Graphic: AL DÍA News.
Graphic: AL DÍA News.

An unexpected number of nominees for AL DÍA Women of Merit

More than 100 nominations of exceptional women across five different fields of work were submitted for the AL DIA Live event taking place March 31. 


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Throughout the month-long nomination period in February, AL DÍA received more than 100 nominations for our upcoming Women of Merit event. 

On March 31, AL DÍA will be premiering the event virtually to recognize, acknowledge and celebrate the U.S. Latina and multicultural women breaking down barriers and emerging in leadership positions nationwide.

The women were nominated in five different categories: Corporate, Education, Entrepreneurship, Non-Profit and Public Service. 

The full list of nominations are as follows:

(in alphabetical order)

  • Carmen Canales, Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer at Novant Health
  • Uva Coles, Founder & CEO of Inclusiva
  • Sulma Dalessio, Director of Field & Meter Maintenance at PECO
  • Miriam Enriquez, Assistant Deputy General Counsel of Investigations & Compliance at Comcast
  • Adria Franco, Senior Counsel of NBC Entertainment Legal Affairs at NBCUniversal Media 
  • Maria Garcia, Vice President & District Manager at Kohl’s 
  • April Henry, Manager, Project Management at PECO
  • Jael Conde, Community Marketing Manager at Mendoza Group
  • Elvira Mendez, Public Information Manager at SEPTA
  • Claudia Ocequera, Finance Director for Global R&D
  • Lilibeth Ramirez, AVP, US Employee Services & Programs at TD Bank
  • Ana Hernandez-Ramos, Assistant News Director at Telemundo 62
  • Adriana Rubio, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Blue Acorn iCi
  • Brandy Smith, Vice President of Workplace Diversity & Counsel at Lincoln Financial Group
  • Melva Torres, Senior Specialist of Oncology Marketing Services at Merck Company
  • Raquel Arredondo, Associate Director for Outreach, Engagement & Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business
  • Alexandra Colon-Rodriguez, Post-Doctoral Scientist & Science Communication Faculty Training Program Director at the University of California Davis. 
  • Dr. Janet Cruz, Family Medicine Doctor at Tower Health & Assistant Professor at Drexel University
  • Judy Cruz-Ransom, Associate Director at the Office for Child & Youth Protection
  • Nancy M. Cubano, 7th grade SLA & Spanish FLES Teacher at Independence Charter School
  • Tulia Falleti, Professor of Political Science, Director of Latin American & Latinx Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Lucy Feria, Educational Administrator of Trenton Public Schools
  • Glenda Garcia-Rivera, Director of Professional Development & Training for Women & Work at Rutgers University
  • Kristin Hutchinson, Vice President of Education at World Affairs Council of Philadelphia
  • Mariah Taina Matias, Master’s Student at Lehigh University
  • Nancy Ruiz, Principal at ASPIRA Bilingual Cyber Charter School
  • Yohana I. Quiroz, Chief Operating Officer at Felton Institute, Doctoral Candidate in Educational Leadership at San Francisco State University
  • Aleida Silva-Gracia, Psychologist & Doctoral Student at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Neydary Zambrano, Owner & President of Magic Memories
  • Mercedes Alvarez, Founder of the CivicRush App
  • Minin Arevalo-Parodi, Founder & Owner of Cincuentasticas
  • Patrice Banks, Founder of Girls Auto Clinic
  • Paola Rodriguez Bukovcan, General Dentist & Owner of Harmony Dental Health & Sleek Smile Studio
  • Jenée A. Chizick-Aguero, Founder of Motivos Magazine
  • Conchie Fernandez, Owner & Operator of CF Creative
  • Varsovia Fernandez, Chief Executive Officer at V2 Business Advisers
  • Elaine Gonzalez-Johnson, Founder of Latinas in Motion
  • Nina Guzman, Founder & Executive Director of Alianzas
  • Teresa M. Lundy, Principal & Founder of TML Communications
  • Rachel Luna, Certified Master Coach & Chief Confidence Creator of Rachel Luna Biz.
  • Shannon Morales, Founder & DEI Consultant at Tribaja Company
  • Ronni Robinson, Owner & Artist, Ron Nicole
  • Claudia Romo Edelman, Founder & Executive Chairwoman of We Are All Human Foundation
  • Nichole Sylvester, Best-selling Author, Podcaster, Speaker & Spiritual Life Coach
  • Susan Yee, CEO of Active Data
  • Kimberly Allen, Senior Development Consultant at Clean Air Council 
  • Dominique Bernando, CEO of Children’s Charity of the Delaware Valley
  • Ivonne Diaz Claisse, Ph.D., Founder & President of Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance & Achievement (HISPA)
  • Jessica Collazo, Community Development Program Officer at Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
  • Adria Córdova, Customer Account Manager at General Mills, President of the Association of Latino Professionals for America - Philadelphia Chapter
  • Jessica DeJesus, President of Prospanica, Director of the Research Support Center at the Stuart Weitzman School of Design
  • Maria del Carmen Diaz, Leading Member of Make the Road PA & National Domestic Workers Alliance - Philadelphia Charter
  • Hildaliz Escalante, Housing Director at Congreso de Latinos Unidos
  • Signe Espinoza, Director of Policy at Planned Parenthood PA Advocates
  • Stephanie Fenniri, Deputy Director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
  • Ivette Guillermo-McGahee, Founder of Allies in Caring
  • Brenda Hernandez-Torres, Community Engagement Manager at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
  • Nelly Jimenez-Arevalo, Executive Director of ACLAMO
  • Jennifer M. Joseph, Deputy Director and Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Officer at the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
  • Keisha Jordan, Executive Director of Children’s Scholarship Fund Philadelphia
  • Madeline LaSalle, Founder & Board Chair of Latinas Leading Tomorrow
  • Yocasta Lora, Associate State Director for Advocacy & Community Outreach at AARP
  • Dr. Tiauna McKnight-Saunders, Advocate at Philadelphia Corporation for Aging
  • Yvette Peña, Vice President of Multicultural Leadership at AARP
  • Ariadne Rodriguez Petrucelli, Founding Member, Chair of Communications Committee of Project W
  • Julia Rivera, Vice President of External Affairs & Strategic Initiatives at Congreso de Latinos Unidos
  • Siria Rivera, Executive Director at Providence Center
  • Daisy Rosa, Vice President of Family & Housing Services at Congreso de Latinos Unidos
  • Nilda Ruiz, President & CEO of Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM)
  • Dr. Adriana Torres-O’Connor, President & CEO of Mental Health Partnerships
Public Service
  • Jesenia De Moya Correa, Communities Reporter at Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Viviana Encarnacion, IT Staff Auditor at UPS
  • Deana Gamble, Communications Director at the City of Philadelphia
  • Elizabeth Guzman, Supervisor at the Camden County Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Transition Services
  • Ileana Helwig, Chief Operating Officer at Children’s Crisis Treatment Center
  • Daisy Lara-Bennett, Lead Nurse Practitioner at In-patient Psychiatric Facility
  • Kelli McIntyre, Health Justice & Livability Projects Manager at Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Division of Chronic Disease & Injury Prevention
  • Dr. Marilyn Martinez, Early intervention Quality Manager at Greater Philadelphia Health Action, Inc.
  • Dr. Natalia Ortiz-Torrent, Medical Director of Consultation & Liaison Psychiatry at Temple University Hospital
  • Johanna Vidal Phelan, Senior Medical Director of Pediatrics at UPMC
  • Brunilda Sanchez, Clinical Manager at BAYADA Home Health Care
  • Makaela Somma, Craniofacial SLP at nationwide Children’s Hospital
  • Judith Suzarra-Campbell, Chef & Owner at Sazon Restaurant & Cafe


“The nominations that poured in were beyond our expectations,” said Lydia Holiat, a member of the advisory board for the event. “As I read each nominee’s story my spirit went higher and higher. There is so much good and greatness in our community.”

Now, the advisory board will be choosing three women from each of the five categories to be distinguished honorees at the event.

“Latinas at all levels and from all backgrounds are making life-changing contributions to our community and society and we hope that this event sheds a bit more light on those incredible accomplishments,” said Mayra Bergman, another advisory board member for the event. 

In addition to the 15 women selected from the full list, AL DÍA will also be honoring two additional women — one with the Emerging Leader Award and another with the Pinnacle Award for a total of 17 honorees.

“I am thrilled to have this opportunity to lift these stories and have these incredible women recognized,” said Holiat.

Bergman added that in addition to learning about the nominees throughout the selection process, being an advisory board member gave her a great opportunity to get to know the other members of the board. 

“Being surrounded by such a talented group of accomplished women who are so invested in advancing equality was truly a treat,” she said. 

All in all, the experience has provided a time to reflect on the progress that women have made and the opportunities available to continue to do more for women’s advancement. 

The 2021 AL DÍA Women of Merit event will take place virtually on March 31, starting at 5:30pm. To purchase a ticket or learn more about the event, click here.

Meet the Nominees


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