2016 HIPGiver Series: Elisa Arévalo
“It has been really important to me that I recognize the unique situation that I’m in and leverage it to support other Latinas and Latinos…” Elisa Arévalo Wells Fargo Market Growth Development Consultant and Vice President in the Consumer Credit Solutions Channel Partnership For Elisa Arévalo, giving and living are inextricably linked. “There are so many ways to give,” she said.“You just have to look around and see where you can contribute.” The Hispanics in Philanthropy Director Emeritus has carried that focus on giving throughout her career. At Wells Fargo, Arévalo works as Market Growth Development Consultant and Vice President in the Consumer Credit Solutions Channel Partnership. During her time at the bank, Arévalo has worked on, among other projects, managing the national marketing of its loan goal commitments for women and minority small business owners. “It has been really important to me that I recognize the unique situation that I’m in and leverage it to support other Latinas and Latinos…” she said. This life-long priority is part of what led Arévalo to help found Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) in 1983, one of the accomplishments for which she feels proudest. Her co-founders, Luz Vega-Marquis, President and CEO of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, and Chicano community activist Herman Gallegos, now retired, are also HIP Directors Emeritus. Arévalo’s family immigrated to the United States from her native Leon, in Mexico’s Guanajuato state, when she was four years old. The experience of growing up and attending school in San Francisco’s Bay Area was a memorable and unique one. “Because of my parent’s hard work,” she recalled, “we [Arévalo and her sister] were able to go to a private all girls’ high school. I am very happy that I was in that situation, but I was also awestruck that I had the opportunity.” She and her sister were two of only three Latinas in the entire school. Upon graduation, Arévalo attended Santa Clara University on a substantial scholarship awarded only to Hispanic students, and later, she attended Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, where she was the only Latina in the program. When asked, she said that these experiences – and the understanding that success is so rarely achieved alone – have helped her find a variety of approaches for giving back. She recalled that, when she attended Santa Clara University, there was a Latina dean of students. “That was huge for me,” she said, “Sometimes people don’t even know that they’re giving. Just by being successful in their position they [could be] helping other people who look up to them.” Throughout her career, Arévalo said, she has always considered sharing her experiences with others to be part of the job. In addition to her bank work, Arévalo is an active member of the Latino Community Foundation’s Latina Giving Circle San Francisco, which supports Latino communities. She has two adult children, who she said were raised with the same values that have fueled her lifelong success: Give back, whenever you can, give back.