On Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, student Daniel Rivera-Ibarra had to get on stage, stand at a podium, and deliver a speech—to a crowd of more than 1,000 people. Luckily, he has developed a strategy for public speaking: “Everyone gets nervous, but I always find ways to accept my nervousness and turn it into excitement.”
As a Student Ambassador, Daniel introduced real estate magnate Larry Kendall, who was inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame, an award established by Junior Achievement Rocky Mountain and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. Junior Achievement educates children on financial literacy and entrepreneurship, and Daniel, who’s been involved with the nonprofit organization since second grade, was asked to serve as one of the presenters.
Student Ambassador at Colorado Business Hall of Fame 2020
It’s fitting that Daniel introduced Larry Kendall, who founded The Group Inc. and developed the Ninja Selling system. Like Kendall, Daniel wants to be a real estate broker, although what drives him is quite personal. “I grew up in a lower middle-class family, which inspired my focus in real estate,” Daniel said. “Specifically, I want to help Hispanic families attain their first home, by helping them understand the financial side and guiding them through the complicated process.” What home looks like for Daniel’s family partly explains how he developed a passion for real estate. His parents come from a small town in Durango, Mexico called Las Nieves. His mother lived in a pueblo and his father lived “on a ranch with no running water.” Since immigrating to the United States in the 1990s, Daniel’s family has lived in the Westwood neighborhood of Denver.
While Daniel’s parents never went to college, his mother inspired him to do well in school. “I began to love numbers because my mother influenced me by helping me with my math, doing equations. Now, numbers help me explain the world,” he said. Currently, he is majoring in finance with a minor in entrepreneurship and expects to graduate in Fall 2020. “I fell in love with the Business School, specifically the J.P. Morgan Center for Commodities,” he said. “Seeing the Bloomberg terminals …,” he continued wistfully.
Besides going to school full time, Daniel works for a company that brokers renewable energy contracts and attends the American Real Estate College. He hopes to attain his broker’s license this year. In his spare time, and there’s not much of it, he is involved with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. “For the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, I was selected out of thousands of scholars nationwide to attend the National Leadership Conference and Media & Entertainment Summit in Hollywood,” he said. “Furthermore, I was selected to be a mentor for the Youth Leadership Institute, where I mentored Hispanic high school juniors on college preparedness.”
JA Business Week Helped Daniel with Business Plan
Daniel perhaps owes much of his entrepreneurial spirit to Junior Achievement, the organization that helped him understand financial literacy. Chris Silberman, Director of Communications at Junior Achievement Rocky Mountain, said Daniel “exemplifies the JA spirit and desire to make a difference.” As a senior in high school, Daniel participated in JA Business Week, “a sleepover camp and intense immersive boot camp that consists of leadership training,” Silberman explained. JA Business Week ends with students pitching business plans to mock investors, which is partly how Daniel developed the idea of establishing a real estate company that would cater to Hispanic, first-time home buyers.
He is grateful to Junior Achievement for helping him with business skills and has volunteered for the organization, teaching financial skills in Spanish to second-graders at DCIS at Fairmont, an elementary school in the Baker neighborhood. That experience “inspired me to find a similar path,” he said.
Now, Daniel’s dreams extend beyond real estate. “I want to build a financial literacy center for the Hispanic community,” he said. “That’s my way to pay it forward and leave a legacy.”