Peter Guzman on Generational Influence

Hosted By
Alana Muller
Alana Muller

CEO & Founder
Coffee Lunch Coffee

Podcast Guest
Peter Guzman headshot
Peter Guzman

Latin Chamber of Commerce Nevada

Episode Summary

Peter Guzman, President of the Latin Chamber of Commerce of Nevada, joins host Alana Muller to share how mentoring and learning from younger generations has impacted his professional journey. “I believe in absolute mentorship. I believe that we actually can learn something from every contact we come into. Even if it's a younger person, or someone you think is less educated than you, there is something to be learned.”


Alana Muller:    Welcome to, a podcast from Enterprise Bank & Trust that's empowering business leaders one conversation at a time. We'll hear from different business leaders about how they've found success in cultivating their professional networks and keeping them healthy and strong. I'm your host, Alana Muller, an entrepreneurial executive leader whose primary focus is to connect, inspire, and empower community. We, at Enterprise Bank & Trust, thank you for tuning into another episode.

Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Podcast. Today, I'm delighted to be joined by the fabulous Peter Guzman. Peter, welcome to

Peter Guzman:    Thank you so much. I don't know if I've ever heard the word fabulous associated with my name.

Alana Muller:    Well, you know what? You're the president of the Latin Chamber of Commerce of Nevada, the most powerful chamber in the state, with over 45 years of community work and business representation. I think that's fabulous. I definitely think that's fabulous, right?

Peter Guzman:    When put that way, I agree with you.

Alana Muller: Good, good, good. You are also, I know, the founding principle of The Opa Group and an accomplished real estate investor, developer and broker. Would you start by telling our listeners a little bit about The Opa Group?

Peter Guzman:    Yeah, The Opa Group, wow. I've been in real estate a long time. In doing so, I remember talking to a dear friend and mentor of mine named Sig Rogich, a well known figure in the political world, worked for three presidents and all that. Anyway, he's been a mentor of mine. One day he told me, he said, "Peter, you're putting a lot of people together, not only through your real estate deals, but you're also, from there, putting people together." I started getting a lot of requests for those meetings. He said, "There's a business model to that. You should turn that into a business," and literally, Opa was created. It took off simultaneously as my real estate career took off. They worked hand in hand together and I'm very grateful for that.

Alana Muller:    Once again, you're pointing to the power of connection. We do similar work. We're trying to connect people and make good out of it, right?

Peter Guzman:    Yeah. I firmly believe that success is, at least in my world, I'll talk about my life experience, success is all about relationships, it's all about those connections.

Alana Muller:    Yeah, 100%, 100%. Speaking of that, between your work for The Opa Group and the Latin Chamber of Commerce, you have a vast relationship base. How do you manage your time to accommodate your various responsibilities?

Peter Guzman:    Well, listen, it's not easy. I will say that something's got to give, sometimes some hits get taken, but overall, if you look at the whole picture, it all goes back to relationships. The success of my real estate career, my Opa company, or my success as president of the chamber has all been based on the relationships. I brought a lot of those relationships from my private sector success into my chamber success and everybody wins, because these folks, the chamber is able to help them, Opa was able to help them, so it falls hand in hand.

Managing that can sound difficult, but at the end of the day, what I would say is if you stay true and honest to your promises, you will win, you will have success. What does that really mean? It means don't over promise, don't over promise what you can't deliver. That's how I manage it, I manage it by delivering what I say I'm going to deliver.

Alana Muller:    Mm-hm, I love that. Well, how did you first get involved with the chamber?

Peter Guzman:    Well, actually, I met the founder of the Latin Chamber of Commerce. His name is Otto Mérida, he literally is the founder. I, by chance, met him at 16 years old because the girl I was dating, her summer job was working at this Latin Chamber of Commerce.

Alana Muller:    Oh, I love that.

Peter Guzman:    I dropped her off there one day and met this man named Otto. Today, she's my wife of 33 years and I love her to death. There are no coincidences. I mean, I firmly believe there's no coincidences in life. I met this man, that stayed with me. Then later on, when I got into real estate, when I found that my passion was going to be deal making in real estate, I just thought, "Hey, I should join the chamber. It could increase my business." Boy, did it, it really did.

From there, I became a volunteer board member, volunteer treasurer. Throughout 20 plus years, I just was involved in the chamber. Then, six years ago, Otto started telling me that he was getting tired. He had been president for 40 plus years.

Alana Muller:    Wow.

Peter Guzman:    And asked me if I had any interest.

Alana Muller:    How could you turn that one down, right?

Peter Guzman:    That intrigued me. I was about to become an “empty nester,” my daughter was going off to college and I knew I was going to have some free time and was worried about that because I'm very, very involved in my kids' life, both me and my wife are. This seemed to be the perfect timing. Again, no coincidences in life. I went ahead and jumped in, jumped in and did it.

Alana Muller:    That is a fabulous story. Well, one of the things that I had wanted to ask you is how do you make connections mutually beneficial? How do you give back and show mutual appreciation? You're kind of describing that already. Do you have a particular tactic or approach that you take to make sure that, as you said, relationships really drive everything?

Peter Guzman:    Yeah. Again, I like to talk about my life experiences and some of it will sound corny to some, I'm just giving it to you how it is. It's as simple as this, I ask people, "How can I help you?"

Alana Muller:    Yeah.

Peter Guzman:    My staff at the chamber, we don't ask anything else. We don't ask whether you're Hispanic, not Hispanic, white, Black, gay, straight. We ask how can we help you, and then we deliver. That is how I live my life. That's how I lived it in my real estate world, my Opa group world, and now it's chamber world. I ask, "How can I help you?" When you tell me what your needs are, I'm going to strategize on how to get you there.

Alana Muller:    I have to say that I don't think there's anything cheesy or corny about that at all. To me, that was a life changing question in my life, where five people who I asked to visit with me about some major career changes that I was planning to make, that they all five asked me the same questions. Some thought I was making good choices, some thought I was making less good choices, but they all said, "What can I do to help?" It was a life changing question. I admire you for making that standard operating procedure in all the work that you do.

Peter Guzman:    Well, and I appreciate that. I appreciate you recognizing the importance of it. I will tell the audience members that there is some risk. There is some risk attached to that, which I thrive in, some don't, but you've got to think about it because when you asked a question, how can I help you, you need to be prepared to really deliver, or at the very least that person is owed honesty enough to say, "You know what? I may not be able to help you there."

Alana Muller:    Yeah, you got it.

Peter Guzman:    I don't ever say that. I literally thrive on the challenge of getting you exactly where you need to be.

Alana Muller:    Well, in some of our pre-conversations, I know that mentoring is a really important thing to you. You talked also about being super involved in your daughter's life. How do you bring that to fruition? Why are you so committed to mentoring and what actions have you taken to help advance young people, because I know that they're plentiful.

Peter Guzman:    Yeah. That's a question that has to be answered with various life experiences. Number one, I believe in mentorship, I believe in absolute mentorship. I believe that we actually can learn something from every contact we come into. Even if it's a younger person, you think a person that's less educated than you, whatever, there is something to be learned. The older I got, I grasped that more and the more success I had, ironically. I believe in mentorship. If you call me and you want to spend 15 minutes with me, I'm going to find a way to mentor you.

However, my greatest mentors in life, my greatest mentorship has happened organically, just by embracing the fact that I bump into somebody and I'm going to take the time to listen and I'm probably going to learn something. Organically, I met Sig Rogich. Organically, I told you, I met Otto Mérida, who's became a very important figure in my life. What I'm trying to get people to understand is don't discount those chance meetings that the majority of people think are just coincidences. No, again, not to sound too weird, there are actually energies and reasons that these things happen. They just are.

Alana Muller:    Yeah. It reminds me of the book, The Celestine Prophecy. I don't know if you remember that one, it's an old one, right?

Peter Guzman:    I absolutely do, yes.

Alana Muller:    Yeah, that there are no coincidences, that we have messages to share with one another, right?

Peter Guzman:    We have messages to share with one another is powerful, I love that. It's just a shame that, for whatever reason, sometimes we have to get older and learn that thing called wisdom before we embrace it. I'm telling young people, the sooner you embrace some of these things that I did not embrace, the quicker your success is going to come.

Alana Muller:    Do you find that you are seeking out young people? Are they seeking you out? Is it a combination? How do you connect with young people?

Peter Guzman:    Well, with the chamber it seems like I come across a lot more young people. I have young people working for me in the front lobby that are just incredible, that are teaching me and learning from me, I'm learning from them. I guess because of my work it's put me in front of younger people more often, but I don't know if it's actually seeking, it's just happening.

Alana Muller:    Yeah. Well, back to what you said, the organic notion or the organic nature of connecting with other people, so that makes perfect sense. Is there a particular bit of advice that you share? It doesn't matter, old, young, it doesn't matter, what do you share with other people who want to grow and cultivate their own professional networks?

Peter Guzman:    Well, I guess there's a few things, and I love sharing the things that I feel have been successful to me. Another mentor in real estate was a man named Lynn Wardley. He told me early on, when I say early on, I mean I was very hungry, I was broke, hungry and ready to go, he said, "Peter, do more listening than speaking." I'll tell you what, that, in real estate, was amazing, because really, when I would go on a listing appointment, the more I listened, I got all the reasons why they're selling their property and that helped me understand the transaction a lot better. I still, to this day, although some will say I talk too much and I probably do, I do a lot of listening, a lot of listening. All the answers are in the listening.

Alana Muller:    Yes, they are. Yes, they are. Well, and people tend to disclose information to you that you may not have even asked just by showing them that you're interested and concerned, right?

Peter Guzman:    Correct. The art of deal making, of doing deals and transactions in the business world, some of that key information is vital.

Alana Muller:    Yeah. Well, you talked about Lynn, you talked about Otto, you talked about Sig, is there another interaction that you had with anyone that resulted in a particular breakthrough for you, either personally or professionally?

Peter Guzman:    Well, listen, I consider myself a very, very lucky man. My first mentor, hero, most important person in my life, was my father. I know that that's a cliche for some to say. I'm telling you that I feel like I was born, my dad hugged me and never let go. It was seriously that much love and intensity and discipline. He was my hero and I learned so much from him, so many basic fundamental wisdoms that I did not listen to when I was young, but I hear them loudly now. Think about that. That's just life. I think about any of the successes that I've had in life, his voice is in the background with something that he told me that was vital. I'm a lucky guy. My hero was my father.

The other three gentlemen that I mentioned were definitely, but along the way, you meet people, key people that are important to your life for one reason or another. My wife has been the most important person in my adult life, the person that I've learned from and learned so many key fundamentals, like patience and working it out. Really, a lot of tools that you use in business, you use them in a marriage as well. I mean, listening, being patient, fighting through it, all those things.

Alana Muller:    Yeah. I think too frequently when it comes to business, people think that there needs to be this very specific designation between work and home. Frankly, as you're describing, there doesn't need to be. We just have one life. We have different facets and different components of our lives, but the people we surround ourselves with, we should be delighted to have them at home, at work, in the community, wherever, and you're describing that.

Peter Guzman:    If you're doing it right, that's exactly right. That's an important aspect to success, is the people that you're going to have around you. I remember when I was maybe a little too arrogant on a certain day for my dad, my dad said, "Son, if you truly believe you're the smartest guy in the room, you're in the damn wrong room."

Alana Muller:    Yeah.

Peter Guzman:    He was right, man, that was a wake up call for me. Why do I want to be the smartest person in the room? I mean, if I am, I'm in the wrong room.

Alana Muller:    Yeah, not going to learn much that way, right?

Peter Guzman:    Exactly. You want to be constantly learning, growing, absorbing, and becoming a better person, man. I'm on a different journey, I've always felt like I was on a different journey. I want success, but success is defined differently for everybody. Now, don't get me wrong, this sometimes can be a little much, but I'm constantly trying to feed my soul. In order for me to feed my soul, I have to be helping others. There's days where you really should be satisfied, but you're not. That's me in a nutshell.

Alana Muller:    Yeah, that makes sense. I think it's actually a lovely way to think about things, where you can achieve success, financial success, monetary success, deal success, as you've described, but the thing that's really filling your bucket, filling you up, are those relationships and the people with whom you come in into contact.

Peter Guzman:    Alana, there's no question about it. I mean, I remember having that conversation with my son about a Range Rover and a car. I remember me telling him, "Listen, son, there's absolutely nothing wrong with aspiring to want to buy a Range Rover. Number one, I'm not buying it for you because you're going to be more satisfied when you're able to buy it for yourself. Number two, but I want to caution you, son. You're going to be very disappointed if you believe that the Range Rover is what's going to feed your soul. The Range Rover, you're going to feel good about reaching a certain plateau level that you chose to do, but feeding your soul is much more than a vehicle, much more than dollars in your bank account. It's much more than that." Now, as an adult, he gets that.

Alana Muller:    Yeah. I mean, sometimes we have these totems that help us to identify we've arrived or we've achieved some goal, but you're right, that can't be the end. That can't be the thing that we're only aspiring to.

Peter Guzman:    The new leather smells good only for a certain period of time. Again, I want him to aspire to have a Range Rover if that's what's important to him, I just want to make sure that he keeps ... I want all young people to realize that, because what'll happen is you'll achieve some of those things thinking that was going to bring you the happiness that you're searching for and it's not.

Alana Muller:    Correct.

Peter Guzman:    A material thing can never do that.

Alana Muller:    Yeah, that's exactly right. Well, you've met many, many people and so I can't wait to hear what the answer to this one is. Thinking of someone that you have not yet met, if you could get together with them for a cup of coffee, who would it be and why? I don't care if it's somebody fictional, non-fictional, living, no longer living, your choice. Who would you meet and why?

Peter Guzman:    Wow, that's a great question. Boy, there are quite a few people, I suppose, but if I had to say one person, it would be Ronald Reagan.

Alana Muller:    Is that right? Why?

Peter Guzman:    More now than ever, because in this position that I'm in now, fighting for immigration and a dignified way of handling immigrants that have made such great contributions, he actually did something very controversial, gave amnesty to like 600,000 Hispanics. Today if you did that, who knows what would happen. I would desperately like to have 15 minutes with that man and ask him what led him to want to do that and how much courage it took. Yeah, Ronald Reagan would be a guy that I would like to have 15 minutes with.

Alana Muller:    Very cool, love that answer. How about this, what's currently on your nightstand?

Peter Guzman:    Currently on my nightstand, there's a cool, I mean cool, frame. I'm going to sound weird because I'm not a techy guy, but I got this frame that's almost virtual. It's showing photos of my kids.

Alana Muller:    Love it.

Peter Guzman:    They get to download photos into it whenever they want. I'll get a new photo and it just plays. I think it's the coolest thing, man. It absolutely brings me to a happy place before I go to bed.

Alana Muller:    That's so fun. Do they tell you before they upload these new pictures or are they surprises?

Peter Guzman:    Most of the time, no.

Alana Muller:    Love it.

Peter Guzman:    Have you heard of that frame?

Alana Muller:    I have, I have. A friend of mine has one and I do think it's fun to just randomly upload some extras and see if they get noticed, so I think that's great.

Well, Peter, I have loved talking with you. I just love your energy, such a great perspective on life and relationships. Tell our listeners where they can go to learn more about you and the Latin Chamber of Commerce.

Peter Guzman:    They could go to our website, That's for Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce dot com, even though we're Nevada statewide. Listen, if somebody wanted to go find out a little more about me, you could always go to I don't promote it a whole lot, get embarrassed sometimes, but yeah,, you could find out more about me there as well. YouTube channels and just punch up Latin Chamber of Commerce and see the great work we've been doing for over 48 years now, actually. The last five, six years have been really strong.

Alana Muller:    Well, Peter Guzman, thank you so much for joining us on Podcast.

Peter Guzman:    Alana, I appreciate you going to chat with me. I'll do it anytime. I really like your demeanor.

Alana Muller:    Thank you.

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