NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The Tennessee Latin American Chamber of Commerce welcomes five new board members and announces a new team of executive leadership, led by incoming board President Mayra Zimmer. Joining the board are Edmundo Cepeda, Santiago Garcia, Lourdes Garrido, Valerie Kristinus and Javier Solano.
“The growth rate for Latino entrepreneurs in the U.S. is more than double the national average, which says to me that our work here is no longer just about diversity and inclusion, but about simple economics. I’m honored to represent the TLACC at this important time, especially here in Nashville, and am humbled by the support we have already received from our new board members,” shared Zimmer, Vice President of Multicultural Marketing at AIG Financial Network and newly elected board president.
TLACC board members serve two-year terms and are charged with serving as liaisons between the Latin American business community and corporate America, while also engaging non-Latin American organizations looking to engage with the Latin American community.
Newly elected members of the TLACC executive committee also include, board vice-president Marcela Gómez, president of Hispanic Marketing Group who has served as events and marketing chair since 2008. Edmundo Cepeda of Asurion as treasurer and Joseph McKinney from Dickson Wright, PLLC as legal counselor.
Edmundo Cepeda, the senior manager of Strategic Analytics at Asurion, will serve as the Chamber’s treasurer and as a member of the Executive Committee. He started his career at one of the largest glass companies in the world (Vitro), where he had the opportunity to work in the U.S. for a year and a half. Afterward, he moved to the public sector, where he worked for the Mexican Internal Revenue Service and then moved to the Economic Development Ministry of Nuevo Leon. In 2006, Cepeda moved to Nashville to start his MBA at Owen Graduate School of Management, where we concentrated in finance, strategy and operations, and was involved in a diversity of Owen organizations. After Owen, he started working at Asurion. He was born in Mexico City.
Santiago Garcia is the senior managing account executive for Caterpillar Financial. Garcia started his career in Colombia as a loss control consultant for insurance companies in major markets throughout Latin America. He soon was hired to oversee the marine insurance book of business in Colombia for American International Group (AIG) until being relocated to the company’s headquarters in New York City. He worked with the company there and later in Atlanta, until he moved to Nashville at the end of 2011 to manage several lines of business within Caterpillar Inc.’s captive insurance company.
Garcia holds an industrial engineering degree and has an MBA from St John’s University with a concentration in risk management and insurance.
Lourdes Garrido is the vice president of Marketing at Health to You (H2U). Born in Havana, Cuba, Garrido moved to the U.S. in 1960. Growing up in South Florida, she attended Florida International University and the University of Florida, where she majored in anthropology. After college, Garrido found herself working in health care marketing. She has been in a marketing role for Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) for the past 19 years. In her current role, she oversees the marketing of convenient, innovative and cost-efficient health solutions to individuals, employers and their employees, hospitals, and other business entities.
Garrido is an alumna of the National Hispana Leadership Institute leadership program, and she attended the JFK School of Government at Harvard and the Center for Creative Leadership. She has a long history of community involvement, including local and state political appointments.
Valerie Kristinus is a sales leader for State Farm and has been with the company since 1988. After interning several summers in multiple departments, she began as a claims adjuster in Philadelphia, Pa. She spent nine years in Human Resources in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Tennessee. For the last 15 years she has worked with the agency sales force in Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio. She is currently a sales leader working with 41 State Farm agents in Davidson County.
Kristinus received her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Villanova University and has earned her Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation.
Javier Solano is a vice president for McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations. Solano has 12 years of experience managing campaigns, including award-winning efforts on behalf of the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Department of Labor and the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority. While at MP&F, Solano has received the staff-selected Best Writer award four times and the MVP award twice. He is a frequent presenter on Latino outreach, including presentations at Job Corps conferences and local universities. He is also one of the staff’s media trainers, leaning on his 10 years of experience as a reporter, mostly with the Orlando Sentinel. He also serves on the board of directors for the Economic Club of Nashville.
Before his arrival at MP&F in 2001, Solano worked for two Chicago Tribune-owned newspapers, most recently the Orlando Sentinel, where he covered sports and general assignments for six years. Born in Santa Marta, Colombia, and raised in metropolitan Washington, D.C., Solano graduated from Columbia University in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in English.
For more information on the board or to learn more about the Tennessee Latin American Chamber of Commerce, visit www.TLACC.org.