2019 TOP 20 CEOS AND ENTREPRENUERS AWARDS
BEATRICE GONZALES GARZA
A Former CEO and President Who Has Dedicated Her Life to the Service of Others
Sunday, May 19, 2019
The Ballroom at Bayou Place
Beatrice Gonzales Garza, former president and CEO of AAMA (Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans), is a proud third generation Texan, born and raised in Victoria. She credits her parents with placing a high priority on the values of faith, family, and education. Beatrice and her brother benefited from the example of their parents who were dedicated to serving their community. Love of community and service to others has been at the core of Beatrice’s life and career. She began serving others in her early teens as she spent summer vacations reading to, and tutoring, the children of migrant farmers who worked in the cotton fields.
Beatrice’s childhood dream was to become a teacher. Knowing that college was the first step to reaching her goal, Beatrice obtained her teaching degree from Stephen F. Austin State University. In the process, she became the first in her family to graduate from college. Beatrice began her career as a teacher and ultimately taught in the classroom for nine consecutive years.
When Beatrice and her husband relocated to Houston, she focused on her next goal: obtaining her Master’s Degree in Business Administration. With an MBA in hand, Beatrice
embarked on a new career in human resources. She spent several years in various leadership roles in the Texas Medical Center before joining the Houston Independent School District (HISD) as executive general manager for human resources. In this position, Beatrice once again found she could genuinely affect the lives of young people for the better. She worked diligently to make certain that each child was taught by the highest qualified teachers. During her first year at HISD, Beatrice was instrumental in ensuring the school year started with the lowest teacher vacancy rate it had seen in 15 years. As a result, she discovered her true passion, which was impacting the advancement of all people, in particular, young people.
Beatrice’s life as an educator came full circle when she accepted the position of president and CEO of AAMA, a nationally recognized organization that provides educational and counseling services to Latino youth and families in Houston, Laredo, and San Antonio. In this role, she directed a $15 million organization and worked with a 15-member board of directors and a staff of 236 professionals to inspire and empower Latinos to pursue and achieve their potential. Under her leadership, AAMA was recognized as the National Council of La Raza 2012 Affiliate of the Year. It was also selected as a Starbucks Community Store Partner, and is only one of three in the country. Also under Beatrice’s guidance, the Sanchez Charter Schools opened a second campus in Houston’s Northside and the Early Childhood Center obtained its national certification (NAEYC), becoming, at that time, the only such center in Houston’s East End.
Now retired, Beatrice continues to focus on the needs of Houston’s marginalized citizens through her volunteer work. Most recently, she was appointed by Bishop Scott Jones to
chair the We Love All God’s Children initiative for The Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Currently, Beatrice serves on the board of directors of The Women’s Home, Neighbors in Action, Justice for Our Neighbors, the National Advisory Board on Community Engagement in the State Courts and the core leadership team for The Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Beatrice is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum, Class XXIII, and has received a number of honors, including being named one of Texas Executive Women’s Women on the Move and Executive of the Year by Sucesos Newspaper and Solo Mujeres Magazine. She has also received the Trailblazer Award from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Black Heritage Committee, the Education Impact Award from the East End Chamber of Commerce, the Latina Leader Award from Latina Style Magazine, and the Wise Woman Award from Houston Woman Magazine. Although Beatrice considers raising two exceptional daughters alongside her husband to be her proudest accomplishment, she is also grateful for the opportunity to have positively affected the lives of so many young people through education by helping them identify a pathway to fulfillment and success.
As a lifelong learner, Beatrice realizes that a true educator is not necessarily the smartest person in the room, but the one who can motivate others to achieve more and reach for their dreams. She has learned as much from the young people she has served as they have learned from her, and she shares the following wise advice: “Stay curious, be courageous, surround yourself with others who are encouraging, and remember always to pay it forward.”
CKW LUXE would like to congratulate Beatrice Gonzales Garza for being a CKW LUXE Top 20 CEOs and Entrepreneurs Awards recipient for 2019.