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HSF Alumni

Gary L. Trujillo

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  • Gender: Male
  • University: Arizona State University
  • Undergraduate Degree: Accounting
  • Graduate Degree: MBA
  • Hometown: Phoenix
  • State: Arizona
  • Organization: Southwest Harvard Group
  • Position Title: President & CEO
  • Organization: Be A Leader Foundation
  • Position Title: Chairman & Founder,

Gary Trujillo, the youngest of four siblings, was born and raised in his parents’ hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. As he was growing up, college wasn’t a foregone conclusion. In fact, a high school counselor told him she didn’t think he was college material. But he says a mentor he met when he was 13, Pete Garcia, urged him onward, even helping him with his college applications.

He attended Arizona State University (ASU), where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting, and then attended Harvard Business School, where he completed his MBA. Four HSF Scholarships helped him reach his goals.

He began his career in investment banking at Salomon Brothers, as a financial analyst in institutional sales and trading. He later joined RBC Dain Rauscher, where he specialized in corporate and public finance, before serving as a staff assistant to the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

He then founded and served as President & CEO of Southwest Harvard Group (SHG), a private venture capital and first-stage active venture incubator specializing in minority business enterprises, and products and services geared towards the Hispanic market. He continues as the firm’s owner.

He also served as Chairman and CEO of the internet company Quepasa Corporation, where he led both the completion of the company’s $55 million initial public offering and the assembling of its independent board of directors.

Today, Gary is Senior Managing Director of Garcia Trujillo Holdings, a management consulting, merchant bank, and venture capital firm with a focus on the global Hispanic market. 

He and his wife, Melissa, are also the founders of the Be A Leader Foundation, which works with middle school and high school students, primarily in inner-city schools, to provide them with a positive learning environment and a college-focused mentality, while improving their self-esteem and leadership skills.

He also established the Roosevelt Community Technology Center (RCTC) in Phoenix, to provide people in the local community with access to state-of-the-art computers and software to help them develop the skills they need to enhance their learning potential and educational development.

In addition to being Chair Emeritus of the Harvard Business School Latino Alumni Association, he serves on the boards of ASU Enterprise Partners, Wells Fargo Bank-Desert Region and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. He is also a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization and Greater Phoenix Leadership. He is  an advisor for the ASU Hispanic Business Student Association, served on the Phoenix Union High School District’s board, and was appointed by Arizona’s governor to serve as the first chairperson of the state’s School Facilities Board. 

Honored at HSF’s 2011 Alumni Hall of Fame Gala with the Altruista Award, for “personifying the spirit of gratitude and the value of giving back,” he noted during his acceptance speech that HSF’s support was the inspiration that led him and his wife to found the Be A Leader Foundation.

“When I received my HSF scholarship, it was a big deal, because somebody believed in me,” he later commented. “Quite frankly it was those dollars that gave me the encouragement to get through. It…allowed me to develop the internal inspiration to make sure that not only did I graduate, but I continued [through graduate school]….”