Making Connections -- Hispanic Professionals Group Provides Forum to Talk about Issues

By Devin, Jonathan | The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN), January 29, 2013 | Go to article overview

Making Connections -- Hispanic Professionals Group Provides Forum to Talk about Issues


Devin, Jonathan, The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)


An organization of Hispanic professionals started out the new year with new digs in the heart of Hispanic Memphis.

By reaching out to executives, managers, government officials and college students, the Memphis chapter of the National Hispanic Professional Organization (NHPO) hopes to raise awareness and provide opportunities for connectedness across cultural boundary lines.

What everyone has in common is that we want to get to know other Hispanic professionals in town and provide a forum where people can talk about issues, said Ignacio Vincentelli, who is counsel for International Paper and chairman of NHPO.

We see that when people get together with other people with whom they identify, they feel more a part of the community.

NPHO has more than 300 members, about half of whom are non- Hispanic, according to the group's treasurer, Yvette Caldwell, a State Farm claims inspector of Colombian descent.

The group meets monthly at the East Memphis Hilton for a luncheon featuring speakers who talk about their own career paths as well as topics specific to the Hispanic community. Meetings are always held in English.

At January's luncheon, U.S. Atty. Ed Stanton of the Western District of Tennessee explained the inner workings of the Department of Justice, particularly in cases involving immigration, drugs and medical malpractice.

At the beginning of the year, NHPO moved into an approximately 2,000-square-foot bay in the Apple Tree Center at Mt. Moriah Ext. and Hickory Hill.

Use of the space, which includes room for about 25 to hold meetings as well as a smaller conference room, was donated in-kind along with utilities by CentroSalud, a Hispanic-owned clinic next door.

Vincentelli furnished the office with a grant from International Paper.

NHPO previously borrowed space from a State Farm office until the company needed the space for its own use. State Farm remains a sponsor of the group.

But Vincentelli said that the new location will benefit the group because of its proximity to Hispanic businesses and groups like Latino Memphis, which is within walking distance.

The office is also a short drive to I-240, Bill Morris Parkway and the Poplar Avenue business corridor.

Antonio Olavarrieta, a credit analyst for Pfizer originally from Venezuela, said the group gives professionals like him a place in the professional market. …

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