When asked if he’d ever had dreams of being President of the United States, Cal State Fullerton President Fram Virjee said he’d rather be president of Cal State Fullerton.
“You need to be prepared for your potential future, not for where you think you’re going but for where life is going to lead you,” Virjee said. “I really thought I had the best job in the world until I got here.”
The first Titan Future Leaders Series event was presented by the Center for Scholars, and Student Life and Leadership on Wednesday, giving Virjee and other leaders the platform to share their keys to success with students.
Crystal Moreno, CSUF alumna and Bank of America administrative assistant, shared tips on financial safety and emphasized the importance of privacy and being wary of what is shared online.
Patrick Donahue, the chief executive officer of Donahue Schriber Realty Group, who also graduated from CSUF, interviewed Virjee about what it takes to be a leader.
Virjee said he views his job as a calling, and said he doesn’t get up in the morning to go to work, he gets up to go to school like his students. He said every experience in his life has prepared him for the present.
“I had leaders and mentors who I could watch and see, and take the good things from their leadership style and leave the bad,” Virjee said.
As someone who has multiple fields of expertise, Virjee has had to adapt and reinvent himself in his search for a lasting career. While leaving one’s comfort zone can be intimidating, Virjee said it can lead to overall growth as an individual.
“I reinvented myself a hundred times,” Virjee said. “I was an entrepreneurial lawyer, I was an entertainment lawyer, I worked in the retail industry, I worked in aerospace and in the last several years I worked in business and financing.”
When he entered college, Virjee said he was only focused on earning good grades. However, over time he said he learned that the more valuable parts of college were the opportunities for interaction in the community.
He recalled key moments during his college career including times when he learned leadership in athletics, attended controversial speaking events, sought out people who were different from him and when he stood up for what he thought was right.
“You build your life based on morals, values and principles. I think that’s the most important thing I learned today,” said Anupam Shetty, president of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers club.
The thing that really stuck with Hallie Hunt, dean of students, was the concept of “no one right path.”
“Being open to possibilities and open to what is happening in the world around you can really influence you and may take you some place that you never imagined,” Hunt said.
The next program in the series is scheduled for Feb. 6, featuring CSUF alumnus Mike Groff, chief executive officer of Toyota Financial Services.