Dean Leadership Institute Welcomes Daniel Chávez ’03

Dean Leadership Institute was proud to welcome Daniel Chávez ’03 back to campus as a Leadership in Action speaker. Chávez is currently a Fellow in the MIT Sloan Fellows MBA program and is a former CEO of Casa Elena, the top women’s shoe company in Bolivia. Chávez holds an associate degree in Business from Dean and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business.  

Chávez, who is from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, was the first member of his family to attend college overseas. He was a member of the soccer team and lived in Dean Hall while at Dean. When he initially joined Casa Elena, the family business since 1952, he intended to only stay for a year – but instead, it became his passion.

Chávez spoke about his 15+ years of experience in the fashion and retail industry as he helped modernize Casa Elena and grow the company to be the top national brand in Bolivia. He advised students to choose impact over income, choose merit over tenure, trust people and think long term. He also spoke about the importance of mentorship, personal motivation and building a good foundation from the very start of your college career.

“You’ll learn from classes, but you’ll learn more from people, and what you’ll take with you are the connections,” Chávez said. “Get involved. Connect with people – different people, not just from the same groups. Be good to everybody, be a good leader and work to build community.”

Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience with our students, Daniel Chávez! To learn more about past and future speakers, visit Dean Leadership Institute.