Woman of Western Wake: Carla Mantilla

Carla Mantilla’s passion for service was sparked as a child and has burned brightly throughout her life.

She was a philanthropist long before she began her successful career in the financial services industry. But now with Credit Suisse in Raleigh, she has integrated her volunteerism and her professional career. By doing this, Mantilla has been able to enrich countless lives in her local community.

“I’ve been blessed. I’ve had a really good life, various experiences that have shaped who I am, but I think giving back has always been part of my core,” Mantilla said.

Although she’s lived in the United States for most of her life, Mantilla was born in Ecuador and has lived in Colombia, Mexico and Italy. Her father worked for Xerox in Latin America and traveled widely for work. She calls her parents great role models.

“I was always involved in various programs without knowing,” said Mantilla. “When I was a child, my mom volunteered in orphanages, and I would go with her and play with the kids who were in the orphanages. At that time, I really didn’t know that was philanthropy.”

This foundational desire to help others enabled her to cope after surviving the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City. Having recently graduated with a degree in economics, she was working for Lehman Brothers in the Twin Towers.

“That day I was very blessed that I was in a meeting in a different building, so I wasn’t there, but I was right next to [it], in the building across the street from the Twin Towers,” Mantilla said.

“It was definitely one of the most life-changing events for me.”

She saw first-hand how important it was for people to help each other, and she says that experience still informs her passion for service.

“New York came together, and I was proud to be part of that feeling. I always felt that I was moving around the world and never belonged, but when I was there, I felt that I belonged,” Mantilla said. “Humanity does come out, and neighbors help you, and you talk to people. You really see the beauty of humanity.”

When she joined Credit Suisse in 2011, she found a company culture that also made giving back a priority. The bank’s employees are awarded a paid day off each year to volunteer in the community.

“That tells you right away, that that’s part of our key culture,” said Mantilla.

Carla Mantilla, left, and Leslie Covington, executive director of The Carying Place, participate in a panel discussion on philanthropy. The November 2019 event was hosted by the Morrisville Chamber of Commerce. (Submitted photo via Facebook)

About five years ago, she was invited to co-chair the Credit Suisse Philanthropy Working Group in Raleigh. Kevin Walker, managing director of IT, led the philanthropy group with Mantilla for more than three years.

“Carla is incredibly passionate about giving back to the community and is an inspiration to all of us,” he said. “She leads by example in every aspect of philanthropy by organizing events, rallying the troops, raising money and most importantly, bringing awareness of charities close to her heart and beyond.”

In 2019, 94% of Credit Suisse Raleigh employees engaged in volunteering, either by donating money or time. They also spent more than 16,000 hours doing community service. That level of engagement has much to do with Mantilla’s “unwavering devotion to giving back,” Walker said.

“The leadership that she displayed at Credit Suisse, with regards to their corporate social responsibility, should be rewarded and championed,” said Sarah Gaskill, former president of the Morrisville Chamber of Commerce.

Gaskill worked closely with Mantilla when the latter chaired the Chamber Board of Directors in 2019.

“She’ll tell you she wasn’t the only one. I mean, it takes a team, and it takes other people that are passionate as well, but it also takes somebody to implement, and spearhead, and lead, and encourage and cheerlead people. And she did that.”

Encouraging others and making connections is natural for Mantilla, who says she enjoys talking to people and listening to their stories. Frequently, these contacts turn into mentoring relationships.

Gaskill says Mantilla was always looking for ways to lift up people around her.

“There were many times where she would tap somebody at Credit Suisse for an opportunity that would allow them a chance to shine, or grow in their space or take on a new opportunity,” she said.

As Mantilla has been able to integrate her career and her volunteer efforts, she also manages to work volunteering into her leisure time. She has participated in two half-marathon fundraisers, and, despite being a novice bike rider, she rode 75 miles in October 2018 to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

She also tries to involve her children as much as she can. She and her husband live in Cary with their two sons, ages 13 and 10, and because Mantilla’s younger son has hearing loss, the family always participates in the Hearing Loss Association of America’s annual October walk.

“I certainly have it better than many, and I think it’s a responsibility for me to be able to give back,” she said.


  • Zandra says:

    Thankyou Mrs. Mantilla for your example in such an enviroment.

  • Britt Berglind says:

    I’m so impressed dear Carla! It doesn’t surprise me, knowing your wonderful parents, you inherited their big hearts and care for others.

  • Steven says:

    I worked for Carla for 2 years at CS – a great leader that I try to emulate in my job and my personal life. Glad to see her getting the recognition she deserves!

  • Gabriela Zabala says:

    Congratulations Carla. I am so proud of you! As an American Ecuadorian, I believe you are an example of the contribution to society of the American Ecuadorians that live in this area.
    Thank you for all your efforts.

  • Becky Burgin says:

    She’s a perfect example of a SERVANT LEADER! What a wonderful world we would have if more of us had the innate compassion and drive – not to mention the willingness to put in sweat equity – to help others that Carla has.

  • Matt says:

    I had the pleasure of working with Carla for 7 years. She is a wonderful leader, through good and bad times. Wishes her more success in her fantastic career and endeavors.

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