Jorge Mesquita ’83 has a formula for success: 50% humility + 50% self-confidence = success
“If you have humility, you learn, and you never assume that you’ve got it all figured out,” Mesquita says. “And if you have self-confidence, then you have the strength to power through the inevitable obstacles and the challenges you face. So, I always try to balance those two things.”
If his decadeslong career in marketing and leadership roles at multiple Fortune 500 companies is any indication, the formula works.
Mesquita was born in Maputo, Mozambique, where he lived until his family fled to Brazil during a civil war when he was 14 years old. He then came to the United States for college, enrolling at Florida Tech shortly after his older siblings, with whom he lived throughout his college career. While earning his chemical engineering degree, he played on the men’s soccer and rowing teams and worked part time in the cafeteria.
“It was a busy, happy time,” Mesquita says. “I loved the culture here. I loved the professors that I had. So, it went by very fast, but I have really good memories.”
After graduation, Mesquita was recruited for a research and development position with Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati. In the early days of his 29-year tenure there, he was exposed to the business side of the company, transitioning from science- to marketing-focused positions and quickly rising to leadership roles managing prominent brands like Tide, Swiffer, Febreze, Mr. Clean, Downy, Dawn, Cascade and Iams.
He left Cincinnati in 2014 for the Big Apple and an even larger multinational corporation, Johnson & Johnson, where he worked as executive vice president and worldwide chairman of the consumer division until 2019. Most recently, he served as CEO of Blue Triton Brands, formerly Nestlé Waters North America, stepping down from the company in February to pursue other opportunities.
An engineer by training, Mesquita had never planned to pursue the business route. Thankfully, he says, Florida Tech prepared him for both.
“It wasn’t planned; it was just serendipity, but I think life works in that way,” he says. “I found that in the marketing and business path, I was able to blend what I’d learned in my major with the stuff that I’d learned outside.”
The “outside” stuff he learned at Florida Tech—balance, dedication, curiosity, legacy—was as valuable as the coursework itself, he says, and it taught him the importance of human connection over mere proficiency.
These sentiments have driven Mesquita throughout his career, keeping him from slipping into either toxic competition or stagnant complacency—opposite but equal adversaries.
“My professors taught me selflessness and to really care about the people you work with, genuinely. They taught me to be curious. They forced me to get out of my comfort zone,” he says. “There is no question that the school made me a better person, not just a professional who is prepared.”
This piece was featured in the fall 2022 edition of Florida Tech Magazine.