From Colombia to Utah; High Aspirations for Helping the World
By Jake Harper, Impact Fellow.
Within the first 30 seconds of talking to Gabe Moreno, one thing will undoubtedly stand out to you: he’s a really good person. Gabe is exceptionally charismatic yet admirably humble, and extremely intelligent though he’d never admit any of those things. With a small ego and large aspirations, it’s clear that Gabe is headed places with a very bright future ahead of him.
The Moreno family moved to Utah when Gabe was 12 years old from Colombia. One of the first points he’ll make when discussing his home country is that it’s spelled Colombia, not Columbia, though he’s quick to forgive the common mistake. When asked what else the world should know about Gabe Moreno, he was quick to say, “I love my family.” As he began discussing his family’s move from Colombia, the motivation behind his desire to help the world became clear. “I feel a moral obligation to do good in life because I feel like I have a lot of people living through me that don’t have the opportunities that I have. There are people living in Colombia that would do really well if they were given the same opportunities that I’ve been given, so I want to do well for them.”
Gabe is entering his senior year studying strategic communication at the University of Utah. When asked why he chose to study strategic communications, he replied, “I think that a lot of the problems we have in the world could be solved if we were to communicate more efficiently than we do, [or] than we think we do.” This thought process is evident when he discusses his long-term career goals. He wants to work on a communications team for a large scale non-profit that focuses on keeping the world connected on difficult issues. He loves the model of Sorenson Impact, and wants to find a career with a similar company with an even larger scope of impact. As he discussed the magnitude of the demographics he wants to help, he never once talked about grandeur or personal recognition. “When I’m lying on my deathbed, I want to be able to say that I was a champion for helping the world be more connected and more understanding.” He wants to run with the big dogs, not for the power, but rather the potential for good that comes with it.
This attraction to large, top-tier companies and organizations has been nurtured by his time at Sorenson. Over the past year and a half with the center, Gabe witnessed the development of a partnership with Forbes Magazine. It was his favorite project that he’s seen come through the impact center thus far. Forbes is a very big name, with a very broad audience, which is right up Gabe’s alley.
The impact that Gabe wants to make on the world is not limited strictly to businesses and foundations. He helped to start “Voices of the U”, a student run club on campus at the University of Utah which focuses on eliminating the polarization that comes when sensitive social issues are being discussed. One of their goals is to move away from us-versus-them dialogue. When talking about the club’s conception, Gabe said, “The hope was to create a venue that would champion, encourage, and teach productive, non-partisan conversations on difficult topics.” Why does he feel so strongly about facilitating healthy dialogue between different groups of people? Gabe summed up his entire personality in response: “I just really like people.”
Gabe’s affinity for connecting the world bleeds into his personal life as well. His long-time hero is Anthony Bourdain, whose television shows and writings helped to show, in the words of Gabe, that “people from around the world, in different places, really aren’t very different from one another.” Gabe also plays in a recreation kickball league, which gives him the perfect opportunity to work with others and meet new people, which is something he’s great at. “I’m like a puddle,” he said, “not very deep, but spread out everywhere.”
Sorenson Impact is a hub for ambitious, diverse individuals like Gabe. With staff members and students from all walks of life, it’s a melting pot of ideas, potential, and desire to do good. Gabe is one of many inspiring young people working at the Center with big dreams and a plan to get there. Expect to see many exciting things from the people at Sorenson Impact in the future.