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Tezeta “Tez” Roro ’06

Motivational speaker, licensed real estate broker and community leader Tezeta “Tez” Roro ’06 is a wellspring of positive energy who has used her undergraduate education as the springboard for a successful career.

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Tezeta “Tez” Roro ’06 is determined to do all she can to help others. She presents talks focusing on her transition from the corporate world to self-employment, workshops on buying and selling real estate, and a time-management session titled NinjaTime™, where Roro shares her best – tested and proven – strategies for success. As a licensed real estate broker, she does more than connect hopeful home buyers to the property of their dreams; she builds relationships that form the basis of strong communities.

Roro contributes generously to those communities through volunteer leadership roles at the West Essex YMCA where she is a board of managers member, the West Orange Chamber of Commerce where she serves as president, and the New Jersey PTA where she is part of the field service team in her capacity as president of the West Orange Council of PTAs. The West Orange Council was honored with the New Jersey Advocacy Award – given to only one New Jersey PTA annually – for the work she led in bringing free, full-day pre-kindergarten to the town of West Orange. In 2002, Roro earned the West Orange Human Relations Commission Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Service Award for her efforts.

Over the course of her community service roles, Roro has also helped raise funds for a variety of causes in Ethiopia and the Middle East and has mentored others through New Jersey Youth Academy, Dress for Success Northern New Jersey, and the Northern New Jersey Chapter of Ellevate Network.

Roro traces her strong work ethic and community spirit back to her youth in Ethiopia. “I came to the U.S. in the 10th grade,” she explains. “Growing up in a different culture gave me a unique set of values.”

It is the same set of values that led Roro to Montclair in the first place. “As the oldest daughter of a single mom, the reality was that I helped support my family in a lot of ways,” she says. “I felt I needed to be near home.”

Roro did manage to live on campus for her first three years at Montclair, working multiple jobs while attending classes. “I was a Montclair Ambassador, worked part-time in the Student Center, and had an off-campus job as well,” she recalls. “I signed up for as many internships and research opportunities as possible, and I also participated briefly in student government, volunteered for the annual appeal phone bank, and helped out with a multicultural event that featured traditional food and clothing from different countries.”

Roro’s Montclair degree is in biology. “I liked the smaller, focused community of the University’s Health Careers Program,” she notes. “My plan had been to go to medical school, but I was concerned about how that path would affect my ability to be part of my family’s support system.”

“Still, I wanted to earn a higher degree,” Roro continues. “I just didn’t want to be boxed in, career-wise.”

While considering her options, Roro landed a full-time job at a Verizon retail store during her senior year at Montclair. “I had just bought a new car and needed to find a way to pay for it,” she says with a laugh.

She quickly moved up the ladder and into the company’s corporate headquarters, where she was part of Verizon’s business-to-business team and was involved in vendor management, product management, and contract negotiations. Ever open to avenues for encouraging others, Roro was active at the time in the Women’s Association of Verizon Employees. By the time she learned of Verizon’s tuition assistance program for employees, Roro was contemplating an MBA track at Centenary University which, she decided, would offer value in whatever direction she chose going forward.

When Roro had her first child, she realized that she was going to need a better work-life balance. The idea of pursuing a career transition to real estate began to grow when she bought her first home. “I saw an opportunity bring something new to the field,” she says. “I could bring empathy to my work with clients, empowering them at a very important and challenging time in their lives.”

Roro’s energy and authenticity quickly led to success in her new field. She is a licensed broker with Keller Williams Realty, Inc., and – as is her way – she is an active member of the professional real estate community. In addition to being licensed by the New Jersey Real Estate Commission as a broker and a Real Estate Instructor, Roro is a member of the board of trustees of the North Central Jersey Association of REALTORS®, a member of the National Association of Home Builders, and the Women’s Council of REALTORS®. She is also involved with the New Jersey REALTORS® Young Professionals Network and the consumer communications committee of the National Association of REALTORS®.

Roro’s experiences and expertise provide ample content for her public speaking programs, for the articles she contributes to media outlets such as Forbes and HuffPost, and for her involvement with her alma mater.

“Montclair gave me so many transferable building blocks,” she says. “That is where I learned how to be independent and developed my leadership and presentation skills.”

Ever passionate about building community, Roro connects with fellow Montclair alumni online and volunteers to help students hone resume-building and interviewing skills – often advising them to take advantage of the many academic and career development resources offered by Montclair. “I am active with the Women’s Initiative Network and I recently joined the Black Alumni Advisory Council, which hosts networking events,” she says. “I also guest lectured for a project management class at the Feliciano School of Business. I enjoy visiting campus with my children and have even brought them with me to Homecoming.”

“Montclair does a good job of engaging alumni,” Roro adds, noting that she is especially excited about the University’s recent partnership with Bloomfield College. “I am glad to see this merger of Bloomfield’s multicultural mission with Montclair’s dedication to affordability and public service.”