For over ten years, Anthony Aldaño and Jesus Díaz Jr. have specialized in marketing to young Latinos. Brought together through NYU’s Lambda Upsilon Lambda fraternity, the duo created LatinosStep Inc., a company that specializes in organizing events for Latino college students like National Stroll Competitions through Greekster.tv. The website groups Latino college fraternities and sororities and invites students to challenge one another in philanthropic events.
WHAT’S YOUR HERITAGE?
Anthony: I’m half Dominican and half Peruano.
Jesus: Both of my parents are Dominican.
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
Anthony: Bayonne, New Jersey.
Jesus: I grew up in Jamaica Queens.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST PAYING JOB?
Anthony: I was a bus boy at an Italian restaurant in Bayonne. It was pretty horrible.
Jesus.: My first paying job out of college was working in the basement of a hospital, database programming. I spent four years there and it was a cold little office in the basement. And I just programmed for months and months. And I believed computer science and database programming was my life.
HOW DID YOU TWO MEET?
Anthony: I was already a member, a fraternity brother –at LUL– and he was pledging. He was at New York University and I had transferred to Baruch College. After I affiliated with our NYU chapter, that’s how we met. He was pledging.
Jesus: We hit it off from day one. I knew before I pledged, and I knew after, he and I were going to work in some capacity because we were such a good team. And we complemented each other’s strengths and weaknesses very well.
WHAT IS GREEKSTER.TV?
Jesus: Greekster.tv is an online social network for Latino fraternities and sororities that started in 2008. We’ve had more than 6,000 members sign up and take part in our live events and online forums. Essentially, Greekster.tv is a hub for university students and also recent alumni who are part of fraternities and enjoy the special events that team Greekster puts together every year.
BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED?
Jesus: I’d say the best piece of advice I’d ever received was from a co-worker early on in my career who told me to always align yourself with great people. Align yourself with people that you respect. Because in order to be respected in whatever industry that you go into, you need to follow the examples you have in front of you.
ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO SOMEONE ELSE?
Anthony: Treat everyone with respect because you never know who you’re working with on any level.
WHAT’S YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT?
Anthony: I’m not finished accomplishing things in my career, but I think up until now, we’ve been able to keep our Greek brands alive for over 15 years. That’s pretty remarkable, I think, for any company especially in this college Greek world. To stay relevant for so long. It’s challenging, but also quite an accomplishment.
Jesus.: I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of great accomplishments — business school, climbing to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa– I’ve had a lot of successes. But I think that my biggest one was more of a personal success. I’ve helped my own brothers get into college, just by reviewing their essays and spending time prepping them for those interviews. I’d say that’s probably the most fulfilling.
WHAT’S YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION?
Anthony: It was a watch my dad gave me.
WHEN’S THE LAST TIME YOU FELT TRULY HAPPY?
Jesus: The last time I felt truly happy, in a really great place, was the birth of my son two years ago in 2011. I had this feeling that I never wanted more. Just those four words came out of my mouth as I carried him for the first time. “I never wanted more.” For myself, for my son, for my family.
WHAT’S YOUR MOTTO?
Anthony: It used to be, “Hustle hard.” Now I like to paraphrase a Bible quote. “The first will be last and the last will be first.”
Jesus.: My motto in life is always err on the side of aggression. I think that too many people get caught up asking permission. I encourage people around me — and myself– to never be afraid to pick up the phone. Because business is not going to come to you unless you hunt for it.
– Alessandra Hickson
This year during Hispanic Heritage Month, NBCLatino.com presents its second annual list of 20 Innovators. These men and women exemplify the very best, brightest and most accomplished in the Hispanic community. They come from a variety of different countries of origin and have been responsible for creating major change in society, science, technology, medicine and the arts.