A Message from the CEO & Founder
The Virginia Hispanic Chamber is vital to all Virginians. This is your organization. Make your voice heard and get involved in Chamber membership, educational programming, or community outreach activities through the Virginia Hispanic Foundation. I encourage you not just to join, but to take an active role.
Connect with us, join us, and grow with us.
- Michel Zajur -
CEO & FOUNDER
Michel Zajur knows exactly what it's like for many hard-working immigrant men and women in the United States. Mr. Zajur immigrated to the United States from Mexico City with his family in the early 1960s when he was just a child. He was taught the value of hard work, by helping out in his family’s restaurant, La Siesta Mexican Restaurant. La Siesta was in business for over thirty years, eventually becoming and established and iconic restaurant in Richmond Virginia. During its many years as a local establishment, La Siesta accomplished many great things and was even able to bring their food outside of Virginia. In addition to the restaurant, they offered catering, and even distributed La Siesta’s personal line of salsa. After a long while, La Siesta began to be more than a restaurant, it became a local hotspot for the Hispanic community. Not only for delicious food, but also for information on everything going on in the community. La Siesta's greatest accomplishment however, was creating an educational program for children in the area.
Mr. Zajur attended college at Virginia Commonwealth University, a diverse school in Richmond, Virginia where he furthered his passion for helping the Hispanic community. Mr. Zajur married his wife Lisa, and now has three children each of which has started their own professional careers.
As a result of his work with outreach programs and his involvement within the community, Mr. Zajur founded a statewide organization, the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (VAHCC), in May of 2000. The VAHCC serves as the bridge linking the Hispanic business community within the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 2003, the VAHCC Foundation was established as an effort to further provide education, information, and resources to the Hispanic community.
As Founder and CEO of the VAHCC, Mr. Zajur has helped to educate Virginia’s community about changing demographics within the state and has helped to provide business opportunities to include the Hispanic population in the business world. Mr. Zajur works to build partnerships with the Hispanic community on a national and statewide level, while connecting all those interested in Hispanic business, including the Virginia Hispanic business community; Virginia businesses and corporations; local, state, federal, and international entities; non-profit organizations; and individuals.
Mr. Zajur serves on many boards throughout Virginia and contributes to discussions on leadership, business, diversity, health, and education. He has been appointed by Governors Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, and Bob McDonnell to serve on various commissions, task forces, and transition teams. Mr. Zajur is currently a public speaker for many businesses and is a consultant for organizations looking for his expertise in helping them connect to the Latino community.
Mr. Zajur has received numerous awards which include: the National Conference of Community Justices Humanitarian Award in 2002, the Minority Small Business Champion Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration in 2006, and the Global Excellence Award from the Virginia International Business Council in 2011. Mr. Zajur was recognized as “One of the 25 People You Need to Know in the State” by Virginia Business Magazine, and was acknowledged as one of Richmond’s most influential and inspiring people by Boomer Magazine in 2012. In September of 2012, Mr. Zajur received the Ohtli Award which is the highest award bestowed by the Mexican government upon a non-Mexican citizen. In June 2016, Mr. Zajur was recognized as one of 30 people who have “helped shape the Richmond Virginia community” in the Richmond Times- Dispatch's newspaper’s Metro Business 30th Anniversary Special Edition. And in 2018, The Richmond Times-Dispatch honored him as the “2018 Hall of Fame Inductee during their Person of the Year award ceremony. Mr. Zajur has a passion for building bridges and extending ladders in order to construct a better community for all.