“Sam Zherka was my childhood mentor.”
By: Melissa Williams
Real estate investor Andrew Fernandez, who has know Sam Zherka for the past 20 years, calls Zherka his childhood mentor. He also mentioned, that although Zherka has been someone to look up to for years, he has also been a pillar in his Bronx Community for much longer. Fernandez describes Zherka as someone who was always watching out for the neighborhood by providing employment for locals. Fernandez claims Zherka was known as a business man who would get teenagers off the street by keeping them employed. “When I went looking for a job, it was only natural that I started at his door,” said Fernandez.
“Sam started me off handing out flyers and he must have seen potential in me because he would take time out to talk about my future plans. I would often find myself sitting in his office having conversations about my friendships and my life’s decisions. Before I knew it, I was believing in myself in a new, confident way,” said Fernandez.
Fernandez can remember how lucky he felt to have met an adult who praised and encouraged him. “When Sam and I parted ways, I remember not taking his advice, but figured I would navigate my life my way. After years of floundering, I got myself into real estate; a venture that Sam was extremely proud of me for. When I opened my own office, I surrounded myself with positive affirmations, a touch straight out of Sam’s own office.”
Fernandez stated that as his real estate business began to flourish, he could not help but reflect on all the advice given to him by his mentor Sam Zherka over the years. “I often find myself trying to pay forward the opportunity and respect Sam gave to me. Whether it is hiring high school kids to answer phones or to hand out door flyers, Sam’s influence on my life and others is never far. He has been invaluable in encouraging me to be the man I want to be, and the man I am. His constant friendship emboldened me, and as an adult and successful entrepreneur his influences are never far from my daily routine,” says Fernandez.
Fernandez concluded with stating that Zherka helped a young teenager become a man without any reason other than he thought it was the right thing to do, guiding, and nurturing him. Fernandez believes he is a successful business man today because Sam was able to take the time to show him the way.