When Lupillo Ramírez took over the leadership of the Latino Food Industry Association (LFIA) at the beginning of the year, he knew he had a great responsibility to drive the organization’s growth, and suddenly the coronavirus pandemic appeared.
The crisis struck a brutal blow to the population and commerce in general, forcing the association to rethink its strategy and redouble its efforts to help Hispanic businesses in the food industry as much as possible.
The California-based LFIA seeks to promote, support, educate, and advocate for the thousands of Latino owners, employees, and entrepreneurs involved in every aspect of the nation’s rapidly expanding food industry.
Abasto interviewed the President of the LFIA and Senior Director of Product Innovation and Development at Northgate González Markets to learn details about how the association has had to adapt to the new normal to support retailers while continuing with growth plans. Enrolling new members.
Abasto Magazine (AM): Since the beginning of the year, you assumed the leadership of the Latino Food Industry Association, and soon after, the coronavirus emerged. How has the process of leading the association been in the midst of the crisis due to the pandemic?
Lupillo Ramírez (LP): It has been difficult as he abruptly changed our plans. But like everything and everyone, we have been adapting and also evolving according to the situation. We have fully entered and continued with our mission of supporting the union and our Latino community.
AM: What accomplishments has the LFIA achieved since you became president?
LR: We have increased our work on social media to help spread important and relevant information in order to serve our small and medium Hispanic businesses in the food industry. We have also been collaborating with other organizations such as associations and chambers of commerce at the national and regional levels to create “webinars” on topics associated with resources and support for the community and small businesses.
AM: What benefits can businesses obtain by joining the LFIA?
LR: Among the most important, we offer: “Networking”, the opportunity to connect with others and other entrepreneurs, and complement their businesses.
Representation, we represent our members legislatively, we are their voice. Orientation, we guide our associates in business, legal, and service matters.
AM: In these uncertain times, how has the LFIA been helping its associates?
LR: As I mentioned before, we try to disseminate reliable, relevant, and important information to guide our associates in these difficult times. Additionally, we try to guide them when there are aids and resources that are directed exclusively to them.
AM: How can networking through the LFIA benefit businesses and how do they continue to make these connections now that the coronavirus has forced social distancing rules?
LR: In these difficult times that prevent us from meeting in person, we try to participate and broadcast virtual events where we can communicate to our associates when there are business opportunities or help for their businesses. Networking or associating with organizations like ours has always been important, now more than ever it is instrumental for businesses to associate with entities such as the LFIA or the one that best serves them depending on the union or industry. Nothing replaces connectivity in person, but doing it virtually has some benefits, too.
AM: Recently, following your participation as a panelist in a webinar organized by Abasto, numerous participants signed up as new members of the LFIA. Are these virtual events working?
LR: Definitely! Virtual events like the one recently organized by Abasto, have given us the opportunity to promote the existence of our association and share the benefits we provide. It should also be noted that we have forged partnerships with organizations that are on the same mission as us to support our community and the union. Fortunately lately we have seen a substantial increase in new associates.
AM: After this first semester as President of the LFIA, in the midst of so many challenges due to the coronavirus, how do you see the future of the association in the remainder of the year and in 2021?
LR: Although this unprecedented global situation changed our lives and led us to change our plans, I am very optimistic that the remainder of this year and in 2021 we will achieve that more Hispanic businesses in the food industry join our association and together we can make a difference nationally.
Lupillo Ramírez highlighted that to show solidarity with Hispanic businesses affected economically by the pandemic; the LFIA decided to offer free registration to the organization for the rest of the year. In this way, new members will be able to benefit from the services and support network that the association has in the food industry. For more information, visit the latinofoodindustry.org website.