Call Us:

Hispanic Achievers Gala Awards History


2011 Awards Recipients

Laura Gerstein Alvarez

Laura Gerstein Alvarez
Director of New Business
Annuity and Investment Operations

Miss Gerstein Alvarez was born and raised in Mexico City by Mexican parents with multicultural roots (Ukrainian, Spanish, French and Mexican). From them she learnt to love and admire her Mexican-born land, appreciate and share the marvelous traditions of her country with others, and be the bridge between Hispanic and other world cultures.

She attended bilingual schools, making English her second language. From an early age she participated in community service introducing kids and adults to the English language.

She graduated with honors as a certified actuary from the Autonomous Technological nstitute of Mexico (ITAM) and received an MBA from the same institution.

Miss Gerstein Alvarez has worked in different roles as an Actuary heading the evaluation of pension systems for Social Security Institutions and Organizations in Latin America: IMSS (Mexican Social Security Institute), ILO (International Labor Organization) for Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean, and the CISS (Inter- American Conference of Social Security) .

Her graduation thesis, as well as her early professional work, was devoted to promote healthier long term retirement systems in Mexico and Latin America. Later on, she applied this experience participating in the first pension fund company in the new Mexican pension system (AFORE XXI) as the head of Planning and Marketing.

She joined MetLife Mexico in 2006 leading the Project Management Office and later the Planning and Strategy division, applying her experience and knowledge of the country dynamics and market trends, while sharing MetLife’s commitment towards developing Mexico’s insurance and protection awareness.

In 2009 Miss Gerstein Alvarez was chosen for a temporary assignment in MetLife Headquarters International Strategy area, where she was responsible for making contributions to the biggest International acquisition for MetLife. After her successful assignment, Miss Gerstein Alvarez was offered to stay permanently in the HO team and was promoted in the Strategy and Planning area. During this time, Miss Gerstein has contributed to establishing the International Business Strategy standards across MetLife International operations including more than 60 countries around the world.

She has settled her life in New York, and is keen to share not only her professional experience but the colorful heritage of her Latino up bringing.

Jose Beltran

Jose Beltran
Regional President
Latin America, Nutrition,
Pfizer Inc.

Jose has more than 25 years of pharmaceutical industry experience and has demonstrated strong leadership throughout his 15 years with Pfizer. He joined Pfizer Colombia in 1996 as Team Manager for the Hospital and Antibiotics Division and has held positions of increasing responsibility throughout Latin America and Canada. Before joining Pfizer, Jose worked for Abbott Colombia. Prior to becoming the Regional President for Latin America, Nutrition, Jose was the General Manager for Southern Cone, Nutrition.

Jose has a Bachelors Degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering and also completed a Marketing Specialty and an Upper Management Program, at the Universidad de los Andes, Colombia; and he has a diploma on Leadership Management from Harvard Business School, Boston.

Eduardo Dager

Eduardo Dager
Category Supply Chain Director
North America Oral Care
Global Supply Chain – NA Oral Care Category
Colgate-Palmolive Company.

Eduardo is currently the Category Supply Chain Director for Oral Care North American region. He is responsible for all Oral Care facilities in North America, including Morristown, TN; COP Dallas; Burlington, NJ; and Mississauga, Canada plus also providing support to the Tom’s of Maine Plant. His responsibilities include plant performance, product sourcing, capacity management, Funding the growth program, service to all region distribution centers and portfolio and formula harmonization. Eduardo also manages the important sourcing relationship with Mission Hills, Mexico, and he has taken an active role in several Global Supply Chain special initiatives and taskforces.

Previously, Eduardo was Director of Manufacturing for C-P Colombia, where he was instrumental in improving the facility operation standards, creating a high-performing culture and enhancing teamwork with all of the areas beyond the supply chain. He led efforts that drove Funding the Growth savings to record-high levels, making CP Andina the top subsidiary in the Colgate world in savings as a percentage of sales. In addition, Eduardo led the execution of important capital expenditure projects, including the conversion to PET bottle for liquid cleaners.

Eduardo joined C-P Colombia in 1995 as Liquids Focus Factory Plant Supervisor, where he helped manage on-floor plant operations. He moved through several key supply chain positions in different countries before moving to New York in 2005 as Associate Director, Network Operations - Global Toothbrush Division.

Eduardo Holds a degree in Chemical Engineer form Universidad del Valle at Cali Colombia and also a degree as Finance Specialist by Universidad EAFIT.

Outside of the workplace, Eduardo is actively involved in several non-profit organizations and community events. Education in values is very relevant for the Dager family hence their sponsoring of their children being involved in as many community activities as possible.

David S. Morales

David S. Morales
Director of International Sales
Global Account Management
FedEx Services.

David S. Morales serves as Director of International Sales, Global Account Management at FedEx Services. In this position, David manages the United States Regional Account Management organization for FedEx. This group encompasses sales professionals, financial analysts and service analysts that support some of the largest FedEx global clients in the United States.

Prior to becoming Director in 2007, David held leadership positions with FedEx in the Worldwide Services division. He joined FedEx in 1989 and has 25 years of international transportation and logistics experience.

David’s community service work includes serving on the board of the Life Unlimited Orphanage in Guatemala, an organization that cares for young people “from the cradle to career.” He also supports the United Way, the March of Dimes, and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. He is actively involved with the Hispanic Network at FedEx and recently served as the group’s keynote speaker in Dallas during the network’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. His professional affiliations include the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA).

His educational background includes a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration and an MBA in International Business from George Washington University.

David was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala and currently resides in Detroit, Michigan.

Dr. Jose Francisco Ortiz

Dr. Jose Francisco Ortiz
Vice President Global Poultry
& New Established Brands
Pfizer Animal Health.

Prior to his current position, Dr. Jose Francisco Ortiz Collado (Paco), was Senior Regional Director for Pfizer Animal Health (PAH) Emerging Markets Asia and New Established Brands, based in Shanghai. In this role, he has been responsible for leading the global strategic initiative related to New Established Brands. Since assuming his current role in 2006, Paco has successfully developed a strategic plan to enter in the branded generic segment by identifying more than 45 molecules to be developed based on markets assessments and creating a generic platform and team fully dedicated to support this global initiative. Under his leadership in 2009, revenues in China grew by 30% and India by 24% and the field sales force doubled in India.

Prior to this position, Paco’s 20 years with Pfizer have been in positions of increasing responsibility including Cattle Technical Advisor and Technical Director in Mexico; Marketing and Technical Director for North Latin America (NoLA), Mexico Business Director, Regional Director -South West-Central Latin America Region and for the last 5 years Regional Director APAC Region.

In the 1990s, Paco served as Chief of Veterinary Services at Mexico Bullfighting Arena as well as teaching at Faculty of Veterinary at National University of Mexico in the Ruminants Department.

Paco Ortiz received his DVM from the Faculty of Veterinary at National University of Mexico (UNAM) and completed his MBA at Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM) in 2000. He served as the President of the Animal Health Association (AAHA) 2007-2009 and was a Board member of the International Federation of Animal Health (IFAH) 2008-2009.

Ruben Panizza

Ruben Panizza
Director, Global Information Technology
Colgate-Palmolive Company

Ruben Panizza has global responsibility for three key areas in Colgate- Palmolive’s Global Information Technology department. He leads teams focused on delivering reporting / analytical applications, connecting Colgate with our business partners through electronic exchange of information and establishing the systems to govern and store the foundational master data for the company. His teams have worked closely with the SAP organization to co-develop and deliver state of the art technology in these areas. His recent accomplishments have also included the selection of a strategic partner for the handling of all electronic transactions with our business partners (customers, suppliers, etc.). By consolidating to one strategic partner in a timely fashion, Ruben has produced significant annual savings without sacrificing any quality of service.

Ruben has worked at Colgate since 1986 in roles of increasing responsibility within Latin America and the Unites States. He is also a member of the Morristown Hispanic Action Network, and provides financial oversight to the organization. Ruben is well respected as a mature and exceptional leader with regard to our Managing with Respect principles of coaching, teamwork and setting the example.

Daphne Peña

Daphne Peña
Sales Director
McGraw-Hill Financial

Daphne’s parents were born in Guayaquil, Ecuador and moved to the United States in 1973. In January 1974 Daphne was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with her fraternal twin sister, Diane. Her parents raised their children (total of 4) with strong family values and business work ethics in the United States.

Fluent in Spanish, Italian, English and a working knowledge of Portuguese, Daphne has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and International Business from both St. John’s University-New York and Universita Americana di Roma-Italy. She is also a candidate in the McGraw-Hill Leadership program.

Daphne holds dual nationality for both USA and Ecuadorian citizenships.

Daphne is a member of McGraw-Hill Hispanic Heritage Network, WINS, Women on Wall Street (Deutsche Bank group) and frequently participates in cycling marathons in efforts to aid cancer awareness foundations.

Daphne currently holds the position of Sales Director for McGraw-Hill Financial and is responsible for managing client relationship in the Latin America Region.

Jorge Silva-Puras, Esq.

Jorge Silva-Puras, Esq.
Region II Administrator
U. S. Small Business Administration

Jorge Silva-Puras is the Regional Administrator for Region II at the U.S. Small Business Administration. Headquartered in New York City, with responsibility for SBA’s programs and services in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Region has approximately 2.7 million small businesses, and a portfolio of SBA guaranteed loans of over $6.1 billion.

Before joining the SBA, Silva-Puras served as Chief of Staff to the Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. He also held senior positions at the Commonwealth, including Secretary of Economic Development & Commerce, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO) and President of the Economic Development Bank for Puerto Rico. During his tenure, Silva-Puras became known for, and was instrumental in, leading efforts to promote more efficient and effective government. Due in part to the successful PRIDCO transformation, in 2006 the Governor promoted him to be his Chief of Staff, where he implemented similar efforts across other Commonwealth agencies, including the Tourism Company, the Commerce & Trade Company and several others. Previous to his government roles, he performed in the private sector, brand management, banking and finance, and also practiced law for 3 years at a commercial litigation division. Mr. Silva-Puras has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, the Puerto Rico Commerce and Trade Company, the Puerto Rico Science and Technology Trust, and have served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Government Development Bank and the Economic Development Bank for Puerto Rico. He received his BA degree from Yale University, JD from the University of Puerto Rico and MBA in International Management from the University of Texas at Austin and the Copenhagen Business School. He is married and has four children.

Roberto Silveira, Ph.D

Roberto Silveira, Ph.D
Vice President/Team Leader
Bio-Manufacturing Sciences Group

Roberto Silveira began his career at Pfizer in 1989 in Brazil as API production supervisor. In 1994 he became the Basic Production Manufacturing Manager responsible for the fermentation facility. He came to the New York office in 1994 as a Drug Substance Manager for Asia/South America, and was subsequently appointed Director of Bioprocess Support responsible for marketed product support and new product introduction. In 2003, Roberto was named Sr. Director/ Team Leader of Bioprocess Support for GMS. In 2009, Roberto was appointed to his current position as Vice President/Team Leader of Bio-Manufacturing Sciences Group, which he provides technical support and project management for all new and marketed Bio Therapeutics (proteins, vaccines and large molecules).

Roberto holds a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from Sao Paulo University, Brazil and a PhD in Fermentation Technology from Hiroshima University in Japan.

Elsie Soto

Elsie Soto
Director of Global Strategic
Business Alliance

Elsie Soto joined Pfizer in 1993 as Jr. Pharmaceutical Technologist and assumed positions of increased responsibility at the Vega Baja and Fajardo Sites including: Manufacturing Project Manager, Product Transfers Manager, Production Planning and Inventory Control Manager and Procurement Manager. In 2005, after 12 years in Manufacturing, Elsie started a four year assignment in Spain as Director of South Europe Market Logistics (EML), where she was responsible for local market distribution activities in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy and Russia. In 2009 Elsie was named Director of Global Strategic Business Alliance (GL&S) based in Peapack, NJ. In this role Elsie was responsible for GL&S’ support to WBB and PAH Business Development Projects. Elsie is presently transitioning to a new assignment in support of the Asia Pacific Logistics & Supply Operations. Elsie holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez.

Nadine Younge

Nadine Younge
Executive Assistant
US Income Tax
National Grid, USA

Nadine began her career at KeySpan Corporation, a subsidiary of National Grid, in 2001 as a part time Customer Service Representative. During her venture as a representative, she interned as a Manager’s Assistant and became a full-time Customer Service Representative. In 2004, she was offered an Insurance Analyst position. In 2008 she became the Executive Assistant to the National Grid Vice President of US Income Tax.

Nadine graduated with honors from Boricua College in 2003 where she attained her B.S. in Business Administration. During her years in college, Nadine work in-group studies and tutored predominately-Spanish speaking students in English literature.

Born in New York and raised in Puerto Rico by her maternal grandparents, she currently lives with her husband Faisal & her 3 children, Devon, Brittanie, and Shaheen in Glendale, NY. She volunteers her time to multiple community activities such as the Girls Scouts, the American Cancer Society, and she advocates awareness to immigrant families and cancer patients. Nadine is currently the Co-Chair of the Hispanic Professional Association (HPA) a National Grid Employee Resource Group. Since 2009, Nadine has been actively involved in the leadership of HPA and a member since 2004. She is also an active member with Enabling.