Feb 20, 2019 | Chamber News

MDHCC Celebrates Sixth Annual Business Excellence Award Winners

The Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (MDHCC), the leading chamber of commerce representing and connecting over 60,000 Hispanic-owned businesses in the region, celebrated its sixth annual Business Awards Holiday Gala on January 24, 2019 again at the Belvedere Hotel in downtown Baltimore. The sold-out event brought together over 250 professionals and community leaders to celebrate Hispanic achievement in Maryland businesses, most especially for the eight individuals and businesses chosen as 2018’s Business Excellence Award winners.

In the MDHCC’s 33 years of serving Maryland’s Hispanic businesses, the chamber has been privileged to recognize some of the state’s most exceptional organizations and professionals. Among this year’s honorees was the Chairman’s Leadership Award recipient, Joseline Peña-Melnyk. Before eventually being elected as a Maryland State Delegate in 2006, Joseline joined the board of directors of Casa de Maryland, a non-profit community social service organization focused on immigrant issues. At the Maryland General Assembly she has fiercely fought for working families, an increase to the minimum wage, expanding opportunities for minority businesses, broadening the Maryland Consumer Protection Act, cracking down on mortgage fraud, and creating state apprenticeship and workforce development programs in our secondary schools and community colleges.

After a rousing keynote address by Baltimore Lt. Governor, Boyd Rutherford, MDHCC Chairman, Jorge Eduardo Castillo, and Greater Baltimore Regional Chapter President, Corina Morga presided over the awards. Joining them to announce several of the winners were VIP guests, America Lesh, Manager of Fleet Service’s for BGE, Sarah Ryan, Community Market Leader at SECU, Marcie Castañeda, Business Development Manager of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and Inez Stewart, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Preceding the award ceremony Castillo announced the MDHCC’s new Chairman Marco Avila as well as the new team of MDHCC Board of Directors: Corina Morga, Vice Chairman; Beverlee Barthel, Vice Chairman; Marcie Castañeda, Secretary and Joe Hernando, Treasurer.

“As the new MDHCC President & Chairman of the Board, I would like to thank everyone that attended and participated in the success of the 2019 Gala. Congratulations to all Award’s Finalists and Winners for participating in our award’s program. This is a testament of the outstanding models of perseverance, community leadership, expertise, success and humanitarian efforts of our outstanding members,” said new MDHCC Chairman Marco Avila.

“MDHCC is proud to have amazing people and firms participating with our organization either by talent, voluntarism, professionalism, sponsorship, or friendship. This is the reason MDHCC can do what we do to move forward making a difference in our home state of Maryland, “ he concluded.

The 2018 Business Excellence Awards Winners are:

Outstanding Business of the Year
Mundo Latino Newspaper

Outstanding Educator of the Year
Alicia Amaral Freeman

Outstanding Elected Official of the Year
Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan

Outstanding Non-Profit of the Year
The Healing Hands Foundation

Outstanding Professional of the Year
Luis Borunda

Outstanding Small Business of the Year
Adventure Productions

Rising Star of the Year
Julio Cervantes

A special award was presented to Corey Grunert, former MDHCC Secretary, for her years of service to the chamber. As she took to the podium to accept the surprise award, she explained that she initially joined the chamber as a marketing committee member and eventually fell in love with the community, wanting to become more involved. Ever since, Grunert and her fantastic marketing has been a key figure in cultivating the positive legacy of Latino businesses and professionals throughout Maryland.

Many other community leaders came together to celebrate the award winners, including Maryland Lieutenant Governor, Boyd K. Rutherford; Maryland Delegate, Joseline Peña-Melnyk; Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation-Division of Financial Regulation Commissioner, Antonio Salazar; Deputy Secretary of State, Luis Borunda; Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs (MIMA) Director, Catalina Rodriguez Lima; Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation Vice President of Communications, Rosa Cruz; Southern Maryland Minority Chamber of Commerce CEO & President, Doris Camack-Spencer; Vikki Garcia, on behalf of United States House of Representatives Member John Sarbanes; SECU Community Market Leader, Sarah Ryan and Johns Hopkins Medicine Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Inez Stewart

Also in attendance were representatives from a range of the area’s leading non-profits, including There Goes My Hero, Anne Arundel Economic Development Center, The Healing Hands Foundation, El Poder de Ser Mujer,, CASA de Maryland, Maryland STEM Festival, The William & Lanaea C. Featherstone Foundation, Southeast Community Development Corporation, Latino Providers Network and Baltimore Tree Trust.

The Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce would like to offer a special thank you to all of the Gala Sponsors who made the event such a success: BGE, T. Rowe Price, Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development, Fiestas Banquet, AHA! Business Radio, Palomino Media Group LLC, Legacy Photography by Beverlee, DelfinoCo Negocios, Adventure Productions, Cameleon Designs, M Street Public Relations, SECU, Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company, Work Printing & Graphics and last but not least, our host The Belvedere.