Verizon Minority Owned Business Summit – November 17. #VZWHoustonSMB

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

Houston, TX. This past Tuesday Nov. 17, Verizon celebrated its Minority Owned Business summit in Houston Texas at the very chic JW Marriot Hotel in Westheimer.

I had the amazing opportunity to attend as part of Houston Latina Bloggers and was joined by a few selected Texas-based bloggers. During the summit, we had the opportunity to listen to keynote speaker Linda Alvarado, CEO & President of Alvarado Construction  & co-owner of The Colorado Rockies. Mrs. Alvarado is such an inspirational Hispanic Business Woman. She spoke about her struggles breaking the “concrete ceiling” in a market usually owned by men. Her funny, professional and inspirational speech was on point, leaving many of us in awe ready to tackle the business world. One of the things that stuck with me was “Convince yourself, take some risks and don’t be scared of making mistakes” many of us, especially women, are constantly afraid of making mistakes, both professionally and personally and this only limits our ability to progress and grow.

“Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards” – Linda Alvarado.

Mrs Alvarado is without a doubt a role model for business women, and for Latina Women all over the world. Her speech was my favorite part of the summit, and I am sure many –  like me –  feel elevated and inspired, ready to tackle the world.

Mrs. Alvarado speech was followed by an equally impressive panel of minority-owned local businesses who shared their ups and downs in their industries and how they overcame their struggles and succeeded becoming who they are today.

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The panel included Emilio Gonzalez, Executive Director For Strategic Alliances; Alex Davidson CEO at Securranty; Carol Guess, General Counsel at The Guess Group, Inc.; Alex Lopez Negrete President/CEO of Lopez Negrete Communications; Laura Oldaker CEO/Executive Director at By Your Side Senior Care; and last but not least Nelson Reyneri Senior Vice President, Sales & External Affairs at Liberty Power Corporation. These business men and women spoke to us about their experiences when they first started.

“We are all a product of the road we travel & our experiences” -Alex Davidson

But it was Mr. Alex Lopez Negrete, who enlightened me with his experiences and perseverance as a minority owned (Hispanic) business in the city of Houston. Why Houston? one word: diversity.

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Being part of the Houston Latino community was one of the driving forces for @LopezNegrete – Alex Lopez-Negrete, CEO

The Hispanic community in the United States, and more importantly, in the city of Houston is without a doubt a pushing force in the market. According to Pew Research Center tabulations from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, in 2012 there were 10 million Latinos and 11.6 million non-Hispanic whites living in Texas, making up 38.2% and 44.4%, respectively, of the state’s 26.1 million residents.( Jan 24, 2014)

Nowadays many large (and small) corporations have finally come to realize addressing the Hispanic market is not a luxury nor an option, it’s a must. It is imperative these corporations understand the dynamics of this very diverse market which within itself contain many faces, colors, traditions and even and colloquialisms and culture. We can’t market Hispanic-Americans the same way we market Asian-Americans or African-Americans.

Know and serve the customer and the community – Alex Lopez-Negrete, CEO.

Lopez Negrete also spoke about the importance of Social Media in today’s PR/Advertising market and how this “tool” should be used to make connections with your customers and to engage in conversation rather than to do old school hard sales.

Social Media is incredibly powerful, and it’s not about Ads, it’s about Conversation says Alex Lopez-Negrete, CEO.

Which brings us to the next topic on the agenda. Our future is Digital. By 2020 there will be 50 billion devices connected! 50 billion! we are so intrinsically, and invisibly, connected nowadays that any news in the world travels with the speed of time – an issue many news outlets have to deal with on a daily basis. How to maintain information accurate, and deliver it fast to meet the demands of today’s consumer? Is this why we as consumers have to be more responsible with that we share, and more accurate with what we demand. Corporations both big and small, also need to be prepared to move at the speed of technology and provide solutions to digitalize their services – Either that or perish!

And last but not least, the highlight of the day,  the Blogger Panel! Uber cool and always so charming Eric T Tung (my social media hero) Byrdie Franco who came all the way from San Antonio and sweet internet mom, Monica Vila spoke to us (bloggers and small businesses) about the importance of Blogs in today’s business world. The importance of “having a voice” customers’ can trust and relate to, and to convey messages via the online platforms readily available for us to use.

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Businesses that publish at least 15 blog posts per month average 1200 new leads per month – Eric T, Tung.

And on that simple quote relies the power of writing. Educate your customer on value, not price. Give them the power to learn and communicate to you at the same level.

And if you are a blogger and you struggle to find content, just start writing and content will find you!

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Bloggers at Verizon Minority Owned Bussiness Summit. (Im there!)

Overall Verizon’s Minority Owned Business Summit was a fantastic experience. We learned we networked, we drank tea (or coffee if you are not me)

Oh and we had delicious dessert too…

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Verizon has and continues to invest in many small businesses and organizations, as well as non profits, and continues to provide a growing platform for businesses to grow and prosper.

During the event, Verizon awarded two $5,000 donations to local charities.

 

Until next time,

Jihane

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