Entrepreneurs, a community volunteer, university fundraiser make up Dallas’ 2018 Ford Mujeres Legendarias
DALLAS— The contributions and achievements of four Dallas-area women have been recognized with the Ford Mujeres Legendarias award. The women have made a difference in business, community work, education, and the environment.
The four 2018 Mujeres Legendarias will be recognized at a special celebration in 2019 for their respective contributions in the areas of business leadership, support of education in the sciences and technology, innovations for the environment and contributions to the community. The event will be presented by Ford Motor Company with The University of Texas at Arlington’s University Crossroads, the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Regional Hispanic Contractors Association.
Every year, Ford Motor Company celebrates outstanding Latina women in Houston, Dallas, Miami, New York and Los Angeles, highlighting their accomplishments in these areas. The women are selected from among the 22 million outstanding Latinas in the United States in the categories of Leadership/SMART, Innovation/Green, Community/Safe, and Quality/STEM. These are the same pillars upon which Ford designs and manufactures its vehicles.
The women being recognized as Dallas’ 2018 Ford Mujeres Legendarias are:
Mujer Legendaria: Leadership/SMART
An outstanding business and community leader, Wanda Granier has built BridgeWork Partners into one of the Dallas Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for several years. What makes her 10-year-old company stand out is that she leads the overall vision and strategy. She is committed to the mission of taking care of the clients, one partnership at a time.
Granier is more than accomplished businesswoman. She is also a passionate advocate for the business community and has taken on several roles throughout her career to enhance opportunities for minority-owned businesses. In 2017, she received Latina Entrepreneur of the Year and swell as several other awards. She has led several community and business organizations and is currently chair of VisitDallas’ Diversity and Inclusion Committee, serves as a member of the advisory board for BBVA Compass and on the board of directors for the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, which encourages girls to participate in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
Mujer Legendaria: Quality/STEM
In her role as associate vice president for Development and University Initiatives at The University of Texas at Arlington, Rose Youngblood is furthering the university’s goals for STEM activities by leading the major gift fundraising strategies. Since she took charge of the fundraising team, gifts to the university have grown from $13.7 million to $16.8 million—fundraising for academic units in STEM exceed $6.5 million with another $4 million going to faculty and research.
Youngblood not only supports increasing opportunities in STEM at the university level, but also ensures young women explore these opportunities through her work in the community. She is a mentor for Year Up Dallas/Fort Worth, where she mentors a Latina student at El Centro College. She also spent a year building a marketing strategy for the business and faith communities that will increase trauma awareness and resilience in North Texas when it comes to mental health. Because film is another of her passions, she and her husband have established the Aaron and Rose Youngblood Scholarship in Film at UTA.
Gina Garcia Paredes
Mujer Legendaria: Innovation/Green
The environment and taking care of the Earth are passions Gina Garcia Paredes that fuel the achievements of her company, Paredes-Garcia & Associates, a civil engineering firm in Red Oak. Garcia Paredes has been a professional engineer for more than 18 years and has worked as a research assistant for the Texas Transportation Institute, as a city engineer and for the Texas Department of Transportation.
PGA’s office is a home office, and the employees work from home, which reduces the need for travel and keeps pollutants from the air. PGA also includes sustainable design in its projects, which often include storm water detention or retention in the form of rain gardens and landscaping elements that are native to the region and require less water. Her hope is that one day, her clients will include permeable paving in the design of parking lots or driveways.
Josefina (Josie) Avalos
Mujer Legendaria: Community/Safe
At 76, Josefina (Josie) Avalos shows not signs of slowing down in her work and commitment to the community. A native of Monterrey, Mexico, she married and moved to Laredo at a young age. Her family moved to Dallas in 1963, and after her husband passed away, she raised her six children on her own working in a tortillería and later in the cafeteria in what is now Lorenzo de Zavala Elementary School in West Dallas. She didn’t just serve food to students and worked as cashier in the cafeteria. Avalos made sure that students’ families applied of help when they needed. She also joined a group of neighborhood women who were trying to improve living conditions in the area by fighting blighted apartments that attracted crime and were eyesores in the community. The group grew to be known as Vecinos Unidos, and eventually fought to have 45 affordable homes built in the area for families.
Avalos retired from the school at age 62, but she did not stop working for her community. She volunteered with senior citizens at Marillac Center, and when it closed in 2012, she continued her efforts at other locations like Jaycee Zaragoza Recreation Center. She has been recognized for her volunteer efforts—she has clocked almost 600 volunteer hours—and her work in making her community a better place to live.