Label: Not On Label (Lavinias Self-Released) - Lv-001 • Format: CD Single • Country: Italy • Genre: Rock, Pop • Style: Pop Rock
This is the interview I publish with We the Italians. Looking back, I am astonished and proud and honored when I understand how great, committed and excellent are the people that gave me the privilege to share with me and our readers their stories, their pride of being Italian, their knowledge about different point of view from which analize the relationship between Italy and the US.
I am lucky, and thankful to all of them. I thought that for the interviewI had to look for someone particular. Someone exceptional in more than one way. And so I went upstate New York, through the snow, and I met with the guest of this new interview: someone really incredible, so La Dernière Valse - Mireille Mathieu - Disque Dor and though so American, whose life could really be the script of a movie.
Ladies and gentlemen, We the Italians welcome Mr. Rocco Commisso. Commisso, yours is a wonderful story of success, that combines the excellence of the Italian DNA with America as the land of opportunity. Could you please briefly describe how a young immigrant from Italy became so accomplished in America?
Back then and probably still today, I could not have found in Italy the enormous opportunities to succeed that are available in America, especially if you are willing to work hard. I came here at the age of 12, and although I was doing ok at school and I didn't want to leave Italy, I started loving America right after a few weeks here.
The first break that I received is when I arrived in the United States, where we moved just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was in 6th grade when we left Italy and, traditionally, when you immigrate to America they move you back to the 5 th grade.
But after only 3 days in this country, on April 1 stmy father convinced the school principal to admit me to the 7 th grade, and in less than 3 months I got promoted to the 8 th grade. From my perspective, I gained 3 years of schooling in 3 months, even though I could not even speak more than a few sentences of the English language. Then in July we moved to New York, in the Bronx. In the very first week in New York, I was walking under the elevated subway and I saw a sign that the Wakefield Theatre was having a talent show.
I applied and I won the competition playing my accordion. So, every Wednesday, I would go to the movie theater to play the accordion for the audience. If you want to get into the best Catholic high schools in New York City, you have to take the admission test in the fall or spring of the 8 th grade. That was the beginning of my hustling career, and by hustling, I mean creating opportunities through sheer determination.
The manager of the Wakefield Theatre offered to finance my music education by E Così Sia - Lavinias - E Così Sia / Love To Hate You me to the Berkeley Conservatory in Boston. I declined his offer, but I did ask him for one favor. I said "why don't As Long As Im In your Arms - Dinah Washington - September In The Rain send a letter to the principal at Mount Saint Michael Academy, who would not accept me because I never took the entrance exam?
During my high school years, my brother had a luncheonette that later became a pizzeria. I worked 40 hours a week, making pizza, scooping up ice, serving people, all during my high school years. I also went to school during the summertime, not because I failed any subjects, The Only One - Scooter - The Big Mash Up because I wanted to take advanced courses.
Other than handball, I did not play any sports during high school because Mount Saint Michael did not have a soccer team. This did not stop me from hustling my way into a good private University, without having to pay anything. I asked my high school gym teacher to help me connect with the soccer coach at NYU, E Così Sia - Lavinias - E Così Sia / Love To Hate You put me on the American Czechoslovakian team.
I played five or six games and he liked me enough to offer me a scholarship. But I did not disappoint the Columbia coach. In my freshman year, we had an undefeated season. And probably because of my Columbia soccer experience is the reason why today I am involved with the New York Cosmos.
Columbia provided me the opening to a pretty successful career in the business world. In America, you need to go to the right school to get the right jobs.
Columbia is among the top five universities in the world, and gave me the opportunity to quickly find a job, with Pfizer Pharmaceutical. A few years after I started work at Pfizer inI hustled myself into Columbia again. I asked my boss to put me on the night shift in Brooklyn, so that I could also go to Columbia to get my MBA during the daytime.
I became the only student at Columbia Graduate Business School that was working full time while going to school full time. I lived in the Bronx, went to school in Manhattan, and worked in Brooklyn. My homework was done while I was riding the subways. And I also found time to become President of the business school student body. You are given the opportunity, here in America, but you also need to work hard.
But the beauty E Così Sia - Lavinias - E Così Sia / Love To Hate You this country is that there's a huge meritocracy, in my opinion. You work hard, you show your bosses that you can make it, and with a bit of luck along the way, the rest will hopefully will take care of itself. You have to take risks, you never have a sure job, they can fire you on the spot, but once you prove yourself and you work hard, like in our company … you can become successful.
We see - and we love - that you are very proud of being Italian. Opportunities in our country are provided to all kinds of immigrant groups. But I always tried to uphold who I am, which is being Italian, in everything I did. When I went into the business world, Italians were generally not included in the ethnic groups that could easily get an elite corporate job.
I broke that mold. Six months later, I converted it to a disco for Italian immigrants. But the Italians are romantics - liking instead to dance tight with their partner. So, for every hour, we used to do 40 minutes of fast American disco music, and 20 minutes of Italian slow music. My fellow Italian immigrants loved it. Close the lights and they would hold each other to dance to the slow romantic music.
It was very successful, and I "married" a lot of people there. It was, for the Italian young people, becoming the place to meet and hopefully fall in love with your future spouse. When I joined Chase Manhattan in JanuaryI found significant prejudice by certain Americans, including my manager, towards this immigrant from Calabria. I went to work for one of the most elite corporate lending groups in the bank, the land transportation division. The only other Italians they had were the sons of rich families that they would bring from Italy to be trained, and then send back to Italy.
In the land transportation division, we covered large multinationals like General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, in addition to the railroad industry, the trucking industry and so on. It was a mess, and reflected the type of prejudices I faced in my initial days in the banking business. But interestingly Spät-Europa - Asmus Tietchens - Spät-Europa, another person of German background saved me and asked me to move to his division which was the entertainment and communications group.
Later on, I joined the Royal Bank of Canada where I started a very successful media and communications lending group. It was a major career and lifestyle change for me, as I transplanted my family from the suburbs of NYC to more rural upstate NY. But it all worked out for me and my family. The history of Mediacom is long but very successful. It is a Heartbreak Hotel - The Jacksons - Triumph television company that operates in the smaller markets of the United States - Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, Georgia, and Florida are the states where we have the most customers, but we also operate in 16 other states.
We serve 1. Last January you bought the New York Cosmos soccer team. As you rightly said, "The Cosmos is the most recognized American soccer franchise worldwide. In the s, soccer was really evolving in this country and the Cosmos, under the leadership of Steve Ross and the Ertegun brothers, were the linchpin. Later on Chinaglia arrived, followed by Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto, Neeskens and all the other world-class players.
It became the franchise that revolutionized professional American soccer. At that time, we could afford to bring these superstars to the U. It was an electric atmosphere and I became a fan of the Cosmos. This iconic team was like nothing the world had ever seen before or since. The problem that happened is that the American owners took a global sport like soccer, and decided to convert it into an American game like football and baseball.
They figured America is America and will be the best at everything including soccer. That stubborn attitude continues to haunt American soccer massively to this day. More than 25 million Americans, young and old, have been exposed on the playing field to soccer, but today, after 40 years, we still have not produced one American world class player, like Baggio, Rivera, Mazzola, Del Piero, Totti, or Buffon in Italy.
This is part of the reason why I am getting involved with the Cosmos: 1 to save the franchise, which was almost in bankruptcy; and 2 to put my imprint on the future of American soccer. Have you got a personal memory of the most famous Italian who played for the Cosmos in the 80's, Giorgio Chinaglia?
When I used to be a fan, he was too important. He was a star and I was just a fan in the stands. But years later he came to meet me at my office. He left me a picture with his signature.
He came to me when he was trying to start an Italian cable channel with another person, and needed my help. This was two or three years before he passed away. I would say eight to ten years ago. Great personality, great individual. On December 15 thI get called that there is this opportunity by Jack Gaeta, a friend of mine who went to Columbia and worked for the Cosmos. Now is the time. Just step in E Così Sia - Lavinias - E Così Sia / Love To Hate You you want to do anything.
So, I did not get involved. Now, four years later, they are Clash O The Dans - The Brand New Funk - 2000 a.d Funk blasPhemy bankrupt, they are dismantling the team, and they are terminating everybody.
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