Adela Cepeda, president and CEO of A.C. Advisory, will be awarded the Negocios Now 2016 Latina in Business Award at its third annual Who’s Who in Hispanic Chicago gala event, to be held July 8 at the Chicago Cultural Center.
Cepeda, known as “the Billion Dollar Woman,” has evolved from a child immigrant who cried because she couldn’t speak enough English to do her elementary school homework to a true giant among the movers and shakers of Wall Street and Chicago finance, commanding respect and inspiring others along the way.
Because she deals in transactions ranging from the $100 millions to multi-billions, large figures tend to dance around in Ms. Cepeda’s head. Over time, the dance has come to be second-nature for this Colombian-born, Harvard educated professional.
“There comes a point where the numbers are so large that you almost have to cut off the zeros at the end, just to keep them in order,” Ms. Cepeda explains with a smile.
Ms. Cepeda founded A.C. Advisory, Inc., a municipal advisory firm, in 1995, joining a world in which 13-hour days, seven-day weeks, for sometimes up to six weeks at a time, is commonplace. A.C. Advisory is among the “Top Ten” financial advisories in the nation, and, in 2012, it topped the $100 billion mark in transactions.
However, Ms. Cepeda prefers to point out the impact her deals have on the communities involved, rather than to focus on any single sum “regardless of how high it may be.”
“The most important thing is the positive impact I am making on the communities, and on individuals within those communities,” Ms. Cepeda explained. “Usually, the deals we’re structuring go to improve roads, build bridges, airports, aqueducts, re-model schools, or to fund programs in which numerous corporations participate.”