At the time of writing, Adelante Founder Peter Sacco is a Masters Candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, where he is studying International Security and Social Entrepreneurship.
I have been asked many times what Adelante has to do with international relations, a discipline more associated with the foreign service than the shoe business. For me the two undertakings are deeply intertwined.
As a proud US citizen and student of international relations, I think often about how the United States can engage the world in a way that promotes goodwill among peoples. This primary concern of international relations — how interactions among peoples engender conflict or peace — informs what I hope to accomplish with Adelante.
Now more than ever, I believe that the US needs to exercise responsible international leadership. Why? Because responsible leadership is sustainable leadership, and continuously improving an international community built on the universal value of respect is our best bet for a lasting peace.
Although traditionally considered the role of government, responsible international leadership can also be championed by the private sector. In fact, with economic integration ranking so highly among US foreign policy priorities, it is absolutely essential that US businesses take on this mandate. Every business operating or sourcing internationally is a US ambassador whose actions reflect upon our national values.
So, what does responsible international leadership mean for US companies operating abroad? It means choosing partnership rather than exploitation, and transparency over opacity. It means recognizing that treating foreign workers with respect is more than ethical — it is laying the groundwork for future peace and stability in an increasingly globalized world.
Think of Adelante as the public diplomacy bureau at your nearest US embassy, only uninhibited by bureaucracy and unadulterated by conflicting US foreign policy interests.
The Golden Rule is simple. Treat others the way you want to be treated, or pay the price when the tables turn.
Remember the first time you came down? Did you ever imagine we'd be where we are now?
Of course I did!
I smile at Horacio and tell him so.
He’s right, of course; we’ve faced an uphill battle. Building a scaleable, investable business around principles other than profit maximization was never going to be easy. But our team relishes the challenge. We embrace being different.