News Column

New Fort Worth Chamber CEO Eyes Growth, Partnerships

May 1, 2013

Sandra Baker

Asusena Resendiz, CEO, Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. (Photo: Irving Hispanic Chamber of Commerce)
Asusena Resendiz, CEO, Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. (Photo: Irving Hispanic Chamber of Commerce)

In nearly four months since Asusena Resendiz took the helm of the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as its president and CEO, she has hardly had a moment's rest.

"There was no honeymoon period," she said.

But that's OK with her, said Resendiz, a self-described perfectionist with a lot of ambition. She has been busy meeting local business and civic leaders and planning the organization's 40th annual awards gala, to be held Friday at the Worthington Renaissance hotel in downtown Fort Worth. About 500 people are expected to attend.

Javier Palomarez, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, will deliver the keynote address and share the message of why Hispanic chambers are so important. Hispanic businesses are growing at six times the national average, and Hispanic women are starting businesses at three times the national average, Resendiz said.

Resendiz joins the chamber after serving as president and CEO of the Irving Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for a little more than three years, where she earned the 2011 National Small Chamber of Commerce of the Year award from the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

"I was very flattered when he [Palomarez] called about two months into the role. He just wanted to know how I was doing," she said.

The Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber has more than 300 members, and Resendiz's goal is to grow. She wants to identify the city's Hispanic-owned businesses and bring resources to them that will help them succeed.

She sees the chamber as the organization that's going to track the heartbeat of the Hispanic business community.

"I am just very thankful for the support I have," Resendiz said. "I'm really happy to be here. I can't explain to you the positive amount of not just support, but the energy. I just feed off of what I know we need."

And as a bonus, the West Texas native, who grew up on a farm in Petersburg, said she's thrilled to know she can wear boots to work. She owns four pair.

Resendiz on Monday talked about her plans for the organization.

How do you think your first four months have gone?

Honestly, I feel like I've been here much longer. It really does feel like home. Being from West Texas, I really do feel a lot more at home here in Fort Worth.

Why did you come to Fort Worth?

Who wouldn't want to come to Fort Worth? It's a bigger chamber, as far as activity. Understanding there's still room for growth is probably the most exciting part of running this operation. Your challenges are a little different. Irving's what gave me my start. It prepared me in more ways than I can truly share with you. The outpouring of support I have had here in Fort Worth is different, the level of volunteerism is a lot higher here.

How do you see your role as president?

I take my role very seriously, just knowing these Hispanic small businesses truly need our help. It's an honor to serve the under-served, helping to educate them in a way that not a lot of organizations can.

What do you see the role of the chamber?

It's not just being a resource. We're only as successful as our members, so we have to make sure we are serving them at every capacity, and that is through business education and leadership. The Hispanic community needs to be involved in the community and know what's going on within the city and how it affects them.

What issues do you think you will face?

I know that there is a level of communication that we have to keep with our local, national and state elected officials. I really want to establish and foster the current partnerships we have but really establish new ones to bring added membership benefits to our members.

Do you have a plan for growing and developing Hispanic-owned businesses in Fort Worth?

Something that I do look forward to carrying over from Irving is the relationship that I had with our educators and our educational system, whether it be the ISDs or local universities. I was very involved with the University of Dallas, Irving ISD and Northlake College. I look forward to working with UTA, TCU, TCC and the Fort Worth ISD.

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