Patricia is an innovative trailblazer, start-up entrepreneur, author, connector, public speaker, and compassionate leader with a particular strength that exemplifies the mission of the Hispanic Alliance of Career Enhancement (HACE) to positively impact the workforce by cultivating the pipeline of Latinx/a/o and underrepresented talent and providing insight, access, and support to their careers. Patricia serves as the President & CEO for HACE,
leading strategy, fundraising & development, leadership programs, and expanding organizational reach on a national and international scale. Patricia’s story of transition is one that is representative of many of the stories of those positively impacted by programs and opportunities through HACE. When she was asked to step in as the interim CEO in 2014, her mission was clear: maintain the programs, lead by example, and create a new path for the future CEO. She built the strategic plan and deployed it that same year. Less than 1 year after accepting the interim CEO opportunity, she was the likely choice as she identified with the members, learned from colleagues, was creative at turnaround and assumed the role as CEO. In her first year, she grew new partnerships by $1.5M, increased membership by 67%, expanded the Mujeres de HACE women’s leadership program from one to eight
cities, broadened the spectrum of the El Futuro High School program, and kickstarted a pilot of the HACE Leadership Academy – Nonprofit Series, impacting the lives of over 25,000 students and professionals. Today, the budget has quadrupled, membership has tripled to nearly 100k, with an expanded reach across 35 states and 7 countries, and enhanced leadership programming to include senior leaders, entrepreneurs, and multicultural participation. Patricia remains fixed on member needs, revenue turnaround and growth, all the while focusing internally on a staff that had to shift to a remote-only workplace during one of the highest growth years since the inception of HACE. The year 2020 saw her leadership take a front seat to increasing activity around a newly virtual workforce, where she acted with urgency, communicated with transparency, sought diverse opinions from her team and board and led with empathy, ultimately leading a thriving organization during such a tumultuous time.
In 2021, Patricia added Co-Founder to her list of accolades, collaborating to build SHENIXTM, a FinTech startup that is leading the development of a financial tool to help close the wealth gap by providing culturally relevant financial education, career development tools, and resources to the underserved, the underbanked or unbanked, starting with Latinas.
Patricia has a strong history of serving in capacities that garner access to education, meaningful jobs, and advancement, also reflected by her service on various boards and accolades; serving on the Associated Colleges of Illinois, Indiana University’s O’Neil School of Public Affairs Distinguished Alumni Council, Chicago Theological Seminary Board of
Trustee, Illinois Treasurer Charitable Trust Board and most recently awarded the SHERO award by the Center for Asian Pacific American Women (CAPAW) in 2021, the Nonprofit HR Top Leaders to Watch in 2020, and Crain’s Chicago Business Top 20 Most Powerful Latinos in Chicago in 2019. Patricia earned a double Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University-Bloomington in Spanish and Communication & Culture and a Master’s in Public Affairs (MPA) in Public Management from Indiana University’s School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA)-Indianapolis, along with executive leadership certificates from both Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. Patricia is also a certified coach and Insights Discovery© licensed practitioner, and a proud 2022 World Economic Forum Delegate, 2019 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow and Aspen Institute Festival of Ideas Scholar.
Patricia is a proud Mexican-American, Latina, daughter of immigrants and first-generation college student. She is a fitness enthusiast, health and lifestyle aficionado. She grew up in East Chicago, Indiana, and currently resides in Chicago.