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Hispanic Entrepreneurs and Professionals Forum

Date: October 10, 2018
Time: 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Location:  Show map
Ruth's Chris Downtown
250 Riverplace Dr.
Greenville, SC 29601
Contact: Ebony Austin
Phone: 864.239.3730

Join us for lunch with the Hispanic Business Council on October 10th! We’ll hear from Samanth Spratt, Executive Director of the European American Chamber of Commerce Carolinas, as well as other local leaders!


Keynote Speaker: Samantha Spratt, Executive Director, European American Chamber of Commerce- Carolinas

Samantha Castro Spratt is the Executive Director of the European American Chamber of Commerce – Carolinas, an organization focused on promoting bilateral trade and investment between the Carolinas and Europe. She is an attorney licensed to practice law in Brazil and the Principal of Global Assist Consulting, an international business development firm focused on helping companies successfully expand into international markets.

Samantha initiated her career in 1994 with Grupo Tecsat, a telecommunication company in São José dos Campos, SP Brazil, as part of their in-house legal team. In 2000, she moved to the United States to advance her professional career and obtained a MBA degree from Rockford University in Illinois. Since then, she has worked in diverse matters related to international business and assisted companies with contract negotiations, regulatory compliance, strategic planning and business development initiatives.

Prior to relocating to South Carolina, she spent eight years working for the international division of Wahl Clipper Corporation, a global leader in the professional and home grooming market. She served as Wahl International Compliance Manager, helping them to open subsidiaries in Brazil, Russia and India and negotiate contracts with their distributors all over the globe. In 2011, she became Wahl Director of Latin America, implementing successful strategies and contributing to the profitable growth of their Latin America business. In 2015, Samantha moved to Greenville with her husband Bob and daughter Anna.

Panelist: Lazaro Montoto,Tropical Grille

Lazaro Montoto

was born in 1982 in Miami, a second generation Cuban American whose grandparents emigrated from Cuba in 1962. He began in the restaurant business when he was 15 years old, washing dishes and learning the business from the ground up. He grew to love the business, namely due to having a terrific chef to guide him, who ultimately became Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s personal chef.

He continued to learn the business working for one of the top steak houses in the country – Smith & Wollensky – where he was responsible for private dining. By now, Lazaro knew the industry and business well. He and his wife Shadid came to visit Greenville and fell in love with the city as a place to raise their 3 children. Seeing that Cuban cuisine was sparse in Greenville, they started their first Tropical Grille on Pelham Road in 2010. That location and the food was an immediate hit!

Today, Lazaro and his wife are working on Tropical Grill #5 and #6 in Mauldin and on Main Street. He has ambition to spread the Tropical Grille wave all throughout the country!


Panelist: Jorge Baralles Jr, Papi's Tacos

Jorge Baralles

Jorge "Papi" Baralles has been with Table 301 since the beginning, joining the team just after Soby's New South Cuisine opened in 1997. He is one of only three current employees who has worked for Table 301 since the beginning. Now, he brings the cooking traditions of his family to Papi's Tacos, sharing the flavor of his heritage with Greenville diners.Working at Table 301 is a family affair for Baralles. His son, Jorge Baralles, Jr. has worked for the company for eight years, also working his way up within the organization. He started at Soby’s as a food runner, then later became an assistant manager and has for the last 3 years been a member of the management team at The Lazy Goat. Jorge, Jr. now adds helping out his dad at Papi’s Tacos to his list of management responsibilities.

Panelist: Cristina Ortiz, State Farm Insurance

Cristina Ortiz

Cristina Ortiz was born in Bolivia and lived in Japan for 7 years.  She was a Commercial Engineer and worked some years as a university professor. Her last job in Bolivia was the manager of the claims department for Zurich Financial Services. She has been working for State Farm for approximately 10 years ago, and as State Farm Agent for one and a half years. Her agency has been recognized second in the nation of the new State Farm agents which has been a great honor for her and her team. She loves helping and serving the whole community.




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