Class of 1997
Robinson De Jesús
Robinson was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to the United States after high school to further his education. He attained his associate degree in Liberal Arts from Hostos Community College and a bachelor’s in business administration from Baruch College. Robinson has worked for several prominent corporations throughout his career, including Moody’s Corporation, Merrill Lynch, and Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting, US. In 2019, he and his wife, an experienced accountant, co-founded Efficient Advice, LLC, a business consulting organization helping clients design success. Robinson has spent more than 20 years working with hundreds of organizations in both the public and private sectors to transform their business operations. He has been a consultant to Fortune 500 multinational organizations, such as Pfizer, CBS, Bristol-Myers, Texas Instruments, Kellogg’s, Estée Lauder, American Tower Corporation, and Verizon Communications, as well as the Office of the New York City Comptroller and a federal government agency.
The following is an excerpt of an interview with Mr. De Jesús conducted by Alumni Relations Manager Félix Sánchez. Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Q & A
What experiences at Hostos helped prepare you to be successful?
Being a Hostos Community College alumnus is one of my greatest achievements. Thanks in part to the education I received at Hostos, this man from an under-served community and a humble family became an international ambassador to multinational organizations.
Two experiences turned my time at Hostos into the foundation of my success. The first experience was the opportunity to be part of the 1994 English as a Second Language (ESL) Intensive Program, led by Professor Lewis Levine. It was a life-changing experience and positively impacted my education. It allowed me to face my fears – namely, speaking English when I was not yet fluent – and showed me how to transform challenges into opportunities. It helped me understand how much I could achieve if I put in the hard work and used the tools available. I learned to design my future.
The second experience was becoming a Peer Advisor Career Counselor, which gave me the insight I needed to excel in every role I have held during my professional life. The Peer Advisors Program, led by Dr. Bette Kerr and Angela Thomas, taught me the value of career development training, professional discipline, customer service, staying driven for success, and, above all, teamwork.
What challenges did you experience while studying at Hostos, and how did you overcome them?
How were you empowered by those experiences?
Attending Hostos Community College was not a walk in the park for me. I experienced financial challenges, language barriers, cultural conflicts, and day-to-day competing priorities. I overcame those challenges by always looking for the solution to the challenge at hand and not getting stuck in a difficult moment. Sometimes, we get frustrated with our “low” moments in life, but we need to reach within ourselves to push away the 1,000 reasons why we cannot do something and find the one reason why we can accomplish the task. Challenges are just preparation for success in life. The higher the obstacle, the sweeter the reward.
What inspires you to keep moving your career forward?
My family has been my biggest motivation to keep moving forward. I lost my mother before I turned 16 years old. She was the most dedicated mom any kid can ask for. She showed the value of perseverance. I lost my father a couple of years ago. He was the rock of my family. Even though he did not reach a 3rd grade level of education, he was the smartest person I knew. He always spoke proudly of my siblings and me. He used to tell his friends that “we were going places.” Both of my parents taught me how to make the best of what I had, stay focused, pray for a better tomorrow, and strive to do my best. My wife and kids are tremendous motivators for me as well. Due to work commitments, I have traveled extensively, visited more than 22 countries, and slept in more hotel rooms than I can remember. What helped me make it through every trip was looking forward to the moment when I would return home and see my wife, my kids, and the rest of my immediate family. Finally, my faith drives my decisions.
My parents taught me never to give up and always push forward. My family teaches me that patience and love can conquer anything. My kids teach me that we are born with a big heart and respect for others. If we do not get contaminated by greed, hatred, or ignorance, we can change the world. My goals include building a bright future for my family, turning Efficient Advice, LLC into a successful business, and helping as many people as possible to break the cycle of limited opportunities due to socioeconomic status, ethnicity, or past poor choices.
What advice would you give a current student facing the uncertainties of these times?
What is your recipe for success?
I believe we all need to define our version of success. I can share the ingredients that have worked for me in the hope that others can apply them to their lives;
Never forget where you come from
Embrace, and be proud of, who you are
Move out of your comfort zone
Challenge yourself to make tomorrow better than yesterday while enjoying today
Say a prayer when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed at night.
What defines you is not how many times you fall but what you do when you get up. Each sunrise is a reminder that you have another chance to make it better. Take it!