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Pedro Guillen ’16, MBA ’20

Service to Alma Mater

Featured photo for Pedro Guillen ’16, MBA ’20

The Path to Higher Education
When Pedro Guillen was a young child, he and his family left their home in Colima, Mexico, in search of a better life in the United States. Growing up in California, Pedro couldn’t envision a clear path to college, but he knew he had to figure out a way to get an education. Pedro credits the scholarship opportunities available at Cal Lutheran for propelling him to become the first member of his family to attend college.

Pedro ultimately thrived at CLU. Administrators helped him connect with other underrepresented students, professors and coaches let him know they believed in him, and the close friends Pedro made on campus lifted him up. When finances were tight, those friends scanned their meal cards to make sure he could eat.

As a soccer player for the Kingsmen, Pedro found camaraderie among his teammates. He also found support from a coach who changed his life. On a particularly tough day, when Pedro learned his grandfather had passed away in Mexico—and he could not return to his home country to be with his family—he struggled to make it through practice. Pedro’s coach, who barely knew the freshman yet, said, “Four years from now, I will be there to watch you graduate.” The power of those words stayed with Pedro as he pushed forward in pursuit of his dreams.

Paying it Forward
Being part of the CLU community gave Pedro the opportunity to carve out his future, but most of all, it gave him hope. That’s why Pedro and his wife, Karla, established a scholarship at Cal Lutheran—which they fund annually—to help undocumented immigrants realize their dream of attending college.

Following graduation in 2016, Pedro launched his career as a technical recruiter at tech giants Google and Facebook. He later held progressively higher roles in talent acquisition at Drive.ai (acquired by Apple) and Deepmap.ai (acquired by NVIDIA), two autonomous vehicle technology startups. He returned to Cal Lutheran to hone his business acumen and leadership skills, earning a master’s degree in Management and graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2020. Today, Pedro is the Founder and CEO of Savvi, an Austin-based recruiting firm that supports startups in the fields of robotics, autonomous vehicles, hardware, blockchain and machine learning.

When success came to Pedro, he bought his parents a home in California, and he decided it was time to help the next generation of Cal Lutheran students.

“I can never fully express my gratitude for the generosity of others—people who didn’t know me at all. They made it possible for me to attend Cal Lutheran,” said Pedro. “We created a scholarship to pay it forward and hopefully inspire future CLU graduates to continue that spirit of giving back.”