Eugenia Corrales ’87

Anne Stein ’84

By nearly any measure, Eugenia Corrales ’87 isn’t your typical CEO. By Silicon Valley standards, she’s an absolute rarity.

Female and Hispanic, Corrales was born and raised in Costa Rica. She has had leadership roles at tech giants Hewlett-Packard and Cisco, started and sold her own company, and has been called in to help several startups grow and flourish.

In recent years she’s been at the helm of Nefeli Networks, a California-based cloud network management company.

“The advantage of small companies is that you have a very big impact,” she says. “Every day you come in, it matters, and I really enjoy that. I like feeling that all that energy and effort I put in is impactful. I think I’ll do startups for the rest of my career.”

A physics major at Grinnell, Corrales cites her mentors Charlie Duke and Bob Cadmus, professors emeriti of physics. “They were wonderful teachers and they helped me prepare for graduate school,” says Corrales. She also credits her tutorial adviser, Roberta Atwell, professor emerita of education, as another important influence. “I’d go back to her when things were rough, and she would pump me up and help me take on the world.”

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