NFTE: Opening Doors for its Youth

March 11, 2013  |  346 comments

By Jason Rivera

Wow! What a treat it was to attend the 2013 MasterCard Global Inclusion Summit.

The MasterCard Global Inclusion Summit, a companywide event, was held at MasterCard’s beautiful headquarters in Purchase, NY last week. The Summit was a series of panel discussions and interviews by MasterCard employee moderators, providing insights on “next” practices that best link diversity and inclusion to drive business impact. It focused on the many ways MasterCard employees could use their diverse backgrounds and experiences to strengthen MasterCard’s understanding of the complex challenges in the global marketplace.

Through NFTE I was invited to speak as a panelist about Entrepreneurship. Lisa Price, a successful entrepreneur who founded the natural hair care product company Carol’s Daughter, was also on the panel. She is someone who I would love to be like in the future. The panel focused on questions about challenges, motivation, and goals for myself as a budding entrepreneur-- the type of things that NFTE is all about.

Once you take the NFTE program you acquire a certain mindset, you’re full of drive, motivation, and the strength to fight for your success and your future.

Despite my business not being fully functional yet, the partnership between MasterCard and NFTE is more than just a partnership; to me, it’s a sign of hope and promise. When a successful global company like MasterCard makes it a priority to embrace and support youth and diversity, it makes me want to work harder knowing that they are behind my efforts.

Afterwards, during the reception, I had the chance to meet a number of amazing and diverse people. Many asked me how they could get their son or daughter motivated to have the drive to succeed. For a difficult question, I have a simple answer: “Support.” No matter how out of reach or how outrageous an idea may sound, you should support it. Because when it comes down to it, as a young individual all we want is to make our parents proud. Knowing your parents are on your side will help you run a little faster and harder toward your goal.

As I sat and chatted with Robin Altman, NFTE Fairchester Program Director  and Diane Rosenthal, NFTE Fairchester Executive Director, who have supported me and been by my side all this time. I thanked them once again for their support and the opportunities with which they provided me. They said, “There is no need to thank us, we open doors for you to walk through and you did.”  I feel that’s what NFTE is all about. Opening doors and creating opportunities for young individuals to succeed. Thank you NFTE and MasterCard for all you have done for me and all you will do for others.

Jason Rivera was the NFTE Fairchester 2012 Westchester Countywide 1st Place Winner and a NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship 2012 Business Plan Competition Semi-Finalist.

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