CETRA‘s President and CEO Jiri Stejskal was featured this month in Smart100 Philadelphia, a magazine produced by SmartCEO recognizing top business leaders in Philadelphia. Read the full article here, pg. 24. Below, find a short excerpt:
“Dr. Jiri Stejskal has never been afraid to take risks. It began when Stejskal, born to a dissident family in the former Czechoslovak communist regime, became a political refugee. He came to the United States in 1988, knowing only his wife.
He soon developed a niche and earned a good living working as a freelance translator to support his studies. But Stejskal hit an income wall because he realized he could only translate so many words per day on his own.
While teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, Stejskal was offered an opportunity to provide translation services to a large, Philadelphia based law firm that was litigating a dispute between a Czech bank and a software firm. That same day, after seeing the project scope, he immediately incorporated and began hiring contractors to assist in the project.
“I realized that a business opportunity was staring at me in the face,” he says.
Stejskal hired 70 contractors but lacked business acumen. After receiving his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania, he enrolled in an executive MBA program at Temple University and, with the help of his study group, completed his thesis with his new business’ model. He worked hard, knowing he had three children and a wife to support. “Failure, for us, was not an option,” he says.”