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DreamWeek 2023 Panel Series: Business- Immigrants and Economic Development: Workforce and Small Business

DreamWeek 2023 Panel Series: Business- Immigrants and Economic Development: Workforce and Small BusinessConversations related to important topics that impact our community26jan6:00 pm8:30 pm 0 Add to DreamList

Event Details

The DreamPanel Series brings together speakers with the goal to further conversations related to important topics that impact our community.

The panel will explore how immigrants contribute to economic development in San Antonio through both workforce development / training programs and through small businesses growth. Challenges and opportunities will be discussed including crowdfunded microlending platforms, workforce training in immigrants’ native languages, and employers accommodations to needs of their immigrant employees.


Nader Mehdawi, COO Culturingua – Moderator  

Nader Mehdawi is the Chief Operating Officer with Culturingua. Nader is born in Libya and lives in San Antonio, TX. Nader is leading Culturingua’s programs. Nader has more than eight years of experience in the Civil Engineering industry which includes planning, supervising, and managing residential, commercial, retail, and federal projects. Nader has a Master of Science degree (M.S.) in Geotechnical and Structural Engineering and a Graduate Certificate in Engineering Management from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida.


  • Mayra Montero, Immigration Liaison, City of San Antonio
  • Mayra Montero is the Immigration Liaison for the City of San Antonio where she connects across various City departments and immigrant-serving organizations to support San Antonio’s immigrant community. Prior to joining the City of San Antonio, Mayra worked at the American Bar Association ProBAR, which provides high-quality legal education and representation to immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley border region, and at Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo in youth development. Mayra has a Bachelor Degree focused in Business and Spanish from Kalamazoo College.


  • Leilah Powell, Executive Director, LISC San Antonio
  • A native San Antonian, Leilah has worked in many areas of the community development sector in San Antonio—for financial institutions such as Bank of America; non-profit organizations such as the San Antonio Housing Trust and the Brackenridge Park Conservancy; as a consultant for clients including the San Antonio River Authority, Bexar County and Trinity University; and for municipal and county government, including serving as Chief of Policy for two mayors. She has also served on numerous boards, including the American Institute of Architects (AIA) San Antonio, the San Antonio Section of the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association and her neighborhood association. She holds a master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas School of Architecture and a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University.


  • Essa Yousafzai, Owner, Afghan Village: Restaurant and Halal Afghan Market
  • Essa was born in Afghanistan before immigrating to the United States. He is a multilingual professional with experience in disaster recovery, job development, finance and management. He is the owner of Afghan Village Restaurant and Halal Market on Fredericksburg Road in San Antonio. Essa has a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Houston and a Maser of Science in Finance from INCEIF University in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


  • Lilia Arriaga, Owner- Lilia’s Originals
  • Lilia is originally from Mexico and recently started her embroidery business. She has years of experience in making unique crafts and is currently looking to expand her business endeavors.


  • Ricardo Compuzano, Owner, Manos Magicas





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January 26, 2023 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Radius Center

106 Auditorium Cir #120, San Antonio, TX 78205

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