“Brindis del Exito is a great chance to learn about what we do at the Latino Professionals Association and how we will continue to build capacity in the Latino community in the future,” Latino Professionals Associations President Tania Ibarra tells Madison365. “We’re invested in making every Latino professional successful … because when our people succeed, local companies succeed. So it’s a win-win for local organizations to invest in our Latino community and expand our potential.”

Brindis del Exito is an exciting event that the Latino Professionals Association (LPA) hosts every year to show off all of the talent that exists in this city. Founded in 2013, the LPA is a non-profit organization whose vision is to cultivate a community that inspires, develops and empowers Latinos to pursue success. The third annual Brindis del Exito will take place Saturday, April 1, 6-10 p.m. at the Edgewater Hotel. Tickets are $25 for LPA members and $50 for non-members.

Latino Professional Association President Tania Ibarra
Latino Professional Association President
Tania Ibarra

“This year, we’ll be introducing the VIP hour for the award winners and the LPA board of directors to give people more time to network,” Ibarra says. “It allows people some more intimate time with our winners so they can really appreciate why these people received the awards and what it means to them and how it reflects on the community.”

There are 13 different awardees that have been honored by local organizations like Brava Magazine, InBusiness Magazine, Centro Hispano, the Latino Chamber of Commerce, etc., that will be honored at Brindis del Exito. “Any member that got an award is invited to this celebration and recognized in our video,” Ibarra says. “It will probably be more in that we have more people who received awards if they become members they will be included in the celebration.”

After being held at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, this year the event will be held at the Edgewater Hotel in downtown Madison and will have a customized menu with Latino flair along with Latino beverages. Latino businesses will provide the dessert.

(L-r) Sujhey Beisser, Karen Menendez Coller, and Julia Arata-Fratta at last year's Brindis del Exito event
(L-r) Sujhey Beisser, Karen Menendez Coller, and Julia Arata-Fratta at last year’s Brindis del Exito event

So is it a Latino crowd? Is it a mix? Are gringos allowed?

“The majority of people who come to this event are Latinos,” Ibarra says. “We had a handful of non-Latinos come to the event last year. I do want to increase that because it’s part of the goal of the event is to demonstrate all of the talent and skills of Latinos to the larger community. We are working on getting non-Latinos to attend the event so they can have a different perspective on what the Latino community is here in Madison. We want other communities to recognize the value that the Latino community has and the impact that the Latino community has. We contribute a lot … it is quite the breadth, diversity, and range of industries, populations, and entrepreneurship.”

The LPA is a very active group of Latinos who stand out as visible leaders at work and in their communities. And they are growing.

“I’m very proud of our accomplishments at this organization. We went from 55 members to now a little over 200,” Ibarra says. “Our goal is to get to 500 members by the 5th year anniversary of LPA. We’re in the 4th year now. This is an important year for us in reaching that goal.

“It’s not just the quantity of members but the quality of members for the Latino Professional Associations,” she adds. “We are executives in Madison of for-profit and non-profit industries and we have a lot of founders of Latino organizations and directors and leaders. It’s a really impressive membership and it’s an honor and a privilege to be the current president.”

LPA has a new website soon which they may or may not be unveiling at the night of the big event. Ibarra promises that LPA will have a lot of surprises and announcements at Brindis del Exito. (None of which she would divulge early to Madison365, by the way).

“We are working on a lot of different collaborations with a lot of different partners in the community,” Ibarra says. “This coming year we will really be working on strengthening those and capitalizing on those and really being an example for good collaboration models in Madison.”

After the Brindis event, LPA’s next large event will be “Building Our Legacy.” This year it will be on Sept. 14 at the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month instead of the usual at the end.

“It will open Hispanic Heritage Month instead,” she says. “What we learned in the past was that we got a lot of momentum at the event and that was the end of Hispanic Heritage Month. So we are holding it at the beginning, have that momentum, and demonstrate that pride throughout the whole month.”

Do you think the rest of the community is surprised at how many Latino professionals we have here in Madison?

“I don’t know if ‘surprise’ is the word because they don’t necessarily admit it and I don’t think they’ve seen it yet,” Ibarra says. “That’s one of the things that we want to focus on in 2017 from an LPA perspective. We had the Yo Soy campaign (below) that was really picture driven and it helped us with recognition, but we want to push even harder this year.”

LPA hopes to raise their profile with the Brindis event but also to host some really good networking, too.

“Oh, yes,” Ibarra says. “One of the things that we don’t do is a sit-down dinner because that takes away a lot of your ability to connect. So, the design of our event is Happy Hour style heavy on the hors d’oeuvre followed by the short program and then serving food again after the program.

“Our goal for the event is that you meet at least five new people,” Ibarra adds, “and if you don’t meet five new people you at least learn about five new people.”

Tickets are still available for the gala event.

“If nothing else, come out and have a great time. But an evening like this is really not available here in Madison all the time because there are not a lot of establishments that have the Latino flare and the Latino touch,” Ibarra says. “So come and experience the local Latino culture here in Madison and to build relationships with the fastest-growing minority population in the County and country. You’ll get to know a lot of movers and shakers in the Latino community.”

Written by David Dahmer

David Dahmer

A. David Dahmer is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Madison365.