ALPFA is governed by an elected Board of Directors consisting of Officers and Directors At Large. The CEO has a non-voting seat on the Board. The national Board of Directors has exhibited passion, determination and dedication in managing ALPFA's current issues and planning for its promising future.
Charles P. Garcia, CEO
Charles has dedicated his career to championing the influence of Latinos in U.S. society. He is the CEO of ALPFA, the nation’s largest Latino professional organization in the country with 41 professional chapters and over 100 student chapters in cities across America.
He was formerly the CEO of Garcia Trujillo Holdings LLC, a merchant banking, venture capital, and consulting firm; Charles is one of the leading advisors to companies that do business in the global Hispanic market. Founded in 2009 as Garcia & Company Merchant Banking LLC, Garcia Trujillo expanded when he was joined by renowned businessman Sol Trujillo and other prominent Latinos. The firm helped Fortune 500 management teams to grow their insight and influence with Hispanic markets; and connects entrepreneurs that seek to serve growing Hispanic markets worldwide with the capital and advisory resources they need to succeed.
Prior to Garcia Trujillo, Charles’ business experience spanned a broad spectrum of finance, marketing, and entrepreneurial ventures – all focused on leveraging his in-depth understanding of Hispanic consumers. In 1997, he founded and served as CEO of the Sterling Financial Group of Companies, a privately held financial services and investment banking firm focused on Hispanic customers. When Charles sold the firm in 2006, it had grown to 60 offices in seven countries, with 20,000 Hispanic clients and over $2 billion in assets. Sterling was named by Inc. magazine as the #8 fastest growing privately held company in the country and Charles was named Entrepreneur of the Year by three national organizations.
Charles has brought his unique perspective of the Hispanic consumer and expertise in financial services to serve a number of companies in an advisory/governance capacity. For six years he was a member of the Board of Directors of Winn-Dixie Stores, a Fortune 500 supermarket (acquired by Bi-Lo LLC in 2012). His experience qualified him to be designated as an audit committee financial expert under SEC rules. He was the Chairman of the Aetna Latino Advisory Council, reporting directly to the CEO of Aetna, Inc. (NYSE: AET), focused on growing the Hispanic market share of this diversified healthcare company. He was also the national spokesman and Hispanic market consultant for one of the twenty largest private American companies -- Amway Global, a leader in the $80 billion global direct selling industry.
Recognized as a connector, relationship builder and expert in social and digital media he was profiled by The Huffington Post as being one of the Top 20 most connected individuals from over 250 million users in the world on LinkedIn and in the top 1% of Twitter users. In 2013, he became Chairman the board of directors of Empire Avenue Inc., a privately held Canadian social media company that is in over 200 countries and one of the top 1,000 most trafficked websites in the U.S. Charles also chairs the South Florida chapter of Tiger 21, the premier peer-to-peer group for ultrahigh-net-worth individuals, which was founded in New York in 1999, and is now in 15 cities in the U.S. and Canada. Its 225 members control over $21 billion in personal assets.
While achieving significant business success, Charles also has worked for four Presidents, both Democrat and Republican, and served on high profile federal and state government boards. From 2006-2011, he was the Chairman of the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Air Force Academy, appointed by both President Obama and President Bush, to oversee all operations at the Air Force Academy. The 15-member board, which includes four U.S. Senators and four members of the House of Representatives, elected him as the Chairman of the Board for five consecutive years. Since its founding in 1959, only the late Senator Barry Goldwater served as Chairman for a longer period. In December 2011, the Secretary of the Air Force awarded him the Distinguished Public Service Medal for leading “a historic transformation of the Board of Visitors to ensure it operates more like a corporate board of directors” and for “improving candidate diversity for all service academies.” In June 2013, the world’s largest nonprofit educational association awarded him the Ernest T. Stewart Award for Alumni Volunteer Involvement for his 30 year record helping his alma mater – the first time in 60 years someone has won the award on behalf of the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Charles has devoted himself to several Latino organizations. He is a member of the advisory board for the Florida State University Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication, a national hub for innovative research for marketing to Hispanic consumers. From 2009-2011, he was a director of NSHMBA, a leading Hispanic business organization. He was a founding member of the Latino Donor Collaborative; the Latino Corporate Director’s Association; the Latino Rebels Foundation; worked closely with HACR; and PRIMER -- a network of Latino executives and like-minded leaders who create opportunities to build and leverage professional relationships.
Charles has distinguished himself as a thought leader in the business community by authoring two best-selling leadership books which are in over ten languages: A Message from Garcia (John Wiley, 2003) and Leadership Lessons of the White House Fellows (McGraw Hill, 2009). He was the first Latino represented by the prestigious Washington Speakers Bureau and he contributes regularly on major television networks and news publications as an expert on business, leadership, and global Hispanic issues. He is a regular op-ed contributor to CNN, Fox News Latino and The Huffington Post. In February 2011, nine months prior to the last general election, he predicted live on CNN that President Obama would win by an electoral landslide due to the Latino vote, and Mitt Romney's self-deportation immigration policy.
A role model for Hispanics across America, Charles worked tirelessly to improve educational opportunities for Latinos. He was appointed by President George W. Bush to the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics charged with developing a blueprint to close the educational gap for Hispanic children. When Florida citizens amended the constitution in 2001, placing responsibility for all state education programs under a single, seven-member Florida Board of Education with an annual budget exceeding $15 billion, Governor Jeb Bush appointed Charles as the only Latino to the State Board. Charles led the strategic planning process on behalf of the board, and the Governor’s state wide reading taskforce. In the next ten years, Florida’s ranking moved from 28th to 2nd in the nation in reading and math, and more importantly, Latino students in Florida now have the highest graduation rate in the U.S.
Charles was first recognized as a strategic leader by the U.S. Air Force Academy, who selected him as the Deputy Wing Commander – the 4th highest-ranking cadet leading over 4,400 students. His peers then elected him to serve as the Chairman of the Cadet Wing Honor Committee, where he supervised over 250 honor investigations and sat as the chair on 60 cadet honor boards. He was chosen to represent the Air Force Academy at the 2nd Annual Leadership Conference at West Point, and he was awarded the “Honor and Ethics” trophy bestowed to the graduating senior who “most personified the ideals of personal integrity.”
A distinguished graduate of the skydiving program and the elite Army Reconnaissance Commando School, Charles served in the mid-1980s in war torn Central America training Latin American militaries in counter guerrilla warfare. While there he published a provocative article that caught the attention of the Commander of the U.S. Southern Command -- General John R. Galvin -- who later became the NATO Supreme Allied Commander. General Galvin chose him as one of his key advisors in Latin America, and Charles authored for him a top-secret study on Fidel Castro’s efforts to destabilize Latin America, which was declassified and published as a cover story by U.S. News and World Report magazine. For his military service in Latin America, he was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the 3rd highest medal bestowed upon members of the armed forces by the Department of Defense.
Following his military service, President Ronald Reagan selected him to serve as one of fourteen White House Fellows. He was appointed as a Special Assistant to former Secretary of Education and “drug czar” William J. Bennett, where he helped draft a blueprint to fight the spread of drugs in the U.S. -- the nation’s first National Drug Control Strategy. He then went to law school where he became the 1st person in his class to publish in the prestigious Columbia Law Review. His article was selected as a “must read” in three legal categories by the National Law Journal and the Florida Supreme Court extensively citied his scholarship in a landmark Fourth Amendment case ending the abusive police practice of making unannounced forcible entries into the private homes of Florida citizens when searching for small amounts of narcotics.
In recognition of his contributions to expanding Latino influence, impact, and reputation, Hispanic Business magazine recognized Charles as one of the “100 most influential Hispanics in the United States” and Hispanic Today magazine featured Charles in a cover story "Committing to Hispanic America" and Univision selected him for their series "Orgullo Hispano," a feature that spotlights Hispanics who have made "an exceptional impact on the culture and life of American society." He received the Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez Public Service and Integrity Award for his leadership championing rights for all persons, especially Latinos. He is profiled in three recent books: Think and Grow Rich: A Latino Choice; Building the Latino Future; and Hispanics in the USA: Making History -- where he was chosen as one of fourteen Hispanic role models for the nation.
Charles lives in Boca Raton, Florida with his wife Cristina, a native of Quito, Ecuador, and their four children. Away from work, he is an avid soccer player and surfer, and he competitively races an 850 horsepower Dodge Viper.