Today’s Class: March 11, 2016

Today’s Life Skills class guests were Dan Rivera, Senior Director Product Flow and Supply Chain at CVS Health and Lou Mercado, Vice President of Inventory Management at CVS Health.

Lou Mercadophoto

Maria Dasilva speaking with Lou Mercado about a proper introduction to Maria’s classmates at the beginning of today’s Life Skills class.


Juan Corona and Dan Rivera after Juan’s welcome to Dan and a discussion about a proper introduction of Dan to the rest of the Life Skills class.

 Today’s Life Skills’ hosts were Maria Dasilva and Juan Corona who welcomed both Dan and Lou to Hope High School and introduced both men to their Life Skills classmates.


Maria Dasilva introduces Lou Mercado to her Life Skills classmates at the start of today’s class as Juan Corona and Dan Rivera look on.  Juan introduced Dan Rivera to the Life Skills class immediately following Maria’s introduction of Lou Mercado.


Life Skills students introduce themselves and welcome Dan Rivera and Lou Mercado to today’s class following Maria and Juan’s introductions.

Today’s conversation began with both Lou Mercado and Dan Rivera describing their responsibilities at CVS Health, an international, $150 billion dollar company located in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

  “Dan and I are responsible for getting every product you find in the CVS store from the factory

where it was made or the warehouse it’s been stored to the specific shelf you find it.  Every item on every shelf in your local CVS store is located in the specific location you find it based on decisions CVS analysts make.   And, every analyst decision is based on data they collect from the CVS stores about customer purchases.” Lou explained.


Dan and Lou share their stories of success and challenges along the way.

Dan explained how he came to CVS.

Lou and I were part of each others’ network. 

Lou was very aware of my brand.  So, he actually recruited me to come to CVS“.   Lou explained further. “Dan’s brand was strong.  His brand said ‘responsible, dependable, honest, hard working and smart’.  I knew he could help the CVS Inventory Management team.”

Lou then informed the students that many of their future job opportunities will come from their networks.

This is the reason you should protect your brand;  make sure it gives others the perception you want it to be.  And, keep building your networks.  Make sure your network is filled with a diverse group of successful, reputable people.

Both men also shared their family backgrounds.

Dan and Lou were raised in New York City in public housing and on public assisted food programs.

Gang violence was part of their neighborhoods.  Dan recalled an incident where one of his friends was murdered.  “Dan and I both realized we wanted a better life for ourselves and our families.  We started choosing our friends more carefully and began creating strong brands to create better job opportunities for ourselves.

Life Skills teacher, Stephen Cronin, then acknowledged his gratitude to

Lou Mercado for starting the Hope High School Life Skills internship program at CVS.

Next week, Donna Mumma and Mike Martel from CVS Health’s Inventory Management team, will visit the Life Skills class to inform students about this summer’s paid internship program and the interviewing process for the 2 or 3 internships to be offered to Hope High Life Skills students.

Today’s class ended with a networking session giving each student the opportunity to exchange business cards with Dan and Lou and adding both men to their networks.


Jose Orellana listens to Dan Rivera during the networking session.


Maria Dasilva tells Lou Mercado about a potential job interview she will be asking a professional woman she recently added to her network to help her with.   Juan Corona looks on.


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