Chamber Chat: Luis Parodi, Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

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Luis Parodi is the Community and Economic Development Executive for Fifth Third Bank in Tennessee. As a member of the bank’s senior management team, his role is to lead the Community Reinvestment Act and Fair Lending strategies. This work includes responsibly empowering underserved individuals, families, and communities through the delivery of responsive and innovative financial solutions. Parodi has a strong history of success in delivering key strategic initiatives while building strong relationships. His functional strengths include compliance management, community and economic development, banking, credit and financial analysis, forecasting, and global tax compliance.

In addition to his role at Fifth Third Bank, Parodi serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

What do you plan on bringing to the table as Board chair of NAHCC? Are there any initiatives you would like to see implemented during your tenure?

I’m looking forward to strategically collaborating with our President and CEO, my fellow board directors, members, and allies of the chamber to move the organization to the next level. It’s not an easy task given the limited resources, but we count on a fine group of leaders with high standards of personal ethics who are very engaged, courageous, and motivated to drive stronger results. My job will be to continue to motivate the team to find synergy opportunities with community partners and have a laser focus on results that will add value to our members. This could be accomplished by optimizing the networking opportunities available, technical support for different life cycles, and mentoring opportunities to the growing diverse business community of Nashville. Education and access to opportunities will help in many ways the development of the local economy, and we will remain open to those possibilities.

What are some advantages to joining the Chamber?

There are many benefits available for our members.  One of the strongest features we offer is the networking opportunities and the access to help start and grow your business. Coffee and conversations with attorneys, access to capital workshops with SBA, and small business counseling sessions with SCORE are some of the many programs we have available through the year, and they have received positive feedback from our members and guests. Our annual event during Hispanic Heritage Month brings key leaders including appointed officials and well-known Hispanic leaders living in the city to celebrate the success and positive outcomes obtained in the community.

Talk about the Hispanic business community in Nashville. What are some positives and negatives? What areas need improvement?

The Hispanic business community is very diverse and located in different stages of their business life cycles. I personally had the pleasure to interact with many of them that are moving very fast thanks to the improved economy and are working hard to make their enterprises sustainable for the long-term. Hispanic businesses are revitalizing large parts of the city that were impacted significantly with the last economic recession and are adding value with the investments and efforts made, which is critical for the growth of our city. Many of them are capable and are looking to have better access to the current system so they can do more and better with their enterprises and for the community where they live and work.

What are some resources that Hispanic entrepreneurs should be aware of when starting a business in Nashville?

There are many fine organizations in the city working hard to deliver impactful results to the business community, and for that reason entrepreneurs choose Nashville to start or expand their operations. In the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, our goal is to be the connector to those resources and become the trusted advisor for our members. The partnerships created with the City of Nashville, SBA/SCORE, law firms, financial institutions, and other large and impactful companies are allowing us to provide access to the approximately 2,000 Hispanic businesses located in Nashville MSA.

Why is the Community Reinvestment Act important to our city’s growth?

The Community Reinvestment Act is intended to encourage depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound operations. This law is important for our city since it promotes economic development by financing businesses and revitalizes low- and moderate-income geographies. It is not only the law but the right thing to the do, which keeps me motivated to drive results and positive outcomes such as creating or retaining jobs and other economic opportunities for all of us.

What advice would you give a Hispanic business owner looking to grow their business?

Finding the right mentors is very important, and connecting with trusted advisors who can understand their unique situations is critical for the success of their businesses. Strong work ethics, being inspiring enthusiasts with thrust and gusto, and the courage to make tough decisions are key traits from some of the successful Hispanic entrepreneurs I found in my banking career.

What initiatives are 5/3 taking to target the Hispanic community? 

Serving the Hispanic community is a journey; we cannot do it alone, and for that reason we are proud of the large investments and, most important, the sweat equity of our team members at Fifth Third Bank in the community. As an example, this week we are working hard on the implementation of a unique Supplier Diversity Forum we are putting together with key needle movers to empower our diverse-owned business community to work with large companies that are looking for products and services. This is an example of the win-win partnerships we are looking to develop and thrive.

Photo appears courtesy of Fifth Third Bank.