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About LFA

The Latino Franchise Association is a Non For Profit (501c6) trade association in the franchise industry that convenes Franchisors, Franchisees, Suppliers, Entrepreneurs, Elected/Appointed Officials, and the community at large to ‚Äúpromote, support and expand franchising in the Latino community.‚ÄĚ The full-scale promotion and expansion of the franchise model in the Latino community represents one of the most important strategies for social and economic inclusion and equity.¬† Fully implemented, the Franchise Model can create intergenerational wealth and battle the impact of poverty.¬† Aligned with this vision, the goal of the Latino Franchise Association is to promote, support and expand franchising in the Latino community. More specifically the Latino Franchise Association aims to: Increase Latino franchise brand ownership (Franchisors), increase Latino franchise unit ownership (Franchisees) and increase Latino investment in the franchise industry.¬†

MISSION

To Promote, Support and Expand Franchising in the Latino Community.

VISION

Become the ‚ÄúGo to‚ÄĚ Place for Everything Franchising in the Latino Community.

VALUES

Ownership, Partnerships  Collaboration, Engagement,  Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Respect & Honesty and transparency

About Our Founder

Rafael Alvarez, Latino Franchise Association CEO and Founder, is a veteran in the franchise industry with over 35 years of business & franchise experience. He stablished the first Latino-owned franchise in the tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll industry with $200, 2 computers and a fax machine in 2007.  He received the Ronald E. Harrison Award from the International Franchise Association in 2015 for his outstanding work creating diversity in the franchise industry by helping Latinos and minorities to franchise their businesses.

Organizations or individuals who make significant contributions to minorities in franchising and diversity initiatives are recognized annually with a Ronald E. Harrison award from the International Franchise Association (IFA).

OUR TEAM

Rafael Alvarez

CEO & Founder

Rafael Alvarez is the CEO and Founder of the Latino Franchise Association and Latinx Franchise Brands, Inc. In 1986 Mr. Alvarez founded  ATAX Franchise “The first Latino owned Tax Preparation Franchise in the US '' with $200, two computers and a fax machine. He is the Host of the Mister Franquicias and the LFA "Franquiciando" Podcasts. He has a Bachelor degree in Computer Science and a minor in Accounting from the City University of New York and is an Alumni of the Latino Business Action Network Program at Stanford University Business Graduate School.  He is a philanthropist and an active member of his community.  Alvarez helped organize the 2007 Dominican parade in New York City and was the Grand Mariscal. He also served as a board member of the Ethics Committee at the New York Presbyterian Hospital,  the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, Returning Youth Post Incarcerated young Adults  and he is the treasurer of the Guardian Angels Alliance. 
Rafael Alvarez has been widely applauded for his efforts, earning several distinguished honors from former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, The Red Beret Award from Curtis Sliwa & The Guardian Angels, El Award from NYC El Diario La Prensa, USA Today’s Top 50 Franchises for Minority, Franchise Business Review Best of the Best Franchises and The International Franchise Association 2015 Ronald E Harrison Diversity Award.

Moises Perez

President & Co-Founder

Moisés has a vast and celebrated experience in creating model community-based interventions and working through community and legislative processes to build support for critical initiatives. His work in the political arena led to the empowerment of the Dominican/Latino community in northern Manhattan. Dominican/Latino elected officials now lead the Latino legislative corps in the City of New York. As a Community Leader and coalition builder his legislative work across numerous disciplines achieved significant policy changes for all New Yorkers.

Moisés served as founder, co-founder, or member of the initial development team of numerous iconic community-based organizations in NYC such as City-as-School, The Center for Organizational Development at Community Service Society, Alianza Dominicana, and most recently, SOMOS Community Care. As a result of his work, these organizations have been able to make significant system transformations and strides in addressing racial and ethnic disparities head on, as evidenced in marked improvements in social conditions and opportunities.

Moisés has received numerous awards, including the Points of Light Foundation award under President George H. Bush, The Ellis Island Medal of Honor, The Distinguished Alumnus Medal of Honor from Brooklyn College-City University of New York, The Hispanic Federation, The Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and the Presidential Medal of Honor from the Dominican Republic where he was born.

Elani Alvarez

Comptroller

Elani Alvarez has a bachelor's degree in Accounting and Finance from the State University of New York at Cortland, NY, and spent a year studying abroad in Europe in the beautiful city of Madrid, Spain.  At age 15 she started getting educated in the franchise industry by participating in many franchise conference, Expos and Conventions. Her most memorable Convention is the 2015 IFA Annual Convention in which her father received the Ronald E. Harrison Award in Las Vegas, Nevada. After returning from Europe in 2018 Elani decided to take a gigger role at the ATAX Franchise Headquarters by taking the position of HR & Payroll Director at the same time assisting franchisees in the onboarding process.  Later, Elani became the ATAX Franchise Comptroller under the supervision of the Chief Financial Officer Barry Knepper responsible to mage Account Payable and Account Receivable and the franchise Royalty Collection.  She implemented new systems and procedures to collect franchise royalties, tracked franchisees income and stablished an auditing franchise system. Elani is an athlete, a great speaker, is "La Jefa" the way she is called in the office, has a genuine interest in helping other Latinas to get involved the franchise industry and continue contributing to her Latino Community .

Richard Santos

CTO, CMO & Co- Founder

Richard is the Founder of Santisweb, a web, mobile and digital marketing development company, which for the past 15 years has supported hundreds of entrepreneurs, businesspersons and professionals to create a profitable online business. He also was the Director of Marketing and Technology for the first Latino tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll franchise in the United States. Created the marketing strategy to position the brand nationally (United States), implemented and monitored digital marketing campaigns for 50+ offices.

Founded and co-founded several companies in the area of marketing, technology, training and personal growth, helping thousands of entrepreneurs in the Latino community, in the United States and in Latin America.

He is the creator of the International podcast, Yo Emprendo al Máximo, where he shares all his experiences in entrepreneurship, business, digital marketing, sales and personal growth with thousands of entrepreneurs. Richard has a Bachelor's degree in Application Software Development & Associates Degree in Information Systems from Morrisville State College, New York (SUNY).

Kiani Alvarez

Vice President of Marketing

Kiani Alvarez graduated with a bachelor's degree in Marketing and Communications from the State University of New York at Cortland, NY and spent a year studying Europe in the beautiful City of Sevilla, Spain. At age 15 she started getting educated in the franchise industry by participating in many franchise conference, Expos and Conventions. Her most memorable Convention is the 2015 IFA Annual Convention in which her father received the Ronald E. Harrison Award in Las Vegas, Nevada. After returning from Europe in 2018 Kiani decided to take a gigger role at the ATAX Franchise Headquarters by taking the position of Marketing Assistant working under the supervision of the Chief Marketing Officer, Richard Santos. Having a tremendous passion for Marketing and Public Relations she was able to implement a lot of new marketing & PR strategies that helped a significant number of Franchisees positioning their franchise location on the top ranking in Google, Facebook & Instagram.  Her professional abilities in graphic designing, Video Editing and Press Releases writing helped ATAX Franchise positioning as one of the fastest growing franchise in the nation.  Kiani continues teaching other about Marketing and is the brain behind all the events at the Latino Franchise Association.  She is in the process of writing her first book which will be release soon.

Barry Knepper

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Knepper is a senior financial executive with over forty years of experience. Including franchise financial statement and royalty auditing for over 100 franchise concepts. He
has served as the CFO of franchisors Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips, Pudgies Famous Chicken, Wall Street Deli, Desert Moon Fresh Mexican, BurritoVille, ATAX, andHoneyDo.


Mr. Knepper personally obtained approval for the first ever industrial development bond
issued by the City of Los Angeles and also initiated the recovery of over one million dollars of federal, state and local tax credits. He has also arranged over $100 million in financing with banks and leasing companies to facilitate acquisitions and internal growth as the CFO of a publicly traded corporation. He also is a member of the Board of Directors of Coffee Holdings Company and chairman of its audit committee.

IVAN JIMENEZ

VP of Finance

Mr. Jimenez is a seasoned Wall Street veteran who has worked at American Express, Lehman
Brothers, and Salomon Smith Barney, what is today Morgan Stanley, where he spent the bulk of his
career. Ivan is currently the Co-Founder and CFO for both Buskeros.com, as well as Evveland
Corporation, the Metaverse of Business. He is a frequent guest of NBC-Universal Telemundo, CNN
Espa√Īol and Univision in their personal finance segments. He has been a spokesperson for Mastercard,
Chase and Bank of America.
Throughout the years Mr. Jimenez has advised heads of state, municipalities, and numerous senior
level executives on successful strategic growth initiatives. Among them being the equity strategist for
the first Central American company to list on the American Exchange, a food company based in Costa
Rica. Ivan, also advised the first company to go from a back of the napkin idea, to the NYSE, while
breaking a monopoly in the Dominican Republic.
Mr. Jimenez is an alumni of the Rutgers University Leadership Fellowship Institute "LEUMI" where he
was the valedictorian. He conducted his undergraduate studies in Political Science and Economics as
member of the Lehman Scholars Program at Lehman College, CUNY. He is currently in pursuit of a Micro
Masters in Economic Development from MIT. In addition, Mr. Jimenez is an honorary admissions officer
of the United States Military Academy at West Point.
After God and Familia, he credits the inspiration derived from the cocktail of the melodic musical
prowess of the icons of Boleros, Rancheras, Bachata and Salsa for his grit throughout the moments that
seemed insurmountable. His favorite word is: Excelente!

THE UNITED STATES CHAPTERS

Reinaldo Pirela 

President

Latino Franchise Association of Florida

With over 25 years of experience in finance and accounting, I am a strategic leader dedicated to driving profitable growth and providing expert financial guidance across diverse industries. In my current role as Accounting Manager at 1 Key Insurance Solutions, I oversee daily accounting activities and manage the monthly closing process, ensuring the highest quality, reliability, and accuracy in financial statements and reports.

I possess a robust background in taxation, budgeting, forecasting, and financial analysis. My proven ability to collaborate with global and regional executives enables me to effectively plan, implement, and lead top-tier financial organizations. I utilize high-performance analytics, scalable processes, and advanced reporting tools to guide financial decision-making, create value, and enhance profitability. My commitment to excellence, innovation, and collaboration underpins all my professional endeavors.

Learn More about LFA Florida

Marina LaBaff 

President

Latino Franchise Association of New York

Marina LaBaff is a Costa Rican-American business woman. Most known for her franchise executive and real estate developer work. As the founder and current CEO of Monarch Boudoir Franchising, she has demonstrated exceptional leadership and strategic acumen in scaling and growing the business.

Marina is a multi-brand entrepreneur with a decade of experience in all aspects of startup & executive business scaling. She has a proven track record of identifying issues and creatively solving them through innovative models. She possesses a relentless drive for continuous learning, always seeking to expand her knowledge and stay ahead of industry trends. Marina has a keen eye for identifying and prototyping business and consumer needs to turn into scalable works: with one of her most notable projects a niche fintech product (proprietary to one of her franchising systems). Her entrepreneurial spirit is evident in her ability to build products from the ground up, leveraging bootstrap experience and creative grit while taking calculated risks.

Marina's expertise extends beyond the franchising industry. As a real estate investor, she has successfully developed and scaled commercial and residential properties, including a private island, business district waterfront revitalization projects, and multiple residential properties. Her deep knowledge of the real estate market, due diligence practices combined with her past New York State real estate license, allows her to create luxurious, flexible, and profitable real estate strategies for the Franchising system.

Marina's leadership skills are evident in her ability to collaborate effectively with professionals from various disciplines, including niche corporate lawyers, consultants, and franchise professionals, showcasing her deep knowledge and ability to guide all systems and processes.

 

Lear More About LFA New York

INTERNATIONAL CHAPTERS

Nathali Oliveira

President

Latino Franchise Association of Brazil


Nathali Oliveira is a veteran and a prominent figure in the franchise industry with more than 10 years of experience developing franchises that began in Brazil and later continue her franchise career in various countries in Europe, Center and North America including Canada and The United States.

Nathali¬†is the CEO &¬†Founder of the Bamb√ļ Brasil brand, a bikini and bathing sues retail stores in shopping centers.¬† Nathali has taken her creations to the main fashion shows in the United States, consolidating the brand's with an international presence. In addition, she was CEO of a fashion brand for more than 6 years and is a member of the Board of Directors of CAMEBRA (Mexico and Brazil Chamber of Commerce).

Nathali is also a professional  speaker at franchise events in cities such as New York and Florida, as well as in Central American countries, where she inspires and guides entrepreneurs with her vast experience and innovative vision.

Paulo Argollo

Vice President

Latino Franchise Association of Brazil

Paulo Argollo is a visionary entrepreneur who began his business path at the age of 18. With extensive experience in the area of ‚Äč‚Äčhealth and wellness, Paulo supervised teams of more than 100 people and coordinated and gave lectures at motivational, business management and entrepreneurship events for audiences of more than 1,000 participants.

He is the founder of Threenity, a franchise brand specializing in sunglasses, prescription glasses and watches, which stands out for its quality and innovation. In addition, he is a partner of the swimsuit brand Bambu Brasil, specialized in beach fashion and accessories with an international presence. His experience and leadership led him to establish business connections internationally, including Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and the United States.

Paulo is recognized for his ability to inspire and motivate, combining his management skills with a deep knowledge of the market. His career is marked by a continued commitment to business growth and excellence.

Expand Your Opportunities By Becoming a Member of  The Latino Franchise Association (LFA) today.

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