Board of Directors
Marggie Nichols - President
Marggie Nichols has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of South Florida and is currently preparing to take all parts of the CPA. She has over ten years of experience in accounting, auditing and tax in various CPA firms in Tampa. Currently, Marggie works for the City of Safety Harbor as an accountant.
Marggie has lived in Tampa Bay for 30 years. Away from HPWA and work, Marggie enjoys being a mother to two growing girls.
Rosie Paulsen - President Elect
Rosie Paulsen is a public speaker, Hispanic leader, and expert in insurance. As a speaker, she specializes in education seminars on healthcare, the Hispanic market, and entrepreneurship. As a civic leader, Rosie believes in economic growth through collaboration, and through this collaborative work in community leadership organizations, she has fostered various business partnerships. Rosie’s brand is Pure Positive, Inspiring Ideas, which reflects her goal to help restore society through inspiration, determination, and her Pure Positive attitude.
Maria Cherrez Van Galder - Immediate Past President
Maria was an underwriter and a quality control specialist for many years before deciding her true calling was real estate. She has been a Realtor since 1998 and has helped many realize their dream of owning a home. To better serve her clients, Maria also became licensed in Life, Health and Annuity, she claims it’s "just another way I can help those in need of my services.”
Maria’s dedication to her community and those in need has earned her recognition, including HPWA’s Excellence Award in Consulting at the 2013 Golden Latina Awards. Originally born in Ecuador, Maria moved to New York City in 1970 and Tampa in 1986. An active member of NETWIB and NAHREP, Maria stays very involved in the community.
Milagros Carreno - Secretary
Millie is a Latina Financial Services Professional with New York Life. She earned her BA Degree in Business Administration from the University of Puerto Rico. She began her professional career as a Community Liaison for the Hillsborough County Children’s Board and Resource Centers. In 2012, Millie started a new career path in the insurance industry. Over the last four years, Millie has focused on serving customers and building trusting relationships. As a civic leader, Millie has served as a Board Member for the Campo YMCA. Her role in the Hispanic community is to create awareness that Financial Planning is part of the American Dream. She relocated to Florida in 2001 and now resides in the Riverview area with her husband Jose Carreno and two children; Lexian, 17 and Nicole, 10. She enjoys volunteering and serving.
Fabiana Salgado-Lowe -
Fabiana is a communications professional with more than 11 years of experience in the fields of video production, marketing communications, journalism and translation. She has led several production and media projects since graduation and is accomplished video editor, bringing this valuable experience to her current job as the Public Relations and Media Manager for Shriners International Headquarters in Tampa.
Born in Lima – Peru, Fabiana graduated with honors from Universidad de San Martin de Porres, where she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication with concentration in audiovisual communication. She has also completed all the coursework for her Master’s in Communications Management from Syracuse University and will present her Capstone soon.
Fabiana is passionate about all things digital, languages and cultures and loves to read about women in business, Millennials and feminism. When she is not thinking about the next video to create, she can be found singing with her guitar. She lives in Safety Harbor with her husband Michael.
Jennifer Whelihan, M.A. - Honorary Chair
Jennifer Whelihan, Business Development and Communication Professional with over 15 years experience, is known for her expertise in business consulting and entrepreneurship, as well as her diverse work in new media, and public, community and government relations.
Her exceptional background has led her to career positions as a television and print journalist, media director for the Florida House of Representatives, press secretary on political campaign work, communication director for a leading research facility and other non-profit organizations, certified business consultant for USF Small Business Development Center and currently an adjunct instructor at the University of Tampa and Economic Development Manager at Hillsborough County. Jennifer is honored to be recognized as a finalist in the Tampa Bay Business Journal 2015 BusinessWoman of the Year Awards.
Jennifer is a proud Seminole and received her Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Media Communication and Master of Arts in Interactive and New Communication Technology degrees from Florida State University. While at FSU she received the prestigious Florida State University Seminole Leadership Award. Bilingual in Spanish and English, Jennifer is an Honorary Chair for the Hispanic Professional Women’s Association in Tampa Bay and received the Leadership Excellence Award for outstanding service to her community during her years as President of the organization. She has served and is a member of the Hillsborough County Commission on the Status of Women (COSW), USF Research Foundation Council of Professionals, Empath Choices for Care, Sheriff’s Hispanic Advisory Council (SHAC), Leadership Hillsborough, Tampa Bay Seminole Club, The Iron Yard Technology Education, American Advertising Federation (AAF), and faculty advisor for the Advertising Student Association at University of Tampa.
Margarita Gonzalez - Honorary Chair
Margarita Gonzalez joined the City of Tampa staff in 1987 and currently serves in the Community Affairs Division. Through the years, her responsibilities have included the creation of public information campaigns, community relations, translation, and simultaneous interpreting for Mayors and other city officials, as well as, for visiting dignitaries. In addition, she has served as liaison to the City of Tampa’s Hispanic and international communities. In that capacity, she coordinated all the Mayor’s Hispanic Advisory Council activities, including the Latinos Unidos Luncheon. For seventeen years, she produced and hosted two television programs, Community Affairs Report and "Nuestra Tampa.” She also produced and hosted a Spanish language radio program, and handled other media relations duties.
Gonzalez’ television productions and other video productions have received several Golden Cassette Awards. Other awards she has received for her professional achievements and civic involvement are: Outstanding Contributions to Civic Affairs; Tampa Bay Business Journal "Up and Coming” Government Category; Rotary Club Outstanding Citizen; Tampa Hispanic Heritage, Inc. "1989 Hispanic Woman of the Year”; Public Relations Society of America "Outstanding Community Service Award”; Suncoast Girl Scouts of America "Woman of Distinction” Award, Tampa Bay Hispanic Media Council’s Outstanding Achievement Award, Human Rights Award, Cuban Club Centennial Award, Club Social Ecuatoriano, the Tampa Bay Business Journal Minority Business Award (Government category), Hispanic Professional Women’s Association Public Service Award, as well as, many other types of recognition.
Gonzalez is a founding member and Honorary Chairperson of the Hispanic Professional Women’s Association and other local organizations. She was the first woman to preside over Tampa Hispanic Heritage, Inc. (1988) and to serve as a member of the Superbowl Task Force (1991). She has served on chambers of commerce, numerous boards, and advisory councils dealing with law enforcement, government agencies, health care, tourism, civil rights, international and cultural affairs, and the arts.
Matilda Martinez Garcia - Honorary Chair
Matilda Martinez Garcia, devoted human rights advocate, was born in Tampa and is a second-generation Floridian. She has led an extraordinary life, witnessing both injustice and acceptance firsthand. Her resolve and energy for the welfare of others is legendary.
Employed by the Social Security Administration for 43 years, Martinez Garcia retired as Hispanic Program Officer of the West Florida Region. She received the Commissioner’s Award for exceptional commitment to public service in 1991, the same year she retired at age 72. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission established the "The Matilda Martinez Garcia Total Commitment Award" in her honor. In 2009, she received the FBI Director's Community Leadership Award recognizing her over 40 years of service.
Through her service on the Mayor’s Hispanic Advisory Council, the Hispanic Advisory Council of the City of Tampa’s Chief of Police, and the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections, Martinez Garcia worked diligently to positively impact human rights, housing, schools, civic groups, government, and the elderly. She was the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Florida State Director for over a decade, Outstanding Member in 1988, and was inducted into the LULAC Hall of Fame at the 1996 National Convention. The Tampa Bay LULAC Council’s Meritorious Achievements of Teen Ideals (MATI) scholarship award is given annually in her honor.
Numerous honors and awards have been bestowed upon her. She was recognized for her work on the MacDill Air Force Base Special Emphasis Program, for her commitment to fair housing through the Hillsborough County Community Housing Resource Board, and the Hillsborough County Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Committee presented Martinez Garcia with the Dr. Martin Luther King Drum Major Award for Human Rights.
Honoring her heritage, Martinez Garcia dedicated much of her life to serving the Hispanic cause. Governor Lawton Chiles appointed her to The Governor's Commission on Hispanic Affairs. She served on the boards of the Hispanic Professional Women's Association, the Hispanic Business Institute, the Spanish Lyric Theatre and the Hispanic Bone Marrow Program. She sponsored scholarships for the Latino Scholars Fund (ENLACE) at the University of South Florida and served on USF’s President’s Council.
Martinez Garcia was secretary of The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary and an advocate for the plight of farmworkers, which has taken her to Immokalee and other remote locations to march for attention to issues of concern. As a member of the League of Women Voters of Hillsborough County she utilized her bilingual skills to the fullest registering voters. She served as a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 2000, 2004, and 2008 and served as the Affirmative Action Chair for the Hillsborough County Democratic Party. In 2015 Garcia was inducted into the Hillsborough County Commission on the Status of Women Hall of Fame.
She was married to the late Marcelino (Max) and they are the parents of Gwen MacKinnon and Marcelino (Max), Jr. Martinez Garcia has five grandchildren and seven great granddaughters.