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Aida Alvarez

Award-Winning Journalist, a successful investment banker, and a member of President Clinton’s Cabinet

The Honorable Aida Alvarez has been an award-winning journalist, a successful investment banker, and a member of President Clinton’s Cabinet.  She currently serves on the boards of Oportun, Zoosk, and Hewlett Packard, Inc. Alvarez was a Director on the boards of PacifiCare Health Systems, Inc. (now part of United Health) , MUFG Union Bank and…

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The Honorable Aida Alvarez has been an award-winning journalist, a successful investment banker, and a member of President Clinton’s Cabinet.  She currently serves on the boards of Oportun, Zoosk, and Hewlett Packard, Inc. Alvarez was a Director on the boards of PacifiCare Health Systems, Inc. (now part of United Health) , MUFG Union Bank and Walmart.  She also served on the Deloitte Touche Diversity Advisory Board.

Alvarez chairs the Latino Community Foundation, serves on the Board of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and on the Board of Governors of the San Francisco Symphony.

Appointed by President Clinton to head the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Administrator Alvarez was the first Hispanic woman to serve in a President’s Cabinet.  She presided over record activity:  $61.5 billion in guaranteed loans and venture capital financing over a four-year period.  SBA’s lending to women tripled.  Lending to minorities doubled.

Administrator Alvarez developed a global agenda, expanding SBA’s international role:  established an SBA office in Cairo, Egypt; led U.S. small business trade missions to Mexico, Canada, Ireland, and Egypt.   She chaired the first ministerial (Cabinet level) conference for small businesses hosted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) with 47 countries participating. Alvarez represented small business interests at the Seattle convening of the World Trade Organization.  She traveled internationally with the President, representing U.S. small business, and with Vice President Al Gore as part of the Gore Chernomyrdin Commission.

During the first Clinton term Alvarez was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be Director of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO).  As the founding Director of the agency, she was charged with regulating the nation’s largest housing finance institutions, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Prior to her federal service, Alvarez was a Vice President in Public Finance at The First Boston Corporation and Bear Stearns.  She was also Vice President for Public Affairs at the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation.

Alvarez started out with a career in journalism.  She won a Front Page award for journalistic excellence while at the New York Post.  She also earned an Emmy nomination and an Associated Press award for journalistic excellence while at Channel Five, the Ten O’Clock News, for her series on the war in El Salvador entitled, “The Morazan Diaries.”

A Harvard graduate, Alvarez also holds honorary doctorates from Bethany College, Iona College, Mercy College and the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico. Alvarez was elected to serve on the Harvard Board of Overseers. She is a trustee emeritus of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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