By Erik Machuca
Now in its second semester at East Los Angeles College, the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting Club (ALPFA) is looking to break barriers for minorities in the business field.
ALPFA is the largest Latino association for business professionals and students with more than 100 chapters nationwide and more than 20,000 members.
Committed to enhancing networking opportunities, access to scholarships and building leadership and career skills for Latinos, the non-profit organization is now in its 41st year.
President of ELAC’s ALPFA Club Denise Martinez, said that in today’s corporate arena it is not only how much you know, but more importantly who you know.
Martinez said many minorities are at a disadvantage from the lack of connections and contacts in their respective fields.
“We’re an organization that focuses on not only Latinos, but any minority in the business field. We want to break barriers and open it for minorities,” Martinez said.
Partnered with The Walt Disney Company and large accounting firms such as Mass Mutual, KPMG, PwC and Deloitte, ALPFA provides the opportunity to build relationships with professionals and students from across the country.
Martinez, a business administration major, said it is not necessary to be a business, accounting or finance major to join the ALPFA Club.
“I recommend this organization for anyone who is interested in growing as a professional, growing as leader and making a difference in the community,” Martinez said.
Traditionally a four-year university association, Martinez said she takes a lot of pride in representing the only ALPFA community college chapter in California.
Prior to its existence at ELAC, Martinez said she did a lot of networking with the organization to bring ALPFA to ELAC and give its students an opportunity to show their ability.
“Sometimes different circumstances in life take you to a community college, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t capable. There is a lot of potential at community colleges,” Martinez said.
ELAC’s ALPFA Club currently has more than 100 registered members and 20-25 active members on campus.
Third year student and accounting major Grethel Fuentes has been a member of ALPFA ELAC since it opened last fall.
“We’re hoping that ALPFA will grow in the future to more community colleges. We like the idea of exposing students to networking and having access to internships early in their college career,” Martinez said.
The organization holds student conferences twice a year. The club is currently fundraising for a trip to the annual ALPFA convention in Washington, D.C. in August.
ELAC students will have the opportunity to participate in real-life accounting cases and to compete and network with students from four-year universities.
“The goal is to take as many ELAC students as we can. ALPFA ELAC will be recognized at a national level at the convention and we will be in the know,” Martinez said.
Students can register to be a member by signing up through ALPFA.org. The ALPFA Club meets every Tuesday 12:15-1:15 in F7 room 111.