Second Shot: Going from Oak Cliff to Harvard, and eventually to the White House, Adan Gonzalez says owning your story is key to success

Second Shot
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DALLAS, TX — Oak Cliff native and Puede Network founder Adan Gonzalez has a remarkable background that includes degrees from Harvard, Georgetown, and Columbia Universities, being a fellow with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and an internship at the White House. While that may seem like a long way from his beginnings in Dallas, it’s his roots and story here are what continues to propel him to this day.

For Gonzalez, owning your story is key to success.

It would be a disservice and even cliché to refer to Gonzalez’s beginnings as ‘humble’. After seeing his father shot when he was 6-years-old, he had to start working at a flea market to help his family while his father recovered. Instead of just trying to ‘overcome’ such hardship, he embraced them. This story of missing school during this time eventually made its way into his Harvard application.

“You realize there is a bigger bubble, outside of Dallas and Oak Cliff,” he says, “where every story matters.” Gonzalez goes on to say one of the biggest lessons he’s learned is that everyone has a story to tell and it’s important to embrace it.

Gonzalez’s journey from Oak Cliff to Harvard may seem like a big step for some, and in many ways it was. However, he says talent is when preparation meets opportunity. After finishing school, he knew he needed to play catch-up and be prepared beyond the public school system’s goal of teaching towards standardized test results. The second vital component, he says, was embracing and being proud of his background instead of seeing it as something to try to erase or overcome.

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