The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Contra Costa County (H5C) celebrated Women's History Month with its 4th annual (Successful Women) Mujeres de Exito Women’s Business Conference and Expo. The event was held at the Concord Hilton on March 28th from 12:30pm-7:30pm. The exciting program featured inspiring speakers, small business owners showcasing products and services, elected officials and community leaders.
The Mistress of Ceremonies Roberta Gonzales, Weather Anchor for CBS 5, opened the luncheon program and introduced Elizabeth Echols, SBA Regional Administrator and Carmela Castellano-Garcia, CEO of the California Primary Care Association who served as keynote speakers. Echols mentioned the qualities that she saw in her mother; hard work, vision, perseverance and resourcefulness and said that those are the qualities she sees in today’s entrepreneurs. Castellano-Garcia spoke about the major role small businesses have when it comes to health care issues and explained how health care reform legislation is going to provide more opportunities and incentives to ultimately make it easier for small businesses to provide insurance to their employees.
Concurrent sessions on business development and community issues were presented following the lunch. Panelists Catherine Sandoval from the California Public Utilities Commission, Mary Grace Guzman, Attorney and Dora Emley, Entrepreneur and Owner of Los Panchos Restaurant, spoke about the challenges they have encountered throughout their careers and as women business owners and how to overcome them. Questions about how to open a small business and how to take advantage of big contract opportunities were addressed by panelists Tonya Amos, Owner and Operator of Aspire Pilates Center, Dianna Mills, Business Client Advisor for Union Bank and Ron Rodrigues, Supplier Diversity/Local Content Manager for Chevron.
The event concluded with an expo featuring interactive exhibits, Latino wine makers, restaurants voted among the best in the Bay Area and the presentation of the 2012 “Woman Business of the Year” awarded to Barbara Martinez, an entrepreneur with 35 years of experience in real estate and the lending industry. Eric Maldonado, H5C President said, "Congratulations to Barbara Martinez for being awarded 2012 Business Woman of the Year. In an industry that has been challenged due to one of the worst housing crisis, Barbara Martinez has been able to excel and succeed by her perseverance and dedication. We look forward to next year's conference to highlight the success of our women-owned businesses and to share valuable resources needed to succeed."
H5C is the leading Hispanic business organization in Contra Costa County and recognizes, during Women's History Month, the contributions of women small-business owners and entrepreneurs as an important factor for creating jobs, investing in the community and taking risks.
The mission of the Hispanic Chamber is to develop, enhance and promote valuable business opportunities for our members while providing a special emphasis on education, cultural awareness and available resources within the Hispanic Community and Contra Costa County overall.