04/24/2014 02:59 pm ET Updated Jun 24, 2014

2014 Outstanding Women of New York

Today, I want to introduce you to a group of Latina women who are doing extraordinary work on behalf of the Hispanic community -- a community that represents 18.2 percent of the total population of the state of New York.

These women are making a difference and have excelled in the fields of health, education, community, art, culture, business and technology; they have worked hard throughout their careers and have made a positive impact on society, fighting for progress so that 30 percent of the Hispanic population may obtain health insurance; so that the income of Hispanic families will increase past $38,000 per year; to raise the level of Hispanic college graduates to more than 13 percent; to help 67 percent of children over 16 years old and in the labor force complete their high school education and go to college all of which can be viewed and measured through studies of the Census Bureau of the United States.

The U.S. has 53 million Hispanics, which means that our race is the largest ethnic or racial minority in the country and this figure makes us 17 percent of the total population of the nation. According to the latest census, the projection is that by 2060 the U.S. will have 129 million Hispanics living here or 31 percent of the total population.

These statistics help us understand why progress is needed and how important the brigades of hope led by leading Latina women are empowering the community to promote education, culture, business, science, technology, community work, health and arts. Their programs, efforts, and tireless work are building a better future and generating a synergy among the community that will inevitably raise the quality of life for many individuals.

Each year the Hispanic newspaper (El Diario La Prensa ) in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Orlando and Houston pays tribute to 200 Latinas that are highlighted throughout the United States and publicly honored as extraordinary heroines who have shown that a single person can make a difference in a community.

Last Friday in the prestigious Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Manhattan, I had the opportunity to meet the 2014 Outstanding Women of New York, all of which have something in common. They are all Latino professionals who have dedicated their careers as ambassadors of hope and change in serving the Hispanic community.

This year the nominees were Aida Esther Rosario, Tatiana Ambarus, Liliana Gil Valletta, Valeria Treves, Janeth M. Torres, Rina Soldevilla, Gabriela Garcia, Karina Claudia Betancourt, Xiomara Sosa, Ileana Piña, Yomaris Peña, Kathy Miller, Wanda Figueroa- Kilroy, Jasniya Sanchez, Jane Martinez Dowling, Ruth E. Lugo, Monica Hinojosa, Maria de los Angeles Corral, Zoila Bofill, Alida Yoguez, Julie Moll, Lucia Carolina Fernandez, Viviana Campos, Amaluisa Karina, Karina Rieke, Eileen Reyes, Gloria Echeverry and Andrea Arroyo.

I found it fascinating that the winners represent 11.6 million Latino families making important achievements in helping their communities to overcome the fear of crossing cultural and social barriers on the road to progress.

These women received an award for their outstanding, sensitive, yet brave way in which they do their work. For me, it was an honor to have been among them and also be a recipient of the 2014 Outstanding Women award in the area of arts and culture. Thanks to the newspaper El Diario La Prensa of New York for this recognition. This kind of positive encouragement is what motivates us all and provides a way for women to help break the chains of poverty and ignorance throughout our communities.