Latin American Association Hosts 35th Annual Compañeros Awards

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Wednesday, April 17th, 2024

The Latin American Association held its 35th annual Compañeros Awards luncheon at the Georgia Aquarium April 11, honoring a series of people who have contributed to the success of metro Atlanta’s Hispanic community and made a difference in the lives of Latino families.

The event is the second largest fundraiser of the year for the Buckhead-based LAA, after its Latin Fever Ball, which is held each fall.

 “Today we’re here to celebrate amazing people and amazing institutions that help us do the work that we do,” said LAA CEO Santiago Marquez. “As I think about the 50,000 services that we provide a year, we couldn’t do any of that without partnerships.”

 The LAA recognized several of those partners, including DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond, State Bar President Tony Del Campo, Dalton City Administrator Andrew Parker, recently retired State Rep. Pedro Marin, LAA staffer Lilian Castillo and Park Place EVP and former LAA board chair Susana Chavez. The LAA also recognized the Rollins Foundation for its support.

 The keynote speaker was Mark Madrid, administrator for the Office of Entrepreneurial Development at the U.S. Small Business Administration.

 Madrid, an appointee of the Biden Administration who took office in 2021, talked about the importance of small, Latino-owned businesses to the economy, and how vital it is to make sure those business have needed access to things such as capital, counseling and contacts.

 “I know that you’re doing the work on the ground,” Madrid told the crowd, “and I want to tell you from my heart and my from spirit and my strategy and my ganas (desire), to please, please, please keep hope alive.”