In recent months, former White House advisor Moe Vela says America has been as divided along racial, political, religious and socio-economic lines as he has ever seen in the country he loves. But in a presentation to Womble Carlyle attorneys, staff and guests, Vela outlined everyday steps all people can take to help bridge that divide.
Vela, the CEO of The Vela Group, LLC, served as keynote speaker for Womble Carlyle’s Hispanic Heritage Month event on Sept. 26.
“The only thing that might work is for us to build on what we have in common,” he said. “We have a lot more in common than we have different—I promise you that.”
For example, he spoke about taking a fishing trip in the early 1990s with some co-workers from completely different cultural backgrounds. While out on the boat, he said, their differences melted away and long-lasting connections were made. Their working relationship moving forward benefited from that personal time spent together, he said.
Vela said all people have the following in common:
- Hopes, aspirations and dreams;
- Insecurities and weaknesses;
- Laughter; and
“We all dream our children’s future will be better than our own,” he said. “Every person wants to love and be loved.”
Even fears and insecurities can be bridge-builders, Vela said, since we all experience them.
Vela was invited to speak and introduced by his long-time lawyer and friend Pam Rothenberg, Managing Partner of the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.
“You can’t lose with Pam on your side!” he told the audience.
Vela’s discussion was presented by Womble Carlyle’s Diversity Committee.
About Moe Vela
Vela is the CEO of The Vela Group, LLC, a global business development consulting firm with clients in the U.S. and Latin America. In addition to running his firm, he is the CEO of Omega Technology Solutions, a premier healthcare solutions company, and also Of Counsel at the law firm of Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato and Missner. Vela’s areas of experience include business development, public policy, government relations and Latino advocacy and outreach. He is also an adjunct professor at American University Washington College of Law.
Vela is a longtime Washington insider. His leadership & counsel have been sought by some of the country's top political and business leaders. Vela served in President Obama's administration as the Director of Administration and Senior Advisor in the Office of Vice President Joe Biden. The stint was his second White House appointment as he also served as Chief Financial Officer and Senior Advisor on Hispanic Affairs for Vice President Al Gore.
He has been named one of the Top 100 Hispanics in America by Hispanic Business magazine and was twice named as one of the 101 Most Influential Latinos by Latino Leaders magazine, as well as, one of Washington's Top 300 Insiders by the National Journal and to the Powermeter 100 - the Washington area's most influential individuals for Hispanic communities by El Tiempo Latino.
A proud Texan, Vela earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Texas at Austin and his law degree from St. Mary's University School of Law. He currently lives in Maryland with his dogs, Anatalya and Titan.