Robert Agresta (Young Leader 2011)
Founder and President, Agresta Acquisitions
What do you like most about Switzerland?
I think Switzerland is in many ways is a laboratory of ideals. It is a place where people dare to test new ideas about the way the world should work. It is uniquely Swiss to think practically about solutions to problems. After all, Switzerland is the pinnacle of sustainability as one of the world’s oldest democracies. Despite being landlocked between Germany, Austria, Italy, and France, it has the highest wealth per capita of any country, with its major cities ranked among the highest for quality of life anywhere in the world.
What do you like most about the U.S.?
The United States is a place that chose what it wanted to be. It is not a product of evolution, but rather a creation of the minds of men. The United States represents an idea - the choice to extend the democratic ideal to a larger population. This means that it is always in danger; much more so than an evolved European state like France or Germany. This means that we must fight to keep what is ours.
What defines your leadership style?
I think it’s all about credibility and legitimacy. Legitimacy is endangered both by too much ego and by a lack of ego. Never be too timid to give direction or to set an example, yet never be too bold to see you've lost your disciples. You want to capture your followers’ imagination, so they see you as a teacher and adhere to your example to learn from you.
Who inspires you?
Polymaths inspire me most - Da Vinci, Galileo, Benjamin Franklin. They are still among us too, George Foreman is a boxer, minister, and brilliant grill inventor. Viggo Mortensen is an actor, poet, musician, photographer, and painter. My father taught me this too. Living in a world of specialization, we have lost touch with those who keep that joie de vivre and push themselves to do many things. I believe it is those who gather their experience from varied disciplines who truly advance in the field where they have the most innate talent.
What is your greatest achievement?
Hiking the Camino de Santiago, 500 miles across the northern border of Spain, from France to the Atlantic Ocean.
Do you have any weaknesses?
Countless, but at my worst I can be extremely frenetic, flighty, and afraid of being trapped.
Where do you live?
What is your favorite place in the world?
Difficult answer. Probably Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
What is the best book you ever read?
Easy answer. Atlas Shrugged.
What is your goal in life?
To reach the end of my life and feel as though it was a life worth living. To look back and say nothing was taken for granted and everything was left at least a little better than I found it.
About Robert Agresta
Robert Agresta (born March 31, 1983) is an investor, businessman, lawyer, inventor, and an American Republican Party politician. A dual American and Italian citizen, he is the founder and president of Agresta Acquisitions, a private investment company, and The Agresta Firm, a New York based law firm. Robert was elected on November 4, 2008 to serve a three-year term as a councilman in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, and was recently admitted to Universität St. Gallen's Masters in International Business Law program.