Maria Hernandez Serves Others and Makes a Difference

Maria Hernandez a 2015 Hispanic Woman of Distinction


Maria HernandezSince the beginning of Maria’s career, she has been focused on issues surrounding women.  As an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, she knows firsthand the issues impacting Latinas, the vulnerabilities and need for acculturation, using her own insight and experiences to create and implement projects that are culturally sensitive to both Hispanics and other populations.

As Vice President of Program Operations for United Way of Broward County, Maria works with a vast spectrum of social services, in various roles as advocate, counselor, administrator, and as a leader for programs such as domestic violence, women’s health, substance abuse, mental health and parenting.  Maria also is responsible for the United Way Commission on Substance Abuse, an important role to develop  a comprehensive Prevention Community Action Plan.

Maria earned her Bachelor of Art in Sociology and Women’s Studies at the State University of New York and a Master of Social Work at Fordham University .   Prior to her career at United Way, she was the Department Director for Family Central  where she designed and implemented the Cherish the Family Program, that worked with women affected by substance abuse and their children in partnership with over 12 agencies in Broward County.   She has also traveled around the United States serving as an ambassador and spokesperson on child welfare, families in recovery, pre-natal risk factors and human services.

Among her greatest accomplishments is her volunteer work from supervising social work students in public universities, a member of the Board of The Healthy Start Coalition, Florida Association for Infant Mental Health as chair of their committee and a number of task forces where she can improve the social status of Latinas creating programs that are culturally sensitive and appropriate.

“I feel that my culture and gender, influence my work on a daily basis. My understanding of the culture and our needs play a crucial role in my daily decision making process”, said Maria.  “In general, successful Hispanic women represent the possibilities that can be put forth for generations to come.”

Maria is a single Mother with two children, Alexander and Vanessa and lives in Miramar. 

Maria will be celebrated as Hispanic Woman of Distinction on August 14, 2015.

Meet the other 2015 Hispanic Women of Distinction:

Maria Elena Ferrer 

Silvia Cobo

Claudia Bartra

Marielena Villamil

Yvette Aleman

Daisy Baez

Kattia A. Castellanos