Leadership is at the core of this Latino entrepreneur’s success.
Peter Herrero, founder/GM of the White Plains-based NY Hospitality Group, was able to hone his leadership skills as a scout before he entered the business world.
He became an entrepreneur at the age of 24 when he purchased Sam’s of Gedney Way a restaurant in White Plains. In 1986, he founded the New York Hospitality Group, consisting of four subsidiaries, Sam’s of Gedney Way, The Great American BBQ Co., Caperberry Events, and the C.V. Rich Mansion, a Victorian home built in 1910 that was converted into an exclusive catering facility
Learning to adapt
“Something I have learned is that it is not about being Cuban or Latino, but being capable to adapt to the context one way or another, even when it is not easy,” he says. In 1973, Peter Herrero became a Boy Scout at the age of 11, Troop 11 White Plains. At the time, his natural curiosity and youth lead him to crave more adventure and brake some cultural identity ties as he was the only Cuban and Spanish speaker in his troop. “I wanted to experience something different and it was not at home an option to return to Cuba. I understood at a young age that staying in this country and assimilating the culture would help me to settle.
I had to make it work and Boy Scouts started me in the path,” he says. Peter merged successfully with his troop and learned all the skills needed to serve people from scratch, and as he learned “to take care of almost everything, he multitasked and realized the importance of reacting on time,” he says.. He added: “At Boy Scouts I learned to react. You become very resourceful because you are out there surviving in the cold and in the heat. I can tell you I can fix many things because that’s what I learned when I was a boy scout.”
Experience and leadership
Experience and learning requires practice and support to respond and perform successfully. Peter remembered that his mentors were great people, but they were not perfect. They were tough and always sent the message that they were not the ones who were going to speak or respond for the boys.
“We were forced to respond! That pushed me to do things,” he says. As I listened to Peter, I realized I have made the main connection between scouting and leadership.
Leadership and learning is a result of observing the behavior of good role models, but there is a difference between seeing and doing. While Boy Scouts need guidance and coaching to develop skills, learn to understand and implement big abstract subjects like commitment, authority, justice, civility, responsibility and respect; they are presented with opportunities to develop leadership qualities by doing.
Supporting scouts requires intensive planning in order to develop specific educational procedures, identify scout needs, and establish contact with other members of the community.
Next page- Sylvia Olmos, insights of a former Cub Master