A Message from Omar Duque:
After more than 11 years of leading the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce I will be stepping down as President and CEO at the end of August.
I have accepted a position leading a national nonprofit organization whose focus is well aligned with my personal mission and life’s work. I will be making an announcement on my new role shortly.
In the coming weeks, the IHCC Board of Directors will announce a formal search process to identify the organization’s next leader. IHCC’s next leader will be instrumental in helping IHCC build on its position as a leader in the local business community as well as a national leader in the Hispanic Business community.
During the search process, Kelley Francis, IHCC’s Vice President of Corporate Relations, will serve as interim President & CEO. Kelley has been with IHCC since 2009 and has been instrumental in helping guide and manage IHCC’s strategic direction. I am confident Kelley will lead the organization well.
I am incredibly proud of our work at IHCC. Together with our committed and talented team, we have reshaped IHCC into a nationally recognized organization working to cultivate knowledge, connections and collaboration to effect transformational social change and achieve sustainable economic impact through entrepreneurship. I’m proud our team’s agile and innovative approach, our commitment to inclusivity and to having a real and meaningful impact on the businesses and entrepreneurs we serve.
Our team has reimagined and redefined what organizations like ours can be. Our work has always focused on the value that small and diverse businesses create and the role that those businesses play in building community. We’ve challenged business owners to see themselves as investors in their own businesses and to imagine how their investments can create transformational change over multiple generations.
And in the last three years we’ve lead by working to connect more Latinos to the innovation economy. In February of 2016 we moved our offices to 1871 Chicago, the number one ranked incubator globally and we partnered with 1871 to start a first-of-its-kind incubator for Latino tech startups. Our work has challenged our businesses to not think of technology as a business sector, but instead as a imperative for business growth and success.
I’ve made some truly meaningful friendships here - and I will be forever inspired by the tenacity and grit of the entrepreneurs we work with. As I prepare to transition out of this role I leave with a tremendous sense of gratitude for every single person on our team today and over the years. I have learned from them, I have grown with them, I have cried with them and I am a better person because of them. I’m incredibly excited to see where they take what we’ve built together.
Thank you for allowing me to serve.