The Inspirational Latin Awards is a way of recognizing the outstanding achievements of individuals from the Latin American community in BC and in some cases, overseas too.

The only national Hispanic awards program and the most important awards program for Latin Americans in British Columbia will both take place on Thursday, November 1st at The Westin Bayshore in Vancouver. The keynote speaker will be Pablo Rodriguez, minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism will be the special guest with other high level Government officials, diplomats, and mainstream society in attendance. Rodriguez is a past year winner of the 10 Most influential Hispanic Canadians Awards. He was born in Argentina.

TD’s “10 most influential Hispanic Canadians” recognizes outstanding achievements from Hispanic community and across Canada. Since 2007, there are 110 awardees in 7 provinces representing 17 countries of origin. The program, which has been personally recognized by Prime Ministers, has taken place in Montreal, Ottawa, Saskatchewan, Calgary, Toronto and now twice in Vancouver. Judges include past winners as well as executives and journalists from mainstream society.

The “Inspirational Latin Awards” 2018, 5th edition, is the awards program of Latincouver, the organization created with the vision of empowering Latin Americans in British Columbia. The “Inspirational Latin Awards” recognizes the outstanding achievements of individuals making a positive impact in BC. Judges include outstanding Latin American and Canadians involved with our community.

Paola Murillo, founder and Executive Director of Latincouver expressed immense proudness and humbleness in celebrating the “Inspirational Latin Awards” together with TD’s “10 most influential Hispanic Canadians”. This is the first time that a joint event of this magnitude takes place in Vancouver.

Mauricio Ospina, director of TD’s “10 most influential Hispanic Canadians” added that “on November 1st, we will see Vancouver’s mainstream society meet and recognize leading figures from our community. It’s THE must-attend event with a keynote to be proud of as well”.

The over one million Hispanics in Canada are five years younger and more likely to be university educated than other Canadians. More than 70% had arrived in the previous 30 years – this according to projections from a Statistics Canada study. Spanish is the third most widely spoken language in the country as indicated on a study from the Canadian Foundation for the Americas.


Nominees 2018

Waldo Briño Category

Chafika Eddine (Brazil)

Chafika’s volunteering efforts include six years as a Director of the Board for the Peruvian Canadian Chamber of Commerce and two years as the Executive Director for the Western Canada.  She is one of the founders of the Global Change for Children Foundation and has been previously involved with several fundraising initiatives focused on children’s education and health in Latin America and elsewhere. She has a legal background in addition to certifications as project management professional and corporate social responsibility practitioner and has a Master’s degree in Community Development from the University of Victoria.

Julia Mariuska Hodgins (Peru)

Julia has professional  experience in private, public, and non-profit  sectors in Canada and South America. She is proficient in English and Spanish, also able to communicate in French. She has lived in 3 different countries  Peru, Bolivia and Canada) and 3 provinces of Canada (Alberta, BC and Ontario). Currently resides with her husband in Port Coquitlam. Julia holds a B.A. Majored in Sociology with concentration in Social Research.

Paola Levy (Mexico)

Paola is an Employment Counsellor who helps newcomers and Canadian citizen to find employment; she currently works as a Case Manager Support specialist at WorkBC Employment Services Center in Surrey. Paola also worked for more than 10 years as a Latin American Marketing Manager and as an International Students Agent in Vancouver.

Inés Montoya (Colombia)

Inés have been working with Immigrants and refugees for 20 years in British Columbia. She’s been helping them to settle down and connecting them with meaningful employment where they can use the skills and education they brought to Canada.

Silvana Goldemberg (Argentina)

Silvana Goldemberg is an educator and award-winning author of over twenty books and magazines for children, youths and teachers in Spanish and English. When Silvana came to Canada in 2003, she felt a lack of resources for both Spanish speakers and those seeking to learn the language. From that moment onwards being an enterprising, skillful, and creative woman, with strong interpersonal skills and the plasticity to accept new challenges. Silvana founded the first Spanish Book Fair in Vancouver sponsored by the Vancouver Public Library, that now includes Portuguese, celebrating the two Latin American languages. Her book “Victoria” was distinguished by BC Book Prizes as one of the five outstanding books for children by a British Columbian author published in 2013. The novel for preteens and young adults follows a teenage girl living in the streets of Argentina.


Business Entrepeneur Category

Sergio Negrete (Mexico)

Sergio Negrete was born and raised in Mexico City and in 2005 he relocated to Canada with his family, including two children; Kenya & Adrian. His children being the driving force for any personal endeavour, adapting to a new lifestyle played a key role for the duality of culture that his family has been able to acquire while living abroad. With the acquisition of new cultural diversities, Sergio Negrete’s interpersonal and business development skills provided a template for which a communal project has the potential to become a leader in the uncompetitive thereby ordinary spanish media presence in Vancouver.

Pablo Paez (Peru)

Pablo Paez is an award winning Realtor who mainly help the Latino Community in Vancouver. He specializes in buying and selling properties and also he had created a team of professionals  with good expertise and all of them speak Spanish, so the Latin community can understand the process better. Pablo and his Team members do seminars in a regular way as well, to help the Latino Community to understand the importance of buying their own home and creating equity vs renting and making somebody else rich. They provide all the tools that a client may need in the process of  buying or selling Real Estate.

Alfonso Quijada (El Salvador)

Mr. Quijada has just sold his latest full length feature film La palabra de Pablo (Pablo’s Word) to HBO (USA) – and Sony for Latin America market and he is at the moment negotiating the sales of the film to the European and Asian markets. This is the first film in Salvadorian’s history to reach this level of international exposure around the world. The movie is coming out in theatres in Sept/27th in the theatres of El Salvador. LPDP has been part of 6 film festivals around the world thus far; including the prestigious AFI  (American Film Institute) and NY Latino Film Festival.

Laura López (Mexico)

Laura Lopez Rocha & Manuel Bañales have been making a big impression on the students. For the past 7 years, the owners of Estudie Canada have helped students to accomplish their dreams. They help students fill their purposes of studying abroad by giving them educational guidance according to their needs, and supporting them during their stay. As an agency, they have offered some scholarships for students who face financial challenges to accomplish their academics goals. Besides that, we give back to communities to sponsor cultural events. Those activities speak remarkably about them and make them a perfect candidate for this award.

Alex Beim (Uruguay)

Born in Uruguay, artist Alex Beim has lived and worked in Vancouver for more than 20 years. Always an entrepreneur, he started his first business at the age of 18 as a graphic designer in Montevideo. When he made the move to Canada years later, he didn’t know a word of English, but with some tenacity and resourcefulness, he found work almost immediately in advertising. Starting out as a designer, Beim eventually became an Associate Creative for a major Canadian advertising company. With no formal higher education, he is essentially a self-made man. At 35, Beim took a giant leap and started his own business,Tangible Interaction, following his true passion in life.


Arts & Culture Category

Javier Badillo (Venezuela)

Javier not only beat the odds migrating to Canada by himself – he also allowed his unbridled optimism, his friendly personality, and his passion for creating meaningful art, to open the doors needed to survive and thrive in the highly competitive Vancouver independent movie and music businesses. Javier has won numerous accolades for his music and independent movies at international festivals (and has even been invited to the Cannes International Film Festival on three separate occasions), has attained leadership positions in a number of film non-profit institutions, and has performed his music alongside world-class Latin Grammy winning artists.

Adrianne Valentina Marcano (Venezuela)

At the short age of 15 years old, this young musician obtained the Gold medal from the “Music Festival of the British Columbia Conservatory of Music 2017”. Because of her high level of performance, she was invited to participate in the “Annual Concerto Competition of the VYSO” where she was the unique representation of Latin America. Her relevant musical career in her home country was evidenced in the “Venezuela Symphony Orchestras system” she held the position of “Concert Master” for four seasons in a row. Today, she develops her works as a violinist in the “Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra” since 2014, in the “Moscrop Orchestra”, and as a violin teacher in “Harmony Do Re Mi Music School” while she is working to obtain her Diploma as a professional Violinist from the British Columbia Conservatory of Music. In 2018, Adrianne achieved the first place in both baroque and classical violin competitions being the highest mark of both categories. Therefore earning a gold medal from the BCCM in the award ceremony.

John González (Colombia)

John Gonzalez is Colombian-Canadian accordion player who specializes in Latin Music, specifically Vallenato and Cumbia. His particular style of playing is heavily influenced by his travels and broad cultural experiences. John has studied accordion technique under the direction of Ivan Chaparro, El Turco Gil, Javier Villalobos, Luis Hernandez and Konstantin R. Bozhinov. He is currently attending the Vancouver Community College School of Music and studying  accordion with the famous accordion player, Sergio Luis Rodrigez.

Lourdes Ruiz (Mexico)

Lourdes Ruiz was born in Colima, Mexico. She was part of the Ballet Folklorico de la Universidad de Colima over many years. Folklore has been like her second life, always on par with her studies, family and personal life. When she moved to Vancouver, she brought with her the love of dance and that’s when she decided to create the Caudillos del Sur Mexican Dance Ensemble in March  2013.

Sambacouver (Brazil)

Sambacouver is a Brazilian band that has been playing a pivotal role in bringing together the growing Brazilian community of BC. Apart from the parties they regularly promoted in several live-music-venues of Vancouver, they have also conducted free events in public spaces, such as beaches and parks, where their compatriots and other enthusiast of Brazilian culture can feel its joy and warmness. Although Brazilians are formally Latin-Americans, we often do not feel contemplated by many activities directed to the Latin-American community. This is not a critique in itself, but a natural phenomenon, given that it is the only big country in Latin America that does not speak Spanish and it creates a barrier for further integration with other nationalities. Within this context, having a group that is able to connect Brazilians and promote our culture with such commitment and passion is really a gift.

Michael Reyes (Dominican Republic)

Michael is an amateur musician,a self taught instrumentalist composer and singer. He is a hopeless romantic who believes in all forms of love and respect in the world. Initially, he aspired to be professional baseball player. However, he later had a severe accident that would no longer allow him to pursue that dream. This is what eventually led him to find his place in music. He is now a firm believer in that everything happens for a reason. Through his voice and his music he has been able to share his passion for music and latin culture with Canada. He has used music as an excuse to bring people together musically and for noble causes like for fundraisers and charities.


Innovation & Sustainability Category

Derma Bright Clinic & Holistic Wellness – Estrellita Martín González

Estrellita Gonzalez started Vancouver’s Derma Bright Clinic in 2012 after a career in corporate human resources and marketing. Derma Bright Clinic’s philosophy is to provide beauty, skin and health services using a holistic approach with a focus on anti-aging and acne. This philosophy includes using clean products i.e. free of chemicals, preservatives, etc. Derma Bright Clinic has won awards for its commitment to these principles. It’s growing client base includes members of the latino community; one of her experienced aestheticians hails from Brazil.

DE Design + Environment Inc. – David Nicholas Oswald

DE is a design and environmental consultancy and technology company with the mission to solve problems using design and environmental science.  Sustainability is a core company value. DE was founded in 2005 in Montreal by BC native, David Oswald, but has its HQ now in Vancouver as of Oct 2016. DE has become known for its work in integrated environmental analysis in the Caribbean, helping countries adapt to climate change. As a result of years of work having a positive impact on society and the environment, in 2016 David was elected as a Fellow to the Royal Canadian Geographic Society. DE has worked in Latin America for 12 years realizing sustainable development and fostering cultural connections with Canada.  David and his team are regularly called upon by the United Nations to provide expertise in design thinking and environmental analysis to address challenges such as the fight against global climate change.

I4C Innovation – Pilar Portela

i4C Innovation was conceived around October of 2016, an idea birthed on the possibility of developing economic diversification in rural areas while collaborating with existing traditional industry. There were 3 main factors to ensure it opened: secure the 46,000 sq ft state-of-the-art building that had been sitting empty for over 5 years across the Trail airport, arrange a collaborative funding model between a private organization and local not-for-profit organization and procure strong, healthy business relationships with Latin America to support continued growth. This unique and innovative approach ensured a sustainable business model that could be transferred to other rural or under-developed communities around the world that would not depend solely on grants. Today the i4C Innovation Hub sits proud as one of the fastest growing companies in the area and its model is being replicated in neighboring communities.


Non-Latino Making An Impact Category

Richard Bell (Canada)

Richard is the owner of Bell Alliance Lawyers & Notaries Public. Richard was an early financial supporter of Latincouver and more recently worked with Latincouver to promote World Housing’s initiatives in Latin America. Richard is an Ambassador for World Housing and helps raise funds for the building of homes for the poorest of the poor in Latin America. He recently completed a number of homes in Bogota and is currently assisting with homes in El Salvador. Richard is also the Chair of The Arts Club and a member of the Board of Small Housing B.C.

Michelle Cormier (Canada)

Michelle Cormier studied Classical guitar at VCC and later formed tango group Los Porteños del Norte. She currently directs student Mariachi Los Tesoros, is co-founder of School of Groove, a music school focused on the music of Latin America and is founder/director of Las Estrellas de Vancouver. Her work includes travel with youths to study with master musicians and experience the music and culture in Mexico and Cuba. With all of these projects she has participated in Festivals and community events here in Vancouver and Mexico.

InspireHealth (Canada)

InspireHealth is a not-for-profit health care organization, providing supportive cancer care for individuals living with cancer and their families. All of our services are completely free and include consultations with exercise therapists, dieticians, medical doctors, clinical counsellors and more!