IBC’s senior VP considered an inspiration for local women’s empowerment

Sitting in her office at the International Bank of Commerce downtown McAllen, which is lined with plaques, trophies, medals and certificates, Dora Brown insists she’s a “boring person.”

The senior vice president and chief marketing officer of IBC has worked in banking for 33 years — 28 of which she’s spent at IBC, and over the years has garnered a reputation in the community as a philanthropist.

One of the recognitions surrounding her office is the Paul Harris Fellow award, which she said is one of her favorites. The award is usually reserved for members of the Pharr Rotary Club, to which she was only a volunteer.

She earned it by volunteering her time and money for their Christmas benefit, where they donated $1,000 worth of groceries to families in need. When the members tried to shop with that budget they couldn’t stay under $2,000, she said.

“I don’t know how I did it, but by the grace of God I would buy so much groceries for each family and at the end I’d come up with extra money,” she said. “I loved doing it; it feels good to do it.”

After all those years of charity work, Brown still feels that there’s much to be done in the Rio Grande Valley, but there’s also a lot of progress to be proud of.

“There’s a lot of need here,” she said. “I see that the kids are starting at a young age becoming prepared to graduate from high school, go to college, which is something you didn’t see before. … They’re breaking the chain of poverty. I’m not saying we’re there — there’s still a lot of work to be done — but with the help of the good people of McAllen we can do it.”

Most recently, Brown has found herself involved in Catholic Charities. Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, said Brown is a “wonderful person and a successful leader.”

The two took a trip to the Vatican earlier this year and received a personal blessing from Pope Francis.

Sarah Sagredo-Hammond, owner of Atlas Electrical, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration & Plumbing Services Inc., nominated Brown for consideration in The Monitor’s Women We Love series, and has worked with her on a number of charity functions.

“She truly wants every single woman to succeed,” she said. “I think Dora Brown is one of the women who started to pave the way for the Rio Grande Valley. I think she should be honored for being one of those true leaders in our community.”

In observance of Women’s History Month, The Monitor is recognizing local women who inspire us. This is the fifth of eight profiles on those who made our 2018 list of “Women We Love,” a series we’ll publish every Monday and Thursday in March.