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Hispanic networking events not limited to Latinos

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When I decided to attend the Alianza: Latino Business Association’s first Pachanga Night (Noche de Pachanga) of the 2009-2010 series last week, I knew I’d have a chance to meet a variety of local Hispanic leaders and entrepreneurs.

And I knew I would have fun; the Greater Des Moines Partnership, of which Alianza is an affiliate, knows how to put on events like this as well as anybody around.

What I didn’t expect to find, necessarily, was such a broad mix of business leaders, academic administrators and young professionals at the casual networking event, aimed at Alianza members as well as Latino and non-Latino business owners.

But that is exactly what I found.

In addition to connecting with the person who invited me, I met a doctor with Broadlawns Medical Center, a business development coordinator with Iowa Workforce Development and the publisher of El Latino, one of Des Moines’ leading Hispanic newspapers. I also caught up with four faculty members from my alma mater, Des Moines Area Community College, which was a huge bonus.

I chatted with associates, acquaintances, teachers, mentors and friends.

I also learned about Alianza, Des Moines’ Hispanic chamber of commerce; Heritage of Latino Americans (H.O.L.A.), a Wells Fargo & Co. team-member resource group focused on promoting and recognizing diversity; and EFE, a Hispanic news wire service based in Spain.

The rich diversity we enjoy in Des Moines is so apparent in multicultural events such as this. My favorite anecdote of the evening was about a colleague of mine who learned to speak French in Honduras from a Belgian instructor who spoke eight languages.

Warmly welcomed to the event, not to mention well fed, I was able to connect on multiple levels with many people of different cultures, ethnicities and worldviews. The common denominator: They believe in Des Moines.

If you want to broaden your networking horizons, I encourage you to attend an event like this in the near future. Not only will you have an opportunity to learn something new, but you could also make a connection that will help you build your brand, grow your business or further your career.

- Todd Razor

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