President Obama and the Hispanic Community

The First-Ever Hispanic Business Leaders’ Forum at the White House

A Panel Discussion: Latino Leadership in America at the Hispanic Business Leaders’ Forum, May 29, 2013

A Panel Discussion: Latino Leadership in America at the Hispanic Business Leaders’ Forum, May 29, 2013 May 29, 2013.

Yesterday, the White House convened the nation’s top Hispanic business leaders from across the country for the first-ever White House Hispanic Business Leaders’ Forum. Over 80 leaders from a range of industries participated in the day-long interactive event, which included panels and break-out sessions focused on the economy, innovation and entrepreneurship, Latino leadership in America, federal contracting, healthcare and commonsense immigration reform.

Hosted with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the forum offered these business leaders an opportunity to meet with top-level Administration officials to discuss some of the most pressing issues affecting American businesses, as well as ways to collaborate more effectively to foster economic competiveness, particularly in Latino communities.

As Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs Valerie Jarrett explained in her opening remarks, “To compete in today’s economy, we must draw from the talents, perspectives, and leadership of every community in our country. Today’s inaugural White House Hispanic Business Leaders’ Forum is a key part of making this a reality.”

Treasury Secretary Lew, who provided an economic overview at the forum, underscored that “Our economy is stronger today because our businesses are doing what they do best—innovating, expanding and hiring.”

“With the number of Hispanic-owned businesses growing at twice the national average, the Hispanic community is playing a critical role in the recovery. But as the business and community leaders I met with today agreed, we must do more to strengthen the middle class so that more Americans can get back to work and more businesses can succeed. Our top priority as a nation has to be growing the economy and creating good jobs in the United States.”

Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, also had a conversation with the group.

“Today’s Forum highlights the critical role that Hispanic business leaders play in shaping economic growth and in fixing our broken immigration system to ensure that everyone plays by the same rules,” she said. “These business leaders know firsthand that commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform is good for our economy and positions America to continue to lead in the 21st century.”

As a child of immigrant parents who worked tirelessly to make it in America and provide for their five children, I could not help but think of them yesterday during the Forum. It made me think of how this next generation of key Latino leaders has blazed the trail in business and is laying the groundwork for economic empowerment. And it made me think of how they are developing tomorrow’s Hispanic leaders in business and government. This is no small feat.

Read what some of the other event participants had to say about yesterday’s Forum below:

  • Javier Palomarez President and CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) who co-convened the business Forum, stated: "The USHCC is honored to have collaborated with the White House in convening some of the nation's top Hispanic business leaders in this historic gathering to discuss pressing economic issues affecting all American businesses. The Hispanic business community is proud to be a source of innovation, job creation and economic development for our nation. The USHCC looks forward to a continued partnership with the Administration in ensuring the contributions of the more than 3 million Hispanic businesses.”
  • Martin Cabrera, Jr., President and CEO of Cabrera Capital Markets, LLC pointed out that “Today’s White House Hispanic Business Leaders’ Forum is another important example of Hispanic business leaders stepping up and sharing their issues, ideas, and successes.  The President and his team now better understand the priorities of Hispanic businesses.  The goal now is to move forward together knowing that Hispanic businesses represent the fastest growing segment of American enterprise and that they must be at our side at the forefront of our nation’s economic recovery and job growth. 
  • Linda Alvarado, President and CEO of Alvarado Construction and Co-Owner of the Colorado Rockies said:  "The Inaugural Hispanic Business Leaders’ Forum is a historic event, not just for Hispanic businesses, but for ALL American business. It is clearly recognized that Hispanics are the core economic strength of America's future." 
  • Andres W. Lopez, President of The Law Offices of Andres W. Lopez, P.S.C.  shared that “As the story of Latinos takes center stage in the American narrative, today's groundbreaking event signals an important first step in a collaboration that will help shape President Obama's legacy and will allow the Latino community to take its rightfully earned seat at the table.” 
  • Monica Lozano, CEO of ImpreMedia continued the enthusiasm about today’s Forum by saying that "Hispanic business is at the forefront of our nations' economic growth and today's White House forum highlights the important role it plays in job creation, entrepreneurship and international commerce. We are pleased that the President and his Administration have established this direct line of communication with Hispanic business leaders so that together we can build a stronger and more resilient economy for the 21st Century."  
  • Kimberly Casiano, President and COO of Casiano Communications added that "As the name of this event says, this is the inaugural White House Hispanic Business Leaders’ Forum. This is just the first step, the beginning. I have no doubt that the President, the White House, and his senior administration officials recognize that Hispanic businesses are the fastest growing entrepreneurial segment in the country and are committed to helping Hispanic businesses be successful and play an important role in the economic recovery of our country."
Todd Park, Assistant to the President U.S. Chief Technology Officer for the White House speaks during a panel on “Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Open Data” at the Hispanic Business Leaders’ Forum, May 29, 2013

Todd Park, Assistant to the President U.S. Chief Technology Officer for the White House speaks during a panel on “Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Open Data” at the Hispanic Business Leaders’ Forum, May 29, 2013 May 29, 2013.


Patrick Hidalgo is Deputy Director for the White House Business Council

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