This month’s Homegrown Heroes are Luis O. De La Hoz, Chairman Board of Directors of Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of NJ and Carlos Medina, President and CEO-Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of NJ. We caught up with them to know their story about how their routines have changed since the pandemic started. We thank Luis and Carlos for all their efforts and for inspiring our club with their acts. This year’s initiative includes giving $1,000 to a charity of our Homegrown Heroes' choice, and for this month, Luis and Carlos selected Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of NJ.
Tell me about your career and what inspires you every day?
Medina: I am a small Business owner, Executive Producer and TV Host, Corporate Board Member but most importantly I am the President and CEO of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey. Although the least lucrative financially, it is the job that gives me the most joy and satisfaction. Everyday I look forward to helping small diverse business owners in NJ and the Tri State area.
De La Hoz: Entrepreneurship is the best way that we have to overcome poverty in our communities, thinking that every day we can help an entrepreneur to achieve their dream and provide for their families.
How much have your job duties changed since the pandemic started?
Medina: My duties as President and CEO of the SHCCNJ have increased as our members have been in crisis and have needed additional support and guidance. We have increased our services and have assisted hundreds of members with PPP and EIDL support.
De La Hoz: Everything became virtual, more hours and less commute, the responsibilities of providing resources and assistance became our most important mission. We started using more communication channels than before.
What’s the biggest lesson/s you’ve learned during this time period?
Medina: I have learned that we indeed at the chamber have a familia. A group that helps one another and if we teach one member how to apply for a grant that member jumps on a Zoom call and teaches another dozen members how to apply for that grant. That collaboration and sense of familia is what is propelling the Hispanic Business community in the Tri State area. These business are growing business at 2-3 times of main street America. These business will once again pull the US out of our current Covid recession.
De La Hoz: that the entrepreneurs that embrace the change adjust easily to the new reality and become more successful during the months that we were closed. Entrepreneurs also teach us that even in a crisis we can find opportunities and that we can grow.