Friday, March 28, 2014

Johnny Castillo >

Johnny Castillo, Relationship Manager at Fora Financial

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
My Hispanic background influences my work at Fora Financial in that it allows me to connect better with Spanish-speaking people. Even though some Latino clients speak English, they feel more comfortable talking business and numbers in their native tongue. Additionally, the fact that I can communicate with more people allows our company to expand into areas that it wasn’t able to before.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
In the face of adversity, I lean on a mentality that was instilled in me to never give up on what you really want. Instead of focusing on the adversity at hand, it’s better to focus on the solutions to overcome the adversity.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? 
The biggest challenge that I have faced was when my family and I moved to the United States. We did not know the language or anyone here. My parents gave up their life to come to this country to build a better life for their children. The lessons they taught me, especially the importance of education, is the reason that I have been able to face any challenge that has come my way.

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be? 
If I could change one thing about my life, it would be that I would have won the student body president race when I was in college. Coming to this country with my family as immigrants, we had to pave our own way and learn the culture of a new country. Determined to write my own story and become a leader, I ran for student body president. Even though I didn’t win, I felt it was important to put myself out there and show other immigrants attending college in America that they can be leaders. I am still saddened that I did not win because I think I would have been a strong voice and leader for my fellow classmates.

What was your childhood ambition? 
My childhood ambition was to be a professional athlete. Growing up in Columbia, I worshipped soccer, like many other children. Soccer was not just a pastime for my family and friends, but it was deeply rooted in our culture. I have always had a competitive spirit, which is why when I was younger I was drawn to becoming an athlete. As an adult, that completive spirit drives my entrepreneurial ambitions.

Tell us about three people that you admire?
Abraham Lincoln- He was a great leader and fought for equality. Without him, our history books might read a much sadder story.
Juan Pablo Montoya- He was the only Latin-American driver in NASCAR. This driver has entered and succeeded in his field where few other Latin Americans have.  
Albert Einstein- He was one of the most influential scientists of all time.  

For meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner? 
I have always had a preference for dinner meetings. They are less rushed than the other two, and it's also more acceptable to add in a cocktail to discuss business.

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
I only sacrificed my time in order to be successful at Fora Financial. I am an extremely motivated and driven person. My passion is working hard and finding success. I work daily with business owners that make sacrifices to keep their dream of owning a small business alive. My parents also made a sacrifice by moving to the United States so that my siblings and I would be able to pursue our dreams and find success.

What is your favorite quote?
“The most common cause of failure occurs when you sacrifice what you want most for what you want now.”

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
I think it is difficult to be unconventional. However, being unconventional means that one is thinking and striving to do things in better, more efficient ways. So while it is difficult, I’ve realized that being unconventional usually leads to greater successes, and that’s why I strive to be unconventional. Fora Financial can be viewed as an unconventional place to work. We are not a bank, yet we are able to provide funding to businesses of all shapes and sizes, and at a time where banks usually cannot and will not. Being unconventional has allowed the thousands of businesses with which Fora Financial works to grow and survive. I would say being unconventional is something of which to be extremely proud.

Biggest mistake made?
The biggest mistake I’ve ever made is not taking advantage of some of the opportunities that have presented themselves to me. One example of this is when I didn’t pursue my master’s degree in finance. I have learned from this mistake, and I try to pursue all the meaningful opportunities that come my way.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I consider myself to be an innovator because I wanted to work for a company that was in its infancy, yet is growing exponentially each passing year. And this is exactly what Fora Financial is doing. The technology platforms that we currently offer are truly innovative and are constantly evolving, making it possible to help businesses around the country thrive. In a time where funding options can be limited for small businesses, Fora Financial’s mission is to grow the small business sector.  

About the Company:
Fora Financial offers flexible, working capital solutions to small businesses in need of financing to sustain or grow their enterprise. The Manhattan-based company places a high value on trust and transparency and provides businesses with quick, customized financial solutions utilizing its state-of-the-art technology platforms. Founded in June 2008, Fora Financial has provided more than $178 million to over 4,500 customers.  See more

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