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School Strengthens Ties with Hispanic Business Community as Part of Nation’s Largest Gathering of Hispanic Business Leaders

September 28, 2011
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The School of Business was alongside some of the nation’s most prominent corporations, small businesses and other organizations during the 32nd Annual National Convention of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) Sept. 18 – 21 in Miami Beach. The School, in partnership with the UM Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), served as an academic sponsor for the convention, which brought together more than 5,000 people to South Florida -  the largest gathering of Hispanic business leaders in the U.S.

  Dean Anderson (left) speaks with Javier Palomarez, USHCC president and CEO (center) and Henry Fletches, president and CEO of United Data Technologies, the convention co-chair.
Dean Anderson (left) speaks with Javier Palomarez, USHCC president and CEO (center) and Henry Fletches, president and CEO of United Data Technologies, the convention co-chair.

The convention featured workshops ranging from implementing green business practices to leveraging social media to promote growth. It also featured a day-long business expo, where the School of Business and about 150 exhibitors representing such top firms as General Motors, Google and Kraft Foods had the opportunity to communicate and showcase their products and services to corporate and government decision makers and Hispanic business owners. Much of the program centered around expanding opportunities for Hispanic-owned business by helping them foster strategic partnerships with corporations, non-profits, and government agencies.

Jose Cosials, assistant director of recruiting and admissions, speaks with a convention attendee near the School’s expo booth.  

“The fact is, small business is the very backbone of this country’s economy,” said Javier Palomarez, president and CEO of USHCC, during a luncheon to honor the nation’s largest and fastest growing Hispanic Business Owned Enterprises (HBEs). “Small business represents in excess of 64 percent of all jobs in this country, and Hispanic small business is the fastest growing sector of American enterprises.”

Polomarez was joined on the stage by Luis Ramirez, CEO of GE Energy Industrial Solutions at GE Energy, who referenced the UM MBA and engineering student career mixer he would be hosting on the UM campus later that same day. In his conference remarks, Ramirez also pointed to the need to support HBEs as communities struggle in the troubled economy.

Dean Anderson (left) speaks with Pepsico’s Ricardo Barrientos, senior director, supplier diversity, NAB/NAF, strategic supply chain management.

“I think we all agree that the best way to protect and to continue to support the economic recovery here in America is to continue working together with organizations like this one where we have a voice to our community and to our business leaders,” said Ramirez. “Communities are faced with a new reality where they need to balance their budgets, make tough trade-offs on employment, education, services and infrastructure…As business leaders, our task is to face this reality and meet these challenges with innovative thinking, clear vision, and operational alignment of both mission and purpose.”

The School’s sponsorship of the USHCC convention is part of its own effort to support new business growth and help organizations find solutions to the business challenges they face. The School’s dean, Gene Anderson, was joined at the event by representatives of graduate business programs, executive education, career services and CIBER, which have been working together to strengthen the School’s ties to the business community.

“As a leading business school, we have an important role to play in supporting small business growth and promoting economic prosperity – by sharing our thought leadership, providing executive education and other professional growth opportunities, and bringing business people together to exchange ideas,” said the School’s associate dean for external affairs Amelia Rea Maguire, who was among School representatives attending the convention.


Dean Anderson (left) and Associate Dean Maguire (right) speak with a convention attendee.

“This event was a wonderful opportunity for us to strengthen our connections with the business community, particularly the Hispanic business community, which plays such an important role in the economy of South Florida and across the U.S. We look forward to continuing to work with the USHCC as part of our active community engagement.”

The USHCC convention featured a number of award presentations. Pop singer and businesswoman Gloria Estefan (AB ’78), who accepted the Chamber’s 2011 Ultimate Latina Award for making a positive impact within the Hispanic community, proudly noted that she is a UM alumna in her remarks. Awards were also presented to the largest and fastest growing Hispanic Business Enterprises (HBEs) as well as to the top corporations that integrate HBEs into their strategic sources and procurement processes. In addition to leading business executives, the convention’s guest speakers included a number of prominent politicians such as U.S. Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio of Florida.

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