Announcing the 2018 IHCC Award Winners

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IHCC is excited to announce the seven individuals that will be recognized for their outstanding contributions to our community of entrepreneurs at the inaugural IHCC October Fiesta on Thursday, October 25th. Chosen for their demonstrated leadership and zest for entrepreneurship, the following awardees have impacted the Hispanic business community in Chicago by serving as mentors and being exemplary advocates for diverse business owners, among many other achievements.

The 2018 IHCC Award Winners are:

Small Business Champion | Pat Aguilar, President & Founder, FourStar Branding
An award-winning marketing professional , Pat is passionate about ensuring small businesses and non-profit organizations have access to top-tier branding services. She volunteers her time as a startup mentor at 1871 and provided services to IHCC members Ensemble Español and Interpreter Tap among others.

Corporate Champion | Lu Yarbrough, Nationwide
Nationwide’s commitment to helping diverse business owners succeed was exemplified through their support of the 2018 cohort of Coaching 4 Growth. Thanks in part to their generous support, Coaching 4 Growth helped 17 entrepreneurs create actionable business growth plans through the three month program.

Member of the Year | Art Caines, Managing Partner, Lexicon Networks
Since joining IHCC in 2017, Art has participated in Coaching 4 Growth, was a part of the third cohort of the Latinx Incubator and is currently in the inaugural class of The Founders’ Assembly. His dedication to continuous learning and being an active member of the IHCC community inspires the IHCC staff to continue to create impactful programming.

Partner of the Year | Sandi Llano, President, Sandi Llano & Associates
For more than 36 years, Sandi Llano has been an exemplary advocate for minority and diverse business owners, ensuring they have the tools and resources they need to grow and secure contracts on the city and government levels.

Legacy Award | Guillermo Garcia, CEO & Principal, GSG Consultants
Guillermo established GSG Consultants in 1992 and has led the transformation of the company into a multi-faceted consulting firm specializing in environmental engineering.  Guillermo has served on IHCC’s Board of Directors since 2007.

Leadership Award | Arabel Alva Rosales, President & CEO, AAR & Associates
Arabel is being recognized for her dedicated service to to the IHCC Board of Directors, serving in various capacities since 2002. She is the president and CEO of AAR & Associates, a full breadth technology firm and the co-founder of Latino Fashion Week.

Chairman’s Award | Gilbert Villegas, Alderman of the 36th Ward, City of Chicago
Since being elected in 2015, Alderman Villegas has introduced and passed legislation that focuses on providing opportunities for Minority, Women and Veteran Owned businesses. As Chairman of both the Latino and Veteran Caucuses, Alderman Villegas has worked to ensure that both communities are well-represented.

In lieu of a traditional awards gala, IHCC’s October Fiesta will bring Chicago’s diverse business community together for an exciting night of networking, entertainment and delicious bites. The event kicks off at 6:00pm at Carnivale, located at 702 W. Fulton Street, Chicago, IL. October Fiesta is sponsored by Wintrust Community Banks, Coca-Cola, and ComEd.

Individual tickets are $150 and can be purchased on the official event website.

6 Founders Kickoff Cohort One of The Founders' Assembly


The Founders' Assembly

Cohort One Kickoff

IHCC is excited to announce its inaugural cohort of The Founders’ Assembly. The Founders’ Assembly’s is IHCC’s very first peer-to-peer group and creates a space for business owners and leaders to come together and work through their biggest challenges.

The Founders’ Assembly was developed  in response to feedback about the increasingly daunting tasks leaders face finding and keeping the right people on their teams. Even when they have good talent, business owners deal with the familiar struggle of stepping outside their organization and letting go of day-to-day control, that painful transition we often describe as “working in the business to working on it.”

What attracted me to the Founders’ Assembly was the idea of collaborating and learning from my peers. The group is so dynamic and made up of diverse professional backgrounds. I find the meetings incredibly insightful as I learn more about being a better leader.
— Ozzie Godinez, Co-Founder of PACO Collective

The Founders’ Assembly offers a forum where leaders can work through the struggles that only another business owner can understand and realize that they are not alone. There are many opportunities for business owners to meet people, but it is rare to find the chance to really connect with another leader and learn from them.

The Cohort One Founders are:

Through the Founders’ Assembly, IHCC looks forward to building more spaces and ways founders, owners, presidents, executives directors, or anyone charged with guiding the success of an organization can support one another and grow together. For more information on how to get involved, contact director Liana Bran at

The Founders’ Assembly is made possible by the support of our generous sponsors BMO Harris Bank, AT&T, and Exelon.