Going above and beyond in all aspects of her life, Ileana Gonzalez, ’16 has made bold choices throughout both her professional career and her time as a student at UTSA. From wrangling Rowdy at the Alamodome to serving as student body president and Ms. UTSA, Gonzalez uses her passion to foster her success in all that she sets her mind to.
Most recently Gonzalez was named the chief executive officer of Tech Bloc, a San Antonio non-profit dedicated to activating the San Antonio tech and startup ecosystem. Even more impressive is the fact that she accomplished this less than seven years after completing her undergraduate degree in entrepreneurship at UTSA,
“Less than 2% of Latinas work in tech. Less than 1% in venture capital, and even less get funding as a founder,” said Gonzalez, who was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. “It’s an honor to have been chosen as a leader in this ecosystem to help change this. We are the right city, at the right time to do so, and I am the right person to help drive change.”
Her passion and drive have allowed her to work in a variety of capacities focused on entrepreneurship and technology. She was a founder of a startup while at UTSA, worked in marketing, focused on venture capital at Capital Factory in Austin and worked with Techstars and the Texas Research and Technology Foundation.
“I was able to connect nationally with other professionals by working with the Techstars Anywhere Remote Accelerator program, a program designed to aid aspiring entrepreneurs in their career success,” said Gonzalez.
Prior to being named CEO, Gonzalez had previously worked with Tech Bloc for two years as their director of operations.
“I’m grateful for the guidance that I’ve received from past CEO David Heard and the trust that the Tech Bloc Board of Directors has placed in me to lead the organization and better position the city of San Antonio as a 21st-century city,” she said.
Never forgetting her Mexican roots and Hispanic heritage, Gonzalez plans to connect the non-profit company to Monterrey, Guadalajara and Mexico City through startups, big corporations and venture capital funds.
“As members of the Hispanic community, we possess a rich cultural heritage, a strong determination to surpass the achievements of our predecessors and a remarkable capacity for creativity. We need to take advantage of this drive to find ways to create wealth. Whether it is through a small business, a B2B startup, real estate or consulting, you need to push yourself to evolve through entrepreneurship.”
Staying true to her bold nature, Gonzalez fully immersed herself in student life while she was at UTSA. She served in the Student Government Association for two years as treasurer and student body president, participated in UTSA Athletics events as “Rowdy’s Wrangler” and was voted Ms. UTSA, making UTSA history as the only female to have ever been both Ms. UTSA and student body president. Gonzalez is grateful for her time spent at UTSA, and the organizations that molded her into the business professional she is today.
“I will forever be grateful for the immense opportunities I had, the mentors that I still talk to, and even the challenges I faced because they made me more resilient, patient and a true leader,” she said. “I hope to motivate and inspire other young Hispanics so they know that they can achieve anything they set their minds to.”