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Up Close and Personal: ELLC Member Chris Rocco

Now a rising entrepreneur, Chris Rocco wasn't sure what he wanted to do after high school. Then a talk with his father changed everything.

May 2, 2014

by Zach Epstein

“My whole life I have had a passion for coming up with new ideas,” says ELLC member Chris Rocco. “Thinking about the future excites me, and I am usually thinking about what could be the next big thing.”

Rocco wasted no time in pursuing those ideas after arriving at Drexel and joining the Entrepreneurship Living-Learning Community. With the help of Launch It!, he’s already on his way toward starting a venture of his own. If that weren’t enough, the Marketing and Entrepreneurship major served as PR Chair of his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, and plays on the club lacrosse team.

We spoke to Rocco about his experience at Drexel, how his family inspires him, and what motivates him as an entrepreneur.

What does the ELLC mean to you?

This community has given me so much since the beginning of my freshman year. The ELLC has provided me with mentors that have guided me through this critical time in my life, and has motivated me to strive for perfection in my schoolwork and to put my ideas into action. What makes it special is the sense of closeness among everyone. On the last day of the trip in Silicon Valley we all came together and held a small retreat. Talking about what the whole trip meant to us was the perfect culmination of our voyage.

What’s the best conversation you’ve ever had?

Before my senior year of high school, my dad told me we were going for a drive somewhere. He took me to a park nearby on a nice August day. He sat me down, and told me this was the only way he was able to talk to me about some very important things. We joke around a lot, so now it was time to be serious. He told me how that coming year would be one of the most important years of my life. He asked what my goals were and where I thought I was headed. I realized I didn’t really know what I wanted to do after high school was over. It was a huge wake up call. That day, I set goals to reach a certain GPA, SAT score, and make All-Catholic in football and lacrosse. This talk inspired me to accomplish these goals and I owe my success to my dad. It changed my work ethic. Every day I tried to get better, so thanks for that, Dad.

What’s your personal definition of “entrepreneurship?”

An entrepreneur is someone who fends for themselves in a business and who is an innovator. For example, my dad owning his own dental practice, my sister setting up her own photo shoots and showing her creativity through her photos, and of course my mom for starting up her very own radio show called “Women to Watch,” where she interviews women who are have made an impact in their field. Many of these women are entrepreneurs. I am an entrepreneur because I am currently working on an application with a fellow ELLC member Will Cartwright. Even before that, I have always been very fond of being my own boss and starting something brand new.

Who are your personal heroes?

The three members of my family. They all bring something special out of me. My mom brings out my loving and passionate side. She is always doing things with enthusiasm and with a smile on her face, which is why her radio show is going so well. My sister Sarah brings out my creative side. She forces me to step out of my comfort zone and be different. Finally, my dad has the greatest work ethic of anyone I have ever met in my entire life. He barely sleeps and will constantly be working hard to care for his family.

What’s been your fondest Drexel memory?

So far, my freshman year has been incredible. Any time that I have been immersed in a new group on campus has been great.

Why is entrepreneurship education so important to learn in a college setting?

Learning how to start a business has taught me time management, networking skills, and really got my brain churning with ideas all the time. When I tell my peers about the things I have done, they wish they had done the same. In the ELLC, we are learning so much that sometimes we don’t even realize it.

Who is your favorite entrepreneur and why?

Mark Cuban is my favorite entrepreneur because of his energy to make a deal, and he is quite entertaining on the sidelines at Dallas Mavericks games. Mark started off his entrepreneurship career in college when he opened a popular bar on the campus of Indiana University. It started off hot but he ended up failing. This only motivated him to do more in his life. His clear passion for what he does is amazing.

Favorite movie: Apocalypto

Favorite band/group: Red Hot Chili Peppers

Favorite book: Tuesdays With Morrie

Favorite Philly eating spot: Steve’s Prince of Steaks