President and Chief Executive Officer
Rebecca Contreras is currently the President & CEO of AvantGarde LLC (AG), an SBA certified 8a and Women Owned Small Business firm. Rebecca has dedicated her entire career to the people business, serving in executive leadership roles driving large scale people and organizational change initiatives.
Rebecca began her government career in 1989 serving under the leadership of the former Texas icon, Ann Richards. She then served as HR Senior Manager for Texas Treasurer Kay Baily Hutchinson, and then as the Director of Human Resources for the Office of the Governor, who at the time was Governor George W. Bush. When Governor Bush was elected President, she was invited to join him in the White House, where she served as Special Assistant to the President and Associate Director of Presidential Personnel. Her portfolio included managing personnel and the recruitment process for over 1,200 board and commission positions in the Federal Government. While in the position, she played a lead role in the Diversity Recruitment process and was part of the Personnel team working to increase inclusion and diversity efforts for thousands of federal government jobs. She also served as a national level expert and surrogate speaker for the President on diversity and inclusion, taking part in key round table conferences with various women and minority associations and groups in the DC area.
She then moved on to the Treasury Department, where she was an executive and chief advisory to the Secretary in the role of Deputy Assistant Secretary and Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) at the U.S. Department of Treasury. She also served as a member on the government-wide Chief Human Capital Officer’s Council, advising Congress and the President on workforce issues. Rebecca was the Chair of the Diversity Council for the Department of Treasury, and the Chair of the Hispanic and Asian Initiatives providing leadership to Treasury bureaus on key cross agency diversity initiatives. In addition, she served as co-chair of Treasury’s HRIT initiative – co-owning with the CIO the governance process for implementation of Treasury’s HRIS system HRConnect.
After fifteen years of government service, Rebecca entered the Human Capital consulting world and eventually co-founded AvantGarde as a majority partner in 2011.
Rebecca currently serves under The Partnership as a Strategic Advisor to Executives in Government – SAGE and is a Member of the Women President’s Organization (WPO) Austin Chapter. In September 2021 she was appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott as a Commissioner on the Texas Racing Commission where she is serving a three-year term. In 2018, Rebecca served on the Council of the National Businesswomen’s Council that advises the President and Congress on women business issues; during her time at NBWC she served as the Chair of the Access to Capital subcommittee. Rebecca also served a three-year term on the Board of WestPoint Military Academy and served for nine years on the Board of the American Bible Society as Chair of the Governance Committee.
In addition to leading AvantGarde, Rebecca is an accomplished speaker and author. In 2021 she released her book Lost Girl, recounting her transformative journey from a poverty-stricken childhood in a Texas border town to a career in the White House and eventually the founder of a thriving human capital firm. More information about her book, awards, and other areas of her thought leadership focus can be found at www.rebeccacontreras.com.
Rebecca is also the co-founder of LaunchPad, a non-profit foundation in Texas that supports programs and initiatives for inner city families, under privileged youth in the Austin, Texas area. Rebecca’s home base is in the Austin area where she lives with her husband of 32 years and family, while commuting regularly between her TX and DC offices.
Rebecca is honored to have been nominated and won many awards in her career:
Best CEO nomination
2019 & 2021 Austin Business Journal
Texas Latina Entrepreneurial Excellence Award
2021 Texas Small Business Summit & Gov Greg Abbott
Enterprising Woman of the Year
2020 - Enterprising Women Magazine
Top 50 “Women 2 Watch”
2019 – Women’s President Organization
“Women Profiles in Power” nomination
2017 – Austin Business Journal
What do I love about my work at AG?
I love the people at AG and how much talent we attract – we have some smart people
What do I love most about AG overall?
I love the community AG brings, this is like home for me in my career , I feel like I am making a difference