Juan Pablo Forno realized when he came to Arizona State University that it’s not only important to determine the “why” of your purpose, but also the “who.” “If your work only has an impact on yourself, it is very easy to cut yourself some slack when things get hard,” said Forno, who has been named the Outstanding Graduating Senior in the W. P. Carey School of Business for the fall 2016 semester. “But when you have someone who you are working for, and someone else has a stake in the outcomes of your work, thinking of them will push you when you can’t push yourself.” Forno, who received a degree in business entrepreneurship with a minor in international business, spent a lot of his time at ASU thinking of other people. A native of Guatemala, he transferred to ASU two years ago from a small college in Oklahoma and joined the Hispanic Business Students Association his first semester here.
As head of community relations for that group, he launched an event in 2014 that helped refugee children who came to the Phoenix area as unaccompanied minors after fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. “They don’t have a normal childhood, so we tried to make them feel like kids again,” said Forno, who organized a day of games, recreation, and food at a local park for the kids, who live in shelters. Student volunteers at the event were trained in how to deal with children who suffered trauma.
He was gratified that the shelter staff told him the children were less emotionally closed off after the event. “It helped to kick-start the healing process,” he said.
Forno said he’s grateful for the support that ASU offers to international students. “Even ASU’s charter goals and values are very inclusive, and I never felt like I had less of an opportunity here because I was international,” he said. “But it also comes with sacrifices. I haven’t been home or seen a lot of my family in two years.” #iamwpcarey #outstandinggraduatingsenior #hbsa #guatemala #entrpreneurship