Meet Lorena Mastrarrigo the 2017 Hispanic Woman of Distinction, Chief Assistant Public Defender, Broward County Office of the Public Defender
“As a Hispanic woman, I feel that my role is to lead and inspire other Hispanics to reach their goals, whether it is a role of leadership or confidence to acquire a certain job.”
In the criminal justice system, as prescribed by the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, if you are arrested, you have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be assigned to you. And if you are lucky enough, in a most unlucky of situations, that person will be Lorena Mastrarrigo of the Broward County Public Defender’s Office.
Lorena’s life began in Argentina where their crumbling economy led her family to move to the United States. Her family embraced their new country, its language and its culture.
However, she soon recognized that although America offers everyone the opportunity to work toward a better life, too many Hispanic immigrants, whether due to language barriers, discrimination or simply ignorance of customs, were able to take advantage of the many opportunities that their new home afforded them.
Seeing this, Lorena worked hard to do well in school so she could become a lawyer to one day help her fellow Hispanics with their legal problems and, hopefully, be a role model to others so they also could enjoy a better life.
While her high school academic record likely would have been enough to help her financially, she earned a full athletic scholarship to the University of Central Florida where Lorena majored in Political Science. F
rom there she received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Miami School of Law and was admitted to the Florida Bar after graduation.
Although she also worked in private practice in criminal law, the bulk of Lorena’s experience has been in the public sector working as an Assistant Public Defender. She handles an ever-growing caseload of primarily Hispanic clients where she conducts client interviews, takes depositions, conducts jury trials and provides representation for her clients both in and out of the courtroom.
She also trains the newly hired attorneys who join the Public Defender’s Office.
Outside of the courthouse, Lorena has served as the Secretary of the Hispanic Vote, is the Director of the Summer Justice Program for the Public Defender’s Office, is the secretary of the Parent Resource Organization at St. Bonaventuto Catholic School, is a past President and past Treasurer of the Broward County Hispanic Bar Association, Assistant Den Leader to Troop 383, serves on the 17th Judicial Circuit Professionalism Panel and helps the Team of Life with Big Mama.
She and her husband, fellow attorney, Mark Mastrarrigo, have been married for almost a decade.
When they are not enjoying their Broward County home with their son, Mark Gerard, and daughter, Ava Rose, they enjoy taking tours around the country showing their children the places where our nation’s history and laws were made.
Lorena also likes to cook, watch her children’s baseball games and go running.
2017 Hispanic Women of Distinction honorees
At PACE Center for Girls, girl-centered culture celebrates the power and potential of girls. With 19 non-residential centers throughout Florida, they provide a safe environment where middle and high school aged girls can thrive.
The balanced emphasis on academics and social services is combined with a program model to produce an experience that is nationally recognized as one of the most effective programs for helping at-risk girls realize brighter and more productive futures.
The Jessica June Children’s Cancer Foundation (JJCCF) is a nonprofit public charity founded in 2004 by Sandra Muvdi shortly after the loss of her only child to cancer. Its mission is to provide emergency financial assistance for children fighting cancer to ensure access to basic human necessities. The Foundation also advocates for and raises awareness of childhood cancer.
Presented by Latina Style Magazine, the nation’s leading publication for Latina entrepreneurs, in partnership with Bank of America and AARP, the highly-promoted celebration brings to the forefront the contributions of Hispanic women from South Florida. Co-sponsors include Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Walmart, Latin Business Today and La Poderosa Radio. What the women have in common and is a major part of the judging process, is their American entrepreneurship intertwined with their values and traditions.
“This year was truly a difficult decision for our judges. With more than 50 nominations submitted, selecting 12 became a week-long effort to cast votes for the “crème de la crème” stated, Elaine Vasquez, founder and producer of the annual event. Nominations were solicited from past honorees and community leaders in south Florida.
“We are delighted to continue our long-time partnership with Hispanic Women of Distinction and provide insight and support to the entrepreneurs and community leaders who are making a difference, “said Robert Bard, CEO and Publisher of Latina Style Magazine.
The 2017 Hispanic Women of Distinction are:
GLORIA L. DIAZ-DANIELS –Div Sales Mgr Sales-Pharmacy Walmart – Palm Beach
ADRIANA FAZZANO FICANO – Chief of Staff, Broward College – Broward County
BLANCA GUERRA -Broward County Schools-Curriculum Sup/Dual Languages -Dade Cuban Latina Excels at Education and Preserving Heritage Languages
KARINA GOMEZ-HERRERA – Pres. CEO Karnna Fashion & Company – Broward: Outstanding Venezuelan Latina Excels as a “Hispanic Fashion Advisor”
Dr IVERIS LUZ MARTINEZ- Assoc Prof. Herbert Werthein College/Medicine FIU-Dade
LORENA MASTRARRIGO -Assistant Public Defender, Broward County – Broward
CHRISTINA PEREZ McDOWELL – Founder, Solutions by CPM, LLC – Dade
JACQUELINE NUNEZ – Co-owner, SOMA Medical Centers PA – Palm Beach
Dr. JACQUELINE PENA – Dean Academic Affairs – Miami Dade College - Dade
MICHELLE MARTINEZ-REYES- CMO, Greenspoon Marder Law Firm – Broward
MARIELLE SOLOGUREN – Vice President. Pierson Grant Public Relations – Broward Latina of Ancestry Cuban-Peruvian Making Waves in PR
RACHEL TOURGEMAN –Community Relations Dir.- Florida National University-Dade
LATINA PIONEER of the YEAR:
DAISY EXPOSITO-ULLA – Chairman, CEO of d exposito & Partners, a visionary creative leader in cross-cultural brand building for more than 30 years, Daisy has been recognized by numerous organizations and named as one of the most influential Latinas in the United States.
Daisy joins past Latina Pioneers: Columba Bush, Ileana Ros Lehtinen, Maria San Juan, Caridad Asensio, Joyce Kaufman, Nelly Rubio, Aida Levitan, Maria Elena Torano, Helen Aguirre Ferre, Marielea Villamil and Millie Herrera.
Tickets to the luncheon are $95 per person. Table sponsorships are $1500. The luncheon includes a social hour with complimentary “mojitos”, a business expo, raffles, Latin entertainment, as well as a runway fashion show presented by the Las Olas fashion designer, Zola Keller.
About the author
Phyllis Cambria is a freelance writer based in South Florida with an international roster of clients. As a retired, award-winning event planner, she co-authored several party planning books and has written or been the subject of articles for numerous local and national print and online publications. Phyllis writes online and print content on a wide-array of subjects including entertaining, show business, etiquette, weddings, restaurant reviews, travel, relationships and marketing materials.Website