2021 September | VI
Greeting from the CEO
When I was a little girl, Hispanic heritage was celebrated every day via extended family and friends. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family friends would proudly speak about all the contributions made by Hispanics. We knew our culture enriched society. We were the explorers, the artists, the ones with stories to tell. Our food is delicious, diverse, exciting, warm, and sweet. Just like our people. What is not to like about being Hispanic?

Now we have an official month – carved from mid-September to mid-October – to celebrate and recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanics to our beloved country. In the spirit of this celebration, the perspective presented by one of NAA founders in the voice of Henry Cisneros will catch your attention because of his brilliant spotlight on Hispanics’ leadership through generations: from territory conquerors to present political and economic representation. Gerson Guzman’s voice, on the other hand, takes us to the future – a future that represents success and hope and one that includes a distinct need for broader inclusion and cooperation and for passing the torch to the next generation.

On the advocacy front, we have great news on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Chair Gary Gensler, and his team, recently contacted the NAA to discuss ways to advance diversity and ESG initiatives. Gerson R. Guzman, NAA, Inc Board Chair, Leon Brujis, Co-Vice Chair of Programs and Capital Campaign Chairman, Board Member Manuel Gonzalez Mestre, Peter Zaldivar from Kabouter Management LLC, and I had a candid discussion with Chair Gensler and his team regarding access to capital, the importance of transparency, and our current efforts at the federal and state level to increase transparency on capital allocations, as well as specific challenges that small and minority businesses and asset managers face.  We look forward to continuing our discussions and work with the SEC team. 

Following a successful 2021 Spring NAA National Virtual Tour whereby NAA connected with fourteen institutional investors representing over $9 trillion of assets under management, we are delighted to have launched the Fall installment of our 2021 NAA National Virtual Tour, with New York State Teachers’ Retirement System on September 21 and the Employment Retirement System of Texas on September 23.   Please look below and mark your calendars; at this date, we have twelve more tours scheduled so far. 

We also have some important milestones to celebrate for our members. Our very own NAA Inc. Chair of the Board, Gerson R. Guzman, has launched Ceiba Capital Partners, an investment firm focused on the tech-enablement and digital adaptation of lower middle-market companies. According to the Mayan tradition, the Ceiba (cei·ba /ˈsābə/ or “say-ba”) tree was the symbol of the universe. The tree and its anatomy symbolize the three great fields of human knowledge: astronomical, mathematical, and spiritual. The Ceiba tree is also known in the Mayan language as Yaaxche (First Tree or Green Tree). The inspiration for the logo is La Ceiba de Palín Escuintla, which is over four hundred years old and located in Guatemala.

Another of our Board members, Vice-Chair of Governance Joseph Acevedo, recently joined as Managing Director of the Alternative Solutions Group at BlackRock. The Alternative Solutions Group manages private market portfolios and invests across alternative asset classes, sectors, and geographies on behalf of its clients. Our members continue their important work and dedication to making economic opportunities and growth more inclusive. We wish them both the best in their new endeavors.

There is a well-known phrase that says:  Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. The Summer of 2021 did indeed have a little magic in it. A few NAA members dreamed we could begin preparing the next generation of leaders, the idea grew, and it gained power. In the summer of 2021, we saw the magic that can happen when we work together. 

We launched the NAA Institute Pathway Fellowship Program with twelve fellows, eleven partner firms, and the generosity of many, including Ron Peyton, Executive Chairman at Callan LLC, Rosie von Lila, NAA Board Member, and Michael Mendez, Martie D’Apice, and the entire Estancia team. There was tremendous power in all their words and actions, making it a genuine NAA family effort, from the Callan presenters to Rosie and the Estancia team, and each mentor from the participating firms. 

¡Muchísimas gracias a todos!

Solange F. Brooks
NAA Voices
Hon. Henry Cisneros, NAA Co-Founder, and Board Member Emeritus
Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, American Triple I Partners, LLC
New America Alliance Letter by Henry Cisneros
A review of American history tells us that Latinos have made foundational contributions to the emergence of the United States as a great nation… 

Public leaders emerged in the 1920s to advocate for Latino progress. They formed and led Latino chambers of commerce, fraternal organizations, and mutual benefit societies. They of course sought the advancement of Latinos in the society, but it quickly became clear to them that in order to create opportunities for Latinos they would have to fight against the virulent discrimination and the unfairness that confronted Latino workers, families, businesses, and communities…

The development of such leaders of Latino advocacy accelerated in the years after World War II.  Latino veterans returned from the war where they had risked their lives based on their faith in freedom in the United States, only to find conditions of unfairness at home which they never imagined would be their reward for service…

The 1960s, 70s, and 80s were decades when the quest for freedom among African Americans encouraged the formation of parallel institutions in Latino communities. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund was founded, and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund was launched to argue the legal case for equity. The Southwest Voter Registration and Education Fund and the Northeast/Midwest Voter Registration Institute were organized to expand voting participation among Latinos.

Raul Yzaguirre led a national group of community advocates to form the National Council of La Raza and its constituent organizations to advocate for Latinos in Washington… [Continue reading the original version]
Gerson Guzman, NAA Inc Chair of the Board; Co-Founder, Ceiba Capital Partners
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
I am optimistic. I came of age in California at a time when Latino culture became increasingly interwoven into the tapestry of American life. I graduated from high school in 1994. Two years prior, salsa had officially surpassed ketchup as the most popular condiment in America. Latin food, music, and culture are now as American as, well salsa and a three-taco combo at your favorite late-night eatery. Yet in an era where Señorita follows Despacito as the most streamed song on the charts, and the “Latinization” of American culture is undeniable, we still have much to achieve.

Although the Latino population is projected to be more than 20% of the US population by 2025, Latino wealth is still projected to be less than 3%. The average wealth per Latino household is only $108,871, compared to the average household wealth of $543,702 among all non-Latino families (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis).

According to Axios, Latino professionals have the widest gap between the labor force and executive positions — bigger than that of any other minority group. Latinos account for nearly 18% of the U.S. labor force and own 1 in 7 small businesses, but they occupy just 4% of executive positions and less than 3% of Fortune 1000 company board seats.

So why am I so optimistic? Maybe it is my immigrant experience that allows me to see the world not only for what it is, but to appreciate how far it has come, and what it can be. As Henry Cisneros, a trailblazer in his own right, noted in his examination of Latino contributions to American history, “The next generation of Latino leaders will also have unprecedented national and global leadership responsibilities in every sector of U.S. life: government, business, the arts, religion, philanthropy, science, medicine, sports, entertainment, and education.”

I have the honor of standing on the shoulders of those American Latino leaders that have come before us and looked out into a future full of possibility and promise – of not what is, but what can be. We have made substantial progress and will continue to do so.… [Continue reading the
New America Alliance Institute
Join us in our Mission at New America Alliance Institute
Best in Class
Ivelisse Rodriguez-Simon, Avante Capital Partners
Ivelisse Rodriguez Simon was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in a low-income neighborhood in Chicago, IL. She became the first person in her family to attend college. 

Ivelisse joined Avante Capital Partners in 2009 as a founding member of the Los Angeles firm. She is currently the Managing Partner with responsibilities for identifying, executing, and managing investment opportunities.  Ivelisse also manages the fund’s portfolio and new deal activities. 

Simon has over two decades of middle-market debt and equity investment experience.  Prior to Avante, she held positions at Palladium Equity Partners, Reliant Equity Partners, and various investment banks including Salomon Brothers. 
Ivelisse is a longtime advocate and champion for women, minorities, and the underserved and underrepresented. Ivelisse and her two sisters launched a philanthropic organization called We Will to support and empower underserved women and minorities in the areas of healthcare, education, and financial literacy. 

Ivelisse graduated with honors from the University of Illinois and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.  She lives with her husband and three children in Los Angeles and enjoys taking adventurous trips with her family to far-flung places. 

To contact the firm, please visit: www.avantecap.com
New Member Spotlight
Shirley Acevedo Buontempo, Latino U College Access
Latino U College Access (LUCA) is a social impact, nonprofit organization that transforms lives by making college dreams a reality for low-income, first-generation, Latino youth.  They guide students, who have demonstrated academic aptitude, through individualized coaching and mentorship. LUCA is committed to helping students navigate higher education to successfully enroll in schools that meet their financial and academic needs, enabling them to graduate on time and career-ready.
Since launching LUCA in 2012, social entrepreneur and Founder Shirley Acevedo Buontempo, MPA has built an organization that provides bilingual support to families and students in high Hispanic school districts in New York. 93% of LUCA Scholars are enrolled in 4-year universities, 50% are attending most to very selective universities in the U.S., and 55% are studying STEM. 
“I believe that education is the greatest equalizer with the power to transform lives for generations,” said Founder Acevedo Buontempo.  “But the reality is that while talent is universal, opportunity is not, and that is where we step in - to open those doors to opportunity.” 
Shirley was born in Puerto Rico and is a first-generation college graduate for whom English was a second language. Blending her skills as a business and marketing professional with her nonprofit experience, she has built one of the leading college access and success organizations in Westchester County, NY. She is a thought leader and has led advocacy efforts speaking in support of initiatives that advanced educational equity for Latino youth.  
To contact the organization, please visit: www.latinou.org
Upcoming Events
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NAA Strategic Partners
We recently distributed to our members and the broader community, #PitchBook’s recently published thorough and in-depth guide to seeding and anchoring PE managers. Many prospective first-time GPs are interested in taking anchor capital or seed capital to kickstart their fundraising process and some institutional investors and fund seeders are seeding and anchoring to save on fees or enjoy increased upside potential. The report unpacks definitions, LP types, deal terms, and more in a world that is opaque and difficult to navigate.
We are putting together a panel on this topic to be moderated by the same analysts that wrote the report. Save the date of October 21 and stay tuned for the details!

If you have not already, access the report via PitchBook at Seeding and Anchoring PE Managers