Friday, June 5, 2009

From ELA to the Boardroom and Beyond

By Al Carlos Hernandez

Robert J. Renteria, Jr. can be considered a modern day Hispanic Horatio Alger. His raza rags-to-riches story is one that legends are made of. He has indeed transcended socio-economic class though hard work, word, deed, and life example. He has taken himself from the barrio to the boardroom.

For him this media platform is only the beginning. He intends to take his message of hope to break the cycle of hopelessness for those young people like him, bound with a tradition of failure.
Renteria is from East L.A. where he was abandoned by his substance abusing father. As a young man he became involved with the social Darwinism of street life: he gang banged, dealt and used drugs, dropped out of high school, and went from one money hustle, dead end job to another. Many Latinos have been plagued with this cycle of hopelessness and used despair as an excuse. But not Robert.

Robert said, “I wrote the book From The Barrio to the Boardroom. I realized that we have children, teenagers, and adults alike walking around in a culture of darkness so I decided to do something about it, and so I wrote the book.”

The book chronicles Robert’s sometimes one-step-forward-two-steps-back unrelenting quest for business success. “The barrio book is a message of hope and dreams. There are no victims, only those who refuse to make a choice. If we believe we can overcome seemly impossible obstacles, we can.

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