After record-breaking attendance at the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 31st Annual National Convention in Dallas, Texas, we come away energized by the support of our member chambers of commerce and our corporate partners.
We are ushering in a new era of leadership at the USHCC and at our convention we proudly inducted our new Chair Nina Vaca-Humrichouse. I am confident that our new team will work to build on the momentum of the convention. We will also continue to serve our constituents â€“ our Hispanic Business Enterprises (HBEs), local chambers of commerce and, our corporate partners.
Additionally, we announced the induction of five accomplished board members - Tony Jimenez of MicroTech in Virginia; JosÃ© F. NiÃ±o of El NiÃ±o Group in Washington, D.C.; Don Salazar of Creative Times, Inc., and CTI Construction Company in Utah; Elliott Rivera of Centro Unido de Detallistas of Puerto Rico; and Frank A. Rodriguez of Corporate Creations International Inc., in Florida.
Throughout our four-day convention, we also recognized leaders from the private and public sectors, including the following key CEOs, Al Carey of Frito-Lay, Ralph Babb of Comerica Bank, Rob Leary of ING, Joe de Pinto of 7-Eleven, Ralph de la Vega of AT&T and Luis Ramirez of GE Industrial Solutions.
The USHCC was honored to host key leaders from the public sector including Texas Secretary of State, Hope Andrade; Texas Governor Rick Perry; Director of the United States Minority Business Development Agency, David Hinson; Deputy Administration of the United States Small Business Administration, Marie Johns; United States Senator John Cornyn and of course, the United States Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Timothy Geithner.
With the unprecedented support from these great leaders, chamber members, staff and volunteers, our 31st national convention was a series of many firsts - from the participation of over a dozen federal agencies, more than 5,000 attendees, the introduction of the Million Dollar Club, honoring the corporations doing hundreds of millions of dollars of business with Hispanic Business Enterprises (HBEs), to the HBE Elite honoring the top 10 largest and fastest-growing HBEs. Finally, we were thrilled with the participation of more than two dozen corporate Employee Resource Groups in the nationâ€™s largest ERG Summit, to an unprecedented level of support from over 100 corporate sponsors at the convention.
As I look back and reflect on all the wonderful memories of this Convention, I think my favorite must be the moment when Jerry Jones, during a spontaneous, enthusiastic show of support for our organization, offered to make a $100,000 donation to the USHCC during his heartfelt speech to our group at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium. To me, that gesture really encapsulates how America feels about our hardworking Hispanic business community. How about those Cowboys?
I am honored to serve as the President and CEO of our organization. Together, we have made great strides in the past eight months. We are diligently creating new programs and initiatives that our local chamber members can utilize to benefit Hispanic-owned businesses. Initiatives such as the ING Local Chamber Program, which identifies local sales talent and helps businesses better serve their employees in preparing for retirement, as well as educating Hispanic consumers on financial literacy and financial planning. Our Visa Acceptance Program is another example of how Visa can assist small business merchants with their span, their reach and most importantly their sales, by accepting Visa; and most importantly, all the new programs that we now offer through our foundation, such as the Chamber Training Institute through the University of Notre Dame.
This is exactly what the USHCC should do â€“ it should strive to leverage its national presence, reputation and relationships. The USHCC is committed to continuing to help Hispanic-owned businesses grow; to improve their opportunities with corporate and federal procurement; to put more Hispanics in corporate board rooms; and to ensure that decision makers, at all levels, consider our community in their deliberations.
As Hispanics, we are enterprising, yet prudent, ambitious, yet selfless, forward thinking, yet we never forget where we came from. We represent those who are thinking about improving our own future so we can invest in our childrenâ€™s futures. We open businesses that help secure our families, our communities and our nation through job growth, innovation, and civic involvement.
We hope to have demonstrated during our 31st National Convention that weâ€™re not just talk, we are proud to be a hub of business opportunity for all our constituents. Together, we will continue to build on our PasiÃ³n for Success.