As head of the L.A. Chamber, Maria Salinas is getting down to business

It took 130 years for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce to hire a woman and a Latino to fill its top staff job.

3/4/2019 4:45:00 AM

It took 130 years for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce to hire a woman and a Latino to fill its top staff job.

It took 130 years for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce to name a woman or a Latino to the helm, but Maria Salinas' collegial and inclusive style got her the job last year.

4:00 AMMaria S. Salinas is the first woman and the first Latino to run the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. (Luis Sinco /)It took 130 years for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce to hire a woman and a Latino to fill its top staff job. In August 2018,

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Maria S. Salinas took overas president and chief executive of the chamber, which has a membership of more than 1,650 businesses with a combined workforce that exceeds 650,000 employees. The organization’s goal of “being the voice of business, promoting collaboration and helping members grow” is even more important with a

in Sacramento, said Salinas, 52. She’s in charge of 88 employees and works with an annual budget of about $14 million.Advertisement>Ready to goDecades before she was schmoozing with politicians and executives, a teenage Maria Sanchez faced a roadblock. Her parents thought that headtopics.com

was too far from the northeast Los Angeles neighborhood where they lived. Cal State L.A. was acceptably close for their only daughter.“We laugh about it now,” Salinas said. “It seemed like a big distance to them.”Training groundAfter her parents finally relented, Salinas began studying accounting at LMU. “Accounting and finance to me are the fundamental framework of a business. If you don't understand the numbers, then it's hard to grow a business. All those years I spent working on financials — that was a tremendous lesson for me.”

Salinas was offered her first accounting job while still in school and later was recruited by Ernst & Young and then by Walt Disney Co. She spent 11 years there doing “a lot of different project work that touched so many divisions,” Salinas said. Eventually “I was responsible for financial reporting on a global basis for all the merchandise divisions, everything from the Disney stores to our publishing business, to the video business, to licensing.”

Many projectsSalinas left Disney in 2006 and started Salinas Consulting, a “one woman show” buttressed with clients suggested by a trusted group of mentors. By then, Salinas was the mother of two sets of twin boys and she was seeking balance in her life. Launching a consulting firm made sense because “I had a sound understanding of business on multiple levels and I could serve as a consultant for other companies looking to bridge gaps in their growth strategies.”

That same year, she was invited to become a founding board member ofProAmerica Bank, formed to focus on the Latino community. She later became audit committee chair and, in 2014, was appointed chairwoman of its board. In 2016, Salinas led the team that brought about the acquisition by Pacific Commerce Bank. “I took it all at the speed that worked for me,” Salinas said. “If it was during the school year, I spent more time working and picked up more business. If it was summer and the boys were home, I lightened my load.” headtopics.com

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We also have a story of great inequality. If we don’t solve this inequality problem, it will increasingly be an economic and national competitiveness problem.Maria SalinasShare quote & linkSmall and bigA lot of Salinas’ clients were small businesses. Her work with the bank also “really gave me insight on the importance of being strategic in running a business,” she said. “I got an opportunity to work with people across the city and try to bring the resources of the bank to the small-business community in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles.” But her biggest consulting client was Toyota Motor Corp., which she worked with for more than a decade.

In this 2008 file photo, a Prius enters Toyota's U.S. headquarters in Torrance. In 2014, Toyota Motor Corp. announced that it would move its North American headquarters to Plano, Texas. (Reed Saxon / AP)Driving awayToyota make the big move out of California,

to Plano, Texas, announced in 2014, taking 3,000 jobs with it. “It was unfortunate that the company made the decision to leave California, but it gave me a really great insight in terms of the financial decisions that a company of that size needed to make” in terms of the tax breaks and lower housing costs, among many other reasons for the move.

Sought outIn 2018, she received another call from an executive search firm. This time it was for the job leading the Chamber of Commerce.Salinas thinks she has an idea why she repeatedly ends up on the short list of candidates for jobs she hasn’t even applied for. “I believe what they saw in me was a person that knew the city, a person that had the background and the business expertise, that had demonstrated leadership in other previous roles, and that hopefully what came through was my passion and love for the city and really wanting to see it grow.” headtopics.com

Looking ahead“We definitely want to amplify our advocacy efforts for Los Angeles on a statewide basis. That would be one of the most important things we could do,” Salinas said. “A lot of the issues around affordability, whether it's in housing or education, are what hurt us in attracting more business.”

Sending a messageSalinas is using her position to highlight issues facing California that will ultimately affect its ability to attract and retain businesses. “We in California don’t just have a story of great diversity, we also have one of great inequality,” Salinas said in a recent panel discussion on diversity and race in higher education. “If we don’t solve this inequality problem, it will increasingly be an economic and national competitiveness problem.”

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Couldn't care less. Is this person the most qualified? If she is, that's fantastic. If not, let the shit show begin. You mean a Latina... Watch it go down the tubes now lol Tokenism on the left continues And illegal Because it took that long to find one who is a Republican? Better late than never dude Maybe they hire the best person and don’t care about race and gender? Isn’t that the law?

But I thought LA was suppose to be the beacon we all follow wow .Hey AOC RepAOC They are parading a 'token' Hispanic female at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. “Salinas even wound up helping Toyota make the big move out of California, to Plano, Texas, announced in 2014, taking 3,000 jobs with it.” 🤣🤣🤣

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Is she actually the best candidate for the job, or just checks off the right PC boxes 🤔 Bout time 👏 She is a no good do nothing! So what? More stirring by the leftist-infested LAT. Trump is again proven to be correct about the news media being the enemy of Americans. As though this has been a goal for over a century? How about, “Let’s hire the best person, regardless of the bigotry of identity politics.”

Intersectional evangelicals make me sick. How many years did it take for the California Club in downtown LA, to which many LA Times senior executives have belonged, to accept Jewish and African American members? They should have set a tighter deadline 130 years ago. They weren’t qualified. Fake race-baiting. FakeJournalism

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U.S. judge delays sentencing of admitted Russian agent ButinaA federal judge on Tuesday agreed to delay the sentencing of Maria Butina, who h... ohhExact Someone is getting a plea deal . 😫 | |\\ | \\ 8=✊🏼==D💦💦 |\\ 👩🏻‍🦰 | \\ 👟 👟

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Russian agent Butina still helping feds, has sentencing delayedFederal prosecutors delayed the sentencing Maria Butina again, saying the Russian who pleaded guilty to secretly working with the Kremlin while making political overtures to the NRA and other conservative groups is still working with investigators So how's the NRA fit in this Russian story. Money transferring etc? Instead of being a contributing member to a society, people like this ginger trollopsky get to make a career out of ratting out opposing corrupt sides. I've been doing the career thing wrong, I guess.

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