By Sharla Hooper
Event focused on economic development and opportunity for Hispanic-owned businesses
Leadership with the University of Phoenix attended the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) 43rd national conference, “Igniting America’s Economic Prosperity,” held October 2-4, 2022, in Phoenix, AZ. The annual event is one of the largest gatherings of Hispanic leaders in the country and aims to strengthen the nation’s economy through the growth and development of Hispanic-owned businesses. Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (AZHCC), an affiliate chamber of USHCC long supported by the University of Phoenix, allocated 10 seats for University employees to attend the session.
“This event leverages a shared interest in developing an economy that’s equitable and accessible to all,” states John Ramirez, dean of operations for the College of Doctoral Studies at University of Phoenix and vice-chair of the board for AZHCC. “I’m pleased to see so many of our University of Phoenix leaders in attendance, and to have the chance to meet with professionals from across industries who share the same commitment to economic opportunity.”
The opening session of the conference featured the flagship presentation from AZHCC titled, “DATOS: State of Arizona's Hispanic Market.” The DATOS report is designed to provide business and community leaders, along with elected and appointed public officials, with the research data necessary to understand the role and impact of Latinos on Arizona’s economy. Session speakers included the 27th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Isabella Casillas Guzman, President & CEO of the Arizona Coyotes, Xavier Gutierrez, and Civil Rights Manager for Google, Clarissa Ramon.
The conference provides an important opportunity for discourse between professionals in higher education and workforce development. The conference theme highlights the social, economic, and political factors impacting economic development within Hispanic and Latino communities. Featuring over 40 presentations and panels, the event brings together policymakers and leaders from across industries to offer best practices, insights, and technical advice to attendees.
University of Phoenix Interim President and Chief Financial Officer Chris Lynne attended the event, along with other University leaders and staff, including members of La Fuerza, the University of Phoenix Hispanic employee resource group (ERG). University of Phoenix attendees included: Anthony Burke, financial aid officer; Sariah Castanon, monitoring specialist; Leo Goncalves, vice president, Workforce Solutions Group; Saray Lopez, director, Student Diversity & Inclusion; Tondra Richardson, director, Student Diversity & Inclusion; John Ramirez, dean of operations, College of Doctoral Studies; Angela Salazar, Financial Aid officer; Ruth Veloria, chief strategy & customer officer; and Ramses Zelocuatecatl, enrollment manager. Burke, Castanon, Lopez, Ramirez, Salazar and Zelocuatecatl are all active members of La Fuerza, and Lopez sits on the AZHCC DATOS report Content Committee.
Salazar, the former elected lead of La Fuerza, states the USHCC conference spotlights leadership opportunities within the Hispanic community: “One of the most exciting things about this event is the opportunity for university employees within La Fuerza to hear leaders from other communities of color sharing their stories – stories of struggle and of opportunity – and to hear those stories is so powerful. If people of color and other communities see Hispanic leaders at all levels then leadership becomes possible – you start to think, if they can do it, I can do it.”
Learn more about USHCC’s 43rd annual conference and event here.
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