Christopher Ferro has always been "that guy," the one who can teach someone how to fix the copier or create an Excel file.
"Many people would tell me I had a real knack for explaining things," he said. "Also, my father was a university professor and he loved teaching, so I was always interested in seeing if it would be something that I would enjoy."
When College of DuPage was looking for a Hospitality accounting teacher and contacted a professional organization for hospitality financial employees, Ferro -- who was a member -- jumped at the chance. When Ferro was laid off from his day job, he contacted Lisa Capozzoli, Accounting program coordinator at COD, to teach more classes.
"I enjoy it more than I ever would have imagined -- I love it," he said. "I have three degrees, so I have a lot of experience being on the student side of the equation. Nothing is better than an engaging teacher and I try to be that."
Earning his degrees wasn't easy. He became an Accounting major at Northern Illinois University but didn't keep his grades up -- a lesson he conveys to both his students and his children. He switched majors to Finance and earned a bachelor's degree. He later obtained his MBA from NIU, received an Advanced Accounting Certificate from COD and became a CPA.
Ferro never lost that love of accounting and has worked in the field for his entire career. For several years, he worked as Manager of Finance and Accounting for Frontera Grill, Inc., handling all of the accounting for the Frontera Grill family of restaurants on North Clark Street in Chicago – Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and XOCO. Working two jobs was exhausting, but Ferro is exhilarated by the opportunity to be in a classroom.
In 2013, he accepted a full-time position teaching Accounting at College of DuPage.
"The first thing I want my students to learn is a high level of competency in the subject matter. That’s the goal, right?" he said. "If you take my Financial Accounting class, I want you to comfortably and confidently be able to do everything we covered in that class. I also want students to feel like learning is exciting, that what we do in class has a very real relationship with the real world, and that school can be fun.
"My daily inspiration for working hard is my family – my wife and kids. I also love the feeling when students who took my class to meet a requirement tell me months later that they had no idea accounting was so interesting and are now considering it as a major. I’m proud to say this has happened many times!"