On November 15th Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger participated in the 6th edition of CITEK, a business summit hosted annually by Centro Fox in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. Centro Fox, established by former Mexican President Vicente Fox at the end of his term in 2006, is dedicated to training quality leaders who will serve their communities in Mexico and Latin America.
Every year, CITEK (Culture, Innovation, Technology, Environment, Knowledge) convenes global leaders to share their knowledge and experiences in an effort to drive action in Latin America and abroad. This year over 800 attendees including business leaders, government leaders, students, and local citizens engaged in the two-day event. President Fox and Governor Schwarzenegger concluded the summit with a conversation that covered everything from the Governor’s recall race, Fox’s presidential run, body-building and diet, the need for bold leadership, and their admiration for each other.
The conversation began with the Governor recalling his inspiration to run for office after witnessing Fox’s presidential campaign launch while filming Collateral Damage in Mexico. Governor Schwarzenegger remembered thinking, “That’s one smart son of a b*tch” when he saw a presidential ad of Fox riding a horse, wearing boots and a sombrero, instead of the conventional political suit and tie. Governor Schwarzenegger also expressed his admiration toward Fox for working his way up from being a Coca-Cola delivery man to running Coca-Cola Mexico within years. That same drive would lead Fox to win the 2000 Mexican presidential election, becoming the first presidential candidate in over 70 years to defeat the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
President Fox reciprocated the admiration and praised the Governor for his remarkable trajectory of breaking down barriers in body-building, film and politics. When asked how he was able to persevere in spite of all the negativity, the Governor responded with, “Don’t listen to the naysayers.” He mentioned always believing he was destined to be something great and whether he had landed in the U.S, Mexico or any other country, he would have “worked his a** off anywhere.”
President Fox also asked the Governor how he was able to get past the political divide and pass groundbreaking policies to combat climate change and gerrymandering. The Governor stated he focused on what the people wanted, not political parties. He mentioned that same belief was what led him to establish the USC Schwarzenegger Institute. Similar to Centro Fox, the Schwarzenegger Institute was established after the Governor’s term ended and is focused on cultivating the next generation of leaders, influencing public policy and debate, and finding solutions to the serious challenges of today.
The two legendary figures ended the dialogue with a call to action for fearless leaders who will be the game changers in their communities.
To the great excitement of the crowd, Governor Schwarzenegger left the stage saying, “¡Hasta la vista baby!”