The West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has a new executive director: Veronica Ramirez-Garcia.
Ramirez-Garcia joins the chamber full time after six years of involvement with the organization, including growing participation during the past year-and-a-half as a member on the education committee.
She also had an office within the Hispanic Chamber building as part of her previous position with the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center. It was part of a partnership between MI-SBTDC, the Hispanic Chamber and LINC to provide a presence in the Hispanic community.
“I was working with businesses as a bilingual business consultant, providing services,” Ramirez-Garcia said. “There were trainings, one-on-ones, workshops for businesses in the area.”
Ramirez-Garcia said her new role would involve an increased focus on small businesses, particularly mom-and-pop shops, through more services and opportunities.
“Obviously, Grand Rapids is well known with various Hispanic and Latino businesses in the area, but they haven’t had a lot of involvement with them or connection, so definitely provide more services, additional workshops, networking events and/or seminars and trainings. That will be a fundamental piece for that group, as well as also providing services for the corporate members.”
Ramirez-Garcia also said the Hispanic Chamber will expand its focus under her leadership to include the full swath of West Michigan.
“My new role is expanding the services or the efforts of the Chamber. Currently, we are focusing primarily on the Grand Rapids area, and I’ve found a need in expanding where we service.”
She mentioned Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Zeeland and Grand Haven as some of the areas where the organization will direct its efforts.
Ramirez-Garcia hopes to raise awareness about the Hispanic Chamber and better promote its services for businesses.
She is a native of Holland and still resides there. She has been involved with many organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army’s Toys for Tots program, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women, BL2END and Grand Rapids Young Professionals, and is active in her church. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University.
When she is not working or volunteering, Ramirez-Garcia said she enjoys playing soccer, spending time with her family and attending events around the community, including ArtPrize, Cirque du Soleil performances at DeVos Performance Hall and the Hispanic Festival.