Greetings, and welcome to the 2018 Women’s Business Enterprise Hall of Fame Awards! Tonight, we celebrate the commitment, enthusiasm, perseverance and successes of our honorees.

Sandy Lish accepts from Cheryl Stevens

WBE Trailblazer Award Honoree

Sandy Lish is principal and co-founder of The Castle Group, a 22-year-old, women-owned public relations and event management firm based in Boston, with offices in Atlanta and Maui. Sandy works with corporate, education, healthcare, startup and nonprofit clients on strategic communications initiatives around visibility, launches, branding and thought leadership. She’s also a nationally recognized expert on crisis communications.

Committed to improving her community, Sandy is a supportive resource to young and emerging female leaders throughout Boston, including her work with women in Tomorrow’s Women TODAY and the Massachusetts Women’s Forum. Sandy has hosted and cohosted many events, including fundraisers and events to support local and national political leaders who encourage women’s leadership.

Debra Jennings Johnson accepts on behalf of Emilia DiMenco from Debbie Hurst

Advocate Award Honoree

Emilia DiMenco has been the president and CEO of the Women’s Business Development Center in Chicago since 2013. The WBDC is an economic development organization launched in 1986 to provide start-up, emerging and established business owners with access to capital, contracts, contacts and information. Emilia works directly with employees, board members, corporate partners and clients to deliver support and acceleration of women’s business development across the Midwest.

Under her direction, the WBDC has expanded its WBE certification program in a nine-state Midwest region, opened a third office in Aurora, Illinois, and established two WBDC micro-loan programs with a lending pool of nearly $1.7 million. It has also expanded the Latina business programs offering bi-lingual business services, developed an eLearning library and launched an entrepreneurship program to serve military veterans.

Deanna Ibancovichi Bach and Blanca Torres accept on behalf of Dr. Elba Garcia from Tom Trotter

Leadership Advocacy Award Honoree

Dr. Elba Garcia embodies a new breed of professional women in the 21st century. Her roles include mother, wife, dentist, community leader and role model for Latino women. Elba is a former Dallas City Council Member and the current Dallas County Commissioner for District 4.

Elba, who was born and educated in Mexico City, earned her Doctorate in Odontology from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana in 1984. She later immigrated to the United States, where she had to recertify her Degree at Baylor College of Dentistry, earning her second Doctorate in Dental Surgery in 1990 and launched her private practice in 1998. Elba has also served as an assistant professor at the Baylor College of Dentistry.

Kimberly McHugh accepts from Billie Bryant Schultz

Corporate Leadership Award Honoree

Chevron Corporation executives believe that, just as its employees should reflect the communities served by the company, so should its supply chain. The philosophy that diversity and an inclusive work environment contribute to its success and growth endures because the company’s administration and procurement teams are willing to work harder every day to make sure women-owned suppliers are provided the opportunity to compete for business. 

Chevron had no quotas or set-asides, nor any willingness to accept higher prices or lesser quality. These standards have resulted in partnering with many WBEs that have ample capacity to support the company’s operations as demonstrated by Chevron’s 2017 spend of more than $479 million with certified woman-owned firms.  These businesses – more than 440 of them – made an enormous impact on many local communities and economies.

Terrez Thompson accepts from Pamela Prince-Eason

Executive Advocate Award Honoree

Since 2012, Terrez Thompson has served as vice president of global supplier diversity for The Coca-Cola Company, leading the organization’s efforts to maximize procurement opportunities with diverse suppliers, contractors and subcontractors of high-quality, competitively-priced goods and services. Coca-Cola has vowed to achieve a diverse spend of $1 billion and Terrez is a vital crusader in achieving that goal. As such, she has taken a leading role in the company’s 5 by 20 initiative – which aims to expand economic opportunity for 5 million women entrepreneurs throughout Coca-Cola’s global value chain by the year 2020 – and in Coke’s Partners in the Promise awards, which highlights the efforts of employees and suppliers in advancing diversity across the supply chain.
As an associate of The Coca-Cola Company for more than 30 years, Thompson has held numerous roles of increasing responsibility, ranging from operations to finance. She was formerly responsible for employee engagement and was a part of the Company’s Global Community Connection team.

Kathleen Trimble accepts from Jill Sasso

Advocate Award Honoree

Kathleen Trimble is vice president of supplier inclusion at Robert Half International, She is responsible for the management of the company’s U.S. supplier inclusion initiative. Her previous role at Robert Half was director of the office of diversity and inclusion.

For more than 25 years, Trimble has been an active supporter and champion for diverse businesses, partnering with numerous organizations nationwide. Kathleen currently serves as chair of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council’s National Certification Committee, executive Committee and board of directors. She also serves on the board of directors for Women’s Business Enterprise Council – West.

Robert J. Gonzalez accepts from Larry Caldwell

Catalyst Award Honoree

Robert J. Gonzalez serves as treasurer of the Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Foundation, the position he has held since the inception of the foundation in 2001. He has been instrumental in providing leadership allowing the organization to grow while at the same time providing over $25 million in contributions to organizations for the benefit of the citizens of Webb and Zapata counties in west Texas.

A native of San Antonio, Bob graduated from Texas A&M University and, upon receiving his commission in the United States Air Force, was stationed at Laredo Air Force Base.

After being discharged from the service, he began a 36-year career with PepsiCo, Inc. in its Frito-Lay division, working his way up to vice president of supplier diversity on the PepsiCo corporate staff. Under Bob’s leadership, PepsiCo was consistently recognized as one of the outstanding corporations for the development of women- and minority-owned businesses.

Beverly Jennings accepts from Benita Fortner

Advocate Award Honoree

As head of supplier diversity and inclusion, Beverly Jennings drives a growth strategy that benefits diverse and small businesses and the many Johnson and Johnson customers and business partners it serves.

Bev’s career has spanned the healthcare, consumer goods, food service and retail industries. Today, her passion for community, talent in collaborative leadership, and expertise in optimized business operations are combined into a robust initiative that enhances business development, job creation, education and healthcare.

Johnson and Johnson’s leadership in diverse business development is evidenced in its role as the first health care company member in the elite 28-member Billion Dollar Roundtable, where Bev is co-chair of the global committee. Johnson and Johnson has spent up to $1.5 billion annually with certified minority- and women-owned businesses and $3 billion with small businesses in the U.S. Additionally, the company’s supplier diversity and inclusion initiative is advancing a global strategy for diverse business development on six continents.

Eliseo T. Rojas accepts from Bill Alcorn

Advocate Award Honoree

For nearly 30 years Eliseo T. Rojas has demonstrated a commitment to supporting the progress of women in business, as well as in the community. The native Peruvian is a leader in the procurement and supplier diversity arenas, he is passionate about the importance of creating partnerships between minority and women-owned businesses with corporate America as a key ingredient of strategic growth.

In his current role as CEO of ETR Business Solutions, a company he founded in 2004, Eliseo assists clients with business development and revenue growth strategies, specializing in supply chain management.