Gonzalo Palza

CEO and Head Start Director

A visible, passionate advocate for educational equity for minority students, Gonzalo's service and leadership have made a positive impact on children and families in Utah for more than a decade. He led in the restoration of Centro de la Familia with a small, dedicated group of Centro employees, recovering multi-million-dollar funding cycles for the agency.

Prior to his appointment at Centro, Gonzalo was actively involved with the development of minority assistance organizations. He is the founding Chair of the Pete Suazo Business Center and served as Utah District Director with SCORE, the SBA’s national service corps of retired executives. His academic terms include a faculty position with Salt Lake Community College and a business advisor to Western Governors University. Gonzalo served on the boards of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, the Salvation Army, the Academy for Math, Engineering and Science (AMES), and serves on the Wells Fargo Bank Community Board in an advisory capacity.

Gonzalo was born in Bolivia and moved to Salt Lake City after a successful management career in corporate finance with the Latin America division of Otis Elevator Company. He holds an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and a Bachelor of Science from Utah State University. He lives in Draper, Utah.

Gonzalo Palza (McBride) is a direct descendant of Abigail (Mead) McBride, who at 77 years of age, in 1847, was among the first and perhaps oldest of the women to have crossed the plains to Utah [1]. Her son, George McBride, Gonzalo’s three-times-great grandfather, was shot and scalped by Bannock Indians in 1858 while trying to recover the herd at Fort Lemhi, the Salmon River Valley Mormon Mission in Idaho. [2]

[1] Family Search Documents, Abigail Mead, familysearch.org
[2] Bigler, David, Kingdom in the West Series, Fort Limhi, The Mormon Adventure in the Oregon Territory 1855-1858, Spokane Washington, The Arthur H. Clark Co., 2003