Grupo Azotea is an organization of approximately 30 restaurants and bakeries for which Rodrigo Hernandez Cabrera is the CEO and co-founder. He recently spent time with about 100 students of CECYTE high school. After an introduction by the director of the Tourism division of the school Rodrigo created a setting for real engagement by saying he does not like public speaking and would much rather answer questions.
Karla Hernandez, the English teacher KKIS volunteers have worked with at CECYTE, had asked her students to bring questions, so they were ready. “How do you manage your personal life with business?” “What difficulties have you encountered?” Rodrigo talked candidly with the students about the struggles he has faced with learning differences and substance abuse.He told them he began working in restaurant kitchens, became a kitchen manager, then a chef and finally started his own business at 19 years of age.
When asked what attributes were most important in workers he said, “The ability to solve problems, honesty and good communication skills, especially English.” He then went on to invite students to apply at his businesses for positions doing their professional practice (400 hours required before graduation).
When asked why he works, he replied, “I work because lots of people depend on me – that is more important than the money.”
Several students wrote essays about the conference. Here are some responses:
“Little by little he accomplished his business growth and he had a lot of patience in life to obtain his objectives.”
“He impressed on us how important it is to have a goal in life to accomplish your objectives.”
“I will really work hard and it won’t matter how many obstacles, I will succeed.”
Rodrigo’s visit was arranged as part of KKIS’s Conexiones Program. The power of this connection was underscored following the talk when one of the students told Karla that he parties and drinks too much. He said, “I will take Rodrigo’s advice for my life”.
A big thank you to Rodrigo Hernández Cabrera for sharing his story and inspiring these students!