by Jeremy Nulik
Like so many who transfer to St. Louis from other communities, Castor Armesto, an attorney with Stinson Morrison & Hecker, was looking for a way to make professional and personal contacts in a city that can sometimes seem parochial. About five years ago, he found many kindred spirits with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“I attended a meeting and decided to get involved,” says Armesto who served as the Chair of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce last year. “It turns out that a lot of the people in the Hispanic Chamber are not from St. Louis either. I found that many of them, however, were working hard to make St. Louis a welcoming place for people of all backgrounds.”
In alignment with that mission, Armesto helped to found a new program through the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce last year. The Latino Leadership Institute sponsored by Centene Corporation is a skills based leadership program for young professionals. Since August, a group of 12 participants has met monthly to discuss a different topic (basic financial management, personal branding, leadership) and also to network with each other. The diverse group of young people represent a dozen different nationalities.
“We are creating a network of high performing young professionals and helping them to create their own connections to St. Louis,” says Armesto. “Karlos Ramirez, the executive director of the Hispanic Chamber, found the sponsors and really made it come together. We are excited about our first class graduate and see what kind of impact they make on the community.”
In addition to his work with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Armesto is active with Our Lady’s Inn, an organization that helps women in crisis pregnancies.