JERSEY CITY, NJ – The board of directors of the NJ LGBT Chamber of Commerce announced Monday that Jersey City resident Augusto Penaranda Jr. has been appointed executive director.
Penaranda, who has lived in Jersey City for four years, is the first member of the LGBT and Latino communities to lead a state-wide chamber of commerce, the organization said.
Among other initiatives, the agency is advocating for more state contracts to be made available to business owners who are LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTBE) certified.
“LGBTBE certification provides more equitable access to contracting opportunities through participating state and local government agencies, as well as Fortune 500 companies looking to increase their spending within the LGBT community,” said the organization in a press release. “The certification process is overseen by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).”
In New Jersey, only Jersey City, Hoboken and Essex County are participating, the organization said.
New Jersey experience
Penaranda is the former Public Information Officer (PIO) of the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs in the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.
“This newly created position is the Chamber’s first dedicated paid staff member and marks the kick-off of its 2022 realignment plan,” the organization said, “where it will showcase its organizational improvements aimed at better serving the interests of its members’ businesses, helps it develop a stronger local economy and directly contributes to shaping the quality of life for the LGBTQ + community in the greater New Jersey area. ”
Penaranda was also the chief of external relations for the American Red Cross (ARC) from the New Jersey area to Princeton.
“Although they deployed to Florida and Texas for Hurricane Irma and Harvey tested his skills as a bilingual communicator and disaster volunteer, his most rewarding job to date has been during the hurricane. Maria and Puerto Rico, ”the organization said. “Working via satellite phone with Ana Montero, CEO of ARC’s North Jersey region, they were successful in providing information and directing resources to help those affected by the devastating hurricane during a time of communication blackout. almost total. ”
“We are very pleased to welcome Augusto Penaranda as the Chamber’s first executive director. The board has great confidence in its ability to help persuade Governor Murphy’s team to create greater economic opportunity for the LGBT community, ”said Stephen Blazejewski, President of New Jersey. LGBT Chamber of Commerce. “Although we are only in the first phase of the House 2022 realignment plan, our mission to build the prosperity and resilience of New Jersey’s LGBT community remains unwavering and stronger than ever.”
Penaranda is a long-time member of the LGBT sports scene and is actively involved in the International Gay & Lesbian Football Association (IGFLA) and the
Penaranda received a Master of Science in International Relations and Public Policy from William Paterson University in New Jersey; and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from William Paterson University of New Jersey.
He is a native of Paterson.