Lisa Urias is AZHCC’s Woman of the Year

March 3, 2010

Lisa Urias, President and CEO of Urias Communications  has won the Woman of the Year award for the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Black & White Ball and Business Awards.

‘”We’re very proud of this year’s winning lineup,” said Armando Contreras, president and CEO of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “The Black & White Ball is an event where the Latino business community gets to shine and honor people like our award recipients, all of whom are blazing the way for Hispanic business and community leaders.”

Congratulations,  Lisa!

AZHCC_BWBall-1Below some details from the AZHCC press release:

This year’s winners:
Man of the Year: Mario E. Diaz of Mario E. Diaz & Associates, Phoenix, AZ
Woman of the Year: Lisa Urias, president and CEO of Urias Communications, Scottsdale, AZ
Entrepreneur of the Year: The Molera Alvarez Group (Jaime Molera and Ruben Alvarez), Phoenix, AZ
Corporation of the Year: American Express Company, Phoenix, AZ
Arizona Legacy: Former Arizona Gov. Raul H. Castro, Nogales, AZ

2010 Business Award Winner Biographies

Man of the Year: Mario E. Diaz
Mario E Diaz & began his career working for such notable individuals as U.S. Sen. Dennis Deconcini, Rep. Ed Pastor, and as the Law Enforcement Liaison for United States Attorney Janet Napolitano. Mario later managed the Janet Napolitano for Attorney General Campaign, and went on to become Director of Intergovernmental Affairs / Law Enforcement Liaison in the Attorney General’s Office. After forming Mario E Diaz & Associates in 2001, the Janet Napolitano for Governor Committee was first in line as a premier client. In 2002, Napolitano won her election and Mario was appointed to Governor-Elect Napolitano’s Transition Team. He later served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Napolitano. In 2003, Mario was appointed State Director of the John Kerry for President Campaign and achieved success when Kerry won overwhelmingly in the Arizona Primary. Under Mario’s leadership, Mario E. Diaz & Associates serves as a resource for school districts, community colleges, tribal nations, non-profit and labor organizations, candidates for public office, high-profile corporations, city, county, state and federal government entities. Mario volunteers his time by serving on a number of boards, including Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies, the Arizona Latino Research Enterprise, and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). In 2009, Mario was awarded Valle del Sol’s Lorraine Lee Latino Advocacy Champion Award and the ADL’s Marty Shultz Award for Community Partnership. Mario received his Bachelor of Science in Political Science degree from Arizona State University in 1991, and went on to receive his Masters of Public Administration degree from ASU, where he was named Latino Graduate of the Year.

Woman of the Year: Lisa Urias
Lisa Urias is president of Urias Communications. She founded the company in 2004. It is a national award winning advertising and public relations firm specializing in the diverse markets of the US Southwest.  Today, Urias Communications is recognized as one of the most successful multicultural marketing and public relations firms in the region, with clients such as APS, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, The Phoenix Zoo, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Banner Alzheimer’s, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Metro Phoenix Partnership for Arts & Culture (MPAC), and more. Lisa also worked as the Director of the Office of International Affairs and subsequent Director of International Markets for Salt River Project (SRP) in Phoenix, Arizona from 1990-1998, and has received numerous awards from throughout the US and from several Mexico trade organizations for her contribution to several high-level international projects. Lisa serves on numerous boards including the Governor’s Latino Advisory Council, the Arizona Latino Research Enterprise (ALRE) and the Heard Museum. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with an emphasis in Political Philosophy from Arizona State University. She continues to hone her skills through writing courses at Arizona State University’s Virginia Piper School of Creative Writing.

Entrepreneur of the Year:  Molera Alvarez Group
The Molera Alvarez Group (MAG) is a business development and consulting firm specializing in government affairs, public relations and community outreach.

Ruben Alvarez, Managing Partner
As co-founder and managing partner of the Molera Alvarez Group, Ruben Alvarez is involved in all aspects of client services. The Molera Alvarez Group, named by the Arizona Business Journal as “one of the state’s best government lobbying firms”, is based in Phoenix, Arizona, and represents a wide range of Fortune 500 companies, non-profit groups and governmental entities. Prior to forming the Molera Alvarez Group, Ruben worked in the State of Arizona’s Executive branch for 12 years, last serving as Governor Jane Dee Hull’s Policy Advisor for Mexico and Hispanic Affairs. In this role, Mr. Alvarez interacted with U.S. and Mexican federal, state and local government officials in regards to the development and management of bi-national issues, cross-border initiatives and Hispanic community affairs. In addition, before becoming Policy Advisor, Ruben served as the Governor’s Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity. He graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He currently serves as a board member of the Washington, DC based Latino Leaders Network, Desert Mountain’s Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Maricopa Partnership for Arts and Culture, Voto Latino (founded and chaired by actress Rosario Dawson) and is Chair of Maricopa County’s Integrated Health Service’s Diversity Council.

Jaime Molera, Partner
Jaime A. Molera is a founding partner of the Molera Alvarez Group. The Molera Alvarez Group is viewed by Arizona Business Magazine, the Arizona Business Journal, and the Arizona Republic, as one of the top lobbying business’ in the state. Mr. Molera held a variety of high-level state positions. Among these were Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction (2001-2003), and a top advisor on policy and legislative affairs to Gov.  Jane Dee Hull (1997-2001). In 2008, he was appointed to the State Board of Education by Governor Janet Napolitano, and unanimously confirmed by the Arizona Senate. Among his many accomplishments, Mr. Molera led the charge for Proposition 301, overseeing a $2 million initiative, as Campaign Director, to bring Arizona out of the national basement in education funding through new-dedicated resources (nearly a half billion dollars per year) for K-12, Community College, and University education. He also was a major force to reform the way development occurred in Arizona through the “Growing Smarter” legislation. Recently, Mr. Molera led the legislative effort to help secure the funding (near a half a billion dollars in the construction financing) necessary to expand the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine in Phoenix. In addition, Mr. Molera served as a senior consultant to U.S. Senator Jon Kyl’s successful ’06 re-election campaign. Moreover, Mr. Molera has appeared on numerous television, radio and print media news outlets, including the Jim Lehrer Newshour, The New York Times, Wall St. Journal, and National Public Radio. Mr. Molera was recognized by the Arizona Business Journal in November, 2006 as one of the fifty most influential leaders in Arizona, as well as by Hispanic Business Magazine as one of the top 100 Hispanic leaders in the United States. Mr. Molera is a board member of Sunrise Bank of Arizona and the Arizona School Choice Trust. He also serves as Chairman of the Arizona Prevention Resource Center.

Corporation of the Year: American Express
American Express is a recognized global leader in the financial and network service industry. Since its founding in 1850, American Express has conducted business according to several guiding principles that over the years have become inextricably linked with our community’s brand, products, services and – perhaps most notably – our people. In Arizona, more than 7,000 American Express employee “ambassadors” actively demonstrate our commitment in the form of volunteerism, in-kind donations, philanthropic giving and ongoing service to others. Volunteerism and good citizenship are an important part of the company’s culture. American Express is proud to have a number of Hispanic leaders who serve our community. Anna Prunty services on the Valle del Sol Board of Directors and leads the Association of Hispanics Organized to Raise Awareness (AHORA) Network of employees. AHORA members are active community stewards. In addition, Robert Espiritu is a community advocate, having served two terms as chairman of the board of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. American Express is honored to be a valued business and community partner in Arizona, especially in the Hispanic community.

Arizona Legacy Award:  Gov. Raul H. Castro
Raul H. Castro was born June 12, 1916, in Cananea, Sonora, Mexico. His family moved when he was a child to the United States and settled in Pirtleville, near Douglas, Arizona. He received a B.A. degree (teaching) from Northern Arizona University in 1939 and became a U.S. citizen that same year. Mr. Castro served as an official with the U.S. Foreign Service in the 1940s and earned a J.D. degree from the University of Arizona in 1949. After graduation, he practiced law for five years. In1955, Castro was elected the first-Hispanic Pima County Attorney. In 1959, he served as a judge of the Pima County Superior Court. President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Castro U.S. ambassador to El Salvador in 1964. He served as ambassador to Bolivia from 1968 to 1969. In 1974, he won election as governor Arizona, the first and only Hispanic to do so. President Jimmy Carter appointed Castro U.S. Ambassador to Argentina from 1977 to 1980. Mr. Castro is retired and lives with his wife in Nogales, Arizona.

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