Maria del Pilar Avila: executive director of the NAA

On a fall morning in 1999 a group of 45 businesspeople from across the US met together at the airport hotel in Dallas-Fort Worth and took what many people say is the final step in bringing Latinos to full equality. in the Great American Success Story.

These people brought to full fruition the New America Alliance (NAA), a longtime dream of Henry Cisneros and Raul Yzaguirre.

“Our goal is threefold,” said Moctesuma Esparza, an LA-based producer and NAA past board chair, “to create economic empowerment to the highest levels; to create opportunities for Latinos on Wall Street; and to create accrue for medium- and high-capital companies to grow.”

As if to show how high-powered their seriousness was, a few weeks later they brought on board as NAA’s first executive director Maria del Pilar Avila, one of the powerhouses of the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, where, as the vice president of marketing and events, she guided the marketing and communication initiatives, developed and maintained corporate relations, and through those relationships brought in annual corporate fundraising of more than $2 million, and planned and executed three yearly national meetings, including the Chamber’s Annual National Convention and Business Expo.

As executive director of NAA, Avila is responsible for implementing the vision of NAA’s board of directors and its leadership, which is focused on Latino leaders and their access to public equity and venture capital, access to the financial industry, public and private, inclusion of Latinos on corporate and pension fund boards, and investments in higher education for Latinos studying business or finance.

Avila has been very successful in giving the NAA’s national market a favorable position among entrepreneurial and non-profit circles, the government, and corporate America, while at the same time promoting and running the various program that fulfil the Alliance’s mission. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business and Hospitality Management from the University of Central Florida and is a member of the Marathon Club, the National Latino Jewish Leadership Council and the American Society of Association Executives.

LEADING THE WAY

[check] Personal leadership style: Modest / Dashing

Decision-making: [check] Be prepared / Go with your gut

[check] Success: Hard Work / Confident

HARD TIMES

Facing the economic downturn Nervous / Confident [check]

[check] Services: Diversify /Stiick to what you know best

MANAGING

Decision-making: Alone / Group [check]

Office relationships: [check] Friendly / Strictly Business

Promotion: Qualifications / hands-on experience [check]

Staff evaluation: [check] Multi-dimensional / bottomline

Second problem employee: [check] Second chance / Dismiss

Conflict management: Confrontational / [check] non-confrontational

EXPRESS YOURSELF

Talking to people: [check] Telephone / E-mail

Discussion: One-on-one / Group meeting [check]

New policy: Word of mouth / Memo [check]

Which comes first?: Good news / Bad news [check]

Bright idea: Take the plunge / Slowly but surely [check]

THE BUCK STOPS HERE

Corporate change: Fight the system/Work within it [check]

Mission Statement: [check] Tough / Achievable

Dealing with failure: [check] Learning experiences / Irreparable damage

MY STYLE

Desk organization: [check] Neat / Creative mess

Creative thinking: At work / Down time [check]

COPYRIGHT 2004 Ferraez Publications of America Corp.

COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group