Alumni Spotlight

Lia Silva Palácio, '03

By: Michelle Goff
May 09, 2017

Lia Silva came to Pike County as an exchange student, and liked the area so much that she decided to attend college here.

“I come from a town (Fortaleza, Brazil) of two million people. It’s always hot here. We have two seasons – rain or sun. So, Pikeville was kind of different,” Lia says with a laugh. “It was so quiet and the place is beautiful. I live by the beach, so I loved the mountains.”

Lia continues, “I didn’t want to leave the United States after my senior year at Shelby Valley High School, and my parents and host family gave me support to attend Pikeville College.”

Lia enrolled at the college, majoring in business administration and minoring in management and accounting. She also played on the volleyball team.

“I have great memories of playing volleyball and still have friends from the team,” she says. “I’ve always enjoyed sports and, when I was not in volleyball season, I always went to games of other sports. I also played intramural softball.”

Following her graduation in 2003, Lia returned to Brazil where she put her business degree to use. She spent almost 10 years at two of the Big Four auditing firms, KPMG and Ernst & Young, working her way up to management positions. After the birth of her son in 2014, however, she decided to open her own business.

“I wanted to spend more time with him, but owning your own business is very time consuming,” Lia explains. “I’m away from home a lot. It was a good choice, though.”

Lia continues, “I have a little shop and my specialty is flan, which is a very popular dessert in Brazil.”

Lia creates her flan from a modified recipe of her mom’s. Last year, her Nutella-flavored flan won third place in a national contest that had over 4,000 entries.

In addition to expanding her business, which now includes cakes and brownies, Lia has started playing volleyball again after 15 years away from the sport. She and her husband, Rui Palácio, are also actively involved in their Catholic church, volunteering and taking part in a couples group. 

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