Diversity Woman Magazine

FALL 2014

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: https://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/385684

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Page 26 of 71

We Mean Business > d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m Fa l l 2 0 1 4 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 25 By Katr ina Brown Hunt P ilar Montoya has built a career out of making plans—but not let- ting plans make her. "I used to be the type who would plan everything out," says the former CEO of the Society of Hispanic Professional Cruising to Success Engineers (SHPE), who was born in Co- lombia and moved to the United States with her mother when she was fve years old. "I wanted to be one of those Hispanic moguls who owns a lot of TV stations," she says. "Ten I realized that sometimes life puts before you a path you had not considered—and a greater one than you would have imagined." Indeed, after Montoya realized she didn't want to move as much as a broad- casting career would require, she started her own marketing frm, geared in part toward helping companies connect with the Hispanic audience. Following a few more twists and turns, she took the helm of SHPE in 2009 and helped that organi- zation shift from an all-volunteer model to one with a bigger budget, a paid staf, and more ambitious goals. With more than 340 chapters across the United States, the group reaches out to Hispanic students to get them excited about STEM careers and then mentors them through the process. In May of this year, Montoya began a new chapter in her career, becoming the president and CEO of the Caminos Foun- dation, a nonproft organization devoted to even broader outreach in the Latino community: helping students develop a range of career, fnancial, and healthy life skills. "Each of us has the capacity to ful- fll our potential, have a rewarding career, loving relationships, and a healthy life," says Montoya. "Caminos Foundation was created to serve as a conduit for many to remove the obstacles in their way and create the life they deserve." Diversity Woman recently spoke with Montoya about crossing industry lines and getting Latino girls excited about sci- ence and math. DW: How were you able to cross over from broadcasting and marketing to working with engineers? Pilar Montoya: When I owned my con- sulting frm, I started working with a lot of large engineering frms. Tey would be doing a federally funded project in a community and they would get it almost to construction, and then someone in the community would protest, and the project would get derailed. Te frms got smart and realized that, in order to build Engineering Diversity CEO Woman Pilar Montoya is helping to inspire and mobilize the next generation of American engineers.

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