Alexandria Ayala, 2022 Hispanic Woman of Distinction, Board Member, School District of Palm Beach County, Director of Community Engagement, The Markarian Group
“As nurturers, organizers and leaders, Hispanic women are proving there are no limits to how to represent the very best our cultures have to offer.”
Don’t let Alexandria Ayala’s youthful appearance fool you. She is no newbie in the world of politics, education or community advocacy, and is a force to be reckoned with.
In 2020, Alexandria won her District 2 School Board of Palm Beach County seat in a landslide victory over two other candidates. Born in Puerto Rico, she is also the first Latina elected to the Board.
Her commitment is to make certain that every child has an equal and equitable opportunity to succeed. She is dedicated to ensuring that there is proper fiscal budget management while protecting the arts, career academy and other education programs that play a huge role in a student’s potential success. As a product of three Palm Beach County District schools, Alexandria has a deep understanding of student needs. After graduation, she attended the University of Central Florida where she received her B.A. in Political Science and minored in Journalism.
Alexandria previously served as a Legislative Aide for both the Palm Beach County Commission and the Florida House of Representatives. Her positions allowed her to form successful partnerships and supported policy initiatives that would benefit her community. She also works tirelessly to insist that school board decisions are transparent, and that parents, teachers and the community can make their wishes heard.
Alexandria’s close work with the District’s Human Resources department to ensure that there are equitable professional development and leadership opportunities for Hispanics has seen an increased number of Hispanic teachers, principals and administrators.
When not working on school board issues, Alexandria works as The Markarian Group’s Director of Community Engagement. The agency is a legal consulting firm whose goal is to ensure not only their clients’ success but also the community’s progress and prosperity. They strive to do well by doing good.
Alexandria is a stronger supporter of Latinos in Action, a student/school-based organization that encourages students to immerse in their culture. Among her participation in many groups that benefit Hispanics, women and minorities in general, Alexandria is proud to see Palm Beach County designate a section of the City of West Palm Beach as the Latin Quarter WPB. The area is seeing a surge in growth of Latino-owned businesses. She also delights in the progress being made by the Hispanic Education Coalition of Palm Beach County that ensure Hispanics are fairly represented. Alexandria is additionally encouraged by the work being done by the West Palm Beach Mayor’s Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Equality where she serves as Co-Chair of the Education and Workforce Development subcommittee.
Among her numerous recognitions, Alexandria was recently honored to receive the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches’ ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award. She’s been selected to appear in the 76thAnniversary edition of “Who’s Who in America” to be published in 2023 as well.
When not in service to her community, Alexandria enjoys travel, kayaking, reading, concerts, music and the arts.
The annual celebration of Community, Culture and Charity honors Latinas in South Florida, past and present.
The 21st annual Hispanic Women of Distinction Charity luncheon to be held on Friday, August 26th, 2022, at Signature Grand in Davie, Florida is anticipating another sell-out of up to 1000 guests paying tribute to Latina professionals who are strengthening the social fabric of this country and making inroads in the leadership pipeline for a growingly diverse America.
Founded in 2001 by the late Erwin M.Vasquez, M.D., a Venezuelan-born cardiologist, philanthropist and publisher of the pioneer Spanish newspaper, El Heraldo de Broward, the goal was to help to empower Latinas and to recognize the influence they have in the South Florida community. These Latinas, both past and present, are not afraid to dream big, to carve their own paths, to be grateful for the opportunities they have received, and to pay it forward to those who will follow.
The 2022 Honorees are:
- ODALYS AREVALO – co-founder, Las Madrinas de Los Seguros, managing partner Sunshine Life & Health Advisors.
- ALEXANDRIA AYALA – School Board Member, Palm Beach County
- DUNIA CUNEO – Owner, Doral Human Resources Consulting
- SYLVIA DAUNERT, PhD, PharmD, MS – Lucille P. Markey Chair and Professor, Dept. Biochemistry/Molecular Biology, Miller School of Medicine
- JESSICA JOSEPH – Manager. Philanthropy/Public Relations, Catholic Hospice, Inc.
- NAELYS LUNA- Ph.D., MSW – Founding Dean & Professor, College of Social Work & Criminal Justice – Florida Atlantic University Work & Criminal Justice – Florida Atlantic University
- AYENZA A. MATTHEWS – Wellness Director, Heal the Planet
- MONICA PAYARES-LIZANO, M.D. – Pediatric, Orthopedic Surgeon, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital
- SUSY DIAZ PIESCO – Exec.Director Middle School of the Arts Foundation, City Councilwoman Greenacres City
- KARINA de OLIVEIRA RODRIGUES – Assistant County Attorney, Broward County Attorneys Office
- VANESSA SELTZER – Director of Philanthropy, Arc Broward
- PATRICIA TREJO – Adm. Program Planner Hispanic/Latino Studies, Palm Beach County School District, FL-ALAS President
2022 LATINA PIONEER of the YEAR
ANA VEIGAMILTON – President, José Milton Foundation, Chair of Jackson Health Foundation, UM Trustee and President of the Citizens Board, lawyer and engineer, committed to impactful philanthropy and community engagement throughout South Florida. Family Values • Community-Wide
UP & COMER HONOREE
ARLETTE GOMEZ – Third year law student at NSU, Shepard Broad College of Law, Dean’s list with awards for outstanding service. Cuban born, this young woman is active on numerous community boards, and NSU’s President’s 64 Member, whose purpose is to strengthen the relationship with the community.
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