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Don't take too much risk...or too little, advises the 2011 Porras Latino Leadership Award winner

Don't take too much risk ... or too little, advises Mike Aviles, MBA 1990, the 2011 Porras Latino Leadership Award winner. "Take what risk you're comfortable with. The ones who distinguish themselves … figured out what to pursue and took appropriate chances".

Versatile, turnaround expert, energetic, personable. Those are just a few of the adjectives used to describe Mike A. Aviles. But if you ask him, Aviles would rather use the word “lucky."

Aviles accepted the Jerry I. Porras Latino Leadership Award at a banquet hosted Feb. 26 by the Stanford GSB Hispanic Business Students Association. It was the 15th time the association has honored an alumnus who has made a significant contribution to the business and Latino communities.

Aviles, a resident of Austin, Texas, isn't the shortstop for the Kansas City Royals, as he is quick to tell you, but an executive with a track record for managing companies selling products as diverse as software and sunglasses. From 2006 to 2009 he was president and CEO of Vignette Corp., a major player in the enterprise content management industry. Currently, he heads his own consulting firm, Grow2Day LLC.

He has been active in the Young Presidents Association and with the Stanford Business School Alumni Association and mentorship programs. In Austin, he has served on the board of trustees of St. Edward's University.

If he has a passion, Aviles said in his brief remarks at the banquet, it is for education.

"I was born in Puerto Rico, raised in New York, and neither of my parents graduated from college but [they] understood the value of a college education," he said. While at Stanford, he worked with the East Palo Alto schools and with the Breakthrough Collaborative, which helps low-income students pursue careers in education.

Stanford holds "a special place in my heart," he said, and it has had a "tremendous impact on my career and life."

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