Made in Manhattan: Meet the Avilas
Posted 8.2.17Their Weatherhead experience was 12 years removed, but an unexpected encounter at a Weatherhead Alumni Reception in New York City started their journey together.
It all began with martinis in Manhattan.
Actually, and maybe less romantically, the beginning of Liz and Eugene Avila’s story begins in Cleveland in the fall of 1992. That was the year Eugene began the Weatherhead MBA program. Twelve years later, Liz Mundy would come to Weatherhead to study and ultimately obtain a masters of accountancy degree, graduating in 2006. Their paths, however, wouldn’t sync for several more years.
“I decided to come to Case Western Reserve for several reasons, but was particularly intrigued by the international student body,” Eugene shared during a recent telephone conversation.
“I had a terrific time at Weatherhead and really made some lifelong friends. There was really something of a renaissance happening in Cleveland at the time —The Flats was the place —it was wonderful.”
After graduation, Eugene returned to his hometown of New York City and began a successful career in investment banking and private equity, ultimately settling in to his current profession as a financial advisor in 2006. Liz, an Ohio native, attended Weatherhead to study accounting. “I loved all of my accounting classes and the electives were great. I pursued the entrepreneurship elective path—Gorilla, VCs, valuations, guest speakers—it was really inspiring and an awesome class.”
After completing her degree, Liz moved to Washington, D.C., to begin her consulting career with EY. She spent several years in D.C. before making the move to New York City. “Some colleagues at EY convinced me to make the jump to New York,” said Liz, when we caught up with her over the phone.
“I wasn’t particularly involved with the Weatherhead alumni network when I lived in D.C., but when I moved to New York, I began to attend some of the networking events.” It was at one such event that their lives connected.
“Weatherhead was hosting a reception at 30 Rockefeller Center, which is right across the street from my office, and one of my classmates had helped plan the event. So, I was definitely going to stop by,” recalled Eugene.
Funny enough, the event was also right across the street from Liz’s office. “I was just going to go for a little bit,” Liz shared. “I had an upcoming half-marathon on the west coast and was flying out of town the next day, so hadn’t planned to stay long. I was standing near the bar with a martini when I heard, ‘Thank goodness someone else is drinking a martini!’ It was Eugene,” laughed Liz.
The two exchanged pleasantries and discussed their professional lives post-Weatherhead. Leaving with one another’s business cards, they committed to reconnect professionally, as Liz was exploring options to transition into financial advising. After a few months, they reconnected and quickly hit if off, chatting for hours.
“It was clear he was interested, but I wasn’t sure I was looking for a relationship. But, shortly thereafter, he called with two tickets to Swan Lake, center row, and we’ve been together ever since!”
Their marriage and life together has been fueled by a love for travel and adventure, having visited The Philippines, Japan, China, Russia, Belize, Guatemala, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Argentina, Malaysia, Colombia, Nicaragua, United Kingdom, Belgium, Iceland, Vietnam, Cambodia and Australia.
Married in 2012, they welcomed their first daughter, Olivia, in 2014. In fact, it was on a family trip to Argentina when Liz and Eugene received the surprise of their lives. “I remember we were wine-tasting and I really wasn’t feeling very well. I immediately went to the doctor when we returned home and we were informed that I was very pregnant . . . with triplets!” remembered Liz.
In 2016, the couple welcomed Theodore, Matthew (identical twin boys) and Eleanor (fraternal) to their family. One quickly became four, all under the age of two! But, parenting young children has not slowed them down. They have had the opportunity to travel as a family to Argentina, Belgium, Belize, France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom.
“Life is crazy and very hectic, but we’ve definitely been blessed,” said Liz. And, the family still travels all around the world. “Maybe not as frequently, but we definitely make a scene wherever we go!”
Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University cultivates creativity, innovation, and purpose-driven leadership to design a better world.