Meet EGBI Volunteer: Iván García

By Rutu Ruparel

Ivan Garcia is the Vice President of Lending and Community Manager at SouthStar Bank, with 15 years of mortgage experience. In his role, Ivan focuses on expanding SouthStar Bank’s presence along Austin’s Eastern Crescent. Moreover, Ivan prides himself on being able to provide opportunities for home ownership in historically underserved communities. He is also the Government Affairs Chair for the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals Austin Chapter and was named a NAHREP Top 100 Regional Loan Officer in 2021.

What is a fun fact about you?

I am a foster parent.

How has working at EGBI benefited you professionally and personally?

Working with EGBI has helped me better understand clients. Being able to hear their stories and what their business plans are makes me a better banker. It helps me gain insight on how I can better help my clients.

What motivated you to become involved with EGBI, and how has your role evolved over time since you started volunteering?

I love seeing how excited and passionate new entrepreneurs are about their business. I am motivated by the resourcefulness and resiliency of EGBI clients.

What personally resonates with you about EGBI’s mission and work?

I see my dad in EGBI entrepreneurs. My dad worked so hard at his job and still did side jobs to earn extra money. I see how some EGBI entrepreneurs are taking the next step in turning their side jobs into a full business. EGBI empowers people to make a way for themselves in this economy and equips them to prosper.

In what ways have you utilized your experiences and knowledge base to enhance the learning experiences of participants in your role as an instructor at EGBI?

I have been in the mortgage business for 15 years and have helped so many first time homeowners go from unsure to confident buyers by planning and education. Using this experience of planning and education helps me as I engage participants in the workshops.

What would you say to someone considering volunteering with EGBI?

Do you love that rewarding feeling? Invest time in EGBI entrepreneurs!

What was the most rewarding experience you’ve had in your role as an instructor for EGBI?

Inviting coworkers to volunteer for the Marketing Research night and seeing the joy they had engaging with participants.

Find the Spanish version here.

Meet EGBI Volunteer: Pamela Chow

By Rutu Ruparel

Pamela Chow, a Houston-based entrepreneur-in-training with roots in Tampico, Mexico, is currently pursuing a double major in Business Honors and Finance at the University of Texas at Austin. Inspired by her family’s entrepreneurial legacy, Pamela is actively involved in The Undergraduate Real Estate Society and the Hispanic Finance Association as she works towards her dream of launching a Real Estate company with her two sisters. Outside of her studies, Pamela finds joy in sports, photography, and adventure. As a volunteer at EGBI, Pamela channels her passion for community engagement by making a meaningful impact through her contributions to events and blog writing.

Pamela Chow shares her experience as a volunteer with EGBI.

What is a fun fact about you?

I have an identical twin sister.

How has working at EGBI benefited you professionally and personally?

As a student at UT Austin, EGBI has helped me keep in touch with the world outside of the classroom. Since I am studying business, volunteering at EGBI has helped me learn from business owners in Austin and learn from their unique experiences in starting a business. It has helped me see the reality of entrepreneurship and learn that all you need is an idea and some support to be successful. Also, I have grown as a public speaker by being part of the Toastmasters club on Wednesdays where I learn the critical skill of public speaking alongside business owners in Austin.

What motivated you to volunteer with EGBI?

One of my older friends volunteered here during her time in college and recommended me to volunteer. She told me it was a great way to gain experience while helping my community.

Are there specific aspects of your volunteer work with EGBI that you find particularly rewarding, and why?

One of the most rewarding work I have done is being able to meet some successful business owners to see how they have succeeded. I find it incredible to find out how they took a leap of faith and with the help of EGBI were able to grow their businesses and succeed.

What personally resonates with you about EGBI’s mission and work?

EGBI prides itself in removing barriers and I personally resonate with this because I find it so important to help those in our community that English isn’t their first language. Coming from Mexico myself, I see how difficult it is to communicate your ideas and message if you can’t speak the country’s native language. EGBI helps remove that barrier by connecting entrepreneurs with workshops and people that speak Spanish are willing to support their growth.

What would you say to someone considering volunteering with EGBI?

The people that work here are amazing and truly care about the work they do. Also, helping small businesses in your community is truly rewarding, and seeing them succeed makes you feel incredible!

EGBI provides training, coaching, and support to aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business. If you would like to support our efforts, please visit our website or email to discuss volunteer opportunities.

Find the Spanish version here.

Introducing Carlos Nazario, Volunteer with EGBI

By Rutu Ruparel 

Carlos Nazario, CPA, JD, is more than just a seasoned business and tax consultant – he’s a catalyst for entrepreneurial success. With over 20 years of experience, Carlos has dedicated his career to helping businesses thrive, from small mom-and-pop shops to Fortune 500 companies. Additionally, his dual expertise in finance and law equips him with a unique perspective, which allows him to offer comprehensive insights to his clients.

Now, beyond his professional endeavors, Carlos is deeply committed to giving back to the community. As a volunteer instructor at EGBI he leverages his expertise to empower aspiring entrepreneurs. “I feel a need to give back to our community,” Carlos explains, highlighting his dedication to making a difference in the lives of others.

At EGBI, Carlos integrates real-world accounting experiences into his instructional approach, enriching the learning experience for participants. Drawing from his extensive background, he shares common pitfalls and practical insights, equipping entrepreneurs with the tools they need to succeed.

Moreover, working at EGBI has not only benefited Carlos professionally but also personally. “It helps keep me updated on current trends and needs of entrepreneurs, and I have added new friends,” he reflects. This dual impact underscores the symbiotic relationship between Carlos and EGBI, where both parties grow and thrive together.

Furthermore, Carlos’s journey with EGBI resonates deeply with the organization’s mission. “The barriers to growing a successful business are real, also the needed help to overcome them,” he acknowledges. Through his work, Carlos actively contributes to dismantling these barriers, paving the way for aspiring entrepreneurs to realize their dreams.

When asked to reflect on his most rewarding experiences as an instructor, Carlos shares “It has been great to see an idea become a profitable business which serves our community.”. These moments of success fuel Carlos’s passion for his role at EGBI, reinforcing his commitment to empowering entrepreneurs on their journey to success.

Lastly, to those considering volunteering or working with EGBI, Carlos offers a compelling testament to the organization’s transformative potential. “You will be amazed by how much you can positively impact the lives of the students,” he affirms. These words by him echo the sentiment shared by many who have been touched by EGBI’s mission and work.

Carlos Nazario is one of the many volunteers who embody the EGBI’s mission. Through his contributions, he exemplifies the profound impact that mentorship and support can have on aspiring business owners.

Find Spanish version here.

Meet EGBI Volunteer- Begoña Calderón

Begoña Calderón Lozano, originally from Cádiz, Spain, graduated in Journalism from the University of Seville just two months ago and also embarked on a course called MasterClass at the School of Reporters of Andalusia in Seville. When she’s not immersed in the world of news, she shows her passion for volleyball and fashion and even takes thrilling motorcycle rides through the Sierra de Cádiz with her father. She’s no stranger to adrenaline, having parachuted from an airplane at an astounding 4,600 meters high. Her journey to EGBI in Austin began as a result of an online volunteer search, and since then, she has been enjoying the satisfaction of helping others while expanding her professional and personal horizons. The most exciting experience for her so far has been recording a podcast, something she will surely remember forever.

Share a fun fact with us:

A fun fact about me is that I enjoy extreme sports. A year ago, I parachuted from an airplane at 4,600 meters high. I also consider myself a very adventurous person, always eager to explore new things.

How did you first get involved with EGBI?
I’ve only been in Austin for 2 months, and I found EGBI on a volunteer website. My first contact with EGBI was at an event, and I felt so comfortable that I didn’t hesitate to help them for these 2 months.

Why are you a volunteer for EGBI?
Helping people is a very satisfying feeling. It’s a way to make yourself happy because you’re helping others, and others are helping you. You grow as a person and create a unique experience. I’ve met wonderful people.

How has your collaboration with EGBI helped you grow professionally and personally?
I couldn’t have chosen a better volunteer opportunity with EGBI. In terms of professional growth, I’ve been doing translations and writing for the blog, which has helped me learn new vocabulary in English. I’ve had the opportunity to host the La Incubadora Podcast and conduct interviews in both Spanish and English. Personally, I’ve been able to grow as a person, face new situations, and that has made me mature in other ways.

What was the most rewarding experience you had while working as a volunteer at EGBI?
The opportunity to record the podcast has been the most fulfilling experience. I am immensely grateful to EGBI for having me and giving me this opportunity that I will never forget. I couldn’t be happier with this experience.

Why do you think others should volunteer or support EGBI?
Being a volunteer for EGBI is a way to help others. You grow as a person, and it’s beautiful to see how EGBI gets involved with you to make you feel comfortable. I thank them for everything; they are wonderful people, and in no time, they made me feel at home.

Meet EGBI Volunteer – Jesus Nevarez

By Bego Calderon

Jesus is a Financial Center Manager at Independent Financial, where he manages the retail side for the Austin location. He is responsible for the day-to-day operation, expanding the business of the branch and small business development.

He has been working in banking for over ten years across the state of Texas. Jesus focuses on developing deep ties in the communities he works, and helping persons reach their financial goals. He has worked on a variety of entrepreneurship programs and financial literacy classes, delivering them in person and virtual platforms.

Jesus shares his experience as a volunteer with EGBI.

Share a fun fact with us.

I occasionally write short stories, and give them out to my friends. Nothing major, but I enjoy writing literary fiction. Slices of life that give a glimpse of what we go through daily. They are cathartic.

“Volunteering at EGBI is a great way to help our community.” – Jesus nevarez

How did you first get involved with EGBI?

I had just moved to the city, and I was still struggling to get acclimated. I had reached out through email to know how I could help. I had researched EGBI, and my perception was that they are a great resource to our local entrepreneurs.
Monica Peña reached back, and invited me to an EGBI event.
Thereafter, I asked if I could assist in some of the classes that EGBI does for entrepreneurs. Since that point, I’ve been enjoying being a volunteer for EGBI at different stages and programs.

Why do you volunteer for EGBI?

Small business are the lifeblood of our communities, and entrepreneurship is a pathway to achieve financial security. I believe in what EGBI does, and the persons that run the organization truly have their hearts in it. I like to help persons get better, and some of the entrepreneurs and small business owners that attend EGBI just need a hand to reach the next level. I work at Independent Financial, where we try to build healthy communities. They have supported me in this endeavor.

-How has your involvement with EGBI helped you grow professionally and personally?

Professionally it has allowed to me see what the small business community needs in Austin. Understand their concerns and their aspirations. It has connected me with other persons across the city that are also looking to assist our entrepreneur
Personally, well, just meeting new persons. Moving to a new city, with no family or professional network can be difficult. I’ve met so many persons in the classes, and accelerated my knowledge of the city and its resources.

What was the most rewarding experience you had while volunteering for EGBI?

There was a presentation in the last quarter of 2022. They were presenting the persons that had graduated from the program. Hearing all those stories of success, allowed me to see the tremendous impact that EGBI has in our city.

Why do you think others should volunteer or support EGBI?

Volunteering at EGBI is a great way to help our community. EGBI has a develop great systems to understand entrepreneurs at different levels of their business journey. They are in the business of helping people get better, that is something that we could all do.

EGBI provides training, coaching, and support to aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business. If you would like to support our efforts, please visit our website

Meet EGBI Volunteer – John B. McLellan

By Hilary Enriquez

John B. McLellan has over 30 years of experience in organizational leadership, strategic planning, sales and marketing program development and project management. He founded Search 2 Sales, LLC in 2004, an advertising consulting firm that helps small and medium-sized businesses effectively implement Pay-Per-Click advertising on platforms such as Google Ads & Microsoft Advertising.
Prior to founding Search 2 Sales, John worked at the Hewlett-Packard Company for over 25
years in a variety of sales, consulting and leadership positions across many of HP’s business
segments. John holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.

John shares his experience as a volunteer with EGBI.

Share a fun fact with us.

I hold dual citizenship with the US and Canada.

How did you first get involved with EGBI?

I first got involved with EGBI when I applied to volunteer on a project they posted on Catchafire. Catchafire is an online marketplace where nonprofits post projects that require a particular set of skills and individuals with those skills can volunteer. In this case, EGBI had received a grant for free advertising on Google, using the platform called Google Ads. EGBI selected me to help them develop an advertising campaign and teach them the skills that would enable them to optimize and expand on what we created.

Why do you volunteer for EGBI?

I believe that public service in any form, is not only an obligation, but a source of personal development and self-fulfillment. I currently serve on the board and as a volunteer for several nonprofits. I consider myself fortunate to have a skillset that even in my retirement years, is still relevant and in demand. Fortunately, I am able to work with organizations and individuals literally around the world, from the comfort of my home in Dallas. EGBI is one of several nonprofits I have helped with their Google Ads accounts over the years.

How has your involvement with EGBI helped you grow professionally and personally?

The time that I spend is personally gratifying because Monica is such a joy to work with. She sees the potential for the work we are doing and is excited whenever she makes progress or sees a new opportunity. For me professionally, I have grown by learning the ever-changing nuances of the Google Ad Grant program and how it differs from the advertising normally used by paying customers of Google Ads.

Want to get involved ? Contact us to find out how you can volunteer or donate.