Before Olivia Travieso ’07 was an official Southwestern student, she came to campus to attend the National Hispanic Institute’s (NHI’s) Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session. Through this nationally recognized program, Travieso developed key leadership skills, learned how to make a difference in her community, and made valuable—and life-changing—connections.

Today, Travieso is a partner at OCI Group, a San Antonio-based social purpose consulting firm that she co-founded with five fellow NHI alumni. She works to help clients positively impact their community through their day-to-day operations and helps lead the firm’s public affairs and public policy initiatives. She also has been the chief communications and outreach strategist, serving diverse clients in the business and nonprofit sectors.

“Olivia is someone who is driven by excellence. She approaches everything she does with energy and purpose, and she inspires everyone she meets because of her ability to empathize and collaborate with the people who are lucky to be in her life,” says Anita Fernandez ’06, another of the firm’s co-founders. “She is simply one of the most creative and visionary people I have ever encountered.”

After graduating from Southwestern with a bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies and political science, Travieso went on to earn her Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. She also completed the Nonprofit Studies Portfolio Program through the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service. She co-founded OCI Group while still in graduate school, and in 2020, she and her partners founded OCI Development, a real estate development company focused on providing high-quality, affordable housing throughout Texas.

Travieso is a current board member of the Bexar County Education Coalition, which seeks to influence education policy at the state level, and Port San Antonio, a large technology and innovation campus. She also serves on the City of San Antonio’s executive committee for the Aspen Institute Latino and Society Program’s City Learning and Action Lab, which aims to support small businesses and entrepreneurs within predominantly Latino communities.

“I work almost daily with Olivia as principals of an initiative called ESTAR West, an effort to stimulate small business as an economic development strategy in marginalized neighborhoods,” says Henry Cisneros, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and chairman of the program’s executive committee. “I can say honestly that I have never met a person at any level of my experience in business and government who is better at organizing logic and presenting solutions to interwoven problems.”

For almost 20 years, Travieso has volunteered with NHI, working with hundreds of high school students who aspire to serve in community and civic leadership roles. She also has served as an educational director for several of the organization’s national leadership programs held at university campuses throughout the U.S. and Mexico.

“At a time when our nation is being split into various ideological camps that threaten our understanding of democracy as a people, we desperately need many more Olivias who work tirelessly to make sure that success is much more than a title, monetary gain, and social status,” says Ernesto Nieto ’64, NHI president and co-founder. “Many thanks and gratitude go to the Olivias of the world who make civic engagement, service to others, and inclusion of fairness in public policy a part of their life calling.”

Travieso was named a 2023 40 Under 40 honoree by the San Antonio Business Journal. She also received the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 2023 Inspire Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions and achievements as a woman entrepreneur.

For her exceptional leadership in her community and unwavering commitment to the greater social good, the Southwestern University Alumni Association is proud to honor Olivia Travieso with the Distinguished Professional Award.