2020 represents the 30th anniversary of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC). I feel very proud of the role we play in defending the interests of our community and in developing new businesses in Illinois.
In this new year, I also enthusiastically celebrate my first anniversary as President and CEO of this leading organization. It has been 365 days (more than half a million minutes), with the purpose to work hard so that Hispanics play a role within the economic development of this important U.S. region.
In this year, I can say:
·We doubled the number of IHCC members, strengthening ourselves as an institution, positioning ourselves to the public as an organization that represents the huge economic power of Hispanics in Illinois.
We secured the funds to construct a new building, which will serve to expand our operations and programs in favor of Illinois small businesses.
We enhanced the Chamber’s credibility as a non-profit organization, which receives Federal, State, and local government recognition and funding for training and consulting programs. Everyone values our efforts to drive Hispanic business inclusion in contracts with different government levels.
I am proud to have promoted, from the Chamber, the first Roundtable of Women CEOs, bringing together powerful Hispanics to connect, collaborate and create a lot of new opportunities. Women are starting businesses faster than any demographic group and the IHCC showed that it listens to them and helps them to unite and grow. This shows our interest in opening doors that lead to more opportunities.
We began to boost new ways to communicate in the digital age, planning the revamping of our website and our social media accounts to strengthen our ties with the business community. We have signed a deal with Kreativa Inc, a firm run by Hispanics in Chicago, so they counsel IHCC to develop its new digital strategy.
We have launched new plans to take all our assistance and training programs to other regions of the state of Illinois, where we also collaborate with different business organizations that promote Hispanic businesses.
We were able to establish an important alliance with the Black Chamber of Commerce of Illinois (BCCI) to bring together the Congressmen of our state in a conference and participate more actively as minorities in the 2020 legislative agenda.
This first year leading IHCC went very fast. There were more than half a million minutes full of inspiration. Fortunately, they are still new challenges, and too much to do.
I feel that our Hispanic community, which represents 18% of the Illinois population, still has a lot to offer.
Like other minorities in the United States, Hispanics are at the core of our local economy. Thousands of small family businesses are constantly trying to improve their services and to generate new business opportunities in Illinois. At IHCC, we want to connect more with them, we want to improve our mutual collaboration, we want to create new opportunities for them.
I can’t forget to thank the IHCC Board of Directors for the confidence and guidance they have given me to direct this incredible organization.
I feel as excited today as those immigrants who arrived in Illinois decades ago. This region continues reinventing its future foundations. This is a great time to help the Hispanic community be part of history!