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Moe  Vela

Moe Vela

Attorney, Business Consultant, Two-Time White House Senior Advisor, Co-star of Unicorn Hunters


The staff and the co-stars on the YouTube show “Unicorn Hunters,” call Moe Vela a modern-day renaissance man. And it’s a title well deserved. Vela, who is also co-executive producer of the series, can do it all. A true multi-faceted character, he is an attorney, media commentator,  entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker and consultant. His influence is felt from the halls of Congress and the White House to corporate boardrooms, financial centers and beyond. Read More >

But it wasn’t always that way. Vela grew up on a massive ranch in South Texas, which has roots and history that truly run deep. His great-great aunt planted the first citrus tree in the Lower Rio Grande Valley at their Laguna Seca Ranch in 1882. His uncle was one of the first three federal judges of Hispanic ethnicity to sit on the bench. He came from a family who was expected to make a difference, Vela says. And yet at just seven years old, Vela realized he was gay. Not something to be when you are the son of a prominent family of ranchers in Texas in 1968. He kept his “little secret” and it became too much. By 11-years-old, he was dealing with anxiety attacks every day and was diagnosed with separation anxiety. The solution was to send him to a mental institution, which included adult patients, six hours away.

Six months later, Vela was released and had learned to play the part of a straight man. He excelled in sports, hunted, fished and did all the things that were expected of him—until he was 17 and realized he couldn’t take it anymore. After quitting the football team, he was unmercifully bullied and suicidal. What stopped him from pulling the trigger of the gun he had put to his head was the thought that he was put on this earth for a purpose. From that moment on, Vela never looked back.  

Purpose, indeed. Vela made American history by being the first Latino American and LGBTQ American to serve twice in a senior executive role in the White House–as Director of Administration and Senior Advisor to both Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden. He is the current CEO and President of the D.C.-based global consulting firm, The Vela Group.

Through all of his work, Vela has become uniquely positioned at the epicenter of where law, politics, business and finance intersect. And “Unicorn Hunters?” The show, which gives business founders a global platform to pitch to millions of investors and viewers around the world, is a bonafide hit with an audience of more than 14.5 million.

Vela is often heard as a keynote speaker and is a frequent contributor or quoted in articles in the Associated PressFortuneForbesThe GuardianThe HillINC magazine, Yahoo FinanceEntrepreneur and The Daily Mail, to name a few. Vela is often seen on Fox, Fox Business, Yahoo Finance TV and BBC, among other national and global news outlets. He is also the host of his own podcast “In the Know With Moe.”

He has been named one of the “Top 100 Hispanics in America” by Hispanic Business magazine and was twice named as one of the “101 Most Influential Latinos” by Latino Leaders magazine. He was also named one of Washington’s Top 300 Insiders by the National Journal, as well as, named to the Powermeter 100 –the Washington area’s most influential individuals for Hispanic communities by El Tiempo Latino, a Washington Post publication.

Vela earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Texas at Austin and his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law. Vela is the author of the best-selling book, Little Secret, Big Dreams. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Highlight Reel

Speech Topics

Moe Knows: Everyone Has a Place at the Table

Growing up in a prominent Hispanic, Catholic family on a ranch in South Texas, Moe Vela never felt he belonged. He knew his parents would in no way accept that he was gay and he was bullied to the point of suicide by his former best friends for being different. So, he kept his “little secret” for years. In this talk, Moe shares his journey from those days of being in the closet to accepting who he was and launching himself on a journey to become the first Hispanic American and first gay American to serve two senior executive roles in the White House to multiple senior executive roles to being a panelist and co-executive producer of the hit YouTube show “Unicorn Hunters.” Full of inspiration and humor, Moe gives hope to anyone who is different and shows them why they need to believe in themselves, understand who they are and realize that everyone has a place at the table.

Moe Knows: Finding a Job You’ll Love

Is it possible to have a successful career doing the work you love? Moe Vela, a highly successful attorney, business consultant, two-time White House Senior Advisor and Co-star and Co-executive Producer of Unicorn Hunters, knows it’s true. In this talk, Moe gives students the strategies they need to find their dream careers. Moe shares his personal journey, the power of pivoting, plus the characteristics and traits you need to possess to be able to get up every morning and do what you love. Incredibly motivating and inspiring, plus a lot of fun, Moe lays out the foundation for happiness and success at work and at home.

Moe Knows: the Keys to Building Meaningful Connective Relationships in Business & Our Personal Lives

For Moe Vela, Attorney, Business Consultant, Two-time White House Senior Advisor and Co-star of Unicorn Hunters, the secret to success in business and life is simple: build meaningful, connective relationships. In this talk, Moe discusses the importance of deep connectivity and why it needs to be foundational to everything you do, whether with your spouse, family and friends, or boss, employees and customers. He’ll also give you the tools to get started, including effective relationship-building strategies.

Moe Knows: Healthcare Challenges, Problems & Solutions

As Director of Administration and Senior Advisor to both Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden, Moe Vela had a place at the table when healthcare policies were being created. He learned an incredible amount. Add to that, all the interviews he did with many healthcare experts and that his brother is CEO of the largest hospital in South Texas, and his knowledge deepened even more, as well as giving him a different perspective on the problems we’re facing. In this talk, Moe discusses the biggest issue he sees—access to quality medical care—and how we can improve it, along with health equity, fighting big pharma and price disparities.

Moe Knows: How to Motivate Your Team

It’s no secret that companies with motivated team members are winning. Study after study has shown that engaged employees are less likely to resign, burn out or call in sick. They are also more creative, productive and loyal—all that lead to more profitability. And yet, only about one-third of employees in the U.S. feel engaged at work. So how can you fire up your team? In this keynote, Moe Vela, who has vast experience leading teams, including two stints at the White House, senior executive roles at several organizations and leading his own companies—will give you the tools to get started. It’s not all about the perks and benefits, he says. The foundation for success is building meaningful connectivity in the workplace and in our personal lives. Full of passion, energy, inspiration and humor, Moe will motivate you to begin connecting to others, whether colleagues, employees, consumers, spouse or family.

Moe Knows: Implementing an Effective DEI Program at Your Company

In today’s business world, DEI in the workplace has become as necessary as any other workplace tool. Ensuring that everyone has a seat at the table is critically important to future success, employee retention and recruitment. Just ask Moe Vela, who possesses a deep understanding of DEI. In fact, he has been an advocate for DEI since being invited to become chief financial officer, as well as his senior advisor on Hispanic and LGBTQ affairs, by Vice President Al Gore in 1996. Throughout the years, he’s developed countless effective DEI programs and has become an expert on the topic. In fact, on his hit YouTube series “Unicorn Hunters,” in which he co-stars and co-executive produces, two of the three producers are Hispanic, two of the panelists are gay and several have immigrant backgrounds. If you want to know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to DEI in the workplace, as well as why it’s important, this keynote is for you.

Moe Knows: Corporations and the Intersection of Policy, Politics, Government, Finance, Corporate Responsibility & Social Impact

What is the role of corporations in the multi-dynamic setting that is our country today? In this keynote, Moe Vela, a longtime Washington insider, discusses how companies can successfully play at the intersection of policy, politics, government, finance, corporate responsibility and social impact; what’s their position in this new environment; and how they can fit into a global society when boundaries are quickly disappearing.