A man in a navy suit, white shirt and red tie holds his award

Jim Roberts (MBA ’96), president of a joint venture between Jim Roberts Enterprises LLC and Centennial Securities Company

Graduates of the Broad College of Business MBA and EMBA programs were well represented at West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s annual gala and awards ceremony, where Jim Roberts’ (MBA ’96) company Jim Roberts Enterprises LLC was selected as Hispanic Business of the Year and Milinda Ysasi (EMBA ’19) was selected as Hispanic Business Person of the Year.

The West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is “dedicated to working with all members of the community to increase the economic advancement of Hispanic-owned businesses and to assist the professional growth of Hispanic business leaders in West Michigan,” according to its website.

“Receiving the award for Hispanic Business Person of the Year recognizes the work I have done to build community in West Michigan,” Ysasi said. “I have learned that being in business can be about doing good and making it good business. This award is a recognition of work I have done with many different partners to support a people-first economy in our region.”

Ysasi is currently the executive director at the SOURCE, a not-for-profit employee support organization that seeks to help employees keep their jobs, receive training to enhance their employment and move into better positions within or across companies, according to its website.

Helping others recognize their greatest level of leadership is what motivates Ysasi in her daily work, she said. “I like to connect the dots and people to one another for job opportunities and to grow their own social capital.”

In her four years at the SOURCE, the organization has opened an on-site career development center with Mercy Health St. Mary’s and has been able to add nine new member companies to its portfolio.

Milinda Ysasi in a black shirt and long silver necklace stands on a beautiful city street and smiles at the camera

Milinda Ysasi, executive director at the Source

A recent graduate of the Broad College’s EMBA program, Ysasi credits the program with helping her continue a successful career. “During the program, we often engaged in 360 feedback and always faced conflict in a positive way. This led me in my work to focus on how I can create new or different value to my team, my clients and the overall community,” she said.

Roberts, whose company received this year’s Hispanic Business of the Year award, said, “It’s nice to know that hard work is noticed, and I’m hopeful it will inspire others to pay it forward as well.”

He also noted that the Broad College’s MBA program has proved immensely helpful in the continual growth of his business. “I use so much of what I learned in the program every day,” he said. “The things I appreciate the most from the program are leadership, communication, strategy, finance and the ability to blend these components together to help problem solve.”

Jim Roberts Enterprises LLC offers its clients a wide range of consulting services to help reach individual and company goals, utilizing the company’s expert knowledge and experience in business management while providing personal attention to detail. In the past five years, the company’s revenue growth was 87.6%, an annualized rate of growth of 17.5%, and its equity value has grown by 2,183% over the past 13 years.

In order to continually grow a business, as well as remain successful in the market, Roberts said, “Be willing to be adaptive and receptive to the concept of continuous education.”