Jonathan J. Higuera

Phoenix NSHMBA named chapter of the year

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The Phoenix chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs was recently honored with the chapter of the year award by the national group at its annual conference in October in Anaheim, California.

The Phoenix chapter received the award in Tier 1 category for its increased membership, sponsorships (toward scholarships), compliance with national guidelines and benchmarks, said Maria-Elena Ochoa, executive vice president of the local chapter. Tier 1 is for the largest chapters.

The goals support NSHMBA’s mission to increase the number of Hispanics completing graduate business programs and enhancing the national organization.

“We do everything because it is the right thing to do,” she said. “But [the national group’s] determination was based strictly on the metrics.”

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The local group has nearly 600 members in the Valley. To keep them engaged, the chapter holds many events during the year and jumps at the opportunity to partner with other groups. In addition to providing professional support to its members, the MBAs also get involved in community outreach. For example, they have been a presence at the Aguila Youth Conference for the past several years and have mentored more than 200 students.

“We want folks to be aware of the benefits of an enhanced education,” said Ochoa, who is the chief of medical operations at Mountain Health and Wellness. “We know Latinos are underrepresented in terms of the percentage of MBAs in this country and we want to get more young Latinos in the pipeline.”

To check out the group’s upcoming events, go to

The 2011 Phoenix chapter board members are Pablo Rodriguez, president; Maria-Elena Ochoa, executive vice president; Ian Vasquez, financial officer-treasurer; Veronica Nevarez, compliance officer; Angie Mortemore, events officer; Elaine Slater, marketing officer; Gina Herrera, membership officer; Eric Rodriguez, education officer, and Claudia Sloan, president emeritus.

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