The Colorado Rockies Adult Leadership Award was developed to recognize individuals who demonstrate a commitment to the Hispanic community through community involvement, the promotion of family values, and personal achievements. Eligible applicants are Colorado Residents who are actively involved in the Hispanic community outside of their work place, though they need not be Hispanic themselves. The overall award winner receives Rockies Season Tickets and their name on a plaque displayed inside the Coors Field home plate entrance.
Patricia Barela-Rivera is the 2013 Award Winner
In a pregame ceremony at Coors Field on Sunday, September 22, 2013, the Colorado Rockies named Patricia Barela-Rivera as the Eleventh Annual Adult Leadership Award winner. Ms. Barela-Rivera has gained experience in a variety of areas. She started her career as a secretary at the University of Albuquerque, before being promoted to University Admissions Counselor, and then became a recruiter. After that came a stint as a federal employee for the forest service, as a management trainer for the government, where she conducted national leadership seminars. Later, Ms. Barela-Rivera ran her own training services business, presenting 28 different seminars on minorities, diversity and leadership training. She was selected by Governor Romer for a position within his administration, holding that position for six years. She was later named the District Director for the Small Business Administration, becoming the first Latina in the nation to hold that position.
At the ceremony, all three finalists for the honor were introduced. Along with Patricia were finalists Timi Aguilar and Laura Sonderup. The other award finalists and their contributions to the community are below.
Timi Aguilar - Founder of Aguilar Public Relations, Ms. Aguilar learned from a young age that the best way to achieve empowerment in the Latino community is by advocating for positive images of Latinos, voter engagement, public policy, business leader development and education. Aguilar Public Relations has worked with a variety of clients ranging from McDonalds to University of Colorado Hospital Foundation. In 2007, Aguilar helped organize the first "Celebrating Latinas Event" for the Latina Chamber gathering over 600 Latinas across Colorado as they celebrated achievements of local Latinas and advocated for continued leadership in community and business endeavors. In August 2013, Ms. Aguilar was named one of the Outstanding Women in Business winners in the area of Communications and Public Relations.
Ms. Aguilar has been involved in her church and community organizations since she was a child growing up in Texas, and for over 10 years, she has taught religious education with plans to participate in Hispanic ministry and religious education this fall. She carefully chooses causes that focus on education and advocacy within the Latino community; as such Aguilar serves as a committee member of Centro San Juan Diegos Las Madrinas to benefit Bienestar Family Services, and Denver Kids, an organization dedicated to helping Denver Public School students graduate. Ms. Aguilar is constantly contributing and supporting her community in every way she can, whether its by making chili or running marathons to raise funds for a good cause; she is a true community team player.
Patricia Barela-Rivera - Throughout her professional career, Ms. Barela-Rivera has gained experience in a variety of areas. She started her career as a secretary at the University of Albuquerque, before being promoted to University Admissions Counselor, and then became a recruiter. After that came a stint as a federal employee for the forest service, as a management trainer for the government, where she conducted national leadership seminars. Later, Ms. Barela-Rivera ran her own training services business, presenting 28 different seminars on minorities, diversity and leadership training. She was selected by Governor Romer for a position within his administration, holding that position for six years. She was later named the District Director for the Small Business Administration, becoming the first Latina in the nation to hold that position.
Ms. Barela-Rivera has contributed to the advancement of Latinos by serving as a mentor for the Circle of Latina Leadership for several years. At the national level, she served as the National Director of the Womens National Leadership, Education and Economic Development Task Force for the United Latin American Citizens (LULAC); she has also served as a board member for this organization. In 2013, Ms. Barela-Rivera was selected to serve in the National Latina Hispanic Leadership Institute in Washington D.C., where she not only continues to receive leadership training, but also serves as a mentor to other women completing the program. She is a well-known speaker who has gained recognition and is frequently called upon as a keynote lecturer for local, regional and national leadership conferences.
Laura Sonderup - As the Director of Hispanidad, a multicultural advertising agency, Ms. Sonderup leverages her bilingual and bicultural skills toward ensuring that companies speak to Latino consumers in a respectful and relevant way; she is dedicated to making a difference within Denvers Hispanic community, making sure local nonprofits get the opportunity to receive free support from her agency. Ms. Sonderup is a recognized ethnic marketing expert and is frequently featured as a speaker at national and international conferences on the subject. Her writings on the Hispanic community have been featured in USA Today, US Industry Today, IFA Franchising World, ColoradoBiz, Advertising & Marketing Review and DirectLine. In 2011, she demonstrated her deep understanding of solid marketing principles combined with a careers worth of Hispanic consumer observations by writing "Hispanic Marketing in the Heartland: A Hands-On Guide."
Over the past 13 years, Ms. Sonderup has been an outspoken advocate of the Hispanic community and has served on the Board of Directors for Museo de las Americas, Chamber of the Americas, Denver Hispanic Chamber Education Foundation and LARASA. Her community leadership was recently recognized by the Board of Directors of the Mexican Cultural Center when she was asked to assume responsibility as President of the Board in 2014. She was also appointed by Governor John Hickenlooper for the Mexico Trade & Tourism Ambassador Program.
A product of Jefferson County schools, also where her son attended, Ms. Sonderup has a personal passion for improving education for Latinos. Ms. Sonderup has been a mentor to a young Latina for eight years and has recently opened her home to an exchange student from Mexico. She also serves on the Board of Advisors for ACE Scholarships, where she mentors young Hispanic college graduates, helping them master important presentation skills that lead to increased personal and professional self-confidence.