Douglas Battista | Self Discipline Is Key to Success

Douglas Battista is no excuses individual who believes that hard work and self-discipline are undoubtedly precursors to achievement.

As the President of North America Field Operations for Jenny Craig (a Nestlé Company), Douglas Battista knows a thing or two about success. Growing up in an Italian-American family in working-class western Pennsylvania, Douglas Battista was taught at an early age that working hard and treating others with respect were simple things he could do to pave the way to long-term success. Here, Battista presents a list of Italian- Americans who found success by overcoming their personal obstacles.

Jim Valvano

Jim Valvano was a college basketball coach, most notably for North Carolina State, which he led to victory in the 1983 NCAA Championship series. He is revered as one of the most inspirational voices in sports history, says Douglas Battista. He was diagnosed with bone cancer ten months prior to his death but did not allow this disease to damper his spirits. Douglas Battista remarks that “Jimmy V’s” acceptance speech at the 1993 Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Awards Banquet is regarded one of the greatest sports speeches in American sports history. Jim Valvano was a true role model who stood strong in the face of adversity and has received numerous post-mortem honors, including an induction into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.

Pietro Bellushi

According to Douglas Battista, this American architect was born in Ancona, Italy just before the turn-of-the-century. After high school, he joined the Italian armed forces, where he fought against the Austrians during World War I. Douglas Battista points out that, after his time in the military, Bellushi went on to earn two civil engineering degrees, including one from Cornell University. Bellushi graduated from Cornell despite severe language barriers.

Edward DeBartolo, Sr.

Edward DeBartoloa, Sr. is an Italian American real estate developer who was cited by Forbes magazine in 1983 in its list of richest people in the nation. Douglas Battista says that DeBartolo’s natural father died unexpectedly shortly before he was born and he was raised by his mother and stepfather, both Italian immigrants, in the steel town of Youngstown, Ohio. According to Douglas Battista, DeBartolo worked his way through college, earning a civil engineering degree from Notre Dame.

Anthony T. Rossi

Douglas Battista says that most people don’t think about the history behind the businesses whose products they use every day. Tropicana, one of the nation’s most popular orange juice companies, was founded by an Italian immigrant named Anthony Rossi.  Rossi, says Douglas Battista, started out in 1947 delivering his juice by hand to local homes in New York City. Battista notes that Anthony Rossi is the brainchild behind the pasteurization process that keeps orange juice fresh in grocery stores across the globe.

A.P. Giannini

Most people are surprised to find out that a first generation Italian-American founded the company that would become known as the Bank of America, says Douglas Battista. Amadeo Peter Giannini began his career selling produce for farms in California and later took a chance at starting his own bank to cater to the dense population of immigrants in his hometown of San Jose. In 1904, the Bank of Italy was founded in a converted saloon, offering financial services to immigrants who were shinned by the larger banks.

According to Douglas Battista, these Italian-American individuals shared more than just an ethnic heritage; they believed in self-discipline and perseverance. Most of all, concludes Douglas Battista, these important figures in United States history were not afraid to get their hands dirty and dig in where others would walk away.