World traveller, financier and president and CEO of the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Guillermo Cisneros understands the importance of leveraging tools and connections to advance Latino businesses in West Michigan, because it all was important for him in to develop his career.
Originally from Mexico, Cisneros moved to West Michigan in 2009 with over 11 prior years as a financial controller in Mexico and Spain. After college, he had the opportunity to study abroad in Spain for graduate school, where he also worked in human resources.
“European Spanish culture, it’s different from Mexican,” Cisneros said.
Despite his decadelong finance career, it took him eight years after moving to the U.S. to reestablish his career in the area. His fortune took a turn when he drove to Grand Rapids for a Hispanic Chamber meeting attended by over 50 other Latino professionals.
“At that time, my eyes were opened,” Cisneros said. “I didn’t realize there were other Latinos in this region.”
Cisneros said he connected with the Hispanic Chamber immediately and through it was able to execute his prior experience working in Mexico and Spain to find his career path.
The doors reopened for him with State Farm in Wyoming in 2011, where he worked in insurance and financial services. He also served as an insurance adviser with Berends Hendricks Stuit Insurance Agency in Grandville from 2013-17.
Cisneros served as executive director of the Hispanic Chamber from 2017-21, where he established a three-year strategic plan to implement new initiatives and increase revenue and brand recognition in West Michigan through donor and investor relations. He was promoted to president and CEO in July 2021.
“One of my priorities at the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is to make sure that the next generation, the Latino college students that we have in West Michigan, have the opportunities and the doors are open for them in any company,” Cisneros said. “I want to make sure that we bring the tools, that we bring the knowledge, that we bring the connections that these Latino businesses need.
“At the end of the day, if the Latino business community thrives, the entire economy of the region will see the benefit of that. It is not easy. There are many things that need to happen. It’s a long journey, but it’s doable, and we are here to support it. I hope I can see the change in where my community is going to be in 25 years from now.”
Cisneros now resides in Grand Rapids with his wife and two daughters.
“One thing that we have been doing, since our daughters are very young, is going abroad, and I want them to experience my culture, my Mexican culture. It’s very important,” he said.
Founded in 2003, the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to increasing the economic advancement of Hispanic-owned businesses and to assist the professional growth of Hispanic business leaders in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, Barry, Allegan, Oceana, Kalamazoo counties.
Click para leerlo en Español: Guillermo Cisneros Presidente de la Cámara Hispana ve un largo viaje por delante