Snythia Jaramillo

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

After nearly four years leading Albuquerque’s economic development efforts, Synthia Jaramillo has accepted a national position with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“The opportunity to work directly with Hispanic business enterprises on a national scale is really exciting,” Jaramillo told the Journal.

Jaramillo began her new role as senior vice president of corporate relations for the national Hispanic chamber this week, after leaving as Albuquerque’s economic development director.

Jaramillo, who worked for the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce before taking the city job, said she’s maintained a close relationship with the national chamber for much of her career, and the opportunity to help businesses grow on a national level appealed to her.

“I’m going to be doing what I was doing locally, but on a national scale, and that’s really what excited me initially,” Jaramillo said.

Jaramillo, the first Latina to serve as director of the city’s economic development department, was appointed by Mayor Tim Keller in 2017.

Prior to her appointment, Jaramillo said the city had been engaged in traditional business recruitment and retention efforts. However, she said she felt the city’s ability to work with small businesses, particularly those from minority communities, was lacking.

“In all honesty, they just weren’t a priority before,” Jaramillo said.

With Jaramillo in charge, the city opened a small business office and established its Albuquerque Minority Business Development Agency Business Center using a grant from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Jaramillo said the aspect of her tenure she was most proud of was helping to build a more diverse department that looked more like the community it served.

“Just the fact that we were able to create a department that’s reflective of Albuquerque’s community … that was huge for me and for (Keller),” Jaramillo said.

Damian Lara, the department’s deputy director, has been named interim director.

While keeping an Albuquerque home, Jaramillo plans to eventually relocate to Washington, D.C.