Education: Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Universidad Metropolitana, Caracas, Venezuela and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Southern Indiana.
Resume: Product researcher, Procter & Gamble Latin America, 1996-1997; product researcher, Mead Johnson, 2000; production/process engineer and lean manufacturing leader, GE Plastics, 2001-2007; corporate training and development manager, Berry Plastics, 2007-2008; advanced manufacturing program director, director of the Center for Applied Research and Economic Development, and Director of Opportunity Development, 2008-2019, University of Southern Indiana; vice president, Vidal Plastics, 2019-2020; chancellor, Ivy Tech Community College Evansville Campus, 2020-present.
Hometown: Caracas, Venezuela
Family: Husband Alfonso and three children, Alfonso Enrique, 21, Isabella, 19, and Martin Eduardo, 14.
Innovation and education are no strangers to Daniela Vidal. For more than 20 years, the Venezuelan native has built a career on creating new things and changing the culture. Whether that be in the manufacturing and research and development industries or in the fabric of the city through the nonprofit organization HOLA Evansville, which was started by Vidal, her husband Alfonso, and three others in 2002. “Invariably, what I enjoy the most and what I’ve always loved the most is innovation and creating something new, creating new paths wherever I’m at,” she says.
What is one of your biggest goals coming into the chancellor position at Ivy Tech?
Ivy Tech has always been a beacon of hope for many in the Latino community, so this is a great opportunity to continue to do things I’ve loved to do for many years. I want to continue to build from that strong foundation to be that beacon of hope for the community.
One vision is reaching out to a lot of our hidden communities, a lot that are not even counted when you look at unemployment. So how do we ensure we have accessible opportunities for those hidden communities — which may include your rural, incarcerated, immigrant, and poverty communities or ones that don’t even see higher education as an option or way to advance or have a career.
Also, making sure we keep our kids here — that’s one of the biggest things I’ve always worked very hard to do. How do we keep our kids here and how do we get them to come back to southern Indiana because there are opportunities here; there is growth and excitement.
In terms of cultural diversity, what effects have you seen in the city come from HOLA?
A lot of the things we did at the beginning were about cultural understanding — going to EVSC, working with the police department, working with city mayors, and addressing health concerns of the Latino community. It’s always been about blazing a trail to get the Latino community and our general community to work together. I think now there are a lot more resources.
Evansville has been your home for 22 years — what have you enjoyed most about how the city has changed?
We really have always loved Evansville and the opportunities that Evansville has afforded us. I think it’s just the ability of this community where all you have to do is raise your hand and say, “I want to help” and boom. You can do anything.
When the city was looking at the branding campaign, one of the consultants presented words that described the community and there was one word I thought was perfect — ownable. That’s exactly what describes our experience here — you can own your destiny in this community.