A Proven Latina Leader, Entrepreneur and HR Executive

Meet Rita Barreto Craig, the 2020 Hispanic Woman of Distinction, Pioneer,  CSP, President, Top Tier Leadership

“Hispanic women have an opportunity to integrate the traditional gender roles (i.e. mother, caregiver, housekeeper), while rising to the opportunities afforded to them in education and careers in today’s American society.”

“Hispanic women emulate determination, passion for country and family. Their focus is on creating a better future.”

As the President of Top Tier Leadership, Rita Baretto Craig has enjoyed an impressive career as a human resources consultant, coach and speaker, and she is this year’s Hispanic Women of Distinction’s Latina Pioneer.

Rita CraigPrior to founding her own company, Rita was Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) first female Human Resources Manager (HR), their first female Senior Affairs Advisor and their Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) officer. As FPL’s first Diversity Director, Rita’s leadership led FPL to win top honors in the U.S. for companies with more than 10,000 employees within three years.

Twenty years ago, Rita chose to take her management skills to the next level by forming Top Tier Leadership company.  In addition to FPL, her Fortune 500 clients include Microsoft, Pratt & Whitney and Office Depot to name a few. Her client base is diverse and also includes associations and not-for-profit organizations.

Rita has international clients in China, Singapore, Mexico, Canada and Brazil. She is focused on building winning cultures, delivering results and maximizing performance. He award-winning work includes leadership development, diversity and inclusion along with strategic planning. The “South Florida Business Journal” lists her as one of Florida’s top HR professionals.

In 2016, Rita earned the highly coveted Certified Speaker Professional (CSP) designation from the National Speakers Association. Her skill creating completely customized programs, doing keynote addresses, leading workshops, and providing coaching led to her giving a TEDx talk on the power of traditions in building employee engagement. Her programs always garner top ratings and provides clients with measurable, successful results.

Rita’s reputation as a proven leader committed to equality led to Florida’s Governor Jeb Bush appointing her to serve a four-year term on the Florida Commission on Human Resources. The commission’s goals were to promote the fair treatment of and equal access to all Florida citizens in housing, employment, public accommodations and private club memberships. Within the first year of her appointment, Rita’s other commission members voted her as their Chair. Due to her successful leadership, Rita was chosen to service a second term that ended in 2007. Later, CFO Jeff Atwater appointed her as one of 22 women on Florida’s Commission on the Status of Women. In 2019, her position was extended for another four years by CFO Jimmy Patronis. She currently serves as Chair.

A delighted resident of Palm Beach Gardens, Rita will begin serving this Fall Chair of Discover the Palm Beaches for the County’s Convention and Visitors Bureau. She is also a member of the Leadership Palm Beach County Songwriter’s in the Round committee which raises scholarship money for youth.

Rita received the 2018 Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for HR Excellence by the “South Florida Business & Wealth” magazine and the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award for Speaking Excellence named for famed international speaker and author Joachim de Posada.

Born in the U.S. and of Cuban heritage, Rita earned her MBA from Nova University and, as part of her continuing education, she has attended classes in Human Resources at Columbia University.

Rita is the proud mother to Addison and loves to get together with her large, extended family. She is also an adventurous traveler and a not-quite-skilled golfer.

The 19th annual Hispanic Women of Distinction Charity luncheon to be held on August 28th at Signature Grand in Davie, Florida is anticipating another sell-out of up to 1000 guests paying tribute to Latina professionals who are strengthening the social fabric of this country and making inroads in the leadership pipeline for a growingly diverse America.

The annual cultural event has now grown to be the largest celebration of Latinas in Florida representing a cross-section of disciplines that are changing the face of American culture.  With over 70 nominations this year, 12 Latinas and a Latina Pioneer have been selected to join the more than 200 past honorees.

What the women have in common and is a major part of the judging process, is their American entrepreneurship intertwined with their values and traditions. The accomplishments of these Latinas stand on their own and are even more significant given the traditional roadblocks that exist for women, especially Latinas.

Presented by Latina Style Magazine, in partnership with Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Latin Biz Today, this popular high-powered exciting event includes a complimentary “mojito” and silent auction, hors d’hoerves, entertainment, and an interactive business expo on Facebook Live.

The event benefits FLITE Center, the one and only one-stop in Broward County for youth transitioning from foster care and other transitioning youth who are facing severe risks and challenges with no family support.  FLITE Center works alongside our county’s foster care placement agency, ChildNet, as well as the Judges and Magistrates who oversee their care plans.  They serve over 1500 youth per year and serve as the gap filler in the community for youth and agencies lacking the resources to help them reach full self-sufficiency.

The 2020 Honorees to:  be honored from Broward, Dade and Palm Beach County are:

JENNIFER DILIZ – CEO, Founder, Midnite Communications – (Miami)

JANIE FLORES – President, Buena Vida Media – (Hialeah)

ISABEL M. GONZALEZ – Chief of Staff & Vice President of Communications & Community Relations at Broward College – (Fort Lauderdale) 

RUTH CECILIA MOGUILLANSKY – Principal Planner, Palm Beach County Office of Community Revitalization – (Palm Beach Gardens ) 

JENNIFER OLMEDO-RODRIGUEZ – Shareholder, Head of Miami Office of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney – (N. Miami Beach)

JENNIFER M. RAYMOND – Executive Director, Family Promise of South Palm Beach County – (Boynton Beach )

MARY MUNIZ-PELLICER – Director, Human Resources, YWCA of Greater Miami-Dade, Inc  (N. Miami Beach )

MONICA RIBEIRO – Vice President, Business Relationship Manager – BankUnited – (Pompano Beach)

LUZ STELLA RIOS, Phd – Managing Director, National Life Group – (Pembroke Pines) 

ESTELAMARI RODRIGUEZ, M.D. – Assoc. Director Community Outreach Thoracic Oncology, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center – (City of Miami )

ALESSANDRA STIVELMAN –Shareholder –  Eisinger, Brown, Lewis, Frankel & Chaiet, P.A.  (Hollywood)

ISIS ZAMBRANA – V.P./ Chief Quality Officer, Jackson Health System – (Weston) 

2020 Latina Pioneer of the Year:  RITA B CRAIG – President, Top Tier Leadership  

Rita formed her company more than 20 years ago helping leaders and organizations build winning cultures, deliver results and maximize performance around the world.  An award winning certified speaker and coach she has recently been appointed as one of the 21 women on the Florida Commission on the Status of Women. Rita is a resident of Palm Beach Gardens.

For more information, visit www.hispanicwomenofdistinction.com or email: [email protected].   Tickets are $95 per person.  Sponsorships begin at $1500. All major credit cards accepted.  Follow us on Facebook

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Phyllis Cambria
Phyllis Cambria
Phyllis Cambria is a freelance writer based in South Florida with an international roster of clients. As a retired, award-winning event planner, she co-authored several party planning books and has written or been the subject of articles for numerous local and national print and online publications. Phyllis writes online and print content on a wide-array of subjects including entertaining, show business, etiquette, weddings, restaurant reviews, travel, relationships and marketing materials.