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The Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC) has appointed Amanda Chavez, a former PNC Bank executive with over 20 years of experience in the financial sector, as its new Chief Operating Officer (COO).

This is the first major executive appointment under Jaime di Paulo’s leadership as IHCC ‘s President & CEO.

Amanda Chavez will assume her position as COO of the IHCC on September 9th, 2020.

I am confident that Amanda will be an invaluable partner in driving our work, helping to focus operations and reposition for further growth,” said di Paulo.

“She will focus on directing and streamlining the daily work of our great team of directors, further opening doors of the IHCC and extending technical assistance to many more industries,” he added.

In her new role, Chavez will lead the strategic operating plan, focusing on a higher quality performance that translates into better operational results.

Amanda is an exceptional leader who has already demonstrated her ability to build relationships with members and partners of our business community,” said Juan Gaytan, Chairman of the Board of Directors at the IHCC.

“Her work will positively impact our organization and all the communities we are privileged to serve.

The American Dream

Daughter of Mexican descendants who emigrated 40 years ago from Chihuahua. First moved to California (where her older brother was born) and then to Illinois (where she was born).

Amanda has happy memories of those early years of her childhood and adolescence in Irving Park, in the northwest of the city. It was there that she did her elementary and high school years, while her mother did the housework and her father worked in distribution within a family business.

In 1995 she entered Illinois’ University at Urbana-Champaign, where she graduated in 1999 with a Finance degree. She had a year of study at University de Sao Paulo, the economic capital of Brazil, where she participated in an exchange and study program.

In 2008, she completed her MBA at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

She has 21 years of experience in the financial sector, holding important positions in Chicago offices of the most prominent banks in the country.

A meteoric rise

In 1999, Chávez joined the American National Bank (later bought by JP Morgan Chase Morgan).

From 2001 to 2005, she was a Financial Analyst at Harris Bank. In 2006, she was promoted to Senior Associate.

In 2007, she received an offer to become a Portfolio Manager at Monroe Capital, managing a $300 million credit portfolio. But the financial crisis forced the company, a year later, to eliminate most of the executive positions.

However, Bank of America offered her almost immediately to assume the position of Vice President Global Commercial Banking and she was there until 2011.

In 2012, she is tempted to return to the company where she started, already in a senior executive position. At JPMorgan Chase, she took over as Vice President, Relationship Manager, Business Banking.

From 2018 until a few weeks ago she was Vice President, Relationship Manager, Corporate & Institutional Banking.

“I have always been working with companies that needed advice to grow their businesses. This allowed me to work for many years with entrepreneurs from various industries, whom I helped to execute their business plans and access credit and thus expand in a more effective manner,” says Amanda Chavez.

While at PNC, she developed a closer relationship with the IHCC and was able to learn about the strategic plan that, since 2019, Jaime di Paulo has been implementing as President & CEO.

“I feel excited to work with the Chamber, with Jaime and his fantastic team. I believe that we will be able to continue offering better quality services to minority-owned companies so that they can achieve their business goals,” adds Chavez.

A peaceful life

Today, Amanda lives in the South Loop with Anabelle, her 7-year-old daughter.

She loves to ride her bike around Chicago, read and watch movies with her daughter, with whom she spends most of her time outside the office.

When she can, she usually sews in her sewing machine, a Mexican tradition she inherited from her mother and grandmother.

Her most anticipated time of the year is Christmas when she spends time at her parents’ house and the whole family gets together to cook, maintaining their Mexican traditions.

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