Meet Marielena Villamil, a Hispanic Woman of Distinction
Marielena Villamil has an outstanding record of accomplishments in business consulting, higher education and civic leadership. She is co-founder and serves as Chief Executive Officer of a growing economic and governmental advisor firm, The Washington Economics Group, Inc. (WEG). She founded the firm in 1993 with nationally recognized economist, Dr. Tony Villamil, former US Undersecretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs.
On August 14th, she will be honored at the 14th annual Hispanic Women of Distinction charity luncheon and business expo in South Florida as the 2015 Latina Pioneer of the Year, presented by Bank of America, Latina Style Magazine and Latin Business Today. Marielena joins former Latina Pioneers – First Lady of Florida, Columba Bush, Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen, Aida Levitan PhD, Nelly Rubio, Maria Elena Torano, Helen Aguirre Ferre and Joyce Kaufman.
Marielena’s civic volunteer service is outstanding and is a member of numerous boards, demonstrating exceptional community activism. She was selected to serve on the National Advisory Board of BBVA Compass, a Sunbelt-based bank holding company and was appointed to the South Florida Board of Advisors of BBVA Compass Bank where she currently serves. Marielena also serves on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Miami Dade County, past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Red Cross of Greater Miami and the Keys, Chair of the South Florida Humanitarian Network for Cuba, a network to coordinate humanitarian assistance. She was appointed Chair of the South Florida Board of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), a nationally recognized organization whose mission centers on awarding scholarships based on merit to Hispanic students.
When asked about the role Hispanic women play today in society, she responded:
“Hispanic women are role models (and I am including myself because of my age and experiences) for our families, our friends and our community. Our responsibilities are numerous as we set the foundations and pave the way for Latinas to have productive lives and be responsible citizens. We are a minority, within a minority which is growing in numbers and power.”
Education is a focus for Marielena Villamil. She has chaired the South Florida Board of the Sistema Universitario Ana G. Mendez, an accredited institution of higher learning specializing in programs and degrees through dual-language learning and served until 2014 on the Board of Trustees of Miami Dade College. Aappointed by two former Governors of Florida.
Among the numerous awards she has received are the first Dr. Mario Villarroel International Leadership Award in 2005 for her work with the Latin American communities, the Southeast Service Area International Humanitarian Service “for exceptional humanitarian actions” and the 2008 Cynthia Wedel Award for “superior and outstanding leadership services to the community.” Most recently, Ms. Villamil was awarded the Good Scout Award by the Boy Scouts of America and the American Red Cross Spectrum Award for her service to the organization. Marielena was an honoree of The Inner Circle of 12 of the American Cancer Society in the Fall of 2014 and became a Miracle Makers Honoree for 2015 from The Big Boys Big Girls Club because of the community and charitable commitments.
“My culture is me! It is the basis for everything I do, at home, at work and in the community. I am an American citizen by choice, so as an American, I am privileged to live in this country and reap the benefits, and the opportunity this country offers…never forgetting my Hispanic roots.
Ms. Villamil earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from St. Mary’s Dominican College in New Orleans, LA, a Master’s Degree from Middlebury College in Vermont, and completed PhD coursework at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL. She currently resides in Coral Gables with her husband, Tony Villamil. She has two grown daughters, Elena Villamil Freyre and Carolina Villamil and a son, TJ Villamil.
Meet other 2015 Hispanic Women of Distinction: