integrity

Progress

Inclusion

ABOUT US

The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Rhode Island is an organization created to represent, promote and empower our growing Hispanic business community.  Incorporated, under Chapter 7-6, of the General Laws of Rhode Island, on May 19, 2016, this organization strives to support the needs of local businesses and build strong relationships between corporate America and the Hispanic-owned businesses in Rhode Island.

Objectives

 

  • Represent our members and the Hispanic owned small business community based on the highest standards of ethics, integrity, and community service.
  • Provide networking opportunities between mainstream businesses and Hispanic-owned businesses statewide;
  • Create a setting that promotes available resources and fosters quality educational activities and technical assistance to Hispanic business owners and entrepreneurs in a bilingual and bicultural environment;
  • Monitor and advocate for sound public policies, and programs that impact Hispanic businesses;
  • Collaborate with the Hispanic community and other Hispanic organizations in order to support the advancement, education, and economic growth of the Hispanic community of Rhode Island.

Purpose

 

The specific purposes for which the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Rhode Island Inc. is organized are:

  1. To represent businesses, entrepreneurs and institutions committed to the economic development and success of the Hispanic business community.
  2. All other activities consistent with the laws of the state of Rhode Island.

LEADERSHIP

Oscar Mejias
President

Mr. Mejias was born in Venezuela. Graduated as an Information Systems Engineer, he has accumulated more than 25 years of experience as a consultant in commercial and industrial areas. Oscar occupied several positions like technical support, software developer, IT Project Manager and FO Manager in the oil & gas industry.

Since his arrival in the US he has been teaching classes, Seminars and conferences related to the area of technology. Founder & CEO of HITEP (Hispanic Technology & Education Programs),he was elected President (2008 - 2010, 2010 - 2012) and prior Executive Director of Technology of the Rhode Island Professional Latinos Association (RIPLA). Member of Rhode Island Professional Business Network (RILPBN) Mr. Mejias has collaborated with the Small Business Association (SBA), Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Center of Women & Entrepreneurs (CWE), Latino Policy Institute among others for training and educational purposes.

Also, Mr. Mejias worked as IT Implementation Project Manager for a Global Financial Institution in Massachusetts (2011 - 2014).Most recently (2015 and 2016), Oscar Mejias was Co-Chairperson of the Emerging Markets Committee in the Economic Summit organized by the Small Business Administration of Rhode Island (SBA). Member of several advisory committees, Oscar Mejias has been working for the small business community and emerging markets in state of Rhode Island in the last 10 years.

Claudia Cardozo
Executive Advisor

Claudia serves as an Executive Advisor to the RI Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and works full time at Coastway Community Bank in the capacity of Community Development Manager. She is an economic development professional with 9 years of experience assisting small business in Rhode Island. She is also a Financial Educator and a Strengths Coach.  Her work experience also includes insurance, microfinance and urban development.

Claudia is a volunteer Strengths Coach at Leadership Rhode Island, assisting individuals in identifying their top five natural talents and turning them into strengths (through Gallup’s instruments, and positive psychology research). Claudia is also on the board of directors of Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island and Young Voices, and she’s an advisory board member of the United Way of Rhode Island. In 2010, Claudia was named the Minority Small Business

Champion of the Year by the Small Business Administration, and in 2013, RI Latino Public Radio recognized her with an Outstanding Achievement Award for her contributions to the Latino business community. She also received the Ronald McDonald House Community Service Award in 2014. Prior to moving to Rhode Island in 2002, she was a clothing designer in her native country of Colombia.

 

Sandra Cano
Vice President.

Ms. Cano was born in Medellin, Colombia, and moved to the United States with her family in 2000. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and Economics at Bryant University in 2007. She completed a Master’s Degree in Public Administration at the University of Rhode Island in 2012 then went To Harvard University where she finished couple of executive leadership programs in 2016.

           Sandra is the Assistant VP Community Development at Navigant Credit Union, she is responsible for developing strategic business sector and community based partnerships and developing financial education campaigns.  Additionally, Sandra has developed a strong track record of volunteerism and community engagement, Sandra was awarded the “Credit Union Rising Start” recognition in 2012 by the Massachusetts Credit Union League, New Hampshire Credit Union League, Credit Union Association of Rhode Island and Center Point Magazine for being an outstanding employee and business leader, also for making a notable impact on her credit union and within the industry. Sandra was recognized with the mission award 2012 by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Campaigning for a Cure. Sandra received the Collaborator of the year award 2013 by the Central Falls Community Collaborative and has been recognized by her community involvement and positive impact for her work to improve the lives of the underserved communities in Rhode Island (Central Falls, Pawtucket and Woonsocket).  Sandra was chosen as one of 14 people in Rhode Island who made a difference in 2014 by Golocal Prov. She was nominated as a CU Hero 2015 and was recognized as one of the three CU Heroes by The Credit Union National Association and the Credit Union Magazine. Sandra was awarded the 2015 Financial Services Champion Award by the US Small Business Administration, the 2015 Extraordinary Women Award by the Women Development Institute, The 2015 John Coen Award for Community Service and Social Justice from the Pawtucket and Central Falls Development Corporation and the 2015 Paul E. Moura Leadership Award by the Institute for Labor Studies and Research of Rhode Island.

 

Maria Carranza da Silva
Secretary

Mrs Carranza da Silva is a strategic and visionary leader with a deep passion for women's and minorities’ economic empowerment. Maria is the Business Support Services Director for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses in Rhode Island.  Maria holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business Administration from Bryant University.  In the past, Maria worked at Capital Good Fund and Navigant Credit Union where she discovered her passion for microfinance and community development.  After Ecuador and Brazil, Rhode Island has a very special place in her heart!

Maria lives in North Providence with her husband, Luiz, and her daughter, Millena. Maria was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador and speaks three languages, Spanish, Portuguese and English.

Paola Fernandez
Board at Large

Mrs. Fernandez was born in Argentina and arrived in Rhode Island at the age of 10. She is the Assistant Vice President, Community Outreach and Business Development at Pawtucket Credit Union.  In this role Paola oversees PCU’s community giving program with the goal of delivering strategic financial support to community-based efforts that positively impact the lives of individuals throughout Rhode Island.  Prior to her current role, Paola served as Director of Public Policy and Research at United Way of Rhode Island where she was responsible for development and coordination of public policy strategies and partnerships with local, state, and federal government. Her career in the nonprofit sector has been focused on social issues and spans across grant allocations and management, outcomes and performance management, advocacy campaign development, lobbying and coalition building. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management with a concentration in Human Resources from Johnson & Wales University.

Rhode Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce ©2016