Walker’s Legacy Profiles recognize unique women of color in business who embody the legacy of Madam C.J. Walker, the first female self-made millionaire. In this installment, meet Gabriela Franco Parcella, President, and CEO of Mellon Capital.
Gabriela Franco Parcella is living what many would say is the “American Dream.” She is the Chairman, President, and CEO of Mellon Capital and considered as one of the 50 most powerful Latinas in 2017. Parcella comes from a family of Mexican immigrants and was born in El Paso, Texas where she studied accounting at the University of Texas at Austin and earned an MPA.
Later, Parcella earned a JD from Stanford University and began working with a San Francisco law firm as a tax attorney. She later interviewed with Mellon Capital where she would build a 20-year career in financial services, legal, operations, risk, and regulatory experience and become a key contributor to their international expansion.
In 2007 she moved from the legal field and began to move towards the business side of the organization, later that year she had been promoted to COO. She held this position for four years and began to observe how being the CEO of a large company is run by working alongside the former CEO of Mellon Capital.
“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 review presentations, which he would then modify,” said Parcella. “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.”
As years went on Parcella’s hard work and diligence led to a 2012 chairman appointment where her responsibilities focused on expanding the firm’s global presence and helping clients during an unpredictable investment.
These new opportunities did not come without its tests and challenges. Parcella did not take the common route to become a CEO, she risked her career moving from a tax law to executive leadership. With much of her family still in Mexico, she is very proud of her culture and heritage and hopes to add more diversity to the Mellon Capital company. She hopes her work and exemplary career combats the lack of diversity in her field, and others, by closing the confidence gap that is common among women and minorities.
Parcella is a Trustee and Chair of the Schools of the Sacred Heart San Francisco Board, founder of the San Francisco Region Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) and a life member of ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals for America).