The leadership board of the Orange County Hispanic Youth Chamber of Commerce in 2017.

The leadership board of the Orange County Hispanic Youth Chamber of Commerce includes Mihaylo students Leo Escutia ’19 (third from left) and Berenice Guillen ’17 (second from right).

Mihaylo College students are leading at the Orange County Hispanic Youth Chamber of Commerce, which seeks to foster the professional development of local young people through career preparation events, scholarships and community involvement.

Comprising more than a third of the Orange County population, Hispanics are at the forefront of the region’s economic transformation in the 21st century and own more than 30,000 businesses within the county.

The mission of the Orange County Hispanic Youth Chamber of Commerce (OCHYCC), which is open to local high school seniors and college students of all majors, is to link culturally diverse individuals, aiding them in their personal professional development, assisting them in their path to a higher education and encouraging them to become involved in their communities. The youth chamber hosts invited professional speakers on topics such as entrepreneurship, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and interview tips.

Leo Escutia and Berenice Guillen: Mihaylo Students Are OCHYCC Leaders

Each school year, at least two members of the chamber’s board are students from Mihaylo College, most of whom are also involved in the CSUF chapter of the Latino Business Student Association (LBSA). This year’s Mihaylo representatives are Leo Escutia ’19 (pre-business), who is serving as president and CEO, and Berenice Guillen ’17 (finance), community relations officer for OCHYCC and immediate past president of the CSUF LBSA.

“My responsibilities as president include motivating and guiding the OCHYCC board with an entrepreneurial spirit,” says Escutia. “As the top leader, I must attend networking functions and maintain constant interaction with sponsors, while driving overall strategic planning, guidance and follow-up on organizational matters.”

Relationship building is also crucial in Guillen’s role. “I work to build connections with local high school, community college and university students to recruit potential members and distribute information on scholarships,” she says. “We also work with local businesses and organizations to find speakers and sponsors.”

How to Get Involved

Among the chamber’s coming events is a Nov. 17 roundtable, “Latinas in Power,” featuring a selection of Latina business leaders across several industries discussing female empowerment, career paths, professional tips and overcoming challenges.

The Orange County Hispanic Youth Chamber of Commerce provides opportunities for career networking and professional development in Orange County, California.

Members of the Orange County Hispanic Youth Chamber of Commerce gain from the perspective of local leaders and build their personal network at chamber events, such as the entertainment panel shown above.

The chamber’s annual Winter Mixer on Jan. 19 will provide a preview of scholarship opportunities and the chance to network with visiting professionals. More information will be available on the chamber’s Facebook page.

Both events will be held at the offices of the Orange County Hispanic Chamber at 2130 E. 4th St., #160 in Santa Ana.

Funding Your College Education

Recognizing that higher education is paramount for career readiness, the OCHYCC has provided more than $42,000 in scholarships to local students since its founding in 2009. Awards are given every spring and are available to members through a point system, which is based on attendance at chamber events, following OCHYCC on social media and volunteering at community events. This academic year, the chamber will be offering $9,500 in scholarship funds. For more information, visit the chamber’s scholarship application page online.

Becoming a Member

Membership in the OCHYCC is free and open to students of all majors; join by filling out a brief online member application.

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