Gabriel Vaca is the Executive Director of the Hispanic Business Center a subsidiary of the Georgia
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
The Hispanic Business Center focuses primarily on developing programming, seminars and curriculum
that accelerates and transforms small business to profitable growth as well as provides grants to small
Hispanic businesses through a Business Accelerator program and offers Health Care programs to
Gabriel was the COO of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce since 2018 and transitioned in
2019 to the Hispanic Business Center.
Gabriel retired in 2018 from UPS International after 24 years and was responsible for consulting and
supporting UPS’ largest enterprise customers in their logistics and global supply chain.
Mr. Vaca has been an integral part of the growth transformation of the GHCC for over 12 years and has
held a variety of positions, such as Chairman of the Board as well as Chairman of the Hispanic Business
Center. He is a founder and graduate of the GHCC Cultivating Hispanic Leadership Institute and founding
member of Crecer, the UPS Latino Business Resource Group.
He has been honored by the Georgia Secretary of State as an “Outstanding Georgia Citizen” for his work
on helping Hispanic businesses in Georgia.
Norma Zúñiga-Cardoza joins the Hispanic Business Center as Director of Program Development.
Norma is a native of Monterrey, Mexico. However, she was brought to the U.S. at a young age and raised in the state of Georgia. She discovered her passion for serving her community after being an instrumental member in the creation and management of CETPA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing behavioral health services to the Latino community in Georgia. Her last role at CETPA was as Chief Operating Officer (COO), in which she was responsible in managing and directing operational and administrative functions, including information technology, finance, office management, facility and human resources.
After working there for sixteen years, Norma went back to Kennesaw State University to complete a bachelor’s degree in Human Services with a focus on Nonprofit Management and Social Innovation. Upon graduation, she began her pursuit of a Masters of Public Administration, which she is on schedule to complete in the spring of 2020.
Norma is a Nonprofit Certified Professional (CNP) with over 18 years of experience in the nonprofit field. Her areas of expertise are in nonprofit management and administration; program development; compliance monitoring; policy development; and performance improvement.
Norma also serves as Worship Leader for a Spanish-speaking congregation in Lilburn that her husband David pastors. She is a stepmom to Nico and Bianca; and a fur-mom to a pit bull named Matty Jones.
Gregory Gorman Hernández
Greg began his professional career in New York City working for the Managing Director of a billion-dollar family office managing worldwide business and real estate investments. He then became the Chief Financial Officer of a Wall Street hedge fund investing in environmentally responsible real estate and construction projects. He came to Atlanta in 2010 to work his brother Michael at Southern Site Development, a civil construction company. SSD works on both commercial and government projects across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the country.
Greg is originally from Dallas, Texas. He graduated from Texas Tech University in 1994 with an undergraduate degree and received his MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business in 2011.
President and CEO
GSB Architects & Interiors Inc.
Maria Guerra-Stoll founded GSB Architects & Interiors in 1998 with the goal of creating
innovative designs that exceed clients’ expectations. Since then, the award winning architectural
and interior design firm has completed projects in the public and private sectors both
domestically and internationally. This work includes a variety of businesses such as Fortune 500
companies, startups, movie studios, government facilities, restaurants and more.
Becoming a successful Hispanic-female business owner in the architecture industry was not an
easy journey. Guerra-Stoll assumed that women dominated the industry, as it was in her native
country of Venezuela. While earning her Bachelor of Architecture degree at the University of
Tennessee, she quickly learned that the profession was much “different” in the United States.
Despite being a minority in the field, Guerra-Stoll became her own boss and attracted
exceptionable projects. Some of the firm’s clients include AT&T, Clorox, PNC Bank, Atlanta
Housing Authority and DeKalb County Schools.
Under her leadership, the firm has managed the design and construction of both of Tyler Perry’s
TV & Movie Studios. The first one was completed with a construction cost of $25 million and a
total size of 200,000 square feet. When Perry wanted to move and expand his presence, he
again utilized GSB to assist in developing the 330-acre campus. It is now one of the largest
studios in the country.
Along with her prestigious projects, the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GHCC)
named GSB Architects & Interiors “Small Business of the Year.” She was named “Professional
of the Year” by the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, “Top Hispanic Entrepreneur” by Hispanic
Magazine and the “Trailblazer Award” by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council to
name a few.
Guerra-Stoll has been an influence both in the architecture industry and the Atlanta Hispanic
business community. During her tenure as the Chair for the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of
Commerce, she designed and helped furnish the Hispanic Business Center, formerly known as
HACED. Other leadership involvement includes Georgia Chamber of Commerce Small
Business Advisory Council, Georgia Hispanic Construction Association, and Latin American
Chamber of Commerce (LACC). Guerra-Stoll is also a graduate from Leadership Atlanta.
Natalia P. Franco
A visionary leader, with 30+ years of Global experience growing brands and creating
Franco is a highly sought-after executive in the global consumer products industry and
branded restaurant chains because of her ability to turnaround declining brands and
businesses. Through a focused vision and a strategic insightful approach, she continues
to successfully drive global brand, sales increase, P&L and portfolio management.
Franco brings a record of proven result including DineEquity’s IHOP brand turnaround. She joined the
company to help stem a five-year business decline. A couple of years later with a new team, new
positioning, and product development strategy in place IHOP achieved three consecutive quarters of
increasingly positive same-restaurant sales and the highest annual sales increase since 2006. The brand
increased traffic and sales for the first time after 5 years of consecutive declines, doubling the DinEquity
stock price in 2 years.
Being intrigued to work with a 100% company-owned restaurant system, privately owned, after 3 years
she accepted the position of Chief Brand and strategy officer at California Pizza Kitchen. She led all
marketing initiatives including repositioning, advertising, messaging, and culinary development for the
restaurant system as well as Public Relations and Consumer Insights. She reversed traffic declines,
beating the competitive set by 2.5 percentage points after first year. In both brands Franco developed a
thorough menu Innovation pipeline and persuasive messaging. With her strong strategic thinking and
Brand Marketing skills, and her extensive experience in restaurants, packaged foods, and beverages she
drove strong results for Burger King, Pillsbury refrigerated goods and Totino’s frozen products. When
Pillsbury was acquired by General Mills Franco was the only Marketing executive promoted to
VicePresident and Officer after the acquisition. During her time with Cereals she was awarded the VPI
for Cheerios by Wal-Mart, for her increase in sales driven by her innovation. Franco is a leader of
excellence in building cross-functional teams. She has led teams across retail, franchisee systems and
multichannel environments at Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Burger King and Ihop, by re-building broken
relationships with those franchisee systems.
Natalia launched her own Brand Marketing consulting group, BrandMark Global LLC in early 2018 and she
just accepted the position of Chief Marketing officer for McAlister’s Deli, one of the largest brands within
the Focus Brands portfolio, where she is looking forward to lead efforts to accelerate growth.
Today Franco also serves in different non-profit boards including Susan G Komen Atlanta, the Accounting
school advisory board for Kennesaw State University and the Atlanta Hispanic Chamber of commerce.
Recently she served as a Board member for The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and earlier in
her career she served to the Board of “Women Venture”. Franco was recognized by the Ad Age "Top Ten
People to Watch" in 2010, The Corporate Elite Hispanic Business Review, and received the Andy Award of
Excellence. She also was featured by the Pillsbury Latina Style Magazine with an award given to her at the
White House in DC. She was twice awarded among Top Twelve Ranking and won an Advertising Silver Effie
with the advertising work on Pillsbury’s Big Deluxe Classics and an Effie for her work on Totino’s. She was
awarded twice winner of the “Circle of Excellence” sales award business performance as well as the
“Pillsbury Excellence Award” by the Chairman for best business performance.
Natalia received a degree in Business in Bogota Colombia in 1984; she earned a graduate degree in
retailing from Universidad de Valencia in Spain and is a Harvard graduate with a C.S.S. with a graduate
degree in Business Management in 1988. She has lived in many countries where she has leveraged her
passion for food, experimenting cooking delights from all places. She has a grown son and two doodles.
Misael is a member of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership
Program (IVLP) alumni. He has been the Chairman and now a member of the Council
of Advisors of prestigious international organizations fostering relations on behalf of the
United States of America, currently serving as Vice President of IANAmericas (Inter-
American Network of Alumni Associations) and member of Global Ties U.S. Council of
He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from La Universidad del Zulia, in Venezuela,
and an MBA from Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Most of his experience
has been in the banking industry, where he held top senior positions in leading banks in
Venezuela, and in the construction industry, as a builder, as an investor and as a
Georgia real estate licensee. He is a social entrepreneur, founder of ProAmericas and
Kinness®, and provides consulting services on financial solutions and Latin American
Karla Arriola is a successful entrepreneur and founder of the AR Heritage
Group a Real Estate Consulting company. Mrs. Arriola-Kalmes is a Real
Estate Consultant at the Keller Williams Buckhead Office.
Prior to her real estate career, Mrs. Arriola experience includes
assignments in Latin America and different states as sales, marketing,
business development and insurance executive with Stewart & Stevenson,
GE Power System and Mutual of Omaha.
As a dedicated community investor and advocate, Mrs. Arriola-Kalmes is a
supporter or many local nonprofit organizations focused on the areas of
entrepreneurship and small business development, green space
preservation and pet protection. Current recipients of her financial support include the Chastain
Park Conservancy, The Latin American Association, the Girl Scout’s Hispanic Initiative, Latino
Community Fund, Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Path Foundation, Trees Atlanta and Fix
Mrs. Arriola-Kalmes studied International Business Management from the American
InterContinental University, currently lives in Chastain Park with her husband and her four-legged
pooches Jack and Boomer. She is an avid golfer, enjoys spending time at their home in Costa
Rica, traveling, fishing, cooking and entertaining friends and neighbors at their home.
Energetic, creative and self-motivated, Karla’s entrepreneurial spirit is inspired by her mother and
Philip G. Thorogood
Phil Thorogood is a bicultural, bilingual operations/P&L leader with a background in Mergers & Acquisitions and Strategic Planning in the Automotive and Financial Services sector. He currently serves as Sr. Director of Assurance with P&L responsibility for Manheim’s vehicle inspection, imaging and arbitration departments.
Phil transitioned to operations from serving as AVP, Corporate Development at Cox Automotive where he led cross functional transactional teams for mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and divestitures. Phil joined Cox Automotive’ Manheim subsidiary in 2006 as a Director of Corporate Development and has since led several transactions in the automotive sector in the US, Australia and Canada.
Prior to Cox Automotive Phil held several leadership positions at ING’s Latin American Insurance division with responsibilities ranging from driving regional synergies in technology to leading acquisitions and divestitures in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Peru. Prior to relocating to the US to attend business school, Phil was a financial planning and analysis manager for his family owned refrigeration and air conditioning retail/industrial company in his hometown of Valencia, Venezuela. He also served as a consultant in the financial services practice for Accenture based in Caracas, Venezuela serving the Andean region and the Caribbean.
Phil earned his bachelor’s degree in history and international business from Lehigh University and his MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Phil lives in Marietta, Georgia with his wife Christine and three Children: Sam, Emma and Will. In his free time while not supervising teenagers, Phil serves as an Executive Director of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Hilda Abbott is a first generation Latina American, born in Texas and raised in Miami, both parents roots from
the Dominican Republic. Hilda grew up in a Catholic faith-based family. Since childhood she has envisioned
owning a company that would enhance the lives of others and encourage minorities, especially minority women
to strive for greater things. With WePartner Management, Hilda has achieved that vision. WePartner is a
minority women-owned company specializing in Commercial and Residential Real Estate. WePartner owns and
manages all their own properties, which is in excess of $200,000,000 in value. With four years as Chief
Operating Officer and Partner of WePartner Management. Hilda is responsible for managing, developing, and
leasing acquired projects. Prior to WePartner, Hilda has held a variety of roles that contribute to her success in
the Real Estate industry. This includes: Business Manager, Property Manager and Operations Manager. Hilda is
a Certified Property Manager (CPM) candidate, as well as an Accredited Resident Manager (ARM) with the
Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). She has Certified Asbestos Class III Operations from Triangle
Environmental Consultants, and a Certified Occupancy Specialist (COS) with the National Center Housing
WePartner started with only three business partners running the company and has grown to over 40 employees
within four years, which was made possible because of the talents that have been acquired by the young
company. WePartner prides itself on having a high level of diversity throughout its staff members. WePartner
focuses on giving opportunities to a diverse population that is not commonly found within the Commercial Real
Hilda is a qualifying Georgia Real Estate Broker currently pursuing a Certified Commercial Investment
Management (CCIM) designation. Hilda received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Saint
Leo University and is a proud member of The institute of Real Estate Management, Georgia Hispanic Chamber
of Commerce, and Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors.
Carla Willis currently serve as Sales Manager at Willis Mechanical Inc, a mechanical contracting and
HVAC Service company that serves the Atlanta area. Carla has worked in the commercial and Industrial
HVAC industry for the past 12 years serving in many roles.
Carla has been a longtime supporter of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She had the honor
of serving as Chair of the board from 2017 – 2019.
Carla holds a bachelor’s degree in International Trade from Georgia Southern University and master’s in
business administration from Reinhardt University. She holds an unrestricted conditioned air license.
Jose Aguayo is a trade finance and marketing professional at UPS. He works as a product manager for UPS Capital, the financial division of UPS that specializes in providing insurance and working capital solutions primarily to small and medium-sized businesses. Jose started his career at UPS in 2001 as a part-time hub supervisor and has held a number of positions of increasing responsibility during his tenure with the company, including credit underwriting, international business development and product marketing.
Jose is also a leader outside of work; he currently serves as Business Connections Chair for the UPS Latino Business Resource Group and he is actively involved in community programs that support underprivileged children and underrepresented groups.
Jose earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from Central Connecticut State University.
Carlos M. Lopez
Carlos M. Lopez is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Caduceus Healthcare, a Georgia-based Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) firm providing healthcare, technology and scientific staffing solutions to the U.S. government.
Mr. Lopez served in the U.S. Marine Corps and retired after 20 years of faithful and exemplary service. He has lived in numerous countries abroad including: Uruguay, Brazil, Guatemala, Japan,
Russia and Belgium. After his retirement, he served as a chief financial officer at several not-for-profit organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta, Southern Associations of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and a children's psychiatric hospital.
He also led BellSouth Corporation’s International Audit Division. In 2008, he combined his extensive executive business experience with his deep sense of patriotism and founded Caduceus to provide mission critical staffing solutions to the military and veteran
administration. After having provided exceptional service to the military, in 2013, Caduceus expanded its service offering to other federal government agencies. As a result, Caduceus has experienced tremendous growth to be named as the #1 fast growing Inner-City
company in the United States. He has also been recognized for three consecutive years as one of Inc. 500’s fastest-growing privately owned companies. Thus, making Caduceus one of the Top fastest-growing Hispanic companies nationwide.
He has served on several nonprofit boards including Catholic Charities, Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Pedestrians Educating Drivers on Safety and Senior Connections. A true veteran advocate, Mr. Lopez is also mentoring
several SDVOSB and women-owned businesses and is proud of the fact that the majority of his subcontractors are small minority-owned businesses awarding them millions of dollars in contracts.
Mr. Lopez earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in Management Information Dystems and a Master of Accounting degree from Kennesaw State University
where he graduated with honors as a Beta Gamma Sigma. As a finance and audit professional, he maintains his active certifications as a certified fraud examiner (CFE), certified controls specialist (CCS) and a certified internal controls auditor (CICA). In
addition, based on his Marine Corps training, he firmly believes in leadership by example and thus is also certified as a physician recruiter (PRC), personnel consultant (CPC), and an internet recruiter (CIR).
Mr. Lopez is a widower and was happily married to Wilma Bellini-Lopez, from Montevideo, Uruguay. They have two children who both work at Caduceus, Nina and Carlos II. He also has four grandchildren,
Noah 12, Helaina 7, Wilma 3, and Willow 2.
Ms. Murvartian is a business professional with a focus on negotiations, business development, financial analysis,
and operations. She is also an established leader in the community.
She is the Founding Member and Principal of Athena Talent Management, LLC. Prior positions include: Senior
Director/Negotiator at Equifax, Wine Director of Sales and Purchasing at WineStyles, and Director of Telecommunications
and Financial Analysis at Turner Broadcasting.
Ms. Murvartian was recognized by the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GHCC) as being one of the 50 most
influential Latinos in Georgia in 2018. She is a graduate of the 2014 Leadership Atlanta class and is the Founder and
Chair of Fiesta de Libros, a community library program founded in 2012. Her involvement in the Latino community includes
being a board member of the Institute of Mexican Culture (IMC) and the GALEO Impact Fund, she is a member of the Latin
American Association Finance Committee and of the Latinos in Georgia: Politics and Policy Archive Work Team. She is on
the Advisory Board of the GHCC Hispanic Business Center and a member of the Fulton Country task force on municipal services.
She is the immediate past Board Chair of GALEO, the immediate past President of the Atlanta Latina Business Women’s
Association, and a past member of the Girl Scouts Hispanic Engagement Committee.
Ms. Murvartian is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and holds a Master of Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public
Policy at the University of Michigan with a focus on International Economics. She is a graduate of Hamline University
where she graduated cum laude.
Ms. Murvartian’s personal story of being an undocumented migrant child who worked in the corn and chicken processing
plants with her parents to becoming a successful business woman and community leader has been featured on NPR’s StoryCorps,
Mundo Hispanico (front cover September 17, 2010) and La Vision. She was an Olympic Torch bearer in 2001.
On a personal note, Ms. Murvartian resides in Johns Creek, GA, has been married for 22 years to Michael Rhim who is a partner
at Morris, Manning and Martin, LLP and has two children, Claudia (16) and Nicolas (18). Ms. Murvartian’s personal interests
are traveling, running, biking, reading and writing song lyrics. She has released three songs, completed four marathons
(most recently the 2019 Marine Corps marathon), has biked all 100 miles of the Silver Comet/ Chief Ladiga bike trail with her
children, and has traveled all over the world.
Kenny E. Vasquez
Born and raised in New Jersey, Kenny is a second-generation Latino. Growing up he embraced Spanish as one of his dominant languages and grew to value his Salvadorean and Costa Rican heritage.
For the last 4 years Kenny has been in financial services and today is a Financial Representative for Country Financial. In this role he helps families and small businesses protect what they love most and prepare for retirement through intentional and strategic financial planning. Prior to this, Kenny worked internationally managing and training distributors throughout Central and South America. Traveling through the region gave him a better understanding for business in Latin markets.
He has been involved with the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce since 2016 and in 2017 was recognized as Ambassador of the Year. He is also a graduate of the Cultivating Hispanic Leadership Institute, a program designed to encourage and foster leadership and networking within the Hispanic community.
Jesus Martinez has been in the finance industry for 25 plus years, serving as a finance director, trainer and finance consultant in the automobile industry. Now as a small business owner, His passion for assisting consumers In attaining their financial goal is his top priority. While at the same time, he feels educating the consumers in the diﬀerent aspects of lending is important to their success and future outcome. His passion for driving business growth, puts Jesus in a position to assist consumers in obtaining the best finance available to move their company forward, while at the same time making them successful and profitable