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Recently, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) honored two individuals who have distinguished themselves through their work and advocacy for Hispanics in America. Brad Blackwell, executive vice president at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and former Wall Street executive, will be recognized with NAHREP’s Ernest J. Reyes Award.  In addition, author Julissa Arce will be recognized with NAHREP’s Vanguard Award.

The ceremony for these awards will take place during the NAHREP National Convention being held from September 18-20 at the JW Marriott-LA Live.  Over 3,000 real estate practitioners, Latino entrepreneurs and top housing executives are now in attendance at the convention.

“The success our community is experiencing does not come at the hand of a single individual or organization but rather through a collective effort of many,” says Joseph Nery, President of NAHREP. “Our organization is proud to recognize two individuals whose efforts have positively impacted the image and prosperity of Hispanic-Americans.”

The annual Ernest J. Reyes Award recognizes individuals from both the public and private sectors who have made exceptional contributions towards NAHREP’s mission to advance sustainable Hispanic homeownership and who have improved the quality of life for Latinos in America. Past recipients of the Ernest J. Reyes Award include Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Congressman Xavier Becerra and the Honorable David Stevens.

Brad Blackwell, executive vice president, Portfolio Business Manager at Wells Fargo, has dedicated a large portion of his time at Wells Fargo to increasing minority, low to moderate-income, and first-time homebuyer mortgage lending. He works with key stakeholders to enhance homeownership opportunities across the full consumer spectrum and has continuously been a champion for positive change in the mortgage industry—earning him the Ernest J. Reyes Award.

Our second award, the Latino Vanguard Award, has been presented to recognize public figures, authors and artists who have transcended barriers in their lives and careers and whose contributions have elevated the image and quality of life for Latinos in America. Past recipients of the Latino Vanguard Award include the Honorable Henry Cisneros, Lieutenant Colonel Consuelo Kickbusch and renowned playwright Luis Valdez.

The recipient of the 2016 Vanguard Award, Julissa Arce is an emerging leader in the fight for immigrant rights and education equality.  She is the chairman and co-founder of the Ascend Educational Fund, a college scholarship and mentorship program for immigrants. Arce made national headlines when she revealed that she had achieved the American Dream of wealth and status at Goldman Sachs all while undocumented. In the heady days of the most astronomical stock-market rise in Wall Street history, she climbed the corporate ladder—a rare Hispanic woman in a sea of suits and ties.

Arce was officially sworn in as an American citizen in August of 2014 and will vote in a presidential election for the first time in 2016. She will use her inspirational story to change the conversation around immigration in her recently published book, My (Underground) American Dream. Arce seeks to challenge the perceptions of what it means to be undocumented and to reshape national dialogue around immigration.

For more information, visit www.nahrep.org.

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