Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Evodio Walle

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Evodio Walle

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month 2021, MCE is proud to highlight hispanic community members who are making a difference in the community. Today we are excited to celebrate Evodio Walle. Evodio is the CEO of the San Francisco Bay Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce which advocates for Hispanic and minority-owned businesses across 101 cities across 9 counties in the Bay Area.

Can you tell me about yourself and how you got involved with the San Francisco Bay Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce? 

I am a native Californian and I am the president of the San Francisco Bay Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. I decided to get involved with the chamber seven years ago. I was aware of the chamber as a pillar in the community and wanted to help the chamber reach those in need, create more impactful programs, and improve socio-economic prosperity in the Bay Area. It has been fulfilling to help the chamber reach a new level of operating efficiency where our programs can reach people across all of the counties we serve.

How does the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce support local businesses during COVID-19?

We developed the COVID Small Business Relief Advocacy Program and Legislative Platform to support small businesses during the pandemic. One of the key ways the chamber has supported the local business community has been through acting in an advisory role to help community members pivot their business models during shelter in place. For example, we’ve helped restaurants shift their ordering and menus to an online platform. We have also helped connect businesses to relief efforts such as MCE’s COVID relief for small businesses and residents.

How do organizations like the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce foster a more diverse and inclusive community?

Inclusivity is a core philosophy of the chamber and we apply this lens to everything we do.  Fostering inclusivity helps create synergy between the community, commerce and government. At the chamber we engage in advocacy and push for positive policies that support businesses in economically depressed and low-income areas. I believe that equitable commerce and government are an essential step towards a more inclusive future.

Why is sustainability important in the small business community?

Sustainability is inextricably linked to every aspect of society. Sustainability is at the very foundation of what makes healthy communities and economies. We need to be moving away from practices that are eroding our environment towards sustainable business practices that heal our societies and create prosperity.

How has your experience as a Hispanic American impacted your work?

I personally faced a bit of adversity as a Hispanic American growing up with English as a second language. Children who start school and don’t speak English are immediately set behind their peers and have to face additional barriers in their development. These young people often fall behind when they are introduced to more complex curriculum and haven’t mastered the language yet. If there are no opportunities for these children to catch up, they are likely to fail in top subjects and eventually drop out of high school. Many of them may even end up in the correctional system. I personally lived that whole childhood experience. It was important to me that the chamber created avenues to address these issues. We created the Chango Mango Labs educational afterschool program to narrow the education gap and accelerate student’s English language development. This helps these young people not fall through the cracks of the education system, and many of them even end up at the top of their class. I am proud that we can bring that element of success to children and support anyone who’s falling behind.

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