Jacqueline R. Menendez and Nilda (Nena) Peragallo Montano
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 14, 2014)—Coinciding with Women’s History Month, two of the University of Miami’s most accomplished women—Nilda (Nena) Peragallo Montano, dean of the School of Nursing and Health Studies, and Jacqueline R. Menendez, vice president of University Communications—were honored last week with Miami-Dade County’s prestigious “In the Company of Women” awards, bestowed on women who exemplify professional development, community responsibility, leadership and vision in their respective fields.
An internationally recognized nurse scientist, Peragallo Montano received the award for health and human services for her expertise in and devotion to improving the health status of minorities and other medically underserved populations.
A noted educator, clinician, author, and mentor who joined the University in 2003, she has collaborated with the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, and academic community nursing and mental health agencies, authoring or co-authoring nearly 50 government reports on critical women’s health issues, including HIV/AIDS, women’s cancers, domestic violence and specific health issues relating to Latina women. Under her leadership, the School of Nursing and Health Studies has joined with 100 community partners to provide mentoring opportunities in healthcare and clinical settings across South Florida.
Recently tapped for induction into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame of the Sigma Theta Tau International nursing honor society, Peragallo Montano also is on HispanicBusiness magazine’s list of the nation’s 100 Most Influential Leaders.
But as impressive as Peragallo Montano’s accomplishments are, she was inspired by her fellow honorees at the In the Company of Women Awards Ceremony held March 13 at the Coral Gables Country Club.
“I am honored to join such an accomplished group of our community’s leaders in so many fields,” Peragallo Montano said. “And to have my colleague Jackie Menendez here makes it all the more special, and will hopefully serve as an inspiration to the next generation of female leaders!”
Indeed, Menendez, who received the award for Communications and Literature, has stepped into and excelled in areas traditionally dominated by men—from television news reporter to senior administrator in municipal and county government to the head of communications and marketing for a leading research university.
“Sometimes the opportunities least expected are the most rewarding,” Menendez said of the many detours she has taken. “It’s not just about testing my limits, it’s about appreciating the path my career has taken.”
Never one to “shy away from challenges” and always ready to “roll up her sleeves to get the job done,” as her award nomination letter reads, Menendez joined UM in 2007, charged with promoting the institution to internal and external audiences, including students and their families, faculty and staff, alumni, patients, Hurricane athletic fans, and the community—all while working closely with University President Donna E. Shalala, the former U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services.
Menendez oversees all communications efforts for the school’s $1.6 billion Momentum2 campaign, and she spearheaded the successful rebranding initiative that adopted the universally recognized “U” athletics logo across the University’s educational, research, and healthcare platforms. Most recently, in addition to the university’s central communications and marketing efforts, she assumed direct responsibility for communications and marketing for the Miller School of Medicine and UHealth system.
Even while taking on such daunting tasks, Menendez has maintained her hallmark style of being “inclusive and transparent.”
Among the other ten Miami-Dade women honored with In the Company of Women awards this year was UM alumna Angela Smith, director of community outreach for the Miami Marlins, who received the award for sports and athletics.
Established in 1989, the In the Company of Women awards are hosted by Miami-Dade Parks, The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade and the Miami-Dade Commission for Women.