Miami, FL – On October 10th, the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) hosted its 2019 Regional Future Leaders Conference: Connecting You to the Real World at the University of Miami (UM), Newman Alumni Center in Miami, Florida.
CHLI Chairman, the Honorable Lincoln Diaz-Balart, welcomed the Miami audience and spoke about the creation of CHLI and its mission to prepare, connect, and honor leaders. Opening remarks included guest speakers, CHLI Vice-Chairman, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25); Congresswoman Donna Shalala (FL-27); City of Coral Gables Vice Mayor, Vince Lago; University of Miami President Julio Frenk; and UM student and President of the Federación de Estudiantes Cubanos, Christine Sanchez.
Opening remarks were followed by a panel discussion on ‘Being a Global/International Leader,’ moderated by CHLI Board Member, the Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and featured guest speakers Sara Chen, Deputy Director of TECO (Taiwan); Ambassador Sue McCourt Cobb; and Lior Haiat, Consul General of Israel. The panelists shared their experiences as international leaders and contributed their knowledge of the qualities of good leadership.
Consul General Haiat spoke about his perspective as a diplomat and the importance of building bridges between different cultures and people. Ambassador Cobb added that as a leader, confidence is key, knowing yourself and your values, when making decisions. Deputy Director Chen shared, “Remember to be nice to everyone and pay attention to details.”
CHLI then welcomed Co-Founder, President and CEO, of the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Liliam Lopez, to share ‘Entrepreneurship Perspectives’ and opportunities for young leaders to explore within the Chamber – including a scholarship by the Chamber’s Foundation for college students.
The second panel, ‘Keeping a Healthy Wallet,’ was moderated by CHLI Alumna and Human Capital Management Consultant at Paychex, Romy Portuondo- Renoir. Panelists Lupe Casanova, Senior Project Manager at Wells Fargo and Rudy Vargas, Finance Director at CHLI, outlined a framework for financial security by discussing loan strategies, credit building, and the value of setting a budget.
Lupe recommended that students dedicate more time into applying for scholarships before accepting loans, as there are many options available if scouted. Rudy highlighted tips for creating an emergency fund and how to get in the habit of saving, “Start with a small goal, whether it is $300 or $500, once you reach that goal it will have become a habit.”
CHLI President and CEO, Mary Ann Gomez Orta, and CHLI’s Secretary on the Board of Directors, Emilio Gonzalez with Verizon, engaged in a fireside chat and shared his journey from Miami to Washington, D.C., the importance of paving the way for younger generations, and encouraged students to pursue different internships as a way to explore career options.
Keynote speaker Fernando Rosario, Founder and President of Execpath, provided guidance to help students achieve their goals, including finding opportunities for growth, the importance of learning to share their story, and remembering to stay humble throughout the journey, “Visualize what you want to achieve, your success, and understand the level of risk you’re willing to take.”
CHLI would like to thank this year’s sponsors: Emilio Gonzalez with Verizon; Beverly Gilyard and Ivonne Fernandez with AARP; Chanelle Hardy with Google; and Joe Avila with Ford Fund; and all board members, partners, and conference attendees.