One woman drove nine hours to get there; others cleared their typically crazy afternoon calendars to make the meetup and still others arrived just long enough at the end to exchange hugs with friends previously only known in a Facebook group. What was the occasion? The ELLA Institute – Latina Leadership Network Bay Area west coast launch, just ahead of the San Francisco Bay Area visit of Justice Sonia Sotomayor. In town to launch her now NYT Bestselling book My Beloved World, her presence bonded many Latinas together for an evening of networking, laughter and joy.
Consultants, business owners, professionals, entrepreneurs, students, engineers –Latinas wearing these identities and more, many of whom had only met in the Latina Leadership Network group born last August, suddenly recognized a name on a nametag and abrazos followed.
My personal highlight was meeting Pam Campos, a fellow Latina in the military, and her boyfriend who made the trek down from Oregon. I had the joyous moment of recognizing her effort to join us by providing her a personalized copy of my book.
Ana Uribe Ruiz of New York Life, who joined our firm Gracefully Global Group and LAM network to sponsor the event, surprised us with an announcement that she’ll take girls flying for free lessons. Ana is a private pilot and eager to show her hobby to young Latinas. What a treat to meet her…a fellow Latina with a love of airplanes!
So much more will be written, but most important is a shout out to those who organized this event today: Angelica Perez-Litwin, Hilda Ramirez, Stephanie Bravo, Maria Hernandez. You epitomize leadership. Thank you for bringing the sisterhood together in such a memorable way!
Thank you Graciela for the kind words. It certainly was a memorable evening. We had much to celebrate, beginning with the visit of Justice Sotomayor, the Convocation of Leaders attending the event and most of all the joy of the Sisterhood. Latinas are advancing daily and in the case of the LLN, with every stroke of a key in real time!
We appreciate your generous sponsorship.
It was an honor to finally meet my fellow Air Force hermana after dialoguing with you through LLN and soaking in your wisdom from afar. The journey was nothing in exchange of the sisterhood and cariño I was shown, and to be surrounded by such inspiring mujeres. It was beautiful to see the powerful vision of Latina leadership in that room and in Justice Sotomayor’s words. I know I can go the distance, but I am grateful to the wonderful organizers of this event for providing me a destination! ¡Hasta la proxima!
Thank you Pam and what a journey it was! So glad you made the trek. Abrazos!