Inside Phoenix Fashion Gala ~AZHCC

Read Time 15 minutes


Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Gala

Phoenix gathered for the longest running gala held at the Arizona Biltmore. The Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (AZHCC) presents the gala. This brings the top business owners, government officials, community, and media together. This year the theme, Fashion Gala, with encouragement to wear color for the black and white event.

This event is put together too,

“honor the achievements of Arizona entrepreneurs, business leaders and individuals who have positively contributed to the state’s social progress and economic prosperity. The AZHCC also presents awards in four other categories: Man of the Year, Corporation of the Year, Woman of the Year, and Legacy Award.”

The honorees for the evening included:

The night was filled with traditional black and white gowns and tuxedos. The color was present in the evening with many stunning gowns and suits. The elegance continued with clutches, accessories, jewelry, and glamorous hair.

V.I.P.’s came to honor the great business owners and influencers in Phoenix Arizona:

The evening is exceptional. There was a:

  • Red carpet reception
  • Fabulous surf and turf dinner
  • Music by Urban Electra
  • Phoenix Fashion Week fashion show
  • Honorees honored
  • Fantastic after party sponsored by Casino Arizona.
  • Channel 12 NBC with Mark Curtis and Caribe Devine, the masters of ceremonies.

Gown for the evening provided by Azteca Bridal in Phoenix AZ.

Red Carpet AZHCC Gala

AZHCC Gala presents a red carpet opportunity for the first time. Their glam seen across the two red carpets just outside the dining room. Attendees gather to have their photo taken.

The men were fashionable and the women glamorous. The evening was great for a conversation on the red carpets. We took a moment to connect with attendees.

Dr. Rufus Glasper, PhD, Legacy Award Honoree

  • “What is the one trait your mother instilled in you?”
    • Dr. Rufus, “Self-determination and independence.”
  • “What is the philosophy by which you live by?”
    • Dr. Rufus, “Inclusiveness, engagement, and respect. These are my pillars. Allows for moving forward, including last others, respect others with open dialogue.”
  • “What is the one word that would describe your journey?”
    • Dr. Rufus, “Intense fun, challenges, politics, joy, and environment.
  • “If you lost everything and only had 500 to start over again what you do?”
    • Dr. Rufus, “Go to a nice coffee shop and relax.”
  • “Where do you believe education is heading with ground campuses, social media, and online?”
    • Dr. Rufus, “Opportunities and access are there like they have not been in the past. Funding for a college education is declining. The price point affordability needs to be an open dialogue. Value the time of an education and you will have something that can never be taken away.”

Mark Curtis, NBC Channel 12 News Anchor 

  • “What is the one trait your mother instilled in you?”
    • Mark, “The value of hard work.  When you work hard good things happen.”
  • “What was the turning point in your career?”
    • Mark, “When I met my wife Abby. Everything fell into place and able to set goals.”
  • “What is one thing if you could change what would that be?
    • Mark, “Kept cancer away from my mother. It is a horrible thing and crazy. Never the same after the diagnosed. One day may we not to have to talk about cancer. I would love to see no more cancer centers being built.”
  • “What is the philosophy by which you live by?”
    • Mark, “Treat each other the way you want to be treated. You will go further defusing the anger and be respecting each other.”

Royna Torrez, Azteca Bridal Owner

  • “What is the one trait your mother instilled in you?”
    • Royna, “Each person is important, not only important but what you’re doing in this world. She would pick up things about people just by being observant. She was a searcher for God. Every day is a new day and open to the people around you.”
  • “What is the one thing you do each day to make it successful.”
    • Royna, “make a list of things to get done as well as a tuning myself. Calm me to focus on each bride as an individual. Each wedding is something new and exciting. Make sure that the excitement is there. I look as though I am at Disneyland and want to make sure each person gets to see Mickey Mouse.”
  • “What is the one word you would use to describe your journey?”
    • Royna, “Searching, every day tries to figure out what is going to improve. What will improve our families, changes, business, and new ideas?. Then adjusting to the changes around us. Finding the right person to do what needs to be done.”

Emily Ramirez, Miss Latina Teen Arizona

  • “What is the one item in life that you have found valuable?”
    • Emily, “Public speaking. The ability to project and have your message heard.”
  • “What was the first thought you had when they placed that crown on you?”
    • Emily, “Oh my gosh did they make a mistake. Are you sure you crowned the right person.”

Marcelino Quiñónez, Arizona School for the Arts

  • “What is the one trait your mother instilled in you?”
    • “Appreciate everything I have and constantly do better. She is a real treasure and gift in my life. She is a blessing to have around.”
  • “What was the one point in your life journey you felt you had turned the corner?”
    • “I am still working to get there.”
  • “What is the one word you would use to describe your life journey?”
    • “Magical. It is wonderful and magical working in the arts.”

Chris Camacho, Greater Phoenix Economic Council President & CEO  

Maria Camacho, Speech Therapist

  • “What is the one trait your mother instilled in you?”
    • Chris “drive. My mother always taught me to move forward and this has assisted with making life successful. I think this has made both of us successful. I have always been a driven individual.”
    • Maria “hard work. My mom was always work in school and life.”
  • “What do you project for Phoenix economics?”
    • “Very welcoming to those that are new, because many of us are from somewhere else. People are still moving here. this is one of the greatest places to be new. Building a future economy and community.”
    • “This is an incredible market and will continue to grow.”
  • “When was the moment you felt you had turned the corner in your journey?”
    • Chris, “Opportunities when I was younger and when other recognized what I brought to the table.”
    • Maria, “I am not sure that I am there at this time.”

Curtis, Chase Bank, Corporation of the Year

  • “What is the one trait your mother instilled in you?”
    • Curtis, “Being a good person, not taking no for an answer, and to treat others fairly. Always strive, strive to do the right thing.”
  • “What is the one thought you had when you felt that you had that made it moment?”
    • Curtis, “Moving here from Chicago a few years ago. This provided great opportunities for me and my family.”
  • “What was the biggest adjustment you had to make when you moved here?”
    • Curtis, “Getting to know the employees, business, and the new community where I live.”
  • “What is the one word you would use to describe your journey?”
    • Curtis, “Active, having 3 young children it is always active.”

Percy Knox Jr., Elevee Designer

  • “What is the one trait your mother instilled in you?”
    • Percy, “Her work ethic. Helped me when I got into the fashion business.”
  • “If you lost everything and had to start completely over with $500 what would be the first thing you would do?’
    • Percy, “Develop partnerships and relationships with collaboration. Determine who was the influence and powerhouse. Take the money to get a meeting with them and get the fund to start again from them.”
  • “What is the one thing you do every day that makes it successful.”
    • Percy, “Everyday is a new start from scratch. I have to start a new grind.”

Dr. Rebeccah R.Rodriguez, Physician, #LatinaStrong 

  • “What is the one trait your mother instilled in you?”
    • Dr. Rodriquez, “She always lets me know that we are truly blessed. Shot for the stars and strive to be successful.”
  • “What is the one thing you do each day to make it successful?”
    • Dr. Rodriguez, “Greeting my wonderful husband with a kiss and a hug. Then I love my dogs.”
  • “What is the philosophy by which you live by?”
    • Dr. Rodriquez, “My dad always said this one quote, ‘If you dream it you can become it if you can imagine it you can achieve it.'”
  • Watch for Dr. Rodriguez at the summer Olympic games. She will be overseeing 11 different teams at the high-Performance Center with Team U.S.A.

Mónica Villalobos, Vice President AZHCC

  • “What is the one trait your mother instilled in you?”
    • Monica, “never take no for an answer. This is the best advice I have received. It really made all the difference in my life. She provided the determination and focus with the small businesses she ran.”
  • “What is the one thing you do each day to make it successful?”
    • Monica, “hugging my children each and every day.
  • “What is the one word would you use to describe your journey?”
    • Monica, “Dynamics. The opportunities that require quick decisions, dynamics. The dynamics of doors opening and not spreading myself too thin. Incredible experiences and willingness to jump in with both feet. Embrace those hard moments. My father use to say that in my former life I was a juggler.”

Natasha Duran-Lynch, Fashion Designer 

  • “What is the one trait your mother instilled in you?”
    • Natasha, “Always work harder and be a better me. My mother had a big heart and always believed giving to other was an important value in life.”
  • “What is the on one thing you do each day to make it successful?”
    • Natasha, “I review my films and fashion from the last year. This allows me the opportunity to remember the hard work pays off. The days when it is difficult to stay focused it gives me a push and drive to keep going.”
  • “What is the one word would you use to describe your journey?”
    • Natasha, “Fighter, fight for retaining my identity, going forward, and trust those in my life.”

AZHCC Gala’s red carpet provided insight to the Phoenix business world. It brought great fashion and glam to the desert. Thank you to each person who took the time to share his/her stories. It was a great reception for a spectacular evening.

Phoenix Fashion Week

Brought together exceptional designer from the area. They each represented exceptional design, styling, and a great show during dinner. The fashion show’s master of ceremonies was Brian Hill, Phoenix Fashion Week’s executive director, and Glency Feliz. The designers presenting at the AZHCC Gala are:

Elevee Lifestyle  is a true luxury brand. They provide top quality fabrics, expedient turn around on tailoring, hand tailored wardrobes, and designing. They provide for high profile executives, professional athlete, and celebrities. The fabrics will leave you feeling the luxury with the fabrics from England and Italy fabric mills.

Blush Boutique AZ is a unique location here in the valley. It provides a full-service boutique. The services include clothing, styling, hair care, and some spa services. The runway was filled with fun styling and design.

Silvia Bours presents a unique collection of art to the runway during dinner. The collection is beautiful for an evening event, gala, wedding, and red carpet. The more glamorous the event this is the perfect design collection.

Hues Of Ego, designed by Natasha Duran-Lynch, creates wearable art. She has a background in architecture. This training and insight bring a garment that understands a woman’s line and curves. Creating these garments provide a styling that brings individual personality, compliments, and leaves a lasting impression. Natasha’s line was awarded Phoenix Fashion Week’s Designer of the Year.

Natasha Duran-Lynch a designer she has a classic with a modern touch. She has participated in Phoenix Fashion Weeks Emerging Designer programs. Last year she was awarded 2015 Designer of the Year. Her life has been filled with designing. She has taken everything she has learned from architecture and fashion to create exceptional lines and designs for a woman. The fashion is always inspired by the story. Many of these stories are extremely deep and intentional. The white belts in one of her collection represent restrictions, juxtaposition, and the beauty of restrictions.

Talina Talburt Model of the Year 2015 Phoenix Fashion Week. Found the opportunity with Phoenix Fashion Week provides her the chance to focus more on her dream of working in journalism. Phoenix Fashion Week has provided her with a fantastic opportunity to learn and understand the full aspects of modeling and fashion.

Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Vice President Monica Villalobos

AZHCC is an organization established in 1948 and was incorporated in 1976. This organization provides:

  • Economic development
  • Market intelligence
  • Thought leadership
  • Professional development
  • Advocacy
  • Education

This is provided through representation, serving, providing innovation, and valuing members, employees, and volunteers. They provide the services for small businesses in Arizona.

Mónica Villalobos, AZHCC Vice President, stated, “it is important for the staff to own their own business. This provides us with the experience and understanding of what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

Monica’s business is Research By Design. Owning her own business she has learned to take her ability to juggle and make a successful business. Her strength comes from the statement she learned at a Girl Scout seminar where it was stated, “We have come a long way baby, but have a long way to go.” This came to true as she attended UCLA and worked in the corporate world. Learning to bring her strengths forward and learn how to go a long way.

Monica brings to the organization great insight about being authentic, passionate, and true to you. She takes the adage she learned from her mother, “never take no for an answer.” This has allowed her to develop the art of negotiating in the business world. The art of leveraging is one thing that is of great value as a business owner according to Monica.

As a business owner you must remember to always take the opportunity. When there is an opportunity you need to step up and put yourself out there. Your wiliness to jump into the opportunities provides the experience that may bring you growth and development.

Monica brings years of experience, intelligence, and insight to the AZHCC. This provides members the insight of business ownership through of the chamber’s educational programs. Monica Villalobos is a business owner bringing a connection for all entrepreneurs in Arizona.

Azteca Bridal

Azteca Bridal, the valley’s premier bridal shop, dressed many for the evening at Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Gala. This locally owned business established in 1956 is an example of Arizona entrepreneurs. They have dressed families for generations and all occasions.

The decision when Kay and Adolfo Torrez started thinking about a business was done we marry or bury folks. The simple couple decided to marry folks. This decision benefits the Phoenix community with glamor and beauty. The bridal shop started with 5 dresses in the back of a furniture store. They have been in business for 60 years. They are located in the heart of downtown Phoenix at 1010 East Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85034.

The wedding superstore has withstood many changes but remained a strong force in the high fashion for those in the community. The store has undergone redesigns, news stories giving misinformation, the light rail development, and changes with Internet shopping. Royna Torrez, 2nd generation Azteca Bridal owner, directs the business forward with all the changes surrounding a business.

This business provides services for life’s most glamorous events:

  • Red Carpet attire including tuxedos
  • Quinceañeras
  • First communions
  • Children’s attire
  • Sweet 16
  • Proms
  • Bridal party dresses
  • Groom’s men
  • Wedding dresses

They cover a family for a lifetime of memorable events and parties. The key to their success is that they constantly bringing in the latest designers and styles. Their ability to stay connected to the trends, fashion and the local styling brings the best fashion and style in the Phoenix area.

This shop over the years has provided elegance, alterations, and clothing care. They have worked with many local and international celebrities to ensure they present their best at any event.

Royna Torrez Azteca Bridal Owner

This is a local family owned business. Royna’s parents started the business and passed it down to their children, Royna, Gregory and Raoul. Her and her brothers now manage the day-to-day operations. She oversees all buying, bridal division, children’s attire, and sales staff.

Royna attended and graduated from Arizona State University. Her education provides insight to meeting each customer’s needs and an understanding for their personal stories. Her heart is big and she is in tune with the business especially as changes occur. She said, “That each bride comes with more than just a need for a dress, but a story. Each wedding dress, even if the same dress is, is different on each bride. I try to figure out each bride’s story.”

Azteca Bridal is a local business that has dressed families for generations from childhood to any glamours event. The walls are filled with pictures of brides and grooms as they celebrate their milestone anniversaries.  This business will be here for generations.

Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce supports local business and entrepreneurs. The longest running Phoenix gala provides an evening of connection, communication, and glamour. Continuing,

“serving our members needs by empowering them to succeed and prosper in the state,              national and global business community.
Providing innovative leadership and establish long lasting relationships in the business            community, while remaining fully accountable and committed to the interests of our                members.”

Friends’ reunited, new connections made, and a wonderful time was had by all. The evening was leadership, empowerment, and success in the Phoenix business community.





Thank you to the following:

Phoenix Fashion Week

Azteca Bridal ~ Royna Torrez

Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce ~ Monia Villalobos

Raymond L. Forchion Photographer


Azteca Bridal Shop


Phoenix Fashion Week Runway



Red Carpet AZHCC Gala



Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Gala



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