Carlos Rodriguez’s parents fled Cuba for the United States in the 1960s to provide a better life for their family. They settled in Miami, Florida. Their experiences taught him that with hard work and education, it’s possible to transcend cultural boundaries. It’s a lesson he carries with him today as the leader of ADP. Rodriguez was three-years-old back then, but he worked hard and was the first member of his family to go to college. He attended Harvard University, no less.
Prior to being named President and CEO of ADP, he had been President and COO. He has also served as President of various divisions of ADP, including National Account Services, Employer Services International, Small Business Operations and TotalSource. Rodriguez joined ADP in 1999 when the company acquired the Vincam Group, where he was Chief Financial Officer.
“I am definitely a living example of the American Dream,” says Rodriguez.
He tells Fortune’s Susie Gharib that he learned a lot from watching how his parents struggled to make a living in the United States. He says those lessons guide him even today as he presides over ADP and its 55,000 employees.
“This concept of hard work is something that was really ingrained in me at a very early age,” he explains. “It taught me a lot about leadership both at the family level, but also at the business level.”
As a Latino, Rodriguez is one of a small but growing number of nonwhite CEOs at Fortune 500 companies. He sits on the board of directors of the A-T Children’s Project, an organization that raises awareness and funds for a rare genetic disease. He is also a member of World 50, a collaborative organization of global executives.