Historic honorees for a historic year: Meet 2020’s AL DÍA Hispanic Heritage Award winners
This year’s five archetype winners are the most diverse set of leaders AL DÍA has ever honored.
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Every year, AL DÍA makes it a mission to break the mold of Hispanic Heritage Month. Yes, it is a month to honor all the contributions of Hispanics and Latinos to the American story that is still being written, but that’s an all year thing for AL DÍA.
For the past five years during the month from Sep. 15 to Oct. 15, AL DÍA has recognized archetypes across the categories of business, public service, education, nonprofit, and health.
To understand what these recognitions truly mean, it’s important to understand what an archetype is. Oxford’s English Dictionary defines an archetype as “a very typical example of a certain person or thing.”
For far too long, the definition of the “typical” Hispanic or Latino in America hasn’t been a leader worthy of an award for their lifelong work in the business, public service, education, nonprofit or health sectors.
They’ve been typified by other labels that ignore the immense progress that’s been made by Hispanics and Latinos to cement themselves as part of mainstream American conversation.
The leaders being recognized in 2020 by AL DÍA flip that “typical” definition on its head and aren’t just the new archetypes for Hispanics and Latinos in America, but for anyone of any background seeking a career in their respective fields.
AL DÍA’s 2020 Hispanic Heritage Awardees are also the most diverse set of winners in five-year history of the ceremony and the stories they share extend far beyond the allotted month of Hispanic Heritage Month.
The honorees were selected by an advisory board co-chaired by Nelson Diaz, a former Philadelphia judge, candidate for Mayor and Excelon board member, and Michael Innocenzo, the President and CEO of PECO.
Meet them here:
Rodriguez is the founder and CEO of Rodriguez Consulting, an award-winning engineering and land surveying firm he founded in 2007. His career in the field spans more than 25 years in the public and private sector.
Before starting his own firm, Rodriguez spent seven years at the Philadelphia Water Department as a civil engineer and then as the department’s first-ever Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Program Manager.
In addition to running Rodriguez, he also shows his enthusiasm and support for small businesses across the Philadelphia region as the Chairman of the Board of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Cabrera DiGiorgio is the current CEO of Congreso de Latinos Unidos, a nonprofit that has served Philadelphia’s Latinx community for the last 43 years.
Born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, she immigrated to the U.S. at five years old and settled with her family in South Jersey.
With her parents’ emphasis on education and the opportunities it provides, Cabrera DiGiorgio went on to have a successful career in law at Stradley Ronon in Philadelphia before moving to the public sector in Montgomery County’s government.
She became CEO of Congreso in 2017 and has not only made it a top workplace winner in Philadelphia (2018, 2019, 2020), but shifted its focus to the younger Latinx population in Philadelphia and providing services catered to more educational and work opportunities.
Dr. Ludmir is the Executive Vice President for Equity, the Associate Provost for Community Engagement, and a Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Population Health at Thomas Jefferson University and as part of Jefferson Health.
Born and raised in Peru, Ludmir came to Philadelphia in the 1980s for college and stayed for a medical degree before a six-year stint in Boston at Harvard University starting in 1992.
Ludmir returned to Philadelphia in 1998 to head the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Pennsylvania Hospital.
Since then, he’s been dedicated to bridging the healthcare gap in some of Philadelphia’s underserved and uninsured communities, particularly the migrant community.
Ludmir is the co-founder of Puentes de Salud in South Philadelphia and the Director of Latina Health Community Health Services and the Jefferson Latina Women’s Clinic. He also continues his mission as the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Collaborative for Health Equity.
Dr. Nuñez is the Chief of Schools for the School District of Philadelphia. She was named to the position on March 30, 2020.
She is Puerto Rican and born and raised in Philadelphia. Her career spans more than 25 years in the School District of Philadelphia, where she started as a teacher.
Nuñez rose from being a teacher to a principal, and then a supervising principal that oversaw schools in Philadelphia’s Kensington, Fishtown, Juniata Park and Port Richmond neighborhoods.
Throughout her rise in the ranks, Nuñez has advocated on issues specific to Latinx students across the city.
Rep. Burgos is the first Dominican ever elected to serve in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 197th district, which encompasses the Philadelphia neighborhoods of Kensington, Hunting Park, Glenwood and Feltonville.
He was born in New York City, but moved to Philadelphia in 1990 when he was 10 years old.
Before he made history in Harrisburg, Burgos was a grocery store owner in the late 1990s that founded the Dominican Grocers Association of Philadelphia, which now has more than 385 members.
He also previously served on the staff of María Quiñones-Sánchez, the first Latina ever elected to Philadelphia City Council in 2007.
AL DÍA’s annual Hispanic Heritage Awards Ceremony will take place virtually on Oct. 7, 2020 at 5:30 p.m.