Minority Business' Biggest Advocates

Meet the governor-appointed Advisory Council that advocates for minority businesses behind the scenes.

Jose Beteta

Owner, Leaptech Solutions & Executive Director, The Latino Chamber

Jose Beteta

Owner of Leaptech Solutions, an I.T Consulting company that works with the needs of small companies in all industries, Jose is a very energetic leader both in the Latino Chamber and his other endeavors. Besides Leaptech and the Chamber, Jose actively works to bring programs that enrich culture, education and values of community with wife, Tamil Maldonado with groups such as its co-creation Barrio E’ and its cultural center, Barrio E’ CENTRO.

Jose is working closely with his Board at the Latino Chamber to bring education, resources technology and visibility to the Latino community, working to bridge the gap that exists between Latino and non-Latino businesses and drawing membership by educating the general public about the stigmas that surround Latinos and their businesses.

He is also on the in the Boulder Chamber board, the City of Boulder Human Relation’s Commission, the Longmont Economic Development Partnership, One Action Arts + Immigration Project and now on Governor John Hickenlooper’s Minority Business Advisory Council for the State of Colorado.

His latest achievements include the reorganization of the Latino Chamber and its Colorado Latino Business Conference and the creation of the Colorado Latino Festival in June 2016.

Fran Campbell

President/CEO, Asian Chamber of Commerce

Fran Campbell

Fran Campbell is a Denver native born to Filipino immigrants. She started her career as a Pediatric LPN and, before moving to the position of President/CEO of the Asian Chamber of Commerce, she was Sr. Clinical Support at Jefferson Center for Mental Health for 17 years.

Concurrently, for over 30 years, Fran was the Operating Co-Manager of Simsiman Family Enterprises, a minority owned small business in Denver. The business included a dry cleaning service; management of apartment property; and operation of a food truck/catering business.

Fran also served 14 years as a Denver Commissioner for both the Asian American Pacific Islander Commission and the Immigrant & Refugee Commission. As a DAAPIC Commissioner, she helped initiate the door-to-door discussions with business owners on South Federal; starting a dialogue between them and the Denver Urban Renewal Authority and the Office of Economic Development with the purpose of revitalizing this commercial retail area.

She has been an active leader in the Denver APIA community throughout her life. Fran served as an elected Officer of the Filipino-American Community of Colorado. She served on the Governors Asian Advisory Council; And she is currently on the Cultural Advisory Board of Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families; as well as a facilitator/coordinator at all nine of the Camps. Additionally, Fran is a certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor specializing in trainings for minority communities.

Fran was awarded the Denver Foundation Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award 2011; the Martin Luther King Business & Social Responsibility Award 2014; and Asian American Hero / Asian Avenue Magazine 2015.

Michelle Campbell

VP Operations, Campbell Litigation, P.C.

Michelle Campbell

Michelle Campbell is VP Operations at Campbell Litigation, P.C., an employment defense litigation law firm.

Michelle has served as organization development advisor for 25 years, and focuses on organization effectiveness and employment policy matters. She is a trained engineer and counselor with national experience in developing effective operation and employee systems that impact productive work environments. Her practice areas have included: corporate systems analysis, workplace investigations, diversity cultural audits, operations assessments, mediation, executive coaching, and project implementation. She has successfully developed numerous corporate operations plans that involved transforming an organization’s employee policy and developing new strategies for organization effectiveness.

Michelle has written, facilitated, and served as senior advisor in various corporate organization transformation projects, which has gained her expertise in diversity and inclusion. Her publications, workshops, and, keynote addresses include topics on organization effectiveness, and incorporate the best practices in serving and establishing policies on the basis of race, gender, sexual harassment, disability and age.

Michelle is a thoughtful advisor that brings structure, organization and a practical approach to an organization’s challenging situation, and she has an ability to identify critical gaps and bring a human dynamic and experience that reaches across a diverse client base. In January 2016 Michelle was awarded The Colorado MLK Business Leaders Award by The Governors’ Office, and in September 2016 Awarded The MBE/Diversity Advocate of the Year Award.

Diana Conner

Owner, MLS Senior Care

Diana Conner

Diana Conner Reed is the owner of MLS Senior Care (must love seniors). MLS Senior Care provides non-medical home care to the elderly, blind and disabled citizens of Grand Junction CO.
Before opening her business in April of 2016, she had an amazing career in International Business and Supply Chain Management.

Diana’s passion is helping people, reach their full potential. She is passionate about mentoring single mothers who come to work at MLS, by encouraging them to continue their education, often moving on to become CNA’s and, in some cases, watching them move on to the Nursing program at CMU.

Diana is involved in numerous community outreach programs, Keeping Seniors Safe (reiterating what seniors know but forget to practice), Staying Connecting (visiting assisted living facilities an assisting residents in writing greeting cards to loved ones), delivering Christmas meals to people in the community who are alone on the holidays, and sponsoring a team for the local MS Walk matching donations up to $500.00. She also successfully chaired a group of women entrepreneurs looking to share resources and expand their businesses.

MLS Senior Care recognized 630% growth in 2018. They anticipate billing 1,000,000 in 2019. In 2018 MLS Senior Care won the 1st Commitment to Community Award for the State of Colorado.

MLS Senior Care’s moto for 2019 “A client will never love a company, until it’s employees love it first”

Dee Espinoza

Owner & CEO, Espinoza Consulting Services (ECS)

Dee Espinoza

Dee Ann Espinoza is the owner and CEO of Espinoza Consulting Services (ECS). ECS has been in operation for over six years providing environmental consulting services to federal, state, local, and tribal governments and a host of commercial clients. The company has been recognized by the Small Business Administration in the SBDC’s 2014 Annual Report as a growing business in the south-central Colorado region. ECS is also certified as a small, woman- and minority-owned disadvantaged business by the SBA (under the 8(a) Business Development, the Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned Small Business, and the HUBZone Programs). ECS currently employs 20 professionals and is headquartered in rural south-central Colorado in the San Luis Valley. Community-wise, Mrs. Espinoza is a Trustee for the Town of La Jara, Colorado. Through being a trustee, she participates in numerous volunteer events and is currently organizing the development of a 23-acre outdoor recreational park, to include a world-class bicycle motocross (BMX) track. The design grant has been funded through a grant by the Go Colorado Program (GOCO). Her goal is to increase economic development in her town, Conejos County, and in the overall San Luis Valley to provide well-paying and stable jobs in healthy, safe communities in beautiful rural Colorado.

Alejandro Flores-Munoz

Activist, Entrepreneur, Mentor

Alejandro Flores-Munoz

Alejandro Flores-Munoz is a seasoned entrepreneur and activist who has made it his mission to advocate for marginalized communities. As an outspoken queer, DACA, Latinx person Munoz’s life’s work aims to champion for the next generation of intersectional entrepreneurs.

Brought to the United States by his mother in 1997, Alejandro had strong progressive values instilled into him from a young age. His family upbringing and willingness to overcome adversity is what inspired him to open his businesses: Unum Sunglasses, Progressive Button and most recently Stokes Poke.

Recently, Alejandro launched a YouTube series where he transparently and vulnerably opens up about his journey as an undocumented entrepreneur offering tips, advice and support to those looking to start or grow their business.

Munoz now lives in Denver, Colorado where he works directly with local agencies and non-profits as one of the leading advocates for the DACA community. His willingness to be open about his experiences have landed him commentary roles at leading media outlets like Univsion along with a coast to coast speaking tour.

Alejandro proudly served as the Program Director for America Votes Colorado and most recently has been awarded both the Transformative Leadership for Change and Immigrants Rising Fellowship.

Maria Gonzalez

President & CEO, Gonzalez Insurance Group

Maria Gonzalez

With a devoted commitment to make a difference at the community level, Maria Gonzalez has extensive experience in the business, government, and non-profit sectors.

Since 2007, Maria has owned and operated Gonzalez Insurance Group, a Colorado insurance business that focuses primarily on the transportation and construction industries.

Prior to her private sector career, Maria served as the Community Liaison for Commerce City. She is also the founder of Adelante Community Development, a non-profit organization that supports small business development and growth in Adams County. In the community, Maria has served on multiple non-profit boards and collaborative coalitions focused on community empowerment, economic development, and social change.

Helga Grunerud

Owner, HelgaG Consulting LLC

Helga Grunerud

Helga started HelgaG Consulting LLC in late 2017 after retiring as Executive Director of HCC Colorado’s Diversity Leader (formerly Hispanic Contractors of Colorado) in December 2017. She currently has a consulting contract with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to help launch their new state-wide Mentor-Protégé Program.

During her 17 year tenure with HCC, that started in 2000, membership more than tripled, and included some of the largest contractors/ professional services companies in the U.S. plus some of the smallest in Colorado. The association focused on public construction and was a key advocate for the economic benefits that public projects provide for Small/ Minority/ Woman-Owned companies in the construction industry. To that end, she was involved with a variety of committees that interface with public entities to develop programs geared towards opportunities for diverse companies and diverse workforce development.

Small business education was a key HCC initiative since its inception. Helga was instrumental in securing grants from the TREX Project, which launched the HCC Contractor Academy education program. That evolved into a monthly series of workshops and offered a certificate program and scholarships for small businesses. In 2017 she partnered with the Community College of Denver’s Workforce Development Center and secured a contract with the Regional Transportation District (RTD) to offer a WINPreneurs Program. This unique program combined classroom work, networking training and opportunities to interact with construction industry professionals at HCC dinner meetings. Putting learning into action!

Ben Jacobs

Co-Owner, Tocabe: An American Indian Eatery

Ben Jacobs

Tocabe is the only American Indian owned and operated restaurant in Metro Denver. The restaurant first opened its doors in December 2008, adding a second location in 2015 and food truck in 2016.

Ben and his business partner Matt Chandra work with many local and national Native organizations. Along with community outreach, Ben and Matt travel around to tribal communities learning about their traditional foods and what’s important to them on a cultural and community level.

Ben has lived in Denver since the age of three and grew up in the Park Hill neighborhood. He graduated from Denver East High School in 2001, then attended and graduated from the University of Denver in 2005 with a B.A. in History with a focus on American Indian studies.

Barbara Myrick

Owner, B&M Construction

Barbara Myrick

Barbara Myrick is the principal of B&M Construction, a minority/veteran-owned company, specializing in; contracting services, general construction, electrical, furniture procurement, furniture installation and project management. Ms. Myrick has over twenty years of experience in all facets of construction management and has a proven track record for successful completion of multi-million dollar projects for both private and public sectors. She is well versed in design and blueprint review and analysis, preparation of construction documents, bidding, contract negotiations, material purchasing, site management, hiring and oversight of specialty trade contractors, quality control management and safety and compliance management.

Ms. Myrick effectively develops partnerships with architects, engineers, government officials, vendors and clients while formulating forward thinking solutions for win-win outcomes for all stakeholders.

Anthony Perez

President, Success is a Language

Anthony Perez

Anthony is an entrepreneur, veteran, community leader; President of Success is a Language Inc., Owner and COO for Infinity Mobile Detail Solutions LLC, Infinity F and B Staffing Solutions and Commercial Cleaning LLC.

As a speaker Anthony has authored several training programs that focus on increasing influence, employee engagement and improving company’s culture of success through the teaching of social and emotional leadership development.

Currently resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado with his wife Stephanie and their son Gabriel, who is a really cool little dude. Anthony is the co-founder and past president of the Colorado Springs Hispanic Business Council, Board Member for CAPS and FCC, supporting law enforcement and mental health initiatives and has been appointed by Mayor John Suthers to serve as a Commissioner on Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority.

Alan Ramirez

Director of Lending, Colorado Enterprise Fund

Alan Ramirez

As Director of Lending, Alan works with our Director of Credit Quality to manage CEF loan production and supervises our lending team. He also consults with potential applicants about their business plans, performs credit analysis and loan underwriting, provides ongoing business advisory services to borrowers, and oversees loan activity in the Denver Metro area and other parts of the state. Prior to joining CEF in 2007, Alan worked as a loan consultant for Pulte Homes. He is fluent in Spanish.

Susana Salamun

Latino Services Officer, Alpine Bank

Susana Salamun

Susana Salamun is the Latino Services Officer for Alpine Bank. She acts as the strategic and administrative leader of Alpine Bank’s ongoing efforts to serve the Hispanic and Latino populations throughout Colorado. She also serves as board member of Aspen Community Foundation. Susana was born and raised in Mexico and has lived in the Western Slope of Colorado for the last seven years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, one of the most prestigious universities in Mexico. Susana has worked in the areas of electronic banking, compliance and information technology for Alpine Bank. She has also translated multiple banking resources into Spanish and recorded Alpine Bank radio ads in Spanish. She was invited as a guest speaker to talk to the Rifle High School students about cyber security and how to prevent technology breaches. While in Mexico, Susana worked as a computer science professor. Her skills include leadership, problem solving, interpersonal skills, self-learning, self-motivation, collaboration, coaching, communication, time management, and adaptability. Susana lives in New Castle with her husband. She pursues challenging opportunities that help her grow personally and professionally. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and playing piano. Susana believes in leading by example and being a positive influence. Her passion is people, caring for others and playing an active role her community.

AJ Shaikh

Vice President | SBA Business Development Officer, Community Banks of Colorado

AJ Shaikh

AJ Shaikh started his commercial lending career in 2005. He most recently joined Centerstone SBA Lending, serving Colorado and the surrounding states. AJ’s focus within the business community is to help with debt restructure, working capital, commercial real estate and business financing.

AJ moved to Colorado in 2005, embracing the Colorado lifestyle.  He enjoys everything outdoors. When he is not hiking or cycling, he enjoys cooking and spending time with family & friends. As an active member in the community, AJ serves on the Board of two local non-profit organizations. He has also been involved with Junior Achievement and Big Brothers Big Sisters Colorado.

AJ proudly joined the Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce in 2016, and he brings his dedication to serving the business community with him. He is passionate about equality, and he hopes to share the mission and vision of the Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce and be a positive influence in the LGBTQ business community and at large.

Alejandra “Ale” Spray

Business Development Manager – Community Engagement, Mortenson

Alejandra “Ale” Spray

With more than 20 years of construction and engineering experience, Ale is a business development and community outreach professional dedicated to the industry and community. Ale is the Business Development Manager – Community Engagement for Mortenson in Denver, Colorado. In this role, Ale is responsible for successfully executing community participation plans to maximize opportunities for small, women, minority and other diverse groups on Mortenson’s projects.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Western Institute of Technology and Higher Education, a university in Mexico.

Ale is a former board member and President of HCC (Hispanic Contractors of Colorado), an organization she is been actively involved with for 15 years. Her dedication and support for small and minority businesses has led to her appointment to the State of Colorado’s Minority Business Advisory Council where she continues her work promoting active engagement and solution-based dialogue with the business community.

She enjoys the opportunity to volunteer with community focused non-profits and mentoring young professionals in the construction industry. Born and raised in Mexico, she currently resides in Erie.

Elizabeth Suarez

Speaker, Coach, Author

Elizabeth Suarez

A highly sought-after speaker and coach, Elizabeth Suárez is dedicated to helping professionals unleash their potential by transforming them into skilled negotiators and decision makers. After climbing the ranks of corporate America, she authored the bestseller book The Art of Getting Everything and launched Negotiation Unleashed – a coaching and training platform for professionals.

Elizabeth holds an MBA from The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, and a BS in chemical engineering from Cornell University. She completed the Executive Management Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She received her mediation training from the Colorado Council of Mediators and the Colorado Bar Association.

Steven L. Trujillo, MBA

President & Chief Executive Officer, Latino Chamber

Steven L. Trujillo, MBA

A native of Pueblo, Steven is a 2007 graduate of Dolores Huerta Preparatory High School. He holds an Associate of Applied Science Degree in general studies from Pueblo Community College, a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Administration from Colorado State University-Pueblo with a minor in Leadership Studies, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, also from Colorado State University-Pueblo.

As President & Chief Executive Officer, he is responsible for the organization’s day-to-day operations, public relations and community representation. He was a member of the Presidents Leadership Program at CSU-Pueblo and served on the Scholars Board for the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, advocating and representing students from CSU-Pueblo since 2010. In 2009 Steven received the 2009 Colorado State University-Pueblo Campus Leader of the Year Award, presented by the Boettcher Foundation; and was the 2009 Nominee Colorado Student Leader, presented by the Boettcher Foundation. He currently serves on the Governor’s Commission on Community Service, the President’s Leadership Program Advisory Board, Pueblo Community College CETD Advisory Board. He is a member of the Chavez-Huerta Board of Directors; a member of the El Pueblo Interdevelopment Corporation (EPIC) Board of Directors; Sangre de Cristo Arts & Conference Center Board of Trustees; Pueblo Economic Development Board of Directors.

Under his leadership, the Latino Chamber continues to grow and advance, while staying focused on the small business community of southern Colorado.

Steven enjoys volunteering his time with groups that work toward the enhancement of the Pueblo Community, and spending time with his family and friends in the beautiful Colorado outdoors.

Sherry Waner

Chief Development Officer, First Southwest Bank

Sherry Waner

With 25+ years of banking experience, specializing in commercial lending that assists small business start-ups and expansions, Sherry has enabled First Southwest Bank to become one of the State’s top SBA lenders, and one of the largest USDA lenders in the Nation. She serves as the bank’s lead strategist for fund and resource development. Sherry’s extensive knowledge of Government Programs has created opportunities for flexible and creative financing solutions for budding entrepreneurs and business owners.

Sherry attended the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado University Boulder and is a certified SBDC advisor providing training, coaching and counseling to minority and underserved businesses. She is very active in civic organizations and economic development efforts. In her role on the Board of Directors for the Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation, Sherry was instrumental in facilitating a new micro-loan program for Archuleta County.

Her current focus is on expanding outreach and impact on rural communities by providing access to credit and capital through Public & Private collaborations with First Southwest Bank’s CDFI initiatives, and their related 501c-3 Non Profit, First Southwest Community Fund. First Southwest Bank is the only bank in Southwest Colorado and the Four Corners region designated as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) — a certification from the United States Treasury for banks who primarily provide funding to underserved geographic areas and populations.

Susan Welk de Valdez

Owner & Editor, La Voz del Pueblo

Susan Welk de Valdez

Susan Welk de Valdez is the owner and editor of La Voz del Pueblo Spanish newspaper, and lives in Delta County, Colorado, with her husband, Martin Valdez Gonzalez. She is currently a board director with the Western Colorado Latino Chamber of Commerce, and with CASA 7th Judicial District. Throughout her career, she has served and volunteered with numerous organizations in the United States and in Cozumel, Mexico, where she and her family lived for a number of years.

If you are interested in participating in MBAC, please send us an email at info@mbocolorado.com.

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