On the Town: Glendale Latino Assn. serves up awards during installation luncheon

Glendale Latino Assn. honorees are, from right, Karen Swan and Frank Quintero. Accompanying are Quintero’s son Frank Quintero IV and granddaughter Sunny, 2 years old.
(Ruth Sowby Rands)

Since its founding in 1990, the Glendale Latino Assn. — formerly the Glendale Hispanic Business and Professional Organization, also known as GLA — has provided $220,000 in college scholarships.

Each networking mixer, each luncheon, each breakfast as well as each awards luncheon and board installation offer an opportunity for members and their guests to add to scholarship coffers.

Last Thursday, this year’s awards luncheon and board installation further promoted the association’s education mission.

The Oakmont Country Club set the stage for honoring retired educator Karen Swan, Glendale City Councilman and former Mayor Frank Quintero, and the Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Department.


Almost 200 association supporters were in attendance.

Mistress of ceremonies Palmira Perez Najarian kicked off the luncheon with humor as she introduced her husband and current Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian.

“Don’t be shy,” she admonished.

Najarian, who has never been known to be shy, reminded the audience that he had only a few more weeks as mayor because the upcoming March 3 election will be followed by a reshuffle of City Council members.


Greetings were also given by Albert Hernandez, the association’s president, the flag salute was given by Police Chief Carl Povilaitis, and the invocation led by Rev. Al Garcilazo, chaplain at Adventist Health Glendale.

More city heavy-hitters attending included new Fire Chief Silvio Lanzas, City Manager Yasmin Beers, the rest of the council members, and L.A. Superior Court Judge Gus Gomez, who was there to install the association’s 2020 officers.

The gavel has been passed from Albert Hernandez, Glendale Latino Assn.'s immediate past president, to Jennie Quinonez-Skinner, the organization’s new president. They hold multiple certificates of recognition.
(Ruth Sowby Rands)

Education VIPs included David Viar, superintendent/president of Glendale Community College, and his wife, Jane, a city powerhouse in her own right; Greg Krikorian, past president and current member of the Glendale Unified school board; and Susan Hunt, retired executive director of the Glendale Educational Foundation, who was also the luncheon speaker.

Hunt spoke of her years with the foundation and the association’s advisory board. She told her audience that she hardly ever misses a mixer.

“GLA mixers are the best in town,” she said.

After Hunt’s remarks came the presentation by Mercy Velazquez of the current advisory board. Those present, besides Hunt, were Anita Quinonez Gabrielian, Quintero, Gomez, Paula Devine, Elissa Glickman, Martha Rivera and Viar.

The ever-enthusiastic Velazquez is also a member of the advisory board, a past president and association member for over 20 years.


The heart of the luncheon was the 2020 awards presentation. Irene Bourdon, 2019 Woman of the Year, introduced Swan as the 2020 Woman of the Year.

After a 35-year career as an elementary teacher in the Glendale Unified School District, Swan is an active community advocate for children and their educational needs.

Swan and her husband, Mike, who was present at the luncheon, recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. The two were still receiving congratulations for that milestone.

Viar, 2019 Man of the Year, presented Quintero as the 2020 Man of the Year, the association’s co-founder and past president.

It turns out that both Quintero and his presenter, Viar, are both Vietnam veterans.

Quintero said he puts family first, as does his 2-year-old granddaughter, Sunny Quintero.

“She gave up her nap to be here,” said her proud grandfather.

The Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Department was honored as the 2020 Organization of the Year. The presentation was made by Miriam Lewis from the Age of Learning, the 2019 Business of the Year. Accepting was Gary Shaffer, the library system’s director.


The luncheon concluded with the passing of the gavel from current association president, Hernandez, to new president Jennie Quinonez-Skinner.

The next Glendale Latino Assn. mixer will be held at Glendale’s Hyatt Place on March 25.

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