CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT, AND CEO of Mellon Capital and 2017 Orgullo de ALPFA, Gabriela "Gabby" Franco Parcella, reveals her strategy for accelerating the American Dream from within.
After two decades of extraordinary diligence, Parcella, daughter of Mexican immigrants, leads Mellon Capital, an investment management firm headquartered in San Francisco. Open and accessible, Parcella focuses on building assets with transparency and diversity, improving corporate America, and inspiring millions of Latinas to dream big by example.
Born in El Paso, Gabby studied accounting at the University of Texas at Austin and took home an MPA. It was then on to Stanford, where she earned a JD. Gabby felt drawn to tax law and joined San Francisco law firm Orrick as a tax attorney. In 1997, she interviewed at Mellon Capital.
Right away, there were signs that Mellon Capital was a place for a smart, team-playing woman to progress; of the six people she interviewed with, three were women.
Gabby liked what she saw. At that time, senior women were notably sparse at law firms, particularly in tax. Gabby quickly assessed the environment at Mellon Capital and saw herself fitting in.
Mellon Capital embraced diverse talent. Gabby secretly harbored what she then perceived as a lofty goal: "I assumed that being General Counsel was the most I could wish for. When I started in the legal department of the company nearly 20 years ago, I never thought I'd be CEO."
So, how did this happen? "I have always volunteered to do more than what is expected of me, which has been a crucial ingredient to gaining skills that I wouldn't have been able to develop in other circumstances."
In 2007, Gabby's expectations of becoming General Counsel got a major bump. She moved from junior lawyer to General Counsel, and then decided to move out of legal and joined the business side of the organization. Promoted to COO in 2007, she held the post for four years and observed how a top CEO navigates rough waters. "A perfect example is when I was the COO reporting to then-CEO Charlie Jacklin - I would volunteer to write the first draft of his business revie>v presentations, which he would then modify. When I watched him giving these presentations, I could see what he included, what he changed, and how he fielded questions. I learned so much during this process. With opportunities like that, I had a chance to gain experience that has proved invaluable in my current role."