By Rhashad R. Pittman
Latino Times Publisher Andrew Ysiano has announced he is running for the top leadership position of the largest and most influential Latino business organization in the state – chair of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce.
Ysiano’s announcement comes as he wraps up his tenure as vice chair of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce (CHCC) and in response to an ever growing chorus of members asking him to pursue the top spot. Members hope Ysiano can continue his success of helping restore stability to the organization and rebuild its membership. After a tumultuous past few years, the CHCC has seen high turnover at the leadership level and a dramatic decrease in local chambers that are certified members of the state organization.
“The CHCC needs leadership that will be proactive and visionary with the best interest of the organization and our local chambers in mind,” Ysiano said. “We need to be inclusive, transparent, and accountable to those we serve.”
Ysiano currently serves as vice chair of CHCC’s board of directors, the second in command of the organization. He was elected to his current position on the executive committee in November 2013 during a special membership meeting. Kenneth A. Macias, who runs the largest Hispanic-owned CPA firm in the U.S., was elected chair during that meeting. Ysiano and Macias tenures expire this month.
The CHCC will hold elections for its available leadership positions at its annual convention August 13 -15 in Orange County. The CHCC represents the interests of 700,000 Latino small businesses throughout the state while promoting economic growth and development of Hispanic entrepreneurs and businesses through lobbying efforts, trainings, and various business programs and events. It is considered the premier and largest regional ethnic business organization in the nation.
If elected chair, Ysiano would serve a one-year term and add to a long resume that includes a number of previously held positions with the CHCC, including president and vice president of the organization.
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.
“I am proud to say that no matter what my elected position has been, I have always served in the best interest of the members who elected me to office,” he said.
A Small Business Owner
Ysiano serves as co-owner of a marketing coalition firm as well as owner/publisher 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 100,000 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.” Recently, Ysiano was awarded Business Advocate of the Year by the San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Ysiano said he wants to help the CHCC 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.
Before Ysiano was elected vice chair in November of last year, the number of local chambers that were certified before the organization’s annual convention in 2013 had dropped from 45 to 20. Bringing those chambers back was Ysiano’s number one priority, he said. During his tenure as vice chair, 10 local chambers and 15 affiliates have rejoined the state chamber.
If elected, Ysiano said he would continue to reach out to the local Hispanic chambers that are no longer involved in the state Hispanic chamber’s activities.
“I have always believed that our local Hispanic chambers of commerce are the true strength behind the CHCC,” Ysiano said. “Without their involvement, what does the CHCC stand for and whom does the organization represent?”
Ysiano said he would also pursue corporations for funding to help small businesses. The extra revenue could be passed down to local Hispanic chambers for programs and services that supported local small businesses, he noted.
“Together we can grow and bring prosperity to our local chambers and create business opportunities for Hispanic businesses throughout California,” Ysiano said.