Changing the World TEDxYouthLaredo talkRecently , MPA student Ricardo Vazquez De Lara (MPA ‘15) participated in TEDxYouthLaredo where he spoke about “Changing the World by Changing Yourself.” Many of you have probably seen the educational and often very entertaining speakers that have made the TED Conference, a must-attend meeting of some of the top minds in the country. It has expanded to include satellite events in specific cities around the world and this was the inaugural year for TEDxYouthLaredo, a TEDx event designed for and organized by youth to share ideas, interaction and inspiration.

Ricardo is not only a Director at Large for the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA) Austin Professional Chapter, but he also has served as president of the UT ALPFA student chapter. In October of 2011 he was awarded the Jorge A. Caballero Student Leader of the Year Award. He serves as a Student Fellow for the UT Organization Project MALES, where he mentors local at-risk high school students who have a statistically high probability of dropping out of high school or not continuing on to higher education post-graduation. With such an amazing list of accomplishments at such a young age, it’s no surprise one of the event curators thought of him when planning the conference. Ricardo saw the opportunity to talk on the event’s theme, “Home,” as a way to change some of the negative connotations the South Texas/border regions have while encouraging self-reflection and the importance of treating everyone with dignity.

By volunteering, Ricardo feels he is able to give back in return for all the mentoring he received along the way. As his speech indicates, each person can make an impact on the world around them. He says, “The National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) has a motto that I’ve personally adopted and really do admire. I wish everyone would follow suit, ‘Lifting as We Climb.’”

Check out Ricardo’s Speech on YouTube at: