PHOTO GALLERY — Hispanic Business Association celebrates women with first conference

Published 12:30 am Saturday, May 13, 2023

From the colorful decorations to the flickering candelabras, the inside of Ecclesia was a celebration of women Friday for the Hispanic Business Association of Southeast Texas’ inaugural Women with a Vision Conference.

“Turnout has been good,” HBA Executive Director Erika Banda Meza said prior to the event’s start. “A lot of people came early. We’re having fun.”

The idea for the event came after HBA members attended the Better Business Professional Women’ Conference last year. Geared to empower women in the Hispanic community, speakers went over a multitude of topics that included work-life balance, health, finance, and immigration issues.

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“I am pleased to be here to represent our team, and to congratulate the Hispanic Business Association of Southeast Texas on the success of its first Women with a Vision Conference,” said Port Arthur LNG Community Outreach Specialist Brooklyn Sampere. “We applaud your efforts to provide leadership opportunities to the Hispanic women in our community, with a focus on wellness and mental health, finances, work-life balance, public speaking, networking and…the return to the workforce.”

Port Arthur LNG served as the main sponsor for the event. In a packet each attendee received was a sheet of information on the LNG facility under construction in Sabine Pass that included information on career opportunities with the company.

Ten community leaders spoke in Spanish to the crowded room, each on one specific topic.

Ana Pereda spoke on returning to the workforce, offering advice on resumes. Having taken some time off work, she used herself as an example while telling attendees how to fill gaps between employment on a resume. Unpaid activities such as community service or working with the school PTA can be used to explain the unemployed time.

While Zulema Escobedo spoke on the importance of creating connections, she broke for a minute and asked attendees to introduce themselves and, if applicable, exchange business cards with others sitting at the same table.

The event included lunch, vendors, gifts and a multitude of door prizes.

The Hispanic Business Association of Southeast Texas was originally formed more than five years ago as a part of Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce and branched out in late 2022 to become an individual non-profit that serves all of Southeast Texas. In less than a year, the group has grown to more than 80 members.

For more information, call 409-293-6839 or email