This past weekend, AvantGarde’s very own co-founder and CEO Rebecca Contreras held a book release party and book signing event, to celebrate the launch of her new book, Lost Girl: From the Hood to the White House to Millionaire Entrepreneur. The book, now available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, tells Rebecca’s inspiring story of how her grit, determination, and faith helped her overcome incredible adversity and eventually become the founding leader of a thriving HR consulting firm serving 15 federal government agencies.
“My origin story is tragically common,” said Rebecca. “I was born into a poverty-stricken family with a drug-addicted mother and abusive family members. I was on the verge of perpetrating the generational curses and toxic cycles when I became a teenage mother myself. Fortunately, I was able to break the cycle, instead of letting the cycle break me. My hope is that my story can show others how life circumstances, the odds stacked against you, and even your own mistakes do not mean that success is out of reach. I understand firsthand that the challenges can be overwhelming – the trauma that happens to us, the struggles with all-too-common issues like mental illness, abuse, and lack in life. But with hard work, training and education, mentors that believe in you even when you don’t believe in yourself, and a strong work ethic with demonstrated grit in life, all hope is not lost – even for a seemingly lost girl.”
Also speaking at the book launch event in the Austin area was Clay Johnson, former Assistant to President Bush and Director of Presidential Personnel, and Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget. As Rebecca’s former boss from her days working at the White House, Clay witnessed Rebecca’s drive and natural leadership abilities early on.
“I know Rebecca Contreras to be a most effective executive leader, entrepreneur, team builder, and change agent, based on the 20 years I have worked with and remained in close contact with her,” Clay said. “She has been nationally recognized for her many professional accomplishments and appointed to a number of nationally prominent, non-profit boards. The President had confidence in Rebecca and we asked her to come to DC with us. How she became so successful is a remarkable story: nothing about her youth and formal education would have predicted such success, but her wisdom, energy, faith, courage, and work ethic carried the day.”
More about Rebecca’s book and upcoming speaking engagements can be found at www.rebeccacontreras.com. You can also connect with Rebecca on her new leader/author pages through Facebook and Instagram and LinkedIn.
More about Rebecca Contreras
Rebecca Contreras is currently the President & CEO of AvantGarde LLC, a minority- and woman-owned consulting firm she co-founded in May 2011. AvantGarde offers a “one stop shop” approach to addressing complex organizational, people, and technology needs. Rebecca has dedicated her entire career to the people business, serving in executive leadership roles driving large scale people and organizational change initiatives. She spent twelve years serving under the leadership of Texas Governor – and then President – George W Bush. She has also received several awards and recognitions including most recently the Silver American Business Award for Minority Business of the year (2021), “Women in Enterprise” (Women Enterprising Magazine, 2020), “Women 2 Watch for 2020” (Women President’s Organization), Texas “Women Profiles in Power” (Austin Business Journal, 2017), and the “Latina Entrepreneurial Excellence Award” (2017).
Rebecca lives in the Austin, Texas area with David, her husband of 31 years. Ten years ago, Rebecca and David co-founded LaunchPad (launchpadthecenter.org), an Austin-based non-profit dedicated to equipping and enriching the lives of disadvantaged youth and underserved families through targeted programs and services. (Written by Rachel Holly)