The story of Rebecca Contreras is unique and powerful. Her journey began in hopelessness, poverty and failure, but her personal and professional story of success has become a source of great inspiration to many across the nation.
Growing up in a single parent home in the inner city in an environment of physical and emotional neglect, Rebecca became pregnant at age 17, was forced to drop out of high school and seemed destined to become another statistic. However, tired of the shame, bitterness and hopelessness, at age 19 Rebecca choose to make a personal decision of faith, went back to school and began the necessary steps to a personal transformation. With hard work, perseverance, education/training and top mentors, she began a journey to get on the right track in her life, obtained her GED, pursued training and began her career in government. Rebecca began her public service in state government through a Welfare-to-Work program for single moms in Texas where upon completion of the program, she was afforded an opportunity for an entry level state job. She was hired by the State Treasury Department in October 1989 in an entry level HR position and started her government career serving in the Treasurer’s Administration of the late Ann Richards, who was later elected Governor of Texas. In 1990 she met her husband David while serving in an inner city outreach program, they married two years later. Through hard work, constant learning, training and great mentors, Rebecca worked her way up the chain in government to eventually serve as a manager and eventually a Director. Along with her professional success, Rebecca experienced tremendous growth in her personal life, learning how to love and care for her family as a mother and wife. After over 22 years of marriage, Rebecca and David both firmly believe in taking the entire life lesson’s they have learned and blessings they have experienced and giving back to the Community.
Currently, Rebecca is the President and Chief Executive Officer of AvantGarde LLC (www.avantgarde4usa.com), a consulting firm she founded based in the Washington D.C. area with an Office in Austin Texas. AvantGarde specializes in providing services across three key areas: Organizational Effectiveness, Technology and Human Capital (www.avantgarde4usa.com). Prior to founding AvantGarde, Rebecca served as the Executive Vice President for KnowledgeBank Inc. (KB) a consulting firm in Washington D.C. In that role she started, grew and managed the federal practice for KB for six years. Rebecca has been commuting back and forth from Austin Texas to Washington D.C. for the past seven years. Rebecca has dedicated her entire professional career to the people business, serving in executive leadership roles driving large scale human capital change and organizational initiatives impacting the workforce. Rebecca formerly served on the team of a United States President in Washington DC. She joined the President’s team in January 2001 as a Commissioned member of the White House staff in the position of Special Assistant to President for Presidential Personnel overseeing the President’s appointments for over 1,200 part-time board and commission positions in the federal government. After completing her White House position in May 2003, the President appointed her to serve as the Chief Human Capital Officer at the Department of U.S. Treasury. In that position, she served as the corporate head of HR for a workforce of approximately 130,000 employees. Rebecca also served on the government wide Chief Human Capital Officer’s Council, focused on human capital reform. Rebecca was also on the Board of the United States Military Academy at West Point from September 2005 through April 2008. Rebecca’s served a total of fifteen years in the public sector starting her work in Texas State government and ending her public service in the Federal government. While in Texas State government Rebecca served in two agencies, the State Treasury and Office of the Governor.
Rebecca and her husband David have two children, a daughter who is married and age 25 and a son who is age 19 and attending college in Austin. Rebecca serves as a volunteer on the Board of LaunchPad and is also on the Board of the American Bible Society based in New York City. Rebecca is also a motivational speaker sharing her awe inspiring story and speaking to various groups on a variety on leadership and other inspirational topics.
Rebecca just received the 2013 Texas Women of Distinction Award by the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC). Click here for article.