Mr. Ralph De La Vega will be the inaugural business leader to speak at the Stan Sigman Business Leadership and Innovation Series on October 13, 2021. A native of Cuba, Mr. De la Vega is the former Vice Chairman of AT&T Inc., President and CEO or AT&T Mobile and Business Solutions, and founder and chairman of the De La Vega Group. Under his leadership, AT&T Mobility became one of the world’s leading smartphone and mobile Internet providers and expanded into new growth areas such as connected cars, home security, and automation.
As a contemporary of Mr. Sigman during his time at AT&T, Mr. De La Vega offers a rich background and insights from his experiences in leading innovations in business. During his career Mr. De La Vega has held numerous executive positions, including COO of Cingular Wireless and President of BellSouth Latin America. As the COO of Cingular Wireless, Mr. De la Vega was responsible for the integration of AT&T Wireless and Cingular Wireless, following the largest all-cash merger in U.S. history at the time. As President of BellSouth Latin America, he was responsible for wireless operations in eleven countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela and Uruguay.
He has received numerous awards recognizing his leadership, including induction into the U.S. Wireless Hall of Fame, the Atlanta Business Hall of Fame, and the prestigious Global Innovation Award from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. Mr. De la Vega has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and a master’s degree in business administration from Northern Illinois University. He completed the Executive Program at the University of Virginia and received a Doctor Honoris Causa from FAU. He is the author of the best-selling book Obstacles Welcome: Turn Adversity to Advantage in Business and Life (Thomas Nelson, 2009).
Mr. De La Vega’s book is fascinating as it underscores a perspective on life shaped by his departure at an early age from Cuba as a part of Operation Peter Pan – an initiative whereby Cuban parents sent their children unaccompanied to the United States over a two-year span from 1960 to 1962 in response to political changes in Cuba. This experience started Mr. De La Vega on patterns of learning from, pivoting on, and accelerating success in the face of challenges. Mr. De La Vega commonly uses these lessons to inspire students to define and achieve their goals.
Mr. De La Vega has been honored for his leadership both in innovations in technology as well as his interests in promoting success for young people. He has been honored as one of the 101 Most Influential Latinos in America in 2015, the Beta Gamma Sigma Business Achievement Award in 2011, and the 2004 Executive of the Year by the Association of Latino Professionals for America.
The Stan Sigman Leadership and Innovation Series inaugural event will take place on October 13, 2021 at 10:00 AM in Legacy Hall on the Canyon, Texas campus of West Texas A&M University. The series is a collaboration between the friends of Stan Sigman, the University, and the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business.
For more information about this event, contact Dr. Jeffry Babb.