Tell us a little bit about yourself? How do you identify as a Latino/a/x and what does that mean to you?
Yo soy Boricua…born of Cuban parents in Santurce, PR. So my heritage involves two proud Caribbean Islands and a strong affiliation to the US. My parents were young entrepreneurs and instilled in my siblings and I to always pay strong attention to education and to give our best effort in any endeavor no matter how small.
Sports were a big part of my upbringing, I excelled in the “less traditional” sports; soccer, track & field and American football. At 8 years old my favorite football team was, no joke -- the Vikings.
I would say that in reference to my identity as a Latino, I carry multiple heritages, menus, music, experiences and interests.
Yo soy como un buen arroz con pollo…which I feel has allowed me to better understand and embrace other Latinos and their particular socio-cultural nuances.
What inspired you to the work that you do supporting BIPOC entrepreneurial success?
The Metropolitan Economic Development Association (Meda) is a wonderful non-profit with a mission of helping BIPOC entrepreneurs succeed. Not only is our work one of the most impactful ways to grow the net worth of a Latino Household, but it also allows for greater job, community and multi-generational wealth creation.
For me, coming from a corporate business background, being able to lead Meda like a fast paced business has unlocked in us the ability to design, deploy and scale even more service capabilities for our clients. We do not focus on traditional Return on Investment, we focus on Return on Impact.
Why did you want to serve on the board? Why would you encourage others to serve on the board?
I believe in the purpose of LatinoLEAD. I also have high respect for the staff and board members. First and foremost, you gotta believe in the cause and get along with your teammates - at least, that is what drives me.
I have been very blessed in my professional career. I feel all my achievements thus far involved education, hard work, some luck and MANY MENTORS who helped shape me into the best version of the leader I am today…It is still a work in progress, but I want to pay it forward and share what I have learned along the way to younger leaders who might be facing the same questions or challenges as I once did.
I of course believe in the synergies of LatinoLEAD and Meda. Together we can certainly collaborate and drive more resources and services to our Latino entrepreneurs in MN.
Why do you think the work of LatinoLEAD is important for our community now?
Simply put, with every census we can see how Latinos are rapidly moving to become a demographic majority in MN and the country, HOWEVER, I do not see us growing equally as fast in terms of socio-political and economic leadership.
Executive presence and visibility by Latino leaders has room to grow whether it is in for profit, public service or non-profit sectors; and same goes for economic wealth gap in our state, which in fact is actually worsening as we speak. This issue is at the root of my work with Meda, and why I feel so strongly that LatinoLEAD is an important part of the solution for the future.
Anything else you'd like to share?
I guess I would say that one interesting fact about me is that I have competed at multiple USAT National Triathlon Championships and Ironman events. And I enjoy playing guitar when I have some free time.