As Cuban immigrants, my parents opened Porto's Bakery & Cafe in 1976. Back then it was a simple mom-and-pop business. They worked seven days a week, 18 hours a day. When you're building a business, work consumes every minute of your time. When you finally have time to lift your head and breathe, that's when you can get involved and establish relationships in the community and give back. We do that in our communities, and we do that here at USC Marshall.
It's family. It's personal. And it's rewarding.
The Next Generation
This year, two of our kids — my daughter, Sachi, and my brother Raul's son, Daniel — graduated from USC Marshall with honors.
With three stores and two more coming, our family knew our kids needed to be better prepared to handle what comes next. Whether they work for us or not, we wanted them to get the best education possible.
We dreamed of them going out in the world and becoming successful — no matter what they choose to do — because there is nothing more empowering than making it on your own. That's why we sent them to USC Marshall. We knew USC Marshall would equip them with the right tools to be self-sufficient, and was the best qualified school to help them in the journey to their careers.
As a USC Marshall parent, my connection to the school has developed through Sachi's excitement. She raves about the professors who have been successful in business and bring in guest speakers that open students' minds to what's out there and what it takes to succeed in the business world.
"I've had amazing professors at Marshall who have become mentors, and I plan to stay in touch with them for their guidance."
—Sachi Kawabata-Porto '16
Through her stories, I realized how I could give back to the school. For two years now, I have lectured in the Entrepreneurial Family Business class, and I hope that my two cents might help other students because I have certainly learned from them.
The Importance of Family
My brother and I have become involved in other ways across campus too, and we have found that Porto's and USC Marshall share something in common: understanding the importance of family.
At Marshall, the professors, the speakers, the alumni are like family, as Daniel learned.
"The Trojan Network was always willing to help as I looked for internships and jobs, so I want to stay accessible and offer help wherever I can."
—Daniel Porto '16
At Porto's, family is what it's all about, whether it's working side by side with my siblings or knowing half the customers on any given day by name. When you've been in business for four decades, you have generations of customers. When my parents started Porto's, they baked wedding cakes for the mothers, and now we're making wedding cakes for their children.
That's what I love about this business: We're not just selling food, we're really creating memories with the next generation and putting down roots in the community.
And that's what I love about USC Marshall: It's creating the next generation of business leaders right here in our community. Sachi and Daniel can attest to that. They graduated from the Marshall School last Friday well-prepared to pursue their dreams. Raul and I could not be prouder!
Vice President of Community & Guest Relations
Porto's Bakery & Café