Twenty-two students funded by the College of Business Administration were among the approximately 2,000 attendees at the recent Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting’s (ALPFA) annual meeting at the Fort Worth Convention Center, held from August 5-9, 2006. College Executive Dean Joyce J. Elam, who sits on the organization’s Corporate Advisory Board, also attended, as did José de la Torre, dean, Chapman Graduate School of Business, who was there for the gala. The college’s students affiliate with ALPFA through their membership in the Florida International University Accounting Association (FIU-AA).
Vanessa Coronado, president of FIU-AA, participated in the national event for the first time.
“It was an amazing experience, particularly the networking opportunities and the chance to go to professional workshops,” said Coronado, who has just completed an accounting internship at Georgia Pacific in Atlanta, GA. “It was wonderful that the college funded all twenty-two of us. People were really impressed by our presence, and it was appropriate that there were so many of us since we are the largest ALPFA student chapter in the country.”
For Krystel Ramos, president-elect of FIU-AA, also attending for the first time, the convention exceeded her expectations.
“I had heard about it from others, but experiencing it was incredible,” she said. “Apparently ALPFA tries to make the event better and more exciting each year and they certainly did it this year.”
Members of the college family have rich association with ALPFA.
Alfredo Cepero (MACC ’90, BACC ’88), audit partner, BDO Seidman LLP, founded the Miami chapter of ALPFA, served as its president, and is now the president of the national organization.
Zameer Upadhya (BACC ’02), president, AMR Consulting Services, who founded the university’s chapter of ALPFA in 2001, was the first student to sit on the national board, and is the current president of the ALPFA Miami Chapter. He was named South Region Director, a two-year position he will begin in October, 2006.
“It was good to have so many students funded by the college there and to have Dean Elam there with us,” he said. “It’s also great that three of us with strong connections to the college are playing a prominent role at the national level. Along with Cepero and me, we have Manuel Munguia (BACC ’05), an auditor at BDO Seidman LLP, who will be the next president of the ALPFA Miami Chapter, now serving as a director at large, student affairs.”
In addition, Dean’s Council member Alvaro G. de Molina, CFO, Bank of America, spoke at the convention and received the award as “Executive of the Year,” and Ana B. Garcia (BACC ’06), was named “ALPFA Student of the Year (South Region).”
Local Fort Worth paper prominently features the university.
In addition to the awards, this year, the college achieved yet more notoriety when Ramos was quoted at the beginning of an article titled “Hispanics gain jobs in finance,” which appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram the last day of the convention. In it, she expressed her optimism about securing a job, and was quoted as saying, “You can see it firsthand; the companies are eager to hire Hispanic professionals.”
ALPFA’s mission is to be the leading professional association dedicated to enhancing opportunities for CPAs, accountants, finance and related professionals, and students, while expanding Latino leadership in the global workforce. It has twenty-seven chapters in the United States and Puerto Rico. Next year’s national convention will take place in Orlando, FL.