About John Lucas
John Lucas lives in Massachusetts and is studying Civil Engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. He loves running, nature, and trading state pins with members at the BPA National Leadership Conference. After college, John Lucas hopes to go into the environmental or transit areas of engineering and government.
**Please note that all of our transcriptions come from rev.com and are 80% accurate. We’re grateful for the robots that make this possible and realize that it’s not a perfect process.
Sam Demma (00:01):
Welcome back to another episode of the high performing educator podcast. This is your host and youth speaker, Sam Demma. Today’s special guest is John Lucas Guimaraes. John Lucas serves as the executive president of the post-secondary division of Business Professionals of America, an international career and technical student organization. John Lucas lives in Massachusetts and is studying civil engineering at the university of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He loves running nature and trading state pins with members at the BPA national leadership conference. After college John Lucas hopes to go into the environmental or transit areas of engineering and government. As I’m sure you’ll will be able to notice after, and while listening to this interview, John Lucas is someone who is filled with passion and doing incredible work in his community and the organizations and associations that he’s a part of. I hope you enjoy this conversation and I will see you on the other side. John Lucas, welcome to the high performing educator podcast. Huge pleasure to have you on the show here this morning. Why don’t you start by introducing yourself?
John Lucas Guimaraes (02:09):
Awesome. Well thank you for having me. My name is John Lucas Guimaraes. I am a junior at the university of Massachusetts. And I am currently the post-secondary president of the national CTSO career technical student organization in called business professionals of America, where we sort of prepare students outside of the classroom for the, their futures for the, their careers and their professional lives, because there’s only so much you can learn in the classroom. So having that outside exposure I think is really bad, valuable, and that’s something that we aim to do here at BPA.
Sam Demma (02:49):
Tell me more about your journey to where you are now. What got you interested and involved with BPA and how do you think that’s shaped you as a student leader yourself?
John Lucas Guimaraes (03:01):
It started off like a progression. It wasn’t like I joined BPA and then I, the next year I became the national president I sort of was jealous of my peers of why, like they, they just talked about going to the state leadership conference here in Massachusetts and they had a wonderful time. Not none of them made it to the national competition, which is like the big, the big event of the year, but they just talked about how the state leadership conference was so meaningful to them. They got so many experiences and I was like, oh, geez, I wanna try that. And I didn’t even know what BP was. I just wanted that experience. So I didn’t know what I had to go through. I just wanted that end goal. So I thought that BPA was like, you sit around in a, in a round table and just come up with a great idea for a project and then you all do it together, but it’s so much more than that.
John Lucas Guimaraes (03:55):
You work as individuals, you work as teams. You can knock compete, you can do other service projects. So definitely getting into that and getting overwhelmed. That was what kept me here a lot of the times I do get asked that question of why I joined BPA, but I think an even more valuable question is after eight years, why the heck am I still here? What what’s kept to me here. So I think the people definitely the people and the experiences and with every passing year, I, I, I feel like I’ve want, I’ve wanted to get more involved, more more behind the scenes because you know, a national CTSO that’s not easy sheet to accomplish. So there’s a lot of behind the scenes. There’s a lot of governance that has to happen. So I I’m, I’m really appreciative of like, I think my, my ambition, but also my desire to help to always keep and grow my involvement as much as I can so that, you know, I’m doing what my teachers and my fellow leaders did to me. And that’s to prepare me for the role so that I can return the favor and pass the torch to those next leaders coming up the ladder.
Sam Demma (05:20):
That’s amazing. Eight years. I gotta give you a round of applause for that. , that’s a, that’s, that’s a lot of service, fun time. Yeah. Congratulations.
John Lucas Guimaraes (05:31):
I’m a BPA grandpa.
Sam Demma (05:33):
Literally. You mentioned other leaders kind of helping you in shaping you, were there some advisors and teachers, your life that have played a massive role in your development as a young person and also as a leader?
John Lucas Guimaraes (05:49):
Definitely. I think it was my my junior year. Oh no, no, it was my junior. Yeah, it was my junior year. We had this, I was in the video production event where we prepared a video and that year it was how to counter Driving under the influence against with like alcohol or other substances. And we finalized the project. I was so passionate about it. I had the idea my, the entire year, so we’re probably like two weeks out before the state leadership conference. So our advisor had each, each member of BPA of our chapter come to her and present our projects. So we did and I was, my heart was skipping. I got chills. And then I turned to her and she has this like, disappointed look, well, not a disappointed look, I don’t wanna say that.
John Lucas Guimaraes (06:45):
But but a like, like a concern, very confused. Yeah. Yeah, because we included a very popular song as the background song, and then she, like, that’s not a copyrighted song and the entire video was constructed on like the beat dropping the, the drum hits everything, like all the shifts. And we had to change the entire song. Looking back at it, it wasn’t this like, crucial like dire moment, but I, at that time, I was like, how did I not see this? So I just, there’s been a lot of experiences with my advisors where they’ve pointed out things that I didn’t see or told me what I needed to hear, but didn’t want to hear. So looking back at it, I value all those disappointing this encouraging moments that I felt, because that’s sort of like built me to, like now when I’m tackling a project or event, I sort of come up with I play like the devil’s advocate and come up with like, what will people bring up to me that I need to fix right now before, you know? So I can like prepare myself for those tough questions.
Sam Demma (08:01):
Love that. It sounds like those were all teachable moments for you. And what’s interesting is those all could have been breaking moments that stopped you from pursuing this path at all, but you took it as feedback and used it to iterate your own processes, which have enabled you to grow, which I think is amazing. yeah. What is, what is that advisor’s name? And were they the same individual that kind of tapped you on the shoulder and initially said, Hey, maybe you should get involved in BPA or did you discover BPA just on your own?
John Lucas Guimaraes (08:33):
Yeah, so I went to a vocational technical school. So we did ha every week we did on academics and then the following week, we did like a technical program. So I was in the carpentry program. But going into the school, you sort of took like a month and you went through each, each technical program. So they were the advisors of the business department Mrs. Powers and Mrs. Sylvia, and they sort of, they, they just marketed BPA. They spent that entire hour that we had with them, just marketing BPA and why it was so important. Nice. And that sort of, that’s what got me hooked initially. But yeah, just, and then when I, I did return because I didn’t speak to them until after that at, at all, because I chose the carpentry program. It wasn’t until the following year that the that’s when they were like, oh, we’re glad you finally joined us. And, you know, they definitely inspired me to keep growing. They’re still, one of them is still the advisor of the, of my high school’s BPA chapter. And it’s just amazing to see like little versions, not of me, but like little versions of leaders coming from the same teachers that inspired me to be where I am now.
Sam Demma (10:02):
Yeah, absolutely. And do you think providing constructive criticism and feedback as an educator is something that ex is extremely important and helpful for developing leaders? And if so, how do you think more leaders and educators can do that without discouraging, you know, their students or discouraging the young person they’re trying to provide feedback for?
John Lucas Guimaraes (10:26):
Yeah. I definitely think that’s very important because if you didn’t, what would be the alternative, you know, it would be sort of your sugar coating someone’s experience and sort of setting the ’em up to fail versus you having more of a control of what that what that criticism is gonna be, because it, you know, an educator’s never going to like purposely want to sort of, you give negativity to a student, they don’t wanna do that. They wanna just prepare them and give that soft criticism if you know what I mean. So definitely that criticism early on is very important because if you don’t, they they’ll get that same criticism, but even rougher from projects the people reviewing their projects or, you know, future employers. So I, I, I definitely think that it’s something worth doing in high school. And while you have these experiences with these students and even peers, like my, my classmates were actually watching me on that, in that video, you yep. When I was presenting that video and they, you know, said the same thing they gave me like, oh, you, you like had a product placement there and it, I don’t think that should be there. So definitely getting the perspective of your peers, I think, is really valuable and gives you sort of an outlook on, or a perspective that you don’t see yourself.
Sam Demma (12:01):
That’s amazing. And you are someone who have developed yourself into a leader based off of the feedback given to you by others. But also, as you mentioned earlier, you’re based off some of your own ambition. What do you think are some of the key characteristics or traits that you’ve developed and have seen other leaders kind of exhibit and live out themselves that you think makes for a really strong leader?
John Lucas Guimaraes (12:30):
I think it’s sort of different for everyone. You know, for me, I’m someone who loves the behind the scenes work, the gathering people, the raising scholarships, the the running crunching, the numbers looking at financial statements and sort of the adult boring work behind the scenes. So I’m as a, as the president of my division of BPM also on the board of trustees and, you know, we do a lot of the oversight work which my peers could see that is very boring. Yeah. But to me, it’s just something that excites me. It’s just something that you know, sometimes I find myself at like 1:00 AM working on a BPA policy and procedures amendment, or just reading the meeting minutes, which is just a black and white document with no, really with not a lot of fun substance.
John Lucas Guimaraes (13:29):
But that, it’s, it sort of gives me a little taste of what I want to keep going on, keep growing and doing with my life. You know, I’m, I’m in college right now studying civil engineering, but I also love governance. I love giving time to those in need and sort of doing what, what I can do to help others around me. And I think one way I Excel at that is looking at those boring documents and looking to plan strategic events and making sure that, you know, we have the budget for that and we can, we can ethically provide a good event for our stakeholders. So I think that that ambition comes from your passions and your sure you can run for an office just for the power of it. But I think a true leader, a true servant leader is someone who uses their passions to their passions are what drives their ambition. And as long as you can keep doing that, you know, what your end goal is, you know, what you like to do and how you can utilize your passions to help people. I think that’s what makes people’s ambitions really selfless and not so much an ambition for oneself, but an ambition to better, not only the world, maybe that’s two grand of a scale, but your country, your, your municipality, your state, or even just your local community.
Sam Demma (15:07):
Yeah. I love that. And you said something earlier in the interview, you, that really stuck with me, you mentioned you had no idea how you were gonna get there and you weren’t sure about, you know, you weren’t sure about how you were gonna get to, you know, the working as a president at BPA, but you were so obsessed with the goal that you just stuck with it, like you were so obsessed with the goal. Do you think goal setting has also played a big part in your own personal journey and like, how do you go about, you know, setting goals for yourself or outlining those things that you wanna work towards and accomplish?
John Lucas Guimaraes (15:47):
I definitely think that you know, nothing is out of your reach at the 2018 national leadership conference in Dallas, Texas, which I’m so excited about cuz we’re returning this year. So it’s my like sort of returning to my origin. But at the 2018, NLC I jokingly said with my with one of my peers that, you know, I’m gonna be secondary president. And at the time, like that was so far out of my reach, that was like a million years ahead. So I think that, you know, Jo having those humor moments and making sure like I’m gonna be president of the United States saying that, but also like, you know, joking around and things like that, but also, you know, pre-planning and making sure that, okay, am I qualified for that? Am I, am I headed in that right direction?
John Lucas Guimaraes (16:45):
And will I be a good whatever role you’re gonna be? Am I gonna be that, am I gonna serve that role to its and most efficient potential? And I think, and I think that my experiences sort of shaped me to reach that end goal. So it was sort of, it was like a not overnight thing. It was an like over time and steadily growing sort of experiences that led me to here. So I, I do think goal setting is important as well, but also make sure that making sure that it’s something you truly want, like you, you reach that end goal. Just think about it right now, close your eyes and think about like, I, that end goal, am I happy? Am I like changing my environment for the better? And I am I like, sort of, is this what I plan to do because sure, sure.
John Lucas Guimaraes (17:49):
You’ve reached your goal, but if that’s not anything you want, if that’s just like a, a gold medal in your mind, like high above a ladder, if that’s not really what you want, you achieved your goal, but you’re not really happy. So making sure that, you know, setting up these ambition is bold goals for yourself, but making sure that you often reflect on them and you know, all right. I, I, I don’t wanna be a city counselor. I want to be a mayor. Cuz I’m, I work better alone and I work better delegating tasks. So just going back to your like when you’re going to sleep or in English shower going back and amending your goals and saying, I can actually tackle it this way and I can achieve it better by also feeding that inner hunger, inner hunger that I have inside me. So I, I definitely think that setting goals is important, but also, you know, you can change your goals. They’re not really set in stone. You’re the one who drives that, that sort of steadily inclined to that goal. You’re the one who drives that steam book.
Sam Demma (19:01):
I love the idea of making sure it’s authentic to your core, making sure it’s something that you’re actually excited about pushing and working towards and above all else, making sure that it will also positively impact all the people around you or change something in a positive way in your environment, which leads me to my next question. How have you dealt with the opinions, thoughts, and expectations of others? I think something that sometimes holds people back is the expectations of others. You know, maybe a student’s parents wants them to get into a specific field or career, but deep down in their heart, they know that they wanna do something different. How have you personally dealt with the opinions and thoughts of others along your own journey? Because I’m sure there’s a lot of people telling you to do lots of different things with your path.
John Lucas Guimaraes (19:56):
Yeah. And, and to add to that, it’s very, it becomes very stressful and like having this cons constant pressure I’m gonna be a first generation. If I graduate of course with so ho hoping for that degree, but I’ll be a first generat graduate of an American college. Cuz my family came from Brazil. So there is a lot of pressure and expectations that come from my family. But, but making sure, I think it’s so important to make sure that your ambitions and your goals and your expecting for yourself or a more or a bigger priority to you than those expectations of your families and your peers and your, your, your friends and your teachers. But also knowing that it’s also important to get those expectations, to get those, that, that feedback, because some people might believe in you more than you believe in yourself and like hearing that like from an educator, from a peer, like, wow, you’re gonna do so, so great in life.
John Lucas Guimaraes (21:10):
I think that can be miscontrued as a, that can be miscontrued as like a, a very sets, a lot of pressure, but also knowing that that is beneficial to yourself because you have someone in your, in your court that believes in you and that is passionate about what you’re doing and believes that you can achieve anything you want to do. So I definitely think that looking at all the expectations around you, but also valuing your expectations for yourself more is it’s sort of that, that energy drink that gets you to overcome the expectations of others, because there are gonna be a lot of people, you know, especially like I think our, the younger generation is getting more vocal and is getting more decisive about what they wanna see different in the world and in their envi environments. And I think there is a, a misconception that we’re too young where we’re not experienced enough to know about these problems, but I think that’s something and that, that I even experienced myself, you know, I’m a board member, but I’m 23 years old. So it’s not so much just like I can go around telling people what to do, but it’s a team environment where all voices are equal. So I, I definitely think that it’s something that people have to evaluate for themselves because if you don’t, if you just keep listening to people around you, it’s not gonna get you anywhere. You have to tell yourself no I’m going to achieve that. No.
Sam Demma (22:58):
Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. I think especially when you’re young, there’s a lot of pressures as you grow up, it, it shifts and adjusts a little bit. And I appreciate your commitment to making this interview happen despite the fact that you’re tuning in from school as a dedicated student should. So don’t worry too much about the background noise. We can hear you super clearly, but I think when you’re young, those expectations are even louder because you’re not as sure of yourself or your own abilities, or maybe you don’t have as much confidence as you have maybe at later stages in your life. Whereas you continue to have experiences and build that skill of self confidence by achieving things and checking things off that you once said you were gonna do. I like to think of it like a giant bag on our backpack or a giant bag strapped to our shoulders, like a backpack.
Sam Demma (23:50):
And in that bag, as we experience life, it fills up with the thoughts and opinions of others, but also our personal experiences. And if we never stop to remove those opinions from others that maybe actually holding us back from being authentic to ourselves, then those start to become and grow into bricks that we carry around and weigh us down. Stop us from moving in a direction that maybe we actually wanted to go down. So thank you so much for, for sharing that. I really appreciate it. And something I always like to also mention is that like sometimes your decision will disappoint others and that’s also okay. I think it’s a part of the process. What’s more important is that you’re authentic and true to yourself because if you do end up deciding to live your life or take action, just to please somebody else’s expectations and you know, it’s going against your own authentic court desires at some point, the regret that you feel will far outweigh the disappointment that someone else will experience that may only last a couple minutes, a couple weeks or sometimes a few years, like you’ll have to deal with the regret for the rest of your life.
Sam Demma (24:58):
And you’re someone who has boldly and fearlessly pursued your authentic ambitions. And I can’t wait to see your name as the mayor or even the president of the country. where do, where do you see John Lucas in a couple years from now? What are the things you’re working on right now that you’re excited about and wanna share?
John Lucas Guimaraes (25:21):
I, yeah, I definitely don’t think I’m gonna be president. Just because I don’t qualify, but I think if, if I was born in the United States, I feel like that would’ve be, that would definitely be something I would think about a lot. I nice. But no, I, I imagine myself as governor of Massachusetts or at least the secretary of the United States department of transportation, but but that’s like far out, you know, something that I, you know, evaluate at first I was saying, I love foreign relations and I’m going to be secretary of state, but I think over time, and this is like recent, like with the last two years, maybe the last six months, I’ve sort of shifted and gone back to more my engineering passion. Right now I’m studying civil engineering and I’m really loving the transportation and the road work side of engineering because engineering is already so huge, but civil engineering is, you know, a branch in engineering, but it’s still as equally huge.
John Lucas Guimaraes (26:29):
There’s so many areas and sort of coming to school, I get overwhelmed with all the opportunities I have. You know, cuz you can fail. You know, like if I go to soil evaluating soil, you know, if I don’t know everything, you know, I could feel, but knowing that I have the choice to choose which path, which area I wanna focus on, I think that’s so that’s such a positive to feel, to know that you, you are aware you know, some of your family members might not have been in the same position that you are in. Some of them had to be like Jan janitors for a school, which there’s nothing wrong with that. But knowing that you have all these availabilities and all these possibilities in, in, in front of you and going back to your previous our previous couple statements, you know, at, to be blunt, you are going to work an eight to five full-time job probably until you retire.
John Lucas Guimaraes (27:38):
If you’re lucky enough to retire, do you really want to spend that much time of your life doing something that someone else imagined or expected you to do? I feel like that’s so much time that could be utilized to do something that you, that truly feels truly makes you feel happy and makes those around you happy because if you’re doing a job that you dislike, just because of someone’s expectations, the people around you are not gonna be happy as well because you are that, that not resentment, but that lack of happiness, that lack of enthusiasm, motivation, that’s gonna, you know, you can’t hold that in. That’s gonna come out and reflect on you and gonna to link back to the people around you. But for me personally, I think that my family respects that now as I’ve grown older and just know that if you have hard, strict expectations from your family, they’ll, they’ll change as long as you’re do being successful, being authentic to yourself and doing what you want to do, but also making sure that it’s something that will bring you success, your family’s expectations, your friends’ expectations, those will change as long as you stay true to yourself.
John Lucas Guimaraes (29:03):
So for me, I definitely want to works. There’s nothing better than working for the government in my opinion. So I definitely want to get work with the Massachusetts department of transportation or even in the private sector. I think there’s so much opportunity or success, but also happiness. All of the opportunities that I have available to me. So , I’m sort of just working on my classes and then I will evaluate what careers I have for me when I get there. I don’t wanna limit my,
Sam Demma (29:44):
Yeah, I love it. I totally agree. And can relate. That’s so many empowering perspectives are being shared and I couldn’t agree more, you know, you spend so much of your life working. It makes sense to do work that you love and you enjoy Steve jobs said in one of his commencement speeches, you know, the only way to do great work is to love what you do. You know, if you don’t love what you do, you’re not gonna give it your all or use your skills and talents and be obsessed enough with it to work on it. Like you said, at 1:00 AM in the morning, doing policy changes and that not only applies to students, but it also applies to educators. And not that you have to hustle and stay up til 1:00 AM every single night, but you have to love the work you’re doing.
Sam Demma (30:26):
You know, I think back to education as an educator, you know, your love for your work of impacting youth can literally change lives. Like you’re, you’re not only teaching content in a classroom, but you’re changing the neurons in a kid’s brain. You’re shifting their perspectives on a daily basis. And if you’re truly passionate about what you’re doing and teaching, you could have an impact on that student that, you know, changes their path for the rest of their life. And I know that because I had a teacher who changed my life and my perspective, and I’m sure you’ve had educators in your life who made a big impact, but John John Lucas, this has been an amazing conversation. And I want to thank you so much for taking your time out of your school day, to hop on this interview and have a conversation, a genuine conversation about, you know, your path and what you think it takes to be a great leader and how other leaders have poured into you. If someone is listening right now and has enjoyed this convers and what would be the best way for them to reach out to you?
John Lucas Guimaraes (31:27):
You can definitely find me on social media. I’m sort of a very marketed BPA member. So you can just find me on social media, John Lucas, Guimaraes or you can just you email me firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you have any questions for me or, or anything that I can sort of help you feel free to reach out. I feel like I tell that to a lot of people and I feel like everyone tells that to people. But I can’t emphasize that enough if you can’t reach out to me, reach out to those around you and your peers, your teachers, these people wanna see you succeed. So just make sure that you are utilizing your resources.
Sam Demma (32:20):
Awesome. John Lucas, thank you so much. Good luck going beyond your limits at the, the next Texas national leadership conference. I wish you all the best in all your future endeavors and let’s definitely stay in touch.
John Lucas Guimaraes (32:33):
Awesome. Thank you so much, Sam, for having me.
Sam Demma (32:37):
Hey, it’s Sam again. I hope you enjoyed that amazing conversation on the high performing educator podcast. If you or someone, you know, deserves some extra recognition and appreciation for the work they do in education, please consider applying or nominating them for the high performing educator awards go to www.highperformingeducator.com/award. You can also find the link in the show notes. I’m super excited to spotlight and feature 20 people in 2022. And I’m hoping you or someone, you know, can be one of those educators. I’ll talk to you on the next episode, all the best.
Join the Educator Network & Connect with John Lucas
The High Performing Educator Podcast was brought to life during the outbreak of COVID-19 to provide you with inspirational stories and practical advice from your colleagues in education. By tuning in, you will hear the stories and ideas of the world’s brightest and most ambitious educators. You can expect interviews with Principals, Teachers, Guidance Counsellors, National Student Association, Directors and anybody that works with youth. You can find and listen to all the episodes for free here.