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The Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative Education-Scaling Program Graduation Weekend for Coh

On Saturday July 13th, 2019, I attended my graduation ceremony for the SLEI-Ed program at Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Together with Latino Business Action Network, they have created the “The Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative Education – Scaling program. The immersive program provides owners the education, enhanced networks, personal mentorship and a better understanding in accessing capital resources to scale their business, create jobs and build a stronger economy.” The program was challenging and inspiring, we had weekly webinars, intensive reading of the WJS Bestseller by Stanford Faculty Professors Robert I. Sutton and Huggy Rao “Scaling Up Excellence-Getting to more without settling for less”, peer review of weekly assignments which including case study analysis and even video assignments. To view CG Moving’s LBAN video challenge go here:

The weekend started on Friday at Agave Uptown in Oakland, owned by Octavio Diaz who was also a participant of Cohort 7. We tasted delicious Oaxacan mole, wine and beer brought in by Andy Sanchez of Walter’s Brewery from Pueblo Colorado, also a participant of our cohort. I highly recommend Agave Uptown for any family or business gathering, it is BART accessible and you have lots of parking lots in the vicinity. The ambiance is high scale with delicious authentic Oaxacan food. The bar serves spirits, wine and beer! We departed to Palo Alto for some rest as we had an early 8:30 a.m. start.

On Saturday, Mark Madrid, CEO of Latino Business Action Network welcomed all 75 graduating entrepreneurs and congratulated us on our completion of the seven week program. Our in house “El Chacal” aka Elian Savodivker, LBAN’s Director of Engagement went over the capital matchmaking logistics.

All of us had the opportunity to meet with bankers, VCs, Angel Investors and other financing professionals one on one. We were also part of small roundtable discussion with representatives from the United States Small Business Association, which sent their San Francisco District Director Julie A. Clowes, who went over the different ways and programs that the SBA can assist us in scaling our businesses. Another round table was lead by Noreen L. Gillen of Merrill Lynch, who is also a program mentor. Her discussion centered about issues such as key management insurance, private family business partnership gifting, installment sales, C Corp long term capital gain and other tax advantage strategies for our businesses.

After lunch, we attended a talk by Latino entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist power house Tom Chavez, born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Chavez is the current CEO and founder of super{set} and past CEO of successful ventures such as Krux, a martech platform acquired by Salesforce in 2016 for $700M, and Rapt, a provider of software for media monetization acquired by Microsoft in 2007 for an undisclosed amount. Mr. Chavez spoke about what he calls the “Temple of Entrepreneurship”, three traps of entrepreneurship, self-care and the stress-performance parabola.

Next, we heard from Miriam Rivera, a Latina tech leader who holds multiple undergrad and graduate degrees from Stanford University and who joined Google in 2001 as the number two attorney. There she helped in sales contract streamlining and thus helping grow their revenue from $85M to $10B in five years. She is currently the co-founder and CEO of Ulu Ventures, an early stage Angel tech focused fund which has raised $66M and invested in diverse companies. Miriam spoke of “Adverse Childhood Experience, resilience, focusing on gains and not gaps, stacking the deck (Doing everything you can to improve your chances to succeed), building relationships and not just doing transactions, being role models, and assuming your own power and taking your own risks.

The program’s graduation ceremony was held at the CEMEX Auditorium. LBAN Chairman of the Board Victor Arias, Jr. and Jennifer Garcia, Director of Programs, LBAN led the Mentor Appreciation. A component of the Scaling Program is that each participant is matched with a mentor. I was lucky I was paired up with Benjamin Weeda, a Denver, Colorado based expert in the non-profit sector in areas of self-sufficiency and economic mobility. He has 13 years of experience in advising micro businesses to gain access to capital, operations and finance. He is also the Co-Founder of the Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute. Benjamin was very generous with his time and very committed to walking with me in this journey towards scaling our commercial moving business. We talked weekly about growth strategies, hiring and employee development, as well as customer acquisition and retention practices. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to meet and work with Benjamin.

Before the graduation procession, three winners of a video challenge were announced. Congratulations to Rosa Saldana, CEO of Promecin Inc. Park Ridge, NJ (First Place), Denise Tijerina, Founder of TQ Customs Brokerage Laredo, Texas (Second Place), and George Fernandez, CEO Latino Connection Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Yaeli Merenfeld, CEO Anny’s Bread Factory Miami, Florida who tied for third place. These 2:30 minute videos summarized their experience with the program, inspired us to follow our North Star and challenged us to continue applying the tools we learned via the curriculum.

After the ceremony, we attended a dinner at the Stanford Faculty Club. There we heard from Mark Madrid, Elian Savodivker, Jennifer and also from class speakers Yaeli Merenfeld CEO Anny’s Bread Factory Miami, Florida and Javier Diaz, President of OSI Engineering, Campbell, California. Both class speakers spoke of how the program has challenged them to focus on continued growth and about the impact mentorship has brought to their personal and professional growth.

We closed the night by heading to Latino owned salsa nightclub and bar “Alberto’s” in Mountain View, California. We were treated to live music by “Ruido Azul”, including rock en español and awesome DJ music! Even finance and tech rockstar and New Mexico State University Finance professor Beto Pallares, Ph. D. was seen having a great time celebrating our graduation from the program!

To LBAN and Stanford’s SLEI-Ed program, my gratitude for allowing me to participate, and for bringing Cohort 7 together. To my fellow entrepreneurs of Cohort 7, you are my inspiration to continue to grow and I look up to each of you as leaders in your communities. And like Ico Serrano, CEO of 121 in Bethesda, MD says now #letsgodo !

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