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Keeping our community informed on our work -- where it's happening, when, and more importantly -- why.

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  • August 08, 2019 1:15 PM | Anonymous

    The sold out 2019 Latino Economic Forum was a complete success! Thank you to Title Partner, Wells Fargo, and Participating Partner, Chase and all who attended. The event featured experts on business succession, taxes, access to capital and social media on top of a macro economic overview from our event Keynote speaker. A special thank you to Abel J. Montanez, Wells Fargo Private Bank Regional Managing Director (LA Region) for his part in being instrumental in helping develop the content of this session, as well as moderating the event's phenomenal panel. For those that did not attend last week's Latino Economic Forum, following is a summary of our speakers:

    Sanjay Varshney (Keynote), PhD, CFA, investment strategy specialist, Wells Fargo Private Wealth Management Group. He provides thought leadership on investment management strategies and market commentary for Wells Fargo Private Bank and serves as professor of finance at California State University, Sacramento, as well as the chief economist for the Sacramento Business Review – one of the most comprehensive economic analysis and forecasting publications for California and the region. Varshney will provide an overview on global and local economies and offer tips on what business owners can do to remain competitive.

    Christopher Pegg, senior director of planning, Wells Fargo Private Wealth Management Group. He leads the wealth planning efforts for Wells Fargo Private Bank in California. A certified financial planner, he speaks and writes frequently on matters relating to tax law and wealth planning and has been quoted in various national publications. He is experienced in structuring asset protection strategies, business succession techniques as well as estate planning vehicles for business owners and their families. He will share strategies to help move family businesses to the next generation.

    Chirag Sagar, co-founder of Digital Luxury Agency, a global Internet marketing and branding agency and also a fundraising/syndication group, which has worked with over 3,000 Fortune 500 and small companies, governments, nonprofits and investment firms. He will discuss the importance of digital and social media in today’s business climate and some of the must-have tools needed to grow and succeed.

    Vanessa Torres, assistant vice president and business relationship manager, J.P. Morgan Chase. She supports business owners and community stakeholders in the Greater Los Angeles Area and serves on multiple internal advisory boards promoting corporate diversity and community mentorship. She will cover some of the access to capital and scaling challenges Latino and other entrepreneurs face and what they can do to overcome these hurdles.

    Vanessa Faggiolly, chief financial officer, Amerisal Foods, a privately-owned wholesale food distribution company that imports Latin American food products. She and her mother, Nora Saca, bought the financially struggling company in 2008, and today, it’s a multimillion-dollar enterprise with more than 500 employees and distributing products to supermarket chains such as Superior, Vallarta and El Super. Faggiolly will share how the El Salvadoran mother-daughter duo started with nothing and worked to achieve the American dream.

  • May 28, 2019 1:12 PM | Anonymous

    They are a diverse group: a corporate executive, an inventor, a coffee retailer, a parking and transportation services provider and the head of an influential business association. What they have in common is their leadership and commitment to advancing the interests of Los Angeles’ Latino business community.

    These individuals and organizations were honored at Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce’s (LALCC) 10th Anniversary Latino Business Awards held May 21 at the Intercontinental Los Angeles. Award recipients included: Pedro Pizarro, president and CEO, Edison International; Maria Salinas, president and CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce; Robbie Cabral, inventor, founder and CEO, BenjiLock; Tierra Mia Coffee; and Parking Company of America.

    “Our honorees have set an example for others to follow through their support of Latino businesses and helping to ensure their success and viability,” according to LALCC CEO Norma Gomez. “They inspire others to step up and use their voice to advocate for and promote the economic development of Latino-owned businesses in Los Angeles. I can’t think of a more deserving group of Latino business leaders.”


    In accepting the Corporate Executive of the Year Award, Pizarro spoke of Edison International’s subsidiary, Southern California Edison, and its diversity and inclusion initiatives. He said in 2018, the utility procured more than $2 billion in goods and services with diverse business enterprises, of which over $700 million was spent with Latino suppliers.

    Salinas, recipient of the Inspirational Leader of the Year Award, was cited for her trailblazing role as the first woman and Latina to lead the L.A. Area Chamber in its 131-year history, taking the helm in August 2018. As the largest and most influential business association in Los Angeles County, the chamber represents more than 1,650 members and 650,000 employees.

    Cabral was introduced as the inventor who disrupted the padlock industry with BenjiLock, the world’s first rechargeable padlock with fingerprint technology. The Innovator of the Year Award recipient was featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, where he landed a deal with Kevin O’Leary (whose video message was shown at the awards luncheon) in 2017. Cabral’s patented invention is now available at Lowe’s, Home Depot and Ace Hardware.

    Tierra Mia Coffee President Ulysses Romero, receiving the Rising Star Award, shared his company’s rise from one café in South Gate in 2008 to 16 stores across California. He thanked his parents and 350 employees and said the success of Tierra Mia Coffee “shows how investing in our communities can create jobs and improve the quality of life for those in these communities.”

    The final Legacy Award was presented to Parking Company of America. In his acceptance remarks, CEO Alex Martin Chaves said, “Who would have thought that when my mom and dad started their parking business…over 52 years ago that we would become the largest Hispanic family-owned parking companies and one of the largest privately-owned minority-certified parking and transportation companies in the country?” He attributed his family’s success and legacy to “long hours, hard work, respect for others and a little luck!”

    Fireside chat/workshops

    Preceding the awards program was a fireside chat on “Unstoppable Women” featuring Monica Gil, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, and Zoila Escobar, president of AltaMed Foundation and senior vice president and chief administrative officer of AltaMed Health Services.

    When asked what Gil would do differently early in her career, she said understand the politics between an organization and the competitive landscape, improve financial acumen regardless of industry, work to become a better public speaker and move out of her comfort zone by leaving home and traveling outside of California earlier.

    The event also included a workshop on how to do business with the state, held in conjunction with State of California Department of General Services. The information session covered resources and tools to determine if businesses are suited for contracting opportunities with the state.

    Event sponsors

    This year’s presenting event sponsor was Bank of America. Other sponsors included: Coca-Cola, Entravision, Wells Fargo, Commercial Bank of California, CIT Bank, AltaMed, US Bank, Southern California Edison, Delta, AeroMexico, Vasquez & Company, Citi, Kaiser Permanente, JP Morgan Chase & Co., ACS Group, Airbnb, Adventist Health White Memorial, AlvaradoSmith, AT&T, Banc of California, First Choice Bank, Fox Deportes, SoCalGas, TELACU, 4over Inc., Union Bank and Walmart.

  • August 01, 2018 1:31 PM | Anonymous

    We want to give tremendous applause and congratulations to LALCC member & 2018 Latino Business Awards co-host Maria Salinas for her recent appointment to CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce! 

    This is a momentous moment in history for the 130-year-old organization, as Maria's appointment makes her the first women and the first Latina ever to be selected to lead the LAACC. What Maria will bring to her new role is decades of qualified experience in financial planning and business management. The Founder and President of Salinas Consulting, Maria possesses wisdom in leading organizations through their financial plans, reporting, controls & compliance and general accounting matters. Before launching her business, she’s held several finance and accounting leadership roles at The Walt Disney Company for 11 years and has served as Director and former Chairwoman of ProAmérica Bank. Her leadership has extended from Ernst & Young LLP, where she managed and supervised audit engagements as Audit Manager, to her current role as Chair of the Board of Regents at Loyola Marymount University.

    Congratulations Maria! The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is in great hands! 

  • June 20, 2018 6:15 PM | Anonymous

    Dear Ms. Waddell,

    On behalf of the Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce (LALCC) and its thousands of business owner members, we are writing to convey our disbelief and disappointment at the, some would argue, biased demands by AFT 1521 to block David Vela’s appointment to the Los Angeles Community College District Board.

    The Latino community is stunned and very disappointed that on the AFT 1521 Facebook page, soon to be appointed trustee David Vela, a Latino and a member of the LGBT community is dubbed as a person who does not “reflect our diverse student population.” This statement is simply not true. It seems that the person who made this statement is not aware that Latinos make up the largest student population (60%) in the Los Angeles Community College District, and that the LGBT community has become an integral and influential part of our diverse Los Angeles population.

    Here are some additional statistics that will add additional insights to into this matter. As we’ve stated, more than 60% of LACCD’s student population are Latinos –yet, only 40% of the LACCD Board is Latino. Further, only 20% of the LACCD teachers are Latinos. With Mr. Vela’s appointment, 56% of the board would be Latino, which more fairly represents LACCD’s student population.

    LACCD’s appointment of Mr. Vela will make LACCD the first major government organization in Southern California whose board is majority Latino and is consistent with the population of Los Angeles. Mr. Vela’s appointment is seen by many in our community as historic and a step in the right direction. I remind you that more than 55% of LA County is comprised of Latinos. LACCD’s board action in supporting Mr. Vela is consistent with the composition and population of LACCD and the County of Los Angeles.

    Your Facebook statement from our vantage point indicates that you chose to embark on an underhanded attack on a very deserving, worthy and influential Latino American citizen. Further, it is our firm belief that your sole interest is to advance your union’s political agenda -over the best interests and desire of the community at large. Such a narrow position only serves as a serious detriment to the LACCD. Additionally, it is our understanding that you have divided union support on the tack that you are taking which generates additional questions.

    The Latino and LGBTQ community supports Mr. David Vela’s appointment to the LACCD board and will attend the next public board meeting to show our support for the LACCD Board’s decision to appoint someone who is clearly a reflection of our community and who is a very well-qualified person.

    The LALCC vigorously supports Mr. Vela’s appointment. 

  • April 25, 2018 1:35 PM | Anonymous

    As part of our new Member Spotlight series, we’re happy to highlight a Chamber member who’s not only been a great supporter but an inspirational leader who has a loyal client following and growing business.

    It’s our pleasure to recognize Miguel Angel Cuevas, Founder of IT Systems Solutions Pro as our Member of the Month for May 2018. On his experience being a member of the LA Latino Chamber, Miguel says he’s “enjoyed making new connections and widening my net of possible clients.” This June, he will have been in business for 11 years. Here is his story:

    After having been licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Mexico, Miguel decided to take an entrepreneurial risk and journeyed to the States where he would add additional skills to his career. The journey led him to explore marketing, office management, sales, music entertainment, real estate, and investments. Only then, did he come to realize his love for and understanding of technology.

    Miguel’s first steps into technology started when he founded and trained a team for Bookkeepers Pro. After becoming a Certified Network Administrator, he launched IT Systems Solutions Pro, Miguel says that “I had a big interest in technology. I was a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), but wanted to help entrepreneurs leverage technology to become more efficient, free up time and increase their profits; plus, computer and internet connections make me happy.” IT Systems Solutions Pro specializes in development and maintenance of computer, data backup, networking administration, and accounting systems for the small business environment.

    Miguel has developed years of entrepreneurial wisdom over his career but when someone asks for the best advice he’d offer to fledgling business owners and entrepreneurs, he keeps it simple—“Listen to your heart and follow it.”

    Miguel can be reached via or

  • February 05, 2018 1:40 PM | Anonymous

    There are more than 28 million small businesses in the United States, making up a whopping 99.7 percent of all U.S. businesses, according to the Small Business Administration. When you consider some of the most popular reasons to start a business, including having a unique business idea, designing a career that has the flexibility to grow with you, working toward financial independence, and investing in yourself — it's no wonder that small businesses are everywhere.

    Allow us to introduce you to Ralph, who is from Lima, Peru, and Caroline from Paris, France. Both have more than 10 years working in the restaurant and hospitality business and are very excited to give life to this professional endeavor and adventure. 

    Their company, Beaurin Walde Hospitality Consulting, LLC, offers comprehensive consulting services to international and local clients on all aspects of the restaurant business and hospitality establishments with an emphasis on Latin American, European and American cuisine. They provide consulting services in English, French and Spanish.

    Congratulations and much success to them both -- and to all the risk-takers, go-getters and deal-makers in Los Angeles. We are here to cheer you on and help you when needed!

  • December 21, 2017 1:42 PM | Anonymous

    1. Take Advantage of Expiring Deductions
    Currently, sole proprietors and home-based businesses are allowed to deduct business expenses if they total more than 2% of their adjusted gross income. In some instances, employees can also deduct unreimbursed expenses.

    Such expenses include a home office, depreciation on a personal computer required for the job, membership dues to professional organizations and subscriptions to trade magazines.

    All of those deductions disappear from 2018 through 2025 under the new tax bill, so you probably want to move as many of those expenses as you can to 2017, such as by becoming a member of the LA Latino Chamber of Commerce before December 31st.

    2. Pay Your Vendors Now
    If you have the money in the bank, pay for purchases you made or services you used in 2017, before 2018. This provides you with additional deductions, and you’ll start 2018 with less debt. Here’s what Xero, the accounting software company, recommends: “Pay your vendors and contractors in full by year end. For vendors this is straightforward. For contractors, you may have to submit a W-9 form — check with your accountant. You will also need to give each contractor a 1099-MISC form by 31 January.”

    Xero also reminds small businesses that before year-end they should: “Decide on employee bonus payments and withhold the required tax. If you decide to reward your employees with bonuses, don't forget about tax. Bonuses are subject to income tax withholding, FICA and FUTA taxes — just like regular pay.”

    3. Put Off Or Accelerate Income
    A long-standing rule of year-end tax planning is to “accelerate deductions, delay income.” Why? It reduces your 2017 taxes. This year that’s particularly important, with the possibility of a new tax bill that alleges to reduce taxes on pass-through income (the kind most small businesses have).

    According to Quickbooks: “If your business income is higher than normal, you may want to think about sending out invoices for December projects in January. In addition, you may want to make equipment purchases or other business expenses this year if it will keep you from reaching a higher tax bracket."

    Consult a tax professional before making any decision, but keep in mind that you have less than a week to sort out which moves to make.

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