As I sat in the State Capitol, along with other VIPs, listening to the new president getting sworn in, I felt surreal. All of a sudden, I remembered the day in 1974 when I lay foot on U.S. ground for the very first time. I remember the sacrifices my mother made, and I started thinking about my children, about what I’m doing and why I’m in D.C. at this moment. I am filled with gratitude to be able to bring #Values back into leadership all over the world, and here I was, at a monumental time in U.S. history, with the new president. Regardless of political affiliation, my feeling was indescribable.
As I write this, I am sitting on a plane to Rome where I will be meeting with the Vatican and then flying to Luxemburg to meet with the highest levels of leadership. My intentions are to touch the lives of leaders with my book and to inject values back into leadership while providing education to underserved children around the world. “Never forget where you came from” is something my mother always told me. This is something I speak about whenever I’m asked to talk to groups of people. Now I’d love to tell you about my journey in Washington D.C. and the magical moments that unfolded.
Latino Coalition Inaugural Gala
Wednesday night was exceptional! After being introduced by Hector Barreto, Chairman of the Latino Coalition of the Inaugural Gala, I announced that my book became an international #bestseller overnight. I was able to donate 50 books to the VIPs attending the event including Cesar Conde, one of the most powerful men in Latino media (pictured below); Alex Fortunati, who is highlighted in my book and is an exceptional values-based leader; Gail Smith, managing director of Impacto Latino magazine; Michel Zajur, Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Pablito Schneider and Andre Arbelaez.
I also shared about the $1 million donation from the Give Something Back Foundation to put 54 underserved kids through college through a partnership with Chapman University. Being able to share my vision for creating a social epidemic on #Values was surreal. The positive feedback from attendees was overwhelming! To make an impact on the way people think about how they go about their business and family life, how their core values should play a key role in the way the make decisions and how they can make an impact in their worlds is amazing.
At the Gala, I met Diana Marrero from “The Hill.” She recently became the director of “The Hill Latino,” and asked me to write an article on #Values as it relates to politics.
On the morning of President Trump’s inauguration, I sent the following message to my brother Ricardo: “Love you my brother. Today is a very proud day. I remember in 1974 when we arrived in the U.S., and I am full of emotion realizing how far we can go in this beautiful country we call home.” During that moment, I couldn’t hold back my tears. With the Marine Corps band playing “Amazing Grace,” I, for once, was moved beyond words.
Shortly after the swearing in, we walked over to the office of Tim Scott, United States Senator. He asked for a copy of #Values, and I had the copy I’d been taking pictures with at the State Capitol, so I signed it over to him. I look forward to receiving his feedback.
Book Signing: #Values
The day I’ve been waiting for: I got to take 60 copies of #Values to a special place where they will be given to dignitaries, heads of state, congressmen and senators. A book will be given to special guests of the president – leaders who can truly make an impact on injecting #Values into our society and our world. Each book received a handwritten message along with my phone number. I want those receiving the books to know that this isn’t just another book to fill the shelves of space. Instead, this book is a pivotal addition to one’s library to enhance the lives of not only the recipient, but those he or she encounters. This is necessary if we are to continue a work of good and hope for the betterment of our challenging and ever-changing world.
I got to dedicate books to General Mich Kicklighter, General Julie Bentz and Vice Admiral Raquel C. Bono who are highlighted in my book. General Mick Kicklighter and I dreamed of this day together when I interviewed him for my doctoral dissertation. This weekend, the General touched my heart when he candidly told me, “…And now we’re touching lives around the world! That is how God works!” #Values is a book that has international resonance of which I am profoundly grateful.
As I’ve said again and again, #Values doesn’t just stop with me and the connections I can make; it’s about being able to bridge as many gaps as possible. While taking pictures with my book, crowds began to gather to see what my book was about and agreed to share it with others. I gave my last book to a member of a major school district and her three girls, and she agreed to pay it forward and share with her teachers.
I am so thankful for the others who have agreed to share my book with their connections, including Ruben Estrada, New York State Chairman and National Northeast Vice Chairman of the Latino National Republican Coalition; Carlos Fuentes, the Vice President of the Federal Reserve in New York, who introduced me to a friend that would like me to speak to his 600 employees and will be purchasing 600 books; Tim Fox, Attorney General for the Montana Department of Justice; Ahmet Shala, who personally knows the president of Bosnia and agreed to make an introduction (I’m going to Bosnia!); the CEO of the National Hispanic Caucus, who invited me to speak at her conference; and Capt. Bobby R. Baker, Special Operations Division at Dallas Fire and Rescue.
Be sure to check back in for news from my next stop: Rome! I will be visiting the Vatican where I will be able to personally thank Monsignor Giacomo Pappalardo for endorsing my book.