Inclusive Restart & Reinvention: Creating Community Capital

Tuesday, September 29
12:45 pm – 1:45 pm

Panel Sponsor:

Institute for Innovation and Economic Development logo


Rene Mendez

City of Gonzales
René has over 25 years of State and local government experience. After college graduation, he spent five years with the California Legislative Analyst Office. Following that, he spent five years with the Solano County Administrator’s Office. Before coming to Gonzales in 2005, he spent the prior eight years as the County Administrator for the County of Inyo. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from California State University, Stanislaus, and a Master of Arts Degree in Public Policy from Duke University.

Carmen Herrera

El Pajaro CDC
El Pájaro CDC this year is celebrating 40 years of transforming people’s lives through entrepreneurship by taking the confusion, guesswork and complexity out of starting small businesses. By offering technical, legal, financial and managerial assistance, El Pájaro CDC has helped launch and nurture small businesses while bolstering economic development within the community. “If you give someone an opportunity it can change lives, and lead to generations of success,” said Carmen Herrera-Mansir, executive director of El Pajaro CDC. “To see a journey from farmworker to entrepreneur — many started that way when they came to us — is so rewarding.”

Javier Zamora

JSM Organics
Javier was born and raised in Michoacan, Mexico. His father was a farmer, and Javier started farming in Mexico at eleven years old. Javier came to the United States in his twenties, eventually travelling to the Central Coast and deciding to return to farming. Javier worked for a fresh cut flower grower in the area before establishing his own organic farm on two acres in 2012. Since then, he has expanded his operation to 40 acres that are certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). JSM Organic Farms specializes in strawberries, heirloom tomatoes, summer squash, peppers and cut flowers. JSM Organic Farms has the capacity to grow 300 varieties of flowers including both annuals and perennials.

Julian Canete

California Hispanic
Chambers of Commerce
Julian Cañete serves as the President and CEO of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, the premier organization promoting the development of Hispanic entrepreneurs and emerging Latino businesses in California. Through its network of Hispanic chamber and business associations, the CHCC represents the business interests of over 800,000 Hispanic-owned businesses throughout the state of California.


Luis Alvarez

Alvarez Technology
Since founding the Alvarez Technology Group in 2001, Luis Alvarez has led the company to grow from a small, two-person consultancy to a premier technology solutions provider in California, delivering security, Internet-of-Things (IoT) and information technology (IT) services to more than 200 companies throughout the world.