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Let me start with a riddle: What do comedian George Lopez, Vice President Biden and our very own Al Carey, CEO of PepsiCo Americas Beverages, have in common?

On Thursday, September 13th, they’ll all play a role in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Anniversary Awards Gala, joining 2,500 powerful leaders in Washington, D.C. at the largest and most prestigious gathering of Latinos in the nation, where PepsiCo is proud to be Host Sponsor. Each year, CHCI serves as the unofficial kick-off for Hispanic Heritage Month around the country.

Everyone has the opportunity to watch the Gala via a live webcast (7-11 PM Eastern Time). Tune in to see remarkable Latinos receive CHCI’s highest honors, and at 7:30 PM, hear Al Carey’s speak to why Latinos matter to PepsiCo, and how we’re supporting their empowerment and education.

This year CHCI celebrates a milestone 35 years of fulfilling its mission of bringing the promise of the American Dream to the next generation of Latinos, and PepsiCo has been a staunch supporter since the very beginning.

As a Latino, I’m particularly proud of PepsiCo’s history of commitment to CHCI since its inception, contributing to the organization’s leadership development programs and educational services for Latino youth and young professionals. And, I feel a personal connection to CHCI, as it was 19 years ago at the Gala that by chance I was introduced to PepsiCo and networked with Latino executives, which led to me joining the company over a decade later.

PepsiCo’s support for the CHCI Summer Congressional Internship Program and CHCI’s Graduate Health Policy Fellowship are helping expose young Latinos to the legislative process to strengthen their skills, ultimately promoting the presence of Latinos on Capitol Hill. Over the last 10 years, PepsiCo has played a direct role in helping more than 500 aspiring Latino leaders earn internships that would set them up for successful careers.

The CHCI sponsorship is part of our company’s Hispanic corporate initiative, La Promesa de PepsiCo, which is inspired by our mission of Performance with Purpose, and focused on helping build stronger Latino communities. It is gratifying to work for a company where I can participate with our leadership, our award-winning Latino employee resource group, Adelante, and other associates who are helping Hispanics lead healthier, more prosperous lives.