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Setting the bar high: recognizing extraordinary women

By Bertha Velasquez

Every month there appears to be a celebration of something different. While we still acknowledge those special holidays that come once a year, it seems like there are other recognitions that are reserved for something necessitating more than just a day. Women’s History Month is one of those celebrations. Tucked right in between American Heart Month (February) and Cancer Control Month (April), March is reserved for those great women who not only came before us, but also for those that are laying the bricks down as we speak.

San Luis Valley native Deborah Quintana is one of these women. Quintana, a champion for minority female business owners, is the president and CEO of World Wide Money Exchange. In fact, she is the only woman to own and manage a currency exchange in a major U.S. airport. A woman whose success is immeasurable, Quintana’s businesses can be found at three different locations at Denver International Airport.

World Wide Money Exchange carries numerous foreign currencies and provides different services as a vendor of the Colorado Lottery and other traveling services. This year, the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce honored Quintana naming her the Business Woman of the Year at their annual luncheon held earlier this month. “The path that I took to get to where I am at now, was not paved for me, it didn’t even exist.

It had to be carved out and trailblazed through,” Quintana told La Voz, “I have a strong belief that one must follow their instincts, become knowledgeable, and keep a constant eye on the finish line until you reach it.” A mother of four and grandmother to six, Quintana has helped to pave that path for all women everywhere. Lena Archuleta, 90, is also one of those women that have positioned themselves for recognition.

Archuleta has led an extraordinary life since her beginnings in northern New Mexico to her distinguished career as an educator in Denver. The first Latina principal in Denver Public Schools, an elementary school (Lena Lovato Archuleta E l ementary School) was named after her in 2002. Archuleta has also been a great contributor to many local organizations helping to establish them and/or serving on their boards and committees. Last year, La Voz spoke with her about her legacy. Archuleta spoke fondly of her career and those who supported her. She said, “[The] best job was being principal.

” La Voz salutes Mrs. Archuleta. Many times accolades are given to individuals who have already achieved their goals in life. But let’s not forget, there are also those individuals who are building the path that will lead them to where they envision themselves. Wendy Guardado is a sophomore at the University of Colorado at Boulder. This past weekend, Guardado was honored at the Latin American Educational Foundation’s annual Gala with the Lola A.

Salazar Student of the Year Award. Prideful of her Hispanic heritage, she is the first in her family to attend college. An awe inspiring student whose connection to her community through her volunteer efforts is commendable, she is sure on the right track toward a successful future. The progress that women are making is notable and it’s important to note that the remarkable women that have contributed to the advancements for all women do not just come from our past — they are around us each and everyday. In Denver, we are constantly reminded of their presence.

The facts are...

While women have made many strides since achieving suffrage in 1920, there are still many obstacles to be overcome. Today, and according to a White House report titled “Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being,” women’s wages have increased.

Those with full time employment still only make about 75 percent of what their male counterparts earned in 2009. When Hispanic women’s wages were compared to the earnings of all men in the workforce, they earned about 62 percent of their earnings. Hispanic women earned about 90 percent of the wages of their male counterparts in 2009.

Still, young women are more likely to have a bachelors or master’s degree compared to men of the same age. Also, according to the report released this month, women are increasingly contributing to their family’s annual income.





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