Our next interview is Passaic very own young entrepreneur Christian Villar owner of the North Jersey Pros basketball team and also a player on the team and Villar consulting. Villar has become a real role model to not only youngsters in Passaic, but also all over New Jersey and youngsters who meet him through his travels worldwide. At the young age of 5, Villar lost his father to a drunk driver and was raised by his mom. Villar is someone you will want to look at for as he and his company grows.
When I asked the Mayor of Passaic Dr. Alex Blanco to say a few words about Villar here is what he said, "I have known Mr. Villar for several years. I would like to congratulate Chris for his outstanding accomplishments, and his involvement in the community of the City of Passaic. We have many similarities. We both come from disadvantage families. Both of our mothers worked in factories earning minimum wage salaries and pushed us to the path of higher education. We both grew up in Passaic, went to PHS and college.
But what I really admire of Chris is the fact that he came back to Passaic City to serve as a role model for our youth, not only to the Hispanic community but in general. Most people graduate college and move far away from their native cities. But Chris has worked at the YMCA as a youth counselor, after graduating college. He became an outreach counselor for Lincoln Middle School soon after left to obtain his master’s degree. He currently has a contract as the director with his consulting practice to run the River Drive residences which prevent homelessness in the city of Passaic and is part of Greater Passaic Clifton Community Center. For the past two years, he has held Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for the homeless people and the YMCA residents. Chris knows the community and dedicate a lot of his time helping the needed and making Passaic City a better place.
Also, Chris is the sole owner of North Jersey Pros basketball team and Villar Consulting, LLC. He has a Master’s in Public Administration & Nonprofit Management, as well as a BA in Social and Behavioral with minors in psychology & business administration, from Seton Hall University.
As Mayor of the City of Passaic I am proud of Christian Villar's educational achievements and for his dedication to our city."
Christian you graduated from Passaic High School and went onto Seton Hall University afterwards achieving many of your goals. What do attribute to your success and what advice would you give to others?
I learned at a very young age coming from nothing that we all as humans come into this world with nothing and leave with nothing. You can work hard and gain wealth, material things, etc but that can all be taken from you at any given moment but the one thing I realized that no one can ever take away you is your education/knowledge/ and your personal relationship with God. I am grateful to Passaic High School and Seton Hall University because the education that I obtain there is what has allowed me to achieve all the things I ever wanted. I can lose all I have today but the education, morals, and knowledge i have no one can ever take from me. My advice to other is to analyze the famous quote “knowledge is power” because it is when applied correctly.
How did you start the North Jersey Pros Basketball team?
I started the North Jersey because I was able to combine my knowledge and education with my passion for basketball and helping other. At the time I was playing professional basketball internationally and didn’t like being away from my family. As an entrepreneur and businessman I was able to work basically from anywhere in the world because I was and still am the owner and sole practitioner of Villar Consulting, LLC. An independent consulting firm that assists individuals start their own nonprofit organizations and business, obtaining 501(c)3 tax exemption status, and assisting professional athletes with contract negotiations, endorsement deals, and starting their own foundations and businesses. So I decided to put into practice everything I was doing for my clients.
In 2009 I decided to start my own team that would be used as a tool to give back to the youth, allow me to continue playing but with control of where and when I played, and impact other players by giving them opportunity to play for my team and continue their professional basketball careers. I took the logo from my Villar Consulitng LLC logo where the “I” in Villar is a man in a black suit and created the North Jersey Pros logo of a man taking off his suit like superman but underneath it had a basketball uniform. To me this was very important because the team was now part of my consulting practice and I wanted to have brand identity among the two. Furthermore, it symbolized a movement and concept for the youth. Basically what the logo and name wants to convey is that we all have a hero within us and can still be professional at any chosen career but that we can still live out our dreams and be “Pros” at whatever we chose to do. At the time the Nets were still in New Jersey so I named the team North Jersey Pros because we were going to be the “Pros” from northern New Jersey that would represent the state worldwide.
Fast forward to the present moment and that vision I had is now a reality. I have created a brand and team that is now composed of players with NBA, NBA summer league, and NBA Developmental League, and international professional basketball playing experience that now travels internationally and nationally to play other professional basketball teams from various professional basketball leagues and countries. So far we have helped 30+ players to obtain pro contracts and further their careers throughout the USA, Chile, Canada, Uruguay, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Iceland, Greece, Africa, Israel, China, and Japan. Most recently we played the Dominican Republic Men’s National Basketball team at the Atlanta Hawks facilities to help them prepare for their pre Olympic qualifying games. Our Head Coach is no other than 2-Time NBA champion and 3-Time NBA 3point champion Craig Hodges. Our first ever Head Coach Matt Riccardi is now a member of the Brooklyn Nets. I also use the team and players to conduct free basketball clinics where ever we play and no child or student has ever paid to watch us play. While conducting the free clinics and camps we speak to the youth about the importance of obtaining and education and being “Pros” at whatever it is they have a passion for. Not to ever let a title, jersey, team, money, or anything else determined their worth or who they are in life.
You are not only the CEO of the New Jersey Pros, but also a player on the team, how do manage to do both?
LOL. Not only am I the CEO, but I am the sole owner/financial supporter of the team and the one responsible for all goes on with the team and organization such as from the marketing, negotiations, player signing and recruiting, scheduling tours internationally, to even driving the bus when we used to travel by land to YES playing. I have managed being a player and CEO by for the past 6 years by being a professional on and off the courts. While in practice and game I am nothing more than a player because the coach is in full control of everything that goes on during practice and games. Every minute I have ever played I have earned and players respect me both on and off the court because I can talk to them as team owner off the courts and as a teammate/brother while on the court. I have never had an issue with any player to date as an owner or player because everyone that has ever worn a Pros uniform has been treated as family and once family always family. Players know that I always put the brand and them before my game.
Who is your role model?
My mother has always been and will always be my biggest role model.
Many minorities look up to as a role model especially in the Latino community, what advice would give them?
My advice is simple. Obtain an education, believe in yourself and go after whatever it is that you have your heart and mind set on. No one can stop YOU from doing YOU except YOU. Be the best YOU can BE. Is great to be a professional, successful, and even wealthy person but the most important thing one can be is a humble and loving individual towards life, each other, and this world. Live up to your standards and run your race at your pace. Above all build a relationship with God because he is love and is the only one that will never leave you. Even your shadow leaves you in the dark but He is light upon your life.
Learn more about my consulting practice and team by visiting us online: