BizTimes Bubbler Executive of the Week: Jorge Franco

Jorge Franco, chairman, president and chief executive officer of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Wisconsin
Address: 1021 W. National Ave., Milwaukee
Industry: Nonprofit economic and workforce development association
Staff: 12 paid and unpaid staff members

Why were you interested in taking over the helm of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Wisconsin?
“Initially, I was involved in helping the HCCW to recruit and find its next CEO to build upon the wonderful foundation established by Maria Monreal-Cameron, the HCCW’s past CEO, who served for 24 years. Given the complexity of the new generation HCCW business model and its rapidly emerging Hispanic growth markets, I was recruited and asked by the board of directors to serve as HCCW chairman, president and CEO. I am honored and excited to accept this prestigious leadership position along with its many challenges, given my love for Hispanic business development and desire to be of service to others, who risk everything to enter into self-employment to own their own businesses and achieve the American dream.”

Why do Milwaukee and Wisconsin need the HCCW?
“The region and the state are in great need of a strategically aligned nonprofit Hispanic business organization in order to help tap the unique growth opportunity for the state and the overall economy as it pertains to high growth Hispanic markets. As we so often said on Capitol Hill during my years as a volunteer in support of the Hispanic enterprise public policy agenda, we Hispanics are no longer only employees and consumers. We are now also employers and investors with an opportunity to drive great influence in the American economy. Indeed, it is an exciting time to be Hispanic, and we must rise to accept our leadership role in this economy in a manner that drives and facilitates substantial Hispanic influence and success.”

What are your priorities for the chamber in the coming year?
“We are focused on expanding the services of the HCCW to deepen its business services, access to capital programming and corporate and government advocacy on behalf of our members, and substantially increase our public policy influence. We also now advance the training and overall workforce development needs of our Hispanic community and our partner industries who wish to tap into the underutilized (unemployed and underemployed) and abundant Hispanic human capital to meet their skills gap needs. The state’s high growth Hispanic workforce maintains and is known for its outstanding work ethic and positive workplace attitude.”

How many chamber members do you currently have?
“We have approximately 500 chamber members from numerous organizations and businesses, while we work to prepare ourselves for a major membership drive and related outreach in the months to come.”

Do you have a business mantra?
“Helping people succeed”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
“My parents, who instilled in me the traditional outstanding Hispanic work ethic. I am deeply grateful for their hard work and sacrifice to help our family grow out of poverty and succeed.”

What was the best advice you ever received?
“Support and honor the team who works with you in service to their needs. Happy team members make for happy clients. Also, take the opportunities you have before you. Windows of opportunity often emerge and then close quickly.”

What do you like to do in your free time?
“I enjoy relaxation and deep meditation, which helps me decompress and recharge. I also enjoy the outdoors, riding Harleys in various parts of the country, and spending time with good friends.”

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