Over a 30-year career, Cuban born Adis María Vila has held executive positions in business, government, and higher education in general management, business development, policy development and implementation, government, public and regulatory affairs functions, and diversity and inclusion. She has been a corporate executive, government official, academic administrator, professor of international law and international business, and practicing attorney.
A Certified Diversity Executive, Vila was the first Chief Diversity Officer at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Vila is a professional speaker on leadership, organizational culture, cross-cultural management, and diversity and inclusion. Highly regarded for her high energy, motivational, and inspirational presentations, Vila’s customized talks engage professional audiences, C-level executives, and university students alike because her content is valuable and style authentic.
As Assistant Secretary at the US Department of Agriculture (COO), Vila led a department with more than 2500 employees and a budget larger than $1 billion. Vila served as CEO of Florida’s Department of Administration (Secretary), a department with a budget of $750 million and 500 employees responsible for health care administration, labor relations, and retirement benefits for more than 125,000 employees statewide. Vila began her government service as a White House Fellow, one of America’s most prestigious programs for leadership and public service.
Vila was Nortel’s Vice-President of Government Affairs and Regulatory Policy for the Caribbean and Latin American (telecommunications), and Vice President for International Business Development for Vigoro since acquired by IMC Global, Inc. (chemicals; fertilizers). Vila is fluent in English, Spanish, and French and conversational in Portuguese and German. A financial expert under SEC Regulations and NYSE Rules, Vila holds the highest corporate governance designation of Board Leadership Fellow from the National Association of Corporate Directors. She is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Rural Telephone Bank and the UBS Global Asset Management Advisory Board. She is an active member of Women Corporate Directors, the Latino Corporate Directors Association, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the International Women’s Forum.
A member of The Florida Bar and the Washington DC Bar, she earned a law degree from the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida, a Diplôme in International Law from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva, Switzerland), an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and a BA in Mathematics from Rollins College.
Vila was named one of Hispanic Executive’s Leading Latinas in 2018. She was honored with the “Woman Trailblazer” Award, Dorothy Height “Hats Off to You” Award, and “Women of Distinction” Award by The University of Akron, Girl Scouts of Colorado, and Delta Sigma Theta, respectively. Her work at the Air Force Academy was recognized with the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, the “Dare to Dream Award” by the Colorado Springs Diversity Forum, and an INNOVATION Award by The Diversity Journal.
Creating an Inclusive Organizational Culture is Everyone’s Business
- Understand where you are on the journey to a more inclusive team.
- Build the business case for a Diversity & Inclusion strategy that works.
- Learn how to create a practical plan for an inclusive culture where everyone succeeds.
Reinventing Yourself: Live a Purposeful Life of No Regrets
As a political refugee who fled Cuba after the revolution, Adis Vila was raised by a single mom with little formal education. She overcame economic hardship through hard work and persistence earning multiple degrees and at 27 was selected a White House Fellow, the premier leadership program in the United States. Her uplifting story is a story of resiliency, adaptability, and success. She has reinvented herself multiple times reaching c-level positions in government, business, higher education and the independent sector. Twice confirmed by the US Senate and once by the Florida Senate, Vila began her career as a practicing lawyer and subsequently as a policy maker, government executive, international business executive, academic administrator, professor, professional speaker, and independent director. Through stories she shares her successes and failures demonstrating with energy and humility how you can reinvent yourself in order to live a life of purpose and passion.