hat do you get when you mix San Francisco's top 150 Latino business and community leaders, recognitions for five of the city's most influential people, first class accommodations, freely flowing wine and cocktails, and overall fun-times galore?! You guessed it – The recent 2011 San Francisco Maestro Awards, and Latino Winemakers Tasting Reception!
Wednesday, July 27th, 2011, at The Parc 55 Wyndham Hotel, was an evening of much enthusiasm among San Francisco's Latino community. The evening began with an arrival cocktail reception for all of the Latino Leaders Magazine VIP guests. The four awardees – Mr. Tony Quintero, Mr. John De Luna, Mr. Orson Aguilar, and Mr. Frank Alvarez – were all in attendance, taking official magazine photographs and enjoying the conversations with event sponsors and other special guests. The Johnnie Walker brand made sure that all of our guests were well-received with specially mixed cocktails, and the Latino Winemakers generously provided guests with magnificent blends for the arrival reception. Among our guests were past Maestro awardees and high-tier representatives from companies such as IBM, Comerica, AT&T, ING, and Southwest Airlines. University representatives from the University of California and UC Berkeley intermingled with our guests, along with several founders of local leadership and non-profit organizations.
Once everyone was settled in, it was time to begin the one hour long awards ceremony which took place in the Wyndham's Grand Ballroom adjacent to the VIP reception room. The modern-lit and excellently decorated stage, designed by Target Productions (Latino Leaders' contracted AV team), coupled with the room's spacious layout, offered a comfortable mix of round-table and theater style seating, which provided an intimate feel for what would prove to be a proud ceremony for everyone in attendance.
Latino Leaders Magazine's first recognition of the evening, announced by Publisher Jorge Ferraez, was given to the young San Francisco Ballet soloist, Isaac Hernandez. Isaac was first introduced to Latino Leaders by its parent company, Lideres Mexicanos. He is an illustrious member of the Mexican magazine's 'Club Lideres del Futuro', and is now being introduced to LLM's audience as an eminent artistic prodigy within the U.S. Latino community. Isaac's “Professional Dreamer” video inspired strong emotions within the crowd, and his speech showcased his ambition to be a world renowned ballet dancer.
[You can view Isaac's “Professional Dreamer” video on our home page]
Then came our Maestros. Southwest Airlines presented the Maestro Award for Leadership to Frank Alvarez, President & CEO of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Exxon/Mobil then followed, presenting the award for Innovation to Orson Aguilar, Executive Director of The Greenlining Institute. The award for Entrepreneurship, presented by AT&T, was given to Mr. John De Luna, Founder of De Luna Partners, and finally the award for Professional Achievement, presented by ING, was awarded to Mr. Tony Quintero, President & CEO of Plaza Investments. As part of their acceptance, our Maestros received uniquely engraved medals and Johnnie Walker Blue Label bottles. The awardee's dynamic recognition videos and resonating words were evidence to what Latino Leaders Magazine aims to promulg
ate each year in San Francisco, and in every Maestro Awards designated city!
The ceremony continued by recognizing the newly formed alliance of the Latino Winemakers of Napa Valley, now formally known as the Napa Valley Mexican-American Vintners Association, for their work and talent, and as a commitment of LLM's support to all of its members. Rolando Diaz, Winemaker and Owner of Mi Sueño Winery – and first acting President of the association – delivered a speech of appreciation following the Winemakers acknowledgment video.
And of course, no ceremony is complete without a toast to cheers the evening's triumph. Johnnie Walker's Senior Master of Whisky, Mr. Steve Beal, presented everyone with their own glass of the refined JW Gold Label, and eloquently saluted everyone in the crowd.
Standing ovations and shots of high-end whisky can really work up an appetite, so off we were to the ballroom's foyer for the Latino Winemakers' catered reception. A spread of pasta, tenderloin, antipasto displays, and passed hors d'oeuvres, adorned the spacious area along with the presented wines of: Mi Sueño, Ceja Vineyards, Realm Cellars, Frias Family Vineyards, Marita's Vineyard, Sotelo Cellars, Delgadillo Cellars, Rios Wine, and Oak Cliff Cellars.
As the winemakers gracefully poured their romantic blends, our guests enjoyed the upbeat Latin Jazz music, and the chocolate delicacies provided by Casa de Chocolates. As a special addition to our reception, which is now becoming a staple for all of our Maestro Award Receptions, was the displayed artwork of local Latino Artists – in this case it was the works of Brazilian artist Rafael Vieira, representing the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. A very special thank you goes out to Maurizzio Hector Pineda, Curator of the gallery for making this happen.
Latino Leaders Magazine would also like to thank our two volunteers for the evening, helping us at the registration desk and within the event – Itzcally Ponce, and Johnny Barrantes!
As we move towards our last Maestro Awards Ceremony of the season in Dallas, TX in October, we are very pleased to see the great response to our mission in recognizing the nation's merited Latino Leaders. Thank you to everyone for your support, and we hope to see again next year in San Francisco!