|Moises "Moe" Vela|
|Education||St. Mary's University School of Law|
|Alma mater||University of Texas, Austin|
|Occupation||President & CEO MoeVela LLC, Partner Scarinci-Hollenbeck|
|Known for||Two-time White House Senior Executive|
|Home town||Harlingen, Texas|
He is the first Hispanic to serve in two senior executive roles in the White House, first during the Clinton Administration as Chief Financial Officer and Senior Advisor on Latino Affairs in the Office of Vice President Al Gore, and later during the Obama Administration as Director of Administration for Joe Biden, the Vice President of the United States.
Life and works
Early life and family
Vela is a native of Harlingen, Texas, graduating from Harlingen High School in 1980. His father, Moises Vela, was a Cameron County judge, and his uncle, Filemon Vela, was a U.S. District Court Judge.
In a 2009 interview quoted in a Harlingen paper, Vela said that after college he "went to New York to try to make it on Broadway, believe it or not, to try to make it as a singer," before returning to school, to study for his law degree.
He credits his family with the influence that led him to community service, saying that " "Watching Mom and Dad always being involved as community leaders, working with so many organizations over the years and so many wonderful people, frankly it was a way of life for us and the way we were raised....We didn't ask if it was something we should have done. We were expected to serve. ... We were blessed with a very close family with a lot of love and respect for each other."
After serving on the staff of Vice President Gore, Vela helped launch a cyberspace company, later creating the consulting company "Diverse Directions," supporting the development of Latino marketing strategies and community outreach.
His achievements have included the creation of El Centro Legal Latino in Birmingham, Alabama, helping to educate members of the S.E. United States Latino community on their legal rights. He also founded and served as first chair of the Alabama Hispanic Chamber of Congress. He also served as executive director of the "National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals," an organization that includes over 12,000 members from 48 states. He later served as senior vice president of Multicultural Strategies at United Dominion Realty Trust, and then president of his own consulting business, Comunidades LLC.
He worked as a staff member in the Texas House of Representatives, serving as committee clerk and legislative director for State Representative Rene Oliveira, and then committee clerk for Senator Eddie Bernice Johnson, working to support the Interim Committee on Minority and Women Business Ownership Opportunities.
He is also worked as a partner in the Public Policy & Regulation Group of Holland & Knight, in Washington, DC, where his focus areas included public policy and government relations.
Professional awards and honors
His honors and awards include:
- Top 100 Hispanics in America, Hispanic Business, 2010
- Top 300 Washington, D.C. Insiders, National Journal, 2010
- Holland & Knight website, retrieved February 5, 2012.
- Extended bio page, Holland & Knight website, retrieved February 5, 2012.
- RGV Native Tapped for White House Job, Valley Freedom Newspapers, January 4, 2009, retrieved February 5, 2012.
- "Senior White House Official Moe Vela joins Holland & Knight as partner," hispanictips.com, retrieved February 5, 2012.