Crossing the Border from the Barrio to the BoardroomWatch the presentation
All too often, headlines blast the misfortunes of the disadvantaged youth of our society, those whose lives are severely impacted by missing family, financial, educational, and other core features needed to develop into psychologically healthy and functional adults. These are our societal members who fail to finish school, become ensnared by addictions, and enter troubling pathways in life. Robert Renteria’s life story represents a compelling exception, one that could become the reality for many others like him whose childhoods were predictive of doom and failure in adulthood.
In his keynote address, Mr. Rentaria will share highlights of his life journey that has led to his passion to help young people with similar beginnings be able to create their own fulfilling personal lives. In sharing his story, Mr. Rentaria will address cultural influences that impact education and the ability to succeed and successfully interact in our society by replacing violence, delinquency, gangs, and drugs with education, pride, accomplishment, and self esteem.
Mr. Rentaria’s book, From the Barrio to the Board Room, provides his story from humble beginnings to becoming a successful businessman. A dynamic two-week curriculum based on this book helps students reflect on their own lives and share their own lives. It is currently being implemented in many settings in Illinois and elsewhere.
Robert J. Renteria, Jr.
Robert J. Renteria, Jr., a successful businessman turned author, is challenging individuals and organizations to help put copies of his empowering memoir, From the Barrio to the Board Room, into the hands of at least 1 million at-risk youth. Robert keynoted the Hispanic Heritage Reception for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White in September of 2009, where he was also awarded for his achievements as a Latino author. He also presented at the Illinois Association of School Social Workers and will appear at 2010 at the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association annual conference. Robert is supported by political figures at the state and national level, university professors, and middle school teachers who share his universal message that everyone has the right to live the American Dream.
Renteria came from humble beginnings, growing up in an impoverished East L.A. barrio and was abandoned by his drug and alcohol addicted father. As a teenager, he became involved with a tough street crowd, used and dealt drugs, dropped out of high school, and went from one dead-end job to another. Upon learning that his estranged father had died on skid-row, Robert resolved to start making better choices in his life. After honorably serving seven years in the United States Army, he moved to Chicago and talked his way into a job at a laundry management and sales company that eventually led to a position as vice president of a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. His success convinced him to strike off on his own, and he has now dedicated his life to sharing his story with thousands of other people around the world so that they, too, can help break the vicious cycle of poverty through hard work, determination and education. He is the Chairman of the From the Barrio Foundation and has given keynote addresses to the Hispanic National Bar Association in Chicago, the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation, and the Chicago Public Schools. He has been profiled in major media, including Univision, La Raza, Hispanic Executive Quarterly, Hoy, WGN Adelante Chicago, WGN Midday News, a dozen radio stations and numerous newspapers and magazines.