Blanca R Soto
Blanca R. Soto is currently the Director of Finance of the Little Village Chamber of Commerce. LVCC is a membership organization that has represented Chicago's local businesses' interests for more than 30 years. Its mission is to promote and support businesses' growth and success in Little Village and leverage the community's unique cultural identity to generate new opportunities.
Before her appointment, Blanca served as LVCC Managing Director for eight years and Executive Director for two years. Blanca has been instrumental in strengthening business and community relations while effectively executing the Chambers signature events, including one of the largest and most recognized Mexican Independence Day Parades in the nation.
In her role, Blanca has promoted the 26th street commercial corridor's economic development by supporting small business owners through the multiple stages of business development by offering workshops, training, access to capital, networking, and referrals. She continuously works to promote the local shop ethos that drives the economic engine of Little Village. Blanca also guides the City of Chicago SSA 25 (Special Service Area #25) with their work to create and maintain a clean, attractive and competitive commercial corridor by participating in public meetings and the SSA decision-making process.
As a Little Village resident and working with the Little Village Chamber of Commerce for close to a decade, it has cemented Blanca's roots deep within the community. Her years of service and dedication have strengthened relationships between residents and local business owners. The Little Village Chamber of Commerce was recognized for its work and awarded the prestigious United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 2018 Chamber of the Year Award.
Sarai is the new Director of Events and Memberships at the Little Village Chamber of Commerce. Little Village is the second-largest business corridor in the City of Chicago, with over 1,000 businesses that contribute over $900 million to the state's economy and serve over 85,000 residents. The mission of LVCC is to support, promote and enhance the growth and success of local businesses and leverage the community's assets, contributions, and unique Mexican and cultural identity to generate new business opportunities.
Sarai has a background in both assisting small businesses and event planning in the Chicago community after working at the Economic Strategies Development Center (ESDC) in Pilsen. There she provided technical assistance to businesses owners providing support in marketing and grant applications during COVID-19. Just before joining the team at ESDC, she worked on strategy logistics, event-planning, and media relations at Jasculca/Terman & Associates Inc.
Sarai holds community close and has a passion for engaging and networking to carry on the LVCC mission and make a difference in the community.
She currently resides in the Chicago southwest area and enjoys spending her time with her big family and running through the city with her running club.
Executive Chamber Directors
Owner of Martinez Funeral Home.
Born in Uriangato, Guanajuato Mexico.
Raised in Little Village from the age of 5yrs. old.
Graduated from City Colleges of Chicago Associates Degree Applied Science. Former Paramedic Chicago Fire Department.
Graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science.
Attended Chicago State University Pre-Law classes.
Has worked in the Funeral Industry for the past 25years.
Acquired the former Marik Funeral Home 2009.
Chamber Member since 2009.
Eve Rodriguez Montoya
Eve Rodriguez Montoya was born and raised in the Little Village community where she attended Joseph E. Gary Elementary School. Eve is the President and CEO of Rodriguez Media Communications LLC, a firm established to assist clients looking to expand their brand, product, mission or service with the Latino market and beyond. Most recently, Eve expanded the Dulcelandia brand by creating a new line of healthy frozen yogurt in Latino flavors and establishing Yogolandia Yogurt and Botana Bar inside Dulcelandia. Eve has over fifteen years of experience in communications and public affairs work for the public and private sectors and has worked directly for two mayoral administrations in Chicago. Eve’s strong record of personal and professional achievement is further supported by a Masters of Arts in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University. Eve was recently featured in Google + Thrive magazine focused on highlighting women entrepreneurs who use Google platforms to grow their businesses and drive economic impact, and was named in Negocio’s Now Latinos 40 under 40. Eve currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the National Museum of Mexican Art and is a Board Director for the Little Village Chamber of Commerce.
Antonio R Guillen
Antonio R Guillen serves as Branch Market President of Wintrust Bank Pilsen and Logan Square, and Senior Vice-President of Commercial Lending & Diverse Markets Manager for Wintrust. Antonio has over 35 years’ experience in the Banking industry. Antonio’s expertise is Business Banking, specifically lending to small to medium-size businesses, and commercial real estate financing and development. Antonio spends much of his out in the field building relationships and supporting Community Organizations; his vast experience allows him to guide and mentor many local businesses. Antonio also serves as the President of the Hispanic Bankers Association (HBA), and serves on several other Boards including Little Village Chamber of Commerce (LVCC), Eighteenth Street Development Corporation (ESDC), Latino Professionals for a Cause (LPC), Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (PRAA), and The Bernie Mac Foundation (BMF), and is a member of the Latino Advisory Council (LAC) for Catholic Charites. Antonio is a Chicago native, married with 5 children. Antonio joined Wintrust in July of 2010.
Jason Roberts' family migrated from the Caribbean to pursue better opportunities in America. His Father’s first job in America was driving a taxi cab in New York, while his mother worked as a Nanny. His father then went on to study at New York Community college and after graduating he began his career in banking. He later went on to follow his entrepreneurial spirit and started his first Automotive Dealership and Jason Roberts joined him soon thereafter as a porter washing floors in the service department in 1988.
Jason Roberts started his Automotive career, working as a porter at his Father’s first dealership, while still in High school. Jason Roberts graduated High School and left his Father’s business to attend The Ohio State University. There he studied Business Economics and after completing his fourth year, he returned to sell cars at his Father’s dealership. Jason has held every key position in his Father’s business from porter, to salesman, and is now the Managing Partner of Advantage Chevrolet of Hodgkins. Since he became Managing Partner, they have expanded their business from one dealership to currently three dealerships.
Jason is very passionate about giving back to the community he serves. He has been a proud sponsor of the Little Village Scholarship drive since 2007. He has sponsored the Little Village Little Baseball League since 2012. Jason Roberts also established the Annual Advantage Chevrolet Pretty in Pink Walkathon for the Fight Against Breast Cancer in 2010. He strongly believes that a business is an extension of the neighborhood it serves and should support the community wholeheartedly. It is those values which he believes has allowed his business to grow and prosper through the ever-changing economic environment.
Jennifer Aguilar is a Community Outreach Specialist at Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Network. She works with Hispanic and African American communities in the northern three-quarters of Illinois and Northwest Indiana to help spread the word about the importance of organ & tissue donation. Jennifer was born and raised in Little Village and is very excited to give back to her community by serving as a board director in the Little Village Chamber of Commerce.
- Owner of Erie-LaSalle Body Shops – established 1934
- Graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor of science degree in business finance
- Achieved Master of Automotive Management from Automotive Management Institute
- Purchased Lupe’s Body Shop in 2012 in Little Village
- Purchased original shop at Erie and LaSalle in 1995 from stepfather
- Work with 2 sons in the business – Jim and Jay Gottfred
- Offer the latest technology and State-of-the-Art repairs
- Hobbies include, golf, fitness and fun
Serves on Board of Directors for River North Business Association, River North Residents Association, President of Sterling Private Residences Condominium Association, President of Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Illinois – State auto body association.
Roman Ruiz is a Branch and Community Development Manager for Second Federal a Division of Self-Help Federal Credit Union. With over 17 years in retail banking and mortgage lending experience, he is at the helm of the flagship branch with an excess of $91 million in deposits and over 6,600 members. The branch is in the heart of Chicago’s Little Village community, which is comprised mainly of Mexican immigrants. The resilient community boasts the second-highest tax revenue in the city. In 2013, Second Federal became a part of one of the largest Community Development Financial Institutions in the country, Self-Help Federal Credit Union. With the change came “a [renewed] commitment to delivering safe and affordable savings and transparently-priced transaction accounts and a full suite of loans – small-dollar, citizenship, unsecured consumer, auto, and mortgage – often to borrowers who could not access responsible services elsewhere.” The organization has lent over 180 million dollars to underserved communities in the Chicagoland area. Roman understands the struggles that many of his customers face, as he emigrated to the United States from Mexico at nine years of age and was raised by a single mother. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University, is a 2017 Opportunity Finance Network Leadership fellow and is a Negocios Now Latinos 40 under 40 for 2017. His civic engagement includes being on the board of directors for San Jose Obrero Mission, SER Central States and the Little Village Chamber of Commerce.
Mario Rodriguez has been in the financial arena for the last 26 years and joined PNC Bank NA in 2017. He is currently the Branch Manager at the Little Village location with a focus on business and community development. He has a strong background in residential & commercial lending, insurance and investments. As a former business owner, he truly understands the challenges and growth opportunities owning a business presents – and leverages this experience to provide effective customized solutions to business owners. He is an accomplished bilingual professional with proven success in both the managerial and financial sales arena. Portfolio of achievements includes increasing revenue, building and establishing relationships through centers of influence, leading teams to excellence in production and increased customer experience ratings. He has been recognized for his exceptional work ethic, effective communication and foresight to solve problems within different sectors of banking.
Mayra Khan is a seasoned operations and business development executive with a passion for innovation and entrepreneurship. Over the past 10 years, she has served as the Managing Partner at Nova Driving School where she has grown the business from $50k to over $2 Mil in revenues. She has expanded Nova’s market share of the Chicago driver’s education market by maintaining a strong focus on excellence in teaching and a commitment to providing superior customer service.
Abad Lopez was born in the Little Village community where he attended Eli Whitney Elementary School. Abad Lopez is an equity partner with the law firm of Dykema Gossett PLLC, a national law firm with 13 offices in Illinois, California, Michigan, Texas, Minnesota, and Washington, D.C. Abad leads Dykema’s Chicago labor and employment practice and is also a member of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. During his 20 years of experience, Abad’s practice has focused on providing labor and employment counseling and litigation advice to public and private employers. Abad’s clients include among the largest private and public employers in the U.S., focusing on issues relating to harassment, discrimination, retaliation, non-competition agreements, employee privacy, and wage and hour practices, among other matters. Abad was previously on the Board of the Hispanic National Bar Foundation, which focuses on providing mentoring and financial support to Latino college students interested in pursuing a legal career. Abad obtained his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Honorary Board Directors
Immigrating to the United States in 1960. Mike Moreno is the founder of Moreno’s Liquors, which has been a staple of the Little Village community for more than 41yrs. Over this time he also played a key role in uniting the Latino merchant organizations of the community to join the Little Village Chamber of Commerce. Serving as the president of the Chamber from 1987-1991, Mike Moreno helped in the creation of the iconic neighborhood arch, and has been heavily involved in community activism and charity work. He also served as an SSA #25 commissioner during the mid 2000s
Salvador Pedroza immigrated to the United States from Ocampo Guanajuato, Mexico in 1974. He currently resides in the State of IL with his wife of Imelda. Salvador and Imelda have been married for 28 years and have three children Salvador Jr. (27) Ivan (26) and Alejandro (24). They also have 3 grandchildren Marcel (9), Alejandro Jr. (6) and Sofia (4).
Salvador is the President of Economy Commercial Roofing, a licensed and bonded roofing company he established in 1988. For the past 29 years, Salvador Pedroza has provided expert roofing services to the greater Chicagoland area.
Salvador is involved in several community organizations. For the past 29 years, he has been a Board Member of the Little Village Chamber of Commerce, the largest Mexican-American Chamber in the Midwest. He also held the position of President of the Board from 2003-2007. Chairman from 2007-2015.
Salvador is also an Advisor on Local Board of Juntos Podemos (Together We Can). He was also a board member of the General Woods Boys & Girls Club, President of the Club Companeros Unidos de Ocampo Guanajuato. For several years, while residing in the City of Chicago, Salvador organized and participated in community Block Clubs.
Salvador Pedroza has committed himself to the community for more than 30 years.