Hispanic Heritage Awards 2009: Ruben Barrales
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September 29, 2009 – Ruben Barrales is the president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. As the president, Barrales ensures the Chamber provides a broad-based economic value for its members and the international region. He has an extensive background in government relations and is an advocate for small businesses. Prior to becoming the president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Barrales spent five years serving under former President George W. Bush as the President’s liaison to state and local elected officials. He was the first Latino elected to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors in 1992 and has since served on various boards including the California Speaker’s Commission on State and Local Government Finance, the California Commission of Local Governance for the 21st Century and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. Barrales has also been listed as one of Hispanic Business Magazine’s “100 Most Influential Hispanics” three times within the past decade.
PIERRE HABIS (Union Bank):Hello, I'm Pierre Habis of Union Bank. Diversity is one of Union Bank's most closely held values. This is why we are proud to honor local heroes in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Now, let's meet one of our honorees. RUBEN BARRALES (CEO, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce) My name is Ruben Barrales. I'm the president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce works to ensure that we help small business people here in the San Diego region, reach their potential, and create an environment to grow jobs and economic opportunity. We're comprised of small and large businesses, understanding that most people are employed in small businesses, and small businesses are really the driving force in our economy here. For me, being the president of the Chamber of Commerce really is a natural progression. My family -- my mother and father – immigrated from Mexico and came to California, and they both were laborers. They worked with their hands and, over time, they both ended up building small businesses out of our garage, a corner restaurant in our neighborhood. So as a child I grew up in a very entrepreneurial family. I always had an affinity towards small business people, understanding the challenges that they face, and also understanding the need for us to do a better job being better advocates for small business. ANNOUNCER: This moment is made possible by Union Bank, in partnership with KPBS.