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Staff Spotlight: 20 Questions in 60 Seconds with Edsson Acevedo

By Megan Hoel Feb. 8, 2016

20 Questions in 60 Seconds is our blog series in which we interview Communities In Schools staff members. This week's guest is Edsson Acevedo, Project Manager at the Communities In Schools National office. 

1. What is your personal philosophy?
Take everything one step/day at a time. I try to make the most of every moment and opportunity that comes my way. I also try to see the positive side of things even if the results don't turn out the way I expect. It's very easy to be negative and forget what the goal is but by taking time to think about the smaller events or tasks that lead to a larger milestone - I take away the sensation of facing a large obstacle and persuade myself by focusing on smaller successes throughout the journey.

2. Ten years ago, who did you think you would be now?
I always wanted to be in technology and I was working sales at the time for a wireless carrier. The company would train us on their systems and how to use them to carry out our day-to-day work. As a kid, I was always mischievous and I liked breaking things but it wasn't until I was a teen that I realized that fixing broken things gave me more satisfaction. Although I'm not on the very technical side of IT anymore I do get a lot of satisfaction being able to manage projects that ultimately lead to solutions.

3. What's one thing you couldn't live without?
My family. I'm thankful every day for my father, my brothers and sisters, my nephew and nieces, and all of the other branches of my family that make up my support system. Without them, I wouldn't know what to do.

4. What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in your life thus far?
The loss of my mother during college. However, her desire was to make sure I was successful in life and as a result I'm one of the very few in my family to graduate from college with not only one degree, but two.

5. What is the one thing you cannot resist?
Reese's Peanut Butter cups.

6. Where is the best place you've traveled to and why?
Anyone who knows me can tell you that I can't stop talking about Kauai, Hawaii. It's truly paradise and was one of the most relaxing vacations I've ever taken.

7. Who is your biggest inspiration?
Anyone who thinks that I'm not capable of doing something. Thanks for the inspiration.

8. What does true leadership mean to you?
Leadership is reflected in the quality of the work because true leaders are concerned with the well-being of their workforce and the challenges that can affect an outcome. True leadership means understanding what needs to get done and the ability to shoulder the responsibilities of the outcomes.

9. What's the coolest (or most important) trend you see today?
Online shopping and faster delivery times. Shopping malls are becoming less crowded than ever before and brick and mortar retail stores have quickly closed down to focus on a virtual store that caters to online shoppers. Free two-day shipping will also become a thing of the past soon with many shoppers now demanding even faster shipping times (less than an hour...) It will be interesting to see how this all shapes out.

10. Which one would you want most - flying cars, robot housekeepers or moon cities?
Flying cars I suppose. Robot housekeepers already exist (I mean, look at the Roomba) and Moon Cities already exist as well ( I mean, look at Star Wars).

11. What has been the most important innovation you have witnessed in your lifetime?
The cellular phone. Working in the wireless industry for several years really showed me how quickly technology advances. From those bar style phones to slim flip phones and what we have in our hands today, it has been a really impressive transition.

12. What would you do (for a career) if you weren't doing this?
I would have liked to have been a graphic designer. At one point, I was going to sign up for an arts-driven college, but decided against it. I don't regret that decision but I do often think how much different my life would have been.

13. You're hosting a dinner party. Who are the 3 people, living or dead, who you would invite and why?
President Obama, Aziz Ansari and the guy from the Dos Equis (XX) beer commercials. I think that would make for a pretty eventful dinner party.

14. What would you serve?
I think because President Obama and the Most Interesting Man in the World would be attending it would have to work out to be another "Beer Summit". So probably, warm pretzels, hot dogs and half-smokes.

15. If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?
Retired professional golfer. Just play in charity events and things like that. Seems like a solid job.

16. What advice do you have for kids who are struggling in school?
Don't be shy and ask for help. My parents aren't from this country and didn't speak the language and never went to high school, I had to ask for help too. There's nothing wrong with asking questions if things are unclear. The only time your teachers, parents, friends or people in general will know you need help is if you reach out first and accept their help.

17. What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?
Aim higher. I just wanted to graduate high school - I never had thoughts of going to college, not even when I was a little older. But I would tell myself to aim for the stars at that age when it counts to develop good study habits.

18. How do you define success?
Success is a state that can be continuously reached. Similar to major sports teams - success is not only winning but becoming the champions. Success isn't something that is reached only once and then never aimed for again. I look for success in multiple areas of my life and I focus on reaching success the same way I handle my projects - small wins equal large success.

19. Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I moved out of my parents West Virginia home when I was 18 and moved to Rockville, Maryland. I didn't know anyone or have any friends and it was the toughest few years of my life adjusting to life outside of my comfort zone. I took the risk because I was offered a job and I thought it would be my opportunity to "break the mold" from what I had always seen. Since then, I've made plenty of friends and I've never felt closer to my family.

20. What is your favorite thing about working at Communities In Schools?
I really love the mission and it's very near and dear to me. I have family members who are working to complete their high school degrees and others who are considering college after being out of the academic loop for a long period of time. I like the idea that what we do as an organization could help prevent things like that from happening by providing a support system and resources to aid students from halting their progress. On a personal note, working at the National office gives me an opportunity to understand many of the aspects of the work being done around the country.

Have more questions for Edsson? Comment them below and he'll answer.