Odalys Arevalo, 2022 Hispanic Woman of Distinction Managing Partner, Sunshine Life & Health Advisors, Inc.
“Women in the Hispanic culture help raise generations of boys and girls that will strive in society. It’s that sense of admiration of character, values, impetuosity, and commitment which is what motivated me to help as many women as possible.”
The creation of the Affordable Care Act (often referred to as Obamacare) in 2010 was a boon to many who previously could not afford health insurance. One of the biggest challenges came in spreading the word to those who would benefit most. In 2013, Odalys Arevalo, who was born in Puerto Rico, and her business partner, Mercy Cabrera, took this challenge and their passion to help others and saw an opportunity by opening multiple Health Insurance Enrollment Centers to spread the word, answer questions and assisted those who wanted to sign up for the programs.
The success of these centers quickly spread through marketing and word-of-mouth in poorer South Florida areas and soon the partners opened their company Sunshine Life Health & Advisors to better serve the community.
The self-named Madrinas de los Seguros (Godmothers of Insurance) saw success beyond their wildest expectations. Now, the agency expanded their services by training countless professional agents to serve their ever-growing list of clients. They also expanded their product line to include Medicare, life, health, group and international insurance policies. What started as a small, local program has now grown to include accredited licensed agents in more than 40 states. Along with offices in small shopping centers and outreach programs in area malls and community centers, they even outfitted a 50-foot RV “Health Caravan” to bring needed insurance services and relief supplies during the pandemic and catastrophic events to Latino communities in Miami-Dade, Broward and Lee Counties.
Through their outreach programs and, with the assistance of more than a thousand agents, the agency now serves more than a million clients around the nation.
The pair also have organized toy and food drives, support the Vannie Cook Clinic in McAllen, Texas and the St. Jude Foundation.
Odalys is an active member of the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, partners with the Crime Prevention Alliance of South Florida to help senior citizens, serves as a mentor to young women through the Woman’s Voice Network and supports the work of the Dan Marino Foundation by hiring autistic young adults.
Their work has been written up in national media outlets including the “New York Times” and have received recognition as top producing agents and agencies for Molina Healthcare, Friday Healthcare, Oscar Health, United Healthcare, Ambetter and others. The Cities of Miami and Hialeah have also declared December 4thand October 1st respectively as Las Madrinas Day.
Odalys received her Associates Degree from Miami-Dade College. She and her husband, Avimael, who also is a managing partner of her agency, have been married for more than 30 years. They and their children, Josue and Janelle, enjoy board games, church activities and mentoring young adults. They also delight spending time with their first two grandchildren. For vacation, they travel to the happiest place on earth, Disney World.
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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