LATINO AMERICAN TODAY - BUSINESS
By Claud Santiago
Isaac Contreras is a Latino professional on the move. After many years of working in various industries in management positions, Isaac decided that he wanted a career move. Today, Isaac is an agent with Keller Williams Integrity Realty in St. Paul. He feels that there is no better occupation, in his opinion, than helping people realize their dreams. “ For many Latinos and other communities , a primary aspiration is purchasing a home and using that as a building block for wealth creation” explained Contreras. Isaac feels that it’s a good time to be in the business, home sales are doing well according to many Homeownership reports. Contreras will be selling and buying homes to all communities but as a Minnesota born Latino American he is hoping to focus some attention to the Latino American market in his area. Isaac is bilingual in Spanish and English and feels that this will help him and the Latino home buyers, who sometimes feel more comfortable speaking Spanish.
Contreras points out many reasons why people should use a real estate agent to sell or buy their homes.
• You’ll spend less time and earn more money, all for the least amount of hassle.
• You’ll gain access to listings that may not be widely available and market information to know whether or not the price of a home is competitive.
• We compile local market data and help homeowners and future homeowners understand what it means for them.
“A home is often the most important investment a person makes. My job is to help you understand the state of your investment and give you the information you need to determine whether the time is right to buy, sell or invest in a home.”
Isaac Contreras • Keller Williams Integrity Realty • 2680 Snelling Avenue N. Suite #100 • Roseville, MN 55113 • Office: 651-203-1700 • Cell: 651-387-6317
By Claud Santiago
Visiting the Mercado Central on E. Lake Street in Minneapolis, Keith Downey Republican candidate for Governor of Minnesota and Rick Aguilar, Twin Cities business leader met with various business owners to learn about the history of their business and to talk about any concerns they have. The Mercado Central is a business co-operative that opened in 1999 and is made up of 30 plus Latino owned businesses trading in Latino products, services and offering several mini-restaurants. The opening of the Mercado led to a major economic effort on the E. Lake street area that is now home over 300 Latino owned businesses. Minneapolis is home to the largest Latino population in Minnesota.
Downey and the business owners discussed the minimum wage and sick pay issues facing Minneapolis business owners, along with the many taxes and regulations that put a burden on business growth. They also talked about the need of more capital and assistance to grow and expand. Downey was very impressed with the Mercado and the many business owners he met with. “I want to keep the American dream alive for the Hispanic community and make Minnesota a state where business thrives and they get the opportunity to succeed,” stated Downey.
By Amalia Moreno-Damgaard
My business was recently certified as a woman-owned business enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), a government-backed program under the Small Business Administration (SBA) offered locally by the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC).
“Certification is the most widely recognized in the nation and is accepted by over 1,000 corporations and public agencies in the country. WBDC provides WBE certification to qualified women-owned companies in Minnesota, Western Wisconsin, North and South Dakota”.
As a double minority entrepreneur, it is an honor and privilege to have reached a level in my career and business stage where I can expand and seek new opportunities on a national level. I am excited about the prospect of growing in the direction I feel I can make greater impact through my work.
I first became aware of certification when I just started my company and built it into my strategy to work toward the goal of becoming certified one day. Certification is a time and financial investment that can yield new benefits for your business. As a new WBENC member, I am eager to participate in the upcoming annual conference in Chicago on September 7 where I will have the opportunity to meet with like-minded businesses and make connections with new corporations, government and nonprofit potential clients.
Through corporate procurement meetings businesses can learn about supplier diversity programs in their region. Panels and consulting bring partners together through marketing strategies.
I am looking forward to exploring and to growing in this new environment where I believe my business can continue to prosper and excel by taking advantage of the many educational resources this organization offers.Certification runs for a year and requires recertification every year. The initial process is long and requires many steps and documentation culminating in an hour-long interview to corroborate facts that establishes your business as a going concern. Interested in learning more about certification? Go to: https://www.wbdc.org/mn/
Amalia Moreno-Damgaard (AmaliaLLC.com) is an award-winning author and chef-entrepreneur, spokesperson, author, speaker, and bilingual food and culture consultant effectively connecting brands to the Latin and American markets through product ideation, development, project strategy and execution. She was born and raised in Guatemala City and is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu with a Masters in International Business from St. Louis University. She serves on the American Diabetes CLB Board-MN, and on the Common Hope and Depart Smart Executive Boards.
By Marci Malzahn
When I went to Nicaragua (my country of origin) in 2013 with Opportunity International (OI), I was amazed to learn that what mothers wanted most for their children, after food, was education. OI, a nonprofit organization that provides micro loans to the poor in 28 countries, works with entrepreneurs who want to become self-sufficient. They co-invest in their communities with the “clients” and, together, create real progress in the countries they work with, one of them being Nicaragua. 85% of their clients globally are women entrepreneurs who are bakers, hammock makers, farmers, artisans of clay or wood artifacts, own a retail store in their homes, or raise pigs, among other businesses. OI forms what they call “trust groups” where about twenty five entrepreneurs get together to receive business training from OI, to support each other, and to improve themselves along with their communities. The loans average $150 to $200 and are paid back within four months. Once the entire group pays off the loan, then they can obtain the next set of loans. If one of the trust group members is unable to make her or his weekly payment, the rest of the group has to pay for them. Therefore, the level of accountability is very high and the payback ratio is about 98%! They are committed to succeed.
One of the women who operated a little retail store from her house (typically the stores are in the front of the house and the families live in the back) shared with our group how proud she was to send her daughter to college. With the loans she received from OI she continued to grow her store and she was able to provide for her daughter to not only finish high school but to pursue her college degree. She was, of course, the first one to attend college in generations.
Last year I was fortunate to go to Kigali, Rwanda, Africa as part of a mission’s team. My part was to teach at a women’s leadership conference and at a pastors’ conference. As I talked with the women who attended, they too shared that the most important goal for them was to feed their children first and then to make sure they went to school. I was pleasantly surprised to meet a lot of educated people from Rwanda. Some of those people were our translators. The young woman who was my translator for the women’s conference was only 23 years old and she spoke Kinyarwanda, English, and French. She did a wonderful job and at the end of the trip she asked me to become her mentor, which I gladly accepted to do. Her fiancée was in China pursuing his MBA. Wow! They truly appreciate and value education. They have discovered it is the way out of poverty in any country.
When I lived in the Dominican Republic as a refugee after fleeing Nicaragua due to the revolution in 1979, I saw the result of a country with uneducated people, which was the same as in Nicaragua and most of the Latin American countries, unfortunately. This result is poverty. The poor are born into poor families and cannot get out of the cycle of poverty unless they become educated. And there are little to no opportunities for them to get educated beyond high school—if they even achieve getting through the sixth grade. When I returned to Dominican Republic in 2007 and then in 2015, I witnessed how the country’s population became more educated and as a result they now have a growing middle working class. The higher class in this country are almost all highly educated with not only undergraduate degrees but some even have two master’s degrees and even PhD’s. Those parents who can, send their children to study abroad to both Europe and the U.S. and then they return to their countries with the best education possible.
Education opens the doors to knowledge and with knowledge comes opportunity. You need first formal education and then informal education throughout your working life. Continually learning will help you with promotions, grow in your job, start your own business, and ultimately help others in your community. Therefore, align and associate yourself with learners and with organizations that help others get educated. Help young people and adults to obtain their education and become “educated people.” That’s how cities and countries progress.
Those of us who are Latinos and live here in America are very fortunate to be in the one country where pursuing education is definitely possible—if you want to. In the United States, there are plenty of opportunities and grants available for Latinos to not only graduate from good schools but also to pursue their undergraduate degree and even go beyond to obtain a master’s and PhD. In this country, precisely because you are a Latino, considered a “minority,” you can become educated. There are not only government grants and special programs but also private programs that are looking for qualified people to apply. When I Googled “Educational grants for Latinos” 22,200,000 results came back! I’m sure you can find at least one that may be able to help you. Regardless of your situation, as a Latino or Latina in America, I encourage you to pursue your education as it will open brand new doors of opportunity for you and your future generations. Being an educated person is a crucial key to succeeding in any country in the world. You’re in the country that offers you the best opportunities and the greatest chance to obtain your education. Don’t waste this gift!
Marci Malzahn is a banking executive and founder of Malzahn Strategic (www.malzahnstrategic.com), a community bank consultancy focused on strategic planning, enterprise risk management and talent management. Marci is also an author and motivational/ inspirational speaker. You can contact Marci for speaking engagements through her website at (www.malzahnstrategic.com) or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can purchase Marci’s books at www.Amazon.com.
By Claud Santiago
Through the years Latino business corridors have sprung up on E. Lake Street in Minnepolis and Cesar Chavez Street and Payne Avenue in St. Paul. In the Metro area of the Twin Cities Latino businesses are becoming more visible and are attracting both Latino and non-Latino customers. One of those cities is West St. Paul, a first ring suburb adjacent to St. Paul. This is a full-service city that offers a high quality of life and is rich with opportunities for enjoyment, growth, and development. There are over 600 businesses in West St. Paul, including a light industrial park. South Robert Street is a busy thoroughfare that has traffic of 30,000 cars travel per day.
Rick Aguilar, former Chair of the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, lives in West St. Paul and sees a lot of opportunities for Latino businesses to open or expand their business in this city.
“West St. Paul’s population is at 20,000 with 9.9% Hispanic residents. The West Side of St. Paul is minutes away from South Robert Street and has one of the largest Latino populations in the Twin Cities. First ring suburbs offer Latino business owners newer buildings, more parking, and visibilty for their products and services,” Aguilar stated. Here are some of the Latino businesses located on South Robert Street.
David Morse and Rick Aguilar
David Morse, New American Dimensions, Los Angeles, CA Receives an Award
By Claud Santiago
The 21th annual Multicultural Marketing Conference & Awards was held on March 25, 2017 at the Wellstone Center in St. Paul. The conference was presented by Aguilar Productions, the leaders in promoting the multiculturals markets in the U.S. This all-day conference drew an audience of marketing professionals from various organizations and businesses who were treated to an outstanding array of presentations by today’s thought leaders in multicultural marketing including David Morse, New American Dimensions, Los Angeles, CA and Rico Vallejos, marketing creative director from Minneapolis.
From left: Keynote speaker Cecilia Stanton Adams, Rick Aguilar and Rico Vallejos, and Lisa Mushett, USTA Northern.
Local organizations including the Ordway Theater, USTA Northern and the MNDNR Department of Parks and Trails presented case studies of their outreach efforts to the multicultural communities in the Twin Cities. Tom Gitaa, publisher of Mshale the African Community Newspaper, presented an interesting panel discussing marketing to the Emerging African community in the Twins. Cecilia Stanton Adams, was the keynote speaker at the Luncheon and delivered a very interesting diversity presentation to the attendees. Cecilia is CEO of the Stanton Adams Consulting.
Conference sponsors included, U.S. Bank , Minnesota Twins, La Raza 95.7 FM, Telemundo Minnesota, Latino American Today, Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium, the Ordway Theater, and MNDNR.
Marci Malzahn, Founder of Malzahn Strategic
By Marci Malzahn
Many times people may think leaders have it easy, or that they do their own thing and are accountable to no one. Other times people may think leaders started being leaders and were also born leaders. But that is not the case. Being a leader is a huge responsibility and it’s not easy. Also, most leaders start as followers and have worked hard to be where they are today—even if they had the gift of leadership in them from the start. In fact, successful leaders are excellent followers themselves. Being a good follower is precisely what gives great leaders the foundation to be an example of integrity, honesty, and many of the other traits that we all admire in successful leaders. Below are some key traits of successful followers:
They need a teacher—a leader. Followers need to follow someone they trust and believe in—someone who is worthy of being followed.
Followers don’t doubt their teacher. They have complete faith that their teacher has his or her best interest at heart. They don’t fear that their teacher is out to get them.
Good followers get to know their teacher at the personal level. They understand their teacher (or leader) is also human and that they have a need for personal relationships too.
Good followers learn to appreciate their leaders for who they are. They are not “apple polishers.” They sincerely care for their leader.
Followers gather together to support their common leader. They don’t talk behind his or her back and they are loyal to their leader.
Good followers “do” what their leader tells them to do. They don’t second guess or question their leader each time he or she asks them to do something. In the business arena, of course, it is acceptable to ask questions to clarify direction and to bring your opinion but in the end, good followers learn to do what is asked of them unless it’s something illegal or unethical.
A good leader influences his or her followers and the followers allow themselves to be influenced. It’s a mutual relationship based on trust, something that is not common in the workplace these days.
Leaders give authority to their followers without fear that they will misuse that authority. Again, this exercise of giving authority to others is based on trust. Good followers accept that authority and use it wisely. Followers admire and look up to their teacher or leader. They want to and aspire to be like their teacher. They are proud of their teacher and not ashamed. They want to imitate their teacher and become more like him or her.
Successful followers receive instructions from their leader and work together to accomplish their common mission (or the vision of their company). They learn to use their various strengths as a team and get it done.
Now, let’s examine some of the traits we admire—and even expect—of successful leaders:
Leaders have the innate ability to influence others—at the core, that’s what leadership is about. Even though not everyone is born with the leadership gift or ability, every person who is in a leadership position can learn to be an amazing and influential leader.
Leaders are balanced—or continually strive to be balanced. Leaders understand the importance to live a balanced life. This doesn’t mean they don’t understand the responsibilities of their work life and don’t work enough. It means they also understand that if they are not taking care of themselves (their bodies, their physical well-being) and their family relationships, their level of influence at work will be diminished over time.
Leaders are learners. Most successful leaders are life-long learner individuals. They have a hunger for knowledge and enjoy the journey of learning. They also love to teach what they just learned.
Leaders have a good attitude toward life, which is manifested in their attitude and behavior at work and at home. We all know we cannot control circumstances but we can control our attitude. That I know because I have had to practice self-control and change my attitude many times when circumstances were negative around me. I know it can be done and you are the full beneficiary of the change in your attitude.
Leaders are hard workers. Regardless of the career they choose, leaders work hard. This doesn’t mean they work 90 – 100 hours a week, which some people do. That is almost irresponsible because they neglect their physical health, their relationships, and eventually it affects their effectiveness at work. They burn out. What this means is that they utilize their time wisely and have learned to manage their time successfully based on their values.
They focus their time on what’s most important—consistently. The key here is that they learned to say “no” to the things that clutter their lives with no significant impact or influence. And they say “yes” to the things that matter.
Most leaders are also followers. If you are a leader, choose to also be a good follower. Only then, will you become a true influential person. Only then, will you leave a legacy of goodwill in the lives of all the people you touch along the way. Therefore, choose carefully who you follow and choose to be the best leader you were meant to be.
As Latinos in the workplace, we have the great opportunity to be an example of being a good follower and then influence others as leaders. Take the responsibility of doing both seriously.
Marci Malzahn is a banking executive and founder of Malzahn Strategic (www.malzahnstrategic.com), a community bank consultancy focused on strategic planning, enterprise risk management and talent management. Marci is also an author and motivational/ inspirational speaker. You can contact Marci for speaking engagements through her website at www.marciamalzahn.com. You can purchase Marci’s books at www.Amazon.com.
Left: Latino American Today Publisher, Rick Aguilar with Congressman Kevin Brady
By Claud Santiago
Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX) Chairman, House Ways & Means Committee was featured speaker at the Economic Club of Minnesota’s Inaugural Luncheon of their 2016-2017 Season. Many consider the House Ways & Means Committee to be the most powerful committee in Congress. A sold out audience listened to Brady, who has long been a leader on important economic issues, discuss his tax reform proposal. Brady explained that a new tax code needs to be fair and simple for everyone, so simple that most Americans could do their taxes on a form as simple as a postcard.
L to R: Congressman, Tom Emmer, Kristin Robbins, David Frauenshuh, Congressman Erik Paulsen, Congressman Kevin Brady, Tim Penny, Rudy Boschwitz, Elliot Jaffee, and Paul Koch
Brady said that our tax code should be built for growth and it should help make the United States the best place in the world to hire and invest. Also that if we’re going to have a better tax code, we need a better IRS, one that puts the taxpayers first. His blueprint offers a better way to dramatic reform—without increasing the deficit. It does so by promoting growth—of American jobs, wages, and ultimately the entire economy. Many local political leaders attended the Luncheon including Congressmen Erik Paulsen and Tom Emmer.
Left: Richard Aguilar, President and CEO
Left: Anthony Fernandez
I chose to move to West Saint Paul to raise my family for many reasons. It’s affordable, safe, diverse and thriving. The city of West Saint Paul has a great deal of potential to make what is already a fantastic community, even better. I am proud to currently have the opportunity to serve the community on the Planning Commission. I am passionate to share my knowledge and experience to help enhance our city’s potential, and implement the needed changes. I am determined to bring my well-rounded perspective to the needs and wants of the community, both as a member of this community and as a business professional.
I am committed to:
• Sustainable Business Development
• Expanding our Tax Base
• Transparency & Communication in Government
• Providing Adequate Resources for Police and Fire
• Completing Robert Street Construction with Thoughtfulness and Integrity
• Enhancing Public Safety
• Improving our Parks and Recreation Centers
• Spending our Tax Dollars Wisely
• Community Involvement
Dave Meisinger current Mayor of West St. Paul wants to be re-elected to another two year term this Fall. We spoke with Mayor Meisinger and here are his comments:
“Beyond the fact I enjoy the challenges of being mayor, I’m seeking re-election this year for many reasons. The most important being that the Robert Street project is not yet complete. The project has been plagued by millions of dollars of cost overruns due to poor planning, poor budgeting and poor oversight by the previous city council. My nearly three decades of construction management experience are needed to protect and limit our future investment in this project as well as the oversight of day-to-day activities at city hall. My record of fiscal responsibility and restraint is unmatched and I will continue to work to ensure maximum value for each taxpayer dollars spent!”
Besides the Mayor race, voters in West St. Paul will decide City Council seats also.
Left: Marci Malzahn
By Marci Malzahn
Do you want to join our Board? That’s a question you don’t hear every day but it happens often when people see you have a heart to help others—especially in the nonprofit world. Twenty three years ago I joined the first nonprofit Board as a volunteer. My first position was Education & Training Chair for Financial Women International (FWI), a nonprofit association with the mission to empower women in the financial services industry. A few months later, the Treasurer resigned due to family health issues and I was asked to step up into that role even though I had just joined the Board. I gladly accepted because I love working with numbers and I saw it as a great opportunity to get to know the organization better. I served in FWI at one position or another for the next sixteen years. I was elected President of the local chapter twice and served even at the National Board level as a Director.
During my time volunteering with FWI, I made lifelong friends and business connections that are still alive today. I also received formal training on the Roberts Rules of Order, how to conduct effective Board meetings, and how to lead a nonprofit association made out of only volunteers. I learned to work in teams, hired speakers for our programs, and wrote monthly newsletter articles. In short, I learned the “soft skills” leaders need in order to be successful. Unfortunately, FWI is no longer in existence because organizations stopped supporting their members across the country starting in the ‘80’s through early 2000’s until we had to close it down in 2009, after existing and serving members for 88 years.
While I was the President of the Downtown Exchange Group leading 133 members, I completed the Management Certification Program they offered by reading several books and attending programs on the topics of management, leadership, negotiation skills, mentoring relationships, and many other important subjects. At the end of my term, my manager at the bank (where I was working at the time) came to my office and said, “Marci, let’s talk management.” She said that because of my willingness to volunteer to lead the association and because I had obtained the Management Certification through FWI’s Program, she felt I was ready to lead the bank’s branch, downtown Minneapolis. I was surprised to be asked since I had never supervised anyone up to that point (and I still didn’t have my college degree) but was very grateful for the new opportunity.
During my time at that bank I also volunteered to participate in the annual Juvenile Diabetes Foundation fund raising effort. My strategy was to ask all the senior executives and owners to support me so I could raise the most amount of money and win the contest. I won. The reward was dinner with the owners of the bank. Because of my willingness to volunteer, I was now being recognized and became more visible in the organization.
Since I started volunteering on Boards I have made my individual contribution of “the four T’s”: time, talent, treasure and touch (connections). Each nonprofit organization I’ve worked with has made a contribution back into my life. We always think that we’re the ones helping them but we receive so much more in return.
There are many ways you can volunteer if you don’t like to serve on a Board. You can volunteer to work directly with the organization’s clients or work behind the scenes to help with the administration or in the warehouse/back room organizing donated items. There are countless ways you can get involved just as there are countless nonprofit organizations that can use your help and talents. The best way to decide where to help is by asking yourself the question: Who do I want to help? Then look for an organization that helps those people and get involved if their beliefs align with yours. Here are some examples of organizations that you could get involved that I’ve had great experience working with:
• Big Brothers Big Sisters: Become a Big and mentor a child. Participate in their programs so Bigs and Littles can have fun together. www.bigstwincities.org
• Way to Grow: Volunteer to work with a minority, low income family so their children are ready for Kindergarten. www.waytogrow.org
• Jeremiah Program: Go with your friends or co-workers and cook a meal for the single mothers and their children. www.jeremiahprogram.org
• Matter: Volunteer to work in the warehouse categorizing donated items. www.mattermore.org
• Minnesota Center for Book Arts: Volunteer at one of their events. www.mnbookarts.org
• Feed My Starving Children: Go with friends or co-workers and volunteer to pack meals. www.fmsc.org
By serving on nonprofit Boards I learned how to serve on for-profit organizations’ Board of Directors too. The rewards I have received by serving are many and each has significantly enriched my life. I have never considered it a waste of time. To the contrary, I consider my time invested an amazing opportunity to grow, to learn, and to meet beautiful people across the country (and the world). I now serve on four boards, three of which are nonprofits. I invite you to check out my business website and visit the Community Involvement page so you can get ideas of various nonprofits we support, learn about their individual missions, and start using your talents to serve others. The time to volunteer is NOW. People need your help!
Marci Malzahn is a banking executive and founder of Malzahn Strategic (www.malzahnstrategic.com), a community bank consultancy focused on strategic planning, enterprise risk management and talent management. Marci is also an author and motivational/ inspirational speaker. You can contact Marci through her website at www.marciamalzahn.com, and for speaking engagements please contact Preferred Speakers at www.preferredspeakers.com.
Left: Andrew Orci, Orci Agency and Rick Aguilar
By Claud Santiago
The 20th annual Hispanic marketing conference was held on May 25, 2016 at the Hilton Minneapolis hotel. The conference produced by Aguilar Productions based in St. Paul, was sponsored by U.S. Bank, Minnesota Twins, La Raza 1400-1470 AM, Telemundo Minnesota, SPNN, Hilton Minneapolis Hotel, and Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium. The focus on the conference was Sports & Entertainment and featured a panel that included Miguel Ramos, Director of Diversity for the Minnesota Twins; Manny Lagos, Sporting Director of the MN United FC; and Tony Sanneh, President & CEO of the Sanneh Foundation, and retired U.S. National Team and World Cup Veteran.
Presenters Nancy Hernandez, President of Abrazos Multicultural Marketing based in Milwaukee; Heidi Pellerano, Executive VP Brands, Wasserman Media Group; and Carlos de Leon, CEO of De La Riva, both based in Miami, presented great insights, strategies, and case studies releated to marketing sports to the multicultural segments. Maya Santamaria spoke at the luncheon and described the beginning of forming Santamaria Broadcasting and how her company influences Hispanic marketing in the Twin Cities.
Left: Tony Dieste and Rick Aguilar
The following individuals received awards at the conference:
Tony Dieste, Chairman of Dieste, Inc. Omnicom Group, Dallas TX received the Hispanic Marketing Achievement Award. David Burgos, SVP Cultural Strategy for TNS Global received the Hispanic Marketing Research Achievement Award and the Honda Motor Company, won the Hispanic Corporate Marketing Award with the award being accepted by Andrew Orci of the Orci Agency based in Los Angeles.
Left: David Burgos and Rick Aguilar
Congratulations to Aguilar Productions on their 20th Anniversary of producing conferences and seminars focusing on the U.S. Multicultural markets.
Rick Aguilar and Darlene Miller
By Claud Santiago
The race for Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District is expected to be one of the most competitive in the nation. Darlene Miller, a successful business owner, picked up the endorsement of John Kline, the man who currently holds the seat. Kline is retiring after serving seven terms representing the district. Miller is the owner and CEO of Permac Industries, a precision machining company custom manufacturing precision parts for customers worldwide in virtually all industries located in Burnsville, MN. Under her leadership Permac Industries was named the U.S. Chamber Small Business of the Year for the entire USA in 2008.
The district includes a large Hispanic population in West St. Paul, South St. Paul and other cities in the area. Rick Aguilar, President of Aguilar Productions, who is a resident of West St. Paul is supporting Miller in this race. Aguilar is a past Chairman of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and was founder and President of the Minnesota Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Aguilar is very active in Republican politics and feels that Miller is a candidate who can and will win in November. “I believe that Darlene has the conservative values and real-world experience we need in Congress,” stated Aguilar.
“Democrats always want to talk about the disparities in the Hispanic community and never mentioned that we have a successful Hispanic business community, that pays taxes and employees thousands of Hispanics. We need someone in Congress that realizes that high tax rates and the countless regulations here in Minnesota hurts business owners, that’s why I’m supporting Miller,” explained Aguilar.
“I want to thank Mr. Aguilar for his support and I feel that the Hispanic culture with its strong religious beliefs, family values and desire to overcome poverty through hard work, is something I admire. The Hispanic community plays an important part of why Minnesota is a great place to live and I want to see that their community has more opportunites to live the American Dream,” Miller stated.
L to R: Sheila Thorne, Rick Aguilar, and Roslyn Daniels
By Claud Santiago
The 20th annual Multicultural Marketing Conference—Focus on Health & Wellness was held on March 24, 2016 at the prestigious Hilton Minneapolis Hotel presented by Aguilar Productions. This all day conference drew an audience of professionals from various Health and Wellness organizations who were treated to an outstanding array of presentations by leading thought leaders in multicultural health marketing.
Kevin Lindsey, MN Commissioner of Human Rights; Carlos Santiago, Rick Aguilar; Dr. Alejandro Badia, OrthoNow, Miami, Florida; and Carlos Garcia, BCBS IL
Attendees included, UnitedHealthCare, UCare, HealthPartners, Hennepin Health, Medica, MN Dept.of Health, MN Dept. of Human Services, American Red Cross, American Diabetes Association, St. Mary’s Health Clinics, Carver County, Scott County, Washington County Public Health groups, Delta Dental, Park Nicollet, Benedictine Health System, Optum, Minneapolis Dept. of Health, MN Dept. of Human Rights, NorthPointe Health & Wellness, Direct Benefits and many others.
Miguel Ramos, MN Twins; Roslyn Daniels, Black Health Matters; Manny Rodriguez, CultureSpan; and Tom Gitaa, Mshale, the African community newspaper.
Conference sponsors included, Hilton Minneapolis, Minnesota Twins and La Raza 1400 am. Telemundo Minnesota Latino American Today and Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium.
L to R: Rick Aguilar, Yasmine Winkler, UnitedHealthcare; Adriana O’Meara, Optum; and Carlos Santiago
L to R: Sury O'Campo and Rick Aguilar
Sury O’Campo (pictured above) is doing an internship at the carver county public health department through Normandale community college. Sury is in the community health worker navigator program at Normandale. This program focuses on building a bridge between the healthcare system and the client.
“A community health worker is an advocate for the client and the community, building trust and understanding the needs of the community, this allows the healthcare agency to understand what their clients and provide better care,” Sury explained.
By Claud Santiago
Although Minnesota has long been one of the healthiest states in the country, almost 15% of Minnesotans tend to experience much worse health in several areas. Overall, Populations of Color, Hispanics, Asian Americans, African Americans, Africans and Native Americans experience shorter life spans, higher rates of infant mortality, higher incidence of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other diseases, and poorer general health. Prevention can improve health in these communities and help manage health care costs.
Minnesota must work to eliminate health disparities by expanding access to affordable health care, strengthening the health care workforce, investing in prevention, and improving data to more accurately document health disparities.
Health disparities are defined as the difference in the burden of diseases and health status that exist among specific population groups. They are closely linked with social, economic and environmental conditions. Health disparities may affect certain populations based on gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, geography, sexual orientation, disability or special health care needs. Health disparities occur among groups that have persistently experienced historical trauma, and discrimination. These groups experience worse health or greater health risks than other populations.
Any effort to reduce health disparities must first identify where gaps exist. In our current health care system, data collection is fragmented; information on race, ethnicity, or primary language is not always collected; and data is often not readily available to policy makers and the public.
Health reform would make sure that qualified health plans in an Exchange provide culturally and linguistically appropriate communication and health services. There will also be an emphasis on training health professionals to improve their cultural competence. The Minnesota Business Partnership, an organization made up of Minnesota’s largest employers recently issued a report of the healthcare system in Minnesota...it stated “increasing ethnic diversity will challenge our local healthcare system, which must address different underlying health needs and bridge cultural and language barriers.”
Presidential candidate Marco Rubio
Republican Marco Rubio is an early favorite among Minnesota voters in the presidential race, according to a new Star Tribune poll.
In a hypothetical matchup between Rubio and Hillary Clinton, Rubio leads Clinton by nine points, 49 to 40 with 11 percent undecided. The poll suggests that Rubio has wide appeal among Republicans seeking an alternative to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz who could win over independents in the general election.
Minnesota has various segments in the Republican party, libertarians, social conservatives, and fiscal conservatives. “Rubio appeals to many Republicans as a big-tent Republican who can bring people together,” said Maria de la Paz, Vice-Chair of the Minnesota Hispanic Republican Assembly (HRAMN) who have endorsed Rubio. “He’s conservative and can articulate and present solutions for many of our country’s important issues,” declared HRAMN Secretary, Tony Torres.
“The reason so many Minnesotans are talking about Marco Rubio is that he’s the most exciting presidential candidate we’ve seen in many years. Marco has lived the American Dream and he is a next-generation conservative leader who can unite our country and truly inspire Americans.”
— Jeff Johnson, Minnesota State Chair, Marco Rubio for President campaign.
The Star Tribune poll also shows that a large number of voters in particular independents are still undecided. Rubio appears to have an advantage in appealing to independents Minnesota voters, who could prove crucial in the general election. Independents break 54 percent for Rubio and 30 percent for Clinton in head-to-head matchup.
Minnesota’s party caucuses are March 1, a date shared with 14 other states that either caucus or hold primaries. The caucuses usually draw the party faithful. This year about 60,000 Minnesotans are expected to participate. “We expect to be very active in our caucus this year getting voters for Rubio “ said Frank Mendez, Chair of HRAMN.
“We’re so excited to see a Latino candidate leading in a presidental poll in Minnesota,” stated Rick Aguilar, long time Republican activist and HRAMN founder.
Latino American Today reports that Marco Rubio records a strong third-place finish in the Iowa Caucuses, 300 votes short of second-place Donald Trump.
Ed Matthews CPA, ESQ
You have worked hard your entire life to earn an income and provide for your family. Now is the time to make sure you have an effective estate plan in place to provide financial certainty and peace of mind for you and your loved ones.
Estate planning is the creation of a definite plan for maintaining your wealth while you are alive and distributing it after you pass away. When people are asked to summarize their estate planning goals, most say:
• They want their estate to be distributed to the people they choose according to their wishes;
• They want to avoid excessive attorney’s fees, court costs and unnecessary delays in passing their property; and
• They want to avoid, or at least minimize, the payment of state and federal death taxes.
To accomplish these goals, it is imperative to work with a qualified professional who is knowledgeable in both estate law and taxation. Ed Matthews is one of the very few Minnesota estate planning attorneys who is also a currently licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA). He is therefore uniquely qualified to address all aspects of your estate planning needs.
Call today for a free, half-hour, no obligation consultation.
Rachel Limon moderates panel discussion
By Claud Santiago
The South American Trade Forum, held at the Minneapolis Events Center, attracted over a hundred attendees including, business leaders, diplomats, government and private sector trade experts and Latino community members. Participants were provided informative information about trade policies, trade opportunities and the personal make-up of many of the key countries in South America.
Carolina & Dustin DuFault, Vinacurean Tours, www.Vinacurean.com
Forum organizers: (far right) Silvia Ontaneda and Rachel Limon
Carolina Borja and Alonso Luengo Gómez Mont www.carolinaborjastudio.com
Patricia Byrantt, A Taste of the Farm
Ana Christian Monson Nerium, Independent Brand Partner
The forum also included a cultural expo and trade show, delicious South American cuisine and entertainment. Thanks to Silvia Ontaneda, Consul General de Ecuador to Minnesota and Rachel Limon, International Trade Representative, Minnesota Trade Office and the many volunteers and presenters, for organizing this successful event. We look forward to the next conference.
Consul General of Ecuador
By Isaac Evans
Business and political leaders from around the Midwest will converge on Minneapolis for the fourth annual South American Trade Forum on Wednesday, Oct. 28.
“This one-of-a-kind event helps promote bilateral trade and cultural understanding between Minnesota and South America,” Silvia Ontaneda, Consul General of Ecuador said. “The Trade Forum is an extremely valuable resource for businesses considering importing, exporting, or investing with the region and interested in hearing from Minnesotan and South American business and political leaders.”
The Trade Forum emphasizes knowing a culture in order for businesses to be successful in a region. To that end, attendees have the chance to take part in three panels throughout the day. The first brings together some of Minnesota’s most prominent companies that operate in South America to discuss strategies, market opportunities, successes, and operations in the region.
The second convenes Minnesota’s small business leaders to present on market entry opportunities, and successes in South America for small to medium-sized businesses. At the final panel, Representatives from South America discuss how to enter the market and opportunities they see for trade and investment.
“All panels offer attendees an invaluable resource for learning, and connecting with, leaders from Minnesota and South America,” Consul Ontaneda said. “Businesses considering importing, exporting, or investing within the region won’t want to miss this year’s event.”
Following the Trade Forum is the first-ever Cultural Exhibition from 5:30-9p.m. The exhibition gives patrons the opportunity to explore the cultures of seven different South American countries through food, drink, art, and live entertainment.
The forum will take place on Wednesday, October 28, from 8 a.m.-5:15p.m. at the Minneapolis Event Center. Admission is $95, which includes authentic South American food and drinks. Additional options include a combined ticket for the Trade Forum and the subsequent Cultural Exhibition for $125. Register at www.southamericantradeforum.com.
Marci Malzahn, Founder of Malzahn Strategic
By Marci Malzahn
When I was a little girl I used to play Monopoly with my siblings and I always volunteered to be the bank. I remember organizing all the money by denomination and giving my siblings loans so they could pay me when they landed on the coveted railroad stations.
When I came to Minnesota in January, 1986, I needed a job and I thought that since I enjoyed working with money, people, and computers, then a teller job at a bank should be fun. And it was. I applied to all the banks downtown Minneapolis and, after many rejection letters, one bank gave me the opportunity to work as a teller, Marquette Bank Minneapolis. At the time, I never imagined that this was the beginning of a long and exciting banking career.
I spent thirteen years with the Marquette Bank family, held nine jobs and was promoted several times. My last job was as branch manager of Marquette Capital Bank. Then I left banking and went to work for a non-profit organization. Five years later, one of my previous bosses at the bank, asked me to join him and start a bank. In 2005 we started building the team and the infrastructure for a brand new bank, Tradition Capital Bank, which opened July, 2005. After almost ten years and having held the positions of CFO, COO and CRO, I felt my mission at the bank was complete and decided to start a bank consulting practice helping other banks be successful by strengthening their infrastructure. I work with banks that need Strategic Planning, Enterprise Risk Management, and Talent Management expertise.
My career in banking has been very rewarding. Banking is a career that “just happens” to many people. I have met bankers who were previously teachers, dental hygienists, history majors, psychologists, farmers, and business owners who decided to get into the banking business with no banking background. Banking is a career that you can learn on the job, acquiring experience in every job you have through the years.
There are two paths that you can take in banking. The sales track or the operations track. If you like working with clients, are not afraid of selling, and understand numbers, then you could go the route of a personal banker, private banker, or business banker. They work with individuals and businesses to provide banking services. To get to these positions, a person usually starts as a teller, loan operations, or credit analyst. If you prefer to help the sales team ensure all the products they offer work correctly, that their clients are taken care of, and like to know how banking works behind the scenes, then you may do great in operations. There are some people that enjoy working with clients but they don’t want to sell. Customer service positions, operations assistants, and online banking specialists are great positions to do that.
If you enjoy working with numbers, preparing reports, and analyzing data, then a career in finance, treasury, and bank accounting would fit you well. These positions interact with the bank presidents and board of directors in small community banks. In large institutions, you may find yourself in a big team to perform these functions. In these positions, Microsoft Excel is your best friend so you would need to know it very well. There are also opportunities for the IT field, HR and Marketing within banking.
For those who like learning about banking regulations and writing procedures, then there is the never ending world of compliance, internal audit, and risk management. The credit area could be a combination of working with policies, procedures, credit analysis, working with new business clients, and also working with workout clients—the ones that didn’t pay their loans for whatever reason.
With the Latino population increasing in the US, many banks are looking for bilingual bankers. Therefore, unlike the perception that it may be hard to get into it, there are a lot of opportunities for Latinos to pursue a career in banking. If you speak fluent Spanish and English, are willing to learn banking and work hard, you can have a fruitful and fun career in banking. So yes, it could happen to you!
Marci Malzahn is a banking executive and founder of Malzahn Strategic, a community bank consultancy focused on strategic planning, enterprise risk management and talent management. You can contact Marci through her website at www.malzahnstratetic.com, and for speaking engagements please contact Preferred Speakers at www.preferredspeakers.com.
Elia Bruggeman, Deputy Education Officer at the Minneapolis Public Schools received the prestigious Mexican OHTLI award.
By Claud Santiago
The Consulate of Mexico in St. Paul located on East Seventh Street celebrated its 10th anniversary with a reception and program held on Harriet Island. Over 400 attendees including, Hispanic business, civic and political leaders along with St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and many other special guests and friends of the Hispanic community enjoyed a beautiful evening on the Mississippi River venue.
The past and current consuls attended the celebration they included, Nathan Wolf, Ana Luisa Fajer and current consul Alberto Fierro.
The Hispanic population in Minnesota grew 75 percent between 2000 and 2010 when, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, it reached 250,258. That number is not just in the Twin Cities: Large pockets of new immigrants have been settling in smaller communities like Worthington.
Pictured left to right: Rick Aguilar with past and current Consuls of Mexico: Nathan Wolf, Ana Luisa Fajer, and current Consul Alberto Fierro.
Pictured left to right: CLAC director Hector Garcia and Chris and Rebeca Sedarski at the celebration.
The Hispanic population in Minnesota grew 75 percent between 2000 and 2010 when, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, it reached 250,258. That number is not just in the Twin Cities: Large pockets of new immigrants have been settling in smaller communities like Worthington.
Pictured above, left to right: The staff from Academia Cesar Chavez (in the center) school founders Ramona and Francisco Rosales.
While Minnesota has drawn new residents from many different Latin American countries, Mexico remains a large source for immigrants.
By Claud Santiago
Santamaria Broadcasting, home of La Raza1400 am/1470am, Telemundo Minnesota, Santamaria Enterprises and El Nuevo Rodeo will be receiving the Hispanic Marketing Corporate Award, at the 19th annual Hispanic Marketing Conference & Awards, May 19th in St. Paul. Maya Santamaria, owner of Santamaria Broadcasting, will be receiving the award at the conference luncheon.
Santamaria is a talented Latina who has a degree in anthropology, directed two Latino art centers, and studied Mexican and Chicano music in Minnesota. Her music career included singing and promoting, and in 2003 Maya opened El Nuevo Rodeo, the most successful Mexican nightclub in the Twin Cities. La Raza radio followed and recently she added Telemundo Minnesota to her company list.
The Hispanic Marketing Corporate Award criteria includes: Hispanic marketing efforts, locally, regionally, nationally, efforts in hiring and promoting Hispanics, and involvement in the Hispanic community. The award selection committee all agreed that Santamaria Broadcasting was deserving of the award. Other award recipients include Miguel Luis Messianu, President-Chief Creative Officer of ALMA Advertising, Miami, Fl, and Doug Darfield, Managing Director Programming and Research at Hemisphere Media Group, Inc., Miami, Flordia. Michelle Headley, Vice President of Operations for ALMA will also be featured at the conference. To register for the conference go to the conference web site at www.aguilarproductions.com.
By Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin
Chief Operating Officer, Main Street Project
Agriculture – sustainable agriculture, specifically – has always been a part of my life. The farming principles that I learned growing up in Guatemala are the exact ones that serve as the backbone of Main Street Project’s approach – one that considers the social, economical and ecological impact every step of the way.
Since its founding in 2005, Main Street Project has resolved to build a resilient food system. Its approach focuses on developing a regional hub of small, highly efficient farms in rural communities that deliver healthy, wholesome food. At the heart of Main Street Project’s systems approach: chickens.
But it’s about more than just creating food – Main Street Project provides economic opportunities through farmer entrepreneurship for underemployed, marginalized community members and offers much-needed economic stimulation in rural communities.
The Main Street Project approach has been well received by the Latino community, and with chickens – a culturally familiar and economically feasible entry point for many immigrant populations – at the center of the system and an approach that emphasizes the importance of fully leveraging local growing conditions and crops, Main Street Project’s Regional Farm concept is poised to be replicated in communities far and wide.
(Pictured above) Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin feeding and observing the chickens
Sharing Main Street Project’s mission and approach nationally and internationally is an endeavor that aligns with my passions and values. It’s about doing what’s right … what’s right for the farmers, consumers, earth and communities. We have a long way to go, but our base of supporters continues to grow. The Minnesota Legislature recently honored me with a congratulatory resolution for my work with immigrant families in agriculture.
Reginaldo showing the process of harvesting the sunflowers
“I met Reginaldo a few years ago and I am impressed with his work and the rapid development of the new ideas he has brought to Minnesota’s agriculture,” said Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-District 22-B. “I support his work because it brings about new thinking and diversifies the options for farmers in the state who want to start making a transition to alternative farming systems, and brings about a system-level structure for new immigrants to raise their families while producing and delivering healthy foods to our markets.”
Main Street Project is committed to challenging what’s been coined as the “conventional approach.” This definition is a bit ironic given that there are generations of success stories to show the ecological and economic benefits of Main Street Project’s efficient approach. So let’s get to work on building and supporting a community of farmers that is committed to doing what’s right and sharing its knowledge to ensure access for all.
The Telemundo/La Raza staff celebrates at the launch event
Photo by Jesus Martinez
On Friday, 30th of January, Hispanic Television Broadcasting presented the Grand Opening of Comcast coverage for the newest and hottest Spanish Television Station, Telemundo Minnesota. The event was held in the beautiful 27 Event Center Ballroom in El Nuevo Rodeo in Minneapolis.
“KJNK Telemundo Minnesota Channel 25, along with La Raza Radio Stations, are proud to be the primary connection to the Hispanic Market in the Minneapolis area. “We are very excited to be on the Comcast lineup and to partner with Comcast to provide even more value to the advertising community,” stated Maya Santamaria, CEO of Santamaria Broadcasting and Hispanic Television Broadcasting. Telemundo was recently acquired by NBC Universal and is the top-rated Television Network for Latinos in the country.
One of the future benefits to the local community with the creation of a local Telemundo Affiliate will be the introduction of new and exciting local programming geared to the Hispanic viewer. Plans are underway to develop programs with a local flavor that will present news, sports, entertainment and coverage of local events that will be of interest to the Hispanic community.
(Pictured left) Maya Santamaria, CEO of Santamaria Broadcasting and Hispanic Television Broadcasting
Telemundo MN, in conjunction with La Raza 1400 and 1470 radio stations, will bring the community together en mass with its Special Events, showing the power of the stations within the community. KJNK Telemundo Minnesota will be Producing major Latino local community events in 2015 like Cinco de Mayo, Big-name Latin concerts, and Mexican Rodeos. In the summer of 2015, the station will bring to Minneapolis La Banda Ms, one of the most exciting and popular bands from Mexico for an outdoor Rodeo that promises to be one the Largest Events of the year. Telemundo Minnesota also sponsors ongoing Regional Mexican and Tropical Music concerts at El Nuevo Rodeo.
Telemundo Minnesota channel 25 can now be seen on Comcast channel 100 and Digital Channel 624. To contact Telemundo Minnesota, call (612) 728-0101 or Sales Manager Nick Lopez at (612)594-6300.
Last year I spoke at the Latina Women Leadership Program offered by St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN. There were about 15 Latina professional women in the group and I was impressed with their level of education and the variety of careers represented in the class. The workshop was very fun to do and I came home energized and excited about all the new connections I had made. I told my husband, “There is more women like me, right here in Minnesota!”
When I said those words, I suddenly realized how much support I have missed by being on my own in Corporate America, navigating the executive positions and the board rooms alone. We all know that being a professional executive woman is lonely… Being a Latina professional executive woman is even lonelier—or at least that has been my experience here in the Midwest.
I have to admit, I have not been very involved with the Latino community in Minnesota since I came here 28 years ago. The main reason is that I wanted to “melt in the melting pot” and not be seen as different. But the truth is—I am different. I am unique. I came here with all my values, morals, and my own cultural background, which is a combination of my native country of Nicaragua and Dominican Republic, the country that took my family in for seven years after the revolution in 1979.
Yes, I am different and unique, which is what makes me “me.” And I love that! I am a professional Latina woman. At the same time, I’m no different than other professionals—male or female—when you consider what a true professional is.
I just gave a presentation based on James Ball’s book called Professionalism Is for Everyone. In his book, Mr. Ball shares the five key characteristics that distinguish a professional: Character, Attitude, Excellence, Competency, and Conduct. You see, it doesn’t matter where you’re from or if you’re male or female, what matters is that you conduct yourself as a professional—consistently. But, is that enough to succeed?
There are three key challenges we face as Latina Women professionals:
The first challenge is the language barrier – Depending on when you arrived in the United States, you may have a strong accent, which makes it difficult to communicate. You can improve in your pronunciation just by practicing but also just embrace your accent and have fun with it. It’s a great conversation point! You must, however, dominate the English language and know it well.
The second challenge is being considered a “person of color.” It doesn’t matter where you’re from, if you’re not from Scandinavian descent, here in Minnesota, you’re considered “dark skin” and “Hispanic.” I had to learn to accept that even though I have very fair skin and get freckles when exposed to the sun, here in Minnesota, I’m dark. Oh well!
The third challenge is that you are a woman. Women across America are still facing the same challenge of pay equity for same types of jobs, or lack of promotions, or simply not belonging to the “boys’ club.”
So what are you going to do about these challenges? What can you do?
Here is how you can help each other and those that are coming after you:
• Find each other! Once you find other professional women, reach out and stay connected.
• Connect other Latina women with those you know and introduce them to people that may be able to give them new opportunities in the future.
• Mentor someone younger and teach them what you’ve learned to navigate the corporate world.
• Sponsor someone. Sponsoring goes beyond an introduction. It is when you put your reputation at risk for that person so they have a better chance of getting a promotion or a specific job.
• Continue your own education. Get your credentials in place so you can compete for higher positions.
• Never give up trying.
Enjoy and embrace being a Latina professional woman. You are unique and you are special. Your contributions are needed right here in Minnesota as well as the rest of the U.S.
Marcia (Marci) Malzahn is a native of Nicaragua. She came to Minnesota in 1986 and started a career in banking. After 13 years in banking, she moved to the non-profit field and switched careers to technology. In 2005 Marci returned to banking, this time to start a new bank. She started as CFO and VP of Operations and was the first employee. In her role, Marci oversaw all the operations areas of the bank, which included Finance, IT, Compliance, Internal Audit, Deposit/Loan Operations, Office Management, and HR. Her last position was Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Risk Officer of the bank.
Starting the bank allowed Marci the opportunity to lead various teams and to work with attorneys, auditors, regulators, vendors, Board of Directors, shareholders, senior management, and employees. Marci has been in management for the past 18 years and 13 of those years in senior executive leadership positions.
After almost ten years of growing the bank from zero to $300 million in assets, Marci decided to start her own bank consulting practice, Malzahn Strategic, focusing on Strategic Planning, Enterprise Risk Management and Talent Management for small community banks. Marci is also a public speaker and author of her book Devotions for Working Women. She’s working on her second book, which she hopes to publish in 2015.
ALPFA Board and corporate partner UnitedHealth Group: (Back row) Sandy Lehman (UHG), Javier Casillas Ortiz, Radhames Nova, Chris Fernandez, and Andres Reza; (Front Row) Marianella Cardenas, Adria Cordova, Alex Gonzalez, Elisa Baral, Anne Leighton (UHG), and Diana Solis
With more than 23,000 members nationwide, ALPFA, Inc. has been and continues to be the largest Professional Latino Association in the United States. ALPFA’s national repertoire consists of 130 student chapters, 42 professional chapters, and has served the community for 42 years.
The local ALPFA Twin Cities chapter, reestablished in 2013, continues to grow! UnitedHealth Group hosted ALPFA Twin Cities’ first annual Corporate Breakfast Reception on October 15, 2014, at their newest Optum location in Eden Prairie. In addition to UnitedHealth Group employees, representatives were in attendance from companies such as General Mills, Thomson Reuters, Travelers, COUNTRY Financial, Target, Best Buy, US Bank, KPMG, Cargill, Ecolab, Advantage Sales & Marketing, Unilever, and Owning It! The BOLD! FACTOR.
Anne Leighton, a Talent Acquisition Manager at UnitedHealth Group, gave an overview of the Company’s lines of business and shared their integration and influence in the Latino market.
She demonstrated how diversity and inclusion are embedded into their organization’s values of integrity, compassion, relationships, innovation and performance, and how it is necessary to accomplish their overall mission of helping people live healthier lives in their communities. This was followed by a national update from Radhames Nova, Executive Director of the ALPFA Boston chapter. Radhames shared ALPFA’s vision under the new direction of Charlie Garcia, ALPFA’s CEO.
ALPFA is undergoing the most important transformation in its 42-year history. Charlie’s vision includes growing from our current 23,000 members to 100,000 in the next 3 years! From the Twin Cities chapter, Andres Reza, President, gave an overview of the chapter’s history and recent activity. This was followed by impact and reflections given by Diana Solis, ALPFA Board Member, and Zach Shapiro, ALPFA Student Board Member, who shared their inspiring ALPFA stories and the positive impact ALPFA has on their personal and professional lives. Concluding remarks were given by Elisa Baral, VP of Corporate Partnerships, which was followed by networking.
Andres Reza, President of ALPFA Twin Cities, giving an overview of the chapter
Thank you again to UnitedHealth Group for hosting this event, and to all of our sponsors for your support! Current Sponsors include: UnitedHealth Group, COUNTRY Financial, Target, General Mills, Thomson Reuters and Travelers.
If you are interested in a partnership with the ALPFA Twin Cities chapter, please contact Elisa Baral (email@example.com) or Javier Casillas Ortiz (Javier.firstname.lastname@example.org), VPs of Corporate Partnerships.
By Javier Casillas Ortiz
L to R: Andres Reza, President, ALPFA Twin Cities; Katie Herron, Agency Career Consultant COUNTRY Financial; Jeff Picco, Agency Manager COUNTRY Financial; Ana Maya, Executive Vice President, ALPFA Twin Cities; Elisa Baral, VP of Corporate Development, ALPFA Twin Cities; and Rick Aguilar, Founder and Publisher, Latino American Today
With more than 23,000 members nationwide, ALPFA, Inc. has been and continues to be the largest Professional Latino Association in the United States. ALPFA’s national repertoire consists of 120+ student chapters, 40+ professional chapters, and has served the community for more than 42 years. At ALPFA, we strive to empower and develop Latinos as leaders of character for the American and global market.
ALPFA’s local affairs have become more substantial by the day. ALPFA Twin Cities, a chapter that was inactive for several years, was reestablished last year, in 2013, and started with just a handful of members. The talented group of leaders from the ALPFA Twin Cities board has grown their membership, and built relationships with various partners in the community. This success wouldn’t be possible without the help and support from our corporate sponsors which include COUNTRY Financial, UnitedHealth Group, General Mills, Thomson Reuters, Travelers, Target and Rosa Mexicano. We see the need the Twin Cities has for Latino leaders and act upon it by fostering the development of the Latino professional network in Minnesota.
“At COUNTRY Financial we are proud to partner with ALPFA as they grow their footprint in the Twin Cities. We are passionate about helping our communities grow, and the Latino community is one such segment we are excited to grow with. With the leadership and members in ALPFA, they have the makings to be very successful and help their members grow as professionals.”
As members of a non-profit organization, we see the importance of our involvement in the community, which is why our members and board members volunteer for local organizations such as; La Oportunidad, Inc., C.L.U.E.S., and the AVID Program at the St. Paul Public Schools, among others. Our events are our primary method of reaching the community and building the Latino professional network in Minnesota.
L to R: Phil Haug, Agency Manager COUNTRY Financial; Javier Casillas Ortiz, VP of Corporate Development, ALPFA Twin Cities; Steve Walker, Agency Manager COUNTRY Financial; Elisa Baral, VP of Corporate Development, ALPFA Twin Cities; Ana Maya, Executive Vice President, ALPFA Twin Cities; Matt Maus, VP of Marketing, ALPFA Twin Cities; Katie Herron, Agency Career Consultant COUNTRY Financial; Jeff Picco, Agency Manager COUNTRY Financial; Kevin Thompson, Agency Field Executive COUNTRY Financial; and Andres Reza, President, ALPFA Twin Cities
COUNTRY Financial made ALPFA TC’s first sponsored event possible on September24, 2014, at Green Mill in uptown and was a great success! Members got the opportunity to network while enjoying appetizers and refreshments. A panel style presentation by an outstanding team of Agency Managers from COUNTRY Financial followed the networking. The presentation focused on life insurance; attendees learned how much life insurance one needs, the cost of life insurance, the difference between the various types of life insurance and had an opportunity to get their questions answered. Thank you again to COUNTRY Financial for your support and for such a wonderful event!
By Jose Villa, Sensis (pictured left)
As we enter the second open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act this fall, attention will inevitably turn to driving enrollment among the so-called “young and healthy” segment of 18- to 34-year-old consumers, many of whom are Hispanics. It has been well documented that the initial rollout of the ACA in the fall of 2013 saw early challenges in enrolling “young and healthy” Hispanics. Numerous studies and news reports identified three key challenges to Latino enrollment: lack of trust, lack of awareness (Commonwealth Fund survey), and need for one-on-one education.
The success in driving Latino enrollment during the final month of Covered California open enrollment (252,000 signed up) was largely attributed to expanded community partnerships, face-to-face interactions and in-language support. However, there has been limited research into the mindset of Hispanic Millennials on the topic of health to better understand some of the potential psychographic drivers behind their decisions to enroll and their underlying attitudes and beliefs related to health care.
The recently published second wave of the Hispanic Millennial Project research study, entitled “Hispanic Millennials & Healthcare,” provides one of the first glimpses into the health-related attitudes and beliefs of Hispanic Millennials. The study dives deep into Hispanic Millennial motivators and mindsets around health, wellness, diet, exercise, adoption of health related technology, health care insurance knowledge and enrollment and attitudes towards the ACA.
Some of the key findings of the research show Hispanic Millennials:
• Rate their overall health more positively compared to non-Hispanic Millennials
• Report lower levels of stress compared to non-Hispanic Millennials
• View diabetes as the illness they are most concerned about getting in the future
• Have adopted technology into their health maintenance
Hispanic Millennials and non-Hispanic Millennials, older Hispanics (35+), as well as comparing foreign-born vs. U.S. born Hispanic Millennials and Hispanic Millennials based on gender and income. These comparisons uncover some interesting insights, such as:
• When compared with non-Hispanic Millennials, Hispanic Millennials are more likely to resist seeing a doctor unless it’s absolutely necessary and when they do consult a doctor, they are more likely to get a second opinion
• Foreign-born Hispanic Millennials are more likely to define health as “having no physical problems” while U.S. born Hispanic Millennials are likely to define health as “feeling good” or “being fit”
• Hispanic Millennials are more in favor of the Affordable Care Act compared to non-Hispanic Millennials
• Foreign-born Hispanic Millennials are significantly more likely to choose traditional home remedies over medicine
• Male Hispanic Millennials are more optimistic about their health than Hispanic Millennial females
The research also reveals some very important points of tension that characterize the health and wellness attitudes of Hispanic Millennials. These points of tension center on trust and frequency of doctor visits, inner well-being versus outside appearance, and the trustworthiness of online health information.
The big takeaways for health care marketers are that Hispanic Millennials have nuanced and sophisticated attitudes about health. They are early adopters of health technology. And while they continue to live in two worlds when it comes to health, many of their traditional cultural influences are becoming more aligned with mainstream attitudes embraced by non-Hispanic Millennials.
By Louis Barajas
I recently attended a National Latina Business Women Association (NLBWA) meeting in Los Angeles. As I heard 25 women around the room introduce themselves and the businesses they owned, I couldn’t help but think about the critical role they are going to play in helping the U.S. economy recover.
In general, women-owned firms contribute $3 trillion annually to the U.S. economy and account for 16% of all jobs. Recent research shows that all women entrepreneurs will create 5 to 5.5 million new jobs across the U.S. by 2018 – more than half of the total new small-business jobs expected to be created during that time, and about one-third of the total new jobs anticipated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
According to the latest Kauffman Firm Survey, Latina-owned businesses, in fact, represent the fastest-growing segment of the women-owned business market. Between 2010 and 2012, their businesses increased by 172 percent. Also, according to a 2012 Corporate Inclusion Index of the Hispanic Association for Corporate Responsibility (HACR), Latinas are starting businesses at a rate six times the national average. MANA, a Latina organization and a coalition member of HACR, conducted the research.
Our American Dream:
So why is there such growth in entrepreneurship among women and especially Latinas? My conversations and consultations with Latinas over the years has taught me that they have been disappointed with corporate America. They aren’t promoted enough, they are misunderstood culturally, and they get paid less than men and non-Hispanic women. Also, since many Latinas put family first, they also feel the stress of having to balance work and family life. For these reasons, many Latinas (and women in general) are starting their own small businesses at unprecedented rates despite the difficult economy.
I also believe that women-owned businesses are going to be best suited for our new economy. The experience I have in consulting entrepreneurs has taught me that women go about running their businesses much differently than their male counterparts. The following are just a couple of reasons why I strongly believe that women will not only build sustainable businesses to help the U.S. economy recover, but also create the life work balance they search for.
Women focus on building businesses, not just creating jobs for themselves so that they can be available for their family. Women have larger social networks and typically reach out to others for help. Women look to build a business in which they depend on others to help them grow. The secret that women understand is that if they have to be at their business all day long, they don’t own a business, they own a job. Their priority on family is the driving force behind building a growing and sustainable business.
U.S. Directory of LATINA-Owned Businesses is an online directory of Latina Business Owners and Professionals that helps site visitors quickly find and do business with Latina entrepreneurs. Visit www.latinamarketplace.com.
By Erik Sass
It’s not news that Hispanic millennials born in the U.S. are more likely to consume English-language media than their foreign-born counterparts -- but what may be surprising is that U.S.-born Hispanic millennials also appear to consume Spanish-language media more than older Hispanics born in the U.S.
That’s according to data from the Hispanic Millennial Project, a collaboration between Sensis and ThinkNow Research.
Among Hispanic millennials born in the U.S., 19% said they consume only English-language media, with another 22% consuming “mostly” English-language media, Sensis and ThinkNow found. Some 40% said they consume English- and Spanish-language media equally, 10% said they consume mostly Spanish-language media, and 9% said they consume only Spanish-language media. By comparison, among foreign-born Hispanic millennials, 31% said they consume “mostly” Spanish-language media, and just 7% said they consume only English-language media.
These findings are generally in line with the standard acculturation model, but interestingly, U.S.-born Hispanic millennials were also more likely to say they consume both English- and Spanish-language media than their older U.S.-born counterparts: among Hispanics ages 35-64 who were born in the U.S., 32% said they consume English- and Spanish-language media equally, compared to 40% for Hispanic millennials.
The difference could be the result of a number of factors, including a greater desire to embrace Hispanic identity among younger U.S.-born Hispanics and their parents (versus previous generations’ desire to “blend in”), and growing availability of Spanish-language media over time.
Media companies and research outfits are grappling with the complexity of this rapidly growing market.
In May, Pulpo Media, a cross-platform digital media network targeting Hispanic audiences, unveiled a new acculturation model that combines online and offline data to create more targeted segments within the overall U.S. Hispanic market. The model combines data from the U.S. Census with proprietary first- and third-party data, including country of birth, parent’s country of birth, age of immigration, number of years spent in the U.S., language preference at home and English proficiency, and analyzes the data to create segments that can be targeted down to the ZIP code level.
By Jose Villa, Sensis Agency
Los Angeles, CA
I think it’s official – Hispanic Millennials are on the top of most of Hispanic marketer’s minds these days. As I’ve discussed in past articles, all the buzz and excitement around Hispanic Millennials has led to a lot of research that has only started to scratch the surface into this complex and largely misunderstood segment of the Hispanic market. This is why my agency, Sensis together with our partners at ThinkNow Research have decided to undertake an ambitious research initiative called The Hispanic Millennial Project.
The study and research will be conducted and released in waves in 2014 and early 2015, where each wave of The Hispanic Millennial Project will focus on a different topic relevant to this segment.
Going into this new research, we knew that Hispanic Millennials made up the second largest Hispanic cohort living in the United States. In 2013, Hispanic Millennials accounted for 25% of all Hispanics. They also account for a sizeable proportion of all Millennials. Out of all Millennials living in the United States, 21% were identified as being Hispanic. (Geoscape American Marketscape 2013)
Hispanic Millennials have grown up in a historic time for the U.S., facing the great recession, the war on terror, unprecedented growth in the size and influence of Hispanics, healthcare reform, and high unemployment. This evolving landscape has shaped the way that this segment views the world around them. In this first wave of research we wanted to gain a deeper understanding on how these challenges influence the worldview of Hispanic Millennials, and how these perceptions are different from those of older Hispanic segments as well as their non-Hispanic counterparts. By diving into the mindset of Hispanic Millennials, we could help brands gain a deeper understanding on how to message them and engage with them in a more culturally and psychographically relevant ways.
Two of the lead findings of wave 1 of Hispanic Millennial Project are that Hispanic Millennials are more satisfied with the direction of the U.S. and more driven by the “American Dream” than non-Hispanic Millennials.
Hispanic Millennials are more positive about the direction of the U.S.
Despite the hardships that this generation has faced, the outlook of Hispanic Millennials on the direction of the United States remains optimistic. When asked, “How satisfied are you with the direction that the U.S. is going in?”, 63% of Hispanic Millennials indicated that they were either “Very Satisfied” or “Somewhat Satisfied” with the current direction of the U.S. This is noticeably different from the response of non-Hispanic Millennials, where only 39% indicated that they were either “Very Satisfied” or “Somewhat Satisfied” with the current direction of the country.
Hispanic Millennials are more driven by the “American Dream”
Hispanic Millennials still believe in and strive for the “American Dream.” When asked how much they agree with the statement, “The ‘American Dream’ is something I believe in,” 71% indicated that they either “Completely Agree” or “Somewhat Agree” with this statement and 67% indicated that it is something that they strive for. This contrasts with non-Hispanic Millennials, where only 55% indicated that they believe in the “American Dream” and only 54% stated that it is something they strive for.
So what does this mean for marketers, brands and other organizations looking to reach and engage with Hispanic Millennials? What brands resonate with Hispanic Millennials and how do their views on higher education and entrepreneurship differ from older Hispanics and non-Hispanic Millennials? We dive into these questions and more in the full report, which you can download for free at HispanicMillennialProject.com.
Pictured: Left to right: Isabel Valdes, Vicky Wong, Lisa Skriloff, Pepper Miller, and Rick Aguilar
The 18th annual Multicultural Marketing Conference and Awards Luncheon was held on March 26, 2014 at the prestigious Woman’s Club of Minneapolis, presented by Aguilar Productions. This all day conference drew an audience of over 120 marketing professionals who were treated to an outstanding array of presentations by three of the country’s leading multicultural marketing experts.
The featured presenters included:
Isabel Valdes, Principal, Isabel Valdes Consulting, San Francisco, CA
Pepper Miller, President, The Hunter-Miller Group, Inc., Chicago, IL
Vicky Wong, President & CEO, DAE Advertising, San Francisco, CA
The awards luncheon honored these presenters for their outstanding leadership in developing the multicultural marketing industry. In addition, Lisa Skriloff, President of Multicultural Marketing Resources, Inc. New York, NY was honored for her promotion of the multicultural marketing and her company’s 20th anniversary in the industry.
Presenting sponsor was Metropolitan State University, and conference sponsors included, U.S. Bank, Hilton Minneapolis, Minnesota Twins and La Raza 1400 am. Media sponsors included Latino American Today, LatinVision Media, Multicultural Marketing Resources, Inc., and Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium.
“The speakers were phenominal and the topics were relevant.”
Rachel Limon, Minnesota Trade Office
“The selection and caliber of speakers was exceptional.”
Liz Pangerl, Casa Valencia
“The speakers were all very informative and interesting.”
Amy Kuehn, marketing manager, Minnesota Timberwolves.
“Location was great, speakers were wonderful and the networking was fun.”
Tana Douville, Minnesota Housing Finance Agency
Pictured: Rachel Limón
Rachel Limón, International Trade Representative of the State of Minnesota’s Minnesota Trade Office, was awarded the Minnesota Consular Corps prestigious Business Leadership Award 2013 at the Minneapolis Club. The event was attended by more than 150 academic, diplomatic, commercial and international attendees on February 12, 2014.
The Minnesota Consular Corps recognizes individuals, community groups, non-profit organizations, and business establishments located in the states of jurisdiction that have demonstrated sustained commitment and outstanding achievements in the pursuit of cultural diversity through human rights advocacy and protection, outstanding community service and excellence in business leadership.
Rachel Limón is the State of Minnesota’s Minnesota Trade Office (MTO) International Trade Representative for Latin America & the Caribbean. She assists Minnesota companies identify and develop export strategies and opportunities in the international marketplace. She has created a successful program called the Latin America Seminar Series, which has served to assist Minnesota companies to increase their exports to Latin America. Through her work with the Consulate of Ecuador, they jointly created the very successful Annual South America Trade Forum. Rachel organized and led the IT Delegation during Governor Jesse Ventura’s Trade Mission to China, in 2002.
She organized and participated in Governor Pawlenty’s Trade Missions to China 2005, India 2007 and South America 2009. She has assisted with Governor Dayton’s trade missions to Japan & Korea, China and Europe.
Rachel has several years of International management experience. Prior to joining the MTO, Rachel worked as an International Distributor Representative for Skyline Displays, an international tradeshow booth design and manufacturing facility in Eagan, Minnesota. She provided consultation and training to the international distributor network in Latin America, Europe and Asia. She also worked for a telecommunications manufacturer in Wisconsin as a Sales and Marketing Manager and traveled extensively throughout her seven state territory in the southeastern part of the U.S.
Rachel graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a Master’s Degree in International Management and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Spanish and Psychology. She speaks fluent Spanish. Rachel has several years of international experience and has lived and studied in Mexico. She has also traveled extensively throughout Latin America, Europe and Asia. Rachel served on the Executive Board of the Minnesota –Uruguay Partners of the Americas as Chairman with prior positions of Vice President of Membership and Co-Chairs of Business and Economic Development and Youth at Risk Committees.
She is nationally recognized award winning artist, very active in her community in the arts serving on several art boards, a tour guide of the Native Americas Galleries at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Art Instructor at the White Bear Lake Center for the Arts, Volunteer at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and devoted wife, mother, family member and friend.
Rachel Limón | Minnesota Trade Office | 651-259-7492 | Rachel.email@example.com
Pictured: Mary Beissel
Local business woman Mary Beissel has achieved the status of Mary Kay Independent National Sales Director—an honor only 600 women have accomplished out of the 3 million Mary Kay independent sales force members worldwide.
Mary Kay Independent National Sales Directors are known for their business acumen and are considered leaders within the independent sales force. They often mentor other Mary Kay business owners by sharing best practices, knowledge and guidance on running a successful business.
Beissel came from humble beginnings as the daughter of Lebanese immigrants who instilled their six children with drive and optimism—factors she claims guided her to success today. Her mother’s family came from Lebanon, and she was born and raised in Mexico City for 19 years before coming to America so I love my heritage and the bonds I have developed within the Latina Market. It has presented a wonderful opportunity to me. I have leaders here locally in Minnesota as well as in several cities across the nation.
Many women come to us for skin care and color advice and love our products. Latinas are accustomed to excellent quality and they appreciate the product guarantee we offer. Entrepreneurial women are looking for great products but also additional income or to replace professional level incomes with balance in their lives. These women are drawn to Mary Kay’s values of Faith, Family and Career.
“I am so proud of my experience with the women I have in our group and I always welcome women who want more for themselves and their families to take a good look at our products and our opportunity,” Beissel said.
Before her Mary Kay business Beissel was a critical care nurse. The longer hours were not ideal for her as she was trying to start a family. In 1978 another nurse working with Beissel introduced her to Mary Kay, and she quickly embraced the open-ended financial opportunities and flexibility a Mary Kay business had to offer.
More than 30 years later, after earning multiple awards and the use of 16 Mary Kay pink Cadillacs, Beissel is most proud of the education she has been able to provide to her three children. Private school educations and three degrees from top colleges in the nation for all three of her children were made possible through Beissel’s hard-work in her Mary Kay business.
Beissel is a firm believer in success through servant leadership. “Leading by example has helped me become a better leader, and build better leaders for the future,” said Beissel. “One of my favorite things I am able to do is help mentor other women with their Mary Kay businesses. No matter their background or their reason for having a Mary Kay business, I try to emphasize the importance of becoming a positive, grateful, humble, and above all, reliable person to become a successful leader.”
Beissel will be recognized for reaching this accomplishment of Mary Kay Independent National Sales Director at Mary Kay’s annual Seminar in Dallas this summer.
“We are excited for Mary as she begins her new role as Independent National Sales Director in her Mary Kay business,” said Darrell Overcash, President of Mary Kay U.S. “Mary’s hard work, determination and professionalism helped pave her way towards reaching this prestigious status. Her success represents what can be achieved with the Mary Kay opportunity.”
Pictured: Dennis Nguyen
Meeting with local Hispanic business owners at Mercado Central on E. Lake street in Minneapolis, Dennis Nguyen candidate for Minnesota Secretary of State, pledges his support for the Hispanic business community and commends their great achievements and the important role they play in Minnesota’s economic growth. With Nguyen for this visit and tour is Rick Aguilar, a Twin Cities business leader and one of the founders of the Minnesota Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in the 80’s and Chair of the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce in the year 2000. The candidate for the Secretary of State is here to meet the Hispanic business owners who transformed this area from what in the 1980’s had become a decaying urban wasteland, home to closed businesses and boarded up storefronts, to the thriving commercial district it is today. Walking down E. Lake street towards Bloomington Avenue you can see a big smile on Dennis Nguyen’s face. It is the realization of the American Dream and Dennis Nguyen is on a mission to make sure that the dream stays alive. His vision for Minnesota is to help small businesses like those on E. Lake street grow and create more jobs. Nguyen commented to Aguilar and others on the “wonderful ecomomic development that has happened in this area.” Nguyen goes onto say that “without the enterprise and hard work of the Hispanic business owners none of this would have ever been possible.”
When Sears moved out of its vast E. Lake street building in 1994, it was seen by many as the final nail in the coffin for this already doomed area. That changed in 1999 when the building was taken over by the business co-operative formed by local Hispanic and ethnic immigrants and you now have the thriving Global Market, in the location, along with the Allina headquarters. You also count in the opening of Mercado Central which also opened in the late 90’s. This was an opportunity to offer Hispanic businesses affordable rent fees to help create a center for businesses trading in Latino products and services. Mercado Central is now a major attraction in the Twin Cities.
Dennis Nguyen knows full well that the Hispanic business corridors on E. Lake street in Minneapolis and Cesar Chavez street and Payne Avenue in Saint Paul represent the important role the Hispanic business community plays in the growth of the Twin Cities, and throughout towns and cities in Minnesota. Many business corridors were left mostly abandoned following an exodus to the suburbs in the 70’s and late 80’s but the Hispanic immigrants didn’t see an abandoned corridor, they saw the opportunity, they saw the “American Dream” and the chance to open their own businesses and create jobs in the community. Listening to the concerns of these business owners on this day, Nguyen is concerned they need to be able to grow, get more capitol and assistance and it’s his idea to start a business hub at the Secretary of State’s offices that could assist these new business owners. Nguyen understands the importance of the immigrant communities and what they can contribute to Minnesota’s economy. In his own words Nguyen stated, “I want to keep the American Dream alive for the immigrant communities and make Minnesota a state where business thrives and immigrants get the opportunity to vote and make a difference.”
Photo by Scott Foreman
By Rick Aguilar
Pictured to the left: Ben Martinez
One of my favorite restaurants in the Twin Cities is the Downtowner Woodfire Grill located a few blocks from the Xcel Energy Arena on West 7th Street in St. Paul. I love the great food, good people watching and free parking. The owner Moe Sharif offers a truly unique experience for Twin Cities Diners.
A few weeks ago Moe introduced me to Ben Martinez, one of his managers and I could tell that Moe was really pleased with this young man. I was impressed with his charming personality and his articulate use of both Spanish and English. Later that day I met with Ben to find out more about his past. Ben Martinez was born in Oaxaca, Mexico. His father was born in Veracruz, Mexico and his mom was from Wisconsin. He lived in Mexico until his parents got a divorce and his mom moved him and his brother and sister to Minnesota when he was in grade school.
Ben didn’t really know how to speak English when he moved here so he attended Adams Spanish Immersion School for the opposite reason – to learn English. Ben even went to summer school to make sure he kept learning. After that he would visit his family in Mexico every summer, and his mom always made sure he would speak Spanish with family members so he wouldn’t forget how to speak it.
Ben started working when he was thirteen, the Science Museum had a special program for kids in junior high, he was a lab partner and would help guests with any questions about the exhibits; speaking both Spanish and English. He then started in the restaurant business when he was fifteen. He began as a busboy and a dishwasher and soon moved up to a waiter.
Ben really enjoyed the restaurant atmosphere and continued to work in various restaurants over the years developing his skills in all areas. Which brings me to where he is today as a manager at Downtowner Woodfire Grill working under the owner Moe Sharif and learning all he can from him.
You can tell that Ben loves working at this restaurant, with his great personality and the passion to please each and every customer with the best the Downtowner can offer. He is a great example of the many talented Latinos that work in the restaurant business here in the Twin Cities.
Ben explained that working in the business has brought him many things including meeting his wife and being able to support their beautiful baby girl. Someday he hopes to even own his own restaurant. I would bet that dream comes true for the energetic young man. Meanwhile when I visit the Downtowner I look forward to hearing “welcome amigo” from my new friend. Merry Christmas, Ben Martinez!
Downtowner Woodfire Grill is located at 253 West 7th Street St. Paul, MN 55102
Photo by Scott Foreman
By Esperanza Guerrero-Anderson and Jane Robles
Pictured to the left: Johanna and Ric Robles
I met Ricardo “Ric” Robles 30 years ago at a White House briefing on the political situation in Central America after the Sandanista Revolution. Ric worked for Cargill and had done business in Nicaragua and we knew many of the same people. In time we became very good friends. He was my coach, my mentor, my advisor, and when I lost my brother, he became a brother to me.
Ric was born and raised in the country of Panama and as a young student he had a strong desire to go to college in the United States. He applied for many scholarships and finally received one from Carleton College in Minnesota.
Ric joined Cargill right out of Carleton College in 1947. With Cargill’s blessing he volunteered for the army during the Korean War to obtain a U.S Citizenship. He had a strong belief in and devotion to the United States. He felt a responsibility to give back to the country that gave him so much opportunity. He had a great career and bought and sold many businesses for Cargill in Latin America. In 1991, he retired as president of the Pan American Division with all of Latin America reporting to him. He was admired and respected around the world.
Ric met his soul mate, Johanna, a Minnesota farm girl, his first day at Cargill. They were married 62 years and had 4 children, 3 boys and 1 girl and were blessed with 8 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
Ric had many passions but none was more important to him than to make a difference in his community. He served on the boards of directors of Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA), Minnesota International Center, Minnesota Orchestral Association, and two private banks. He was on the national board of Amigos de Las Americas and the international board of the Latin American Agribusiness Development Corporation.
A dedicated mentor and consultant, Ric took pride in helping corporate women to advance their careers and helping minority entrepreneurs to succeed, especially within the Hispanic community. He was a top fundraiser for MEDA and Milestone Growth Fund, both of which serve minority-owned businesses. He was active in the initiative to create a National Museum of the American Latino in Washington, D.C. He was inducted into Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s Twin Cities Volunteer Hall of Fame and received the Carleton College Distinguished Achievement Award.
Ric was extremely intelligent, with a deep thirst for knowledge, a natural curiosity, and an unbelievable memory, which made him a wonderful storyteller. He loved music, poetry, photography, technology, traveling, dancing, arts, history, literature, politics, and economics, and in retirement he became an accomplished cook.
Ric had a strong spiritual connection and lived in the present, with total confidence that whatever happened in his life would be okay; it was God’s will.
Pictured to the left: Ric Robles and his family
Above all, family was the accomplishment of which he was most proud. In his own words to his family, “You, who are most of the petals of a symbolic rose that defines my senses, my being, my life’s flower. How nice to realize that the gift of life is still worth the unavoidable pain, the sense of shrinking time, the re-sorting of priorities, the enjoyment of family in its broadest sense. You are the most important part of my existence” Ric passed peacefully on October 7, 2013. His passing has left a hole in many hearts, for a great man who embodied the spirit of America and everything it stood for.
Hasta pronto, Panameño bello…
Esperanza Guerrero-Anderson arrived in Minnesota from her native Nicaragua in 1978. The former president/CEO of MEDA and founder/CEO of Milestone Growth Fund, she currently consults with Minnesota-based private companies on building exceptional boards of directors.
Latino conservative leaders from the Midwest, will meet in St. Paul for the Latino Voter Outreach Midwest Conference that will take place at the Neighborhood House on October 12. The conference agenda will include discussions of issues and topics that are important to the Latino community. Since the 2012 presidental election the national media has focused on the historic turnout of Latino voters and how the vote will be important to both the Democrat and Republican parties in future elections. Many Republican and conservative leaders will attend the conference to gain insights and strategies in an effort to reach out to Latino voters.
Keynote presenter, Rachel Campos-Duffy, is the spokesperson for the Libre Initiative, an organization that promotes economic liberty, empowerment and opportunity for Latinos.
Other presenters include, Angel Garcia who is president of the Chicago Young Republicans, a nationally recognized award winning club, and serves on the Illinois Republican Party’s State Central Committee. Angel has worked on numerous local, state and national campaigns. In addition he served as Chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Cook County and is a political commentator for NBC Telemundo. Angel has a J.D. from the John Marshall Law School and an MBA from the Brennan School of Business. He currently works as an attorney and was a candidate for Cook County Clerk in 2010. Angel is a lifelong Chicago resident.
Steve Orlando who lives in Plainfield , IL, got involved in politics at the age of 15 and was active through college at Northern Illinois University with the NIU College Republicans. Orlando has served as Treasurer for the Federation of Illinois Young Republicans since 2009 and as Chairman of the Will County Chapter of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly from 2009 to 2011. In that time, Steve built the largest, most effective county chapter in Illinois.
Orlando re-organized the Illinois Republican National Hispanic Assembly in late 2011. Over the past year, Orlando’s organization has hosted events with former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, rising star George P. Bush, and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Nancy Hernandez, president and founder of Abrazo Multicultural Marketing and Communication with offices in Milwaukee and El Paso,TX will present “Latinos changing the face of the Midwest” offering attendees a look at the fastest growing population in the Midwest. Hernandez has more than 10 years of marketing experience and a master’s degree in business administration from Marquette University. She currently serves on the Council of Small Business Executives, Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin–Mil- waukee board of visitors, Milwaukee Public Library Foundation board and the Wisconsin Hispanic Conduit. She formerly sat on the board of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin.
Also from Milwaukee, Perfecto Rivera, who was a candidate for Congress, is a business and civic leader and a radio program host. Perfecto will present on a panel and discuss Latino is- sues in Wisconsin and his involvement in conservative politics. Perfecto is past chair of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin. From Marshall, MN, Bob Quasius is founder and president of Café Con Leche Republicans, a pro-immigrant Republican organization with members throughout the country. Bob has been active in Republican politics for more than 20 years, and is often quoted and interviewed in many Latino national media outlets.
For more conference information go to www.aguilarproductions.com click on the Latino Voter Outreach Conference link.
When the word Multiculturalism comes up in conversations, it draws a wide arrange of thoughts. The word itself refers to the ideas or policies that promote cultural diversity to the demographic make-up of a specific neighborhood, city or nation. Dwellers of cosmopolitan regions of the country are constant witnesses of the ethno-cultural evolution happening before our eyes. Because of multiculturalism, the general population and the ethnic groups are changing significantly. The fact is that the United States have forever welcomed the peoples of the world who have come into the country bringing a defining sense of multiculturalism. These influences are a huge factor in the shaping of the new social, political and economic landscape. At the same time, the interest of American businesses in the global markets to successfully take advantage of global operational differences, similarities and opportunities; have also created a co-dependency with international cultures that has helped reshape the way we understand multiculturalism.
Here are a few facts that business leaders (in financial services, healthcare, telecom, entertainment, retail and automotive) have paid attention to.
• Numerically, the US is being transformed. The latest census data clearly indicates that 114 million minorities live in the US.
• Close to 50% of students in kindergarten through 12th grade are minorities.
• The assimilation of Asians and Hispanics is happening faster today than it did for Poles, Irish and Italians arriving in America at the turn of the 20th century.
• Nine US counties in five states saw their minority populations surpass 50% last year. They were: Sutter and Yolo in California; Quitman in Georgia; Cumberland in New Jersey; Colfax in New Mexico; and Lynn, Mitchell, Schleicher and Swisher in Texas.
• Four states: Hawaii, California, New Mexico and Texas, as well as the District of Columbia have minority populations that exceed 50%.
Multiculturalism inevitably makes us think of immigration, but the reality is that immigrants are not the sole source of ethic growth in the United States.
As a matter of fact US Census data estimates released in 2012 shows that over 50% of children born in the U.S. were born to minorities. Census data also report that 92% of African Americans, 66% of US Hispanics and 33% of Asian Americans living in the US were born in the US. Ethnic young people who are born in the US are more likely to be bicultural, or even multicultural, in terms of taste or lifestyle. They grow surrounded by American culture but are still very much influenced by their parent’s heritage and that of the other many races and ethnic groups they interact with on a daily basis.
This bicultural evolution that we are witnessing on our societies has two contributing factors: (1) the fact that minorities are numerically too large to be overlooked, and (2) the fact that the general population has become much more receptive to multiculturalism. Instead of ethnic segments assimilating into the mainstream American culture, they are reshaping it.
Think “The Sofia Vergara Effect”. Sofia Vergara is a Colombian born actress residing in LA. Sofia’s work in both Spanish and English language TV, theater and movies has earned her international recognition. Here in the US, she endorses product lines with English and Spanish, endorsements and ads that reach beyond the traditional Hispanic marketplace.
In conclusion, multiculturalism is happening before our eyes, and we all play an important role in how we handle it for the betterment of our society. By the year 2043 non-Hispanic whites will no longer be the majority. This will lead way for the multicultural society to become what we call The New Majority.
For more information please contact:
Jose A. Segarra
Ethnic Technologies, LLC
Considering mobile advertising to Hispanics? Good idea… but pick the right target group.
It’s been widely documented that the adoption and use of mobile phones in the Hispanic community is as strong or stronger than any other segment of the population. But how does that translate into using the technology to market to or support the sale of products to Latinos? Interestingly, it’s a mixed bag.
In a June 2013, ThinkNow Research conducted a nationwide survey on mobile phone
use in the Hispanic community. The 500+ respondents were a cross-section of the U.S.
Hispanic population as a whole. The study focused on three key issues:
• The use of mobile phones to help with the shopping experience
• The use of mobile phones to help friends/relatives with their shopping experience
• Attitudes toward mobile phone advertising
Absolutely! In fact, more than 40% of Hispanics frequently use their phones to help with shopping, specifically in the areas of electronics, movies, grocery shopping and clothing. And asked if they’ve ever used their mobile phone to help, that number jumps to 75%! As you might expect, the group that uses their mobile phones the most to help with shopping is the 18-34 year olds. What we did find very interesting was those who primarily spoke Spanish at home were the most active group on their mobile phones. Also, those Hispanics with household incomes of more than $40k were significantly more likely to use their mobile phones than those with lesser incomes.
Yes, Hispanics use their phones to help others – at a rate of about 60%! And just like the general use of mobile phones for shopping, the strongest groups were the 18-34 year olds, those who primarily speak Spanish at home and those with HHI greater than $40k.
This was where it got really interesting!
On one level, the vast majority of Hispanics (74% overall) agreed that ads on mobile
phones are annoying (but who doesn’t?!). This was very consistent across all age groups. However, the high-acculturated segment found it significantly more annoying than their low-acculturated friends… by 27%! However, even though Hispanics find mobile phone ads annoying, there is still a big opportunity for advertisers (and mobile phone companies and service providers)! According to a study conducted in early 2013, Hispanics are not only high on the U.S. economy, they’ve got the money to spend. And it looks like mobile phones as a sales
and marketing channel will help them do just that!