September 15, 2023

Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight: Daniel Hernandez

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, celebrating the histories, traditions, cultures, languages, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. 

Over the next four weeks, the Chamber will be featuring four community leaders. We asked each of them to share their perspectives and how being Hispanic has influenced their lives, personally, and professionally. 

Daniel Hernandez 

While running three successful businesses in Round Rock, Daniel Hernandez serves as the Chamber’s Entrepreneurship Council Chair assisting staff in executing our entrepreneurship strategy and plan of work. This February, Daniel received the Chamber’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the 55th Annual Business Awards. 

Adriana Nunez, Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, at the Chamber shares: 

“Working alongside Daniel Hernandez, CEO of First Crush Tastings, has been a celebration of our shared Hispanic heritage and a testament to the strength and innovation within our community. Diversity drives success, and Daniel’s partnership is a tribute to the spirit of Hispanic entrepreneurship during Hispanic Heritage Month and beyond.” 

The Chamber is pleased to share Daniel Hernandez’s story, in his words: 

“Growing up in the vibrant hues of Hispanic culture, my siblings and I were cradled in the strong arms of resilience and unity. As the eldest of four, the guiding light in our lives was our Abuelita, a woman of unwavering strength and love who raised us single-handedly. She sowed in us the seeds of perseverance, teaching us to navigate life’s challenges with grace and dignity. 

Our early years were marked by the vibrant rhythms of East Austin, a place far removed from its trendy persona today. Despite the struggles we faced in our low-income neighborhood, we found solace in the rich tapestry of our community. Weekends were a beacon of joy and tradition, as we gathered in Chicano Park or “Fiesta Gardens” to soak in the spirit of unity, celebrating life with BBQs and mesmerized by the artistry of Low Riders parading in a riot of colors. 

The pivotal moment came during my high school years when I was introduced to a world beyond the confines of East Austin. A new school district initiative bussed us, along with other low-income students, to more affluent neighborhood schools. This experience served as an eye-opener, revealing the stark disparities that existed just a few miles away. It ignited a spark within me, a burning desire to break the cycle and reach for greater heights. 

Hispanic Heritage Month, for me, is a reflection of this journey, a testament to the resilience ingrained in my Hispanic roots. It mirrors my voyage from a childhood marked by hardships to a life enriched with opportunities and growth. I learned that the richness of our culture is not confined to traditions but extends to the adaptive spirit that drives us to thrive against all odds. 

While my upbringing may not mirror the idyllic picture often painted of close-knit Hispanic families, it is a narrative of hope, growth, and breaking barriers. It’s about harnessing the spirit of survival to carve out a future brimming with possibilities. 

Today, I stand as a beacon of change, a successful small business owner committed to shattering the perceived ceilings for minorities. My mission is to empower other minority entrepreneurs to break free from the constraints that held me back for so long. Together, we can forge a path of prosperity, fostering a new generation of Hispanic leaders who embody resilience, innovation, and a fierce determination to succeed. 

This Hispanic Heritage Month, I choose to celebrate not just our rich heritage but also the undying spirit of change and growth that defines the Hispanic community. Together, we are forging a brighter, more inclusive future for all.” 

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