Hispanic Austin Leadership (HAL) Program Named One of the Best in the USA

The Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s (GAHCC) Hispanic Austin Leadership (HAL) Program has been named one of the top seven Hispanic Chamber Leadership programs in the country for its outstanding seventeen years of community impact. This honor comes from Lideramos, the National Alliance of Latino Leadership Programs.

The mission of Lideramos is to enhance and develop Latino Leadership Programs to strengthen a nation of diverse leaders who are culturally aware, civically engaged and community-serving, providing effective leadership for a multicultural society. Lideramos believes that Latinos have the capacity and potential to take a leadership role in shaping the 21st  Century and is, therefore, aiming to triple the number of leadership programs serving Latinos by 2022. The HAL Program has been included in the first Lideramos National Latino Leadership Directory.

“This is an exceptional honor for the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to receive.  Our Hispanic Austin Leadership program has played and continues to play a pivotal role in moving our community forward. After graduating through the HAL program, many alumni begin implementing what they’ve learned by serving on boards, commissions, and elected office. They also lead local, state, national, and international initiatives. This greatly appreciated recognition reaffirms that our leaders and program are amongst our nation’s elite,” said Christann Vasquez, Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Chairwoman of the Board.

The mission of HAL is to provide business leaders and professionals the opportunities to develop business acumen, civic awareness, leadership skills, and a network of colleagues for life. The HAL Program was established in 1999 and now has over 340 prestigious alumni. HAL is a nine-month program with monthly sessions and community impacts projects designed to advance our community.  The HAL program has produced a seven-figure economic impact in Central Texas since its inception.

Inaugural HAL Class of 2000 graduate and current Austin Community College Trustee, Dr. Nora Comstock remarked, “We are honored by the recognition of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber's Hispanic Austin Leadership Program. In 1999, we embarked on a mission to identify our young Hispanic leaders and to build a program to strengthen their leadership skills and activities and to provide exposure of this leadership to our community. Our stellar success is evidence of the Hispanic leadership that is found in our corporate, governmental, and nonprofit sectors. We look forward to many more years of serving our young leaders.”

In seventeen years, our HAL leaders have transformed our community. One HAL project team helped to create the first K-12 entrepreneurship program in the country, while others have launched their projects into non-profit organizations and have worked to achieve the City of Austin’s sustainability goals. The HAL classes have generated hundreds of thousands in funding for community initiatives, and have serviced several hundred thousand area residents. In 2016, HAL received a proclamation from Austin Mayor Steve Adler for its outstanding impact on the community.

Representing the entire alumni base, HAL Alumni Director and HAL Class of 2013 graduate, Sammy Morales exclaimed, “On behalf of the alumni of Hispanic Austin Leadership, it a great honor to be selected by Lideramos as a top leadership program.  Hispanic Austin Leadership has done so much to impact our local community as well as take the lead in an ever-changing Austin economy.  We are excited to take our program to the next level and begin to work with our peers across the country to help develop talented, cultured, and well-prepared leaders to guide our communities.”

Joe Pelayo, proud HAL Class of 2009 graduate, three-time HAL Chair, and 2016 GAHCC Board Member of the year stated, “What an incredible honor to be recognized by Lideramos as one of the best Latino Leadership Programs in the nation. Our program was designed to educate, inspire, and a “call to action” for Latino Leaders in the Central Texas area. As such, we have been fortunate to continue seeing increasing numbers of HAL Alumni sitting on Boards and Commissions and countless positions on non-profit boards. This continues to strengthen the Latino community in Central Texas, which is a testament to our program and the efforts of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. It has been my honor to be a part of this program.”

Leaders and alumni of the HAL Program are well-known for leading change in the community, but one of the unique components of the program is the close-knit family bond that the participants share. They do everything from travel the country together to participate in each other’s weddings. The HAL family bond is amongst the strongest around and is one of the greatest assets of the program.

The GAHCC and HAL are truly grateful for everyone across the community that sponsors and supports the program. The HAL program concludes each spring with graduation that the whole community is invited. Graduation for the class of 2018 will be Wednesday, May 16th, 2018 at the Austin ISD Performing Arts Center.

More information about the HAL Program and ways to support it can be found here.

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