Over the last year we have invited several
individuals to speak to our Chapter.
We are very grateful to all of them for taking the time to come
to campus and share their experiences with us. Whenever possible,
we have tried to include two speakers (an outside professional and
an alumnus) and one topic in our meetings. Below you will find a
brief overview of our speakers and some of what we learned from
remember to check back regularly for more information on our speakers
as this page will be updated often:
A. Castaldo - Former President of Pollo Tropical
Business Management - 10/11/04
Mr. Castaldo has recently retired from
the distinguished position as Pollo Tropical's President. He led
a successful turnaround of the company, and during his tenure,
Pollo Tropical doubled in sales and cash flow and ranked as the
number one concept in average store sales and profit in its market
segment. His career spans over twenty-five years in consumer products
and service businesses including chain restaurants, banking, health
and beauty aides, and retailing.
We enjoyed an hour long lecture, during
which Mr. Castaldo told of about the varied experiences of his
career and shared tips and lessons he has picked up during its
25 year span. He recommended starting one's career with larger
corporations and moving into medium and smaller firms later in
one's career when ready to handle executive positions. One of
the key pieces of advice offered was to leverage one's skills
when choosing firms or segments in which to seek employment. My
Castaldo did this by selling his marketing background to the food
industry which was not rich in marketing talent at the time. In
essence by showcasing his talent in an environment that was thirsty
for them it was easier to shine than in an environment where everyone
was marketing savvy.
Everyone that attended the meeting came
away with valuable lessons and had the chance to interact with
Mr. Castaldo and ask him many questions. He proved a willing participant
and did not leave until all were answered.
Mark S. Gallegos
- Arencibia, Gallegos and Associates, LLC
Resume Writing and Career Path Advice - 02/10/04
Mark is a partner in the law firm Arencibia,
Gallegos, and Associates, LLC. He's an established attorney in
the areas of international finance transaction and securities
law with extensive experience and connections throughout Latin
America. He is a member of various Latin organizations and has
represented many of them when dealing with various government
agencies. Mark offered some key pieces of advice:
- Always take advantage of opportunities
to meet and speak with and in front of people in order to create
relationships that may help your networking efforts.
- Try to customize your resume to match
what the specific employer is looking for in a candidate, use
their words and industry specific jargon.
- Putting something intriguing on a resume
may make the recruiter look at it twice and want to ask you
about it. Mr. Gallegos attended an Astronaut Summer Camp with
his son and his resume states that he "was trained as an astronaut".
- Join professional and social organizations
in your field and the area where you live, as other members
may hold the keys to your next position and some firms turn
to the leader within those organizations for personal references.
Ness - Zimmerman Advertising
Advertising - 11/11/03
Nez was one of our most interesting speakers because he talked
to us about a topic most of us had very little knowledge of, advertising.
He spoke about figures and statistics that summarized what commercials
cost and the technology that is used to produce them. He discussed
the buying and selling of television and radio spots and how a
single company can dominate the market through innovation.
for example, can produce and sell one type of commercials for a
client like Maroone starting Dan Marino then, take the same concept
to other markets and sell it to different dealerships with different
celebrities. His company also created the Z-Track software which
tracks advertising results through incoming calls. Through this
sophisticated system they are able to collect so much information
from the phone number that people call at the end of a commercial
that the dealership can correlate airtime with call time and sales
an international level Richard shared his experience of filming
and directing television commercials abroad, assembling and hiring
a crew overseas and the cultural differences of what is acceptable
on TV and print advertising. One of his experiences took him through
the jungles of Central America surrounded by armed guards to protect
their equipment. Then in Brazil, he filmed a steamy commercial
(the type not suitable for US audiences) for a local soft drink
manufacturer. His knowledge and anecdotes definitely gave us an
interesting glimpse into the industry.
Stoddart - Focus International
Entrepreneurship - 08/19/03
a fellow alumnus, worked in the Telecom industry a whole decade
before deciding to go into business himself. He worked for Marconi
(UK), Argus (Canada), and Telular (USA). By the time he started
Focus International he had a solid industry background, was focused
on the Latin American market, and had command of the Spanish language
a combination that has proved essential for his success. Ben was
very passionate about entrepreneurship and provided some important
pointers for those of us thinking of taking a step towards independence:
the expertise you picked up through your career. Knowing your
industry, market, and technical skills will make it easier when
forging you own way.
to find flexible financing and make sure you can work with your
investors. Angels and Venture Capitalists vary in what they
are willing to give and what they want in return. Finding the
right investors can be the key to survival.
sure to study the cultural etiquette in the countries you visit.
Simple things like facial or hand gestures, business card presentation,
or gift giving can make or break business relationships and
Zeyrek, Ph.D. - National Property Inspections
Entrepreneurship - 08/19/03
who is a construction engineer, wanted nothing more than to be
a business owner and his own boss. However, he was weary of the
risks associated with an unassisted entrepreneurial attempt. As
a result, he decided to research the opportunities of a franchise
and decided to start one with a protected territory in Miami.
He made some points for the franchise's case:
parent company conducts marketing efforts and market research
for the entrepreneur at rates that due to economies of scale
will be out of reach for a single location enterprise.
successful business format is taught by the parent firm to the
franchisee, making the start up phase easier and rookie mistakes
royalties due the parent company are well worth it considering
the benefits received.
M. Vega - South Florida Professional Healthcare Consulting
Entrepreneurship - 08/19/03
is a Registered Nurse (RN) that had a job as a senior nurse in
a hospital. She was tired of the hectic schedule and decided to
go into business for herself using her extensive, industry specific
knowledge of the healthcare industry. She is a now a consultant
as well as an expert witness for plaintiffs suing the healthcare
industry or the defending insurance companies, HMOs and other
health care providers. She had some strong messages to convey:
into business for your self even though risky and a bit scary,
is very rewarding personally and financially.
the research ahead of time regarding financing, the market,
and your own strengths and weaknesses may save your business
Bombonato - Bombona-Tech, Inc.
Import / Export - 05/16/03
was our first alumnus speaker. He was driven into import / export
because he could not get some of the electrical components he
needed for his engineering business in Brazil. He started importing
parts and later, due to increasing demand by his colleagues moved
to the US and started exporting components to Brazil for their
firms. Henrique taught us some important lessons:
is no magic product to import or export. To be successful, you
must do something you know better than your competitors whether
a product, a country, or both. You must have a competitive edge
over others in the industry.
a country like Brazil where currency fluctuation can affect
your bottom line, you must hedge to account for any currency
your day according to world time. Start calling your clients
in Asia in the morning and wrap up the day talking with clients
in the Western Hemisphere.
Tarhan - Parker Davis HVAC Systems, Inc.
Import / Export Logistics - 05/16/03
Murat Tarhan spoke
to us about the importance and unique challenges of international
logistics. He told us of simple things like the limited numbers
of electrical jacks available at a port in Russia which would
cause perishables to go bad if a vig (bribe) was not paid to local
longshoremen. He also told us the story of getting a railroad
extended in Bulgaria in order to ship Russian chemicals onto a
also taught us about financing international transactions and
the risk of extending credit across national borders. Murat started
his own import/export business in Turkey and had clients in Russia
that kept buying his goods at nice markups. They soon began buying
on credit but when he tried to collect a part of the $80,000 they
owed him, no one would answer the phone. He traveled to Russia
only to find the factory closed and the client sitting in an empty
trailer. When Murat asked for his money, the man put a gun on
the table and said he could not pay at that time…Murat went bankrupt.
Cash up front and letters of credit are the way to go…