Angelo Mazzone talked to students last week about his journey as an entrepreneur and how he built his business up from nothing.
“You have to have perseverance. You have to be able to get up every single day and do it, and go back the next day even after you get knocked down. You have to work, really, really hard,” Mazzone said.
Mazzone was invited to speak on campus by the entrepreneurs and investment clubs.
Jad El Khoury, president of the entrepreneurs club, said, “It was my goal to have a humongous turnout because I wanted people to kind of realize that there’s more on campus than going to your classes and back. That’s not really what Hudson Valley is. Hudson Valley is about really creating opportunity for students and teaching them skills that they’re not really going to learn by just going to class.”
Mazzone went to Hudson Valley for his first year of college in 1971 as a physical education major. The next year, he transferred to Schenectady County into the hospitality and restaurant management program.
He started with ventures like opening the Desmond Hotel and becoming the director of food service at Union College. Today, he owns 23 different restaurant and event locations and employs a team of over 1,200 staff members.
During his address to students, Mazzone shared some of the challenges he faced as he built his business, but he also told students some of the secrets of his success.
“What motivated me the most was when people said I couldn’t do it,” he said. “It motivated me in sports when my coach in wrestling would say, ‘There’s no way you can beat this guy.’”
“I definitely think that anybody, no matter what their future goals are, can learn something from [Mr. Mazzone’s] speech, simply because he has fulfilled what we like to call the American Dream,” El Khoury said. “He’s done what a lot of people want to accomplish. This is why we are going to college because we want to get that special job or have something that we look forward to doing every, single day.”