Christine Sylvia Schweininger is the Central Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s new president.
She was born and raised in the Bay Area; graduated from James Lick High School in San José; and, moved to Modesto as a young adult. Schweininger attended San Joaquín Delta College and majored in Communications.
Christine and Dieter Schweininger have been married for almost 20 yers and have three children; two daughters and one son. The couple currenlty lives in Modesto.
Christine is also the CEO of Vision Magazine.
1. As the new president, what are your top three goals for the Central Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce?
A: “As the new President we have many goals set for the year. Starting with our first signature event that was held in January. The event was for our Installation and Awards dinner, this was a sold out event! We have three more set for the year, so stay tuned. We’re excited to be partnering up with many other local chambers, which in return offers our members better visibility for their own businesses. We’re also excited to see the growth of our members. Every chamber goal is to increase their membership and to offer their members resources for their business and a voice to help strengthen economic development in our region.”
2. What is the importance of joining a chamber of commerce?
A: “There are so many great reason for joining the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Right now the U.S. Hispanics entrepreneurial business is higher than that of any other ethnic group. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 38.3 million people 13 percent of the U.S population are now native Spanish speakers; $1.5 trillion is the most recent estimate of the huge purchasing power the American Hispanic Community will have in 2015, according to the Nielsen report. Besides all the great mixers and ribbon cuttings all chambers have the same goal and that is to promote and develop business growth for members and provide access to the Hispanic market.”
3. For many years, Stanislaus County lacked a chamber of commerce focusing mainly on the Latino/Hispanic community, and now there are two: the Stanislaus Regional Latino Chamber and your Central Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Is there any competition between the two?
A: “The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce serves a very important role in our community. It is important for all of us to support each other especially with the growth of Latinos in California.”
4. Small-owned businesses are being established by Latinos at a higher rate than any other ethnicity, why do you think this is?
A: “As I mentioned earlier, new entrepreneurs in the United States are increasingly more diverse. The trends indicate that Hispanics are the most likely to become entrepreneurs. And new data from Geoscape for 2015 supports that premise. For 2015, the number of Hispanic owned businesses is expected to increase more than 4.07 million, an astounding 57 percent increase since 2007.”
5. What defines a successful business?
A: “This is tough question. For some it’s all about the financial gain, for others it’s also a feeling of satisfaction, because they worked so hard to achieve their dream. Although we all have to have an income to survive, having a passion and a belief can sometimes make us work harder.”
6. Many communities tend to look out for one another or lend each other a hand in order to succeed, but unfortunately that is the opposite with Latinos. What can be done to change this?
A: “I have to say that we have an amazing community. And so far, everyone that I have come in contact with all seem to have the same goal, and this is to support each and to promote each other’s organizations and businesses. Can you imagine the difference we could all make if we all worked together? That is the power of UNITY!”
7. Latinos are now the biggest ethnic group in California, but why do you think we are still not reflecting that in every area, especially politics?
A: “Change is happening maybe not as fast as we would like, but we see the shift. Bottom line is we have to get involved or we have no voice. We have some new local organizations that are really trying to change that on a local level. We have to educate ourselves and teach our children that their voice matters, and then we need to let our children know that voting is important and it’s our civic duty!”
8. As a female community leader, what obstacles have you faced personally?
A: “Obstacles, I can go on and on... I think that with a family, we as women try our best to balance life to the best that we can. I’m not going to lie, there are some days that I can’t be home for dinner, but then I have those days where I have the ability to take a day off with my family. Those are the trade offs we make as women leaders.”
9. Since you live in the area, what do you like about Stanislaus County? What is the best thing this county has to offer?
A: “I love how involved everyone is in our community! And how we have such a passion for giving. I have so many of my friends from the bay area that constantly say ‘Wow, Stanislaus County always seems to be having different benefits for a good cause.’ This community is strong and very close and we have a gift for caring for those in need.”
10. What are the top obstacles that you see happening for business owners in this community?
A: “Staying in business! We need to do our best to give businesses more support, by shopping local. Our local SBDC has been doing a great job with partnering up with our chambers and offering programs and training for small business start ups and businesses who feel they need the support to stay in business. It’s a service that really can really make a difference in our community. I personally use them for my own business.”