASE HER FASHION
IN WINDOW OF ZOLA KELLER
OF LAS OLAS ON OCTOBER 2nd

Fashion Week may be at high gear in New York, but here in Fort Lauderdale our own runway designer will be recognized for her winning collection that showcased at the 6th annual Hispanic Women of Distinction Luncheon held on August 17th presented by Latina Style Magazine and Bank of America. Six student designers of the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale presented their collections while a group of judges unanimously selected VIVIAN RUIZ, a native of Puerto Rico, for her elegant and ready to wear designs as this year's winner.

The elegant luncheon that was held on August 17th attracted over 800 guests ajd was the official kickoff of the Bank of America Viva Broward! Hispanic Heritage Month Calendar of Events. On Tuesday, October 2nd from 5 pm to 7 pm a cocktail reception will be held at the ZOLA KELLER Las Olas boutique to award Vivian with a $500 scholarship toward her collection. Invited guests include former and 2007 Hispanic Women of Distinction honorees, sponsors of the luncheon, Art Institute designers, corporate leaders and the Art Institute staff.

That evening, one of the the designs of Vivian Ruiz will be featured in Zola Keller's window for the entire week. "This is our way of continuing our relationship with the students at the Art Institute," said Zola Keller. "We have students at our store for years to encourage them to learn the entire fashion business and help them to fulfill their creative goals as well."

"I am so appreciative of the award and honored to have my design on Las Olas Boulevard at Zola Keller for the public to see. I am proud of my heritage and hopefully others will see the cultural influence I have in my collection, " said Vivian Ruiz.

Bank of America Vice President of Market Development, Linda Stepenovitch will make the presentation of the scholarship along with Erwin M. Vasquez, M.D founder of Viva Broward in 1989. Raffles for great prizes will benefit the Light of the World Clinic, a free healthcare facility for the poor founded by Vasquez.


2007 HISPANIC WOMEN OF DISTINCTION CHARITY LUNCHEON
PRESENTED BY LATINA STYLE MAGAZINE, BANK OF AMERICA,
CO-PRESENTED BY THE SOUTH FLORIDA BUSINESS JOURNAL

PAYING TRIBUTE TO 12 LATINAS WHO HAVE
CONTRIBUTED TO THEIR COMMUNITY AND HERITAGE

BENEFITTING THE MARCH OF DIMES
& WOMEN OF SPANISH ORIGIN

SILENT AUCTION, COCKTAIL HOUR
WITH COMPLIMENTARY MOJITOS
LATIN ENTERTAINMENT, LUNCHEON AND FASHION SHOW


HISPANIC WOMEN of DISTINCTION LUNCHEON
DRAWS 800 GUESTS:
The Latina audience at the annual charity luncheon reaffirms Broward's Hispanic growth


This years Hispanic Women of Distinction 2007

With the support of more than 24 sponsor underwriters and media partners, the 6th annual Hispanic Women of Distinction luncheon surpassed it's expectations with 817 guests filling the ballroom and atrium of the Signature Grand in Davie Florida on Friday, August 17th. Over $10,000 was raised for the March of Dimes and Women of Spanish Origin, the luncheon's benefactors for 2007.

As the official kick-off of the Bank of America VIVA BROWARD! Calendar of Events, the Hispanic Women luncheon began as a tribute to showcase the fashion and design of the Latin culture during Hispanic Heritage Month and an opportunity to recognize distinguished Latinas who have paved the way for so many others.

"As title sponsors of Viva Broward! for almost ten years, we have lent our support to this important segment of the community providing opportunities for the diverse Latino families to showcase their culture, community and charitable endeavors," said Linda Stepenovitch, Vice President Market Development for Bank of America.

The luncheon's program began with complimentary mojitos, tapas, Spanish music and 40 former Hispanic Women of Distinction parading down the 90 foot runway to the music of Shaka Khan , I'M EVERY WOMAN. Followed by special presentations to the presenting sponsors, Latina Style National Magazine, based in Washington, D.C. and Bank of America. Robert Bard, publisher, in his welcome comments included a moment of silence for the recent earthquake victims in Peru, and to the men and women serving in the Armed Forces. Latina Style is considered one the nation's fastest growing publications for the Latin business woman and with their sponsorship of the Hispanic Women of Distinction Luncheon for the 3rd year in a row, clearly shows the major interest corporate America has with Broward and Palm Beach's diverse.

The annual Latina Pioneer Award was presented by Erwin M. Vasquez, M.D. founder of Viva Broward! and County Commissioner Diana Wasserman Rubin to Dr. Isabel Diaz, age 90, a pediatrician who arrived to the shores of Miami in a wooden boat to begin a new life of freedom. Dr. Diaz brought a heart warming message to the hundreds of Latinas in the audience, "nothing comes easy, you must work hard to reach the goals you believe in." Wasserman-Rubin also presented her with a County Proclamation naming August 17th as ISABEL DIAZ day.

Once the thank you's were properly presented, Mistress of Ceremonies, Myriam Masihy, Broward Reporter for Univision and reigning beauty queen, Alejandra Espinoza, Nuestra Belleza Latina, turned the microphone over to fashion designer Zola Keller of Las Olas and Mariella Adrian of the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, who then brought the house down with a 30 minute designer fashion show with the original collections of 5 talented Hispanic students; ANA RODRIGUEZ, KYRA JACHODE, MARIA SOLIS, JORGE J. ALOR and VIVIAN RUIZ. Also included in the show were accessories provided by former Miss Universe, Barbara Palacios, a resident of Weston who also attended the luncheon and jewelry by Weston Jewelers.

Keller, who has been the fashion partner with Elaine Vasquez, luncheon's producer, volunteered her time and expertise to help make the show a professional tribute to the Hispanic talent in south Florida. "Many tears came to the eyes of those in the audience when Zola closed the show with her own quinceanara gowns modeled by daughters of the honorees,' said Vasquez. She understands many different cultures and is able to capture the important emotion of their fashions as well."


The finale included the individual honorees each walking the runway with special comments about their business success, education and community service were announced to the audience filled with family, friends, business associates and numerous elected officials.

The 2007 honorees are:

NUVIA ABIGANTUS:
President & CEO of Latin TMS, a property development company. Nuvia is a resident of Pembroke Pines and is of Cuban heritage.

BERTHY de la ROSA-APONTE:
Advocate/Presidential Appointee for Individuals with Disabilities. Berthy lives in Cooper City and is of Colombian heritage.

ROSIE PUELLO-BURKMAN:
V.P. Marketing for JM&A Group, a JM Family National Finance and Insurance Company. Rosie is a resident of Boynton Beach and is of Cuban heritage.

TERESA FERNANDEZ:
Chief Nursing Officer at Kendall Regional Medical Center. Teresa lives in Hallandale Beach and is of Cuban heritage.

YVETTE FOURNIER FERNANDEZ, J.D.:
Specialist Broward County School Multicultural/ESOL Program Services. Yvette lives in Coral Springs and of Puerto Rican heritage.

MYRIAM CAMPO-GOLDMAN:
CEO, President of Harmony Development Center for troubled youth. Myriam lives in Hollywood and is of Colombian heritage.

MERCEDES G. HENRIKSSON:
City Commissioner of the City of Weston. Mercedes lives in Weston and is of Spanish/Dominican heritage.

BEATRIZ MINIACI:
Producer, Life Works Entertainment & Consultant Bea Well Associates. Beatriz lives in Fort Lauderdale and is of Chilean heritage.

JEANETTE NUNEZ:
Vice President, Government Relations for Jackson Health System. She lives in Miami and is of Cuban heritage.

PATRICIA SAN PEDRO:
President, San Pedro Productions, a Public Relations Marketing firm and co-author of "Dish & Tell." She lives in Coral Gables and is of Cuban heritage.

SILVIA STRADI:
Chief Nursing Officer for Cedars Medical Center. She lives in Loxahatchee and is of Cuban heritage.

STELLA J. TOKAR:
President, CEO of Pembroke Pines Regional Chamber of Commerce. Stella lives in Miramar and is of Spanish heritage.


Christian Ericksen • Miss Southeast Florida USA

Rossana Pujol • Miss Southeast Fla Teen USA

Shayra Edal • Miss Oakland Park Teen

Jamila Jones • Miss Pembroke Pines Teen USA

Constance Vilomar • Miss Broward County Teen USA

Alyssa Rivera • Miss Homestead/FL Keys Teen USA

Linda Hill • Miss Boca Raton/Palm Beach County

Alejandra Espinoza, the current and very first reigning "NUESTRA BELLEZA LATINA" competition title holder. Alejandra will be the co-Mistress of Ceremonies with Univison's Broward reporter, Myriam Masihy. In addition, Alejandra was awarded a contract with the Univision Television Network as its newest on-air personality and will participate in various Univision programs during her reign.


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