In the News

Celebrating Latinos, and doing big business

City’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce enjoys annual luncheon, expo

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Photos by Gary Fountain/Contributor

HHCC president and CEO Laura Murillo speaks at the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s annual luncheon and expo on Friday. She says she wants to encourage corporate partners to expand opportunities to Latinos.

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The Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s annual luncheon and expo attracted about 2,000 attendees.

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Gary Fountain/Contributor

Dayana Carmona, from left, Alejandro Casas and Lorena Jaime chat at the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's annual luncheon and expo on Friday.

For Laura Murillo, president and CEO of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the chamber’s annual luncheon and expo is a cause for celebration — the largest business luncheon in Houston, with some 2,000 attendees expected this year, including about 90 elected officials and candidates from both parties.

But it’s also a chance to do business, she said Thursday, the day before the annual event, held at the Hilton-Americas in downtown Houston.

“Certainly we want to provide optimism to businesses and encourage them to do business with one another,” Murillo said. “And, we want to encourage our corporate partners to extend opportunities to MWBEs — minority- and women-owned business enterprises.”

Latinos make up over 42 percent of Houston’s population, she said Friday at the luncheon, and account for more than $54 billion in annual consumer spending.

“Rest assured,” Murillo said, “we will absolutely be at the table if it impacts your wallet, your business, the economy. Our board will tell you: we are unapologetic capitalists.”

She invited onstage leaders of chamber’s programs, including the Emerging Leaders Institute, which works with young professionals, the Business Institute, which works with small business owners; and Elevate Together, a nationwide initiative that supports Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs.

The men and women on stage, she noted, represented an array of professions and occupations.

“Is anybody here ready to buy a house? Is anybody here ready to buy insurance? Does anybody need their room remodeled?” Murillo asked. “Does anybody need their eyebrows done? Does anybody need a therapist? Does anyone need an executive to be on your team?”

Anyone needing their eyebrows done would have been referred to Edward Sanchez, a nationally acclaimed makeup artist who launched his own line of cosmetics after his salon was forced to shutter during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Launching his own cosmetics line was a lifelong dream, he said. His inspiration came in part from his mother, he said, and his grandmother — a skilled “kitchen-tician” who would treat her hair and skin with natural ingredients such as olive oil and lemon.

Latino entrepreneurs, he noted, have historically been and still are underrepresented in the makeup industry.

“This is my company. It’s my brand. I decide what ingredients go in,” said Sanchez. “I wanted to do something sano, something good for the body, something good for Latinas.”

 

As published by the Houston Chronicle https://digital.olivesoftware.com/olive/odn/houstonchronicle/shared/ShowArticle.aspx?doc=HHC/2022/10/08&entity=Ar02902&sk=DE1F0D72&mode=text#