Meet the Boss: Luis Lopez, CEO, Honoris United Universities

Luis Lopez

1. What was your first job?

I was an entry-level healthcare analyst at Aetna.

2. What parts of your job keep you awake at night?

The job gets my full attention most of day – at night, I rest.

3. Who has had the biggest impact on your career?

Quite a few mentors – from insurance to banking to education. Mike Gilles, David Parmelee, Raph Appadoo, Bill Dennis were supportive and strong teachers.

4. What is the best professional advice you’ve ever received?

A supervisor once told me: “You can be smarter than one, two, three, even five people – but you’ll never be smarter than the team.”

5. The top reasons why you have been successful in business?


6. Where’s the best place to prepare for leadership? Business school or on the job?

Both can be important, which is subject to the industry. But more and more, on the job experience sets up relevant scenarios to prove and develop your leadership skills.

7. How do you relax?

I like to play tennis and basketball with my kids (who are now big enough to beat me).

8. By what time in the morning do you like to be at your desk?

That’s a 20th-century view – my desk is always with me, so to speak.

9. Your favourite job interview question?

“Why you?”

10. What is your message to Africa’s aspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs?

Keep going and keep trying. Success is about experimenting and about progression. Along the way, you will build and find the partners and circumstances to create the opportunity.

Luis has 25 years’ experience in general management and business development in healthcare, banking, insurance & retirement services and post-secondary education. Before joining Honoris United Universities as the CEO,  he launched Jaboticaba Ventures, a start-up agri-business in the US state of Florida.