By Rhashad R. Pittman
Latino Times Publisher Andrew Ysiano has announced he is running for Vice Chairman of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, the largest and most influential Latino business organization in the state.
If elected, Ysiano would join the organization’s executive committee and board of directors after a 13-year hiatus, positioning him to once again play a major role in representing the interests of 700,000 Latino small businesses throughout the state.
The California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce (CHCC) will hold elections for its available leadership positions at its annual convention August 14 through August 16 in downtown Oakland. If chosen vice chairman, Ysiano would serve a two-year term. He previously held the positions of vice president and president of the state’s Hispanic chamber.
“I’ve served. I’ve been elected, and I’m ready to come back and bring something of substance to the Vice Chair of the CHCC,” Ysiano said.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the CHCC, which promotes the development of Latino entrepreneurs and emerging Latino-owned businesses. Ysiano said he wants to help the organization continue to grow, become more transparent, and get more local chambers involved. His leadership abilities, past experience with the local, state and national Hispanic chambers, and business experience will help him reach his goals, he said.
One of his main objectives, if elected, is to reach out to large corporations for funding to help small businesses. The extra revenue could be passed down to local Hispanic chambers for programs and services, he said.
Ysiano said he would also reach out to the local Hispanic chambers that are no longer involved in the state Hispanic chamber’s activities. He noted that last year this time 45 local chambers were certified for CHCC’s annual convention. This year that number has dropped to 20.
“I want to bring all those chambers back and at the same time let them know we are a family and we want them to be part of our family,” Ysiano said. “I feel that of the 45 chambers out there over half don’t feel part of this organization.”
To be elected Vice Chairman of the CHCC, the candidate must have been a past president at a local Hispanic chamber or previously served on the executive committee of the state Hispanic chamber for one year. Ysiano noted that he fits both criteria.
From 1996 to 2000, Ysiano was elected to back-to-back terms as president of the CHCC after serving as vice president for one year. While at the state level, Ysiano was appointed by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to chairman of regional one (which includes seven western states including California). At the local level, he served as vice president and twice as president of what is now the San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Ysiano also has and continues to be a successful small business owner, he noted. He serves as co-owner of a marketing coalition firm as well as owner of perhaps the most influential and successful bilingual publication in the region.
Since he founded the Latino Times in 2001, the paper has grown from a quarterly with about 4,000 readers to being printed every month with a readership of 40,000 throughout San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties. Throughout the years the publication has provided comprehensive coverage of the state and local Hispanic chambers, in addition to other critical issues including immigration, education, and politics.
“I come from a small business perspective,” Ysiano said. “I know what it takes to make a small business operate and be successful.”