Today’s Class: March 31, 2017

Today’s Hope Life Skills

host was Delsairey Almonte.

Delsairey welcomed

our guest, the future President of the country of Guatemala,

Rodrigo Zetina-Yglesias, to the Hope Life Skills class.

Rod IMG_3566

Delsairey greets the future President, RodrigoZetina-Yglesias, prior to the start of class.

Rod 2IMG_3567

Delsairey leads the future Guatemalan President into the Life Skills classroom

Rod 3 IMG_3570

Delsairey introduces Rodrigo as “the Future President of Guatemala” to her classmates to start today’s class.

Rod 5 IMG_3575

Justin Cordeiro welcomes Rodrigo to Hope Life Skills following Delsairey’s introduction.  Ariel Hall waits to do the same.

 Today’s class became a lesson in the power and importance of inquiry.

This class is also a testament to the impressive curiosity, confidence and intelligence of empowered Hope High School students,

teacher not required”

for a successful, learning opportunity.

The Hope Life Skills students ran today’s entire class without interruption or direction from Mr Cronin.

After Delsairey’s introduction, Rodrigo took a seat in the front of the class and students immediately took the initiative by asking the Guatemalan future President their questions of interests.

Rod - 6IMG_3576

Rodrigo begins to answer student questions.  First question from Mohamadou Mbaye – how did you meet Mr Cronin and learn about this class?”   And, “why do you want to be President of Guatemala?”

Rod - 8 IMG_3584

Rodrigo answers Deyreni Ferreras‘ question – “when you become President, what will be your priorities?

Rodrigo shared his

transition to living in Mexico City after his birth and upbringing for the first 10 years of his life in Guatemala.

Going to a new school in Mexico City was tough.  I took a lot of harassment being perceived as the lower class kid from Guatemala.  But, my involvement in sports, especially soccer, helped me eventually fit in and be accepted by the Mexican kids I went to high school with“.

Rod 999 IMG_3585

“Mentors.  I’ve had a few good mentors in my life who have guided me during challenging times and opened up doors opportunity. We all can benefit from trusted mentors” Rodrigo responded to Sara Jackson about finding mentors you can trust.

Rodrigo also spoke about his

focus on networking.  “I’m constantly meeting new people and sharing my story.  I want my brand perceived in a very positive way.

He spoke about a three hour lunch meeting with a businessman who shortly after offered him an entry level job at a new company.  “We had 25 employees with annual revenues of $4 million dollars when I started.  Four years later, after getting promoted to multiple new opportunities in the company, the company had 1,300 employees with revenues exceeding $200 million dollarsI always try to make the most out of every opportunity.”

He also spoke about school.  “Education is key.   It’s an opportunity you can’t squander. 

I felt I would be more successful in a smaller college with small classes. 

Johnson & Wales was the perfect fit.  I had fun in college but I rarely missed a class, even the ones that started at 7:10am”  Rodrigo said.   “After doing poorly my first semester in an important course on entrepreneurism, I learned a valuable lesson.  I told myself I would never let this happen again.  At that moment, I started taking my education more seriously.  I worked hard at school and at my job.”

The class ended with a networking session for students to exchange contact information and business cards with the future President of Guatemala.

Rod - 9 - IMG_3587

Ariel Hall exchanges business cards with future President, Rodrigo.

As I escorted Rodrigo to the front door of Hope High after class, his comments are worth sharing.  “Steve, I am always impressed with the students at Hope High.  I speak to a lot of people, in business and at different colleges.  These Hope High students are so professional. 

Their greetings are like the ones I encounter from seasoned businessmen and businesswomen. 

Rod - 11 - IMG_3589

Imani Turner networks with Rodrigo at the end of class as Aimon Foreman waits to do the same.

The quality of their questions are as impressive.  They just act very maturely and focused.”    This was good to hear.   You, the Life Skills class, should feel proud and empowered to keep pushing yourself to new challenges, new heights, and new meetings with successful people.

By the way, Rodrigo’s present job is the Director of Operations at Benrus (, a legendary watch  and accessories company.  Prior to Benrus, Rodrigo had several management positions at Alex & Ani including Operations Manager just before joining Benrus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *