Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised in Chicago, IL, North side.
What is your family heritage?
My dad, Rafael, is from Mexico and my mother, Carmen, is from Guatemala.
What is your occupation?
I am the President & CEO of the Kansas City Kansas Chamber of Commerce.
How have you supported or contributed to the local Hispanic/Latinx community?
I feel extremely blessed to be a part of such a great Latino community here in Kansas City. The amount of support and encouragement I have received during my time here in Kansas City has been incredible. I try to do my part to reciprocate that support at all times. I serve on the Board of Directors for the Guadalupe Centers Charter School. Earlier in my career and when I was younger, I served on the Board of Directors of Young Latino Professionals of Greater Kansas City which is program of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. There are so many wonderful Latino leaders here in Kansas City and i am honored to call most of them my friends.
How do you connect with your Hispanic/Latinx culture?
I LOVE my Latinx culture! I am always connected to my culture. It is part of who I am. From the amazing food to the wonderful music and beautiful language. I am fortunate to have been raised speaking Spanish and English and it is special to me to be able to speak to my parents in Spanish.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
My fondest childhood memories revolve around the big family cookouts or gatherings with music blaring, tios and tias and primos everywhere, my dad making carne asada on the grill. I am fortunate to have such an amazing family and though i don't get to see them often as i would like, they are never far from my mind. i think of my parents often and think about all they did to provide me and my sister an opportunity for a better life. I am proud to be the son of two wonderful parents who came to this country fro the respective countries to carve out a better life for themselves and their family. I am indebted to them.
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
I celebrate my heritage every day! i do think it is great to be able to lift up communities and "spotlight" them if you will. We are so diverse and different and each of us has our own story and path. To be able to highlight our contributions to this country, our culture, and heritage is powerful.
In your opinion, what is the most important issue facing the Hispanic/Latinx community?
Even though it is improving, i still think Latinos are under-represented on all level and especially in positions of power and influence. I also think the Latino community has not yet fully flexed its voting power and economic power, but we're getting there! I hope that i can do my part to play a positive role.