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Aída Álvarez On Blazing a Trail To The Boardroom

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Presidential cabinet administrator, award-winning investigative journalist, news anchor, investment banker, public servant, commissioner, and corporate board director are only a few of the titles Aída Álvarez has held over the course of her illustrious career. But for the Harvard cum laude graduate, this is only the beginning.
“I’ve always believed that no matter what your job description says, it is up to you to actually invent the job,” says Álvarez. A quick look at some of the roles she has held, and one can see that this idea of striving for excellence and creating your own job description is integral to her work ethic.
She began her career as an investigative journalist, later becoming a news anchor in New York City. In 1982, Álvarez was nominated for an Emmy Award and won the Associated Press Award for Excellence for her work reporting on guerrilla activity in El Salvador.
From there, she took on a series of roles pertaining to finance, both in the public and private sector: from investment banker at Bear Stearns to director of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight.
Álvarez then blazed a political trail, becoming the first Latina to serve as an executive officer in the US Cabinet. She was appointed Administrator of the Small Business Administration in 1997 by President Clinton.
Currently, she spends a good deal of time in the boardroom. Álvarez serves on the board of Walmart, the largest retailer in the world. And in February of 2016, Álvarez was asked to serve on the board of HP Inc., the company that formed last year when Hewlett Packard split into two companies.
Upon Álvarez’s recent appointment to the board of directors of HP Inc., CEO Meg Whitman said, “Aída is a tremendously talented individual with unmatched experience spanning both public and private sectors.”
In addition to developing a deep understanding of small and large businesses, Álvarez’s time in Washington helped her to learn how to broker deals and create compromise.
“Washington is pretty complex. There are so many different constituencies and interest groups trying to get your attention,” explains Álvarez. “Part of it is gamesmanship. You need to be able to kind of cut through that, and do it respectfully, while not letting ….
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