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2020 Southwest Regional Council Representatives Spotlight

By Amira Ansari posted 11-17-2020 14:21


                                                                                                            SOUTHWEST REGION

@Naomi Ayala
USBG Southwest Regional Council Chair

Professional Stats & Vitals: For the past 16 years, I have built my career in the hospitality and spirits industries. I have worked behind the bar in fine dining restaurants to dive bars to sea-side crab shacks, and beyond the bar to work with craft and major suppliers. I have served in various leadership roles and as Chairman of the Board for the Dallas United States Bartenders’ Guild since January 2018. I am especially proud of our chapter being recognized as the 2018-2019 USBG Chapter of the Year for our efforts in education, service, fundraising, membership, and health and wellness programming. I am also active in the non-profit sector, serving on the boards of service organizations, sitting on fundraising committees for no-kill animal shelters, and writing grants to fund community service projects benefitting survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence and human trafficking, as well as veterans, women and children experiencing homelessness.

What inspires you to be a Regional Council Representative? My vision is to grow our regional USBG chapters to enhance the professional bartending careers and quality of life for our members. It has been an honor to serve on the local board, and I would like to use this role to share my knowledge and experiences with other leaders in the Guild.


@Raul Faria
USBG Southwest Regional Council Representative

Professional Stats & Vitals: I have been a bartender for over 15 years in a variety of venues form casual, fine dining to night life and craft before I moved over to the supplier side for the last 6 years. I have also been in Chapter leadership for the last 6 and have been a member of the Las Vegas Chapter for the last nine. I have served as Vice Chair of the NCC, Regional Council representative and now also chair of our National Health & Wellness Committee.

What inspires you to be a Regional Council Representative? I love our industry and truly appreciate the privilege of serving in USBG chapter leadership to help guide the programming to bring creative and diverse opportunities to our members. My current goal is to get more health & wellness centered activities and seminars worked into our educational opportunities and to increase communication and sharing of best practices among chapters in each region. 


@Alexander Larrea
USBG Southwest Regional Council Vice Chair

Professional Stats & Vitals: Outside of my USBG volunteer work, I am happily employed as the Beverage Director over a couple of music/entertainment/rental venues - as well as a small, rowdy cocktail bar in Oklahoma City. I'm very fortunate to have a job wherein a majority of my skill sets have a nearly complete overlap with my USBG responsibilities. Over the past year I have focused my time on honing my marketing and digital design skills. In addition to our normal educational and philanthropic programming I have successfully launched several programs/benefits for COVID-19 relief for both the hospitality industry as well as the music industry. I am constantly striving to develop new programming to benefit my community and elevate Oklahoma City’s bar community to a national level. Thanks to my elected role I was able to expand my network and use my skills to assist in the growth of the entire SW region and I would love to continue serving on the regional board for an additional term.

What inspires you to be a Regional Council Representative? I was incredibly honored by the opportunity to serve in the first year of the regional council’s operation alongside my incredible Southwest Board teammates, @Raul Faria and @Tracy Gomez .  My time in leadership for the USBG has been extremely rewarding, as I'm sure it has been for many of you reading this. I often find myself daydreaming about the "bigger picture" while attempting to retain focus on the needs of my local community. 

In addition to ongoing projects, it goes without saying that the new landscape of the industry has introduced a series of extremely unique challenges for 2020. In response to these challenges, I'd like to use my experience in fundraising and fund allocation efforts within my local chapter to further advance and connect efforts across the region. In our most successful program this Spring so far, we have served 1200 hospitality professionals in OKC and Tulsa (a city who doesn't have a chapter, yet!) with "Shift Meal Kits" (servings of 4-6 meals). We have been able to use that application process to recruit new volunteers and build our communication network.