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Latino Trailblazer

Gary Acosta

  • Gender: Male
  • Major: Chemistry
  • University: University of California - San Diego
  • Hometown: East Los Angeles
  • State: California
  • Organization: National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals NAHREP
  • Position Title: Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder

Mr. Acosta, the eldest of three siblings, was born and raised in East Los Angeles, California. He is the son of third-generation Mexican American parents from California and Texas. He says his parents never made college an option—“It was something I was expected to do.” 

He attended East Los Angeles College, where he earned an associate’s degree and then became the first in his family to attend a major college or university when he became a student at Pomona College. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California San Diego, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. 

He says one of his biggest challenges was making up his mind about what field he wanted to pursue. Although he loved science, the draw of business and economics proved stronger, and he went to work for a community bank, right out of college. 

Not long after, he founded a mortgage company, co-founded a Spanish-language real estate portal that was ultimately sold to a publicly traded company, and co-founded the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP). He is also the co-founder of The Mortgage Collaborative, a cooperative of mortgage companies that work together to increase profitability and market share. 

Today, NAHREP is the nation’s largest, minority, real estate trade association with over 21,000 members and 40 local chapters. The organization is committed to advancing sustainable Hispanic homeownership. And it executes this mission by educating and empowering the real estate professionals who serve Hispanic homebuyers and sellers, advocating for public policy that supports Hispanic homeownership, and facilitating relationships among members, stakeholders, and other industry participants. 

As NAHREP’s CEO, Mr. Acosta runs the organization’s day-to-day operations, which includes implementing the strategy established by the board of directors and overseeing the activities of the national organization and its 40 local chapters across the country. 

His additional activities include having served on advisory boards for five Fortune 500 companies and on the inaugural Consumer Advisory Board of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 

In 2003, he was named one of the 25 most influential people in real estate by REALTOR© Magazine, and the following year, was named one of Hispanic Business magazine’s 100 most influential Hispanics in America. In 2013 the Mortgage Bankers Association honored him with its "Investing in Communities Award.” 

Of NAHREP’s partnership with HSF, he says: “Our [NAHREP’s] members are trusted advisors in their communities and believe education leads to economic empowerment and a better quality of life. We believe deeply in the mission of HSF and are committed to supporting it.”