The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) is proud to announce former Vice Chairman of AT&T Inc. and CEO of Business Solutions & International, Ralph de la Vega, as the recipient of the Ohtli Award, presented by the Government of Mexico, in acknowledgement of his extraordinary contributions toward the success of the Hispanic community in the United States. De la Vega will receive the award at the USHCC’s National Convention on October 3rd, in Dallas, TX.
The Ohtli Award, named for the Nahuatl word meaning path, is bestowed upon individuals who have dedicated their professional careers to procuring greater prosperity for Mexican and Hispanic communities abroad and opening pathways to improve the quality of life of immigrant communities.
“We are delighted to honor Ralph de la Vega, who is being recognized for his arduous dedication to the Hispanic business community, with the Ohtli award by the Government of Mexico – the most prestigious honor that Mexico can offer to a foreign citizen,” said USHCC President & CEO Javier Palomarez. “From his arrival to this country as 10-year-old Cuban immigrant, to navigating a new culture while patiently four long years to reunite with the parents he had to leave behind in Cuba, de la Vega embodies the spirit of the American Dream. His personal story shows that while life is full of obstacles, inside every obstacle there is opportunity if you are willing to work hard, get an education, and make sacrifices. De la Vega has inspired and opened doors for many people, among them Mexican-Americans, making him the perfect recipient for this prestigious award.”
As an example of that, de la Vega worked tirelessly with youth organizations to help students, particularly Hispanic youth, find their path to success. He helped create the Hispanic Initiative of Junior Achievement of Georgia and eventually helped expand those learning opportunities across the country and the world as Chairman of Junior Achievement Worldwide, where he continues to serve as a board member. Similarly, he helped The Boy Scouts of America reach out to all diverse communities as its former Chairman of All Markets Initiatives.
Most notably, in this business career de la Vega led AT&T’s and the former Cingular Wireless’ efforts to connect with the US Hispanic community. Under his leadership, Cingular became the first wireless company to launch an initiative to serve the US Hispanic population in ways that met their specific needs. That included bilingual stores in areas of high Hispanic population where customers could do business as easily in Spanish as in English. De la Vega’s responsibilities over the years also included Latin America and, more specifically in the past few years, Mexico.
USHCC Chairman Don Salazar said, “I see in Ralph de la Vega an example of entrepreneurial success built literally from scratch. Arriving as a child without his parents, with no money, and not knowing the language or the culture, to becoming the CEO of AT&T Mobility, of one of the most successful communication companies in the world, and on to becoming the Vice Chairman of AT&T Inc., in charge of business operations in more than 200 countries worldwide. His story is inspiring for young entrepreneurs and business owners who dream big, just as he did. USHCC is honored to host and be present for this deserving recognition only granted to few individuals by the Government of Mexico. Congratulations Ralph!”
“I feel very honored to be recognized by the government of Mexico and the USHCC with the Ohtli Award,” said de La Vega. “My grandmother once told me to never allow others to put limitations on what I can achieve. It was the best advice I ever received. As a Cuban immigrant, I am honored to accept this award. I hope it will encourage others, especially young Hispanics, reach for their version of the American Dream. In so doing, they will make a valuable contribution to this great country of ours. I want to thank the USHCC for its continuous support and for representing the many of us, American small business owners and immigrant entrepreneurs; and the Government of Mexico for this prestigious recognition.”
De la Vega the author of the bestselling book Obstacles Welcome: Turn Adversity to Advantage in Business and Life, where he shares is personal story from adversity to success and shares the lessons he learned along the way.
De la Vega’s accomplishments have received broad recognition. In 2016 he became the first Hispanic in history to have been inducted into the U.S. Wireless Association’s Hall of Fame. Most recently, he was awarded the 2017 Maestro Award for Professional Achievement from Latino Leaders Magazine. Amongst his other notable recognitions are Emory University’s Global Innovation Award, Miami Dade College’s Outstanding Alumni Award and being inducted into the Halls of Fame of Miami Dade College, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and Great Minds in STEM. De la Vega was featured in HBO’s The Latino List Part 2 where he shared his story along other Hispanic leaders.
To learn more about the USHCC National Convention, visit ushcc.com/convention.
About the USHCC
The USHCC actively promotes the economic growth, development and interests of more than 4.2 million Hispanic-owned businesses, that combined, contribute over $668 billion to the American economy every year. It also advocates on behalf of 260 major American corporations and serves as the umbrella organization for more than 200 local chambers and business associations nationwide. For more information, visit ushcc.com. Follow us on Twitter @USHCC.