Who’s Who Among Latinos: Co-Founder of Latino Fashion Week Cesar Rolón Aims to Discover

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - BusinessNever one to turn away from a challenge, Cesar Rolón, co-founder of Latino Fashion Week, recently entered the literary world when he teamed up with Who’s Who Black Book to be an associate publisher for the Inaugural Edition of Who’s Who in Latino Chicago. “I want to celebrate all Latinos,” said Rolón. Born to Puerto Rican parents, Rolón was the first non-Mexican executive director of the Little Village Chamber of Commerce of Illinois. Rolón also founded the annual Hispanic Women’s Business Conference and is part of the planning and fundraising committee for El Paseo Boricua, the Puerto Rican Passage. Mostly notably in 2007, Rolón launched Latino Fashion Week, the only Latino Fashion Week in the United States. With many projects under his belt, Rolón currently aims to celebrate the everyday Latinos making a difference in the City of Chicago. Recently, Rolón shared what he is looking forward to the most about his new found partnership.

Lawndale Bilingual Newspaper: You are always in a constant state of creativity, whether it’s creating a teen expo, a model school, or the ever-popular Latino Fashion Week; your latest venture is with Who’s Who Publishing. How and when did that partnership develop?
Cesar Rolón: This all started when an associated producer for the Who’s Who Black Book approached me and told that Times Media was looking for an associate publisher for a new Latino Book in Chicago and I agreed to meet with them. I shared my ideas and how I wanted this book to be pivotal publication where our Latinos can be celebrated and they agreed.

LN: The projects you tend to develop and maintain share a common thread and that is to enhance the presence of Latinos and empower the next generation. What goes behind your thought process when you are in the preliminary stages of the next big expo?
CR: My thought behind this is to celebrate ALL Latinos. I do this because I find it very unfair that general market agencies allude to Latinos or Hispanics as only being Mexican or Puerto Rican. Chicago is the perfect test marketing for anything Latino because of our demographics. As a Latino my projects are to be celebrated by all.

LN: In your new endeavor with Who’s Who Publishing, what do you hope to bring?
CR: I hope to bring pride, unity and discovery. This book will encompass all of Chicagoland that includes South Chicago, East Chicago Indiana and the suburbs. There is too much great talent and I want to find it.

LN: How do you begin to encompass all the important figures and organizations this City holds?
CR: We are going to host a launch party in Chicago April 12, 2012 to introduce the publication. Submission will be accepted on line and we will be reaching out to all the major corporations to help acknowledge those in power within their own businesses. I am also looking for those that mixed Latino races.

LN: For those who have an entrepreneurial spirit, how would you advise them that would help set them apart from the rest?
CR: Learn to look beyond your own spectrum and don’t settle for things just because they exist, if it doesn’t …Create it.

LN: What is the greatest lesson you learned over the years in your career that serves as a daily motto?
CR: Listen, Learn and make sure it matters.

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