Sonoma County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce names Angie Sanchez new executive director
One of the county’s most prominent business organizations dedicated to supporting the economic growth and success of Latino-owned business appointed Angie Sanchez as its newest executive director.
The Sonoma County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce formally announced Sanchez’s role at a mixer held at the Robledo Family Winery in Sonoma on June 30.
Her resume includes roles as a nonprofit leader, entrepreneur, and community advocate in several notable Latino-serving organizations across the county.
"Angie embodies everything that our team was looking for to serve in this role," said Alma Magallon, the chamber’s board president. "Her passion to serve our community and her experience with working with local businesses along with her innovative and creative ideas will truly help our chamber continue to grow and be sustainable for years to come."
Sanchez fills a much-needed leadership role in the 30-plus-year organization that forms a network of Latino and non-Latino professionals, entrepreneurs and leaders.
“It's exciting because I get to help it go through its next phase of growth and the current board (is) very supportive of the ideas and the things that I want to accomplish with the organization,” Sanchez said.
Because of a lack of funds, the chamber has previously been unable to pay the salary of an executive director. As a result, Sanchez will be only the second executive director in the chamber’s history. The previous person in the position left in 2009.
Sanchez’s salary will be paid for using American Rescue Plan Act funds obtained through a partnership with Small Business Equity & Recovery, a nonprofit made up of 17 partners that supports small businesses in Sonoma County, she said.
The funds, which total $400,000, will not only pay Sanchez’s salary, but an office assistant’s salary, as well as technology improvements, additional programming and create resources for the next 2½ years.
Sanchez hopes to build on existing connections she developed at the grassroots level to more seamlessly usher potential entrepreneurs to the resources available through the chamber.
She founded VIDA Cultural Arts in 2021, an organization that amplifies the contributions of the Latino population through arts, culture and community. VIDA hosted several community events including a Mexican heritage and health fair, community markets, and farmworker appreciation gatherings.
"I'm able to think and say, ‘Okay, what were the things that I saw through VIDA that entrepreneurs or small businesses were struggling with,’“ she said.
“Now at the chamber, I can create workshops around the struggles that I witnessed or the challenges that I saw that they were facing, particularly the Latinos who might not be speaking any English, who might be illiterate, and not be able to read or write and fill out the applications,“ she said.
As the newest executive director, Sanchez has already laid out a four-pronged approach to promote economic development, offer more educational programming, strengthen community partnerships, and increase accessibility to services for small business owners and local entrepreneurs, according to a news release.
Born and raised in the Sonoma Valley to Mexican immigrants, she is the eldest of seven children. Her career spans 15 years of working to empower the local Latino community.
At La Luz in Sonoma, she led efforts to provide resources to Boyes Hot Springs’ businesses during the pandemic, among one of her highlights in a 12-year career with the organization.
Past roles also include the head of programs for Corazón Healdsburg and chief of programs at Sonoma Community Center. She’s also served on a number of committees for organizations that include Sonoma County Water Agency, Sonoma Valley Catalyst Fund and City of Sonoma’s Recreation Task Force.
From 2017 to 2022, she served as a board member of the chamber .
She looks forward to expanding the chamber’s reach by increasing accessibility to services through pop-ups across the county aimed at reaching current and future business owners who might not be aware of the chamber’s services or who can’t always attend events in Santa Rosa.
“It’s just trying to be more intentional,” she said.
You can reach Staff Writer Jennifer Sawhney at 707-521-5346 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @sawhney_media.