westcliff university entrepreneurial insights

Entrepreneurial Insights from Julio Zelaya and Dr. Ernesto Sirolli

Westcliff University recently played host to two distinguished speakers in the field of global business and entrepreneurship, Julio Zelaya and Dr. Ernesto Sirolli. These experts, esteemed colleagues of Westcliff University College of Business Dean Dr. William Lightfoot, shared their valuable insights with eager business students, shedding light on the dynamic and often changing landscape of starting and running a successful business.

westcliff university julio zelaya entrepreneurial insights expertJulio Zelaya, an expert on international business and human relations, enriched the seminar with his vast expertise. As the co-author of US bestsellers like “SuccessOnomics” with Steve Forbes and “Transform” with Brian Tracy, Zelaya has solidified his standing as a knowledgeable and skilled force in the entrepreneurial realm. Holding a post-doctorate in management and marketing from Tulane University, a doctorate in human dynamics and mental health from Mariano Gálvez University, and an MBA from INCAE, Zelaya’s academic credentials are noteworthy.

westcliff university julio zelaya entrepreneurial insightsZelaya, the principal at The RBL Group and founder/president of Emprende U and Fábrica de Sueños organizations, emphasized the importance of taking tangible steps in the journey to finding success in one’s ventures. In a bold move during the seminar, he challenged students to pitch their ideas in front of the class. A daunting task for many, students were reluctant. Finally, a brave student came up and pitched his entrepreneurial idea to open a baseball facility. A student athlete on the Warriors baseball team, he stated this goal aligned with his passion and desire to help the next generation thrive and love baseball as he has. Julio rewarded this student with $125 of what he deemed his first “seed money” for his pursuits. This underscored the notion that success often stems from taking risks and embracing opportunities. “You never know what you might get if you don’t try,” said Zelaya.

His interactive approach continued with group activities, prompting students to develop impactful ideas within the constraints of a napkin-sized paper. This forced students to simplify their ideas and create a straightforward, and easily understandable pitch. The resulting concepts ranged from a discounted food delivery service, a mental health companion app, an educational non-profit organization, and a medical assistance device. All excellent examples of the creative and innovative spirit found within Westcliff students. Zelaya’s parting gift to those attending was his book “All In!” The book goes into detail about what he has learned as a multifaceted entrepreneur.

The next day, Westcliff welcomed Dr. Ernesto Sirolli, a trailblazer in community development who captivated the audience with his transformative journey that began in 1971. The architect of the Enterprise Facilitation model and the Trinity of Management, Sirolli has empowered diverse communities globally, and has fostered true, long-lasting economic growth in countless communities. A trusted advisor to the World Indigenous Business Forum and founder of the Sirolli Institute, Dr. Sirolli divides his time between California and his home country of Italy. His extensive international experience, including work in African nations and the Democratic Republic of Congo, shapes his unique perspective on community development. Sirolli’s philosophy, encapsulated in his mantra, “There is no geography to passion, and there is no geography to intelligence,” challenges conventional notions. His book, “Boundary Riding,” reflects his unwavering commitment to thriving in an era of relentless innovation.

westcliff university dr ernesto sirolli entrepreneurial insightsAs he spoke to Westcliff students, a key lesson from Sirolli’s journey emerged – the critical importance of listening and understanding local communities before attempting to instigate change. His Enterprise Facilitation model focuses on motivating individuals to pursue their passions, creating a ripple effect of economic growth. Sirolli stated that this same lesson on the power of listening and asking questions can be applied anywhere in life.

Illustrating this approach, Sirolli shared a story of revitalizing an isolated, rural Australian town in deep economic recession. By identifying and supporting a passionate fisherman, Sirolli catalyzed the creation of multi-million dollar companies, emphasizing the power of listening and caring.

Sirolli’s Trinity of Management highlighted the need for businesses to excel in three areas: delivering a fantastic product or service, effective marketing, and financial acumen. He urged entrepreneurs to embrace their unique talents, emphasizing that success comes from doing what one loves.

In a poignant moment, Sirolli encouraged the audience to recognize the value of diversity and collaboration. His insights resonated with a student who noted the applicability of these principles beyond entrepreneurship but all aspects of life, even in figuring out one’s own career path.

Ernesto Sirolli’s response encapsulated the universality of his teachings, applicable to any endeavor: “Start with who you are as a person, be curious about your own skills and passions. Find inside of yourself the clues to discover the rest of your life.”

In the wake of these enlightening seminars, Westcliff University students were left not only with newfound entrepreneurial wisdom but also a profound understanding of the interconnectedness and collaborative spirit that define the world of entrepreneurship. At the end of Dr. Sirollis’ session, it was stated that Westcliff will be adopting many of these entrepreneurial lessons and implementing them within the curriculum, with the notion of emphasizing the importance of helping students find their passions and getting them on the best path to pursue them with success.

Be on the lookout for more from Julio Zelaya and Dr. Sirolli and check out the latest Distinguished Innovative Speakers Series where Dr. Lightfoot spoke with Dr. Sirolli. Watch here!