At the beginning of 2009, I had the crazy idea to organize a business expo at the San Diego Convention Center when I only had $140 in the bank account of the Hispanic Chamber of E-Commerce. I took that decision for two reasons:
- Some people in the Latino business community were saying that the Hispanic Chamber of E-Commerce wasn’t a legit organization.
- I needed to show the marketplace that we were in business for good and the long term.
I never thought that by March, my life was going to take a significant change in direction. My son was born with a life-risking heart condition. The miracle baby, as many called him at that time, surprisingly survive his first heart surgery a couple of hours after he was born. After his first surgery, he spent almost three weeks at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit debating between life and death. Those days were extremely stressful for my wife and I. The subsequent months were not different.
Under that scenario, I was working full-time and trying to organize the most significant business event of my life without much support. I got to the point where I wanted to cancel everything. I didn’t have enough exhibitors for the two exhibit rooms I booked, no speakers for the three conference rooms I reserved for the workshops, and not a clear idea of how I was going to make everything happen.
My original plan changed after my son was born. We had to spend thousands of dollars in medical bills despite having health insurance, my head and heart were more focus on my son than the HISCEC, I ended up dealing with unethical vendors, and I was losing motivation to host the event.
When I was about to throw the towel, I place one more call to another potential keynote speaker for the event, Mr. Ramon De Leon. Oh, men, what a blessing that was. Before my call to Ramon, many of the potential speakers that I was contacting were not interested in attending my new event.
Ramon asked me a bunch of questions about me, my vision, my intentions, and the goals for the event. We talked for over an hour. To my surprise, he accepted my invitation. On top of that, he told me: “I have some friends in the industry that may be interested in speaking at the event.” That was music for my ears. He got other high-profile speakers like Mari Smith, Facebook marketing expert, Nan Palmero, a business leader from Texas, and others.
Ramon helped me to get some of my confidence back, and I got to work. I quit the job I had at the time to fully concentrate on making sure that the expo was a success. In the end, we ended up having 152 exhibitors and 25 workshops in the two days that the event last. That was an experience!
Thanks to the Hispanic Business Showcase, we were able to build a solid foundation for the HISCEC for the years to come.
In life, you are going to find a lot of challenges along the way. Always stay focused and positive, sooner than later, things will work out. Answers to your questions and solutions to your problems will come from unexpected sources.
I will be forever grateful to Ramon De Leon for what he did for me then, and after in other events we hosted in San Diego.
#RamonWOW is amazing! And just like Ramon says WORLD, I’M OUTTA HERE!!!
Thank you for your support.
It’s time to keep creating and to keep moving forward.