Future-Proofing Enterprises: Providing a Path to Transformation

Top 10 Empowering Women Leaders to Follow in 2024

“Success is not static but a constantly evolving concept that reflects our aspirations at every stage of life,” feels Pilar Mendiola-Fernández, the Group Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer of the Experts Advisory Council of Alamo Solutions Holding Group and Experts Advisory. For her, achieving true success requires pursuing a purposeful life that blends her abilities, aptitudes, passion, meaningful connections, and intentional spiritual practice. In today’s dynamic world, she believes navigating challenges with grace, building resilience, and surrounding herself with a supportive network is crucial. This holistic approach might be the secret behind her well-deserved spot among the “Top 10 Empowering Women Leaders to Follow in 2024.”

As CEO of the Experts Advisory Council (EAC), Pilar wears many hats. She provides strategic leadership, fosters collaboration, and builds robust ties. This doyen ensures the organization’s financial health and acts as its face to the world, attracting new opportunities. Although she has effortlessly established her versatility, she considers a few roles and responsibilities the most important aspects of her profession and life. The EAC ranks at the top. As its tagline reads, ‘We Are The Experts On Experts,’ its purpose is to assist C-Suite and committee members through in-depth discourse. From renewable energies to the adoption of AI and carbon markets, you name it; everything is within its purview and tackled with its dynamic approach.

“Experts Advisory Council is where I sit and work with Europe’s most visionary and forward-looking CEOs and Boards. It revolves around assembling dream teams of cognoscenti to tackle their high-impact strategies, endeavors, and conundrums. The aim is to future-proof their plans and initiatives with the world’s top experts from the respective fields,” Pilar proudly shares. It is a process that continues year-round. Now, EAC is expanding its reach and moving to the United States. She wants to leave a significant mark and ensure the council’s continued success.

But her impact goes beyond one title. As COO of the Holding Group, she spearheads a comprehensive transformation across all units. She constantly innovates, from boosting operational efficiency to embracing digital transformation and ethical AI. Pilar cultivates a culture of learning and growth within the company while forging strategic partnerships to expand its reach and impact. Every decision this astute professional makes is guided by their core values: agility, sustainability, and innovation. This ensures that they stay true to their purpose and continue to redefine the industry positively.

Seeds of Purpose: A Young Dreamer’s Spark

From a young age, Pilar’s heart burned with a desire to help others and share knowledge. Volunteering wasn’t just a chore; it was a wellspring of accomplishment where she saw the tangible impact of her efforts. It wasn’t just about helping but empowering others through knowledge. This passion manifested in the childhood “classes” she held for her sister and friends, where she nurtured their curiosity and fostered a love for learning.

With each passing year, Pilar’s abilities flourished. College ignited her thoughtful mind, revealing a knack for visualizing and collaborating to achieve goals. These early experiences instilled a core value: continuous learning fueled by a desire for positive impact. This wasn’t just a wish; it became a guiding star in her career choices.

Pilar’s dream wasn’t simply to succeed in a career but to make a meaningful contribution to the world, leaving a lasting constructive bearing on lives. This ambition led her down diverse paths. She started in the non-profit sector, directly serving communities in need. But her thirst for impact didn’t stop there. Social entrepreneurship beckoned, offering a different lens to create change. Today, she supports corporations with sustainability expertise, proving that profitability and positive impact can coexist.

Challenges That Shaped a Leader

Stepping into the professional arena as a young, ambitious woman, Pilar faced hurdles defining her leadership style. Earning respect and a seat at the table often felt like an uphill battle. To overcome the perception of being “young and inexperienced,” she meticulously over-prepared, exceeding expectations and demonstrating her value through relentless hard work. Traveling internationally amplified these challenges, placing her as the lone female voice in many rooms. Undeterred, she developed a bold, defiant presence, refusing to be silenced.

Fortune smiled upon Pilar in the form of a supportive mentor, a leader who recognized her initiative and dedication. Fueled by this encouragement, she poured countless hours into honing her skills and tackling challenges head-on. Building high-performing teams and achieving audacious goals became her resolute focus.

At 27, a seemingly impossible feat materialized: Pilar shattered the glass ceiling, becoming part of an all-white, male C-suite club. Her confidence and poise flourished as she interacted with CEOs, ambassadors, Presidents, and Prime Ministers. But the journey wasn’t without its ongoing struggles, particularly in her current environment where female representation in leadership roles remains scarce. Despite these obstacles, Pilar draws strength from the lessons learned in her early career, channeling the “fearless and unapologetic” energy and mindset of that young woman in Washington, D.C., to efficiently traverse the complex terrain of obstacles and emerge as a formidable and consequential leader.

Alamo Solutions: Where Sustainability Meets Growth

Empowering leaders, fostering opportunity, and driving sustainable prosperity – that’s the mission of Alamo Solutions Holding Group, a leading provider of sustainable business development services headquartered in Washington, D.C. With operations spanning the U.S., Latin America, Spain, and Portugal, they believe in aligning economic growth with environmental and social responsibility.

Tailored Expertise for Every Stage:

  • Expert Advisory Council (EAC): FUTURE PROOFING ENTERPRISES: EAC connects C-suite and board members with pre-vetted, top-tier experts in their fields, tackling pressing issues and high-impact initiatives. Annual memberships provide curated roundtables featuring leading voices, ensuring informed decision-making.
  • ALAMO Solutions Strategic Initiatives Development Firm: Partner with them for strategic planning, ESG & CSR enhancement, sustainable plan design, global network expansion, circular economy practices, and diversity & equity promotion. Their expertise empowers you to achieve sustainable business growth while achieving social impact.
  • Alamo Solutions Investments: Seeking profitable investments aligned with sustainability goals? Alamo Solutions leverages its extensive network to identify and develop opportunities, ensuring both financial and environmental benefits.
  • Advanced Leadership Foundation: Bridging the sustainability skills gap, the Foundation provides essential training for future and executive leaders. Their programs empower individuals to integrate sustainability into their organizations, driving positive change.

Committed to excellence, Alamo Solutions drives sustainable prosperity for clients and partners, building a better future together. They are not just building businesses; they are building a better future.

From Setback to Strength Solutions Navigates the Storm

Reflecting on a career season with both triumphs and trials, Pilar acknowledges that setbacks are inevitable in any profession. For Alamo Solutions, the pandemic presented a particularly daunting obstacle, demanding a complete reconstruction of a struggling unit. Decisive leadership and a clear vision were crucial. The company undertook a strategic overhaul of its operational structure, focusing on bolstering corporate resilience in the face of uncertainty.

This experience became a crucible, teaching them the invaluable lessons of agile leadership and the power of effective teamwork. Despite the hurdles, the Alamo Solutions team emerged stronger and more resilient. They implemented holding group-level improvements, standardizing procedures, enhancing learning policies, and adopting cloud-based accountability tools. These changes facilitated seamless remote work operations across diverse countries and time zones.

As Pilar aptly states, “Intentionality is a game-changer.” This philosophy served as the guiding light for Alamo Solutions, empowering it into a more indomitable entity capable of thriving in a changing landscape.

Partnership, Potential, Purpose: The Pilar Way

Throughout her versatile career, Pilar has consistently empowered communities, organizations, and leaders to reach their full potential. Spanning industries and continents, she has championed experiential learning initiatives for underserved communities while fostering international relationships through people-to-people diplomacy. Her persistent focus lies in unlocking untapped potential and building genuine partnerships.

Driven by an insatiable appetite for knowledge and guided by integrity and high standards, Pilar delivers results that impact individuals and communities alike. As she often says, “Integrity and high standards are a necessary condition for performance,” a belief she exemplifies in her work.

As a woman in leadership, Pilar’s journey is marked by transformative experiences and a global perspective. Working across continents in diverse sectors, she emphasizes the importance of understanding before being understood and approaching life with curiosity. This has led her to value assertiveness and confidence while steadfastly committing to a positive impact. She has learned that intentionality and high standards are crucial for achieving meaningful results.

One key lesson from her journey is the profound impact of female role models. Recognizing the importance of “aspirational capital,” she strives to be “one who represents 100,” actively creating pathways and dismantling barriers for women in leadership and beyond. As the axiom goes, “Your actions are so loud that I can’t hear what you are saying,” a philosophy she personifies by aligning her actions with her intentions.

Driven by a firm determination and a passion for creating positive change, this alacritous catalyst is paving the way for a future where opportunities abound and women can thrive.

Launching Women from Campus to Career Powerhouse

From the outset, Pilar found her calling at The Washington Center (TWC), where she spent decades igniting the futures of young professionals. This non-profit powerhouse equips students with the skills and experiences they crave in today’s globalized world.

But Pilar wasn’t just a leader. She was a champion, especially for women. She held key roles for two decades and built programs transforming thousands of lives. Two initiatives stand out: the Women’s Empowerment Initiative and the Veterans Employment Trajectory Initiative. These programs empowered women of all backgrounds, equipping them with the tools to flourish in their careers and beyond.

Pilar’s dedication doesn’t stop at programs. She’s a fierce advocate, trainer, sponsor, and supporter, believing in the power of lifting women up in her circle, team, and the wider ecosystem. She shows up with unbridled passion, knowing that every action creates ripple effects of positive change.

Life Before Alamo Solutions

Before joining Alamo Solutions, Pilar built a 23-year legacy in the non-profit world. Witnessing the life-altering power of opportunity, she played a key role in The Washington Center’s explosive growth, scaling its budget from $4 million to a staggering $21 million. Her initiatives empowered underserved communities, offering life-changing experiences to thousands.

This female professional then shifted gears, embracing social innovation and supporting startups and entrepreneurs in amplifying their impact. This journey reflects her unwavering commitment: forging partnerships, unlocking potential, and creating lasting change.

Her partnerships spanned the globe, connecting Prime Ministers, CEOs of corporations, the higher education community, the federal government, and civil society across 102 countries. This powerful network emboldened thousands of young professionals, equipping them with skills that transformed not only their careers but also their communities. Pilar feels immensely privileged to have witnessed these transformations firsthand.

“I’ve embraced diverse roles throughout my career, from leadership positions in non-profits to supporting social impact startups,” Pilar articulates. Each phase has provided her with invaluable lessons, fostering continuous learning and driving meaningful societal contributions. This journey has cemented her belief in collaboration and innovation as the engines of game-changing breakthrough.

Building Teams that Soar: Pilar’s Practice for Success

Pilar’s approach to leadership isn’t about individual brilliance but about harnessing collective action’s power: Teamship. Forget about lone wolves – success comes when everyone rows together, sharing responsibility and communicating openly.

A truly motivated and evolving team thrives on trust and nurturing a sense of belonging for her. This means fostering an environment where everyone feels valued and heard, where mutual respect and appreciation for each other’s skills flourish, and where unconscious biases are actively challenged. Remember, “Don’t believe everything you think” applies here too!

Pilar believes in creating a culture of alignment on direction, radical transparency, and shared accountability. This space allows team members to appreciate and value each other’s unique strengths, fueling collaboration and collective learning.

It’s about moving beyond individual achievements and nurturing an interdependent mindset. By working towards a shared goal, the team becomes a steamship driven by trust, propelling everyone to unprecedented heights.

Work-Life Harmony: Ritual, Structure, and Passion

This experienced executive balances work and life with a structured yet flexible routine. Mornings start at 5:15 am with a mind-body-spirit ritual for focus. Work weeks are split: 3 days for meetings and 2 for intensive deep work divided across responsibilities. Evenings are for personal growth and meditation to recharge. Staying motivated comes from a passion for learning, positive change, and connections. Discussing trends, strategies and books with her sister and learning about the interconnection between the mind, brain, emotions, and actions with friends recharges her soul. This intentional approach prioritizes structure, soulful moments and a meaningful life.

Vision for Alamo Solutions

Alamo Solutions embarks on a transformative journey toward Sustainable Economic Prosperity. By integrating sustainability into core practices, they unlock the potential for social impact. Their framework enables businesses to grow economically while reducing environmental impact. Additionally, through our work with the Advanced Leadership Foundation, we aim to solidify our commitment to sustainable leadership by partnering with the IFC of the World Bank to deliver impactful training programs like the Green Leaders Accelerator.

Pilar, CEO of the Experts Advisory Council (EAC), highlights the crucial work done in these extraordinary times. Their dynamic approach, offering customized expertise without long-term commitments, meets urgent business needs. Witnessing the impact of talented teams collaborating with visionary European leaders inspires her. Pilar feels privileged to be part of this transformation and looks forward to a bright future.

Personal Goal

Guided by the wisdom “Your eyes can’t find what your mind is not looking for,” Pilar embarks on a personal mission. Her goals echo a lifelong passion: forging meaningful partnerships, unlocking potential, embracing learning, and sharing knowledge.

She envisions an exhilarating future where AI and humans join forces. This partnership, she believes, can redefine journeys and amplify positive impact within communities. However, this visionary authority emphasizes the importance of strategic AI partnerships and workforce upskilling for ethical implementation.

The imminent realm inspires awe, Pilar acknowledges. While technology may displace some jobs, it also creates opportunities for a broader range of ages and backgrounds. Individuals, particularly those from underserved communities, will have access to new skills and better jobs. This, for her, is a once-in-a-generation chance for entire communities to thrive.

As a seasoned leader, Pilar is determined to guide others on this transformative journey. Her overarching ambition: Empowering Organizations with Strategic Vision and Tools for Continuous Evolution and Sustainable Growth.

Message to Aspiring Women Leaders

To aspiring female leaders, Pilar offers a simple and powerful message: “Embrace and love the version of yourself that exists today.”  She emphasizes the importance of self-love and advises against postponing it until achieving milestones. She stresses that they are already perfect as they are and should resist comparing themselves to others. This virtuoso also mentions her blog titled “The Modern Rule,” which underlines the importance of following one’s own path, way, and timeline.

Pilar encourages budding female leaders to disregard external expectations that don’t align with their true selves and instead focus on discovering and amplifying their own voices. She acknowledges the discomfort of transitions but underlines its role in growth and development. Pilar advises surrounding themselves with supportive souls who celebrate them unconditionally and are curious about the world. She reportedly underscores the importance of self-belief, stating, “You have to serve from a full tank,” and that embracing their worth and power will inspire others and lead to personal evolution. This adept professional concludes by urging these aspirants to “accept and embody the entirety of your being, embrace your complexities, your strengths, your vulnerabilities — this is your superpower. which is the essence of a woman’s true leadership. Commit to your evolution, inspire others and lead with authenticity.