My name is Andrés Bisonó León, born in the Dominican Republic (DR) and currently living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, since 2010. In 2015, I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Drexel University with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and BSBA with a concentration in Finance. Currently, I work as a Mechanical Engineer at New Hudson Facades. I sit as an Advisory Board Member for LeBow BRIDGE. This program focuses in helping minorities students reach their full potential academically as well as professionally while supporting their peers and community through civic engagement. Also, I sit on the Board for Prospanica, Philadelphia Chapter. This professional organization focuses in supporting the Hispanic and Latino professionals and enterprises by advocating for their presence, network, and higher education.
Growing up as the son of a politician, a congressman for the last ten years in a third world country, such as the DR, has greatly influenced me. Many have their own definition of politics, but in the DR, one can define it as a mindless game played by greedy people that seek their own benefit out of the ignorance of others. Out of the few who are not part of this so called “game”, I am proud to say that my father is one of the few that permanently fights for what is best for our country, without expecting anything in return. His values, goals and leadership have guided me through my life, showing me the right path into the future that I have always considered following.
Learning from my family and living in an underdeveloped country, in which many people are in great need, I feel the need of giving back some of what I am lucky to have. I became involved in social activities through my father’s foundation (Fumadeba), for as long as I can remember. I used to be part of the team in charge of preparing bags of food and school supplies for poor families. I also assisted disabled people during natural disasters, such as hurricane Olga in 2007. Although I am currently away from home, I continue to support others in every way I can, which is one of my passions. At Drexel, I helped a disabled student and tutored through the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement. Today, I continue my involvement in Drexel, the Hispanic/Latino, & the Dominican communities.
From my mother, I learned that success comes with dedication, focus and hard work. My mother’s grandfather started the oldest cigar factory in the DR in 1903 with only 3 employees. He subsequently expanded the tobacco business into other businesses, bringing many benefits to many. After more than 110 years there are more than six thousands employees within the tobacco business (La Aurora), a bank business (Banco Leon), a printing company (Editorial Padilla) and several beverage factories (Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana), among others. This last company was voted to be the best place to work and the best business within the Caribbean. My mother’s example for quality, leadership, social responsibility, and innovation has likewise greatly influenced me. As a fourth generation Dominican, I became part of the business at an early age, at the bank and also at the beverage industry. Through these experiences, I had the chance to live and commit to the family values as an employee.
Nature is one of my other passions. At our farm, my parents always have planted pines and fruit trees, have bred pigs, chickens, deer, and horses. I grew up loving and respecting the environment. Because of that early relationship with horses and my naturally competitive spirit, I soon became an equestrian rider in both Endurance and Show Jumping modalities. As I further committed to the sport, I joined the national equestrian team, representing the Dominican Republic in international competitions in Germany, Guatemala, Mexico, and the United States. I feel that I grew from these experiences. Due to the rapid decision-making this discipline requires and since the outcome is not only dependent on the rider, I learned how to have a good connection with the horse. This approach allowed me to accomplish my goals, every time improving my horsemanship. Consequently, I continue to practice perseverance, to focus on results as well as on short and long term strategic planning stressing humanity in all things. The skills I have acquired through horsemanship have impacted other areas of my life. I have found that they fit hand-in-glove with the qualities that my family has taught me.
Furthermore, as the oldest of three, I have learned from my sister, Daniela, and my brother, Diego, to be sensitive to others. They have taught me how to support each other, to negotiate and to define priorities.
In conclusion, each step of my life, each experience, has influenced who I am. Every experience, positive or negative, happy or sad, makes me stronger. Each moment is a new experience that helps me grow into the person I want to be. I believe in becoming a better person through each interaction that I have with others. I also believe in supporting others so that they can grow, and I strongly believe that my actions should contribute to building a better world.
“The future belongs to those ones who believe in the beauty of their dreams”. Eleanor Roosevelt