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Anthony La Fetra, right, cracks up as Michael Abraham tells a story during a "Meet The CEO's" event at the University of La Verne.

Anthony La Fetra, right, cracks up as Michael Abraham tells a story during a "Meet The CEO's" event at the University of La Verne.

They Mean Business

La Verne students receive entrepreneurial insights from four friends of the university who have excelled.

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  • April 22, 2013

Don’t fear failure.

That was one of the common themes at the CEO speaking event hosted by the University of La Verne College of Business & Public Management on April 15, which was live streamed.

On the panel were Luis Faura, President and CEO of C&F Foods, Inc. and University of La Verne Board of Trustees Chair; Valerie Romero, Executive Vice President of Oremor Management & Investment; Michael Abraham, CEO of MKA Capital Group Advisors, Inc.; and Anthony La Fetra, President and CEO of Rain Bird Corporation. The panelists shared with La Verne students their experiences with successes and challenges in the business world.

Luis Faura, left, listens as Valerie Romero answers a question from the audience during the "Meet The CEO's" program at the University of La Verne.

Faura, Romero and La Fetra all grew up around businesses started by their families, but that did not mean that they were given any handouts.

“I started at the very bottom,” Faura said.

His family made it clear to him that he was not going to receive any preferential treatment and that he needed to work three times harder than anyone else so that there were no questions about why he was working for the company.

Similarly, Romero and La Fetra worked for the family business, but they worked diligently to build up their companies and help them grow. There were no free paychecks.

Though his parents didn’t own their own company, Abraham was taught many valuable lessons, including the importance of education. His mother told him that he needed an education in order to be successful in the United States.

After completing college, Abraham began his career in business at IBM as a salesman in the electric typewriter division.

“When you get your first job, look around you,” Abraham said. “I’ve built a number of companies and it was always learning from what they were doing and believing that I could do something better.

“You have to believe so strongly in yourself and you cannot look to anyone else. You are the whole reason you are going to be successful. No one else can make you successful, but yourself.”

According to the panel members, success in business comes from persistence. Fearing failure can get in the way of trying something new and that can’t be what keeps a businessperson from starting a business.

Romero, who is a female working in a male-dominated field, encouraged young women and men interested in pursuing a career in business to go into interviews or meetings with confidence and not fear.

Following the hour-long presentation, students in the audience were given the opportunity to pick the brains of the business moguls further on how to reach success in the work place.

Faura put it best: “Do something that you love so that you cannot differentiate work from play.”

— Susan Acker

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