Some believe that entrepreneurs are made. Others believe that they are born. In the case of Luis Gutierrez-Prieto, it is a bit of a mix of the two. At the tender age of 8, Mr. Gutierrez-Prieto began selling the avocados from an avocado tree that grew in his backyard. This resourcefulness also characterized the later pursuits of his career.
His business acumen is not the only thing that is mixed. He also touts a dynamic heritage of Armenian, Spanish and Mexican roots. He lost his parents during his childhood and was successively raised by his grandparents in a more privileged area; this osmosis of socioeconomic experience taught him the connection between culture and economics in underdeveloped countries at a young age. Mr. Gutierrez-Prieto credits such influences and observations of his life as a more impactful form of education that paralleled his traditional schooling.
Mr. Gutierrez-Prieto took his complex education and established 12/21-an international financial services firm. Positioned operationally between the US and Mexico, he sees his services as a bridge to better connect two neighboring but estranged cultures. 12/21 acts as a consultant for companies and projects seeking moderate level investment. They take on larger projects but only those with a reasonable CapEx and prospectus for relatively simple project management. With this workflow across borders, 12/21 is apt to give back to the community through a motivational conference known as Talking. This series provides resources and motivation for small entrepreneurs. The lineup targets disadvantaged areas and has a lenient and location-sensitive pricing model. Overall, Mr. Gutierrez-Prieto leadership has overseen the company’s expansion to seven different countries. He has emerged as a seasoned professional-first serving at mobile services giant, Brightstar Corp. His career journey is a hallmark example of integrating diverse experiences into a creative vision. As VP of Finance at Brightstar, he exemplified this integration by traversing the multifaceted cultural and linguistic landscape in his location base of Miami. In his current role, he seeks out diversity in his commitment to transform entire communities.
Inspirations & Insights
With such an eclectic career, Mr. Gutierrez-Prieto advises young entrepreneurs that success is not a destination, but a journey to be conquered daily-especially in a world with a “future that is already here.” He manages this load well in his personal life and is inspired by the relaxing activities of exercise and cooking. Mr. Gutierrez also enjoys spending the time of respite in his home, and alongside his children-whom, he cherishes dearly. He is motivated by Bangladeshi businessman and Nobel Peace Prize awardee, Muhammad Yunus. His is one of the greatest social entrepreneurs of our time, with a track record of transforming entire communities through his revolutionary microfinance concept. In his personal life, he looks up to Ricardo Salinas. Mr. Salinas is the owner of Banco Azteca and was the first to offer Mr. Gutierrez the opportunity to operate internationally.
It has been an honor to bear witness to the exemplary career and story of Luis Gutierrez-Prieto. Our collective reality hinges on such bold, fearless leaders who are willing to embrace neglected and forgotten communities with innovative ideas. Leadership is just as necessary as technology if our world is to continue to evolve and improve. As a financier, he believes in the future of digital currency, and related progressive developments yet caution that it will take a bit of patience for mass adoption. With positive role models like Mr. Prieto, this patience will find a continuing trend of model entrepreneurs in coming generations. Ultimately, he believes in the adage, “the truth will set us free.” Thank you for sharing your truth and light, Mr. Luis Gutierrez-Prieto.