This week, we spoke with Jeff Cangialosi ’09, program manager at MicroEnergy Credits.
His Time at The Academy
Cangialosi was one of those kids who knew from a young age that CBA was the place for him. A great baseball program, a diverse curriculum, and a few alums in his family made the Academy seem like the perfect high school choice.
And while he did play both baseball and tennis while at CBA, Cangialosi didn’t let sports define his high school career.
“The best thing about my time at CBA was the overall feeling of the school,” he said. “It was a spiritual, academic and athletic community all rolled into one, which is something that is extremely unique.”
One of his biggest interests became the service trips, a staple of the Academy’s commitment to living the Lasallian values. He participated frequently in the Lasallian Youth outings to Asbury Park, serving lunches to the less fortunate.
Come his junior year, he decided he would take the spring service trip to Tijuana, Mexico. It was certainly an eye-opening experience for those in attendance, but it marked a clear turning point for Cangialosi. He saw a side of the world that most New Jersey students only see on television, if at all. From there, a true need to serve solidified.
Deviating From The Path
After graduating from Georgetown University, Cangialosi did what most college graduates do: take the first “good” job available and start working hard. That first step was at J.P. Morgan Chase in Manhattan, where he spent two years learning the ins and outs of corporate business practices.
However, Cangialosi knew something was missing. He wanted to do something more impactful than a typical city job. After all, he majored in international affairs and science technology at Georgetown with the hopes of working around the globe.
So after meeting with a fellow Georgetown alumnus, he found his next step: MicroEnergy Credits. Based in Mumbai, India, the company seeks to empower low income and rural households to buy clean energy with affordable finance at local banking institutions.
Working In Rural India
Moving halfway around the world was no easy task. “At first, there’s definitely a lot to get used to when you travel over there,” said Cangialosi. “It’s a culture of constantly trying to pick yourself up and prove your worth. The people I meet are extremely hard workers and are very entrepreneurial.”
While working in a satellite office, Cangialosi travels to more rural parts of India much of the year to meet with individuals who could benefit from his company’s services.
“When you work in these very rural areas, people get excited when you come to speak about clean energy,” he said. “Most of the time, these people have little to no power. Some are lucky to have power for eight hours. Others have none.”
Cangialosi believes one of the best parts about his job is helping his company come in on the “ground floor” to add support for these different rural areas seeking to grow and prosper.
He notes how those he visits are extremely receptive to trying new things. The community really understands the worth in his company’s product. After all, bringing consistent access to light is a far-fetched dream to the people he meets.
“For me, it’s been a great opportunity for me to see a country on the rise and to see people benefit from economic growth,” he said.
How CBA Prepared Him
“I think that something that is extremely underrated in high school is the ability to write,” Cangialosi said. “CBA definitely helped cultivate my writing and communication skills that has benefited me throughout college and my professional career.”
Aside from his communication skills, Cangialosi believes that every single year at the Academy delivered a different, impactful message. In his eyes, however, freshman year was a remarkable experience.
“I think that your freshman year at CBA is simply incredible,” he said. “For the most part, you come in not knowing a whole lot of people and you are brought up to speed in faith and academics together. It’s definitely a different type of high school experience.”
Of course, he took so much away from the service aspect of CBA.
“Going on those Asbury Park trips with Mr. Sewing and Lasallian Youth, it teaches you a lot,” he said. “You’re serving people in a nearby community that you usually wouldn’t give a thought about. It builds a broader sense of world awareness and how fortunate you are to be at CBA.”
What He Misses Most
“When you go to CBA, you enter into a community that extends way beyond the classroom, and it’s hard to find that anywhere else,” he said.
Something many alums can attest to, Cangialosi made a point of emphasis in the fact that once you leave CBA, it is extremely difficult to find a similar company culture or college atmosphere. “I keep trying to create that sense of community elsewhere, and I find it’s just not possible,” he said.
While he misses the community aspect, he wouldn’t trade his Academy experience for anything.
“For me, CBA gave me a chance to come into my own,” he said. “I was able to grow and learn with people who had the same goals. I’ve never been, and probably never will be, in a better overall environment than CBA.”