Rose Benavidez 


Rose Benavidez embodies the spirit of tireless dedication and community-driven leadership, and she has positively impacted the Rio Grande Valley through her commitment to education, the community, and economic development.

An advocate for Hispanic empowerment, Rose’s journey has been punctuated by remarkable accolades and milestones. Her trajectory as an esteemed leader is adorned with awards and recognition for her many contributions.

“Our aim was to eliminate barriers hindering growth – high unemployment and poverty levels – by focusing on economic development and fostering education accessibility,” Rose said, reflecting on her leadership at Starr County Industrial Foundation (SCIF), where she is CEO and President. Under her leadership, SCIF catalyzed more than $3.4 billion in new private investment, created 6,100 jobs, and reduced unemployment and poverty rates.

Rose has transformed her rural community into a top domestic and foreign investment candidate. In a largely male-dominated field, Rose has been a leading figure in economic development, and her nonprofit organization continues to forge economic development opportunities.

Rose serves as President and Board Chair for the South Texas College Board of Trustees, whose vision extends to empowering individuals through education. Collaborating with South Texas College (STC), she has laid the groundwork for the region’s first blueprint to amplify workforce training and business development strategies. This initiative led to the creation of the Workforce Training Center on STC’s Starr County Campus, a cornerstone for educational progress in the region.

As Chair and throughout her years serving on the board, she has championed educational initiatives enabling over 34,000 students to access higher education every semester. She has created a college-going culture in our region.

“Education unlocks opportunities,” she said, highlighting the creation of Early College High Schools and partnerships, which already have benefited over 120,000 students and saved families $340 million.

Her dedication to mentorship and community service echoes her belief in empowering future generations. “I believe in guiding and supporting our future generations,” Rose said. She established the Manuel Benavidez, Jr. Scholarship, aiding 65+ residents and offering academic guidance.

Her accolades, from national nominations to being the first Latina Chair of the Association of Community College Trustees, signify her recognition for her tireless efforts. This year, she was honored with the Hispanic Women Making History recognition by the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas RGV Chapter. This acknowledgment again highlights her relentless dedication to breaking barriers and shaping a brighter future for her community.

“Recognition isn’t the goal. It is a testament to our collective hard work,” she said.

For Rose, success lies in transforming lives. Her most significant accomplishments are rooted in her philosophy of collaborative leadership and commitment to the community. Rose is dedicated to community service, ignites positive change, and is determined to shape a future brimming with opportunities for generations to come.

Rose attributes success to the visionary entities and individuals she collaborates with, who emphasize the transformative power of solid relationships in enhancing opportunities.

“When your actions contribute to transforming the lives of those who dream bigger, that’s a true personal accomplishment,” Rose said.

“I believe that empowerment only has the value we afford it, and that public service is not a choice, but a responsibility.”


Selene Guerrero