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By Diana E. Martinez .

The LATINA Style Corporate Executives of the Year Program was launched in 2009 with the mission of highlighting individual Latina achievement in the corporate arena. Through the LATINA Style Corporate Executives of the Year Program, each year LATINA Style Inc. recognizes the hard work and dedication Latinas are performing at the top of their respective companies and in various industries. The finalists listed below have been selected and recognized based on their excellence in business impact, corporate leadership, mentorship, and remarkable dedication to working with our communities both locally and nationally. These Latinas have been nominated by their superiors and peers for their work, tenacity and success. The winner of the LATINA Style Corporate Executive of the Year will be announced at the LATINA Style 50 Awards and Diversity Leaders Conference on February 9, 2017 in Washington D.C. This year we have added a new component to the selection by letting you, our readers have a voice by voting for your favorite at Email your vote and have your voice heard.

Catherine Hernandez-Blades Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications


With more than two decades of leadership experience, Hernandez-Blades joined Aflac in January 2014 as Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications. In this role she oversees all corporate communications functions, including employee, broker, field force, integrated and marketing communications; event and media production, public and media relations; and crisis management. An established leader, she is a frequent speaker, panelist, moderator, and keynote on topics ranging from return on reputation, impact of PR on the bottom line and team building. Hernandez-Blades is also involved in numerous civic causes and industry service groups. In 2015, she earned the gold award for the Bulldog Star of PR in the Corporate Communications category and PR News presented her with several awards, including Top Women in PR and the Diversity Heroes Award. In addition, the National Diversity Council named her the Most Powerful and Influential Woman and the American Business Association awarded her with a Bronze Stevie for Woman of the Year in the Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations category.

Rosie Kitson
Vice President, Channel Marketing

As Vice President of Channel Marketing, Rosie Kitson leads a Marketing Team that develops, delivers and executes complex marketing strategies supporting the Global Business Services and the AT&T Signature Discount Team. Kitson is responsible for driving integrated sector and industry specific marketing programs to grow AT&T revenue, market share and reputation. She started her career with AT&T Bell Labs and spent the next 15 years in various critical roles in the Northeast. With over 20 years of experience, Kitson has held key leadership roles in marketing, human resources, product management and sales support. She has played key roles on unique projects including merger integration teams, iPhone product launch, telepresence and vertical marketing. She is an AT&T Employee Giving Campaign sponsor with mentorship capabilities and is involved with the local food bank and soup kitchen.

Laura Hernandez-Romine
Director of Global Media, Branded
Entertainment. & Diversity
General Motors

As General Motor’s Director of Global Media, Branded Entertainment and Diversity Marketing, Laura Hernandez-Romine focuses on leveraging GM’s scale globally to drive marketplace changes, leading the development of long-term strategies to drive focus and integration supporting growth across all GM brands. In her current role, Hernandez-Romine is responsible for developing strategy and driving the execution of how to win the market place with the diverse consumer. Additionally, she manages GM’s entire Global Media budget and its impact on the company’s bottom line. Hernandez-Romine advocates for the community and volunteers her personal time working and mentoring the ERG General Motors Hispanic Initiative Team (GM HIT). She also is a Trustee of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra where she is involved in its Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

Maria Bartolome Winans
Chief Marketing. Watson
Commerce and Watson Supply

Maria Bartolome Winans is the Chief Marketing Officer of IBM Watson Marketing, Watson Commerce and Watson Supply Chain. She is responsible for managing all aspects of global marketing, strategy and execution for solutions that enable business leaders in Marketing, Commerce and Supply Chain disciplines to leverage data, analytics and cloud to build deeper, more valuable engagements with their customers, partners and suppliers. Winans has been with IBM for 25 years and has held leadership positions in a variety of disciplines and brand units across IBM. These have included Business Analytics, Collaboration Solutions, Mobile, Industry Solutions, PC Company and as a Marketing Strategist for IBM Latin America. She is a member of IBM’s Hispanic Executive Council, IBM’s CMO Council and helps to lead IBM’s Super Women’s Group reaching women professional across the company. This year, she was also awarded the ASPIRA Association’s Corporate Leadership Award, one of the highest honors given by this Latino organization.

Marie A. Robert
Senior Director, Supply Chain
United Technologies
Corporation/Pratt & Whitney

Marie A. Robert has worked for Pratt & Whitney since October 2005 mainly in Strategy and Supply Chain functions. Nominated an executive in May 2015, Robert previously held the role of Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Economic Development Agency. In 2003 Robert’s played an instrumental role in a venture with the Government of Puerto Rico and P&W. Together they created the 1st engineering aerospace company established on the island in Isabela, Puerto Rico that created over 500 high-tech engineering related jobs. Robert also led the project of divesting P&W Power Systems to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). This was one of the largest divestitures in P&W history and resulted in a home run for both P&W and UTC. Robert’s is also the executive champion for the Hispanic Leadership Forum (HLF), a UTC/P&W Employee Resource Group. She also participates in P&W Junior Achievement events and focuses her efforts on educating and mentoring Hispanic students and young professionals.

Judy Guzman Krueger
Managing Director, Regional
Manager/Greater Monterrey Bay,
Retail Banking MUFG Union Bank, N.A.

Judy Guzman Krueger joined MUFG Union Bank N.A. in 2014 as a Senior Vice President and Regional Manager of the Greater Monterey Bay region. Prior to joining MUFG Union Bank N.A., Krueger served as a Senior Vice President and Consumer Market Executive for Bank of America. She has also held several senior leadership positions over a 17 year period at Wells Fargo and Wachovia. In June of 2016, Krueger was chosen to participate with select regional managers and the development team to help create, implement, and execute the bank’s new sales process and coaching materials. In addition, Krueger facilitates the training which was rolled out in September of 2016. Krueger is a founder of the Greater Monterey Bay chapter of “Adelante”, the Hispanic Enterprise Resource Group at MUFG Union Bank N.A. Active in the community, Krueger is the Advisory Board President for the Central Coast Chapter of Junior Achievement, a member of the Monterey Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Board of the Advisory Council of the Institute of Innovation and Economic Development at California State University Monterey Bay.

Patricia Riddlebarger
Director of Corporate Social
Energy Corporation

Patricia Riddlebarger is Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Entergy Corporation, a Fortune 500 energy company. In this role, Riddlebarger directs the development of CSR strategies that strengthen stakeholder relationships and create sustainable value for the company. Riddlebarger’s career spans 20 years in utilities, energy, healthcare and nonprofits. Her areas of expertise include corporate citizenship and communications, social media, legislative advocacy, stakeholder engagement, media relations, advertising and fundraising. She was the environmental committee chair that led a team that staged the “greenest” Super Bowl in NFL history in Super Bowl XVLII. The “Geaux Green” online initiative generated coverage from 40 national news outlets including National Geographic, Discovery and Bloomberg. The campaign was named Green Campaign of the Year by PR News CSR Awards in 2014. She is also the recipient of more than 40 local, regional and national awards. She was named one of the top 50 businesswomen in New Orleans in 2011 and 2006 by CityBusiness magazine. Riddlebarger is also past chair of the United Way of Southeast Louisiana Women’s Leadership Council.

Michelle Freyre
President, U.S. Beuty
Johnson & Johnson

In her role as President, U.S. Beauty, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., Michelle Freyre is responsible for the company’s high-profile portfolio of beauty brands including NEUTROGENA®, AVEENO®, CLEAN & CLEAR®, LUBRIDERM®, RoC® and Rogaine®. Most recently, Freyre was the General Manager of NEUTROGENA®, the largest brand within Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., and the leader of the company’s Los Angeles campus. Freyre began her career with Johnson & Johnson in 1999 as a Brand Manager at NEUTROGENA®. Since then, she has held various positions in marketing, sales, and sales strategy, including National Sales Director of U.S. Skincare. Under her guidance, the Neutrogena® brand launched a Spanish-language website and increased its Spanish language advertising, public relations efforts and signed the brand’s second Latina Brand Ambassador. She is also an active member of the Women’s Leadership Initiative employee resource group and a Board member of United Way Los Angeles. In 2016 Freyre earned a 2016 CEW Achiever Award in recognition for her contributions to the Beauty industry.

Bettina Garcia Welsh
Senior Vice President, Chief Audit 

Bettina García Welsh is a Senior Vice President and the Chief Audit Executive for Leidos. She leads the internal audit function and is responsible for planning and executing financial, operational and IT audits to evaluate the company’s business risks, processes and internal controls, adherence to company policies, and compliance with applicable laws and regulations. At Leidos (and previously SAIC), Welsh has held several finance leadership roles during her 15 years with the company. Welsh’s leadership has been critical to Leidos’ recent merger with Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems and Global Support business unit. This move doubled the size of the company and created significant challenges and opportunities in the areas for which Internal Audit has responsibility. Welsh was also instrumental in the concept and launch of Leidos’ newest Employee Resource Group, the Hispano-Latino Leidos Asociación (HoLA). Welsh now serves as the HoLA Executive Sponsor. Welsh is also involved in her local church and gives back to her community through that organization’s activities.

​Vickie Chinchar
Vice President, Global Shared
Services, N.A.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Vickie Chinchar is Vice President of Walmart Global Shared Services in North America. The Global Shared Services organization in North America is responsible for back office operations, including vendor payments, billing & recoveries, accounting services, operational procurement, inventory, payroll regulatory reporting and controls. Chinchar manages locations in Bentonville, AR, Reston, VA, Charlotte, NC and Derby, KS. Prior to joining Walmart in 2011, she was Vice President of Siemens Global Shared Services Accounting and Finance Operations for North America and had a 20 year career with Siemens holding a variety of positions. She is an accomplished financial executive with experience in profit and loss management, turnkey project management, strategic product positioning, technology development, and financial management of multi-site operations. She is an active board member of her local ALPFA chapter and is in a lead role for the Hispanic Officer Caucus with Walmart. She has also led and participated in sessions for the Walmart’s ERG “Hispanic Latino Associate Resource Group (HLARG).

2016 LEY Honorable Mention:
Patty Arvielo, President & Co-Founder, New American Funding
Elizabeth Verna Briceno, Manager Director & Editor, Beyond Language LLC & DBA Aldea Educativa Magazine
Lisa Guadalupe Clarke, Business Development Manager, Flexicrew Employment Agency
Sonia Clayton, President & CEO, Virtual Intelligence Providers, LLC
Maria Fernanda Cobaleda, Account Director, Latina Creative Agency
Marie Diaz, CEO & Chief Visionary Officer, Pursuit of Excellence Pursuit of Excellence
Josephine Guzman, Director Physician Recruitment and Retention, Lenox Hill Hospital
Dr. Rebeccah R. Rodriguez, Physician & CEO, San Diego Sports Medicine and Family Health Center, CEO of LatinaStrong Foundation
Maria De La Roza, Director of Operations, Florida Hospital Global Robotics Institute
Reina Torres, Director of Human Resources, The Westin Los Angeles Airport    Ana Valdez, Executive Director, Latino Donor Collaborative

Message from 2020 LS50 Co-Chair Catherine Hernandez-Blades