MCALLEN, RGV – IBC Bank hosted their first “Women of Purpose” social mixer in recognition of National Women’s History Month.

The mixer drew a crowd of over 200 women to IBC Bank’s main branch in McAllen, where they enjoyed food, drinks and an inspirational keynote speech from Weslaco native and author Catia Hernandez Holm.

“Today is a celebration of ‘women of purpose,’ and by that we mean women who get out there, that are bold, that try to make the community a better place, that start their own businesses, that are empowered to keep going no matter what and just make it work and persevere,” said Dru LaMantia, board member of the Boys & Girls Club of McAllen. “And, with March being [National] Women’s [History] Month, we felt what an appropriate time to celebrate, so that’s what this is all about.”

Dora Brown, senior vice president of marketing for IBC Bank, remarked that from judges and superintendents to business owners and heads of nonprofits, those gathered represented women “from all different places.” Women like Judge Dori Contreras; attorney Marla Cuellar; business owner Edna Posada; former congressional candidate Dolly Elizondo; district Rotary governor Betty Ramirez-Lara; and Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, all came out for the occasion.

“What you have here is a lot of power – women power!” said Brown. “We wanted to bring them all together to celebrate them and tell them ‘thank you for everything that you do.’”

Adrian Villarreal, the newly appointed president and CEO of IBC Bank-McAllen, spoke to the crowd about the one of the most influential women in his life: his mother.

“My mom is extremely talented, extremely smart, but she never had the opportunity to go to college,” said Villarreal. “And, back then, you worked for your family.”

Villarreal shared that despite growing up in poverty, his mother was the positive force behind his success. It came full circle when he announced that he would be following in his twin brother Al’s footsteps by becoming an IBC Bank president.

“She said ‘Son, I never imagined growing up poor, practically living on a dirt floor, that my two boys would be presidents of the largest bank in the Rio Grande Valley,’” said Villarreal. “And, I told her – and I really mean this – I said ‘Mom, it’s a reflection of you.’ Because it is. She’s a leader, right? And, the impact that these women have in our community, in our businesses, in our families, in our churches – you just can’t measure it. So, it’s about time we had an event like this, don’t you think?”

Hernandez Holm closed the evening by reminding the women that in the midst of doing all the things they do, they need to take some time for themselves to experience joy.

“You are each a gift, and you are each full of amazing possibilities,” said Hernandez Holm. “No matter the age, no matter the stage, no matter the obstacles in your way, joy is for you … If you walk with that energy, that joy is contagious. You will not be able to help but to change the world around you if you are walking in light.”