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Cisco Aguilar: Paying Community Rent


Cisco Aguilar on stage with TEDxReno Organizer Kaya Stanley.

Have you ever considered what it truly means to give back to your community? Cisco Aguilar, a remarkable individual with an inspiring story, not only pondered this question but dedicated his life to answering it. In a captivating TEDx Talk, Cisco shares his extraordinary journey from growing up in a working-class Latino family to becoming the Nevada Secretary of State, all while cultivating the idea of “paying community rent.”

Cisco Aguilar’s story is one of resilience, determination, and a deep commitment to uplifting those around him. Prior to becoming the Nevada Secretary of State, he defied the odds by graduating from the #1 high school in the country. But his journey didn’t stop there; Cisco went on to earn an MBA and a law degree, serving as the General Counsel for Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf.

In an interview with TEDxReno Organizer Kaya Stanley, Cisco delves into the concept of “paying community rent.” He explains how his success is not just an individual accomplishment but a shared victory with the community that supported him along the way. For Cisco, paying community rent means “paying it forward” or giving back to the very place that nurtured and shaped him.

The heart of Cisco’s talk revolves around his efforts to raise $50 million to establish a state-of-the-art workforce development school in Nevada. This initiative goes beyond traditional philanthropy; it’s a proactive approach to creating lasting change. Cisco passionately shares how this school is transforming the lives of students and their families, providing them with opportunities they might not have otherwise had.

The term “paying community rent” takes center stage as Cisco explains that giving back isn’t just a moral obligation; it’s an investment in the collective future. He argues that his model for education reform, exemplified by the workforce development school in Nevada, is a blueprint that can be replicated across the country.

What sets Cisco’s approach apart is its emphasis on collaboration and breaking down partisan and ideological boundaries. His experience as special counsel to Jim Rogers, Chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education, and as General Counsel for Agassi Graf has allowed him to build strong relationships that transcend traditional barriers. Cisco’s ability to unite diverse stakeholders showcases the power of paying community rent in creating positive, systemic change.

As we look forward to the upcoming TEDxReno event in 2024, Cisco Aguilar’s talk serves as a powerful reminder of the impact that individuals can have when they choose to invest in their community. His story challenges us to reflect on our own contributions and consider how we can pay community rent in our lives. So, as we eagerly anticipate the TEDxReno event this year, let’s be inspired by Cisco’s journey and explore how we can make a difference by paying our community rent.

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