Featured Rotarian: José Vera
President, Rotary Club of Los Angeles
José Vera is the President of the Rotary Club of Los Angeles. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, his parents brought him to the United States when he was eleven years of age. His mother was a teacher and his father a parking attendant. They brought their son to this country to give him the opportunity to succeed.
José attended the Packer Collegiate Institute, a private high school in New York City, on an academic scholarship. It was an hour subway ride from his family’s apartment, but it gave him the opportunity to study at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He earned his degree in Economics, but managed to get a Minor in Mechanical Engineering as well.
José is the Managing Director with Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, and has fifteen years of public finance investment banking experience. He maintains FINRA Series 7, 52 and 63 licenses. He has negotiated numerous bond issues for public agencies in California and Nevada.
As a hobby, Jose enjoys cycling, both mountain biking and road cycling. He was a world champion unicyclist, and as a child he competed internationally, traveling to Japan and Canada for competitions. Upon his arrival in America he was crushed to learn that unicycling was not very cool. On a much different level, José also participates in Girl Scout activities with his two daughters, and plays monster trucks with his son.
José is not the only member of the Vera family with a connection to the Rotary Club of
Los Angeles. His wife, Erica, attended Garfield High School in East Los Angeles and was a LA5 Scholarship Recipient in 1995. She later graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in Political Science and Spanish, and continued her education at UCLA with a Master’s Degree in Education. She helped open the first charter high school in Los Angeles (Animo Leadership Charter High School), and now works with the non-profit College Match to help deserving high-achieving inner city students achieve their dreams of a college education and a better life.
José and Erica reside in the Mt. Washington neighborhood of Los Angeles.