Sol Trujillo National Lifetime Leadership Award
The Honorable Julián Castro
The Honorable Julián Castro, the 16th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), oversees 8,000 employees and a budget of $46 billion, using a performance-driven approach to achieve the Department's mission of expanding opportunity for all Americans. Under Castro's leadership, the Federal Housing Administration lowered mortgage insurance premiums to make homeownership more affordable for responsible families. HUD also released its new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule to fulfill the full promise of the Fair Housing Act - helping families' access strong neighborhoods with housing choice vouchers and empowering local leaders with new tools to invest in their communities. In July of 2015, President Obama helped launch one of Castro's signature projects, ConnectHome, which accelerates Internet adoption in 28 communities, providing broadband and electronic devices to children living in public and assisted housing. Prior to serving at HUD, Castro served as Mayor of the City of San Antonio. During his tenure, he became known as a national leader in urban development. In March 2010, Castro was named to the World Economic Forum's list of Young Global Leaders. Later that year, Time magazine placed him on its "40 under 40" list of rising stars in American politics. Previously, Castro served as a member of the San Antonio City Council. He is also an attorney and worked at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld before starting his own practice. Secretary Castro received a B.A. from Stanford University in 1996, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2000.
Felipe Esparza is a comedian and actor, best known for his raw, real-life comedy that audiences everywhere can relate to. Recognized for his wild hair and his often-imitated phrase, “what’s up, fool?”, people are surprised to find out that Felipe is also the same person referred to and imitated in infamous stories by fellow comedian, Gabriel Iglesias. Felipe won NBC’s Last Comic Standing in 2010, and soon after, starred in and produced his first 1 hour Showtime special, and is now touring comedy clubs and theaters across the world and working on a new 1 hour special. He also launched a popular new podcast April 1, 2014, entitled, “What’s Up Fool?”, on the All Things Comedy podcast network. In addition to winning the top prize on Last Comic Standing, Felipe has appeared on numerous television shows, including “The Eric Andre Show”, “Arsenio Hall”, “The Tonight Show”, “Lopez Tonight”, TruTV’s “World’s Dumbest”, Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend” and “Russell Simmons Presents Stand-Up at the El Rey”, “Comics Unleashed”, Showtime’s “Comics Without Borders”, BET’s “Comic View”, and Galavisión’s “Que Locos” (where he had more appearances than any other comedian). In 2009, he appeared in his first two feature-length films, “The Deported”, with Nick Turturro, Talia Shire, and Paul Rodriguez and “I’m Not Like That No More”, a film based on his stand-up comedy where he stars as Paul Rodriguez’ son. Click here to learn more about Felipe.
Music for the evening will be provided by The Ricardo Peña Band, a variety band composed of some of the finest musicians in the state. The band is well known for their impressive musicianship and versatility. Their sound is always authentic to the style, their dancing beats impossible to resist, and their vocals and harmonies hard to beat. The standard band line up is a 5 piece band composed of drums, bass/vocal, guitar/vocal, piano/vocal and vocalist/percussionist. They also perform as larger ensembles that include Latin percussion and a horn section. Click here to learn more about the Band.
Belen De Leon joined 9NEWS in February 2012 as the weekend forecaster. She's been nominated as one of America's Favorite Weather Forecasters through Weatherist.com and has reported for The Weather Channel during winter weather and wildfire coverage. Beyond forecasting, Belen donates her time to visit local schools and teach children about weather. She is very proud of her Mexican culture and has become a big collaborator of the Hispanic Heritage Month Series.