Mediaplanet: Tell us a bit about your background and how it shaped your success.

Hector Barreto: My father was an immigrant from Mexico. He came to Kansas City and didn’t have any money, language, power.

He picked potatoes in rural Missouri, and worked for the railroad, pounding spikes into the tracks. But all during that time, he would say he was a businessman. He would say, “That’s what I have to do right now. I’m earning money to start a business, but I’m an entrepreneur.” That was a very important value my father taught me at a young age — how important it was to have a vision, have a dream, work hard and build something.

MP: As an entrepreneur, what is one experience you can share?

That was a very important value my father taught me at a young age — how important it was to have a vision, have a dream, work hard and build something.

HB: When my father passed in 2005, as the oldest, I went down to Mexico to take care of some of his affairs. I met with his lawyer, who asked me “What do you want to do with all the agave? Your father bought a 1,200 acre tequila ranch right in the middle of Tequila Valley. He just planted the first crop, and that harvest is going to take seven years to mature.” So we took care of it, and in 2011 we did the first harvest. I partnered with the Beckmann Family, which is the Cuervo Family and it came out fantastic. We called it “Tributo a Mi Padre.”

MP: How has this vision helped you as a business leader and Chairman of an organization like The Latino Coalition?

HB: TLC is a national non-profit organization that works developing initiatives and partnerships that will foster the economic equivalency and enhance overall business, economic and social development of Latinos. My father’s focus on economic enhancement has helped me concentrate as Chairman of The Latino Coalition and work with a team dedicated to improving the entrepreneurial spirit of my community.

As an organization, TLC advocates for the Latino business community on key issues on a local and national platform, while also providing benefits like access to capital and healthcare to assist small businesses to grow. Over the last 10 years, TLC has also laid down a national footprint generating over 80,000 one-on-one meetings with our B2B National Procurement Matchmaking program that helps small businesses secure potential contracts from government agencies and major corporations. Our organization’s goal is to unite, foster and empower the very engine of our economy for a better future.