Robert's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Why Not Us

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    New York, NY

ROBERT TORRES

Senior Program Officer
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“The first question has always been: How can I have the biggest impact?”

INTERESTS:

Education Non-Profit Organizations

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Community Family Perseverance Struggle Chance Choices Passion Acceptance Experience Beliefs & Faith Success Dedication Instincts Goals Inspiration Self-Reflection Doubt Education Support & Encouragement Transitions Exploration

FOUNDATION:

Helping People

TAGS:

advantages, choice, creative, difficult, education, experience, games, impact, latino, mexican-american, nonprofit, passion, possibility, poverty, present, role models, strength, struggle, Teach for America, teaching

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Grew up in the projects in deep poverty.
  • His siblings started doing drugs from a young age because they were widely available in his neighborhood.
  • Made it through high school, went to Oberlin College, but still didn't know what he wanted to do with his life.
  • Moved to Oakland to do Teach For America, saw many poor Hispanic families, similar to his own.
  • Realized that his problems were universal, decided he wanted to work with low-income children.
  • Calls his impoverished background his "secret weapon."
  • Believes that ultimate success means being a free person, having a completely open mind.
  • Feels he's successful because his job lets him collaborate with creative people, think outside of the box.

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