HHF CEO Receives Prestigious Ohtli Award

Alberto Avalos

Innovation and Technology Program Manager

Hispanic Heritage Foundation President (HHF) and CEO Jose Antonio Tijerino received the prestigious Ohtli Recognition from the Government of Mexico during a Cinco de Mayo celebration at the Mexican Cultural Institute at noon on May 5.  The Ohtli is considered the highest honor bestowed by the Government of Mexico to a leader outside of Mexico and acknowledges and celebrates the commitment, vision and impact of an individual in lifting the Mexican or Latino community.  The Ohtli Award is granted once a year and consists of a medallion, a silver rosette, and a diploma.  The word Ohtli means “path” in Nahuatl (language of the Aztecs), and this is what this distinction signifies: to open the path to progress. The title honors and recalls the continued tradition of Aztec descendants who still bid farewell with the phrase “Cualli ohtli!” (To have a good trail/journey).

“I am profoundly humbled and honored to receive the Ohtli from the Government of Mexico, especially from a true visionary like Ambassador Eduardo Medina-Mora who shares HHF’s focus on developing young, innovative Latino leaders who can have an impact today,” said Tijerino who is of Nicaraguan descent.  “I’ve attended this event and applauded loudly as great leaders and friends I admire have been recognized such as Raul Yzaguirre, Carlos Gutierrez, Juan Andrade, Janet Murguia, Arturo Rodriguez, Henry Cisneros, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Antonia Fernandez, Eddie Olmos, Hilda Solis and others – to be mentioned in their company in any way makes this award even more meaningful.  I’m accepting this recognition on behalf of our board, our amazing staff, our dedicated sponsors and the tens of thousands of young leaders in our network who provide me inspiration, ideas and an indefatigable spirit – a Latino spirit!”

Additionally, Es Tiempo, LLC and Hispanic-Net hosted the 5th Annual Silicon Valley Latino Leadership Summit (SVLLS) at the Stanford Faculty Club at Stanford University and presented Tijerino with the Vision Award for his contributions to the Latino community and innovative approach to youth leadership.  The Honorable, Luis A. Alejo, California State Assembly Member, 30th District, was awarded the Latino Pioneer Leadership Award for his commitment in empowering the residents in California, especially those who are disadvantaged and underrepresented.

“I’m deeply honored to receive the Vision Award from a leader like Frank Carbajal in a region full of American dreams – Silicon Valley,” said Tijerino.  “I’m accepting this award on behalf of the tens of thousands of young leaders in our network who provide me inspiration, ideas and a spirit which embodies what this great country is all about – innovation. Ahora Si! I’m also humbled to share the stage with Luis Alejo who has made an indelible impact on California.”

Finally, Tijerino was honored at the 32nd USHLI National Conference with the Cesar Chavez Community Service Award in Chicago on February 21, 2014.

“Antonio Tijerino, one of the most respected thought-leaders and cutting-edge innovators, was honored for his service to the community and the nation,” said USHLI President Dr. Juan Andrade. “It was our privilege to present him with the Cesar Chavez Award. Cesar Chavez is universally regarded as the most respected and admired Latino leader in the history of the United States, and the award that bears his name is reserved for individuals, like Antonio, who live their life and do their work with the same sense of servant leadership, grace and humility for which Cesar Chavez is remembered.”

The 32nd USHLI National Conference was held February 13-16 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers with Tijerino receiving his award during Corporate and Community Leadership Awards Dinner, Saturday, February 15th. Also honored was Dr. Anita Perez Ferguson (Henry L. Lacayo Lifetime Achievement Award), Margie Gonzalez (William C. Velasquez Volunteer of the Year Award), and the Honorable Elmy Bermejo (Dolores Huerta Woman of Courage Medallion).

“I’m deeply humbled, privileged and energized to receive the Cesar Chavez Community Service Award from USHLI and a true role model in Dr. Juan Andrade,” said Tijerino. “To get a pat on the back from Juan is award enough and to have the award named after Cesar Chavez makes it, well, overwhelming. I receive this on behalf of my amazing HHF staff, Board of Directors, my family, and the tens of thousands of young leaders in our network. I thank them for putting me in the privileged position to serve.”

Tijerino has served as president and CEO of HHF for over 12 years during which the national, nonprofit organization has expanded its mission to inspire, prepare, connect and position Latino leaders in the classroom, community and workforce to meet America’s priorities. HHF has developed an innovative, sustainable programmatic model for Latino leadership in 10 areas of focus or Tracks which HHF believes will strengthen the United States and leads a network of tens of thousands of vetted students and young professionals who he believes are “leaders of today and tomorrow.”