COBA Alumna Climbs Corporate Ladder at PricewaterhouseCoopers
March 28, 2012
Maria Castañón Moats
By Chris Lechuga
Receiving an education from The University of Texas at El Paso is considered a family tradition for Maria Castañón Moats and her siblings and cousins. As first generation Mexican-Americans, they chose to stay in their hometown to pursue a college degree in various fields of study.
"There's a great following in the Castañón family of all of us being very involved with the University," Castañón Moats said.
Nearly 20 years after completing a bachelor's degree in accounting from UTEP, Castañón Moats earned a seat on the leadership team of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), one of the world's largest accounting firms, when she was named chief diversity officer in July.
Castañón Moats migrated to El Paso from Mexico with her family at a young age and began her college career at UTEP in 1986. After a full day of classes and working part-time at a local Wal-Mart store, she spent her time studying at the newly built University Library and playing intramural sports, where she met many new friends.
"When I think about the four years that I went to school, it was just a great experience," Castañón Moats said. "UTEP gives those students with stories like mine an opportunity."
In 1990, she became the first in her family to graduate from college when she walked across the stage to receive her UTEP degree. Soon after, she passed the exam to become a certified public accountant and left El Paso for Dallas to begin working for Bank of America. Four years later, she was hired by PwC, where her hard work and dedication immediately made a mark at the firm.
"Maria always thinks about the people on her team and how we can make their experience at the firm more positive," said Paul Gendron, North Texas market assurance leader at PwC. "She has a passion for her work at PwC, and she consistently displays this passion in everything she does for her clients and her PwC teams."
As the first Latina in her new position as chief diversity officer, Castañón Moats will focus on strategies to diversify the firm's leadership and advance the diverse talent within the company. She said her education from UTEP was critical in her development as an accountant, a professional and now a business leader.
"It was the right thing to stay in El Paso," Castañón Moats said. "I don't have a job; I have a career, and I happen to love it."