Avila Named Chair of Hispanic Chamber
Varnum attorney Luis Avila was recently elected Chair of the Executive Committee of the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He formerly served the Chamber as a member of the board.
Avila takes the role of Chair at a pivotal point in the Chamber's history. Due to term expirations coupled with some committee members moving from the region and no longer able to serve, the Chamber will have an entirely new Executive Committee effective Jan. 1. The Chamber is also being served by a new Executive Director, Jorge Gonzalez, who took the position earlier in 2015.
Avila said this is a very exciting time for the Chamber, as it works to cement its status as the leading Hispanic business organization in West Michigan. He noted Chamber membership has already grown significantly under Gonzalez' leadership in just a few short months. Avila credits that growth to an emphasis on value of membership.
"We're not just an events organization," Avila said. "Membership is growing because businesses and members see the real value."
Among the Chamber's initiatives are providing educational programming for members, helping establish a more diverse subcontractor base in the local building trades industry, and working with local colleges and universities to strengthen the college-to-company pipeline for young Hispanics.
Avila, a labor and employment attorney with a focus on traditional labor and employment litigation, serves several other community organizations in addition to the Chamber. He is a board member of Grand Rapids Ballet Company and Wedgwood Christian Services. He is involved in committees for the Grand Rapids Symphony, Grand Rapids Community Foundation and Dwelling Place, and is a member of Asociación de Profesionistas Mexicanos en Michigan. In 2014, Avila was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to the Michigan Board of Medicine.
Prior to joining Varnum, Avila worked at the United Nations Office of the High Commission for Human Rights in Switzerland, the Centre for Advice on Individual rights in Europe, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, and the Florence Immigration and Refugee Rights project in Arizona.