We finally made it to Washington DC on Monday evening with little traffic. Weather was nice although the cherry trees were not blooming yet despite being the National Cherry Blossom Festival Week. As Pamela Nieto, Director of Marketing and Communications of the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GWHCC) put it, let it snow all it wants before the Expo!
Exhibitors and sponsors arrived early to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to set up before the Ribbon Cutting ceremony starting promptly at 9:00 am. Over 150 exhibitors were crowding the convention center’s D-Hall. Roger Campos, Business Ombudsman with the Office of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, recognized the GWHCC for their success at the Expo’s sixth anniversary, which attracted more than 1,800 participants and 60 sponsors and partners.
During the ceremony, it was a pleasure seeing Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and some “Latinas in official business” such as Lillian Cruz, Deputy Director of Constituent Services for U.S. Congressman Chris Van Hollen; Monica Palacio, Director at the DC Office of Human Rights; Ana Harvey, Director of Department of Small and Local Business Development; Jackie Reyes, Director of the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs; and Natalia Olson-Urtecho, Regional Administrator for Mid-Atlantic, US Small Business Administration.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser gave intro words to the ceremony and celebrated the progress and initiative of the GWHCC has had under the leadership of Mario Acosta-Velez, GWHCC Chairman of the Board, and Angela Franco Vasco, Pres and CEO.
“The Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has become a leading regional business organization with the Business Expo as its premier event for Hispanic businesses to connect, network and grow locally, nationally and internationally,” Acosta-Velez said. “Our Chamber’s commitment is to continue to help Hispanic businesses move forward and succeed. We look forward to another successful Expo on March 15, 2016,” he anticipated.
The event featured speed networking, business matchmaking, workshops, an international row showcasing 15 companies from Latin America looking to import their products and services to the U.S., and the Million Dollar Club panel presenting five Hispanic millionaires who shared how they started their business and the challenges they faced.
As one of the media sponsors, we received local Latinas in business at our booth and invited them to participate in our LIBizus gallery. We created great excitement –our booth was literally mobbed- with our platform and soon you will see many of their small businesses featured on OUR LIBizus section.
Click on any photo to see the complete photo gallery! We missed a few names, please ladies tell us who you are and we’ll be happy to add your names to the list.