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Adela Cepeda: “More than wealth, my goal has always been financial security”

Capitalizing on her extensive business, financial, and board expertise, Adela Cepeda is an astute leader with a career that demonstrates her ability to handle complex financial matters. After launching and serving as the president of A.C. Advisory, Inc., a financial advisory firm for more than 21 years, she sold the firm to Public Financial Management, Inc., the top-ranked mutual advisor in the United States. Leveraging her background as a finance specialist, Adela has advised municipalities and corporations on structuring and executing capital markets transactions surpassing $150B.

Adela is a leading proponent of driving racial equity and advocates on behalf of women and minorities through her community involvement. In 2019, Adela co-founded and currently chairs Angeles Investors, an angel investing group that provides funding and advice for Hispanic and Latinx entrepreneurs to grow their startups and ventures. Adela was also Co-chair of President Biden’s ESG Economic Advisory Working Group to advance the administration’s intention to pursue abroad climate change agenda and seek to re-establish the United States as a leader regarding climate change. For more than two years, she oversaw the management and financing of housing developments throughout Chicago as a member of the Chicago Housing Authority. These are just a few initiatives in which Adela is involved that illustrate her dedication to the community and philanthropic efforts.

Owing to her vast contributions to business and community activities, Adela has been recognized with numerous honors. In 2022, Adela was included among the 100 Most Influential Latinos by Bloomberg Linea. She was also named among the50 Most Powerful Latinas by the Association of Latino Professionals for America [ALPFA] for three consecutive years, as well as Top 100 Most Influential Latinas, by Latino Leaders in 2020 and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Executive Leader Award.She is a frequent speaker on corporate governance matters and was selected by the National Association of Corporate Directors [NACD] for inclusion in the 2021 NACD Directorship 100, a recognition given to the most influential leaders in corporate governance

Please tell us about the origins of your wealth journey.
My parents immigrated to the US and brought me with them when I was 6 years old. As the oldest of 5, and as they struggled to learn English and find employment in their fields, their financial struggles resonated with me. More than wealth, my goal has always been financial security - for me, for them when they were alive, and now for my family. Wealth is difficult to measure, but security is when you know you can handle unexpected developments without having to sell important assets like your home. Armed with a college degree and then an MBA, I have been able to feel secure and am thrilled to be able to invest in others so that they too can reach financial security and success. This is the joy that being a member of Angeles Investor brings me.

Describe the main milestones, opportunities, and challenges.
Learning the language and getting a great education were the main hurdles, but I received relentless familial support to do this. Even when faced with discrimination and sexism, an education prepares you in a way that opportunities open up and create the path for your career. Many times along the way I could not access the same opportunities as others, but still I received great training as an investment banker and the tools for financial analysis remain a valuable edge, which I lean on again and again.

Share Tools and Tips to help you create wealth.
I have always been invested in the market and think this is a great core for your holdings, including your retirement investments. As a widow, I found great value in insurance, and after my husband died, I doubled down since I had 3 small children. Whole life is also an important part of my investments. Now that we have created opportunities to invest in startups, that is really a path for wealth creation, where outsized returns can and do happen as companies reach scale. That is why we are now embarked on creating an investment fund to leverage the access to startups that Angeles Investors brings to its members.

What or Who did you wish you had known earlier?
I wish I had known how important it was to have your own book of business and some tools for doing that while I was in investment banking. With my own businesses I had to know and learn that, and after the expertise in financial analysis, I would say marketing your business is critical.

How would you like your wealth legacy to be remembered?
I hope to be an investor in many, many successful startups that will live on.
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