Chief Executive Officer
Patricia Mota is an innovative trailblazer, startup entrepreneur, 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 American workplace by cultivating the pipeline of Latinx/a/os 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 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. Approximately 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 turn around 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.
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. Patricia addressed employee engagement with virtual cafecito, encouraging friendly and courageous conversations, and helping her staff stay relaxed and healthy.
Her transition to CEO was not far from all of the transitions Patricia made throughout her life and career, but her strength as a change agent can be attributed to voracious learning and an upbringing with supportive parents that created a path of understanding for her and her siblings. Her path to CEO was not a straight line. She started her career at HACE as the Director of Membership Outreach and as the Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives, but her journey to CEO was one that started with entrepreneurship, as the Co-founder of a non-profit, as a coordinator supporting community affairs for city government, a corporate energy marketer, and as staff and faculty in higher education. By building a new business from scratch, she picked up essential management skills, such as running a P&L, managing a budget and setting a strategic vision.
As a visionary, Patricia surrounds herself with bright minds and good people. She values her colleagues and creates a space for all of them to feel a true sense of belonging. Having experienced adversity early in her life and career, Patricia has made it her mission to close the education and career gaps that perpetuate barriers to diversity, inclusion and belonging. Her vision aligns with that of HACE, to see a world where Latinx/a/os reach their full potential for themselves and their communities and she is in the best position to build the right organization around that vision.
Patricia has an amiable and disarming energy, she is a natural, but passionate advocate for the Latinx/a/os community and the change that will garner access to education, meaningful jobs, and advancement. Patricia continues to serve her community, through her participation on nonprofit boards and committees, most recently serving as a board member on the Chicago Theological Seminary Board of Trustees since 2020, the Illinois Treasurer’s Charitable Trust Board Member, since 2021, the Illinois Treasurer Latino Advisory Council and the Indiana University Latino Alumni Association Board. Patricia was also 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.
Early this year, in January of 2021, Patricia added Co-Founder to her list of accolades, collaborating to build FARO, 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 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. Patricia is also a certified coach and Insights Discovery© licensed practitioner, and a proud Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow. Patricia empowers her colleagues to lead at the intersection of identity, equity, and unity by embracing their intersectional identity, challenging them to consider diversity of thought and to create a space to continuously support one another in the shared mission to make a difference in the lives we touch.