Martha Diaz Aszkenazy

President Pueblo Contracting Services Inc.

Age: 41

Background: Born in Sun Valley, parents immigrants from Mexico Attended San Fernando High School Received bachelor's degree from Loyola Marymount University In 1984, after brief stint in corporate sales, started Pueblo Contracting Services with husband, Severyn Askenazy.

Accomplishments: Pueblo Contracting has restored some of L.A.'s most renowned historic landmarks, starting with Angel's Flight in downtown L.A . Company has renovated Bullocks Wilshire (now the library for Southwestern University School of Law), El Capitan Theater in Hollywood, Los Altos Apartments on Wilshire Boulevard, and is currently working on the Bryce Building in Westlake Park Ranked by Hispanic Business magazine in 1995 as one of the nation's most influential Latino-owned businesses "When I started out, everybody assumed I was a decorator, and when I said I was the contractor, they'd always ask to see my license," she said.

Buzz: Works at least 10 hours a week for community organizations President of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE), which helps young Latinas find out about their potential in business and government "We try to break down the traditional stereotypes of what Latinas are supposed to do," she said. "One of the most common questions I still get asked by these young girls is 'What does your husband think about what you're doing?'"

Rebecca V. Barrantes

Founder, The Sierra Group

Age: 44

Background: Raised in a middle-class family in Santa Fe Springs and Montebello Father was a machinist, mother worked in a potato-chip factory Spent a high school summer in Japan Graduated from Cal State Long Beach in 1979 Got a taste for civic duty as a case worker for city of Montebello Completed master's degree in public administration in 1983 with the goal of being the first Latina city manager Worked for city of L.A. for five years as budget and legislative analyst under Mayor Tom Bradley Joined Southern California Rapid Transit District in 1988 Left when the agency merged with the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission in 1993 Launched the Sierra Group later that year to provide P.R. consulting for business and community development.

Accomplishments: While at the city, oversaw a $30 million-plus budget as the city's half-cent sales tax went into effect Lobbied for funding to build L.A.'s troubled subway system Involved in the merger of the two transit agencies Right out of the gate, the Sierra Group nabbed a $250,000 contract from Caltrans to conduct public relations work and outreach following the January 1994 Northridge earthquake Sierra consults on two of the largest public works project in the United States, the Alameda Corridor and Alameda Corridor East Private-sector clients include McDonald's Corp. and AT & T.;


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