A “void in Latino leadership” led Robert Pacheco to found The Santa Clarita Latino Chamber of Commerce. This Friday they celebrate their 1st Anniversary and first 100 members at their inaugural Awards Gala.
Two years ago, after being in the community for 18 years, Pacheco says he looked around and couldn’t name any leaders from the Latino community.
“There wasn’t an organization that could address a Latino issue. And that was a problem. So we’re here to be leaders and to contribute to the communities. We’re hoping that from our group in the future will come council members, Congressmen, school board members that will help to lead us forward,” Pacheco said.
Pacheco, the chamber President, addressed the need for a specifically Latino chamber when a Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce already exists.
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“There are hundreds of Latino businesses in Santa Clarita that really would never join the regular chamber because they wouldn’t feel comfortable in that setting,” Pacheco said.
Discomfort due to a language barrier, he says.
Pacheco explains that English is a second language for many of the entrepreneurs and they would be more comfortable speaking Spanish. The SCV Latino Chamber provides them an alternative place for them to network and thrive and grow their businesses.
“It’s just a different trade association, you’ll find associations of architects, associations of engineers, and we’re just Latino entrepreneurs,” said Pacheco.
Membership, Pacheco says, does not require a business owner to be Latino.
“First of all we’re here to help each other out, make each other successful and help each other grow. Second of all, we are here to make a positive contribution in the community,” said Pacheco.
The SCV Latino chamber will be establishing mentoring programs with the middle and high schools to inspire the youth to go to college, to become business owners and to succeed in their lives.
A Certified Public Accountant, Pacheco owns a business in Valencia. He was involved on the board of the Latin Business Association in the ’80s and says he “saw how effective a Latino chamber can be.”
The Awards Gala starts with a cocktail hour and V.I.P. reception at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner, award presentations, and a dynamic keynote speaker, Glenn Llopis.
Llopis, who has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Univision, FOX, NBC and ABC, focuses on bringing the immigrant perspective to business leadership and workplace innovation.
He is the founder of the Center for Hispanic Leadership and the Center for Innovation and Humanity.
The evening will continue with music and dancing till midnight.
The entire event will be recorded to be later televised on KXLA.
The Awards Gala will take place Friday, September 23rd at the Valencia Hyatt Conference Center Grand Ballroom. Tickets are available.
Register by clicking here .