Archive | September 2012

The VAHCC Hosts International Press Corps to Interview Latino Voters in Virginia

Twenty-six journalists from six continents convened in Fairfax to learn about the Hispanic Voter in Virginia

FAIRFAX, VA. – On Thursday, September 27, 2012, twenty-six journalists from around the world met with Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce officials and several members of Virginia’s Hispanic community to discuss the issues important to them in this election cycle, and why they identify as either Republican or Democrat.  The journalists are covering the election and, particularly, Virginia’s role as a swing state, and the role that Hispanic voters will play in the election.  Rather than interviewing party leaders, candidates, or campaign personnel, these journalists wanted everyday Hispanic Virginians who could speak to the issues that were important to them, and how those issues effect their party affiliation, and ultimately, vote.

“As the Hispanic population in Virginia, like that of our nation’s, continues to rise, it is important for the world to take note of the changing nature of our population, and the effects that these changes will have on political outcomes,” said Michel Zajur, VAHCC president. “It is important for elected officials, corporations, and leaders in Virginia and beyond to recognize and incorporate this demographic in their decision making, and we feel that is happening more and more.”

One attendee, Rebecca Jaramillo from Fauquier County, remarked, “After hearing about “the Latino voter” on television, the journalists seemed extremely pleased to get information from Hispanic voters first-hand about their experiences, from both Democrats and Republicans,” as evidenced by the lingering and honest dialogue among all participants.

Hispanics now make up nearly 10 percent of Virginians and their presence, buying power, and increasing political participation are changing the way companies do business, and, the way candidates tailor their messaging.  The Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has been in the business of bridging mainstream businesses and groups to Hispanic businesses and groups for 12 years.

The journalists were brought to the United States through the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of Press Relations. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA, sponsored the lunch and Gerald L. Gordon, Ph.D., president and CEO of the FCEDA, spoke to the group about the diverse population and business community of Fairfax County.

The journalists will remain in the United States and continue their travels for several more weeks, watching the October 3 presidential debate in Colorado, another key state where Hispanic voters are an influential demographic.



Cigarros & Good Spirits at the After Hours Mixer at Keagan’s in Short Pump, Oct. 4th

Click here to get tickets and join us on Thurs. Oct. 4th at Keagan’s Irish Pub in Short Pump for cigars, beverages, and after hours networking for making business connections to and from Virginia’s Hispanic Community. Bring your business cards!

DC Dialogue on Diversity Conference Focuses on Tech & Entrepenuership

Washington, DC [CapitalWirePR] September 19, 2012 – Friday, September 21 the Dialogue on Diversity 2012 Entrepreneurship/Information Technology Conference is presented at the Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center at 901 K Street, N.W.,  Washington, D.C. Conference registration may be made today at for this free-to-the-public program. The 2012 Conference agenda focuses on the encounter of the perennial entrepreneurial quest with the advancing IT revolution — with added exploration of the effects of IT on effective civic engagement among entrepreneurs themselves as well as rank and file citizens.
Summing up the projected conference, Ma. Cristina Caballero, Dialogue on Diversity President, appealed to “interested women business owners, professionals, and civil society staff and executives, the target audience of the Dialogue’s program cycle, as users of the transformative innovations of IT, but also the creative IT industries themselves – the creators of the new working and social environment – which are growing with dazzling speed on their own dynamic.  The latter sometimes called the ‘techpreneurs’.”
A Conference highlight will be the midday session address by Frank Torres, Microsoft’s Consumer Affairs Director, introduced by Mr. Suhail Khan, Microsoft’s Director of External Affairs.  Mr. Torres, a student of the privacy challenges affecting American life and civic discourse,  is among the most articulate commentators within corporate America on the issues of privacy in our national life.  Alejandra Castillo, Deputy National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency, DOC, continues the midday session with an overview of business conditions.
The opening Conference session, moderated by Jason Llorenz, takes up the respective roles of the users and the creators of IT, bringing together such speakers as Aaron Brauer-Rieke of the FTC on commercial data collection and the accompanying privacy risks, and Tim Dioquino of MicroTech, a Virginia software development firm, himself an architect of advancedc IT systems, along with Cristina Mossi, of DEVIS, Arlington, Virginia, the quintessential woman business owner, combining a rich technical expertise with a skilled hand in managing her creative team.
The supplier diversity topic is again presented through a quartet of its leading advocates and practitioners. Mark Oliver, head of supplier diversity practice at the Department of the Interior, and chief of the OSDBU Interagency Council, is joined by Theresa Speake, formerly head of diversity at the Department of Energy, Kenneth Clark, President of the metro area Minority Supplier Development council, and finally the PEPCO Holdings diversity expert Charlie Partridge, head of supplier diversity programs at PEPCO Holdings, Inc.
An array of entrepreneurship questions are aired in afternoon panels, moderated by Jacquelyn Puente of Comcast. Carlos Guzman discusses a new departure in marketing through the B2B/B2G Matchmakers system. Sandra Eberhard, Executive Director of Washington WBENC, lays out the procedures for certification as a minority- or women-owned business for certain government contracting programs.  Stephanie King and Robert Watkins  of the SBA hold forth on certain of these programs — the HUB geographical Zones, the 8(a) economically-disadvantaged preferences, the newly instituted industry-specific preferences for women-owned enterprises, etc.
Manuel A. Rosales, of the Latino Coalition, Gus West, of The Hispanic Institute,  along with moderator Allison Remsen of Mobile Future, and representatives of Organizing for America and RNC Virginia Hispanic Outreach, take up the vexed question of the flagging the sense of civic engagement among large swaths of the U.S. population.  The questions posed to this panel bring to the fore the problems of inequality in income, education, and cultural savvy, as the genesis of the ominous class-defined civic alienation.
Among sponsors and supporting groups for the 2012 Conference are the Microsoft Corporation, hosting the sessions at its Innovation/Policy Center, Southwest Airlines, and AT&T. Collaborating organizations include the SBA, and MBDA, Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, D.C. Office of Latino Affairs, MicroTech,. PEPCO Holdings, Latino Coalition, MD/DC MSDC, The Hispanic Institute, OSDBU Council, Federal Trade Commission, Google, Mobile Future, CHCI, and many others.  Our media partner is again CapitalWirePR.

Festival Panamericano in Springfield, September 30th

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with the Pan American Festival in Springfield on Sunday, September 30th (free entry). Enjoy Latin food, music and dancing from 10AM until 6pm at the Shirley Industrial Park. Visit the festival’s site at or on Facebook at for details.

Want to do Business with the Government, But Need Advice?

Want to do business with the government, but could use some advice from DC contractors with experience?

Join the VAHCC along with the Fairfax Co. Economic Development Authority and many other biz groups this Wednesday in NOVA for the “Procurement Academy”.

Register at

Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15th – Oct. 15th) Celebration Includes Governor McDonnell, US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, former Governors Allen & Kaine, and dozens more

High-profile Gala began official kick-off to Hispanic Heritage Month

Governor Bob McDonnell opens the 2012 Hispanic Gala.

US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis accepts a VAHCC Bridge Builder Award from VAHCC President Michel Zajur.

Richmond, VA — The Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (VAHCC) officially kicked-off Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15th – October 15th) at the “The Hispanic Gala” on September 12th at the Science Museum of Virginia, to celebrate the successes of the VAHCC and to recognize the 2012 VAHCC Bridge Builder Award recipients. Award winners included US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, NASA Langley Research Center Director Lesa Roe, Sheriff Ken Stolle, CEO of CSI Consulting, Lynette Spano; and Alejandro Cedeño, Vice-President of Global Innovation for MeadWestvaco. Governor McDonnell provided opening remarks at the Gala, congratulating the VAHCC for its contributions to the Commonwealth and congratulating the 2012 Bridge Builder Award recipients. Also in attendance were former governors and senate candidates George Allen and Tim Kaine, as well as dozens of General Assembly and State Cabinet members.

Governor McDonnell issued a formal proclamation during his remarks to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month in Virginia and its importance in highlighting the accomplishments of Virginia’s Hispanic population, which is nearly 10% of all Virginians. “The Gala is a special time for us to recognize the significant contributions of Virginia’s Hispanic citizens to both its economy and cultural fabric,” says Michel Zajur, VAHCC President. “We are honored to have hosted so many leaders and dignataries this year as we began the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.”

By surprise, VAHCC President Michel Zajur was honored during the 2012 Hispanic Gala with the Ohtli Award from the Mexican government. The Ohtli award is the official recognition of Mexico’s Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior (translated as “Program for Mexican Communities Abroad”), and is the highest award bestowed by the Mexican government to a non-Mexican citizen. It is awarded to individuals who have contributed to the empowerment of Mexican and Mexican-American communities in the U.S.

Director of the NASA Langley Research Center Lesa Roe accepts a Bridge Builder Award for NASA’s Hispanic outreach programs.

VAHCC President Michel Zajur receives the Ohtli Award from the Mexican government

Sheriff Ken Stolle accepts an award for excellence in public service

CSI Consulting CEO Lynette Spano receives the Impacto Latino award

Alejandro Cedeño, Vice President of Global Innovation for MeadWestvaco