Vice President, International Business Affairs & Leadership Development
As Vice President of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Paola Avila brings 20 years of experience in public policy, community outreach, and government relations. In her current position, Avila focuses on advocacy of domestic and international public policies that enhance economic prosperity through trade, a secure and efficient border, and robust international business and political relationships. Also under the direction of Avila, the Chamber runs several leadership programs: San Diego Young Leaders, San Diego Public Leadership Institute, and Advance, a women’s professional development program.
With her experience in both the private and public sectors, Avila represents the business community on distinguished panels throughout the nation, on topics ranging from infrastructure to education to trade, having a grasp on diverse topics impacting commerce.
From 2000 to 2005, Avila served as Deputy Chief of Staff for the Mayor of San Diego, where she advised on economic development policy and binational affairs. Avila then started her own public affairs consulting business assisting large and small companies with economic development opportunities such as entering global markets and reducing supply chain barriers.
Avila later served in Senator Ben Hueso’s office advising him in several policy areas including water, energy and economic development obtaining bipartisan support for draft legislation.
Ms. Avila serves on the Board of Directors of Civic San Diego and on the IBWC Citizens Forum. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for the Children of the Californias, a tri-national collaboration with Canada, the United States, and Mexico, supporting the Hospital Infantil de las Californias. Her past community involvement includes Executive Boardmember of the Mexican American Business and Professional Association, the Borderview YMCA Board of Directors and the Board of Directors of La Cuna Inc.
Avila is recognized as a leader in the industry winning multiple awards including Latino Leaders Magazine’s 2014 San Diego’s Most Influential Latinos and San Diego Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Cross Border Leader of the Year. Most recently, she was named Cross Border Leader by San Diego Magazine at their 2015 Latino Impact Awards and selected as a finalist at the San Diego Business Journal Women Who Mean Business Awards. Avila graduated from the University of California San Diego with a B.A. in Economics.